More of God’s Will – 5-11-22

“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” Romans 13:11-12 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Romans chapter 13 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Submit to Government

13 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will [a]bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

Love Your Neighbor

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” [b]“You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Put on Christ

11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk [c]properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

Footnotes

  1. Romans 13:2 Lit. receive
  2. Romans 13:9 NU omits “You shall not bear false witness,”
  3. Romans 13:13 decently

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

John 20:31- “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

For those still doing the Romans 1 challenge and those curious:  It is a challenge to work with God to root out any unrighteousness and then part 2 is to practice good habit with intention. I have shared some of the dust that came to the surface in my life through this – doing a spring cleaning. No matter what stage or how long you have been serving God – if you challenge yourself and God to find an area to work on, you’ll find it. This has been powerful:

PRAYER FOR FORGIVENESS:
Dear God, I am sorry for being filled with all/any unrighteousness, and/or sexual immorality, and/or wickedness, and/or covetousness, and/or maliciousness, and/or envy, murder, and strife, and/or deceit and evil-mindedness, and/or being a whisperers and  backbiters, and/or haters of God, and/or violent, and/or proud and boasting, and/or inventors of evil things, and/or disobedient to parents, and/or undiscerning, and/or untrustworthy, and/or unloving, and/or unforgiving, and/or unmerciful, and/or for practicing such things are deserving of death. Please forgive me even though I knew better and I understand the righteous judgment of You, God. Please wash me with the Blood of Jesus. Cleanse me and help me turn from my evil ways – convict me strongly when I do wrong that I may notice and stop. And send a fresh filling of your anointing to break the yokes of bondage and help me destroy the roots with a mindful effort and focus on you. Please reignite the fire in my belly that I may burn for you in boldness. In the name of Jesus we pray ~amen

HEALTHY ROOTS CHALLENGE: this challenge is to heal and strengthen our roots
One – Give God ALL the Glory
Two – Dedicated time for thanksgiving, and be thankful for all things!
Three – Guard our hearts and mind, rebuking and stopping sinful or not godly thoughts, not letting our minds wander and be prayerful and intentional in thinking.
Four – And finally, let us be humble. Humble enough to say I do not know it all and God has something new to reveal to me in this book and in this day.
(Please review the blog post from 4/25/22 for further explanation as to why we are doing this daily and for the scriptural reference instructing us to make these things a practice in our lives. Until they flow from us naturally, we can intentionally and with all of our hearts, scheduled them into our lives and watch them heal and reroute our unhealthy roots that gave sinful/evil fruits.)

This has been a powerful time with the Lord – humbling, yes, but faith building and transformative. As we shed our flesh and move forward in Spirit. God is making ways and going the things he is famous for!
He did not forsake us, He is letting us grow hungry and seek Him out. I really hope you are taking all of this to heart and studying this with fervency, meditation and prayer. Let this book get inside you and change you! It is changing me – this is the third time doing a study like this on the book and not referring back to my notes or the previous studies; and WOW this book is powerful all on its own!

Now, let us look at chapter thirteen –

Paul continues the list of things to do to be in the perfect will of God, today in this chapter, starting today off with obedience to the authority God has placed you under. Yes, our orderly sovereign God created a structure with principles and rules and it is within this structure we will live the perfect will of God.

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.”

This is pretty clear – cut and dry. Get in line or get the judgement of God. I look at the government we are subjected to in the USA and it is evil. And I think submit to them? And I think, those who say yes are missing the context. We have only read 2 verses out of the 7 discussing this topic of submitting to government and do we even know what point Paul is trying to bring home?
He is still speaking of perfect will and how we are to be in relationship to order, taxes, and honor. Let us read the rest:
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.”

Now, in the USA people (in general) are corrupt and evil and people here know it. We used to be one nation under God, but we evicted God and are surprised by the moral decline. Many of you are reading from nations that are also quite evil. At this point we can almost question if there is a good godly leader in a nation. None the less it is very clear we have evil leaders to humble us, as punishment for being evil, as a judgment, and to get us on our knees, crying out to God to change this. But in general where are we? A quick glance at my Facebook feed from friend’s posts will show us that we are complaining and mocking and saying mean and evil things. If we say that is a small sample and we adjust it giving more people the benefit of the doubt and extrapolate the data…. We still have a huge percentage of professing believer NOT acting very Christ-like and NOT giving honor to whom honor is due. God put Biden in the white house. Get on your knees and talk to God about it and stop being a poor example of Christianity on Facebook (or whichever social media platform, or in person, or where ever you dishonor God by acting like the world instead of like Christ). That is the point to this section of passage.

NOW, to those who say this passage means we must bow to evil when an evil leader says bow, pay close attention. Because, THE WORD OF GOD NEVER CONTRADICTS. And we know of three Hebrew boys who refused to bow, who should NOT have been blessed and survived a fire if Romans 13:1-7 meant we must bow.
Let use masks as an example – I personally was anti mask and so are many believers. The mask mandate was not a law. We did not have to comply. I did write a piece saying we should just shut up and wear one in situation where we had to. I did extrapolate from this section and referenced being respectful (aka custom and honor where due). I believe I also referenced where the first century church was asked not to serve pork when their Jewish brothers and sisters came for fellowship; or to make a personal sacrifice to not offend, keep the peace and unity. Because most who were pro mask were in bondage to fear and unable to help themselves, and coming in unmasked was not going to deliver them.  BUT we should not wear a mask out of fear. AND we shouldn’t be mask-less out of rebellion, because in rebellion evil still wins.
If you are now saying to yourself that I caught covid twice because I was personally anti-mask, you are wrong. I wore one often as required to keep peace and show God’s love. I caught it because the enemy wants to shut me up. BUT look at me, I am still speaking truth! (even through a mask occasionally as required.)
Now let’s take about a real evil. The vax is an idol to the god of pharmakeia. It was their savior instead of turning to Jesus who heals. If you were unable to discern the golden statue of pharmakeia, I am sorry for you. But you can still repent and seek Jesus for healing and healing from the poison put inside you. We can NOW remember our 3 Hebrew friend who refused to bow to the idol and were thrown into the fire. Now we have a case for civil disobedience. Reference Daniel chapter 3 and the two times pharmakeia is written in Revelations (9:21 and 18:23) and it is translated into the word sorcery (and didn’t it cast a spell on everyone).

Do you see the difference in the arguments? We do not bow to an idol to keep peace of because our leaders say to – because it is one of the basic 10 commandments. No other Gods before Him! No image or thing shall be worshiped. Oh yes, everyone who is pro-vax is worshiping it and singing its praises even as it kills steals and destroys them – it is quite surreal to watch with opened eyes. If it was a normal vax, no one would be putting it on a pedestal as a savior – we just don’t with normal vaccines. I tell people I caught covid and people never say Thank God I am vaxxed – they say thankfully I am vaxxed and I wonder at their words. (and the ones who do say thank god use a lower case g and are not believers.)
and masks were not our savior – at least not for most people. They were not mandated to save. They were to flatten the curve. They were ‘these don’t work great, but it’s all we got so let’s use them for 15 days’.  Yes they were a means to strip us of our identity and teach us to conform and enslave us. But wearing on was not worshiping and idol and it was not participating in a sin. And quite frankly, I wore one to keep myself humble and out of rebellion. Pride and rebellion are the original sin – and I did not want to go there. You should have seen how mad I was while sewing them for myself and my friends. So angry. I needed to be careful.

AND Paul continues, after saying it is God’s will that we do not act like hypocrites on Facebook over politics, with more items we should do to stay in God’s perfect will.  It’s not easy to follow this list so far – I guess that is why we must die to self, first, then behave in His will!

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.”
Again, context is everything. Owe – implies finances while love implies emotions or spirit and we need to determine which law Paul is speaking of. Something that looks straight forward – is suddenly completed. But I am the one who always says NOT to complicate it – it is, exactly what is says. The problem here is modern English and how we understand things. You see these things seem unrelated to we separate them out and compartmentalize them separately and never think about why they are all in one sentence – and how that applies to us.

Let me explain a long study period quickly – I pulled out the lexicon and deciphered the Green origins and then all the things it could say and then pulled it forward and found a translation that explains the relationship among these concepts better. So in the Good News Translation the verse reads:
“Be under obligation to no one–the only obligation you have is to love one another. Whoever does this has obeyed the Law.”
Because the term “Be indebted” is ὀφείλετε (opheilete) which is a verb meaning to owe; or figuratively, to be under obligation, morally, to fail in duty. (from Strong’s 3784)
Placing obligations on others or being obligated to others is NOT of God. For example, My son is NOT obligated to call and wish me a happy mother’s day. He and I talked leading up to it to make plans then I got sick and texted him that the plans were canceled he replied, we will do it as soon as you feel better. Then he did not call on Mother’s Day. I did not place an obligation on him. We just spoke, and I am sick – what were we going to talk about? It is just as much a command to NOT place and obligation on someone else as it is to be obligated to someone. Being obligated means you have accepted it. It literally is a form of bondage and slavery – and Jesus came to set us free. AND most obligations come upon us through manipulation (which is as the sin of witchcraft – so NO controlling other people to do your whims)! We must address these things. They run rampant and are not called out as sin.
I’ll admit, we found another that hits home for me. I do not place obligations on my son – but I fall into feeling obligated to others easily. And this verse actually doesn’t directly address those placing obligation – it directly addresses those who put themselves under obligation. And that’d be me.  Worse off – I actually do not owe them anything, but once I submit to it I am then in bondage to it. It is a spiritual concept. Going back to the beginning of this chapter starting with proper addressing of authority is a spiritual principle giving us strength and authority in the spirit and then this verse follows saying don’t give that away and be in bondage.
I do love you and pray for you daily and it doesn’t take you getting sick or some drama to happen to get me to pray for you – I have love for you therefore I pray. I have love for you and therefore I will not be obligated to give you explanation or anything else you feel you deserve and expect – I am under no obligation. I’ll just love you from over here until whatever you got on you settles down or leaves. You have made it clear that you will not receive deliverance or healing from God through me or through anyone I send your way. You’ll have to find it on your own, it is not my obligation.
And that is how I should have dealt with it and I am now dealing with it.

Let me remind you that we all knew what we were in for the moment our Roman’s study began and the first thing we faced was clean out sin or face the wrath and judgment of God! We are dirty little humans and have a lot of work to do repenting!

Now back to figuring out which law Paul was referring to. It wasn’t atonement law, which was fulfilled in Jesus and as Paul says in chapter three of this book – we are now under Abraham’s covenant and the law of faith, and the covenant caused by the blood of Christ. Verse 9 gives us a huge hint about which law – and it isn’t actually a Levitical Law (civil law and atonement law) it is the 10 commandments!

For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Paul is referencing a lesson taught by Jesus. The 10 commandments were given and God hoped the people would have learned to love each other – but (back to Romans 4 and 5) the curse of sin in the flesh was corrupted and learned to sin under the law instead of learning to love. As a matter of fact Jesus says all the laws and prophets are fulfilled with love – showing we should have learned LOVE not SIN from all of it. How stiff necked we are. However, no need to worry – Paul lays it out very directly here. He says we still should obey the 10 commandments but do it in love AND love everyone. As if Jesus saying it wasn’t enough. We look around, be honest, will the world know we are Christians by our love?

Are you getting serious about these sins? This book is a lot all up in your face – if you are open and honest with God. It isn’t an easy exercise.  But, come on, get on board – wake up! It is time to surrender all and get with the program. We have work to do!

11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.”

Seriously, we must understand this, if Paul said 2000 years ago it was time and the night is far spent – where are we on the timeline now?! So many say well it hasn’t happened in 2000 years (it being the return of Christ or the Great Tribulation). But folks, if 2000 years since it being very late – we are super very late now and abiding in grace that we even have this opportunity to serve him, have signs and wonders follow, she people saved and transformed – and learn to die to ourselves.  Thank God we have a chance, cause the clock should have run out already and wake up! It is time to take this seriously. If you have been reading these studies and pride has stopped you from participating in the exercises with all you heart, then woe to you. This is your last opportunity for deliverance, because you are not promised tomorrow or the next day or the next. And if grace abounds and you get another opportunity, then praise the lord – but the night is far, far, very far spent. It is time to get serious about God. (In joy, you don’t have to be a dud – but be honest about what you believe and can do and ask God to help you believe more and do these exercises and die to the flesh.

13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Dear God, What is Your Will for my Life? – 5-10-22

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Romans chapter 12 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Living Sacrifices to God

12 I beseech[a] you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your [b]reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Serve God with Spiritual Gifts

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Behave Like a Christian

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient[c] in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given[d] to hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have[e] regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Footnotes

  1. Romans 12:1 urge
  2. Romans 12:1 rational
  3. Romans 12:12 persevering
  4. Romans 12:13 Lit. pursuing
  5. Romans 12:17 Or Provide good

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

John 20:31- “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

For those still doing the Romans 1 challenge and those curious:  It is a challenge to work with God to root out any unrighteousness and then part 2 is to practice good habit with intention. I have shared some of the dust that came to the surface in my life through this – doing a spring cleaning. No matter what stage or how long you have been serving God – if you challenge yourself and God to find an area to work on, you’ll find it. This has been powerful:

PRAYER FOR FORGIVENESS:
Dear God, I am sorry for being filled with all/any unrighteousness, and/or sexual immorality, and/or wickedness, and/or covetousness, and/or maliciousness, and/or envy, murder, and strife, and/or deceit and evil-mindedness, and/or being a whisperers and  backbiters, and/or haters of God, and/or violent, and/or proud and boasting, and/or inventors of evil things, and/or disobedient to parents, and/or undiscerning, and/or untrustworthy, and/or unloving, and/or unforgiving, and/or unmerciful, and/or for practicing such things are deserving of death. Please forgive me even though I knew better and I understand the righteous judgment of You, God. Please wash me with the Blood of Jesus. Cleanse me and help me turn from my evil ways – convict me strongly when I do wrong that I may notice and stop. And send a fresh filling of your anointing to break the yokes of bondage and help me destroy the roots with a mindful effort and focus on you. Please reignite the fire in my belly that I may burn for you in boldness. In the name of Jesus we pray ~amen

HEALTHY ROOTS CHALLENGE: this challenge is to heal and strengthen our roots
One – Give God ALL the Glory
Two – Dedicated time for thanksgiving, and be thankful for all things!
Three – Guard our hearts and mind, rebuking and stopping sinful or not godly thoughts, not letting our minds wander and be prayerful and intentional in thinking.
Four – And finally, let us be humble. Humble enough to say I do not know it all and God has something new to reveal to me in this book and in this day.
(Please review the blog post from 4/25/22 for further explanation as to why we are doing this daily and for the scriptural reference instructing us to make these things a practice in our lives. Until they flow from us naturally, we can intentionally and with all of our hearts, scheduled them into our lives and watch them heal and reroute our unhealthy roots that gave sinful/evil fruits.)

God is definitely surfacing things in all our lives. The trials can be long and difficult. At some point I have many people reaching out and telling me other sins – be aware of the accuser. Be aware. Because we are doing a secret work with the Lord and all the accusation are meant for condemnation and not for purity, love and life. Be aware what is meant as bondage and what will set you free. It is not always clear. And sometimes so many things come at once you might find yourself asking God what is your perfect will for my life?!

As if maybe the trials and tribulations might end if you ca just appease God or if you can somehow figure out the special key to stopping the storm (when “peace be still” doesn’t work). Maybe you are wrong like everyone says, may go through your head and all their voices (sounding like Job’s friends) are saying you just need to get back under the perfect will of God for your life.

Stand. I should say not to grow weary – but I am sometimes weary. I am also sick again, with covid, so keep me in your prayers.

Now, let us look at chapter twelve – because in God’s sovereignty we land here today. This chapter is rich and dense so bring your favorite steak knife and be ready to eat until you are more than full. However, the overall thought of the chapter begins with a statement about doing the hard work we have been doing to uproot any unrighteousness within and suggests the question: “what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”? And thankfully spends the rest of the chapter making a list. If you can check off the items on the list, then you are in His will. If you can’t check them off, then you are not. Paul really simplifies it here. Now what about person specific items instead of general things we all should be doing to please God? Well, let me suggest that as long as you are reading, praying, seeking, and doing these things – God will give you the specifics. Or not, in which case I suggest you stay the course until he moves you.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
It is always good to remind yourself and take time to not that Paul is asking us to do something reasonable. These exercises, seeking righteousness, learning to witness and how to, repenting really well and staying humble, understanding our position is all reasonable. It is even reasonable to ask you to be pure. It is hard work to kill off the flesh and be pure. But it is a reasonable request and requirement.  
We are so corrupted we sometimes do not even see it until we start digging in. And then God reveals and we can be freed. It is possible, here on earth to let go of all the sin and overcome our nature… but I think it is a daily choice because if we become complacent, we may be blind to our compromises. We cannot be made perfect until we are in heaven transformed.
So building on the foundation that all of the first 11 chapters have formed and the humble repentant hearts we should have at this point in the study Paul encourages us and present the thought for this chapter:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
We are to come out from this world, not be like them. I, being an artist, am pretty used to not being normal. But that doesn’t make it easier because as humans we want to fit in and have a feeling of fitting and belonging someplace. Well, that place is NOT with the world. Hopefully you have found a good home church that honors your gifts and gives you … wait, I am getting ahead of Paul.  Paul is just starting off with Don’t Fit In with the World.
Then he says we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds – reading, studying, applying like we have been doing here in Romans and as we receive it – in all power – it will change our minds. It will renew us as we repent, refresh ourselves, and really spend time on this.
Spending time in His word will reveal His will – but in case we are a little slow, which I can be, and I am sure you can be sometimes too – Paul lays it all out with serve God with your gifts and behave like a Christian and that is the perfect will of the Father!  (Sometimes we just make everything so complicated!)

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” 
Humility – again with the humility. I keep saying humility is the keys to the kingdom. Get in order and bow before the Lord God.
Our measure of faith – again it is our faith and thankfully we all have at least a tiny bit of faith like a tiny mustard seed amount. And truth be known the actually plant referred to doesn’t exist today so it is now translated to mustard seed. But the original plant was a tree like weed with the tiniest seed known to man. So we look at the modern mustard seed and it is a greater measure of faith than we need. This is not complicated and hard – we believe and were we fall short He can help our unbelief. There are some people who struggle to believe any of this. I tell you the Bible literally shows us they do not spend time in the word, because faith comes by the word of God. There are some with a small measure, but they can still move mountains. I know people who are believing for big things I can’t even picture and their faith is huge.  
I was setting up a shop on Amazon for my business – be where the people buy is a good moto. And they have a free legal branding process to protect your intellectual property. I thought this is great, but what is the catch. They said, just to encourage handmade makers to sell on their site – they are trying to compete with other handmade selling sites. So I read the fine print. I cannot sell anything like or similar anywhere else – my property branded under them gives them certain limited rights to my products as well as limits my rights. Now, I may be the ONLY small maker sitting in her living room, focused on God and not the business, while struggling to make sales and ay bills and looking at this saying – but when I grow, that will put a cap on how big I can grow. What if God blesses this mess and I grow bigger than amazon. I cannot put myself under them. Moreover, this is God’s business and I cannot limit God.  I do not think most people from a position of need, are guarding their position of abundance in God like that.  I do not need HUGE faith to believe God can do it – I just need to know my God.

For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”

Gifts – we all have a small measure of all these things. We all have a touch of prophecy and knowledge when the word of the Lord is revealed to us. And those with the gift must keep their faith build up. Everyone has the capacity to minister to someone needy or hurting, but to other t is a gift and they see needs other miss and help in ways others do not understand. Everyone can teach a little. Like you can read one of my discussions about Roman life and the Bible and learn something new and go tell a friend what you learned. While other have a gift for learning much more and making it understandable and relatable to other. Everyone has the ability to exhort (as we discussed before, it means to encourage and build up others). But some people are just really good at it and it is a gift. EVERYONE HAS THE ABILITY TO GIVE and SHOULD DO SO LIBERALLY. Yes. So I made $0 this year. My tithe would be $0 if I gave 10%. Have I gone all the way to May without any money to the church? No. I tithed on my birthday money and I gave an offering from my savings. I hate presenting myself before the Lord with nothing to give Him. I fed people as well. I helped others as unto God as a gift to Him. I sent my product into offering plates. I donated products to charity fundraisers for Christian schools.  I still give, and try to be generous. We all have a seed to sow; the Bible says God gives us seed. And if we sow it He gives us more. And this all includes sowing the word of God into people – AKA witnessing or soul winning. We must give to God by telling others about the kingdom. If you do not sow, you cannot reap. Go ahead and test God in this area – you cannot out give him. I am still living by faith (for a year and a half) and not one bill has gone unpaid and not one thing have I lacked. Give what you have and can. I have me – I give all of me! What about you. I want the gift of giving! I want to give it all back into the kingdom to grow the kingdom – I want to give so more souls are reached than the ones I can reach alone in this small town and with this small un-promoted blog. (And no I am not going to promote it to win souls, because we all know it is slim any unbeliever will read this. But the salvation message is at the top so if they stumble upon it, that might hear and learn and be saved.)
And we all can lead, at least lead someone to church or to Christ. But some have the gift and we all can show mercy cheerfully to some degree and usually not cheerfully. While other have the gift.

So because we all can in small measure do all these things – we should all strive to do all these things in that measure. But if it is a gift, you have great measure in that area and should strive to out give your gifting (because again, you can’t out give God).  

So how many of those things can you check off and say you are naturally doing? How many do you need to work on? You can ask God to present you with opportunity and He will. But bring the whole check book to church then, because after you give, he may say: “that’s it?” giggles

Next Paul encourages us to behave like a Christian. Super easy, yet I have stumbled though this very morning. Sigh.

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 
10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.”

Do these need explanation? No fake love. Hate evil. Cling to good. Love each other first within the church then go love the sinners and bring them in. Don’t be jerks and do host dinners at your home. AND PRAY FOR EACH OTHER – don’t just say you will and not. How are you doing on this next list of things that God wants per His perfect will for your life?

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.”

Bless and speak life. Be in agreement – but do not come into agreement over something that is a heaven and hell doctrinally wrong thought. Sometimes (often times) it means acquiescing, which is a humble yielding to someone else’s way. For example, I am pretty opinionated and well educated and I met another Christian lady who was also opinionated and well educated – and she immediately began to argue with everything I said. I could easily point out a few chapter and verses to prove my point, I could pull out historical text books and show her other incites. I could do it harshly and embarrass her, or gently and try to educate her more, or I could humble myself and acquiesce. Arguing would not make her back down, she felt threatened. I cannot help her feelings so I shut up. I let her be wrong and the big voice in the room. You see, no one’s salvation was on the line and God is very capable of defending His own words. Agreement and unity was more important than me being right. Again and again – humility is the key (I try not to use me as an example for humility because I am human and we all struggle with it and using yourself can be almost prideful. But it was a good example of it – and know, like you, I do not always get it right!)

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” 

This list gets more and more straightforward and direct. How are you doing on checking off the boxes? You wat to know the Lord’s will for you – these are it. All of these are His will for you!

20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

That last one is not always easy. Especially when you are already down, already worn out and tired, already sick, already in the refiner’s fire, already going through it for over a year and suddenly the enemy attacks using people you should be able to be vulnerable around. Self-survival counterattacks are the fleshly response. But we die to flesh. I asked them to back off and I went silent. Not my will, Father – but Thy will.

My friends, please pray for me.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

God Did Not Cast You Away – 5-9-22

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” Romans 11:33 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Romans chapter 11 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Israel’s Rejection Not Total

11 I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, “Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”? But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. [a]But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. Just as it is written:

“God has given them a spirit of stupor,
Eyes that they should not see
And ears that they should not hear,
To this very day.”

And David says:

“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
A stumbling block and a recompense to them.
10 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see,
And bow down their back always.”

Israel’s Rejection Not Final

11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their [b]fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. 12 Now if their [c]fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!

13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. 15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and [d]fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.

19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, [e]goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own [f]opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be [g]saved, as it is written:

“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
27 For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”

28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has [h]committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.

33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has become His counselor?”
35 “Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?”

36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

Footnotes

  1. Romans 11:6 NU omits the rest of v. 6.
  2. Romans 11:11 trespass
  3. Romans 11:12 trespass
  4. Romans 11:17 richness
  5. Romans 11:22 NU adds of God
  6. Romans 11:25 estimation
  7. Romans 11:26 Or delivered
  8. Romans 11:32 shut them all up in

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

John 20:31- “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Is anyone still doing the Romans 1 challenge?  It is a challenge to work with God to root out any unrighteousness and then part 2 is to practice good habit with intention. I have shared some of the dust that came to the surface in my life through this – doing a spring cleaning. No matter what stage or how long you have been serving God – if you challenge yourself and God to find an area to work on, you’ll find it. This has been powerfule:

PRAYER FOR FORGIVENESS:
Dear God, I am sorry for being filled with all/any unrighteousness, and/or sexual immorality, and/or wickedness, and/or covetousness, and/or maliciousness, and/or envy, murder, and strife, and/or deceit and evil-mindedness, and/or being a whisperers and  backbiters, and/or haters of God, and/or violent, and/or proud and boasting, and/or inventors of evil things, and/or disobedient to parents, and/or undiscerning, and/or untrustworthy, and/or unloving, and/or unforgiving, and/or unmerciful, and/or for practicing such things are deserving of death. Please forgive me even though I knew better and I understand the righteous judgment of You, God. Please wash me with the Blood of Jesus. Cleanse me and help me turn from my evil ways – convict me strongly when I do wrong that I may notice and stop. And send a fresh filling of your anointing to break the yokes of bondage and help me destroy the roots with a mindful effort and focus on you. Please reignite the fire in my belly that I may burn for you in boldness. In the name of Jesus we pray ~amen

HEALTHY ROOTS CHALLENGE: this challenge is to heal and strengthen our roots
One – Give God ALL the Glory
Two – Dedicated time for thanksgiving, and be thankful for all things!
Three – Guard our hearts and mind, rebuking and stopping sinful or not godly thoughts, not letting our minds wander and be prayerful and intentional in thinking.
Four – And finally, let us be humble. Humble enough to say I do not know it all and God has something new to reveal to me in this book and in this day.
(Please review the blog post from 4/25/22 for further explanation as to why we are doing this daily and for the scriptural reference instructing us to make these things a practice in our lives. Until they flow from us naturally, we can intentionally and with all of our hearts, scheduled them into our lives and watch them heal and reroute our unhealthy roots that gave sinful/evil fruits.)

In a lot of ways this level of introspection is moving us out of the frying pan and into the fire in terms of the trial in our lives. But that is just God burning up the mess – refining us; but we talked about that a bit last week. I shared how in my own life and in the midst of the hard times and struggles that man’s eyes see – if you look with Gods eyes, I am standing firm and abundantly blessed.
So in review – we are to die to self and glory in the Lord. He has a perfect plan and the painful death to flesh and the uncomfortable repenting of sins and the trial used to squeeze it out of you are all part of his perfect plan. Then Paul starts to explain God how Gentiles are adopted and how Jews will reject this plan just as they rejected Christ. And Paul said – he will keep trying to reach the Jews and we should all try to reach both Jew and Gentile.

Now, let us look at chapter eleven:

I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying,”
God did not forsake the Jews and has a plan to restore them – read the end of the book. But God has to do a few things in order to fulfill all the prophecies and humble His people. Another lesson on how important humility is.

Now let’s read what Elijah said:
Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 
At the time this was spoken it was a word specifically for Elijah. But Paul says, by way of reference, that this is more than just a word for Elijah – but also a prophetic word for Paul’s time (as he says “this present time” in the next verse. Which mean it is outside of time and space and God has always reserved a remnant.

Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
Therefore by grace I was called, and you were called, to keep ourselves holy to strive to be righteous to do the good works of God… but it isn’t what we do – it is by grace. Glorious grace. I mean, if not for grace where would we be? Basking in our own self destruction?! It is by grace we are called and only in His mercy, He helps us do and be what is required of us.

What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. Just as it is written:“God has given them a spirit of stupor, Eyes that they should not see And ears that they should not hear, To this very day.”

The elect is another term for the remnant and Paul was pointing out that there is a remnant or elect of the Jews who will believe in Jesus and be saved. The rest of the Jews, God will blind them and stop up their ears.
Now let’s get into theology – many say this passage refers to the Jews who believe and there is NO Gentile elect. Others believe the elect is full of any believer while still others think there are to versions of the elect – one which is Jewish and another which is Gentile. What is very interesting is that we have already exhausted our info on these remnant people – they will not bow to the enemy and God set them apart. I do not have my own theory on who the elect are in our present time. And Paul doesn’t clarify who they were in his time. In Elijah’s time, they were Jews.
But I know this – vaccine and trial and test and attack have come against me and I have not bowed and will not bow – and it was only by grace that I didn’t. I can say I am a remnant or a type of symbolic remnant – a representation of the archetype. You hopefully are too – or you are well on your way to being immoveable.

There is more said about those who didn’t believe. It is important to note that they had the opportunity and rejected, and this is not referring to those who ignorantly never knew.  Is this only speaking of Jews or of Jews and Gentiles – like the remnant it is unclear about the future of the statement, but in Paul’s time he is speaking to Jews. Is it possible Gentiles can also fall under the same fate? Yes, which is why many preachers do not take the time to differentiate and just preach it… although I have honestly not heard a sermon on God’s Judgments on the Unbelieving since the 1980s.
So let’s just go with that theme – all unbelieving – and take a look at these judgments. Just remember God is love so He is just in Love. And As we read at the beginning of Romans (where we were sinful and running from the judgments) if we do not repent these judgments fall on all unrighteous (and if you need to know how to be counted as righteous – go start this book all over again!)
First God himself will give them a stupid spirit – yep, God will make them stupid, er, um… well, that is one translation. Most translate that word from Greek to mean a lying spirit – or give them over to believe their own lies. Then God blinds them to seeing the truth and makes them deaf to the truth.
I was talking with a friend last week and addiction came up. I know a few people who went from saved by the blood and redeemed to addict. And my friend, a godly woman, asks rhetorically – how does one just do drugs? She went on to say she fears the consequences too much to even try. And lucky for her, she would not even know where to buy them.
To answer the rhetorical question – because that is what people with Asperger’s do (giggles) – At some point those believers doubted, fell into disbelief. And once they did not believe they had rejected God. And you would be shocked how many still come to church weekly and sing and pay tithe – but do not believe therefore literally rejecting God. One little doubt can open a door to a slide you didn’t see coming. Stay humble and always pray for more belief and more faith.
Those unbelieving are eventually given over to their lies. It’s for their own good really. And they become blind and deaf and don’t even know it. That is how one ends up in a situation to try drugs – or in other situations with other sins.  (This is why our daily prayer askes for God to open eyes and ears – any of us at any time could be going blind or deaf and not even realize it. So pray it daily with me!)

The Judgments then continue:

And David says: “Let their table become a snare and a trap, A stumbling block and a recompense to them. 10 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see, And bow down their back always.”

Their table becomes a snare – the symbol of a table is rich throughout the bible. The core of all relationships are at the table. The core of socializing is at the table. So is provision, fullness, food and fuel. You can understand stumbling block, something you trip over. Recompense is a payment or to repay for something. Dark eyes is blindness again. And bow down their back is a symbol of humility – but not the kind that leads to repentance. It is more like bowing to a king because you have to – but to do it always would imply that it leads to slavery and being the lowest and having to bow to everyone.
To me the fact that this thought wraps up with the word bow is interesting. Bow is at the beginning – with the remnant who will not bow. And now bow is one of the judgments God drops onto those who reject Him.

Israel’s rejection is not final – nor is the rejection by anyone. God uses the humbling process to wake us up to repent. Let’s take a look at how Paul says it:

11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. 12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!”
God is literally saving me, a Gentile, to provoke the Jews to jealousy – however, dig a little deeper you will see He is humbling them like the prodigal son to bring them home and give them a greater fullness.
If you and I can do great exploits in His name – how much more will these be able to do? They will be God’s joy!

13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. 15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?”

As gentiles who believe we should be blessed when they return and the favor shines brighter on them. We aren’t the ones being provoked to jealousy – we are here by adoption and thankful to even be included.

16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.”
Pay close attention here – Israel is the firstfruits. They are holy. For example, I made a new line of jewelry for my business – a luxury line. It all was inspired by these beautiful charms that demanded a higher quality product. When released, everyone wanted it, and it wasn’t even the most expensive – it was just the first fruit of the line. Although everyone wanted it – So did God and I missed that. And so no one ended up buying it. I pulled the product down from the sale page and mailed it to a church to sow a seed for the kingdom of God. They are holy, first fruit. They were not mine to sell.

17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 

20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.”

This is such a beautiful explanation of the place of a Gentile. And I love the warning NOT to be haughty. Stay humble. We have no right to be proud in Christ – we did nothing, except clumsily accept love. Little children on a playground boast for their daddies – and get a humbling lesson from their fathers when they get home.  Humble doesn’t mean without joy, or walking around bowing and looking down and downcast. Hold your head up and look for opportunity to serve. Smile with all joy. And respect our Daddy.

22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?”

Paul explains it all so we understand the order of things and how we all fit – because we do fit and we do belong:

25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 27 For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”

Now to both Jew and Gentile – who believe – Paul writes:
28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.”
“They are enemies” are the unbelievers.

29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”
So if you have a gift or a calling – God doesn’t remove it if you backslide. Or if you walk away and come back. Or if you begin to grow cold and do not even realize it. You can’t tell by watching the gifts. You can only tell by fruits.  

30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.”
This is more knowing and understanding who you are and where you belong in the big picture. Gentile get in because Israel screwed up – but it was so we were all equally screwed up and God could dish out mercy consistently.

33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?” 35 “Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?” 36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”

Oh how big and glorious is our God! We can’t wash our clothes before we put them in the washing machine – jump in the washer and let Jesus clean us. He is such a big and glorious God. God is real and loving and He is for us – even if it isn’t working for us.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

WEEKEND READING – 5-8-22

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit.” Psalm 32:1-2 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Psalms chapters 31-35 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).

The Lord a Fortress in Adversity

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

31 In You, O Lord, I [a]put my trust;
Let me never be ashamed;
Deliver me in Your righteousness.
Bow down Your ear to me,
Deliver me speedily;
Be my rock of [b]refuge,
[c]fortress of defense to save me.

For You are my rock and my fortress;
Therefore, for Your name’s sake,
Lead me and guide me.
Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,
For You are my strength.
Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.

I have hated those who regard useless idols;
But I trust in the Lord.
I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy,
For You have considered my trouble;
You have known my soul in [d]adversities,
And have not shut[e] me up into the hand of the enemy;
You have set my feet in a wide place.

Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble;
My eye wastes away with grief,
Yes, my soul and my [f]body!
10 For my life is spent with grief,
And my years with sighing;
My strength fails because of my iniquity,
And my bones waste away.
11 I am a [g]reproach among all my enemies,
But especially among my neighbors,
And am repulsive to my acquaintances;
Those who see me outside flee from me.
12 I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind;
I am like a [h]broken vessel.
13 For I hear the slander of many;
Fear is on every side;
While they take counsel together against me,
They scheme to take away my life.

14 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies,
And from those who persecute me.
16 Make Your face shine upon Your servant;
Save me for Your mercies’ sake.
17 Do not let me be ashamed, O Lord, for I have called upon You;
Let the wicked be ashamed;
Let them be silent in the grave.
18 Let the lying lips be put to silence,
Which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.

19 Oh, how great is Your goodness,
Which You have laid up for those who fear You,
Which You have prepared for those who trust in You
In the presence of the sons of men!
20 You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence
From the plots of man;
You shall keep them secretly in a [i]pavilion
From the strife of tongues.

21 Blessed be the Lord,
For He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a [j]strong city!
22 For I said in my haste,
“I am cut off from before Your eyes”;
Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications
When I cried out to You.

23 Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints!
For the Lord preserves the faithful,
And fully repays the proud person.
24 Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the Lord.

The Joy of Forgiveness

A Psalm of David. A [k]Contemplation.

32 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not [l]impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit.

When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah
I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You
In a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters
They shall not come near him.
You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.
Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
Which have no understanding,
Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
Else they will not come near you.

10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked;
But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.
11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous;
And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

The Sovereignty of the Lord in Creation and History

33 Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous!
For praise from the upright is beautiful.
Praise the Lord with the harp;
[m]Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.
Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.

For the word of the Lord is right,
And all His work is done in truth.
He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea together [n]as a heap;
He lays up the deep in storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.

10 The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.
11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
The plans of His heart to all generations.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.

13 The Lord looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men.
14 From the place of His dwelling He looks
On all the inhabitants of the earth;
15 He fashions their hearts individually;
He [o]considers all their works.

16 No king is saved by the multitude of an army;
A mighty man is not delivered by great strength.
17 A horse is a [p]vain hope for safety;
Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.

18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,
19 To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.

20 Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name.
22 Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You.

The Happiness of Those Who Trust in God

A Psalm of David when he pretended madness before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed.

34 I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.

I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
The [q]angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no [r]want to those who fear Him.
10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.

11 Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Who is the man who desires life,
And loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
To [s]cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as [t]have a contrite spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
20 He guards all his bones;
Not one of them is broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous shall be [u]condemned.
22 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.

The Lord the Avenger of His People

A Psalm of David.

35 Plead[v] my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me;
Fight against those who fight against me.
Take hold of shield and [w]buckler,
And stand up for my help.
Also draw out the spear,
And stop those who pursue me.
Say to my soul,
“I am your salvation.”

Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonor
Who seek after my life;
Let those be turned back and brought to confusion
Who plot my hurt.
Let them be like chaff before the wind,
And let the [x]angel of the Lord chase them.
Let their way be dark and slippery,
And let the angel of the Lord pursue them.
For without cause they have hidden their net for me in a pit,
Which they have dug without cause for my life.
[y]Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly,
And let his net that he has hidden catch himself;
Into that very destruction let him fall.

And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord;
It shall rejoice in His salvation.
10 All my bones shall say,
“Lord, who is like You,
Delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him,
Yes, the poor and the needy from him who plunders him?”

11 Fierce witnesses rise up;
They ask me things that I do not know.
12 They reward me evil for good,
To the sorrow of my soul.
13 But as for me, when they were sick,
My clothing was sackcloth;
I humbled myself with fasting;
And my prayer would return to my own [z]heart.
14 I paced about as though he were my friend or brother;
I bowed down [aa]heavily, as one who mourns for his mother.

15 But in my [ab]adversity they rejoiced
And gathered together;
Attackers gathered against me,
And I did not know it;
They tore at me and did not cease;
16 With ungodly mockers at feasts
They gnashed at me with their teeth.

17 Lord, how long will You look on?
Rescue me from their destructions,
My precious life from the lions.
18 I will give You thanks in the great assembly;
I will praise You among [ac]many people.

19 Let them not rejoice over me who are wrongfully my enemies;
Nor let them wink with the eye who hate me without a cause.
20 For they do not speak peace,
But they devise deceitful matters
Against the quiet ones in the land.
21 They also opened their mouth wide against me,
And said, “Aha, aha!
Our eyes have seen it.

22 This You have seen, O Lord;
Do not keep silence.
O Lord, do not be far from me.
23 Stir up Yourself, and awake to my vindication,
To my cause, my God and my Lord.
24 Vindicate me, O Lord my God, according to Your righteousness;
And let them not rejoice over me.
25 Let them not say in their hearts, “Ah, so we would have it!”
Let them not say, “We have swallowed him up.”

26 Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion
Who rejoice at my hurt;
Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor
Who exalt themselves against me.

27 Let them shout for joy and be glad,
Who favor my righteous cause;
And let them say continually,
“Let the Lord be magnified,
Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”
28 And my tongue shall speak of Your righteousness
And of Your praise all the day long.

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 31:1 have taken refuge
  2. Psalm 31:2 strength
  3. Psalm 31:2 Lit. house of fortresses
  4. Psalm 31:7 troubles
  5. Psalm 31:8 given me over
  6. Psalm 31:9 Lit. belly
  7. Psalm 31:11 despised thing
  8. Psalm 31:12 Lit. perishing
  9. Psalm 31:20 shelter
  10. Psalm 31:21 fortified
  11. Psalm 32:1 Heb. Maschil
  12. Psalm 32:2 charge his account with
  13. Psalm 33:2 Lit. Sing to Him
  14. Psalm 33:7 LXX, Tg., Vg. in a vessel
  15. Psalm 33:15 understands
  16. Psalm 33:17 false
  17. Psalm 34:7 Or Angel
  18. Psalm 34:9 lack
  19. Psalm 34:16 destroy
  20. Psalm 34:18 are crushed in spirit
  21. Psalm 34:21 held guilty
  22. Psalm 35:1 Contend for me
  23. Psalm 35:2 A small shield
  24. Psalm 35:5 Or Angel
  25. Psalm 35:8 Lit. Let destruction he does not know come upon him,
  26. Psalm 35:13 Lit. bosom
  27. Psalm 35:14 in mourning
  28. Psalm 35:15 limping, stumbling
  29. Psalm 35:18 a mighty

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

John 20:31- “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

WEEKEND READING – 5-7-22

Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones, Give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” Psalm 29:1-2 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Psalms chapters 26-30 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).

A Prayer for Divine Scrutiny and Redemption

A Psalm of David.

26 Vindicate me, O Lord,
For I have walked in my integrity.
I have also trusted in the Lord;
I shall not slip.
Examine me, O Lord, and [a]prove me;
Try my mind and my heart.
For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,
And I have walked in Your truth.
I have not sat with idolatrous mortals,
Nor will I go in with hypocrites.
I have hated the assembly of evildoers,
And will not sit with the wicked.

I will wash my hands in innocence;
So I will go about Your altar, O Lord,
That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving,
And tell of all Your wondrous works.
Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house,
And the place [b]where Your glory dwells.

Do[c] not gather my soul with sinners,
Nor my life with bloodthirsty men,
10 In whose hands is a sinister scheme,
And whose right hand is full of bribes.

11 But as for me, I will walk in my integrity;
Redeem me and be merciful to me.
12 My foot stands in an even place;
In the congregations I will bless the Lord.

An Exuberant Declaration of Faith

A Psalm of David.

27 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me
To eat[d] up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.

One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the [e]beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.
For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be [f]lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of [g]joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.
10 When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the Lord will take care of me.

11 Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

14 Wait[h] on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Rejoicing in Answered Prayer

A Psalm of David.

28 To You I will cry, O Lord my Rock:
Do not be silent to me,
Lest, if You are silent to me,
I become like those who go down to the pit.
Hear the voice of my supplications
When I cry to You,
When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.

Do not [i]take me away with the wicked
And with the workers of iniquity,
Who speak peace to their neighbors,
But evil is in their hearts.
Give them according to their deeds,
And according to the wickedness of their endeavors;
Give them according to the work of their hands;
Render to them what they deserve.
Because they do not regard the works of the Lord,
Nor the operation of His hands,
He shall destroy them
And not build them up.

Blessed be the Lord,
Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.

The Lord is [j]their strength,
And He is the saving refuge of His [k]anointed.
Save Your people,
And bless Your inheritance;
Shepherd them also,
And bear them up forever.

Praise to God in His Holiness and Majesty

A Psalm of David.

29 Give[l] unto the Lord, O you mighty ones,
Give unto the Lord glory and strength.
[m]Give unto the Lord the glory [n]due to His name;
Worship the Lord in the [o]beauty of holiness.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
The God of glory thunders;
The Lord is over many waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
The voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars,
Yes, the Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes them also skip like a calf,
Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord [p]divides the flames of fire.

The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
The Lord shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth,
And strips the forests bare;
And in His temple everyone says, “Glory!”

10 The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood,
And the Lord sits as King forever.
11 The Lord will give strength to His people;
The Lord will bless His people with peace.

The Blessedness of Answered Prayer

A Psalm. A Song at the dedication of the house of David.

30 I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up,
And have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried out to You,
And You healed me.
O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave;
You have kept me alive, [q]that I should not go down to the pit.

Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His,
And give thanks at the remembrance of [r]His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But [s]joy comes in the morning.

Now in my prosperity I said,
“I shall never be [t]moved.”
Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong;
You hid Your face, and I was troubled.

I cried out to You, O Lord;
And to the Lord I made supplication:
“What profit is there in my blood,
When I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise You?
Will it declare Your truth?
10 Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me;
Lord, be my helper!”

11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have put off [u]my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
12 To the end that my [v]glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 26:2 test me
  2. Psalm 26:8 Lit. of the tabernacle of Your glory
  3. Psalm 26:9 Do not take away
  4. Psalm 27:2 devour
  5. Psalm 27:4 delightfulness
  6. Psalm 27:6 Lifted up in honor
  7. Psalm 27:6 joyous shouts
  8. Psalm 27:14 Wait in faith
  9. Psalm 28:3 drag
  10. Psalm 28:8 So with MT, Tg.; LXX, Syr., Vg. the strength of His people
  11. Psalm 28:8 Commissioned one, Heb. messiah
  12. Psalm 29:1 Ascribe
  13. Psalm 29:2 Ascribe
  14. Psalm 29:2 Lit. of His name
  15. Psalm 29:2 majesty
  16. Psalm 29:7 stirs up, lit. hews out
  17. Psalm 30:3 So with Qr., Tg.; Kt., LXX, Syr., Vg. from those who descend to the pit
  18. Psalm 30:4 Or His holiness
  19. Psalm 30:5 a shout of joy
  20. Psalm 30:6 shaken
  21. Psalm 30:11 The sackcloth of my mourning
  22. Psalm 30:12 soul

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

John 20:31- “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

How Will They Know if We Do Not Tell Them – 5-6-22

“For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.” Romans 10:11-12 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Romans chapter 10 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Israel Needs the Gospel

10 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for [a]Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down from aboveor, “ ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Israel Rejects the Gospel

14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who [b]preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

18 But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:
“Their sound has gone out to all the earth,
And their words to the ends of the world.”

19 But I say, did Israel not know? First Moses says:
“I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation,
I will move you to anger by a foolish nation.”

20 But Isaiah is very bold and says:
“I was found by those who did not seek Me;
I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me.”

21 But to Israel he says:
“All day long I have stretched out My hands
To a disobedient and contrary people.”

Footnotes
a. Romans 10:1 NU them
b. Romans 10:15 NU omits preach the gospel of peace, Who

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

John 20:31- “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

More than half way through the book and our study of Romans and I have to ask, how are you doing with the challenge? Last week, we challenged each other to take a few actions daily to help get us some healthy roots and to root out any sins within us. I am personally surprised at what has surfaced and how God is using this to help pull out things I did not even know were there. Here, for review, and as a reminder to keep building up the healthy roots, is the 2 part challenge:

PRAYER FOR FORGIVENESS:
Dear God, I am sorry for being filled with all/any unrighteousness, and/or sexual immorality, and/or wickedness, and/or covetousness, and/or maliciousness, and/or envy, murder, and strife, and/or deceit and evil-mindedness, and/or being a whisperers and  backbiters, and/or haters of God, and/or violent, and/or proud and boasting, and/or inventors of evil things, and/or disobedient to parents, and/or undiscerning, and/or untrustworthy, and/or unloving, and/or unforgiving, and/or unmerciful, and/or for practicing such things are deserving of death. Please forgive me even though I knew better and I understand the righteous judgment of You, God. Please wash me with the Blood of Jesus. Cleanse me and help me turn from my evil ways – convict me strongly when I do wrong that I may notice and stop. And send a fresh filling of your anointing to break the yokes of bondage and help me destroy the roots with a mindful effort and focus on you. Please reignite the fire in my belly that I may burn for you in boldness. In the name of Jesus we pray ~amen

HEALTHY ROOTS CHALLENGE: this challenge is to heal and strengthen our roots
One – Give God ALL the Glory
Two – Dedicated time for thanksgiving, and be thankful for all things!
Three – Guard our hearts and mind, rebuking and stopping sinful or not godly thoughts, not letting our minds wander and be prayerful and intentional in thinking.
Four – And finally, let us be humble. Humble enough to say I do not know it all and God has something new to reveal to me in this book and in this day.
(Please review the blog post from 4/25/22 for an explanation as to why we are doing this daily and for the scriptural reference instructing us to make these things a practice in our lives. Until they flow from us naturally, we can intentionally and with all of our hearts, scheduled them into our lives and watch them heal and reroute our unhealthy roots that gave sinful/evil fruits.)

Now, let us look at chapter ten:

Chapter 10 has the subtitles that Israel needs the Gospel and Israel rejects the Gospel – A pretty clear indicator that this is about the Jewish people. Is there anything in here for those of us adopted into the family? I mean the Romans Road to Salvation (adapted to be the A, B, C’s of Salvation) comes from this chapter, and many use this formula to lead people through the salvation prayer and profession of faith. I even use it in the relationship section of EVERY post – we all should have it memorized by now and be able to quote it while leading people to Christ.  How does it apply to gentiles in a subtitle written about Jews?

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
Many times I have prayed that God would give me a heart for people – especially the people He wants me to reach. In this book and others as well as in the way he lived, Paul demonstrated that he has a heart for the Jew first and then the Gentile. But there is a special hurt for Paul who personally identifies with being zealous for the Lord and loving Him with all his heart – and doing it wrong. Because Paul lived it.
It reminds me of people like my son – knows and confesses there is a God and really does want to know God and wants a life changing experience with God, but wants to come upon it his own way and not in seeking him through the Bible, the church, or other places God is commonly found.
It reminds me of a couple friends, entrenched in sin, yet they believe they have eternal security and it doesn’t matter – they can love God and sin and not know God and not do His will and still slide into heaven some how.

Paul also knows these people are the hardest to reach. He was one, so He knows. He is also writing to a few – and I might be as well. They are the ones who read through Paul’s challenge to repent from sin, quickly and did not act on it. Was this you? We acted on it and kicked it up a notch to find even more than what is found with one introspective review. Are you doing it daily? Or just skimming it… or not even skimming, but scrolling down to the good part?
Paul’s letters were read out loud in one sitting, but you could come back and hear it again and again. And so it was easy for them to skip the repentance. But what about the ‘die to self’ part? Yes, even that can be blown over when reading the whole book at once. They did not pause, repent, sleep on it while praying through for understanding and come back the next day ready for direction.
So Paul reviews it one more time:

For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down from aboveor, “‘who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):”
Yep, Paul sums it up quickly, again quoting the old scriptures, because the word of God is anointed and does not return void. So he causes these Jews to be stirred to remember the word. And then Paul gives the salvation message.
This is the altar call most churches save for the end – “If you do not know Jesus and want to please raise your hand or come forward or something and repeat this prayer after me – after I quote these next two verses.”  Or like me, I do it upfront, and can always go back and do it again if you said no the first time. Paul shows that when he related to these people, showed them his love for them – he can give this message.
Now, verses 1-8 probably will not work on gentiles. And probably will still work on Jews. But we can follow the pattern. Relate to the person. Love them. Jesus loves them more. And then tell them how to be saved. It would be even better if you add to it a few verses that you stood on in those relatable situations and the testimony of how Jesus in you overcame the world.

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

I just read that 3 times – it is so good. Lord, I believe in you and you will not put me to shame! You are my salvation! Hallelujah! Man, it feels so good to confess Him!! I remember like it was yesterday, although I never wrote down the date – When I laid on my floor crying out to God needed to be saved from myself and my sin and death’s snare. I remember multiple times since of laying in prayer flat on my face crying out to God to save me, keep me, and not let me fall away again. And these last two weeks crying out to God to save me from my sin, asking him to show me, expose it to me, and let me become more clean and closer to Him.

Next Paul addresses how Israel Rejects the Gospel. First, they reject it because NO ONE preached the truth to them.

14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
Oh Lord, make our feet beautiful and do not let us miss an opportunity to share Jesus. In this world, being so busy, never having been taught how – it is easy to miss the opportunity.
So – Paul just taught us how to tell others. I keep the “Relationship” section at the top so you quick pull it up if you need to, for help with witnessing. But how do you start? How does it go? The River Church in Tampa, Florida has a script that they teach people to start off by just reading it to people – and it works more often than it doesn’t because it has been prayed over and anointed. I adapted it for my own ease of use and I will include it at the bottom. Feel free to copy it, print it, use it when witnessing. Because they cannot choose Christ if they haven’t heard that He is an option.

But those who have rejected God? They reject God not us. Do not take it personally. And let Him handle it. It is just our job to relay the message.
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

It says “hearing” because back then the scriptures were read out loud. No one just got alone with their Torah or their Psalms. If you were lucky enough to own the holy words – your job was to read them to others and if you did not own them, you would go hear them.
The letters Paul sent were also read out loud and copied and other people carried them on to the other churches and read them. Peter acknowledge Paul’s letters as scripture, which is where we got the idea to include them as the Bible. That is God said to.

18 But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world.”
19 But I say, did Israel not know? First Moses says: “I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation, I will move you to anger by a foolish nation.”

The gentiles being included in the Jewish God’s plan of salvation, even though it came from the covenant with Abraham, makes the Jewish people jealous. You see – there was NEVER any way someone could convert to Judaism. One could become a proselyte but not a Jew. You had to be born a Jew. But the Messiah comes and even though they rejected Him too, His followers begin including gentiles; and Jews and gentiles are side by side believing in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This evoked jealousy and still does. Even though they reject it, it makes them jealous.

20 But Isaiah is very bold and says: “I was found by those who did not seek Me; I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me.”
This is about God revealing, calling, and saving the gentiles – the time period called the dispensation of Grace.

21 But to Israel he says: “All day long I have stretched out My hands To a disobedient and contrary people.”

Seriously, ending the chapter this way, just breaks my heart for God and Paul who tried so hard to save the Jews. But God used jealousy and trials to draw them to him before and the word of God says he is doing it again starting in the first century.
I can’t say I understand it all. I can’t say I want to understand it all. But God is working to save Him people first and the gentiles second. It is just that a few of us gentiles believed before His stiff necked children.

So today, let us take on another challenge not to just do it today – but to do it every day for the remainder of the book.
Print up the script, or take one handed out by your church, or one you were given – put it in your bag, purse or pocket and carry it with you just in case you need it. Then, look for an opportunity today to share Jesus. Don’t worry if it isn’t a divine appointment or question if it is what you are to do – we just read Mark where it said go out and preach to every creature. Every one. So if you see someone, it is a creature and you should preach to them. Dogs, cats and birds make great practice but they cannot be saved. and if everyone you see is a Christian then you need to expand your circle, go to the store and DON’T get in the line where the cashier is your friend from church.
And Paul says to tell them the gospel – the news that Jesus died for our sins and we can be saved. We do not have to make sure they come to church (although definitely invite them). We do not have to make sure they change. Just read the script and pray then let God do what God does.
Let me know how it works out.

Enjoy the weekend wisdom reading – from Psalms (without any commentary from me) and we will pick up again on Monday in Romans. Be blessed!

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Salvation Message Witnessing Script

Has anyone ever told you that God loves you and that He has a wonderful plan for your life? I have a real quick, but important question to ask you. If you were to die this very second, do you know for sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you would go to Heaven?

If your answer is anything but a doubtless YES, then let me quickly share with you what the Holy Bible reads. It reads: “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” and “for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The Bible also reads, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” and you are a “whosoever” right? Of course you are; all of us are.

I am going to say a quick prayer for you:
Lord, bless (fill in name) and their family with long and healthy lives. Jesus make Yourself real to them and do a quick work in their heart. If (name) has not received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, I pray they will do so now. Amen.

(Fill in name), if you would like to receive the gift that God has for you today, say this after me with your heart and (when you can) with your lips out loud.
Dear Lord Jesus, come into my heart and forgive me of my sin. Please wash me, cleanse me and heal me. Set me free. Jesus, thank you that you died for me. I believe that you are risen from the dead and that You are coming back again for me. Fill me with the Holy Spirit. Give me a passion for the lost, a hunger for the things of God and a holy boldness to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am saved. I am born again. I am forgiven and I’m on my way to Heaven because I have Jesus in my heart.

Learning How We fit in the Plan – 5-5-22

“As it is written: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” Romans 9:33 NKJV

We can talk about the meaning of this verse below – but I wanted to briefly speak of stumbling and offenses. I am very direct, and many wish I would sugar coat what I say or temper how I say it – to them I am too much and an offence. But I have love and therefore urgency. Stop being wishy washy and straighten up, there is no time left for self, for flesh, and for those games.
I understand stumbling but don’t get offended – just get back up! About a year ago, when I first started my business, I would slide in a self-promotion here and there with my ‘supportive’ comments on other people’s posts. It was sly and I did not think it was overtly obvious. Well, God did not let me get away with it for long. On a Christian Woman’s business social media, she posted asking us a question, I commented and slid in a plug for my business. And then the flood gates opened. I walked away from my computer and phone and when I returned I had a handful of replies telling me my marketing was smarmy, that I was a terrible person to try to prey on her customers, and basically saying it was an unethical business practice. Honestly, I did not think of it that way and wow, not the way I want people to see me or my product. I knew there was nothing I could say to those people to make it right – I messaged the business owner and apologized and I deleted my comment (which deleted the whole thread).
Here on the blog, I encourage people to share – I have a Facebook and Instagram that support it but I seldom get traffic from there. So I generally am not promoting. I haven’t even engaged any SEO.  I knew when God asked me to do this that I could talk about it – but unless God builds this His way, my efforts would be futile (Psalms 127:1). But over in my business – I did it my way and stumbled. I did not get offended. I got humble and did what I could to repent. It was fleshly, and didn’t we just discuss the importance of killing the flesh? My business grows frustratingly slow – but unless the Lord builds it, it will fail. Now I look for posts that ask for self-promotion before I try to promote myself.

I haven’t done it in a while so let’s do it today. Although every comment shows you posted it and if you are set up right we can click on you and follow it back to your blog – I am still asking for a more direct approach today. Please, comment with a link to your blogs. Today, you have permission to show us your work, what you write about or the photos you share and let us all glory in God with you for what He has done in you!!

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Romans chapter 9 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Israel’s Rejection of Christ

I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my [a]countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

Israel’s Rejection and God’s Purpose

But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.”

10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), 12 it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”

Israel’s Rejection and God’s Justice

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

25 As He says also in Hosea:

“I will call them My people, who were not My people,
And her beloved, who was not beloved.”
26 “And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them,
‘You are not My people,’
There they shall be called sons of the living God.”

27 Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel:

“Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea,
The remnant will be saved.
28 For [b]He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness,
Because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth.”

29 And as Isaiah said before:

“Unless the Lord of [c]Sabaoth had left us a seed,
We would have become like Sodom,
And we would have been made like Gomorrah.”

Present Condition of Israel

30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law [d]of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, [e]by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 33 As it is written:

“Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,
And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

Footnotes

  1. Romans 9:3 Or relatives
  2. Romans 9:28 NU the Lord will finish the work and cut it short upon the earth
  3. Romans 9:29 Lit., in Heb., Hosts
  4. Romans 9:31 NU omits of righteousness
  5. Romans 9:32 NU by works, omitting of the law

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

John 20:31- “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Last week, we challenged each other to take a few actions daily to help get us some healthy roots and to root out any sins within us. Here, for review, and as a reminder to keep building up the healthy roots.

PRAYER FOR FORGIVENESS:
Dear God, I am sorry for being filled with all/any unrighteousness, and/or sexual immorality, and/or wickedness, and/or covetousness, and/or maliciousness, and/or envy, murder, and strife, and/or deceit and evil-mindedness, and/or being a whisperers and  backbiters, and/or haters of God, and/or violent, and/or proud and boasting, and/or inventors of evil things, and/or disobedient to parents, and/or undiscerning, and/or untrustworthy, and/or unloving, and/or unforgiving, and/or unmerciful, and/or for practicing such things are deserving of death. Please forgive me even though I knew better and I understand the righteous judgment of You, God. Please wash me with the Blood of Jesus. Cleanse me and help me turn from my evil ways – convict me strongly when I do wrong that I may notice and stop. And send a fresh filling of your anointing to break the yokes of bondage and help me destroy the roots with a mindful effort and focus on you. Please reignite the fire in my belly that I may burn for you in boldness. In the name of Jesus we pray ~amen

HEALTHY ROOTS CHALLENGE: this challenge is to heal and strengthen our roots
One – Give God ALL the Glory
Two – Dedicated time for thanksgiving, and be thankful for all things!
Three – Guard our hearts and mind, rebuking and stopping sinful or not godly thoughts, not letting our minds wander and be prayerful and intentional in thinking.
Four – And finally, let us be humble. Humble enough to say I do not know it all and God has something new to reveal to me in this book and in this day.
(Please review the blog post from 4/25/22 for an explanation as to why we are doing this daily and for the scriptural reference instructing us to make these things a practice in our lives. Until they flow from us naturally, we can intentionally and with all of our hearts, scheduled them into our lives and watch them heal and reroute our unhealthy roots that gave sinful/evil fruits.)

Now, let us look at chapter nine:

I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.”

Paul is heartbroken that many of the people of Israel rejected their Messiah and Paul has a burden for them and a desire to teach them, so they might turn. Paul consistently preached first to the Jews in every city he entered. Without fail.
I preach Jesus to the Jew and Gentile and you’ll even catch me preaching to my unrepentant dog (she just doesn’t get it)! But I am not a Jew, with a burden for Jews and cannot understand what Paul is going through. Which is fine, it isn’t mine – my heart breaks for the lost in general.  If you aren’t a Jew – do not take on Paul’s calling. They are a stiff necked people and will not doubt NOT listen to a gentile about salvation. (Unless God has anointed your and called your otherwise.) However, in my quest to tell everyone about Jesus I have told a few Jews. And once they disclose they are a Jew, I ask to pray with them for Israel and for the peace of Jerusalem and for God to reveal the messiah – if it be Jesus or not. Let God reveal it. Let me just give them love and prayers for their God to bless their people. Remember He is their God first even though He is now my God!

God knew He children, the Israelites would reject Jesus and that the fact that gentile can receive Him either make Him less likely their Messiah or more commonly an offense to them. Paul starts back with Abraham and hops through the Old Testament showing us that this is a fulfilment of scripture, God has a purpose for it, and God’s justice. And unless you are a Jew from a line that came from Jacob, there is not much that you can apply to yourself personally without taking this out of context.

But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.”
10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), 12 it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”

This is Paul, pouring His heart out for His people. And then there is a shift. The next section shows God ever striving and working for the hearts of his people. But there is now a layer of application to the gentile, the adopted and / or potentially adopted.

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” 
Do not get side tracked here – He is NOT saying he issues out mercy all willy-nilly. This is not about What God is thinking or what His strategy is. This is about the fact that God does it and we do not earn it (we being first the Jews and second the gentiles).

16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
Over and Over we see we cannot even serve God without God. We cannot even be here except He has called us to be here. It is not by our works or deed – but by His free gift.
This sound a lot like we do not have free will as we continue. We have free will and we can reject our creator like satan himself did. But thank God, God will make it very difficult for us!

19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?”
And here is a warning to know our place. It is not that we were made for dishonor. But it is very possible Biden was made to be a judgement on America – which is a better application of this like pharaoh referenced above.
But in personal application – know your place and do not question His work. Trust, follow and obey and you will learn why you are created the way you are created.

22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?”

Thanks Paul for agreeing with much better choices of words.

25 As He says also in Hosea: “I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved.” 26 “And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.”

This is a good place to remind ourselves why Paul is writing and to whom. Because so far you and I have been eating it up like we can’t get enough, then this chapter seemingly slides away from that and I know many get lost and confused and do not finish the book. But Paul was not writing to me and you. As hard as it is to imagine. He was writing to the church in Rome, which was comprised primarily of Jewish converts to Christianity. NONE of you are not Jews living in Rome and submerged in Roman culture and practices and have converted to Christianity and are now trying to navigate a new belief system that is contrary to the Roman way of life and mixes in some Judaism seemingly mixed up, and accepts gentiles who do not have to change to be like you, a believing Jew.
However you and I followed the life-death-life journey of chapters 5,6 and 7 then celebrated our adoption in Jesus and completed some sort of spiritual process and are ready to learn how to move in it. These Jews did too and when they landed on chapter 8 they got that Jesus loved them and adopted us – but they didn’t celebrate being the chosen people.
It reminds me of the story of the prodigal son. Everyone was focused on the prodigal – and the one who never left and was faithful stood there feeling left out and confused.
This is Paul addressing them, with much more love than he had for us Gentiles – but that is ok, like he said we are happy to be adopted.

27 Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, The remnant will be saved. 28 For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness,
Because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth.”

Paul shows them that those Gentiles are supposed to be adopted using prophetic texts here that applied to Isaiah’s time, Jesus’s time, Pauls’ time, our time and the future (remember prophecy is outside of time). Right now, and it’s already started, God is raising up a remnant to run to the fields and bring in the harvest – that is your job and my job. That is why we are here and why we read, study and obey. How much longer will the Lord tarry and will we be the last remnant to rise up? That is not ours to know. We must just do our Job like it is the last chance for everyone and let God sort it out because for some, you will be their last chance to hear and be saved.

29 And as Isaiah said before: “Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, We would have become like Sodom, And we would have been made like Gomorrah.”
I suppose now might be a good time to talk about the Sodom and Gomorrah / Days of Noah that we are living in. This verse says God left a seed so we wouldn’t go too far – and I wonder how far that too far is.

I have sat on this a few days, but I am usually a few days ahead on posting as well and I think this is a good place to insert this – Let’s very briefly speak of the Leaked document of Row vs Wade in the USA. My mother asked my thoughts on it – and I really do not have any because it stinks of lies. God will judge and expose the lie. Meanwhile, you and I should continue to pray that will be overturned and not sop praying until it is overturned. Meanwhile we can add to our prayer that the lie will not only be exposed but that it will happen in a way that all will see and learn the truth. We are the remnant, the seed, called to keep us from becoming like Sodom and Gomorrah. AS seed let us be planted and stand firm and pray it through. Pray to hold back darkness. Pray to cancel the plans of the enemy. Pray against the principalities and powers. Pray the curses return to where they came from. Pray for deliverance and freedom.  DO NOT TELL ME IT ISN’T ALL DEMONIC! It is time for the seed to grow, grow hard and wild like a weed and choke out the enemy! Don’t tell me to stop! I can’t stop won’t stop – for it is written and it is our job! We were made for such a time as this for this purpose – save people and pray hard! Don’t tell me I am too much – I am too much and made in my Father’s image and HE IS TOO MUCH!! He is abundance and He is provision with manna and quail coming out our noses and He is perfect!

I have nothing to say about the lies – but about you and I and our Job and our calling, I have a lot to say about it, every day I come here and say about it.

Paul goes on to talk about the present condition of Israel which hasn’t changed much in 2000 years and is therefore the current condition of isreal.

30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 33 As it is written: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

And now the temple is destroyed and has been for 2000 years and the evening of the 4th and all day the 5th (when you read this) it is Israel’s 74th birthday and they still have not rebuilt the temple – so on the temple mound there are fighting and chaos – it is no longer a place of prayer. And we know the sacrifices are unnecessary – the temple is prophesied and prophecy must be fulfilled.  And soon the dispensation of grace will run out and God will turn His face again to Israel to save them.

But for the next few days Paul is going to explain this all in much greater detail. First of all because the believing Jews needed to know God was not done with them – and because you and I are living in a time when we must understand God’s plan and how it is playing out.
I know that after waking up feeling all new the other day, you wanted to dig into how to walk in it… step one is to walk knowing this plan. Step two is coming after that with power and a plan for dealing with the current corrupt system we are oppressed by. I know it feels like the end of the book as we look around at our current affairs and the woes of our headline news – but friends we are only in Romans and not the end.  We are made justified and now we sit at Paul’s feet and learn the plan – so we may fulfill Gods purpose for our lives.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Jesus Loves You – 5-4-22

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1 NKJV
Today is a long discussion at the end, and I thought I would warn you that I did not stay under my 4000 word total. But I am requoting the entire reading during the discussion, and today’s is a little longer. I am sorry, but I was blessed doing it and I know it is powerful and God will bless you today as well.

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Romans chapter 8 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Free from Indwelling Sin

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who[a] do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be [b]carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the [c]carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies [d]through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Sonship Through the Spirit

12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba,[e] Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

From Suffering to Glory

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of [f]corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession [g]for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

God’s Everlasting Love

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Footnotes

  1. Romans 8:1 NU omits the rest of v. 1.
  2. Romans 8:6 fleshly
  3. Romans 8:7 fleshly
  4. Romans 8:11 Or because of
  5. Romans 8:15 Lit., in Aram., Father
  6. Romans 8:21 decay
  7. Romans 8:26 NU omits for us

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

John 20:31- “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Last week, we challenged each other to take a few actions daily to help get us some healthy roots and to root out any sins within us. If you participated in yesterday’s activity, then there is not much to repent of today. But it is here for review, and a reminder to keep building up the healthy roots.

PRAYER FOR FORGIVENESS:
Dear God, I am sorry for being filled with all/any unrighteousness, and/or sexual immorality, and/or wickedness, and/or covetousness, and/or maliciousness, and/or envy, murder, and strife, and/or deceit and evil-mindedness, and/or being a whisperers and  backbiters, and/or haters of God, and/or violent, and/or proud and boasting, and/or inventors of evil things, and/or disobedient to parents, and/or undiscerning, and/or untrustworthy, and/or unloving, and/or unforgiving, and/or unmerciful, and/or for practicing such things are deserving of death. Please forgive me even though I knew better and I understand the righteous judgment of You, God. Please wash me with the Blood of Jesus. Cleanse me and help me turn from my evil ways – convict me strongly when I do wrong that I may notice and stop. And send a fresh filling of your anointing to break the yokes of bondage and help me destroy the roots with a mindful effort and focus on you. Please reignite the fire in my belly that I may burn for you in boldness. In the name of Jesus we pray ~amen

HEALTHY ROOTS CHALLENGE: this challenge is to heal and strengthen our roots
One – Give God ALL the Glory
Two – Dedicated time for thanksgiving, and be thankful for all things!
Three – Guard our hearts and mind, rebuking and stopping sinful or not godly thoughts, not letting our minds wander and be prayerful and intentional in thinking.
Four – And finally, let us be humble. Humble enough to say I do not know it all and God has something new to reveal to me in this book and in this day.
(Please review the blog post from 4/25/22 for an explanation as to why we are doing this daily and for the scriptural reference instructing us to make these things a practice in our lives. Until they flow from us naturally, we can intentionally and with all of our hearts, scheduled them into our lives and watch them heal and reroute our unhealthy roots that gave sinful/evil fruits.)

Now, let us look at chapter eight and refocus our eyes on God! Yes, we did take our eyes off of him for a couple miserable days, but we do need to look inward occasionally – do some spring cleaning. And NOW, we can refocus on God – with a better understanding of our freedom from sin.

“1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
There is a judgmental spirit condemning the Christians and it lives in our churches. However, I have been to many churches and in some it is just there bickering among a few people. In other places it is entrenched and a principality governing the place with immovable rules made by man quenching the move of the spirit.
I heard a thing on Monday during a planning meeting and initially agreed – but inside I have been grieved since. Please hear what I am saying because it is a subtle difference and do not get caught up on the words I used to try to explain it. The modern charismatic, Pentecostal, evangelical, revivalist type church was born of a move of the spirit. Over the years due to human’s need for scheduling and need to maintain commitments – people have placed man made order over the services and schedules. A couple people said, we have to have balance; we can’t abandon order and our schedules and we can’t be so structured that God can’t move. We need to give God room. And regretfully I agreed. 
You may agree too – especially since today I wrote more and it will take you more time to read it all. Your schedule may not have been ready for the move of the spirit. (It took me longer to write as well, and my schedule was also disrupted – BUT NOT GOD’s Schedule or God’s timing!)
But then I began thinking: how much room do we give God? We do not pray for our ailments that a doctor is maintaining, only the ones the doctor can’t cure. We do not believe for all things, just the ones that fit in the room we give God to move. Casting out a demon takes a varying amount of time; how do we schedule that and how many demoniacs came in today? But if we say nothing to cause them to manifest, then we do not need to address it. If we say we live in the spirit, but do not address the evil, the demons, the strong holds and the curse – what are we addressing and what good are we to a dying, broken, needy people?
Jesus did not have great evangelistic outreach meeting buy scheduling in as a much as we do. There is NO record of a worship service starting off His gatherings. After the last supper, they did break out into a hymn sing on their way to the garden. But worship was not a song service.
I wonder what harm there would be if we did not ask how many songs out song team has prepared, if we did not schedule them from 7 to 7:15 but do three short songs so the people feel like they were worshiping for a while. No getting lost in the bridge and do not let your fingers play the instruments lost in the spirit – into prayer music.
What would happen if we stopped filling service with announcements, hype, disruptions, set formulas and we told people to come at such and such a time and leave when they needed to and let the spirit have complete unhindered control? Why do we need to balance Him with our plans? (I kept my mouth shut and Monday’s planning session went smoothly and it will be the same schedule – in by 7 pm out by 8 pm but plan to be there until 8:30 for those who linger and fellowship and those who want prayer.)

Almost sounds like I am condemning and being judgmental – no worries – there is no condemnation for those who walk in the spirit. As long as you walk in the spirit and not the flesh – there is no fault that can be found.
However in those churches, the one with the evil condemning spirit living there – he will find anything and everything to speak against anyone. Including the pastor. I have seen them correct him from their seats – but they did not even know where he was going or what he meant. They did not even let him finish. Evil brood of vipers! (Not the people, the spirit that moved them to open their mouths against the Lord’s anointed.)

You and I are not pastoring churches like that, at least I hope you aren’t. So we can go through the exercise (yesterday) of dying from our flesh and waking up in the spirit and be encouraged because now, as long as we walk in spirit – we are no longer condemned or even able to be condemned (even when they try – we just quote this verse like swinging a sword that will cut off the tongue of the one attempting to condemn us).

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

So Jesus became flesh and conquered the weakness of the flesh under the law. Which is why we surrender to the spirit and we learn quickly that God is a God of order.  Like if we gave the service over to the spirit there would not be chaos.  Like, prayer meetings at my friend’s church – one Friday a month we plan to be there all night because the spirit leads it. We start with worship… we need to start somewhere. Then as lead by the spirit the worship quiets, the prayers go up (everyone speaking and praying at once – but if you listen we are all led to pray for the same thing – then we are all praying in the spirit). Then in a little bit, I say thank you Jesus and I hear others saying Thanks you Jesus and we thank him and praise him for having heard and answered that prayer and we break out into song! Which quiets, and we repeat the cycle. There is order and structure in the leading of the spirit. That same order and smooth transitions comes into our lives as e also let the spirit lead our lives. We have divine appointments, we are in the right place at the right time for the blessing, and we find the lost and hurting at the right moment to minister to them.

We are no longer weak and condemned by the rules and law – but we are compelled by spirit in love to do the will of our Father.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

The day I returned to Christ, I laid on my floor crying – condemned with no way out. I switched teams and suddenly there was peace and clarity – I had peace in the storms and struggles. I came to Him in hopes he would fix it. He did not. He changed me and now those things aren’t in my life and those things do not matter. I am changed from His enemy and flesh that cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
Oh I could take this apart into a 3 point sermon – but if you have been reading along and doing the exercises you already get it. If you have just joined us, please feel free to scroll back and catch up. And if you do not have a relationship with God and are still thinking about it, then please keep considering and scroll to the top of any post to a section called relationship and ponder it.
But WE ARE HIS! Ownership is NOT a cool concept among millennials and younger. They do not want to be treated as property. It is because people have been BAD stewards of property and sin corrupted out understanding. Standing in the ruins of this concept and armed with love, although their perception of love has also been corrupted by the flesh and all that is evil. How does modern man (and women) understand that it is a privilege and pure love to be a slave to the will of the Father?! To be owned by a good and perfect steward. To be owned by a family name, like a good father owns his son.
I suppose ownership doesn’t mean what many think it means. Because ownership is ready stewardship. I bought a house and land, a small manageable plot but how can I own a piece of a planet? Really I steward it. And all the good things God gives me, like my son (it is my gift I own him), I gave him back to God and so I only steward him and since God owns him – it is God’s job to take care of him where I cannot and where I fail. Ownership is not a negative things – not in the hands of a perfect and Holy God.

12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
Right there – “sons of God.” Owned by God. Debtors to God and forgiven of that debt by God. Reborn as His child into LIFE.

15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba,Father.” 
Abba means daddy. It is the personal and intimate version of father.
We can grasp that we are doing the hard work of killing off our sinful flesh to be in bondage to fear again. But to receive… and this is where things start to fall apart. Receive. How do we receive it? Open our hands and try to touch and take a concept that is not tangible? Why in my culture are we not taught how to receive? We know how to take, and take is not the same. You can’t take a compliment, you must receive it. When a person comes to visit you cannot take them, you must receive them. But in my culture we no longer say we received guests. We “had” them – impersonal and with no intimate, gentle, or tender, interaction implied. Receiving happened regardless of worth or status or ability to give.
So we receive the spirit of adoption. So let us picture in our minds us opening the door and there stands this spirit and we say, ‘please come in and make yourself at home.’ So the Spirit comes in.
Then we say, ‘How can I serve you?’ or “Can I get you anything?’ that is the polite protocol for receiving someone. From that point we do everything we can to make sure they are warmly welcomed, feel included and part of our family, well fed (and usually we honor our received guest with better food and better dishes than we use – so included AND treated better than we treat our own).

16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
In exchange to the warm welcome – the Spirit then tells everyone you are a child of God. Sometimes Christians doubt their salvation. It is normal when you are new to it. Some more mature believed struggle when worn down and doubt creeps in, again, this is normal. BUT WE KNOW, because the spirit himself bears witness that we are saved and Children of God.
Not saying we are the adopted ones – no, but we are the child. The pastor of my home church speaks of his son fondly and often uses examples from their relationship in messages. Only on special occasion does he ever call him, his adopted son – and that is when he is preaching on adoption.  (Yes, his son is adopted.) And like that son – we are called children, not adopted and we are heirs – we get the inheritance. We must dies to sin and suffer that death. We may suffer persecution as well but here he is speaking of the suffering of giving up the flesh.
In case you missed it, it is hard. Do you have a dream or a goal? Die to it, it is flesh. I always knew I was called to be in ministry and teach the bible… guess what? I had to die to that and give it to God as well. Because this blog was NOT what my flesh thought God was going to have me do! I struggled and suffered giving up me and my wants, desires, dreams, hopes, – but not my will – instead I want God’s will for my life. If he gives it back I will receive (better quick learn how to do that too!)

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
I will receive claim, declare and decree this verse. I will lay it like a rock in my foundation and climb right up and stand on it!!! I am waiting for that GLORY to be REVELED in ME! I strive for one thing, to be more Christ-Like and he is in Glory and that GLORY will be revealed in me on that glorious day of my homecoming!

19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
The whole earth longs for that glorious day when the curse is removed from the earth – all creation longs to worship God freely and without bondage of corruption. If you do not believe it. Grab a shofar and blow it (if you know how and have one).  My dog stops what she is doing and a weird peace comes over her and she sits at attention and she looks up, then looks at me. All of creation is waiting for that sound of trumpets and our Glorious Christ, their glorious creator. One day that trump will sound and she will look up and then look to me and I will be gone. Do I worry if she will be ok? Not at all. God provides for the animals, God has provided for her and me for the last 12 months of me having no solid income and a business that doesn’t make enough to support itself. (By the way, God has blessed me with a couple more sales, I am praying for the sales to pour open!)

22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.”
Oh, you have heard me say and conclude each day with a cry out – “Come Lord Jesus Come!” Not because I want to escape – but because that is my focus and that is my prize. That is my blessed hope!
But here we see “waiting for adoption”. Throughout Paul’s writings we see these references to adoption and both having it and waiting for it. We apply this to our modern adoption system and get very close to what Paul is saying. But we can do better. We have an abundance of documentation on the Roman time period and world. Lots of unknowns, but we do have cultural writing that include the Roman adoption.
Like California (trying to pass a law that will kill newborns), Roman society had little regard for infant’s life. They had methods of birth control (which probably did not work) and did try to perform abortions (with an extremely high death rate for the women). So their answer was to take a newborn, which they did not want, out of the city and let nature do whatever nature does. Those infants would starve, quickly, get eaten by wild animals, and occasionally get saved by a person who would raise them. That saved child would probably never be adopted – just raised in the house to be an extra set of hands to do the work. This goes back to being owned and being a slave is not a bad thing in Paul’s culture. These children nursed on mother’s bosom, slept with the other children and were part of the family. When it came time to give the blessing was the only time it mattered – in preparation for the inheritance. Only the biological children got the inheritance. If there were no biological children, they would start the adoption process so the one they took in could inherit.
Another fascinating adoption in the Roman world was that you could adopt an adult!  Again this would be for inheritance, but let’s say I want to give my inheritance to my son and he doesn’t want it. Taking it means (in Roman culture) he would have to run my business. But my son works as a pools manager and wants to be the next aquatics director and not make and sell earrings and accessories. But let’s say I hired an apprentice to learn the trade and that apprentice would like to buy my business and own it. But in Roman times, people did not sell businesses. You could only acquire through inheritance. So I would have to start the process of adopting the apprentice so the apprentice could inherit the business (as well as anything else).
Notice I said start the process. Once you petitioned the Roman court to adopt (a costly process) the one being adopted was immediately considered a child of the family (even if you were an adult). Some adults were legally children of many families. But the adoption is not complete until the parent passes and the inheritance is given. So if the child does something worthy of being disinherited, the adoption process ends and the person is never completely adopted and doesn’t get the inheritance. The idea behind this Roman process was a hope that it prevented scams and abuse.
So when Paul says we are children by adoption we are already children! And when he says we wait for adoption it is because adoption is completed by the inheritance – when we receive heaven.

And for my eternal security friends who try to use this concept to prove that are saved forever even if they continue to sin and refuse to stop rebelling against God… you can lose the inheritance and not complete the adoption process. You adoption does not guarantee inheritance.

24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”
So we begin the adoption process and hope (meaning await it)!

26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
The Spirit helps in our weaknesses – then Paul give an example. But it is in ALL of our weaknesses that we have the Spirit’s help and in which we can rely on God who is strong. But what a great example Paul uses – pray in the spirit! He brags that he prays in the spirit more than us, and when he does, I think challenge accepted. If you are not filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of a spirit prayer language – aka praying in the spirit with groanings and words that are not understandable – than prayer that God give you that gift and open your mouth and let the spirit take control. I heard someone say just repeat thank you Jesus until the Holy Spirit changed it – I started groaning and vocalizing and let the spirit pray through my voice. Ask and you will receive.  And then use it so the spirit will help us pray correctly for the will of God and not our own will.

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
“Called” – quick side note on being called. Many are called. NOT ALL, as much as I will it was all, not all are called by God. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if you are reading this you are called. You would not have read down this far if you were not called. God is calling your name and has a purpose. In Matthew 28 we see the purpose is to go tell everyone about Him, so He can reach the called. But the ones not called will reject Him. Some who are called will reject him – but we must share and pray. God wishes that NONE should perish and that ALL can obtain everlasting life. Realistically He knows it can’t happen. So He calls out the names of those whose hearts are ready. It would seem you can be called and then not called or not called and then called – although Paul teaches on it – he is not clear on that subpoint. Here is the point – God calls our name and we have that opportunity to give ourselves to him. We know tomorrow is not promised. We must answer the call. I think we are past the whole, it’s hard and I just wanna have fun. I think if you are still reading and at this point – you know this is the truth and it is time to go full in. Maybe like me you were waiting and wanting a real and powerful God – not another lie and make believe idea. Well, God is not displayed in power, signs and wonders in the lives of people who are NOT full in, completely surrendered, dead to self, poured out in worship and full of the Holy Spirit. Stop waiting for someone else to answer the call. Go ye therefore and make disciples and God will give you His signs and wonders to do so. Answer the call.
And this is probably NOT for the unsaved – I do not think they would red down this far. It is for the once saved, who is searching and hoping. It is for the saved who is serving and looking for the signs and wonders. It is for the full in one who is suffering the birth pains of these signs and wonders. It’s time.

120 people were believed to have been in the upper room when the spirit of the Lord fell – and they went out and changed the world. Well, more than 120 people subscribe and follow this blog. If we go all in like they did – how much we can accomplish!!

29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
Predestination. That is a slippery slope to explain. Let’s us me as the example: As a child an evangelist confirmed to me that I was going to be an evangelist. I chose not to go to Bible College because a boy who attended broke my heart – so I went to art school. I went my own way, met a man, got engaged, got pregnant and the man left me. I came home and tried to get right with the Lord. But there was a mean and evil spirit of division brewing in my home church and it was not the same as when I left. I lived condemned for having a child out of wedlock. I was only able to be part of the infant and toddler ministries – I wouldn’t be a bad example to them. Every and any single man who came into the church and began to talk to me was told it was a sin and to stay away from me. I wore the scarlet letter.  I and the other young single women, called them the Old Boys Club – the ones who spoke so badly to us, condemning us and keeping everyone away from us – they would not even let their wives be friendly with us or help us.  Well, that spirit divided the church in the biggest of all the church splits we ever had! The pastor even left. I wandered aimlessly. My mother left the state. My brother moved away. My sister went to another church then hopped around and slid away from God and I did the same thing. Fast forward: little sin rapidly pulls you down a steep hill and all of a sudden you look up and say – how did I get here? I called out to God and to my surprise he was next to me waiting.

I sloppily threw around the word restoration and restored – until a pastor recently challenged me to clean up my choice of words. At my age, I will not be restored the years the locust have eaten in a true restoration. I can exchange my ashes for beauty, I can like Job have a new doubly blessed life (but Job lost children who he never got back). I am restored to Christ, but that does not mean I will go to Bible College now and come out an evangelist. I was not predestined to make poor choices. I was predestined know God, therefore I had the encounter with him as a child, as a young adult and circled back again to have an encounter. I was predestined to have opportunity after opportunity abounding in grace to be saved – to be conformed to Christ’s image – to become Christ-like. God called and chased me down and You all reading this have also been predestined to be challenged to be Christ-like.  If you or I walk away and do not repent, we still have the same very real possibility for landing our sorry butts in hell. This predestination means that before you were born, God made you special for such a time as this and gave thought and planning to your life as well as purpose. If you choose to receive it and the anointing or not – is up to you.

30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

God’s Everlasting Love

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
What a funny question, Paul. The answer is EVERYONE and anyone not serving God. Is Paul trying to overwhelm us? No. the point of this is God is so much bigger. God is so much more. God is beyond all of our words and understanding, yet many write more words every day, myself included trying to explain this unexplainable enormous God!

32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.”

34a Who is he who condemns?”
The word satan mean the accuser. The enemy and those influenced by him accuse and judge… they cause feeling and thoughts of condemnation – BUT NO ONE CAN CONDEMN except God himself and He has chosen to justify us instead by grace through faith.

34b It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”
You catch this? We are down here on earth a hot mess, struggling with sin and ourselves and Jesus loves us so much He is up there say, “Dad, don’t look no, they are having a weak moment but the holy spirit is there and I’ll wash them nice and clean when they repent – forgive them, they do not understand the weight of all of this.”
And when we pray – Jesus intercedes for us there as well so our prayers come before the thrown.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
NO ONE can separate us from the LOVE of Christ or the Love of God. Now, sins can separate us physically from God – but his love is still upon us.

36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
All what things? Tribulations, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword and being killed like sheep to the slaughter.  Yes, even in being killed we are more than conquerors. Take a closer look in the spirit at what is happening and kill our own flesh (die to sin). They cannot kill what we have already killed. So we conquer! In the spirit we win – our souls and the souls of others is what is at stake and what we are trying to win! Because we have already won the love of God.

38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Even while we were yet sinners – He loved us and loves us. Jesus loves you. God loves you.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Sin Just Needs To Be Dead – 5-3-22

“For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.” Romans 7:19-20 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Romans chapter 7 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Freed from the Law

Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law [a]has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

Sin’s Advantage in the Law

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. 12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

Law Cannot Save from Sin

13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

Footnotes

  1. Romans 7:1 rules

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

John 20:31- “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Last week, we challenged each other to take a few actions daily to help get us some healthy roots and to root out any sins within us. I want to warn you about scheduling your walk with the Lord – there needs to be a balance. However, if you see in one area or another, or while you are studying a certain thing, you can schedule it in to get yourself into the practice of doing it – BUT if it is a scheduled activity, make sure you ALSO pure yourself out in the task and mean it with all your heart. It will never come natural if you don’t. (And if it already comes natural, but you are studying it and want to reinforce the study, like here, then the same applies.) I hope you, like I am, are serious about making more changes in our lives and becoming more Christ-like.

PRAYER FOR FORGIVENESS:
Dear God, I am sorry for being filled with all/any unrighteousness, and/or sexual immorality, and/or wickedness, and/or covetousness, and/or maliciousness, and/or envy, murder, and strife, and/or deceit and evil-mindedness, and/or being a whisperers and  backbiters, and/or haters of God, and/or violent, and/or proud and boasting, and/or inventors of evil things, and/or disobedient to parents, and/or undiscerning, and/or untrustworthy, and/or unloving, and/or unforgiving, and/or unmerciful, and/or for practicing such things are deserving of death. Please forgive me even though I knew better and I understand the righteous judgment of You, God. Please wash me with the Blood of Jesus. Cleanse me and help me turn from my evil ways – convict me strongly when I do wrong that I may notice and stop. And send a fresh filling of your anointing to break the yokes of bondage and help me destroy the roots with a mindful effort and focus on you. Please reignite the fire in my belly that I may burn for you in boldness. In the name of Jesus we pray ~amen

HEALTHY ROOTS CHALLENGE: this challenge is to heal and strengthen our roots
One – Give God ALL the Glory
Two – Dedicated time for thanksgiving, and be thankful for all things!
Three – Guard our hearts and mind, rebuking and stopping sinful or not godly thoughts, not letting our minds wander and be prayerful and intentional in thinking.
Four – And finally, let us be humble. Humble enough to say I do not know it all and God has something new to reveal to me in this book and in this day.
(Please review the blog post from 4/25/22 for an explanation as to why we are doing this daily and for the scriptural reference instructing us to make these things a practice in our lives. Until they flow from us naturally, we can intentionally and with all of our hearts, scheduled them into our lives and watch them heal and reroute our unhealthy roots that gave sinful/evil fruits.)

Now, staying humble and honest with ourselves I am learning is hard. I spend lot of time reminding you all to keep heavenly focused and eyes on Jesus. But we also need to look inward occasionally to root out bad habits and sinful ways and grow. I hate long hard examinations of self. I would rather say let’s do it today and be done. Some days I look inward and God doesn’t show me anything. Some days He shows me parts of me even I try not to look at. But He already sees it and knows it and so we might as well deal with it.
Most of the Bible is simple: If it is good it is God and if it is bad then it is the devil. Even consequence of the curse fall into the category of bad/devil. The kids in children’s church would understand this quickly – but adults tend to complicate things and make it all gray. A child would say sickness is bad/devil and an adult might say, but God leaves us in our afflictions for reasons we do not understand – shout out to my Friend Chris and his limited faith (yes, I am calling him out and told him so.) It feels to me like that is slowly bankrupting God – who is able and wants us blessed. And not in the prosperity teaching ways – he healed, therefore it is simple logic that proves he wants us healed. It seems to me we (church global and in general and not necessarily we as in you and me) are content without works and signs and wonders – BUT I DO NOT SERVE A DEAD GOD. He still heals.
(Side note – please pray for Chris’s friend who was healthy and planning his wedding, when suddenly he finds himself on life support and in desperate need to a new heart. Our God doesn’t need to wait for a donor heart, he is able to fix the one he has! I know we do not want to get our hopes up and get hurt, but God doesn’t want to hurt us, he wants our faith build up so we know Him and what He is able to do!)

Before I run off on a tangent of the things on my heart – let us look at chapter seven and get free – starting with the Law.

“1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.”

What law is Paul referring to? Since many of us were not raised Jewish, we do not understand the slight differences and nuances to the law (which is why he says he is speaking to those who do know these things) – and that there are a couple categories of law tied up in there. One is atonement law which Jesus fulfilled. Another is civil law which Paul is referring to here and we know because it is a civil example he uses. And so on.

Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.”

Hold up! Dead to the civil law? So now we can lust and remarry and steal and break all the rules? No, because our marriage, our relationship, with Jesus and love for him will prevent us from becoming anarchy. But this doesn’t mean the civil laws governing the land go away, they still reign over Israel today and God, please bless Israel in our current situations there. Amen. Just like we have civil laws and runs in my nation and you do in your nations. Laws are needed for those not dead to sin.

For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.”

Aroused by the law. This isn’t too hard to understand. You ever see a wet paint sign on a public post or bench or something – the first thing you want to do is go touch it and see if it is still wet. The sign is telling you not to touch it but the first thing you want to do is touch it!!
You ever fast sugar or go on a diet? But then you see cookies in the cabinet. You may not even like cookies… but now they are all you can think of! Why? Because you are told you can’t. It is literally human nature – it is our flesh and how it I made. It is the curse of sin and death that gave that to us. It is what we are saying we need to die to. It needs to stop peeking out its ugly head!

But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.”
We needed to be delivered from the bondage of the law and freed to be obedient to Jesus. It is a shift in the spirit and a shift in the heart and mind. In the flesh and outward appearance we followed the law before this shift happens and we follow it after the shift happens. But before it was duty and after it was love for Jesus. Not to mention, sin gets an advantage in law and no advantage in love.

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead.”

Paul says that children are innocent and pure for a while and then we start teaching them the rules and with the rules they learn the evil with the good.  I worked in the family court system for 10 years and I tell you, I have seen babies acting out in manners of evil I would never have thought possible. One psychologist says the baby is innocent and must have been taught. The other says all men are born bad but are taught to be good. I know wickedness is abounding in ways Paul never could have imagined. Let us put those special circumstances aside despite the fact that they are on the rise. The Bible says we were born under the curse, so sin is a temptation even for children and demonic possession is a real possibility in those cases. However in general, we see children wanting to make their parents happy by doing good.

I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.”

Let me give another example. Growing up in the 80’s my parents prohibited us from listening to secular music. So when we heard it on the bus, on a random radio, in a store, at school, etc. we really focused and ate it up. We were SO UNCOOL for not knowing all the tunes. If my sister discovered a song before me she would rub it in and if I found one, I would share it so we could be like the other kids. With my son, when he was little, we just didn’t listen to music. And when we did it was Christian. I draw no special attention to secular and prohibit it. It worked well. He still doesn’t follow pop culture music. Even though for his teen years I was not serving God and permitted it.
The point is, I was not permitted and it became death to me – I snuck around. I told my mom the band Genesis was the book of Genesis on tape. She thought I might memorize the book the way I listened to it in my walkman so much. Sin took advantage of the situation and lied to me and killed me. Opening a door for disobedience, rebellion, lying, sneaking, and such.  

12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.”
I know, this seems to contradict. How can something that brought death, be holy? Because in the spirit – the law is the outline of “being separate”, “coming out from among them”, and “being holy for I am holy”.  We must understand the law is not evil or bad and dying from the law of flesh is freedom to do those very things in love. Now that I am an adult I have no desire to listen to secular music and I love to listen to worship music and bask in his glory music. In that area, I died to my flesh and live in the spirit and seemingly obey my parents – but now it is a compulsion to be filled with heavenly music and has nothing to do with what I was told not to do.

Side note: is listening to secular music wrong? For me it is – but it come from this history where it represented disobedience and sneaking and death to me. For you, you must figure it out on your own. If I tell you not to – I have handed you a law and put you into slavery. So here are the steps to figuring out the answer – or frankly, if anything is right or wrong: First, seek the answer prayerfully asking God and LISTENING for his answer. Then start back at that list of sins we are challenging each other to repent from. Does the music (or whatever else you are trying to figure out if it is wrong) associate at all to any of those categories of sins we are repenting of. (Remember, repentance means we are turning away from.) Then pop over to Philippians 4:8 – there is a list of things we can think of. Moreover, a list of things we should focus on and strive to fill our minds with more and more! And if you find you and your music are glorifying God – you are good!

13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.”

I always say – we make the devil so much smaller than he is. He is so cunning and tricky – he turned the incorruptible Holiness of God and corrupted our path to it. In the path between our carnal, fleshly physical existence and the spirit, our hearts must stay humble and pure and our motivation must be a longing and hunger for God – anything else can pull us off course and into death.

14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.”

The language here is clear, so if you did not get it, read it again out loud or use a bible app to listen to it out loud. Hearing this makes it clearer. When I first returned to God I would pray while smoking a cigarette saying God, I do not want to, but I can’t help it. You may or may not have ever been there. But these kids these days saying they are born this way and can’t help it, they understand this (they do not understand it is wrong, they understand they cannot help it). It is true and biblical. You and I cannot help it, control it or even manage it. This is why we must kill it – die to sin.

19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
It is the sin that literally makes you do it. This sin must die – there is no other deliverance from sin. Now my smoking, I had to first be free from addiction, and then I had to die to sin. God broke the addiction in me, but I kept lighting up after a meal, as it was my custom. I needed more than deliverance I needed to lay down my sinful man.

21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”
We all had to die to the sinful nature, and still do when we pick and choose what we want to lay down and what we don’t. We find we also pick things pack up during a weakness when faced with a temptation. We aren’t perfect until we get to heaven. God knows this. And God loves us so much he is showing us, we can’t do it without Him. We are helpless here in this cycle. We can easily get dragged into legalism and more law, while trying to wiggle free from the first law. We are a beautiful hot mess. And God loves you just as you are. And Jesus loves you right there in the confusion of sin and law and desiring to do what is good. And the Holy Spirit still fills you while you work out your salvation and how to escape this bondage to sin and death while striving for a perfection we cannot achieve. Give yourself the same grace God gives you. He is not here to condemn you or the process. He is here to partner with you. The Holy Spirit will fill you with life, Jesus will take your hand and lead us into the holiness of God. And it will happen NOT because it is the right thing and good – but because of God’s love for us. (and our loving obedience to the draw of love)

24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”

Here Paul says with in his mind he serves the law of God – what I just described as love. Later writings of Paul he refers back to this but says “in spirit” instead of with the mind. But Paul learned to walk “In Him” and “In the Spirit” – and so he later teaches that when we are in the flesh we serve the flesh and when we are in spirit we serve God. I am unsure how to explain being in the spirit. Paul goes in circles trying to. I can tell you there are so many indescribable things about really believing all of this and serving God.

The biggest take away today is that we all have sin struggle. It may not be with one specific sin, but with sin in general – Paul did too. And even though it’s a never ending task we must continue to root out anything unrighteous. The exercise of dying to this fleshly, sinful, nature is a great metaphor for understanding it – but we aren’t really two beings. We are still just one being. It is just a way to try to explain an abstract concept.  

These have been hard and demanding chapters that really make us feel pretty bad about our helplessness against sin. But it is bathed in grace and love. We are all here together, same as Paul. We are helpless by ourselves – so that when God helps us, He is glorified. Yes, we cannot even serve Him without Him. He gets the glory in every aspect of us.

I have asked before, would you die for Jesus if he asked you to? And we all thoughtfully prayed about it. Well, today He has asked us to. So think and pray about it today and when you go to sleep tonight take a moment in silent prayer to Him, and lay down the sinful nature. Look into getting baptized, if you have not yet been. But if you have been, recommit – lay it down again. My mom used to say nail it to the cross if it won’t stay down / won’t stay dead. Sin is not Jesus – it cannot resurrect itself. You can go get it and bring it back – but please do not. Salvation is a free gift – but serving God required this sacrifice. That we give up our sinful desires and lusts, and just hunger for God. So tonight, lay down your life for him in prayer and ask for His help with the process since we cannot do it without His help. And get up tomorrow as a new man, refreshed, and starting over. And be prepared – some of you will mean it and face quite a spiritual battle. Things die easily on TV and in movies. But in real life death is a struggle because the thing dying will fight for its life. Some will have an experience. Others of you will not feel anything at all. Just a void. You may even wonder if you are doing it right – and that doubt is the struggle it will give you for its life. Overcome doubt with belief. Some of you will spend the night being accused and condemned by the enemy and your own sinful man. Remember you have the authority to shut it down. Or if they want to point out everything I ever did I will repent all over again for each accusation just to show them, and myself, once and for all I am forgiven and set free. And when there is a death or loss – we as humans do need comforting. So finish the process with asking the Holy Spirit for a fresh overflowing in filling and ask Him to comfort you. Praise and thank God and glorify him.

Tomorrow morning come back a new man (or woman) and ready for chapter 8!

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Under the Grace to Not Sin – 5-2-22

“Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” Romans 6:1-2 NLT

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Romans chapter 6 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Dead to Sin, Alive to God

6 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be [a]done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been [b]freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, [c]reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as [d]instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

From Slaves of Sin to Slaves of God

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were [e]delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness [f]for holiness.

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit [g]to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the [h]gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Footnotes

  1. Romans 6:6 rendered inoperative
  2. Romans 6:7 cleared
  3. Romans 6:11 consider
  4. Romans 6:13 Or weapons
  5. Romans 6:17 entrusted
  6. Romans 6:19 unto sanctification
  7. Romans 6:22 unto sanctification
  8. Romans 6:23 free gift

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

John 20:31- “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Last week, we challenged each other to take a few actions daily to help get us some healthy roots and to root out any sins within us. I hope you, like I am, are serious about making more changes in our lives and becoming more Christ-like. I was going to remove it from here and let you scroll back if you wanted to. However, I want it here for me. I still need to do this. It was a tough week last week with God revealing tings to me that I did not even realize I was doing. Then Sunday, at lunch with my Pastor – it just came up in conversation hat God had told me to do something over a year ago, and I still haven’t done it. Oof! The reality hurts – I didn’t even notice so much time had passed. I hope and pray God is surfacing things in your lives as well, to be weeded out and removed.

PRAYER FOR FORGIVENESS:
Dear God, I am sorry for being filled with all/any unrighteousness, and/or sexual immorality, and/or wickedness, and/or covetousness, and/or maliciousness, and/or envy, murder, and strife, and/or deceit and evil-mindedness, and/or being a whisperers and  backbiters, and/or haters of God, and/or violent, and/or proud and boasting, and/or inventors of evil things, and/or disobedient to parents, and/or undiscerning, and/or untrustworthy, and/or unloving, and/or unforgiving, and/or unmerciful, and/or for practicing such things are deserving of death. Please forgive me even though I knew better and I understand the righteous judgment of You, God. Please wash me with the Blood of Jesus. Cleanse me and help me turn from my evil ways – convict me strongly when I do wrong that I may notice and stop. And send a fresh filling of your anointing to break the yokes of bondage and help me destroy the roots with a mindful effort and focus on you. Please reignite the fire in my belly that I may burn for you in boldness. In the name of Jesus we pray ~amen

HEALTHY ROOTS CHALLENGE: this challenge is to heal and strengthen our roots
One – Give God ALL the Glory
Two – Dedicated time for thanksgiving, and be thankful for all things!
Three – Guard our hearts and mind, rebuking and stopping sinful or not godly thoughts, not letting our minds wander and be prayerful and intentional in thinking.
Four – And finally, let us be humble. Humble enough to say I do not know it all and God has something new to reveal to me in this book and in this day.
(Please review the blog post from 4/25/22 for an explanation as to why we are doing this daily and for the scriptural reference instructing us to make these things a practice in our lives. Until they flow from us naturally, we can intentionally and with all of our hearts, scheduled them into our lives and watch them heal and reroute our unhealthy roots that gave sinful/evil fruits.)

Now, staying humble and honest with ourselves – let us look at chapter six…

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
Do I want more of God’s favor? Do I want more of the transforming power in Grace? Do I want abundance, abounding, grace? Yes! Yes! Yes! BUT wait! That is NOT what this is asking. This is asking, do we want to grieve grace. To we want to exploit it, take advantage of it – certainly not. And therefor I understand the New King James using those words for verse 2a.

2a Certainly not!”
Comes from the Greek word: genoito; and according to Strong’s 1096 that is a prolongation and middle voice form of a primary verb, meaning: to cause to be, i.e. to become, used with great latitude. Then we add the “not” and it becomes to cause to NOT be. Therefore I prefer the King James Version which says: “God forbid.” And most read it as an exasperated “Oh goodness, no!” However, I have always read the weight of the “used with great latitude” to reflect a warning and command. It is not wrong, just a different way to reading it: “God forbids us to continue in sin and exploit grace.”

If God forbids it, that means it will be revealed at some point and we will be forced to choose between God and that sin – it will come to a fever pitch. Let’s use my recent experience. Over a year ago God told me to go visit two pastors. I went and visited one. And I never got around to stopping in to see the other. It is not like their salvation or mine was on the line and I did not feel an urgency, just a “go do this”. So I never made it a priority and did not do it.  Grace was upon me – grace abounded. I was able to keep studying and learning and growing and reaching others… but only because I had need of grace not an abundance of grace. And it came to mind with vision a month or two ago… and I still did not go visit him. But I prayed for him. Then it came to mind one day while driving by and I still did not stop there. And so Sunday it came up at lunch and now, instead of dealing with my disobedience quietly and repenting, humbling myself, and making it right – instead I was exposed, declared a sinner, humbled by God instead of by myself. So, now I can either pride-fully make a to-do about things. Or humble myself and repent, and finally go visit that pastor.
Honestly, I did not want to and I did not make it a priority, AND I DID NOT SEE MY OWN SIN. I did not call it a sin. I was gunna, someday, maybe…. But that alone is enough of a sin. So grace grieved, I was being separated from God and I did not mean to be, nor did I see it or know it. So when God says be careful NOT to be deceived – look! See?! See how easily we buy the lie of the enemy. It is difficult times and we must beware of false teacher and false prophets – but also of every lie that sneaks into our minds and hearts. See that we aren’t deceived even if by ourselves.

2bHow shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

Paul introduces a new thought as if we have been saying it this whole time – dead to sin. Those of us who talk about taking the Bible literal, but we mean to keep it pure and in context, should be careful of our words – otherwise someone might read this and think it is a passage about suicide. Paul is going to use the symbolism of Christ’s death and resurrection to explain the concept and how to apply it to our lives. So, as we read this chapter and apply it, we will apply the symbol of death as a type of metaphor.

Most of you who are reading are also professing “Christians”, and I thank God for you and your hunger to read about His word. Have you also been baptized in water for repentance? In the book of Acts, the Apostles preached get saved (or repent and begin a real relationship with Christ) and get baptized in water. That Baptism in water is also referred to in the Bible as the Baptism of repentance.  It is another symbol. God gives us many symbols to help us understand the abstract and difficult to explain spiritual principles.  Why do I ask? Because Paul ties it all together:

 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

So, we should not continue in sin and grieve grace – because we have repented (asked forgiveness and turned away from it). Then we through our baptism, participated in Christ’s death. Dying in our sin and going under the water. Then when we come up out of the water – we have newness of life. The old man is passed away and all things become new. If you have not yet been baptized as an adult for this purpose, please ask at your local churches. And know there is no correct method of baptism (some submerge backwards, some forwards, some in the water with you, some not in the water with you, and some have you dunk yourself. Oh some do complete submersion and others only partial. The Bible doesn’t give a full detailed instruction. Records show that during the end of the first century there was a drought and the Christian who fled to the dessert from persecution were baptizing in sand, because there was no water.   Do not get hung up on the details that are not a heaven of hell issue. But DO get baptized. 
The Bible does command you repent of sins and get baptized in water, besides here where it compares it to Jesus’s death – it can also be compared to being born. We came out of a mother’s belly that was surrounded by water and immerged as a new life – the same with baptism we go into the water and come out a new life. If you are not baptized and you die, or Jesus comes again – baptized or not, it will not prevent you from going to heaven. But Jesus will ask you why you did not get baptized, because he did tell us to.

For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. 

A young friend of mine asked a very logical question at this point – having read this passage preparing for his baptism a few years ago. If we are freed from sin, why do Christians sin? Another logical question is – does this mean we cannot sin any longer? Sadly, we are still tempted and lied to and buy into lies that slide us down into the path of sins. But sin doesn’t and shouldn’t rule over us.
I have another friend who has said the sinner’s prayer for salvation when he was a child. He strongly believes in once saved, then you are always saved because that is what he was taught and he will not listen to any verses that say otherwise. He also believes he can continue to sin – because he cannot help it. He says it is not a choice, it is who he is made to be. He believes the lie that he is controlled by sin.  Sadly, whenever offered water baptism he refuses because he is afraid of being the center of attention and will not go up in front of many other and be baptized. Therefore there is a small amount of truth to this huge disabling lie that keeps him in bondage! You see, he is NOT dead to sin. He never participated in Jesus’s death and laid down his own propensity, will, desires, and choices to sin – therefore, it is more difficult for him as he refuses to be free from his slavery to sin.

Let us look at Sampson in the book of Judges (chapters 13 – 16).  He was to be set apart for God and not sin – yet he followed his own lusts often and got himself in trouble. He was covered by God’s grace, through disobedience after disobedience. Yet in the end – this rebellious man ends up recorded in the chapter of Hebrews which we call the Hall of Faith. How? Well, to quickly summarize his story, his grace ran out – he was captured by the bad guys and was made to be their slave. Thankfully, when he ran out of grace he turned to faith and believed! He knew in who he believed and knew he was able! So he asked for one last anointing.
So – if we continue in sin, grace abounds for a season. We see this when a big church’s pastor falls very publicly (which we have seen countless times in my lifetime alone as well as throughout history). In those cases, like Sampson, like my friend, and even like me (who has already confessed, today, that I was harboring the sin of disobedience without realizing it) – grace abounded and our ministries did not suffer and people still were touched by God through us or in the case of my friend – his life was blessed to of course he was in good standing with God. But it is only a season.
Like I was called out by my pastor at lunch on Sunday when it came up. (I am so thankful he drew it to my attention and made me accountable to him to complete the task and lovingly reminded me I cannot pick and choose when to obey and when not to). I did received that in repentance. I honestly want to make my Jesus happy with me and I will obey and I am so sorry I did not give it priority.
I need to go back to the place of participating in letting my old man die, and refreshingly be made new – I needed a strong reminder! Does this mean I need baptism again? No. Just some time studying this chapter and applying it to my life because having been symbolically raised from the dead, I can die no more – I just need to repent and make it right.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Now, there are people who slid away from God. I did. I will not get into how it happens, but we can all slide away of we do not stand fast in our freedom. We all slide away in various degrees. Continuing in one sin not knowing you are sinning – will not usually do it. But if you harden your heart and continue to sin knowingly, then that hardness can spread and infect all areas of your life until you have turned away.  Regardless of how it happens – when you come back, do you need baptism again? Well there is no book, chapter and verse that answers that. When I came back, I discussed it with a pastor and he said if I felt I needed to make a public confession of my faith again, then I should. Well, when I came back I caught that fire and was telling everyone about Jesus!! I made my public confession of faith! So I did not get baptized again. I also know many people who came back and just wanted to start over new and went through every step all over again. That is ok too.
It is like, you do not have to ask for forgiveness of sins daily according to most theologians. I encourage it because when the disciples asked how to pray, Jesus said to pray daily and say: “Our father who art in Heaven….” And it includes asking for forgiveness and forgiving. Once you are forgiven, do not repent of the same sin over and over. You are freed. But, as we are learning with the list provided for us at the beginning of Romans (and we are praying it daily), it is amazing how easily we might sin and how much we need to learn not to.  Maybe a sexy scene in a movie temps your mind and your thoughts wander – oops! Maybe a slow driver frustrates you so you speed (breaking the law) past them the first chance you get – oops! Maybe you have a hidden sin you didn’t even see and needed God to reveal it – like me and not obeying God telling me to do something – oops! Maybe…. Oh wait, I’ll let Jesus point out to you where you sinned between the last time you prayed for forgiveness and the next time.

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 

Which is exactly what we are discussing. Let’s find those sins and root them out! Pull them out and dig out every piece of roots. (Which is why we are also focusing on developing a healthy root system of praise, worship, thanksgiving and glorifying God! A root system that will produce love and the fruits of the spirit!)

13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Theology time again: In chapter 3 we learned we are not under the law of atonement but under the law of faith. It was kind of a new concept for some of us as many preacher say we are not under the law but under grace and this is where they get it! So what does it mean? To answer that we must, just like Paul, summarize what we just learned here in verses 1 through 14.
We cannot atone for sin – that is fulfilled by Jesus’s sacrifice. But we can accept that sacrifice and participate in it ourselves by dying to our sinful nature – this can only be achieve through grace that leads us to true repentance. We are under ample grace to get us to repent through the law of faith. You see, it’s a time of dispensation of grace but it is only a season. And like Paul said in chapter 3 – we are under the law of faith from Abraham – we too must have faith. And like Sampson, when the season of grace dries up will we still have faith?

To further drive this point home Paul says:

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 

You see that word OBEY. Oh don’t we dislike that. One of my first blog posts here was a discussion on obedience being the fruit of faith from grace. (kind of here again although different passages) And I was told by a friend to use a thesaurus and find a word to substitute for obedience. Because it will turn people away. I looked at her and said, God’s word does not return void – and if you are offended by the word obedience then you are offended and an offense to the gospel. It is fine if those people do not read this.
People share this and people have been saved through it. It fulfills God’s purpose. And I can stand before Him and say I did my very best to make hungry word eaters who, surrendered, sacrificed self and served with ALL their hearts in worship. We repent and obey – good at repenting like David was. And we do not shy away from obedience nor are we ashamed of the Gospel. We have followed Paul and our hearts led us into slavery to our calling in Christ. To be disciple and to make disciples and win souls along the way.

17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 

DELIVERED! Hallelujah! There is freedom in obeying God – but you don’t know that until you do it and do it completely surrendered. And it seems morbid to make a huge death metaphor and act it out in baptism and in remembrance of our baptism – but it does make it real and relatable – easier to understand.

19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.

In the first century we were called Christians because we strived to be Christ-like. Are we living up to it, still today? That is what verse 19 means with “righteousness for holiness”. 
“because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16 NKJV

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 

Sinner are free to sin and that looks super appealing since man is born under the curse with a propensity to sin – but we have been taught by the word and confirmed with our own experiences or watching others that it is dirty and full of bondage and death.

Now, once we die to sin and death, we rise up no longer under the cure of man. We are in this world but not of it, not of the curse, not of the bondage, and not of the death. We are kingdom people, washed in the blood of Jesus and freed from sin.

22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So, we work on healthy roots and growth – that we may bare much fruit.
We are able to overcome temptation and sin and live in total victory. We live like a new creature – since mankind is curse – we are now something new. And we will live eternally with Jesus! Hallelujah!

Although, hell is real and made as a punishment for the devil and his followers and he tricked humans into following him without even realizing it and here Paul calls it death and contrasts it with eternal life, it does seem that hell is eternal as well, without escape or reprieve. Jesus describes it as a place where mankind will maintain conscious and cognitive functions – knowing forever they are tormented, ashamed, and regretting their choices. Why we call it death and not explain there is still eternal consciousness seem like we rob people of a full understanding of our consequences. It would suck to be there and say – but I did not know.

You and I cannot say that. Not only do we know, we also know we should be digging out any and all unrighteousness within us. We should set our eyes upon Jesus and pursue him with all our hearts.
If you are unsure today, if you will spend eternity I heaven or hell – choose to repent of your sins, humbly turning away from them and talk to Jesus and ask Him to save you from hell and to have a relationship with Him. At the top of the blog is a sample prayer you can make your own if you are unsure what to say.
Honestly – I looked up at my ceiling, hoping to see Him and cried (ugly cried) “Help”. I followed it up with “I give up – I surrender all”. Then once I was a little less sobbing, I listed my sins and apologized for each asking forgiveness from each. I wrote them down in hope of remembering NOT to do them. God slowly worked on me removing them and the temptation to do them. God is gentle, loving, kind and His grace transforms me into something new and is sufficient to get me into eternal life. It is not about what words you say – it is about repenting and being humble. From that you’ll grow faith through grace unto obedience and bountiful good life bringing fruits.  

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Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!