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This is Obviously Holding You Back

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It'd be great if everything was always obvious in life but it's not. Without question, though, something in your life is holding you back. You're not moving forward for some reason. It's possible you're not flourishing. There's so much you want to achieve but you're stuck in some way. You're being held back. 
Why? What is it? It's not always obvious is it?!
It's possible you're not seeing your life in 3-D. None of us actually do. We don't fully see our strengths and our weaknesses clearly, maybe only in 1 to 2 dimensions. But, even more importantly, we don't always see the bondage that we're in. It's real, though. It's there. 
Most likely, there's some part of your life that's underdeveloped or even imprisoned by hurt or lies or false beliefs. The result is bondage. You're being enslaved to something or someone that is keeping you away from experiencing the depths of God's love and freedom. 
If you're in bondage to something then you're not operating within the freedom that Christ offers us through the Gospel. 
So, what do you do about this problem? How do you find out what you're in bondage to?
Well, be encouraged. The Lord wants you out of bondage more than you do. So, ask Him. That's the first step. Go to the Lord and ask Him to lovingly and clearly reveal to you an area in life where you need freedom. Be specific. Be patient. Be bold in your prayers. 
Second, if you're in the midst of a trial or a difficult season, ask the Lord to reveal to you not necessarily the 'why' behind the overarching meaning or reason for the hard situation but the 'why' behind why you react a certain why every time life presses in a little. Often times, our reactions to life say a lot about how we're not operating in the love and grace and freedom of the Gospel. 
Finally, ask a trusted friend or family member. This is hard but it's helpful. Ask someone, who loves the Lord and is gracious and also wise, to speak into your life. Ask them where they see patterns in your life that seem to be holding you back. People know. They see it. Give them permission to share. 
Freedom is yours in Christ. Go get it!
Galatians 5:1, For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. 
You are Loved!
(Part of the Into the Depths Series)
Posted by Brent Halvorsen with

It's Possible You Didn't Live This Week

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"If you weren't blown away by the love of Christ this week, you didn't live." That's a statement I made recently at Vertical Church in Maple Grove. It sounds over the top but is it really? Think about it. 
Every single one of us needs to be loved. But not just somewhat loved or temporarily loved or merely sexually loved, and especially not conditionally loved. No way. All of us need to be deeply and wonderfully and infinitely loved. 
And yet where does that quality of love come from? The Bible tells us that perfect love can only come from God. God is love. Love is not a thing. It's not simply an emotion or a feeling. Love is actually a person. Love descends from a perfect and eternal God. 
But there are two major obstacles that get in the way of us experiencing more and more of God's love for us: Our Own Sin and the Sin of Others. 
Our own sin starves the love of God in our lives. It's not that God stops loving us or is unable to apply His love toward us, but our own sin causes us to turn away from the love of Christ. 
Sin hardens our hearts. Sin causes us to go after false loves and temporary fixes. That's not good enough. We were created to be satisfied by eternal love, not temporary love. 
The second obstacle is the sin of others. All of us have been sinned against in some way. We've been hurt by someone, or maybe we've even been abused by someone. That kind of sin can hide the love of God from us. Again, it's not God holding back His love. It's more-so because hurt that comes from being sinned against can cause us to be blind to the love of God. Love can seem hidden because we're hurting so deeply from the pain caused by someone else. 
So, there's some work to be done in regards to both of these obstacles. First, if you're holding on to personal sin, repent. Ask the Lord to change you. He will. Acknowledge your sin and you will experience the love of God to degrees not seen before. 
Second, if you've been hurting because of the sin of others, then maybe it's time to forgive. Forgiving isn't excusing someone's actions but it's letting go of the pain that's decreasing your freedom that comes from experiencing the healing love of God. 
Love is a serious thing. It's real. It's deep. Do yourself a favor and be blown away by the love of God this week. It'll make you feel alive and well. 
You Are Loved!
(Into the Depths Series)
Posted by Brent Halvorsen with