A Cart Full of Blessings

Sometimes I grocery shop at a store that keeps it carts chained together. To retrieve a cart, I insert a quarter into a slot that releases a cart. When returning the cart and attaching it to the cart corral, a quarter is released.

Recently as I headed to the carts, a gentleman gave me his unchained cart. I offered him my quarter but he said it had been passed on to him and he wanted to do the same. I responded that I would follow his example. I thanked him for the cart and told him he was a blessing.

As I wheeled the cart up and down the grocery aisles, I thanked the Lord for the cart I had received. I also asked God to help me extend this cart to the right person. I prayed that God would bless my cart – and the next recipient.

When I concluded my shopping, I offered my cart to a lady. She thanked me and said she would pass it on to another person. I do not know what happened next.

Later, I reflected upon this encounter. God showed me something supernatural through this natural experience.

As I thought about the shopping cart corral, I realized that the locked carts could symbolize people in bondage. They were all locked up! A cart could only be set free when someone inserted a quarter in the little lock box. The Lord’s says in Jeremiah 40:4, “But now, behold, I am freeing you today from the chains which are on your hands.”

Our lives are of greater value than shopping carts. Jesus paid the price for our freedom.
I Corinthians 6:20 NLT says, “God bought you with a high price.” And Titus 2:14 NLT says,He gave His life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us His very own people.We are not required to stay chained up like carts.

Jesus paid the price of His life – much more than a quarter. If I had not been given a cart, I would have only paid twenty-five cents to receive one. And then, I would have gotten my quarter back when I returned the cart. Jesus does not take back His payment. According to John 8:36, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” He paid the price. The debt is canceled. Jesus will never return us to bondage.

At the beginning of the day, all the grocery carts were chained together. Because of one person’s generosity of a quarter, a chain reaction began. One person gave away one cart. By day’s end, numerous people had received a free cart.

God also gave. According to John 3:16, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” He still offers this gift of eternal life to anyone who will receive it. People did not reject a free grocery cart. How much more valuable is the gift God is extending?

I had the privilege of being part of a chain reaction that offered a free grocery cart to other shoppers. As Christians, we have the privilege of participating in a chain reaction that offers freedom from sin to those chained to the bondage of sin.

My Reader, do you desire to be set free? Ask Jesus into your heart and He will set you free.
II Corinthians 3:17 says,Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

If you are already free, I encourage you to be a part of the chain reaction passing along this freedom to those who are still in chains. Follow the command of Jesus stated in Mark 16:15, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

 

 

 

 

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Life’s Chains and Rope

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(Click on images to find the credit for appropriate images.)

How would you define a chain?  According to the dictionary, it is a flexible series of joined links, usually made of metal.

What is a rope? A rope is defined as a thick strong cord made of strands twisted together, usually fiber.

Both are types of cords that hold things together. I want to think about these “strong strings” from a spiritual perspective.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 concludes, “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” When this verse was read at our son and daughter-in-law’s wedding, they proclaimed God to be the third strand of their marriage bond. To me, this cord of three strands could be symbolic of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Whatever application of the three stands one may choose, this verse gives a positive description of a spiritual cord.

CHAINS. Jesus says in John 8:34 NLT, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.” A slave to sin is a person chained to sinful desires. The length of the chain holding one in bondage depends upon the number of sins accumulated in a person’s life. The chain portrays a negative picture.

Spiritual chains are composed of links of lies told by the enemy. John 8:44 says, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. . . . When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” If a person is chained to Satan, he/she will take on his character. John 10:10 begins by saying, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”

ROPE. In contrast to the chains of bondage, a rope can be a source of freedom.  For example, a lifeguard might throw a rope to a drowning victim –  the rope functions as a lifesaver. In John 10:10 Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

What a disparity between the enemy’s chain of lies and the Lord’s rope of life! 

Paul and Silas’s encounter with physical chains and a spiritual rope is recorded in Acts 16:22-26. These men were in physical bondage with metal chains. However, when they praised God, their fetters were loosed. Paul and Silas were freed while clinging to a spiritual rope of divine power. The Lord inhabits the praises of His people according to Psalm 22:3. The Lord was present with Paul and Silas – and the Lord released His power and broke their chains.

I am reminded of two applicable songs.

The first is the contemporary song Break Every Chain by Tasha Cobbs. Her lyrics proclaim, “There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain, break every chain, break every chain.” Yes, I want every link of the enemy’s chains broken from my life!

I am also thinking of the old hymn, Blessed Be the Tie that Binds by John Fawcett. The specific words that ring in my mind are, “Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love.” For me, this tie is Jesus whom I have been describing as a rope. With His love, Jesus binds me to Himself. This is the rope to which I cling!

My Reader, I encourage you to cast off chains and reach for a rope.

 

 

 

 

 

A Chain Reaction

music-notes-4I keep singing Tasha Cobb’s song entitled Break Every Chain. This in turn causes me to remember a short song I wrote several years ago entitled The Paint Brush of Praise. The words I focus upon from Break Every Chain are “There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain, to break every chain, to break every chain.” The words from my song that I think about are “With the paint brush of praise, we paint the links of the chains that hold us in bondage this day.” Chains are highlighted in the words of both pieces of music.

chain-2First of all, I ask myself, “What are the chains that need to be broken?” Simply because we are of human flesh, I believe we all experience some kind of bondage or chains in our lives. Romans 3:23 states, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Personally, my chains are my sins and shortcomings that hold me back from the fulness of the Lord.

jesus-2How can I be released from these chains? The answer is found in Jesus. Tasha Cobb’s song says it is by the power in the name of Jesus while my song suggests it is through praising the Lord Jesus. Let’s see what scripture states. Jesus concludes Luke 4:18 by saying, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me … to set the oppressed free.” Then Romans 8:2 says, “through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

My next question is, “Why is there power in the name of Jesus to break every chain?” I find my answer in Philippians 2:9-11, “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

paint-brush-2Then I ask, “What kind of paint do I apply to the chain links and how do I apply it?” Ephesians 6:12 declares, “ For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” This verse tells me that I will not purchase this kind of paint in a paint store. Yet, if my paint had a color, it would be red symbolizing the blood of Jesus that was shed to make it possible for my chains to be broken. However, I need a can of praise paint because I desire to praise Jesus for being my deliverer, my chain breaker. Jeremiah 17:14 says, “Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” I believe healing and salvation are two results of chains being broken over our lives. I find my praise paint applied in Psalm 138:1, “I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart; before the ‘gods’ I will sing your praise.” Taking the paint brush of praise in my hand and voice, I apply the blood of Jesus to the links of the chains holding me captive. The blood of Jesus is like a solvent that dissolves sin’s hold upon my life. I am reminded of the words of the praise chorus Praise the Name of Jesus by Roy Hicks Jr., “Praise the name of Jesus, Praise the name of Jesus, He’s my Rock He’s my Fortress, He’s my Deliverer, In Him will I trust, Praise the name of Jesus.”  I especially note the phrase “He is my Deliverer.” This song proclaims that Jesus is the One who delivers me from my chains of sin.

My Reader, are you stuck in a difficult or uncomfortable situation? Do you feel like you are chained to your current circumstances? If so, get out a bucket of praise and paint the links of your chains with a paint brush of praise! Dip into God’s Word and apply some praise promises over your bondage. Remember, there is enough power in the name of Jesus to break every chain you may be experiencing. Paint and proclaim His name above and over all the difficult circumstances that may be keeping you from being your best for the Lord. There is truth in John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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