Monday Morning Grace: Forgiven and Free

Do you ever feel weighed down by the mistakes of your past? Do you wish you could get a re-do for the way you handled a situation with someone last week? Is there a poor decision that you find yourself making time and time again despite your knowing better?Well I have some good news for you this morning: you’re forgiven and free.

I assume that those of you who are reading this are followers of Christ, and with that, I would also assume that this is not the first time someone has told you this. However, I believe that the fundamentals of faith often get lost in the midst of our journey as believers.

I find myself getting so caught up with church, bible studies, mentoring sessions, ministries, evangelism, corporate worship, personal worship, prayer requests, Christian living books… the list continues. Now don’t get me wrong, all of these are good, but when the basics of believing fade behind the tasks we feel consume our days – I am confident that we lose sight of the only One worth fixing our gaze upon.

Paul explains it beautifully in Philippians 3:13-14 when he says, “No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

Paul demonstrates his faith in that he does not merely let go of the past mistakes that are fighting to hold captive his attention, but he also looks ahead to the holy calling that the Lord placed on his life.

The moment I decided to follow Christ when I was seven years old, my life was no longer my own, but wholly surrendered to Jesus.

Does your life look wholly surrendered today? Do you live forgiven and free?

This weekend I had the privilege of spending my Saturday with a group of college missionaries throughout Texas who are going to make disciples of all nations either this Christmas break or the spring semester. Never before in my lifetime have I been in a situation where I am completely surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ who are hard after the Lord. Each and every one of these students is committed to follow the Lord in faith wherever He leads – they are ready to die for Him today if that is His desire. These men and women of God paint a lovely picture of what it means to be sweetly broken and wholly surrendered to our Most High King.

As I was put in a group of eight spring semester missionaries, it was awe-inspiring to listen to the unique stories of how the Lord has brought each of us to where we are now, and where He is calling us to go to serve His precious and holy Name.

Amongst all of the blessed souls I was able to meet on Saturday, one girl stood out in particular. Her name is Ryan and she has an incredible story of what it means to live forgiven and free.

Ryan is a senior in college, but she did not know Jesus until her sophomore year of college. She told me something this weekend that broke my heart as she shared her story.

“Meghan, I really believed that God couldn’t love me,” Ryan said.

But praise be to God that the Sovereign Lord demolished the stronghold that had dominated her soul for 20 years when He came to rescue her through salvation!

In just two years, Ryan has not ceased from running after the Lord in full pursuit. Now she is looking to spend the spring semester putting her life on the line each day as she goes to the ends of the earth to share the Gospel with those who have never heard.

Walking by faith is a scary place to be, as you know not what lies before you. However, God promises to take us by the hand and guide us as He gives us a peace that surpasses all understanding.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” –Philippians 4:6-8

As I began to write the second paragraph about Ryan, my best guy friend from Texas A&M, Nathan, who happens to be one of her dear friends as well, called to inform me that Saturday evening, as soon as we finished our Go Now Missions Discovery Day, Ryan’s dad suffered a severe heart attack and is in the hospital in and out of consciousness.

Please keep Ryan’s father in your prayers this morning and throughout the week. Please also be praying for Ryan as she took a major leap of faithful surrender to the Lord Saturday and was welcomed home to a hurting family. Pray that the Lord grants her discernment to know whether she should go, or if she needs to stay home to minister to her family.

But one thing I know for sure: in all of this, Ryan’s heart, mind, and soul are centered on our Heavenly Father.

He has forgiven Ryan and washed her clean. He has set me free from the shame of my sins. He has redeemed you by the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Will you live this day forgiven and free?

“Father, You alone are Sovereign. You give and You take away. Thank You for Your blessings that You provide me with each day – even on the days that seem like everything is going wrong. You are with me in my troubles, and You are with me in my rejoicing. Help me to be a woman who is filled with joy as I live in Your Holy Spirit. Make clear my purpose with every breath. Remind me daily of the freedom and forgiveness that I can only find in You. Consume my every thought, so that my eyes might be fixed on You alone. I ask that You heal Ryan’s father if it is Your will. Please comfort her family in this time of uncertainty. I pray that You will grant Ryan the discernment to know Your good and pleasing and perfect will for her life in regards to next semester. May she not feel guilty for staying in the States if you are calling her to minister to the needs of her family. But may she also not feel guilty for leaving to serve You overseas if You are calling her to surrender to advance Your Kingdom globally instead of locally. I trust that Your character is unchanging and that You are forever faithful. Thank You for not just listening to my prayers, but answering them. I love You Father, thank You for loving me.”

-Meghan

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