Monday, January 28, 2013

Be Brave * Step Out * Find Joy

He was not quite two years old when we took him to the beach for the first time. His face showed the curious-excitement from the first time his toes felt the sand, and then for the beach toys. But when it came time to walk into the water...there was that human emotion we often experience when encountering something new. FEAR. 

We prodded him in. Step by step, with limbs shaking and face registering trepidation. He took a few steps. Wanted to turn back, but there was also this longing. This wonder, and curiosity that compelled him to stick with it. To take the next step. And the next. And the next...

Here on the farm, we have a windmill. Something I found out to be coveted by a few land-owners who have stopped to ask if they could purchase it. Yes, they are becoming rare. To top off having this original historical-architectural-water-lifter on our property, we found a treasure growing upwards on it our first autumn here. It was embraced by a large bittersweet vine which reached to the heavens and then down again drooping beautiful orange berries and curly-q's that ended in mid-air from the fan-blades at the top. 

It's a ways up there. I don't like heights. I love bittersweet. And I had several other bittersweet-lovers looking to purchase some from me. My husband talked several times about getting a 'boom' from work. (He is in construction and the boom is the box to carry one up higher to work. A safe box to ride up in) However, it wasn't happening in the window of time for harvesting the bittersweet. So, one day I decided to try climbing up myself. Did I mention I was afraid of heights? 

The built-on ladder seemed sturdy. A peg which held a foot on each side of the upright bar that extended to the blades in the sky. If I can carry my cutter in my pocket and always keep my elbow wrapped around that upright piece I should be safe. The first year I got about half way up, and found plenty of woody tendrils with orange berries. I would hang on for dear life with my left arm wrapped around the upright metal, and then cut with my right hand. Put the cutters back in my back pocket, grab the branch I had just cut -and fling it dooooowwwwwnnn to the ground. 

When I returned to safe ground, I had that exhilarating feeling of having accomplished the impossible and having a harvest of glorious autumn-decorating beauty to boot!

Each year I became a bit more brave and it seemed the berries were higher up on the windmill. So about four years in, I reached the top (perhaps 30-40 feet?) The autumn view from up there was breath-taking. So was the view down! (perhaps a different kind of breath-taking) 

The rewards of stepping into that fear have been rich for me. Overcoming fear of heights, taking in a panoramic view of the Wisconsin autumn splendor, and being able to sell and decorate with the spoils of my warfare. This has made more brave. Much like my grandson last summer delighting in his time in the water when he overcame his fear. 

So what are your stories of overcoming? Where might you benefit from taking a step in or a step out or a step up? 

Friday, January 25, 2013

It Takes One To Know One

Remember that line? Snarky kids biting each other with words, one-upping on the bus? Mom always said school wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the bus... We were usually one of the last stops so it was a good hour of (often) PG or R rated snark.

The poor bus-driver...I remember thinking that so often. Especially the small timid woman we had that one year Jimmy L'Allier poured Nair in her hair the last day of school when she consented to us having a water fight. Ugh. I prayed her hair didn't fall out...

We had a different driver the next year. I thanked God she didn't have to put up with our bus again.

Funny how even adults get snarky isn't it? It usually surfaces from our insecurities. It helps me to remember that. I've been squashed by words. And I have been careless with words. The Bible says that a harsh word stirs up anger, and a gentle answer turns away wrath. Proverbs 15:1

It's proven true in my experience. Now that I know that verse well, I can remember when I feel like spouting something, I refrain (by the power of the HOLY Spirit, not by any good-girl wonder in me).

I once {okay, maybe twice} was called judgmental. When that happened, I felt like I was such a wretch in that person’s eyes, and there was no hope for me. It was extremely painful. And I fell on my face before the Lord. {Where else do you go when you feel condemned?} As I did, I found comfort in His love. I came to know His grace and His love for me more fully-EVEN if I were guilty as charged, I would be free to receive grace upon repentance. 

When we are in Christ, we are not under any label other than Redeemed! Or HIS. Or Beloved (don't you love that?!)

The Lord also helped me see that when someone called me judgmental, they were actually judging me.  {What is that one finger pointing-three fingers pointing back saying again?} 

And He said, "where is the grace in a label?" Especially if it is placed on a true child of God who is still in process of becoming? 
Jesus is my defender! {Isaiah 19:20} I always need to remember that so I don't let the devil get a foothold of bitterness when I feel wounded. 

That's how I forgive my enemies, and do good to those who hurt me, {Romans 12:14} I must have Jesus be in between. He loves them with forgiveness- he shields me with love.

Then I had to learn what Jesus really meant by judge not. I saw that in 1 Corinthians 2:15 we are called to make judgments: 

The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment. 1 Corinthians 2:15 And I saw I needed to take responsibility for my feelings and not let words people said against me trump what God said about me. (And not expect perfect judgments about imperfect me from imperfect people who do not know my heart like Jesus does. Amen?)

In Matthew 7:1-5 where Jesus talks about judging, he is talking to those who accuse with the desire to manipulate or control and who are arrogant, that they have no right to correct those they are judging.

But there is a place for removing a speck from the eye with genuine love and gentleness. (Anyone who has had something in their eye can relate to the need for removal and we are called to turn people from sin)
 James 5:20 ...remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins. 

The bottom line is that we who are born of God and live by the Spirit and are not under law. We are free in Christ and God will discipline us {true believers }when we are off track as we abide in Him. 

So if you have been labeled and boxed by someone, you don't have to stay in the box. Be free!

And if you have stamped someone with a label...rethink... and remember grace. We all are broken, imperfect humans. 

So lets pray for one another instead of try to control with words on labels. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Power of Perspective

How to trust? Know Love.
...and remembering the great lyrics of this moving song
blaring on my car-ride during a long trip...

~enjoy some perspective~

Saturday, January 19, 2013

He Leads Me Besides

 The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives. ~Psalm 37:23 NLT

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, God brought this verse back to me for this time in our lives. 

As I review my past year in photos via my Mobile Uploads on Facebook, I find it staggering that I've experienced wild-to-me adventures over the past year. And part of that adventure was life in the unknown limbo-zone...That part hasn't always felt like a blessing. Where will we live? What is God doing with our lives? 

When our buyers derailed our train by backing out of buying our farm and after five months of planning and making decisions, decisions based on the 'reality' that we were moving... We just sat there at 11:30 at night looking at each other, asking "What??" and "How?" and "Now what???"

It all had looked so "God-ordained" from the beginning. You can read about how it looked here. I made an announcement on Facebook shortly after they backed out and guess which verse someone put out there for me. Psalm 37:23 
Being well-acquainted with how He has directed my steps in the past, I was given peace for my 'now'. 

I struggled with forgiving our back-out buyers at first. I fought anger off and on that first week. Then one night I went to bed and said to God, "I just need to hear from you!" 

When I was walking down the stairs the next morning God said to me, "Kathy, you think they are in control, but they are not. I am." And in that instant I let go. I knew that for whatever reason, God had allowed that detour in our story. It wasn't a derail after all...

So, today we have another showing on our farm. I have this anticipation. This hope. I trust God is directing our steps as we walk with Him. I trust His promise in Romans 8:28-29 that He works all things out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

There are other things here that have started shifting too. Things like my shop is emptied and moved as of last weekend. The bathroom is clean. *smiles* I mean I really cleaned it top to bottom the other day, walls and everything! And when I got done, I thought, "its time for another showing!"  So...say a prayer for we go! :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Word Sustains the Weary When Your Brother Dies and Seven Years After -the Word Sustains the Weary Again

Though it was his birthday yesterday and he would have been 34 years old, I didn't set out to write about him today. It just happened because of the way the Lord upheld me through the loss of my brother...and how the same passage of scripture God gave me that week has been sustaining me through the (thankfully very different) journey we have been on recently. So tomorrow I will post more about that. 

When my brother Peter died in a farming accident in February of '06 it was the coldest stretch of weather we had endured that winter- I think it was 16 below zero. He had been bundled up warm with his headphones on to do what farmers do. Drive a tractor in circles or stripes covering the land in order to reap the harvest. They usually don't do much harvesting in February, but with the determination of a farmer, he went out that brutal day to pick corn. It happened while trying to remove a clog from the corn-picker. My brother-in-law lives within eyesight of where he was working and after dark, noticed the lights on the machine- that it was stalled in one place for too long, so he went to see what was going on. ...The sleeve of Peter's coat was caught in the corn-husk separator part of the machine. Since sturdy-made Carhart coats do not rip, he was strangled.

I got the call from my youngest sister Stephanie while I was at Worship Team practice at church that evening. What does one do when they get a call telling you your brother is dead? Stand in a daze. Try to breathe. Decide what to do. Who to take with you to drive the hour over to where your family will be gathered. That is what I did after announcing it to the five other musicians and singers. 

A year later, I was on my way to Worship Team practice recounting the story of that week to a friend (not realizing it was the anniversary of his death at the moment) when it occurred to me what a gift I had been given that night. That because the team surrounded me in prayer before I left, I had a certain grace for the days ahead. 

Because of needing an autopsy on his body, the week of his death was long. My two kids were in school. Having an hour between my home and our home farm, I daily faced many questions regarding what to do, where to go and when, and if I should take the kids with me or not. While my mind was torn, my heart was shredded. I needed something sturdy to lean on. SomeOne to tell me what to do.

I was reading through the One Year Bible and on the second day of my questions, I encountered this passage and knew it was God's word to me for that day. 

  The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives. ~Psalm 37:23 NLT

I immediately memorized it and drew from it's nourishing comfort that week. That day as I was meditating on that passage while making the drive over, an eagle flew overhead, and Isaiah 40:31 came to mind, and God was saying, "I am here with you and I will direct your steps and I will carry you."

Whenever I didn't know what to do, I remembered He was directing my steps. That He had the details. I wish I could say the week is a blur after seven years as so many other things are, but they are quite clear. Whenever I remember, its as raw as that week. My memories are vivid. But what I remember most is the grace with which I was carried through the painful things, and the comfort that sustained me in the weariness and haze of the days and the screaming-in-my-pillow nights. 

I remember with fresh tears today. I remember him as a little curly-headed blonde boy...and a tween asking me to buzz off his hair and I could never do it, but he did when he got old enough. I remember our last phone conversations and his sharing the dream to make wine, to have a winery on our home farm. The one with the creek meandering through...and he planted currants to start. I remember his smile, his my dad's. And him with his tongue sticking out in so many pictures-playful. (again like Dad) I'm grateful for the years we had. Thankful for each day since and the grace of all the joy I'm given. Life. Blessings. Jesus. The Word that sustained my weary shredded heart.

As Psalm 37:23 is upholding me for a different season but ties me to that week of when the Lord was faithful to direct my steps and care for the details of my promised, I praise. Praise God who is faithful and true to His promises!

If you find yourself in need of something sturdy to lean on, you will find what you need in your Bible. Ask God for the promise you need and He will be faithful to direct your steps.

The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue,
    to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
    wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. Isaiah 50:4

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

When Your Heart is Heavy

...all my days were ordained for me before one of them came to be.... Psalm 139:16

I wonder how many believe that? And REALLY? God writes a story like MINE???
Like YOURS??? 

Is God really SOVEREIGN? Is God in control as Twila Paris sings?

The past few days, my heart has been heavy. My song has been an act of the will to obey the Lord in giving thanks in all circumstances...because when life gets hard, it's easy to park on the negatives. I admit it. I have to fight to keep my focus on Him, author of life and author of my faith. (Hebrews 12:2) 

It's not that I am closing my shop, or have been watching it die. It's not that I am experiencing cutting the umbilical cord of my heart from my son as he becomes a man and is engaged. {mothers of sons understand this} It's not that we have had the farm for sale for a grand total of {more than} two years. Or that we had a buyer, but they backed out after five months. No, my heart has handled all those things, {though I concede, collectively they can be heavy at times...)

But. My heaviness is from the state of our world. From the craziness I see, hear and read about every day. The ugliness of brutal, money-hungry murderers of babies and tormentors of women who abort them. (WARNING: It is graphic and I couldn't watch the entire thing, but it was recommended by John Piper and Eric Metaxas) The political madness and conspiracy theories. {And these two are only from TODAY's Facebook newsfeed!}

So, when I find myself in such a state, it is right for me to do what King David did in the Psalms. I must make my heart-heaviness known to the Lord. I must express my deep anguish over the state of our world, and all the other directions that these stories take my thoughts, weigh on my heart. And then I must remind myself WHO is God. And that God is good. And that He is indeed in control!

Not that He causes evil, but that He has not lost control. He necessarily allows evil. He has after-all given us free will. We have the will to choose who we serve as Bob Dylan once sang. {but I like Nicole Nordeman's version}

It is we who have lost it. Losers when we lose His way of living like we have...

And I remember God's man Daniel who was protected from the lions that whole night. I remember His other man, Joseph who was rejected by his brothers, sold as a slave, and years later falsely accused, which led to two years in prison. But then he became Pharaoh's right-hand-man, making provision for Israel. Then there is His girl, Rahab. A prostitute who reached for God after hearing stories about the victories He gave to His people, and God knew. He KNEW her!!! Then He rescued her from destruction (Hebrews 11:31) by connecting her to His people. (Joshua 6:17-25) He drew her out of her old life of sin and planted her into the lineage of Christ Jesus Himself!!! (Matthew 1:5)

All of them...saved by God from destruction in dire circumstances...and there are so many more! 

So, like David, I conclude..."My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him." Psalm 62:1 

I make my way back from the crying of my heart to the peace of knowing God. There. I rest in His love, in His power, and in His sovereignty. He is indeed in control and I am safe when I trust Him.
Lord God of Heaven and Earth, Thank you that you love us and you came to rescue us from the power of the enemy, the curse of death and sin! Thank you Jesus, that your love covers us and you go before us and you surround us with your mighty angels. Thank you that when we fear You, we have nothing to fear...because you have promised to never leave or forsake us! Where would I be without you Lord? 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Cost of Following Jesus all the way to Heaven

In order to apprehend one thing, we often must let go of another. If an olympian wants to compete, they give up many things to 'go for the gold'. One pursuing a college degree must give up lots of money. You have your own examples I'm sure.

When I heard the gospel and decided to follow Jesus, I was working as a Hairstylist at Regis Hairstylists in St Paul, MN. I had been working there for six years. I had a large clientele by that time and a sizable income for a hairstylist in the early nineties. I was pregnant with my first baby and after she was born, the call came to follow Jesus out of my career and into being a full-time mom. It was hard, but I left, I followed. And I'm so glad I did!

Shortly after that, I learned that my husband wanted to live on a farm and without my income, there was no way we could find one in our budget in the Twin Cities metro. (and I really didn't want to live on a farm after having grown up on a dairy farm.) But I knew that God wanted me to follow him, so we kept looking and found a farm on the other side of the St. Croix River in Wisconsin. I didn't really want to live in Wisconsin. It was hard, but I left, I followed. And I'm so glad I did!

I have several other stories of leaving and following and being blessed in my journey. Currently my call to follow Jesus is to close my gift shop and to spend my time encouraging and building up His people. Whatever that happens to end up looking like. To live loving and serving the people Jesus brings me to. I am leaving, I am following...

The journey of following Jesus is promised to be costly. The road leads us often to crossroads. Places of making choices. Choices that demand our loyalties; that test our loyalties

When we follow Jesus, its 'go with Him or go away from Him'. The choice is ours.

The One Way is narrow, rocky, and sometimes seems dark. But Jesus is there with His love and light. Truth and Stability, even in hard places, are our constant companions. Heaven is our goal.
Matthew 7:13-14

When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” 
Matthew 8:18-22

At first read, this might sounds treacherous and unfeeling.  And we know that Jesus' life was often treacherous  but He is never unfeeling. We also know we are to love and care for our own flesh and blood, so His words cannot mean what they sound like at first.

The Holy Spirit reveals here that all of my earthly ties must be severed if that is where Jesus takes me. If I follow Him, and he says 'lets go here' and I am more loyal to what I want. To where I live or yes, even my own flesh and blood. If I am unwilling to leave them, then I inevitably am saying I am willing to leave Jesus, and I turn away from following Him. (and it proves that He is not my first love~Read Revelation 2:4-5)

Right after Jesus words I mentioned above, the disciples followed him into a boat and they experienced a storm that threatened to capsize them. But with Jesus in the boat with them... (you can read the story here: Matthew 8:23-27)

Choosing the other way, the broad road, perhaps seems more comfortable, may appear brighter and more spacious. But it is filled only with human opinion which has no nourishment for your soul, and frankly is directionless. If you choose that way, you will go in circles at best. You will feel purposeless, and unfulfilled. At the end of the time you are given, you will look over your life and it will all be meaningless. You will perhaps have good memories, have accomplished great feats, but memories fade, names and trophies fade, and then there is a grave. 

Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Finding Freedom From Fear-of-Death

This week I am talking about apprehending (taking hold of) freedom. Today I want to talk about finding freedom from the fear of death. 

As moms, we especially may be struggling against this fear with the horrific reports of brutal killings on the news and the increase of death from the flu this year. I remember the fear I faced when my kids were small and needed me more when I would hear stories of things going on in the world. I had to fight the fear, because otherwise it would paralyze me and keep me from living in the joy of the moments. So I fought it with my faith. I fight with my faith...

My refuge and help come from bringing my focus off of the 'what if's' and on what I know to be true about God. 

Psalm 139:16 (David is talking to God in this Psalm)
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
    were written in your book
    before one of them came to be. (ah, I can trust His love, I can trust His plan!)

Over the Christmas holiday, we had a 17 year old boy who, while visiting family in our small WI town from his home in TX, came down with the flu and it took his life. You may have seen his story on the news. Since his family are followers of Jesus, it is obvious that their faith is enabling them to cope with their loss because they KNOW that they will see their Max in heaven. And even through grief and loss and tears, they know from His word that compared to eternity, their suffering is momentary...

2 Corinthians 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Because of the resurrection of Jesus, the way to Heaven was opened to those who are born again into His family, and we have been set free from this fear of death. It doesn't mean we wont experience the feelings of fear, but it does mean we can get victory over it. By entrusting ourselves and our children into His hands. By prayer and assurance from scripture...

Hebrews 2:14-15 
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too (Jesus) shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for my sisters who may be experiencing fear from all the darkness that seems to be imposing on our lives. I thank you that You are the Light of the world and your Love surrounds us. I thank you that You are a refuge for your people and I pray that we will apprehend your peace when fears knock on our hearts. Thank you that we can cast our anxiety on you for you care for us! Amen!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Way to Fight to Live Free.

God often speaks to me while I am working out. When I run I often listen to a sermon, but when I squat, lunge and kick along with The Firm, I need my ears free for the prompts... so no iPod on Firm days. After writing my post on Freedom yesterday I have been mindful of the places I experience feelings of fear. If you have visited my blog more than once, you may have seen that I have had serious run-ins with the fear-monster. I know I'm not alone in that and at some level you will probably relate. 

*A thought came: "she never answered my text, is she upset about something? Did I do/say something wrong?" {fear of being rejected or unloveable}

*Another thought: "I totally missed how my friend was feeling yesterday, how she was hurting." {guilt and fear for not being a good friend}

*And another: "if I don't get all of this done, he will be angry." {fear of husband's anger}

The Lord stopped me in the middle of this and made it clear that I need to pay attention to these thoughts and reminded me that I have the power to STOP them! I have all that I need to live free!!!

*If I said something wrong to someone, it is their responsibility to tell me: Matthew 18:15

*If I missed something with my friend:  2 Corinthians 12:9

*If I make my husband angry: James 1:20

Here is the point where I can apprehend the freedom for which Christ Jesus set me free
It is my responsibility to take my thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ: 
2 Corinthians 10:5 

I must recognize my thoughts and  discern the error in them that I may walk in the freedom that Jesus purchased for me! This verse: 2 Corinthians 10:5 says we {must} DEMOLISH arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.

We must not let our thoughts run wild! We need to reel them in! We must corral them!!! From yesterday's post: 

Galatians 5:1
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.

do not let.

We have the choice to let in wrong thinking or to not let in wrong thinking.

How thankful I am to have God's words to guide my thinking, that I may walk in the freedom that He purchased for me!!! 

What do your thoughts look like? {feelings are a good indicator!} Are they true? Do they line up with scripture? Have you ever watched your thoughts?

Dear Lord, I so desperately need your Spirit to reveal to me where I need to renew my mind. My thought are often jumbled up and my emotions can run rampant. Please help me discern the areas that I still allow bondage. Help me take the wrong thoughts captive and live free! Thank you that You have put the power of your Spirit inside of me to do it! Amen.

Monday, January 7, 2013

To Take Hold of Freedom

When we were in New Hampshire several years back, we noticed on the license plates the words "Live free or die". My husband was drawn to that short, but profound phrase and was thrilled to find an old plate at an antique store to take home with us. 

In this 'sweet land of liberty' we are well acquainted with the words liberty and freedom from our history books, our national songs and our Pledge of Allegiance. We have our military to fight for an defend our freedom and believe it is something worth dying for. We are not the only nation that feels strongly about freedom. 

I doubt if anyone could watch the movie Braveheart and not feel the fire of desire for freedom at the moment when Mel Gibson shouts from the depth of his gut, 'FREEEEDOOOOOOOOOMMMM!!!"

Currently we are hearing more and more about the facts of our current world statistics. Basically there is more slavery today than ever. These stats are regarding sex-trafficking and slave-labor. If they took into account our personal slavery to vices such as sex, drugs and alcohol, the numbers would be staggering...

We have a problem in the human race. It is a problem of bondage and we have a deep-hearted desire for freedom.  

The state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under restraint.

Freedom speaks of space or room-to-be

Galatians 5:1 says: 
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. {The slavery of our birth-defect called sin, and of thinking we can follow formulas to free ourselves from it resulting often in regret, discouragement and hopelessness}

This freedom that the Bible speaks of isn't freedom to do (whatever you want), or freedom to have (whatever you want), it is freedom to live already-loved

{LoVeD: known, accepted, valued, significant} 

It is freedom because in all the years before we accept the Perfect Love of Jesus, all of our doing and all of our having come from our wanting. Wanting to be loved. But when we find Christ's love, because it is pure and real and unconditional, we (progressively) learn that we simply. are. free! 

To be truly loved is to be liberated from doing, and liberated from having. Because we are liberated from wanting if we really receive the love of Christ Jesus.

Even if all our works cease (perhaps you know someone who is unable to work?) Even if all is taken from us (Perhaps you have lost a job, a home, possessions?) 

Even if we can do nothing and even if we have nothing, we are someone to Jesus who bought us with His blood! We are LOVED!

True liberty (room to be you) comes from GRACE. Grace is God's unearned blessing and favor (LOVE for us) to pardon our sins and set us free without us having to PAY what we owe for having missed the mark of loving God above all. (see commandment #1 in Exodus 20:3 )

When our whole aim is to love God, we are truly free! The remarkable thing about this is that in knowing, believing, and receiving God's love, we are liberated from wanting
We are full of love. 
We are now free to give love purely.
It takes us awhile to realize this though, we are so used to wanting. We are so used to grabbing for takes us some time to understand that love is a grace-gift, so we don't need to grab anything any longer. 

We are no longer grabbers, we are now givers. 
We can give from pure motives.
(we don't always since we are still human, 
but we desire and pursue pure heart-motives always)

This love-grace comes to us through the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus. The only way to take hold of freedom (apprehend liberty) then is by receiving this One Gift. This gift of Him giving himself as the sacrificial Lamb of God to pay for our human-race problem of bondage to sin, on that cross... And then because He indeed was sinless and He indeed is God, He was raised from the dead and He will come again to take His Beloved home to be with Him forever someday.

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. ~Acts 3:19

I don't have to do it all right and I don't have to have it all together, because Jesus' love covers my failures and inconsistencies as I walk this road called life, acknowledging my need of His love, receiving by faith His love...

To take hold of Jesus is to take hold of freedom.
Apprehend Jesus; apprehend liberty.