News & Reviews
July 2002

Last Article of this Column

Our Christian Liberty

  1. Introduction
  2. E-Word Today and Devo
  3. Scheduled Poem's List
  4. Poem of the Month
  5. Notable Mention
  6. Contests and Special Contests
  7. Miscellaneous Letters
  8. Encouraging Letters
  9. James, A Spirit-Led Writer
  10. God's Favor and Ability and Our Christian Liberty
                   Contributor: Elsie Cuevas


Welcome to "News & Reviews." We encourage you to write and let us know what you are doing with your poetry: Has your poetry been a blessing to anyone? Are you using your poems to minister to others? We'd like to know.

We are especially looking for encouraging letters sent to you from readers who either have used your FOCP--published poetry or have been blessed as a result of having seen it somewhere on our web-site. Send your e-mails to "News & Reviews"

E-Word Today and Devo

E-Word Today has moved to a 7-day-a-week publication. Subscribers can receive E-Word Monday through Friday only, Saturday and Sunday only, or seven days a week (in their choice of html, plain text, or large print). Current recipients of the Monday through Friday subscription will not automatically receive the newly available weekend editions mentioned above. You must subscribe.

Devo Digest, published 7 days a week, also features poems from our Library of Poetic Expression on a daily basis. As in E-Word Today, the actual poems are not being published in the devotionals. Instead, a link with the title of the poem and the author's name is being listed. These publications also provide links to the Poem of the Month WebPage as well as this Fellowship's website.

Their combined circulation is nearly 13,000 opt-in subscribers. The e-mail addresses for both devotionals are as follows:

E-Word Today:
Devo Digest: 

Scheduled Poem's List

  • The Great Liberator, Jacqueline A. Cosgrove, Battle Creek, MI USA
  • The Journey, Kathy Hobaugh, Broomfield, CO USA
  • Liberation Confrontation, Juanita DeHart, Houston, TX USA
  • Freedom's Price, James E. Tate, Tulsa, OK USA
  • May God Bless America, William O. Adams, Plano, TX USA
  • Blessed America, Joyce T. Griffin, Jacksonville, FL USA
  • My Liberation in Christ, David Gilder, La Jolla, CA
  • The Day of Independence, Jeannie Peggy Woody, Benton, IL. USA
  • The Light of Hope, Linda J. Stevenson, Roanoke, VA USA
  • Couples' Prayer of Guidance, David Gary Gramata, Media, PA USA
  • Joie de vivre, Sharina Adkins, West Plains, MO USA
  • Ordinary, Deloris Tyler, Houston, TX USA
  • A Rock Higher Than I, John Marinelli, Lynchburg, VA USA 2
  • Love Through Me, Geneva Poynter, Hoffman Estates, IL USA
  • Against the Winds, Ronald Ruble, Huron, OH USA
  • God's Old Romans Road, John Evans, Jacksonville, Fl USA
  • I Can Do It, Mac Wilkey, Bridgeport, AL USA 2
  • O A Cross! O A Hill!, Rev. Feliciano Santiago, Los Angeles, CA
  • The Lord My Deliverer, Patrizia E. Schwartz, Roodepoort, Gauteng South Africa
  • The Reason I'm Living, Andrew James, Horton, Suffolk, England UK
  • I Looked, Mark Fouche, Capetown, South Africa
  • If, Jumoke Fasan, Islington, London UK
  • Only Free in You, O God, Glenna Hiett, Marshall, IL USA
  • Questions, Renee Cleveland, Fort Worth, TX USA
  • And You Can Go On Free, Linda Hames, Houston, TX USA
  • Freedom's Song, Marie Williams, Bluejacket, OK USA
  • Deliverance, Stevie Steiner, Mineral Wells, TX USA
  • Freedom, Marilyn Marinelli, Lynchburg, VA USA
  • Freedom, John Marineeli, Lynchburg, VA USA
  • Our Hope in Glory, Adam Spacagna, Cleveland, OH USA
  • I'm Not Afraid of Dying Anymore, Norman Stephens, St. Augustine, FL USA

Poem of the Month

In "How Awesome is That Day to Me," Kevin Hartnett of Gaithersburg, MD, skillfully dichotomizes (and then some) how he feels about the day Christ set us free. Congratulations, Kevin, for an extremely moving piece. It's a tornado that can sweep up revival in an apathetic heart. A link to this winning entry will be displayed in E-Word and Devo the entire month of July and can be seen in our Poem of the Month WebPage.

Notable Mention

Entries such as "My Liberation in Christ," "Liberation Confrontation," The Light of Hope," and "The Great Liberator" are all worthy of notable mention. Congratulations to David Gilder, Juanita DeHart, Linda Stevenson, and Jacqueline Cosgrove, respectively, for these masterpieces. Please be sure to check them out in our library under our Liberty in Christ category.

Contests and Special Contests

Off-contest dates are June 16th - September 15th. During this time, themes should be selected from the list posted in our poetry submission guidelines found on our web-site.

Review for our Thanksgiving Special Contest begins on September 16th. In order to avoid the possibility of your entry being overlooked during the review process, it is strongly recommended that you DO NOT send in your submission before review begins.

If none of the poems entered in special contests qualify as a winner, the cash award will be added to the next special contest award. In the event this should occur, either a non-member's poem or, at our discretion, a poem by the founders of this ministry or yours truly will be posted instead. Hopefully, this will lead to careful and prayerful preparation of future contest entries.


In lieu of a newly submitted poem, you may choose to send an e-mail to and a COPY to requesting a review and reconsideration of a previously submitted entry. If you choose this option, please include your name and poem's title exactly as it appears in our Library of Poetic Expressions, otherwise, we will not be able to retrieve your poem.

Keep in mind that time will not always permit us to search for potential special contest winners in our library. So, if you wish to be included in future special contests, it will be your responsibility to take advantage of the option mentioned above.

Miscellaneous Letters

Sent: Sunday, May 26, 2002 8:16 PM
Subject: Planning First "Messianic Poetry Convention" For 2003

ATTENTION!!! Plans for the first Messianic Poetry Convention, to be held in Philadelphia, PA, USA in 2003 are now being considered. Tentative enrollment is now underway.

The first Messianic Poetry Convention is being sponsored by the Messianic Literary Corner and it's subscribing members.

A tentative agenda for the convention will be:

  1. Basic poetic forms
  2. Poetic license and the gospel
  3. Defining Messianic poetry
  4. Messianic poetry workshop
  5. Messianic poetry poster show
  6. Messianic poetry awards and more!!

Financial sponsorship for the first Messianic Poetry Convention is welcomed. For more information contact at this email address: 


Marshall Beeber
Messianic Poetry Corner director
MLC director/webmaster


Date: Sunday, June 02, 2002 5:44 AM
To: <>
Subject: Thank You


My e-mail is down tonight so I am borrowing my husband's. Before I left on vacation I wanted to thank you for telling some of your folks through your web site about my request for stories & poems. I had one to share. Thank you for taking the time to let your group know about my desire to have their work on my site. Blessings in all you do in the future.

T McCay

Note: Teresa is referring to the following e-mail she sent us in April:

From: Teresa McCay
Sent: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 5:35 PM
Subject: Just a thought


I have a web site or 2 that I would like to have folks consider [sending] uplifting writings of any kind to in order to share with folks that have lost family/friends or have crisis in their lives of some sort. I have a forum on both links; if you would pray and see if you can think of anyone that would feel comfortable sharing Christian works with which to cheer or inspire others. . . .

Thank You for your time.
Teresa McCay

Leave any links on my links page on either site if you like...and tell other folks you would like to about the links pages.

Encouraging Letters

Date: Saturday, May 25, 2002 6:23 PM
Subject: Article

Hi Elsie,

Your story about your mom is excellent, I had no idea that you'd had such an ordeal with the crisis of heart failure in your family too. I was blessed by your sharing it. I'm always reluctant to share e-mail but I think that John Evan's sharing the e-mail and poem [May's News & Reviews edition] was a good thing. I was rather surprised to see it. I'm glad he didn't ask my permission; I would have messed up and missed God by saying no. <smile>


Note: Juanita DeHart sent in the following encouraging letters to the FOCP in an effort to comfort us for inadvertently overlooking her contest entry--that happened twice! Her recent reply to our letter of apology shows what a real trooper she is: "Please allow me to reassure you that I leave the distribution of my poetry in God's hands. All is well."  (As a result of this recent oversight, we are requesting that a carbon copy of contest reconsideration requests be sent to with an original to We want to make doubly sure these poems are considered along with the rest.)

The Lord is blessing this anointed poetess and is certainly using her poems for His glory. In the past, Juanita has been reluctant to share the encouraging letters she has received, and we respect her desire to do so. But perhaps the Lord used the oversights to provoke her to share some of those letters with us. Sounds to me like something He would do. Keep encouraging us, Juanita. God wants us to rejoice with you!

On Fri, 17 May 2002 17:57:52 -0400 "Martino" <> writes:

Dear Juanita,

I am the editor of our local church's newsletter, and was trying to make my deadline today when I realized I needed a Christian Father's Day poem for the June issue I'm trying to complete.

After searching for hours to find an appropriate, creative poem, I finally came across yours upon doing an internet search.

I would like to ask your permission to use your poem, giving you the credit deserved (I don't know if or not) in our church's newsletter.

Could you please reply to me one way or the other at your earliest convenience?

Thank you, and best wishes in your continuing creative efforts.


Sherri Martino, editor
St. Jude "Bridge Newsletter"
Cincinnati, Ohio


Sent: Friday, May 17, 2002 10:11 PM
Subject: Re: Father's Day poem

Hi Sherri,

It is copyrighted but you are welcomed to use it. . . . Thanks for sharing the poem.

God Bless,

Juanita DeHart


From: <>
To: <>
Date: Fri, 17 May 2002 23:20:54 -0400
Subject: Re: Father's Day poem

Dear Juanita,

Thank you very much for allowing us to reprint your poem in our monthly church newsletter "The Bridge" for June. There are several hundred families that will be receiving this newsletter; many parishioners are elderly or, like myself, disabled, and greatly look forward to receiving the newsletter.

Every month there is but one church member who submits a poem. While her poems are very nice, it is so refreshing to find others so talented like you; your poem is extremely inspiring! Do you have a collection or is there currently a book of your poetry available? Below is how the credit to you will look at the end of the poem:

Juanita DeHart, Houston Texas, reprinted with permission; from the Fellowship of Christian Poets, 1998-2001.

After I add and edit all the typewritten information for the newsletter, I send it off to a professional printing company, where the finished product is printed. If you email me your mailing address, I will be happy to mail you an actual newsletter that each parishioner will receive, agreeably a nice addition to one's professional portfolio or scrapbook, and list of poems reprinted or published. Additionally, I will let you know of responses I receive regarding them poem. I am certain it will be truly enjoyed by many.

Once again, thank you and may God continue to bless you in your creative and inspirational endeavors.


Sherri Martino


Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2002 1:11 PM
Subject: Posted one of your poems Agreeing with God

Dear Rev. John Marinelli,

Just to let you know that I posted "Agreeing with God" on our site.

Thank you so much for your permission.

In Christ,


Note: If you would like to be posted on this website, send an e-mail authorizing them to use your poetry.


Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2002 8:31 PM
Subject: When You Are Here

Dear Juanita, your poem "When You Are Here" is an excellent one. It emphasizes the message of Christ to Martha--a quiet time at His feet is best. The Lord's been showing me the same things, dear one; we dare not miss our worship time with Him! God bless 'n' keep those poems comin' in!

John E


Date: Friday, May 31, 2002 5:36 PM
Subject: Your June Article

Dear Larry,

I just read your article in June's Newsletter. May the Lord grant that every one of us become as sensitive to the Lord's prompting as you were on the day you sold your poem to the crippled girl. "For where your heart is, there your treasure will be" is what came to mind when I finished reading your story. God bless you for sharing it.




Sent: Friday, May 31, 2002 11:09 PM
Subject: Re: Your June Article

Hi Elsie,

Thank you for the kind words. Since we don't get "rich" writing poetry, it's nice to get encouragement from Christian friends. I believe we're rich in so many other ways. . . .

God bless you,



Friday, May 31, 2002 10:39 PM

Larry, . . . you are an obviously gifted writer. . . I didn't mention it in my previous email, but your story is heartwarming, and I did have to wipe my eyes after reading it. [And so did my husband when I read it to him.] No doubt the Lord felt the same way when it happened. With all the negative news we're constantly being bombarded with, it's a blessing to hear about the good, kind, and selfless deeds that are so often left unreported. Have a great weekend and again, thanks!



Sent: Saturday, June 01, 2002 10:18 AM

Thanks again, Elsie.

By the way, I received an email from Decision Today, Billy Graham's radio program. They saw my poetry on ebay and requested to do an interview. It's scheduled for next Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. I would appreciate your prayers.

May you, too, have a blessed weekend.

God bless,



Note: I'm glad I wrote that first and second e-mail to Brother Larry, because as you can see, it eventually led to his sharing his good news with us. But, folks, it will not always happen that way, so don't wait to be contacted; share your joy with us, so we can rejoice with you.


From: "Becky Henry" <>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2002 4:37 PM
Subject: Poem you wrote for me--Becky

Dear John,

That was BEAUTIFUL! Just beautiful! God bless you!




Saturday, June 01, 2002 2:15 PM

Dear Becky, I'm glad you appreciated my poem, "On This Way We Must Go." But you do know that your poem, "The Pathway of Pain," was the inspiration for it, don't you? Yes, my effort followed your own, a twin to it in fact (both the same in length, both using the anapest meter for stress, both emphasizing that suffering precedes blessing in God's providential working).

As I observed in my June article, "Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery," and I did want to honor you and yours as the source of inspiration for my effort under God. In addition to your favorable reaction, I've received two other E-mails indicating approval and blessing from God--for which I know our Lord will give you the ultimate reward!

Have a blest day--and life-- Becky, with much more of good work from your heart and pen for our Dear Lord!

John Evans,


From: Joy Kelly
Sent: Wednesday, June 05, 2002 1:35 AM
Subject: Fw: Thank you for your poem!

Dear Elsie,

Here are some of the responses that I have received from "The Daddy Dance."

The others will follow.

Love In Christ,



From: Rev. Kenneth L. Harris
Sent: Tuesday, June 04, 2002 10:36 AM
Subject: Thank you for your poem!

Dear Joy,

I need to introduce myself. I am a United Methodist Pastor serving the Henry United Methodist Church of Henry, Illinois.

I greatly enjoyed your poem about Fathers called The Daddy Dance. May I have permission to use this poem as part of my sermon on Father's Day?

Thanking you in advance,

Rev. Kenneth L. Harris


From: <Carmen.Micham@COATS.COM>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, June 04, 2002 9:54 AM
Subject: The Daddy Dance

That was a beautiful poem. On Father's Day at our church we always honor our fathers. I hope you would not mind me reading this during our service, I will give you all the credit. I love poetry I just wish I had the talent that you have to write.

May God Bless you and your family,

Carmen Micham
Rock Hill, SC


From: Denise Guady
Sent: Tuesday, June 04, 2002 11:06 AM
Subject: RE: your poem "The Daddy Dance"

Dear Joy,

A friend forwarded me a copy of your poem and I just wanted to tell you how very beautiful it is. A very loving and touching tribute to not only God the Father, but to your husband as well.

I have a website: and I am in the process of building a Father's Day corner. Each holiday I build a special 'corner' and feature poems, articles, short stories and devotionals specific to that holiday. Father's Day is fast approaching and I am in the process of building the corner as I type this to you. I would be honored if you would consider allowing me to reprint your beautiful poem on my website.

Please, if you will, check out my website and consider allowing me to use your poem. I am in the process of re-designing my website, so you may encounter a few glitches, however I should have them repaired before the Father's Day corner is published and online.

Looking forward to hearing from you and have a great day in the Lord.

Sincerely and In Christ,

Denise Guady,
Editor of Prayer Outreach


From: "Joy Astolfi" <
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, June 04, 2002 6:46 PM
Subject: Re: The Daddy Dance

Hello there!

I just wanted to thank you so very much for that poem!!! I am a single woman who has continued to "hold out" for the man that God has chosen for me. As of late, this has been very difficult as I am now 33, have made many mistakes in this department, and am also impatient.

Thank you for that note.... it was a great reminder that "jumping the gun" will not bring me the blessings God has for me.

Joy Astolfi


From: Koen, Rick
Sent: Tuesday, June 04, 2002 9:11 AM
Subject: RE: The Daddy Dance

What a beautiful poem and tribute to your husband! I also hit my 15th anniversary this June, and I can think of nothing better than holding my little girls. As a father of 3, thank you for giving me this wonderful image to strive towards with my children!

Rick Koen
Indianapolis, IN


Sent: Tuesday, June 04, 2002 4:32 PM
Subject: Thank you..

Dear Mrs. Kelly,

Thank you for your inspirational poem, it was lovely. I constantly stand amazed and in awe of our Father's love for us, as my earthly father departed almost 15 years ago to be with Him, I am at peace knowing that I still have them both watching over our family.

Keep up the good work

May God Continue to Richly Bless You and Your Family,

Veronica Sanhaji
Knoxville, TN


From: Joy Kelly
Sent: Thursday, June 06, 2002 1:34 AM
Subject: Fw: The Daddy Dance

Dear Elsie,

[The following email] is the best one yet, but it may be too personal to include this person's name on it. I was so touched!

Love in Christ,


Sent: Wednesday, June 05, 2002 3:44 PM
Subject: The Daddy Dance

When I was reading the poem about your husband not being too tired at the end of a day, it brought tears to my eyes -- as a lot of things do now.

My wife and I were blessed with two children. I, unfortunately, was a very selfish person and never once thought of what I should be doing while my children were growing up. I traveled and my wife always told me that I needed to do what I wanted to do. I never once thought about what she might have wanted.

She died two years ago after a marriage of 39+ years. It was like getting hit with a baseball bat. All of a sudden I can see all of my failings over the years in my marriage and the raising of my two children. If it had not been for my wife, they would have turned out to be terrible adults. Thank God she was the person she was. I have since returned to Christ and am still trying to turn my life around to face Christ, and not always hide from Him.

God Bless your husband for being the kind of person he is.


Wow! Great response, Joy! But not a surprise, 'cause it's a great poem--a sweet aroma to God and to us. Thanks for forwarding the mail to us. . . . God bless.



Sent: Wednesday, June 05, 2002 10:05 PM
Subject: Re: In Focus - July 2002


I really like your poem "Types and Shadows." Thanks for sharing it as it is very creative and a great example for us too.


Dina DeRosa


Sent: Friday, June 14, 2002 11:23 PM
Subject: I

I chose the poem "Tribute to Fathers" [by Jill Lemming] to share with our fathers at our church on Fathers Day. I really like this website. May the Lord continue to bless all of you.


From: Jennifer Earnest
Sent: Saturday, June 15, 2002 4:18 PM
Subject: Poem used

Thank you for your site; this is the first time I have been in it. I am sure I will enter again. I am using the poem, "Tribute to Fathers" by Jill Lemming, Vandalia, OH in our church bulletin. Thanks,

Dianne Earnest
1st Assembly of God
Carney's Point, NY


From: <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, June 19, 2002 6:54 PM
Subject: I stopped by your poems today.

John, I love your poem "Galilee, Oh, Galilee." Congrats on it being one of the selected poems for the Holy Land venture. Your poem "Wise Men Still Seek Him" is good also. You may not be aware, but it is listed twice (a few lines apart) in your index of poems. Then, "A Well Not Made by Man" is truly inspired. I'm glad I took the time to read a few more of your poems. They did my heart good. Blessings.



Note: We received the following response from Jumoke after forwarding Geneva Poynter's encouraging e-mail (posted in last month's News & Reviews) to her.

From: Jumoke Fasan
Time: Sunday 23, 2002 2:53 PM
Subject: Re: Your Poetry

Dear Elsie,

Thanks a lot for this mail--most rejuvenating. I have been quiet for a while yet my soul is bursting with words.

God bless,



From: Delia Bell
Sent: Monday, June 24, 2002 10:44 PM
Subject: about your website

Hi, my name is Carrie. I for sometime have longed to be a poet for the Lord. I am only 14 years of age. Yes, I want to be a Christian poet and that has been my prayer. I read every Christian poem on your site, and I just asked God to give me the talent of writing poems for him. Every poem on your website touched my life in some way, and I am thankful for your site. I would like to be a member of your site if I ever get the talent of writing poems. When God gives me the talent to write poems for him, I will be glad to become a member. Even if I didn't have to be a poet to become a member, I still couldn't because I can't afford it. I don't have a job because I am only 14, and my parents are on a fixed income. I just wanted you to know how much of a blessing your website is and how thankful I am for it.

Thank you,



Tuesday, June 25, 2002 1:37 PM


Feel free to join under the mail-in option. I will wavier the fee and you'll be a member.

God Bless

Rev John Marinelli


From: Allan Balderramos Sr.
Sent: Tuesday, June 25, 2002 3:08 PM
Subject: The poem " True Riches"

Dear Bro's. & Sis's. in Christ

I think you have a wonderful website. I have used your poems many times in the weekly bulletins of my church, and I would like to thank you for the great inspiration that they give us. Keep up the good work.

Your Brother In Christ

Allan Balderramos


"It is I; Be Not Afraid" by Mac Wilkey of Bridgeport, Alabama, was posted in the June 13th edition of Spiritual Uplift.

Ed Peacher is the editor of Spiritual Uplift. To Subscribe/Unsubscribe or Change Your Email

Address to "SPIRITUAL UPLIFTS," send an email to and indicate your preference. Comments and questions can also be sent to this address. If you're recommending this newsletter to your friends and they wish to subscribe, have them send an email to and put "Subscribe to Spiritual Uplift" in the subject line.


James, A Spirit-Led Writer

James E. Tate, author of our newsletter's "Editorial Comments" is now writing a 3rd monthly article entitled "Poetry Potpourri" for Spirit-Led Writer. Edited by the multi-talented, award-winning freelance writer Lisa Crayton, this newsletter contains a wealth of information for writers and poets alike. In his latest article "Poetry on the Tennis Court," James serves some powerful, helpful hints for better poetry writing. Don't miss it! Dive into the following link and explore a whole new world never seen before. This is one you'll want to visit again and again. Enjoy!

God's Favor and Ability and Our Christian Liberty

One of the most misunderstood phrases in the entire Bible is the one that states we are no longer under the law, but under a dispensation of grace (Romans 6:14). It has been interpreted, by far too many, to mean that God knows we are only human and as such, cannot obey His commandments. And therefore in order to save us, He dispensed grace, mankind's new cloak for moral impotence and (watch out for the little leaven) forever banished any regard to His impossible-to-keep-laws. Sounds sinfully delicious, but you eat at your own peril, Adam.

Contrary to popular belief, a careful study of Scripture will reveal that God's grace was available before and during the dispensation of Moses' law. Before the law, Noah found grace (favor) with God (Genesis 6:8). And those who perished in the flood will never be able to accuse God on Judgment Day of unjustly destroying a people deprived of His grace, the God-given ability to live godly lives, for they know if Noah lived a godly life, they could have lived a godly life too. Noah's righteous life will forever stand as a condemnation against them and all future rebellious generations. God's wrath was justified on the premise that they could have lived in obedience to His will, but they, unlike Noah, chose not to. (There are many other examples of pre-law grace, but for the sake of time, Noah will do.)

During the dispensation of Moses' law, God's grace was upon all who feared Him. There were many others, but David is a classic example. An adulterer, a conniver, and a murderer, he deserved death, but God extended His merciful hand of grace to this remorseful king.

Today, most Christians understand about the unmerited favor, mercy, and loving kindness called grace that God imparts to sinners at salvation. But the revelation about God's enabling ability or power operating through us that keeps us from sin, also called grace, has not been so readily understood. This shade of meaning from the original Greek language is seen in 2 Corinthians 6:1 and more clearly in 2 Corinthians 12:9: "But He [God] said to me [the Apostle Paul], My grace--my favor and loving-kindness and mercy--are enough for you, [that is sufficient against any danger and to enable you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect--fulfilled and completed and show themselves most effective--in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ, the Messiah, may rest--yes, may pitch a tent [over] and dwell upon me! (The Amplified Bible, Zondervan Bible Pulishers) It is this facet of grace that leads us to possess and enables us to hold onto the liberty we have in Christ.

What does God's Word say about this Christian liberty?

"For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men--as free yet not using your liberty as a cloak for vice [wickedness], but as servants of God (1 Peter 2:15, 16) "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage" (Galatians 5:1).

"For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh [as a license to sin], but through love serve one another" (Galatians 5:13).

"But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does" (James 1:25).

The Word of God is clear; in Christ, we are no longer slaves to sin. Simply put, we are free to abstain from sin! This truth is comparable to a moral standard we have been trying to convey to the world and to our young folks about pre-marital sex. The conservative mind says, "Encourage abstinence and warn them about the consequences of indulgence." But the liberal argument frustrates the conservative mind and says, "Teach them to use protection, for kids will do their thing anyway!" Likewise, and pardon me for being so graphic, grace should never be used as a spiritual condom we "mere" humans use when willfully purposing in our hearts to do our own thing. Grace will not erase the dreadful consequences. Sin will give birth to all manner of evil and may even abort God's plan of success for our lives. "Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves…" (James 1:21, 22).

Yes, it's true we are no longer under the heavy yoke of the law, but don't run off in the wrong direction with that fact. The heavy yoke were ordinances to eat or not to eat certain foods; to observe (in the hopes of being saved) certain days or religious traditions; to be circumcised for our salvation; or any other dead works of the flesh. The early church was inundated with false teachings about having to keep these laws in order to be saved. The epistles to the Romans and Galatians were written to dispel those false doctrines. Faith in Christ saves us. But Paul's letters were hard to understand by many (as they are today) and James had to write his epistle to clarify the misconceptions and delusions. We are still commanded to live under the "perfect law of liberty" (James 1:25). As for the ordinances God originally instituted, they served as types, symbols, and shadows meant to point to the "Substance," the "Fulfillment" of these things--Christ--who was to come. But they are no longer needed, for we have a better covenant--one that is not so burdensome. The Ultimate Sacrifice, Jesus Christ, our Savior, was offered up once and for all, and by this unselfish act of unconditional love, He cancelled our sin-debt to God forever through His atoning blood. Now we can enter into the throne room of grace to receive mercy and help in time of need.

In the perfect law of liberty we learn about the royal law. James 2:8 states: "If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself,' you do well . . . " Again, in Romans 13: 8, 9, 10 it states ". . . love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." Christ did not come to take away the law. He fulfilled it. And He wants us to follow Him--to walk in the unconditional love of God and bring to fruition the entire law in our lives.

Walking in obedience to the law of love nullifies the law of sin and death in our lives; therefore, we can gladly proclaim we are no longer under its gruesome grip. We are no longer under its judgment; thus, we are no longer under the law. But the requirements of the law of love will never be fulfilled in those who continuously walk in the sinful inclinations of the flesh (Romans 8:4). Christ's message is still "Repent of your sins"--not "Grace consents to your sins."

One might very easily be tempted to say, "I am only human, and I have feelings. It's impossible for me to fulfill the royal law of love while I live in this earthen vessel."

Hear the Word of the Lord:

"And NOTHING shall be impossible unto you" (Matthew 17:20).

"With man it is impossible, but with God ALL THINGS are possible (Mark 10:27; Matthew 19:26).

And "TODAY, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, proved Me, and saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, 'They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.' So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest'" (Hebrews 3: 7-11).

So how can we be saved from the prison of our fleshly inclinations? Do not despair! There is hope "for we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us, therefore, come boldly to the throne of GRACE, that we may obtain mercy and find GRACE to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:15, 16).

Even before confronting every trial and every temptation, we should earnestly ask Him to replace our evil desires with His. What do you think would happen if we all practiced doing that? "God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape that you may be able to bear [not indulge in] it" (1 Corinthians 10: 13b).

What is our way of escape? First, "(your name), pray that you do not enter into temptation" (Matthew 26:41). Next, "Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7). We're all aware of the power of body-building resistance. It's the same for our spirit man. Continuously saying no to sin will build up our spiritual muscles (self-control, etc.) and lead us into our overcoming destiny. Look at what happened to Joseph when he resisted Potipher's wife. He was plunged into his world-affecting, liberating destiny. Finally, believe God. The Word of the Lord tried Joseph, but he remained faithful to God even when bound up with fetters and iron" (Psalm 105:18, 19). "Trust in the Lord will all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will direct your path (Proverbs 3: 5, 6).

I've written this once before, but it's worthwhile repeating. The temple of God that Zerubbabel built was a foreshadow of God's people, for Scripture states that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Today, if we were to personalize the Word of the Lord to Zerubbabel in Zechariah 4:6, 7, it could go something like this: "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit," says the Lord of hosts. Who are you, O Great Mountain [of sin, doubt, unbelief and whatever else is hindering us from fulfilling God's plan for our lives]? Before [My church], you shall become a plain! And [My people] shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of "GRACE, GRACE to it!'"

Clearly, God wants us to put to death the sin that ensnares us, and He has proclaimed GRACE, GRACE to be the epitaph written on the tombstone of its grave. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed! This renders us free to obey God, to love unconditionally, to forgive, and to live the abundant life. No more bondage! His grace is sufficient. And if you are under His enabling grace, you are no longer under the curse of the law.

To balance out this message, I will say that God is not sitting in heaven prepared to beat us down or condemn us when we do occasionally stumble into sin. Most Christians are genuinely sorry and quick to repent when they slip up. Thank God for our Advocate Jesus Christ and His precious blood atonement. But the one who willfully and continuously practices sin will harden his heart, risk becoming reprobate, and eventually suffer consequences that most times are extremely severe. The wages of sin is death, and God is not "a respecter of persons"--He is not playing favoritism with anyone.

Lord, may the revelation of your grace and mercy, which in these end times have been revealed to us in the person of your dear Son Jesus Christ, be tempered with our willingness to walk in the knowledge of your everlasting law of liberty that we may no longer insult or trample underfoot the Spirit of grace. Thank you, Jesus, Thank for setting us free.

Elsie Cuevas

Choose Another Article


You are visitor #<% include "easycounter.php"; %> since 08/01/01


Articles  |  About Us  |  Get Involved  |  Poetry  |  Library  |  Membership

© 1998-2008 Fellowship of Christian Poets

This site is maintained by
WebTech Design Group
Christian Web Design, Hosting, SEO and more
Visit them to see their low rates and Free Resources

To report a problem on this site, please contact them at: