Sunday, September 4, 2011

Chains That Bind

We took a day trip through a couple of little towns across Oklahoma this weekend.  Some Saturdays are just good for that.  We get in the car loaded with snacks and the camera and just drive wherever the road takes us.  It seemed like today was perfect for shooting pictures of barns.  There were so many of them along the way and the sky was a perfect backdrop of blue. Some, I could walk right up to and take pictures of, some had sagging wire fences that I could just hop over and others were gated and chained up, making it necessary to shoot them from the road.   But I was able to get some great shots.  I've always had a fascination with and a special love for the heartland, and to me, barns are the most beautiful symbol of Americana.  Each, with it's own personality telling a different story of a hard working family who toils and works the land.    

As we were winding down our trip for the day, we came across one last barn that I wanted to photograph. It was beautiful from the road and surrounded by wild sunflowers.  I took a few shots from across the highway and hopped in the car to drive on down the road.  As we got closer to the barn, my husband noticed a small dirt road leading to the barn.  We turned the car around and went back.  I was so excited that I was going to get to take pictures up close.  As we turned in, we noticed a big iron gate that was chained up.


I thought the gate was locked up.
The gate swung open


So I got out and decided to take pictures as close as I could get from the other side of the gate.As I was busy leaning over the gate, shooting pictures of the barn, my husband had also gotten out of the car.  I was too preoccupied to notice him.  I turned to look at him and saw that he had simply unwound the chain on the gate.  All of a sudden, it swung open wide.  I was immediately struck with how easy that was!  I had been able, only to see from afar, where I wanted to be.  But now the chains were loosed and I was free to go all the way in and experience what I thought I could only enjoy from a distance.

I was reminded of the Scripture in Acts 12:7-11.  Peter was in prison.  All of a sudden, the Lord touched him and the chains fell off of Peter's hands.  An angel led him out of the prison and down the street.  Peter realized that God had set him free.  He had to run to his friends to tell them how he had been in prison and God had caused him to be released!

Can it be that easy?  Do we stay bound up by chains of sin and hurt and heartbreak, when He is just waiting to loose those chains and set us free; chains that keep us from what's on the other side?  We can see what's waiting for us, but we are so preoccupied with what's wrong in our lives, that we don't take the simple actions necessary to be released.  We need to seek Him and ask Him to intervene on our behalf.  We need to trust that He knows the way out and will be faithful to do a good work in us.  Then we need to be obedient in whatever steps He asks us to take in order for the chains to come off.

What chains are holding you back, Dear One?  What has you tied up in knots?  Go to Him in prayer and ask Him to loose them and set you free.  He is faithful and merciful and a good Father and doesn't want to see His children in bondage.

From His Lap,

30 comments:

  1. Hi Erin - last week God freed me of a self-imposed snare, the fear of a certain person (not them per say, but what their words could do to me) and it feels great! Lovely visual post
    God bless
    Tracy

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  2. Hello Erin,

    Thank you for the beautiful images & words about the barns. I've never been to Oklahoma but the picture you paint may persuade me to make that part of my journey.

    I live in Dorset in the south of England. My house is a barn conversion. The original outside structure is around 300 years old! So I have an affinity with barns which stretches back some 30 years now.

    I was certainly blessed reading your blog - keep up the good work.

    Blessings.

    barnhouse21.

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  3. Ahh, Tracy! It's so good to be free of those chains! Words can put us in bondage as badly as actions can. I'm glad you got set free!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  4. Matchstickman,
    Thank you so much for stopping by! You should definitely make Oklahoma part of your journey! I would love to see pics of your house! It sounds spectacular!
    Blessings over there across the pond!
    ~Erin

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  5. Erin what a beautiful piece! As I was reading it I thought of all the times I kept myself in chains, bound by fear and how it was just a matter of taking the first step to freedom. Thank you for always touching my heart with your beautiful words!! Great pictures too! Just gorgeous!

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  6. I once lived in Oklahoma. A very beautiful and peaceful state. What a motivational post. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  7. The biggest chain that has held me back pretty much my entire life is my shyness. And as much as I love Him, I'm not sure what God can do to change that. I often think that this is how He wants me to be - so shy that I'm without friends, leaving me with more than enough time to see my family (parents, grandmas, cousins, etc). So as much as I complain about being shy and not knowing what to do about it, I ask God to watch over my family, friends, blog friends, and everyone else who needs His love more than I do.

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  8. Kathy,
    Isn't is something how we can actually put ourselves in chains?! I have done that with fear and doubt, myself. Bless you and thanks for stopping by!
    ~Erin

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  9. May,
    Thanks for stopping by! If you've lived in Oklahoma, you know it's just a slice of the American dream...hard working people who love the land!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  10. Sarah,
    He loves you so much! Your shy nature is part of how He created you to be. But He wants you to have friends too! You are so sweet and kind. People would love you if you gave them the chance. That is awesome that you pray for everyone like that!
    You bless me.
    ~Erin

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  11. oh! such a great post! I felt I was in chain when I can't get myself together and accept the new life I have here in Germany. I always look back at what I have left in my own country, my family, my friends, my work. But I'm glad I was free from that chain and got out from depression. Appreciating what we have right now and holding on to Him really make a big difference in out lives!

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  12. wonderful photos and I too love old barns. good message too.

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  13. Rachelle,
    I think it would be so tough to move to another country, not knowing anyone. It's so good that you were able to get free from depression. I hope you've made lots of new friends in Germany! Hold on to Him with everything you've got!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  14. Jean,
    Thanks so much for stopping by. Don't old barns just have so much character and tell stories. I love to imagine the people busy at work in them.
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  15. I love old barn photographs and these are really great! I enjoy reading your writing style, by the way :)

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  16. Hannah,
    Thank you so much for visiting my blog. Aren't old barns beautiful!! I'm glad you enjoyed my post. I love your blog and am a follower.
    Have a wondermous weekend!
    ~Erin

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  17. Your photos are beautiful. I love your header as well, it just took my breath away! I am hopping over from VB GFC hop to become your newest follower. Have a fantastic week! a WV Stitcher

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  18. Brenda,
    Thank you so much for stopping by! Don't you just love voiceBoks. I'm so glad we found each other there!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  19. Love all of the barn pictures and the way you brought it all together to illustrate how Christ is able to break all the chains that bind us and set us free. :)

    You are always such an inspiration Erin! :)

    Love and blessings,
    Denise

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  20. Denise,
    It was funny, because the correlation struck me immediately. I had been so disappointed that I couldn't go in to where I wanted to be because I thought the chains were keeping me out. I made it so difficult, when they really came off so easily.
    Thanks so much for coming by, Denise. You always bless me!
    ~Erin

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  21. Erin,

    This is so beautiful. What truth! I've been reading a lot about these chains that bind us. I, like you, have a heart for the hurting. If we all knew the freedom God has for us on the other side of hurts and fears. Sometimes it is as easy as you expressed here to be freed, sometimes it is harder and takes more time. It always takes death to self, with which all humanity struggles. But the end result is ALWAYS better than staying bound by the familiar chains.

    Fear, distrust, blame, unforgiveness of self and others - there are so many chains that bind.

    Thank you Jesus that you are the answer. You are the Way, the Truth and the Life. Thank you that through your finished work on the cross, your resurrection and your Holy Spirit, our counselor and comforter, we can shake off those broken chains and be free to lift our hands and rejoice in what you have already done for mankind, what you have already done in our lives and will continue to do as we put our trust in and walk after You. We can lay hold of, claim, the territory that is ours. You did the work. We simply need to walk in your finished work.

    Erin, keep using this precious gift the Lord has given you. Many are being blessed.

    Sincerely,
    Susan

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  22. Erin~This post has really touched me today. God is so good and amazing and loves us so much. I love what you said...I had been able, only to see from afar, where I wanted to be. But now the chains were loosed and I was free to go all the way in and experience what I thought I could only enjoy from a distance. Lately I have been letting satan keep me bound up in chains just like what was on the gate. When we let that fear get a hold on us, satan wins. "Preoccupied" we can't stay there. HE is teaching me that. Thank you for sharing this today. You have touched my heart with His words.
    Blessings to you...Chelle

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  23. Susan,
    I printed out the prayer that you prayed. I'm going to put it in a frame by my bedside. Thank you so much for your encouraging words. They come at a time when I need to hear them!
    Love,
    ~Erin

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  24. Chelle,
    I'm so honored that you stopped by and grateful that my post blessed you. I think that this is a lesson we have to learn over a couple of times as we go through life and unwittingly become bound up by sin, peoples actions or events beyond our control. I'm happy for you that He has been showing you this! Isn't He faithful to lead us into truth and righteousness!
    ~Erin

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  25. Erin - love your post about the chains that bind us. God so readily delivers us. I am not sure why we, as His children are so quick to return to them. My prayer is that we all are free indeed and truly leave the chains at the foot of the cross where they can never capture us again.

    Galatians 5:1 - 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.

    Dianne

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  26. Dianne,
    Why do we do that...pick those chains back up?? Silly humans! He whom the Son set free is free indeed!!!
    I love you,
    ~Erin

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  27. Beautiful Erin...I always come away inspired! Thanks for your insight!

    Your barn photos are such a reminder of the goodness and bounty our nation holds!

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  28. Great post. When we let Christ break the chains, our world opens up to a whole new area of possibilities. I know I still struggle with putting myself and my desires out for others to see. Blogging has helped but it is virtual. I tent to hold back on what I want or feel led to do out of fear of rejection. It I could just keep the chains from being rebound!

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  29. Becky Jane, I think the same thing about the old barns. I just love the US of A!!!!
    Hugs,
    ~Erin

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  30. Shanda,
    I know!! The virtual world is a lot easier on us than real life relationships. When I get loosed from something, I try to picture the chains being dropped at the foot of the cross. That way, I have to go picture myself going and picking them back up...and I don't want to do that!!!
    I love you!
    ~Erin

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Thank you for giving us a little nugget of truth from your heart!

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