Wednesday, June 29, 2016

May I please have the keys? –Declaring Independence

May I please have the keys?                     
                       –Declaring Independence

“May I please have the car keys?”

That question just might still be ringing in your head if you currently have or have had a teenager with a driver’s license.
When he walks out the door, car keys in hand, he experiences a new independence that was not his just a few years, months, or days ago. It’s a great feeling. Do you remember what it felt like yourself? (In my example, I’m using the male gender only because we have sons. All is the same with girls. I know that because I am one.)

That teen may try to hide the grin on his face but you can bet it’s there.
Independence! Ah, yes—master of his own destiny—in control—call his own shots! For the teenager clutching car keys, it’s a new freedom—kind of a personal declaration of independence.
With the possession of keys comes power and authority. In the case of car keys, one has power and authority over a vehicle and command over the direction in which it will go.

When we come to faith in Jesus and become His followers, He gives us keys. It’s at the point of our realization and proclamation of who He is, that He hands over to us the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Jesus asked His disciples, “But who do you say that I am?”  

Peter spoke right up and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:15-16 NKJV).

Peter nailed it—right answer!

When reading this dialogue, one can sense Jesus’ pleasure in Peter’s response. I’ve always loved what Jesus said next:
“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 16:17 NKJV).

Did you catch that? The source of the revelation that Jesus is Lord, is God Himself. 

Rest assured, the Spirit of God, helps us come to a revelation understanding of the deity of Jesus. This is why, when we pray for lost loved ones, we should ask that Holy Spirit to deal with them on a spiritual level, helping them come to their own aha moment.

When Peter gave Jesus the right answer, the Lord made a proclamation. It is upon this belief, and confidence in the identity of Jesus as the Christ, that He builds His church. Jesus said “... on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:18b-19 NKJV).

If you’re in prison, a key will unlock a door and set you free. Early in Jesus’ ministry, He declared He had come to set free those who were bound (Luke 4:18). Any of us who are in bondage to sin, oppression, addiction, anger, loneliness, guilt, fear—the list can go on and on—are given the keys of God’s Kingdom when we’re born-again. The Bible describes the Kingdom of God as righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).


Keys also give a person authority over something. When I buy a house, I’m given the key to the house. At that point the house is mine and I’m free to live in it, decorate it, entertain guests in it and do things I may not feel comfortable doing elsewhere, like sing out loud. 

When Jesus gives us the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, we have the capability to unlock a whole new dimension in our lives. We’re then qualified to be in His family and live in His Kingdom in Heaven. 

We don’t have to wait until we get to Heaven to use the keys though, because with them, we have access to abundant life on earth. The choice is ours. We can do the things that help us access God’s abundance or we can deprive ourselves of the freedom Jesus bought on the cross, and continue in bondage and oppression.

If the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, let’s just do it! Let’s make full use of the keys our Lord has given us. If our friend has freely given us the keys to his beach-front house, why would we pay to stay in a hotel two blocks away from the beach?!

Photo by Dominik Lange - from Upsplash
The best way to utilize all the wonderful doors we can open with the keys God put in our hands is to read and study His Word. Connecting with a good Bible teaching church is essential as well, in addition to communicating with God through prayer, both by talking and listening.

Those beach house keys may open the gate to the pool, the hot tub, the closet full of beach chairs, umbrellas and toys, the dune buggy, the grill and even the free passes to the putt-putt and nearby golf course! 
Our friend’s keys may give assess to a full, exciting beach experience. But if we don’t use them we miss out on so much we could have freely enjoyed.

The keys to the Kingdom are given to every follower of Christ Jesus, so we can access our best possible and exciting life experience. We’re free from the bad stuff and can open the doors to the good stuff.

When we believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, we need to open our hand to receive the keys of the Kingdom and live a life that is free indeed.

As we celebrate freedom in the next few days here in the U.S., let’s also celebrate the freedom we have as citizens of the Kingdom of God. Both of these freedoms were attained through blood sacrifice. One great thing about our freedom through Christ is that it continues on into Eternity! Let’s choose to be FREE!  

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1 NIV).

From what has Jesus set you free? Your comments are welcome.

©Connie Wohlford 2016

Saturday, June 18, 2016

What’s on your child's Summer Reading List?

What’s on your child's Summer Reading List ?
Does it include some historical topics, craft and cooking projects, exciting adventure stories, or a gripping mystery series?  
How about some books about Jesus? Do your children know the three things that happened to Jesus as an infant?
Or perhaps they’d enjoy unique stories about the odd creature, a rhinokaroarus named Gerald.
I suggest you consider the stories I wrote for my grandchildren which have evolved into delightful, informative books for all children to enjoy.
Though each is a stand-alone story, the three Jesus books together comprise a trilogy about the three things the Bible tells us about Jesus as an infant.
To help captivate your child’s attention, each book includes a parallel donkey story. The watercolor illustrations, by Virginia artist, Molly Keller, beautifully carry the stories along for young children and even adults to enjoy.
$16.50                             $10.50                              $10.50
For something entertaining and with a moral, enjoy these rhinokaroarus stories. The delightful illustrations, by Virginia artist, Ken Henderson, help convey the story of Gerald, whose unfortunate life changing experience brings him a new best bud and some unusual adventures.

$10.50                                                    $10.50
 These books are enjoyed by a wide age range—3 -12 years old. Book lengths are between 20-30 pages.
Each of the five books comes with a FREE word puzzle to challenge and be enjoyed by children who are old enough to write. These puzzles may be copied as much as you wish for repeated use and/or group use, such as in Children’s Church, VBS, etc.

SO—How about a signed and personalized copy of one or more of these books for summer reading in your household?
If you would like to purchase any of these books, please contact me via email or Facebook message:

YES, I can take your credit card.
5.3% Sales Tax added, in Virginia.    Nominal fee for shipping.
FREE SHIPPING on orders of 3 or more books shipped anywhere in the lower 48 US states!

 Connie’s books are 100% Made in U.S.A.

Each of these books is self-published, therefore not available in major chain stores.
Thanks for considering my books for the children in your life. 

I will be happy to sign and personalize books for your special people.
Have a wonderful Jesus-filled summer and God bless you and yours!

©Connie Wohlford 2016