Tag Archives: freedom

30 Days of Hopeful: Day 6

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1).

It’s when we stop running from God that we experience the lasting hope and true the freedom that only He can give. My friend Erin came to understand the love of God in a fresh way through her encounter with a stray puppy that refused to be rescued.


I have a habit of rescuing lost or hurt animals that cross my path. There was a tiny baby turtle trying to cross a road, a baby bird fluttering around a busy parking lot, a baby squirrel, and four stray dogs. Each animal’s rescue was unique—according to its needs and best chance for survival.

But then there are the dogs that didn’t want to be rescued—I remember them as clearly as the ones who welcomed my care. One particular pup looked so bad I convinced my husband to go back out with me that night to search some more. And we found her! But the little fluff-ball, whose once-white fur was now grayish brown and full of mats, continued to run. Sometimes we’d get really close, gently speaking to her and offering her treats. But again, she ran.

We went back home that night empty handed. And as silly as it may sound, I sobbed. Why wouldn’t the dog just trust me? I assume she was afraid—and maybe she had good reason, depending on the environment from which she came. But as valid as her fear of me may have been, it was unnecessary. And it prevented her from experiencing love. From being warm, clean and sleeping with a full belly. Why was this stirring up such sadness inside me? What was it that compelled me to keep looking? Why did I call the shelters the next day trying to find her? I believe it’s because I, myself, have been rescued.

I was once that mangy dog, running from God when all He wanted to do was nourish my soul and give me the best life possible. But I didn’t want to be “contained,” I didn’t particularly appreciate authority and I most certainly wanted to do whatever I felt like doing, whenever I wanted to do it.

But that’s just me. Perhaps you ran (or are running) for a different reason. Perhaps you had a bad experience with “religion.” Maybe someone who claims to reflect the love of Christ lives in a way that is the exact opposite of loving, and therefore gives you a false perception of God’s character. Or maybe you just feel plain unworthy, unlovable or unforgivable. Regardless of your reason for running, don’t let it rob you from seeking the Truth… from running toward the most fulfilling relationship you could possibly experience: the unconditional love of your Creator.

God was relentless in pursuing my heart. He is endlessly patient, forgiving and loving. He captivated me with his kindness. By submitting to His authority, I actually became free and full of hope.

Freedom cannot be achieved by running from God any more than that dog could find freedom in roaming the streets. She chose to keep fighting for herself when someone exceedingly more capable wanted to fight for her.

God not only fought for us but, through Jesus, He won the battle for our eternity. He died to give us life, and was raised from the dead to give us HOPE. We are not unwanted, nor unforgivable. We were each uniquely created with a great purpose. And we are loved beyond anything our brains are capable of comprehending.

The love and hope I wanted to extend to that little dog didn’t disappear when she ran away. But the stray animals who trusted me got to receive all I had to give. If a broken human like me would go out of her way to help little creatures (even getting up at 3am for weeks to prepare a special formula and feed a baby squirrel), how much MORE love and care does our Father in Heaven want to lavish on US!! Anything good we do is just a tiny glimpse of the goodness of our gracious God.

Day Fourteen: For Freedom

Think about how long Pastor Saeed Abedini’s  family has been crying out for his freedom.  Over two years separated from their husband and father!  How can this be for a man who is a United States citizen and has committed no crime?

The Bible tells us that freedom is at the core of our faith:  It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1). 

Freedom is worth everything.  Just ask anyone who is not free. Today, on Day Fourteen of our 21 Day Fast for Pastor Saeed, let’s take a few minutes to reflect on what it means to worship freely. 

Today is Martin Luther King Day.  I’m reminded of our God-given, right to be free.   Dr. King died defending the right of our African American brothers and sisters, along with those of all races and backgrounds, to enjoy the full spectrum of human rights  promised by the Founding Fathers.   These inalienable rights, as they called them, were endowed by our Creator.  The rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” They include the freedom to worship as we choose.  Perhaps we don’t share the same faith, but I will defend your right to worship freely.

The cry for freedom is always the same.  For all people.  Everywhere.  I once had a conversation with an African leader from a country where Christians have been fiercely persecuted.  A Christian himself, he had fought hard, long years for his nation’s freedom.  “All we want is for the people in this nation to have the freedom to worship as they please,” he said,  “whether Christian, Muslim, or even tribal ancestor worship.”  He added,  “I may not agree with what they believe, but I will die for their right to worship freely.”  Then he paused for a minute and spoke the following words as if hearing them for the first time:  “All we want…is liberty and justice for all.”

Pastor Saeed is in prison simply because he is a Christian.  He has violated no laws, committed no crime.  This man has been unjustly mistreated and even tortured for his faith. He is not alone.  Many others around the world are being denied their rights and imprisoned for their faith. Saeed is the face of all people who are unjustly deprived of liberty and justice. We fast and pray for his soon release.

Today, let us cry out with one voice for freedom.  Let Saeed go! 


Day Thirteen: Let My People Go!

President Obama just announced Thursday that he plans to visit Boise Idaho next week as one of his stops on a national tour.  Boise just happens to be Naghmeh Abedini’s hometown. The President will speak at Boise State University Wednesday night on topics related to his State of the Union address. No one knows exactly why Boise is on the President’s schedule.  Perhaps it’s because Idaho has the largest percentage of unlawful immigrants in our country.  Others think it’s because of lobby efforts by conservationists in Iowa.

Naghmeh believes this is a breakthrough in response to the 21 Day Fast for Saeed.  So do I.  Naghmeh has somehow managed to secure tickets to the event.  In preparation, she plans to fast from all food for the next three days.

Friends, let’s press in with concentrated prayers for Naghmeh and Saeed!  Let’s agree that the door would miraculously open for her to speak personally with the President.  And let’s be bold in our prayers for Saeed’s release. It’s time for this man to come home to his family!

This morning,  as I reflected on Naghmeh’s post from yesterday, I sensed that her urgency is from the Lord.  Ask the Holy Spirit to empower your prayers as you read the following excerpt from Naghmeh:

Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘LET MY PEOPLE GO, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness'” (Exodus 5:1).

“When I pray,  Naghmeh writes,  “I usually take my request before the Lord and gently ask Him if He would grant my request. Over the last two weeks I have focused on repentance, letting go, and pressing deeper into Christ. I have never been the one to demand or command in my prayers.
But the last few days as I have been praying, I have felt the Lord say it’s time. He has lead me to this passage of Moses of commanding the release of people of Israel who were in bondage…LET MY PEOPLE GO!” Please join me today in commanding the freedom of Saeed (over the darkness and principalities that are over that area) and believing God for a miracle!”