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by Mark Stidham  
4/14/2007 / Christian Living

Luke 4:16-21 (KJV)
16And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 17And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

Jesus Came To Make Us Free
Jesus among other things came to set us free. Set us free from the authority of darkness and to set us free from oppression and free from anything the enemy meant to use to steal kill or destroy us. The above Scripture said that he came to set at liberty, or to free those who had been bruised. Well, all of us had been bruised by the entrance of sin into the world, and by being born into a fallen world ruled by the god of this worldSatan. So since we were the bruised then our freedom is found in Christ. We should know that our freedom has been bought and paid for through the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But what exactly does that mean. One day when I was praying and preparing to speak on a Wednesday night to our adult congregation, the Lord gave me this acronym, showing me and allowing me to show others exactly what Jesus meant when he said that He came to set at liberty or free those who were bruised.

Forgetting the Past
Philippians 3:12-16 (KJV)
12Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 16Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same

Paul tells us in this verse a very important concept that we must absolutely know and practiceforgetting the past. What you were you are no longer in the eyes of God. He has taken your old sins, your old life and everything that was so terrible and so rotten and he has taken it away and thrown into the depths of an eternal sea. You are a new creation, he has taken out that old dead spirit and given you a new one and He said that our sins and trespasses He remembers no more. We too must cast the memory of it, by faith, into that same eternal sea and move forward in God. So forget the past because the blood of Jesus is enough.
Also if you miss the mark even now then the Bible says that if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. If you miss the mark, confess it, believe you receive forgiveness, forget about it and move on. Press forward to those things that are ahead.
In talking about forgetting the past the issue of past accomplishments must be addressed. Just as you cannot wallow in your past sins and mistakes, you cannot revel in your past successes. I had a good meal yesterday, but guess what; it will not sustain me today. Paul had great success in the Jewish religion. I mean the man used the wordblameless. That's pretty good, wouldn't you say? He was blameless in the law before he was a new creation so you'd have to say he accomplished a lot. He was well educated, he had skills, but nevertheless he said he forgot those things that were behind and he was moving forward to those things that were ahead. I have seen ball teams do great, then get over confident, and relax and then lose an important game simply because they were reveling in their past wins. Past sins, past successes, we must move forward to the great things ahead as we daily fight the good fight of faith.

Remembering our Source
No matter what the economy looks like, no matter what your job situation looks like, always remember that your source is not the economy or even your job or anything else; it is your heavenly Father. Paul said he was crucified to the world and the world to him. What that means is that you are free from the world system. Yes you have to live and operate here in this world and God can even use the world system to your advantage but you are not dependant upon it. Your Heavenly Father may use your job as your primary means of income, but always remember He is your source. If you remember that then when things look bad in the natural you know from where comes your help and your supply. The Bible says My God shall supply all your need, not your job, not your church not the government. He may use these things but He is the supplier, He is the source. That, my friend is freedom, that is liberty.

Empowered to Prosper
Ephesians 1:3 (KJV)
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

The word, bless means empowered to prosper. The word, prosper means to move forward and to break out. We first moved forward and broke out of the authority of darkness, which in turn means that we broke out of everything that steals kills and destroys.
In the beginning Adam was empowered to move forward and break out into 'all the world'. God told him to have dominion and replenish the whole earth, not just the garden. The garden was simply his headquarters so to speak. So God spoke over Adam all he was supposed to be and do, in other words God blessed Adam, empowered him to prosper.
We also have been empowered to prosper, to move forward and to break out. First we are empowered to break out of our personal circumstances. If you are sick you have been empowered to move ahead and break out of that situation. If you are in a financial bind then you have been empowered to move forward and break out of that circumstance. Lack of wisdomsame thing and more; any circumstance that does not line up with life and life more abundantly then we have been empowered to break free.
Now from a blessed forward moved, broke out position you are able to break out into all your world. You are blessed to be a blessing, just as Abraham wasyou are his seed as you are in Christ. This brings us to. . .

Engaged in Blessing the World.
Ultimate freedom comes form having more than enough for yourself and enough to give to others. Being a blessing and giving is one of the greatest freedoms you can have. You have moved forward and broke out and now you have the freedom to give. You know who your source is and you know you cannot out give God. You know that since God is your source that the supply will never run out and that you are free to give obediently without concern for yourself. You have forgotten the past and moved forward, you always remember that your Heavenly Father is your source and you know that you have been given the authority and the power to break out of any negative situation and you can now be engaged in blessing the world and so begins the endless cycle of being a blessing, then being blessed and so on.
So remember the acronym in order to understand what free is . . .

Forgetting the past
Remembering your source
Empowered to prosper
Engaged in blessing the world

Because you were the bruised but now you are the FREE!

Copyright 2006 by Mark Stidham

Mark L. Stidham Th.D. is an Ordained minister,a life coach,a motivational speaker, a preacher,a pastor, an evangelist,a web site publisher,a writer,a songwriter, a singer, a photographer and a musician. Mark has been married to his wife and valuable life partner, Patty Stidham for 19 years.

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