Devotional by Marleis Scharfe
When I grew up, dogs lived outside. We had “outside dogs”. So when our children wanted a dog, we had a dilemma, because we don’t do “inside dogs”. The community we live in, including our home has no fences, so how do you have an “outside dog” but no fence?
I present to you, the electric underground fence – BRILLIANT!!
Now our family has a chocolate Labrador called Buddy. He enjoys the “outside dog” life wandering around our acre of land wearing a shock collar. Every time he gets close to that fence “BZZ BZZ BZZ”, he gets zapped! It only took a couple of zaps for him to figure out how this worked and since then he’s been happily enjoying his life within the perimeter.
Over the past 3 years I have begun to be influenced by the community we live in. With extremely cold nights in winter and scorching hot days in summer, I’ve started to understand why “outside dogs” aren’t as common here. About a year ago we began to remove the collar and let Buddy into the house (yes that’s right, I have an “inside dog” now). Over the last few months we’ve gotten lazy and Buddy’s shock collar has sat on the bookshelf. Whether he’s inside or outside – he never wears the collar. However, every day we let him outside and he roams around that acre of land, but does not step foot outside of that boundary line. He’s not wearing the shock collar and could literally walk right out of our yard, but he remembers that painful “BZZ”, and he doesn’t even try to venture out.
You and I can act this very same way. We have been handed the keys to our freedom. Jesus paid for our freedom with a great price. But we stay within the boundary of our experience, our pain, our fears. We’ve received incredible forgiveness and access to a life that He promises in His word. But we remember so clearly what happened when we put ourselves out there, and we’re afraid to try again. We don’t have to live captive to shame, guilt or the pain of our past… we can walk boldly and with confidence into a life of freedom.
How do we break out of these barriers that become enemies to our freedom. David was no stranger to enemies trying to trap him. His choice and his answer was to sing a song of praise. Throughout the book of Psalms, time after time we hear David cry out with a heart full of thanksgiving and exhortation to God. In many cases he starts out writing from a place of despair and almost talks himself into a praise party by the end.
David wrote this Psalm when he was on the run from the king and his assassins, he was alone, he had to part with his close friend and even had to hide in a cave! Things were less than ideal, however, he chooses to praise his way to freedom.
Psalm 34:1-4 (The Passion Translation)
1 Lord! I’m bursting with joy over what you’ve done for me!
My lips are full of perpetual praise.
2 I’m boasting of you and all your works,
so let all who are discouraged take heart.
3 Join me, everyone! Let’s praise the Lord together.
Let’s make him famous!
Let’s make his name glorious to all.
4 Listen to my testimony: I cried to God in my distress
and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears!
Presumably you’re not trapped inside a physical fence or cave. So let’s choose not to live trapped by whatever barriers stand between us and the promised freedom we have. Let’s be women who declare the goodness of God the promises of God and the future and freedom God has given to us.
Believe it or not, some of your most profound, breakthrough, life altering praise moments come in the dimmest of times. So don’t focus on how you feel, or the circumstances in which you find yourself – focus on Him and what He says the future looks like. Praise your way to freedom!
Soon we will be gathering together and I cannot wait to once again hear the multitude of voices shouting praise into the heavens. Praising their way into Gods wonderful freedom.