Bible Verses on Freedom and Independence

Black Bible

As our country celebrates its independence, I thought it fitting to share what the Bible has to say about independence and freedom. All quotes come from the New International Version.

May you all have a blessed Fourth of July weekend.

 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. (1 Peter 2:16-17)

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17)

…because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, (Colossians 1:13)

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. (Galatians 5:13)

The Book Swap!

Ever found yourself with too many books?
Rearranging your bookshelves to make room for new purchases, but not knowing what to do with the good books you don’t need to keep anymore?

If your answers were yes, then you’re a lot like me. I love books and frequently buy, or are given new ones. But I also try (emphasis on try) to live a fairly de-cluttered life, and this means that if there isn’t space on the bookshelf for more books, some of the old ones have to find new homes.

For a while I struggled with this idea because, as I said earlier, I LOVE books and hate the idea of throwing old ones out. But, one of the beautiful things about the physical book is its ability to be passed on and re-read. So I came up with an idea: The Book Swap.

the book swap

What is it?
A Book Swap is a group of book lovers, like myself, who swap and/or pass around second hand books. In my situation we have an online group, hosted as a closed Facebook group. But a Book Swap can also be a physical group, an email list, or the extension of an existing book club.

How does it work?
People with books they no longer need offer their books to other members of the group. Those who are interested can request a book. It’s pretty easy. There is no joining fee and no purchase fee – just the willingness to occasionally offer books as well as request them. You may keep or pass on any book you receive, but there is no obligation to return that particular book to its original owner.

Start your own!
If you’d like to be part of a Book Swap in your area here are a few tips:

* Decide how your Book Swap might work best for your group of friends/acquaintances. A once a month coffee gathering? A Facebook group? A Google+ circle? A book club addition?

* Invite people you know love books and ask them to invite others to join in. The more people you have involved, the wider the range of books available.

* Decide if your Book Swap will have a theme, eg. Books for Kids, or will be a general book swapping group.

* Have clear expectations of how books can be passed on. In my Facebook group we arrange all book swapping between individuals involved. This may include arranging to meet at a cafe, or dropping off books in a mailbox. If postage is required that is also arranged and postage paid before shipping takes place. If your group is a physical one, eg a book club, swapping is just a matter of remembering to bring along the books you want to offer away!

* Think of ways to use books that are not swapped. I’ll be collecting my books and donating them to a charity book-stall. This way, even if my friends don’t enjoy my old books, I know some good will come from them.

Happy book-swapping, and happy reading!

Penny

I Want It

ToyTrain

“Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift…” Ephesians 4:7(MSG)

Screeches and screams erupted from Little Brother who, only moments earlier, quietly occupied himself with the wooden train. I find him tussling his train out of Big Brother’s firm grip. My sudden presence prompted Big Brother to sentence himself to the time-out chair.

“Why did you take Little Brother’s train?” I asked.

Between sobs and shame he answered me. “Because I want it.”

Ahh, yes. The oldest sin in the Book still rears its ugly head–wanting what’s not ours; what belongs to someone else. We see the joy they’re experiencing with that possession (or talent or person or success) and we want it. Oh, we might possess our own train–something that’s designed just for us–but suddenly we’re no longer satisfied with our own train. No, we want theirs and we want it now (like Veruca Salt in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory).

Maybe we don’t want something so tangible as a toy train or a golden goose egg, but don’t we find ourselves coveting things like spiritual gifts, ministries, families, successes, etc.? I’ll admit it, I catch myself now and again. During those times, I need reminding that God has gifted us all differently for different reasons and my success is based upon His perfect timing, not mine (or someone else’s).

After a few cleansing breaths, I kneel down in front of Big Brother until we’re eye-to-eye. I wipe away his tears and explain the art of sharing. “If we want something that someone else has, we need to ask them nicely if we might have a turn.”

“But he won’t give it to me if I ask,” he said.

Big Brother practiced his asking while I helped Little Brother practice giving. Once Big Brother was handed the train, he immediately lost interest. It wasn’t what he really wanted after all.

Just like Big Brother, we forget that it’s okay if our brother or sister (in Christ) possesses something we don’t have because God’s given us our own gift; something that better fits our personality, interests or maturity. However He’s gifted us, we’re to use our own gift alongside one another for one reason–to train up our fellow Christians into maturity in Christ.

“He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13 (MSG)

Practicing my gifts and patience,

Dawn

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