Wonderful Merciful Savior

There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus

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Although the bible is a book offering great promises and living water to quench the parched lips of all those who believe in the truths found tucked inside it’s covers, it is also a book that clearly presents the condemnation of sin. No other book proclaims so completely how desperate and deprived man is when is apart from God.

Since the fall of Adam every man has been born on this world with a sinful nature, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:13). For this reason all mankind plummets under the angry wrath of God and all have received a death sentence. “We are all by nature children of wrath.” (Ephesians 2:3).

We are not just influenced by sin, but without God, it can completely empower us, and we become only a mere slave. It is a disease that eats away at the very soul of man and has him trapped in a snare of selfishness that will only constrict tighter, until all is lost. It steals joy and peace from the heart and replaces them with pain and despair. Sin is attached to every one of us, we can’t out run it and there is no overpowering it with mere gusto. When we collapse into the pit of sin, we fall under control of the prince of the air, the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience, the ruler and authority of the present world system, Satan. (Ephesians 2:2, John 12:31).

“What then? Are we better then they? No in no wise, they Jew and Gentile are all under sin; as it is written, there is none righteous no, not one. There is none that understands, there is none that seek after God, There is none that doeth good, no not so much as one (Romans 3:9-18). What harsh words spoken to a vulgar world. “Just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned….And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification….So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. (Romans 5:12, 16, 18).

Such is the frightful provision brought to all of mankind, but it is out of the very light of this provision that Paul proclaims the amazing truth about those that, by grace working in faith belong to Jesus Christ! “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1-4).

My prayer today is that you run with eagerness into the outstretched arms that are always open and waiting for you. Accept the life giving promises that are offered to us through Jesus Christ! He has overcome death! Choose today, to not live according to the flesh any longer, but to live according to the Spirit! AMEN!

I Am Free!

As a child I loved the stars and would spend hours looking up into the night sky.  Somehow in the scariness of the dark there was peace in the vastness of the constellations.  Some comfort that chance couldn’t create something as amazing as this.

I grew up in a loving home with everything I could have ever wanted and a Dad that could protect me from anything.  But still I was afraid.  By five I was afraid of everything.  There were men that had hurt me and even my Dad couldn’t protect me.  When I was thirteen I was hurt again and so began my life of fear.  Fear that I couldn’t be loved, that everyone could see my scars, and that I was marked by the pain that haunted me.

By the time I left for college I was like wounded animal running from death.  My fear soon led me to false hopes, anger, depression, adultery and divorce.  Everything about my life was pure chaos.  Anything that used to be secure crumbled.  I no longer looked at the sky.  I was afraid that it would come down on me too.  I spent my entire life trying to please people and be loved, and now who could love me?

One of Satan’s greatest weapons is to have us doubt that salvation exists.  He takes great victory when he keeps us running in a direction away from God.  And that is what I always did.  I am a great runner.  When it comes to problems and uncomfortable situations for me, I will run away.  As soon as I was able to understand and fully accept the salvation that Jesus has given to us, I started running to Him.  What joy there is, to be able to run into the arms of a loving savior!

It was a slow process for me because I had to learn to trust.  I still struggle with the spirit of fear, but I have learned that Jesus Christ is faithful.  I have found courage, peace and strength through my relationship with him.  I have complete control over my life and I am no longer a slave to sin.  Even though many of my worst fears have come true, I no longer have the weight of my past slowing me down.  I have given it all to Him.  I am free.

But The Righteous Shall Live By Faith

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous shall live by faith.”  Romans 1:16-17

We live in a world of one selfish act after another.  People across this nation have gotten so used to having what they want when they want it, that debt has skyrocketed and our nation is in trouble.  I have learned that the Lord works exactly opposite.  Our Pastor explained it like an old mule “You can’t push him or pull him, so all you can do is just get on for the ride.”  How many times have I tried to push or pull God?  Way too many!  I have tried to drag Him right into my way of thinking and WOW, things didn’t happen the way I had so carefully planned.  But you know what?  I am so glad!  It is so much better to let Him guide me because He knows the whole picture, and I wonder how my perspective would change if only I could see what He can see.

One of my favorite songs has always been The Dance by Garth Brooks.  The words go like this “For a moment wasn’t I the king, But if I’d only known how the king would fall, Hey who’s to say you know I might have changed it all, And now I’m glad I didn’t know, The way it all would end the way it all would go, Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain, But I’d of had to miss the dance, Yes my life is better left to chance, I could have missed the pain but I’d of had to miss the dance”.  I am so thankful that my life isn’t just left to chance, but guided by an awesome, powerful, and loving Father that does know the how the end will turn out, and will help me reach it in a way that will Him the glory!

Power in Romans 1:16 is translated from the Greek word Dunamis, our English word dynamite stemmed from that word.   In 1885 when Russell S. Penniman invented dynamite it was one of the most powerful substances known to man.  It is hard for me to imagine a loving God that holds the world in the His hands and has more power than anything on or yet to come to this earth.  But He does!

In this world we are always around change.  Stores are full of self help books, to aide us in becoming better.  We have a mentality of always wanting more; more money, more stuff, more love, more, more, more.  But every believer has human limitations and weakness.  We are imperfect, and every one of us in the end will fail miserably on our own.  When finally discover this weakness God has a beautiful and amazing way of coming into our lives and using His great power through us, if we are obediently serving Him.

Charles Spurgeon put it well when he said “God’s power is like Himself, self existent and self sustained.  The mightiest of men cannot add so much as a shadow of increased power to the Omnipotent One.  He sits on no buttressed throne and leans on no assisting arm.  He is Himself the great central source and originator of all power”.

So can we trust God! He is worthy of complete confidence. Nothing is too hard for Him, no prayer is too hard for Him to answer, no need too great for Him to supply, no temptation too powerful for Him to deliver from, no misery too deep for Him to relieve. “The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Ps. 27:1).

Rejoice in the LORD always!

Joy is such a vitally important factor in our lives; it gives us strength and stability.  In fact Paul says it twice!  I think it might be because it is hard sometimes to be joyful.  I know in my life I often focus on the bad or just what I am doing at the time and true joy vanishes.  Joy is not just a feeling or happiness toward the world.  In this context it is the deep down confidence that God is in complete control of our lives, and He is working for our good and His glory, so we have so need to fear.  We can rejoice, no matter what life holds or the circumstance that we find ourselves in.

This verse kept repeating itself over and over in my head as I sat in the hospital with my precious Payton.  At the time, I understood it to mean that we were going to have a miracle.  I kept rejoicing that she was still alive and that we had made it this far, if only God would do what I knew he could.  But I wasn’t rejoicing in the Lord.  I think it is so important that “the Lord” is there.  In all truthfulness I was mad at Him.  How could He do this to my family who all tried so hard to love Him?  I was rejoicing in what I knew He could do, not in Him.  Certainly the sorrow, misery, pain, and death that comes with this life doesn’t give our hearts any gladness or joy.

It was later while reading the word and praying that I realized I needed to let God take control of the situation and I truly did rejoice in the Lord.  God is my only sure, reliable, unwavering, unchanging source of true joy!  David I think says it best, when he said “I have trusted your loving kindness, my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation” or the psalmist that wrote “my lips shout for joy when I sing praises to you; and my soul, which you have redeemed”.  Paul in his letter to the Philippians declared “For to me, to live in Christ and to die is gain!”  Even the thought of being tortured and put to death could not compare to the joy he had in Jesus Christ!  The confidence “that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God, that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:39) should give us deep everlasting joy and give our spirit renewed strength.

Today I pray that each of us have true Joy that is only found in the love of Jesus Christ.  “And Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again……REJOICE!”

He Was Crushed For Our Iniquities, He Died For Our Souls

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These words are taken from Nancy Leigh DeMoss, they were just so good, I couldn’t think of how to put it into my own words.  Lets remember Him today and what he did on this day two thousand years ago.  He died that we might live FOREVER!  Let us try to live our lives more like Him in every way.

Glimpses of Christ in Psalm 119

“Earlier this year, I recorded a series on Psalm 119. My personal favorite session turned out to be the last—“The Gospel in Psalm 119”—in which I included some thoughts (developed around midnight the night before!) regarding glimpses of Christ in Psalm 119. My own heart was freshly warmed and stirred as I contemplated Him in this light, and I trust yours will be, too, on this Good Friday.”  Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Revive our Hearts.

In the temple at age twelve:

99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation.

His perfect obedience:

30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me.
44 I will keep your law continually, forever and ever.
47 I find my delight in your commandments, which I love.
60 I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments.

His prayer life:

147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.

His love for God’s law:

97 Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.
20 My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.

Weeps over Jerusalem and at the tomb of Lazarus:

136 My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.

Cleanses temple/throws out moneychangers:

139 My zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words.
126 It is time for the Lord to act, for your law has been broken.

Leaving the Last Supper, heading to Gethsemane:

54 Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning.
55 I remember your name in the night, O Lord, and keep your law.

Praying in the Garden of Gethsemane:

28 My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!

His betrayal, trial, and suffering on the cross:

61  Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me, I do not forget your law.
69  The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts.
71  It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
75  I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
85  The insolent have dug pitfalls for me; they do not live according to your law.
86  All your commandments are sure; they persecute me with falsehood; help me!
87  They have almost made an end of me on earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts.
95  The wicked lie in wait to destroy me, but I consider your testimonies.
121 I have done what is just and right; do not leave me to my oppressors.
143 Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight.
157 Many are my persecutors and my adversaries,  but I do not swerve from your testimonies.

Anticipation of the resurrection

88 In your steadfast love give me life, that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.

Impact of His sinless life and redemptive work on our behalf:

79 Let those who fear you turn to me, that they may know your testimonies.
74 Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice, because I have hoped in your word.

“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed”. Isaiah 53:5

He Has Overcome the World

Many people have different reasons for celebrating Easter.  I was raised with the Easter bunny bringing yummy gifts, and special surprises.  My Grandma told a story, about how Easter was her favorite time of year because her and her sister each got a new dress, they were poor and could only afford one dress a year, so Easter become important to her and because this was always her favorite time of year she celebrated every year by taking a trip back to Nebraska, so my Dad also remembers Easter as being special.

I love spring and so naturally Easter is one of my favorite holidays.  In high school I learned about Jesus and the true meaning of Easter in my world history class, but it wasn’t until I became a Christian in 2006 that Easter really began to mean something more to me.  And then in the fall of 2009 when my daughter Payton died, spring brought about a feeling of new beginnings, after a long hard winter.  But the significance of Easter goes way beyond that, and can be summarized with one word.  REPENTENCE.  Repentance is turning from idols to serve the living and true God.  You can’t turn to God until you have turned away from the things that have stolen your affections.  Then when we turn to Him, He will grow our life into something beautiful here on earth.  “Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me…..Restore to me the joy of your salvation.”  (Psalm 51:10&12)

Before the world began God had a perfect plan for all of his children.  A plan that would lead no one to boast, a plan that would give all of the glory to God!  This perfect plan required the sacrifice of a perfect and spotless, lamb….Jesus Christ.  God’s perfect Son, who didn’t deserve any of the punishment that he was given, but gave up life His for us, that we may be set free!  Losing my precious daughter gave me a glimpse of just how God must have felt making this plan.  Jesus was part God, Payton was part me.  Jesus was innocent, Payton was as innocent as any human can be, she was born into sin and death but by her innocence was raised into everlasting life.  And it is all because of JESUS!

I know that life is hard, that we often go through things that we don’t think we deserve.  But the one thing that we really don’t deserve is the love of God and the grace that he has given us.  With God’s perfect plan we can spend an eternity with him and see beautiful and unexplainably wonderful things that are beyond our wildest imaginations and all we have to do is have faith in Him.  “In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)  He has overcome the world!

You are PERFECT!

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Do you remember in Junior High School when image was so important?  Fifteen years and 4 babies later I have to say, I don’t really care about what other people think anymore.  Or do I?  Some things wouldn’t bother me the same.  If I dropped my back pack and a bunch of tampons fell out in Junior High that would have killed me and now, well, it really wouldn’t matter.

But I still want other people to like me.  Wouldn’t it be great if we were perfect!  The perfect mom, and perfect wife, with the perfect kids that never cry when you are in the grocery store, and the sparkling clean house.  I am here to tell you that even though all those things may never come true.

YOU ARE PERFECT!

You are perfect, because of the love of Jesus Christ.  So let yourself shine today!   And whatever he is wanting you do, that you think you can’t do because you are just not good enough.  Remember that none of us are good enough, without him!

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”(2 Corinthians 12:9)

“But those who hope in t…

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

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Don’t miss out!

I love to fly!  One of the most treasured memories I have with my husband is a late night helicopter ride.  The lights twinkled below and above us as we floated over the town, and the air was crisp and cold.  I felt free!  Every worry and every problem that I faced just melted away. I was above it all!  I think we forget how freedom feels with the hustle and bustle of our daily lives; we forget to give Him our troubles.  They stay on our shoulders and weigh down our lives, keeping us from having the relationship that we should with God.

It wasn’t an easy task to get me on that helicopter.  The doors were off, my husband was just a new pilot, it was night, and I have a small fear of heights.  Do you blame me?  I really didn’t want to go.  I didn’t know it at the time, it seemed logical to me, but fear and doubt were threatening to steal one of the most beautiful and wonderful memories my husband and I would ever have.  It is the same with sin.  It creeps into our lives and steals away the joy, and the moments that we would have received a small glimpse of God, gets taken away because we are no longer worthy to see him.

Lately, I have been reminded how important it is that the spirit dwells inside of us.  We must daily repent of our sins and cast away all doubt, and let the word of Christ, the bible, rule our hearts.  I don’t know about you, but I never want to come close to missing out on a great memory ever again.  It may be hard work to read the bible and pray every day but it is defiantly worth it.   When the heavens open up and Jesus comes on the clouds, I want to be the first to see it!

Turn Around-Matt Maher

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCi8P7W_tAw&feature=share

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