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Monday, January 26, 2015

2 Corinthians 5:7 with Michigan winter scene (Photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
Powdery snow on a rural landscape in upstate Michigan uncluttered by foot or paw prints
Photo by Howard Blichfeldt

"Jesus Breaks Every Fetter"

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"Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control" (Proverbs 25:28). "But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled" (1 Thessalonians 5:8).

There's an old chorus from our Bible School days that speaks of the fetters (chains) that keep us bound in our life of sin. The word, "fetter" is not a word used often these days but it is used in various hymns describing the wonderful freedom that Christ brings.

Jesus breaks every fetter,
Jesus breaks every fetter,
Jesus breaks every fetter,
And He sets me free!

Some 250 years ago British statesman Edmund Burke wrote, "Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains on their own appetites. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there is without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters."

You might need to read the above quote several times to more fully grasp the message that Burke conveys. Clearly, one of the great virtues lacking in our day is that of self-control. As Burke observed we can see the awful results of those whose "passions forge their fetters". The binding chain of sin is disregarded or concealed in the heat of passion. Actions are justified and consequences forgotten until they're unavoidable.

But today we want to challenge those who have been set free from sin through salvation in Christ.

Today's second verse is a powerful reminder of how exercising self-control is a major responsibility of the believer, since "we belong to the day." Earlier in the chapter Paul contrasted the day with the night and darkness (v. 5).  As God's children we now live in the light of God's truth and His revelation. We no longer reside in the domain of darkness where evil presides. 

We are called to live self-controlled lives. Self-control is the ninth Fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22,23 and is one of the most deficient virtues found in the lives of believers in this present generation. We can fall into a lax state of practicing self-control and thus the call to self-control is repeated all through the New Testament.

I am aware in my own life of the need to keep this discipline ever before me. In our hearts we likely can identify areas where we lack self-control.  It may be in our eating, use of our time, finances, spiritual disciplines, our temperament or in a host of other areas. Some struggle to overcome destructive habits while others may need to apply self-control in their attitudes toward anger, worry, jealousy, or any other form of ungodliness.

Take some time to reflect on those things in your life that have become fetters. Where do you need to exercise self-control?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, as children of the light, we no longer desire the attitudes or behavior we practiced when living in ignorance where darkness reigns. After dying to self You took up residence and equipped us with the necessary tools to battle our struggle against sin. Help us to throw off everything that hinders, entangles, or identifies us with the enemy. Your discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in Your holiness. Self-control is a difficult exercise since it requires self-denial, restraint and full surrender to You. The reward follows as we enjoy a wonderful harvest of right living. Not only will it benefit us personally, but it will result in a testimony of thanksgiving to You, make us more like Christ and be an example to those we seek to influence. We ask Your help in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Howard Blichfeldt
This Saturday I visited with our friend Howard Blichfeldt at an outdoorsman show at the Lancaster Convention Center. Howard and his wife Sharon have been our friends for several years since my chaplain supervisor Al Worthley introduced us. Howard is an outstanding photographer and displays his art work in shows all over the country. He and Sharon reside in Pittsburgh, about 250 miles from Lancaster.

The Outdoor Show had some outstanding animal mounts.

Brown bear
Brown bear

African mounts

Ram mount

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Glorious Freedom"  Video

Once I was bound by sin’s galling fetters,
Chained like a slave, I struggled in vain;
But I received a glorious freedom,
When Jesus broke my fetters in twain.

"Jesus Breaks Every Fetter"  Video  Musicians not identified

"Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing"  Video  Fernando Ortega In this song "fetters" is used in a positive sense.

Oh, to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy grace, Lord, like a fetter, bind my wan-d'ring heart to Thee:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love.
Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it; seal it for Thy courts above.

"Let It Be Said Of Us"  Video  Maranatha Singers 

Howard J. Blichfeldt Photography

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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