NO CONDEMNATION

Romans 8:1-4

Some believers are plagued by feelings of condemnation. Either they think they’ll never live up to God’s expectations for them or they’re nearly drowning in guilt over past sins. These men and women cannot seem to shake the sense that God is displeased with their puny efforts at being Christlike.

The book of Romans confronts this lie head-on: “There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). When the Savior went to the cross on our behalf, He lifted the blame from our shoulders and made us righteous before God. Those feelings of condemnation do not belong to us; they are from Satan. He amplifies our guilt and feelings of inadequacy and then suggests that’s how the Lord feels about His “wayward child.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Our sins are wiped clean, and we are chosen and loved by God.

Condemnation is reserved for those who reject the Lord (John 3:36). Sin is a death sentence (Rom. 6:23). Anyone who chooses to cling to sin instead of seeking divine forgiveness must pay the penalty, which is an eternity separated from God. Two synonyms of condemn are ‘denounce’ and ‘revile.’ Those words certainly describe Jesus’ statement to unbelievers in Matthew 25:41: “Depart from me, accursed ones.”

There is no condemnation for those who receive Jesus Christ as their Savior. The believer’s penalty for sin is paid, and he can stand blameless before God. Trust in the Lord’s love and let go of Satan’s lie. God’s beloved children are covered by His grace and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

 

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from In Touch Ministries

WORRY DOESN’T HELP, SO WHY WASTE YOUR TIME?

“Do not be anxious about anything” (Philippians 4:6 NIV).

Worry will kill your joy and cause you stress. We tend to expect the worst in life. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, they affect 18.1 percent of the U.S. population.
But worry isn’t just a mental issue. It’s a spiritual one. It’s assuming a responsibility that God never intended for us to have. It’s playing God and trying to control the uncontrollable.

There was once a scientific study on worry that discovered:
40% of our worries never happen
30% of our worries concern the past
12% of our worries are needless worries about our health
10% of our worries are insignificant or petty concerns
8% of our worries are really legitimate concerns
Worry is worthless. It can’t change the past or control the future. It only messes you up right now. It’s an incredible waste of energy. It’s stewing without doing. When we worry about things, they get bigger and bigger.

The Bible says, “Do not worry about anything” (Philippians 4:6 NCV). It’s one of the hardest commands to obey. It’s even more countercultural when you consider where Paul was when he wrote it. He was sitting in a prison waiting for the emperor to execute him.

Worry is something we learn to do. You must practice worry to get good at it. If it is learned, it can also be unlearned.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (NIV).

Jesus gives us the ultimate antidote to worry. Live one day at a time. God will take care of tomorrow.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Dailt Hope with Rick Warren

GOD REALLY LIKES YOU. NO, REALLY!

“For I have every confidence that nothing — not death, life, heavenly messengers, dark spirits, the present, the future, spiritual powers, height, depth, nor any created thing — can come between us and the love of God revealed in the Anointed, Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

I turned 62 years old this past summer. I thought I would have a harder time telling people my real age, but as it turns out, saying I’m 62 has become very empowering. I often tell people, “The older I get, the more I’ve learned. And the more I’ve learned, the less I know. But what I do know, I really know.”

This is what I’m confident of at age 62: I know God loves me. There! That’s it. That’s about all I really know for sure.

But, oh my goodness, that knowing changes the lens I use to view every situation, problem, blessing and even the unexpected. It changes the trajectory of my days.

I mean, think about it — if we wake up every morning and truly, deeply believe and trust that God simply loves us, how does that change how we feel about who we are? Would we go through our ordinary days with a few less self-imposed “should-haves”? Would that critical voice in our head saying, “You aren’t enough” be just a little quieter? I think it would. I think I might be more patient in traffic too — just bein’ real!

For instance, I’ll be honest and tell you I might not worry as much if I got my swim workout done or not. I might be less judgmental of myself over some misspoken words I said to my husband or one of my kids. I might be less frantic that I didn’t get all my errands done or phone calls made. I might be a kinder, gentler person if I just sit in the knowing. God loves me. God is for me.

Brennan Manning once said that God doesn’t just love you — He likes you. Whoa! That really got my attention. There are people I love, but fewer people I like. So, it makes my heart happy to think God likes me. I can’t stop thinking about it!

Today’s key verse is one of my very favorites. The word NOTHING is a big word!

“For I have every confidence that nothing — not death, life, heavenly messengers, dark spirits, the present, the future, spiritual powers, height, depth, nor any created thing — can come between us and the love of God revealed in the Anointed, Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

Nothing just means nothing. It doesn’t have an “except for …” attached to it. Nothing. Period! No “buts” “ands” or “except-fors.”

I like to argue with God sometimes, and I’ll say, “But God, I’ve put on some weight, and I feel like I’ve let me and You down. Do You still love me?” And, it’s like I hear Romans 8:38 quietly in my spirit:

“Sandi, NOTHING!” “Yeah, but God …”

“NOTHING!”

“God, were You paying attention? I got a divorce. My kids have been hurt by my choices.”

But God quietly comes alongside my spirit and says, “Baby girl, I know pain. I got you. I love you — NOTHING!”
And now, at 62, I think I finally believe Him. And it’s changing me. It’s changing how I move through my days. There is eternity in every single moment because God is in every single moment.

As I return to Romans 8:38-39, I’m learning to say, “I have every confidence that NOTHING … can come between us and the love of God …” That is the first and most important building block of my faith in Christ.

Friend — I want you to know today how much you are loved by the God of the universe. Right now, in this very moment. Right where you sit or stand. With or without your makeup on. You are so deeply and passionately loved.

 

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Encouragement for Today

LOVE ANYWAY

“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?”

— Matthew 5:46

Let’s be honest. Sometimes we just don’t see eye to eye with some people in our lives. Showing them love can be quite a challenge, especially when these people are difficult, different, or don’t always show appreciation. But learning to love them anyway is a step closer to understanding the kind of love God has for us.

Have you ever thought about how out of balance our love relationship with God is? He first loved us, the Bible says (1 John 4:19). He made the first move and took the first step. By His grace, He sent Jesus for us to receive by faith. Our love in return, even on our best days, pales in comparison to that kind of love. Yet He loves us anyway. He doesn’t give up on us when we don’t give it back or show appreciation.

In Christ, God loves us anyway.

As we begin to grasp just how wide and long and high and deep the love of Christ really is (Ephesians 3:18), we move closer to being able to love others in the same way God loves us. As we receive God’s love and grow in His truth, God is producing in us a love that has the power to love anyway. And that kind of love is the greatest mark we can leave on the world!

So who is God calling you to love anyway? A friend who is difficult or different? A grumpy family member? A coworker who never seems to appreciate your efforts? Maybe it’s your kids. As moms, we seem to always be giving and not necessarily getting much back in return.

Wherever we find hard-to-love people, may we open our hearts wide to receive God’s love, and then may we be quick to share His love. May He empower us to love anyway!

Lord, I praise You for loving me first. Thank You for not giving up on me, even when I didn’t love You back. Thank You for being patient, kind, and gentle. Pour Your love into my heart through Your Holy Spirit. Change me, and give me the power to love anyway. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Are there people around you right now whom you need to learn to love?

What is one way you can love anyway right now?

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from In Faith Gateway

DON’T WASTE THE WAIT

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. — Psalm 33:20–21

Have you ever noticed that there’s a lot of waiting in the Bible?

Abraham waited for an heir. Hannah waited for a child. King David waited for help. Israel waited for deliverance. But nobody likes to wait! As human beings, we like things to happen fast. Today is better than tomorrow. So it’s no surprise that some people in the Bible ran into trouble while they were waiting. Their waiting provided the perfect opportunity for their wandering.

Israel, fresh out of Egypt, is only one example. They had just seen the mighty hand of their Deliverer, experienced His gracious provision, and been blessed by His faithfulness. And yet, in a moment of waiting, they quickly wandered from God. In Exodus 32:8, we read,

They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf.

I can’t help but be struck by that phrase, quick to turn away. When God seemed slow to answer, they were quick to turn away.

How easily we can become discouraged, resentful, forgetful, impatient, and even disobedient when we’re waiting on God. Maybe you’re waiting for God’s provision. Perhaps you are waiting for Him to right a wrong. Or maybe you are waiting for God to fulfill a promise. Regardless of your waiting, don’t let it become an opportunity to wander. Be careful of being “quick to turn away.” Wait for Him in hope. Turn to Him in trust. God never wastes our waiting.

Father, help me wait in hope. Guard my heart against wandering, doubt, or resentment. Help me trust You and wait patiently for You. I know that You are faithful, good, and present, even in the waiting. In Jesus’ name, amen.

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from In Faith Gateway

OBEDIENCE IN MARRIAGE

Ephesians 5:22-24 gives an important area of obedience.  While this is not popular in our society today, it is biblical, but is also often misunderstood.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

It is important to make clear that before God there is an absolute equality between men and women, between husbands and wives.  In fact, this passage does not say, “Women submit to men.”  It is purely a domestic situation.

Even with that understanding, the Bible says that husbands and wives are heirs together of the grace of life.  There is an equality before God between men and women and husband and wife.

What this passage teaches is that God has set up a system of authority in the home that needs to be followed, if it is going to be well with us.  In fact, this is even a military term.  To submit or to obey means to put yourself in rank under.

Friend, we are in a spiritual warfare, and there are spiritual forces that have been unleashed against homes and against marriages that would love to tear marriages apart.

God has designed a way for the home to function, and that is for the man to take the responsibility of leadership and for the wife to come under that authority.  When a husband truly loves his wife, and cares for her like Christ does the church, and the wife respects her husband, things will be well in the home.  That couple and that family will be magnets for the blessings of God.

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Answers for Each day

PAY YOUR TAXES!

Yesterday we learned from Romans 13:1-3 that we need to submit ourselves to the laws of the land if we want to live lives free from fear.  I want to focus your attention today on the remainder of that passage, Romans 13:4-7,

“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.” -Romans 13:4-7

What I want to address today is the need to pay our taxes with honesty, not trying to dodge our responsibility.  It is a critical part of obeying the laws of the land as we discussed yesterday.

While I do not like working hard and in the end sending a large portion of every dollar to support the government, it is the right thing to do.  I am absolutely amazed when I learn of Christians who try to dodge their responsibility to pay taxes.

Friend, you must be honest and pay your taxes.  Certainly take advantage of all that the law allows, and do not pay more than you need to, but don’t hide anything.  You need to make sure you do this because when you do, you are being obedient to God.

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Answers for Each day

WHERE WILL YOU SPEND ETERNITY?

1 Corinthians 15:1-4

In our homes, we use smoke detectors to warn us of fire. Our car’s dashboard has lights to indicate a malfunction. We’d be foolish to ignore these warnings. In the same way, Scripture   passages warn us about the terrible consequences for rejecting God’s provision of a Savior.

The Bible tells us how to be reconciled to God so we can spend eternity with Him. We need to understand and accept the following truths:

Sin separates us from God (Rom. 3:23; Col. 1:19-22). Because of Adam and Eve’s rebellion, we are all born with a nature bent away from the Lord. His justice requires that we pay for our transgressions.

God sent His Son Jesus to make that payment for us (1 Corinthians 15:3). Only the death of one who was perfect would satisfy the Father’s righteous judgment. Jesus lived a life without sin, which qualified Him to become our substitute. He willingly took our place and died on the cross in order to pay our penalty. God accepted His death in place of ours and declared us righteous in His sight (Rom. 3:22).

Salvation is a free gift, received through faith in Jesus (Eph. 2:8-9). Our good works will neither satisfy divine justice nor pay for our transgressions. They are not what God requires for forgiveness or adoption into His family. Faith in Jesus is the only way to God (John 14:6). When we accept Christ as our Savior and Lord, heaven becomes our eternal destination.

God wants you to live forever with Him. If you haven’t yet made your eternal destination certain, do so now.

Bible in One Year: Luke 12-13

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from In Touch Ministries

 

WHY WOULD YOU LET THIS HAPPEN, GOD?

“Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.” 1 Kings 19:3a (NIV)

There are three filters of truth through which I process life events:

  1. God is good.
  2. God is good to me.
  3. God is good at being God.

This is my starting place when looking at circumstances both wonderful and hurtful. These truths help me consider good things God might be doing, even with realities that don’t feel at all good. They bring me back to the goodness of God as the starting place for my continued trust in Him. These truths help settle my runaway fears and chaotic emotions when feelings beg me to question, Why would you let this happen, God?!

I’m not saying this is easy. I’ve had some really heartbreaking things happen in my life over the past couple of years. I had so many ideas of how my life should go, including notions of what a good God would and would not allow into my life.

I said I trusted God, but in reality, I think I trusted in the plan I thought God should follow. And when my life took shocking turns so far from my expectations, my soul shook. My peace evaporated. And everything in me wanted to run and hide and stop trusting God.

This is where we find Elijah in 1 Kings 19. If you’ve never read 1 Kings 18, I highly recommend it. It’s a chapter where we see God use Elijah to prove to the nation of Israel that He’s the one true God in a miraculous and powerful way. Elijah must have been on a high, seeing God do what he expected God to do. And in essence, Elijah looked good himself as the “prophet who won the showdown at Mount Carmel.”

But oh, how quickly things can change. How quickly Elijah’s absolute trust in God evaporates with one death threat from Queen Jezebel. First Kings 19:3a tells us, “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.”

The events taking place in 1 Kings 18 and then 1 Kings 19 are both spectacular and sobering. Spectacular as we see the Lord magnificently prove His supremacy and might to all of Israel. Sobering in that, in spite of God’s tremendous showing of power, King Ahab and Queen Jezebel are not overthrown, and Elijah ends up running for his life into hiding.

Why was Elijah fearful and in despair? I have a feeling his desperation came from the same soul-shaking place I mentioned earlier — unmet expectations. Elijah probably assumed Ahab and Jezebel’s unholy reign would come to an end after the mighty feat of the Lord. Yet, that was not the outcome, and in that place of unfulfilled expectation, fear ultimately crumbled faith.

Even though Elijah experienced the miracle on Mount Carmel, he still succumbs to the fear of persecution. Elijah flees into the wilderness, exposing the truth that even a great prophet like Elijah is still human and falls terribly short in terms of both faith and affection for the Lord.

Even so, the Lord deals graciously and gently with Elijah — drawing him close with a whisper and giving him instructions of what to do next.

God doesn’t fix things the way Elijah thinks they should be fixed, but He does lead him. And isn’t it interesting the Lord leads him back through the wilderness? (1 Kings 19:15) After all, that’s often where God takes His people to teach them His perspective that blooms into deeper faith.

The Lord gives Elijah a second chance to face the same struggles before he ran and hid, except this time with right perspective and faith.

Elijah sees God’s plan is good — even if it isn’t the way Elijah would have written it himself. And the same is true for us. God’s plans don’t have to match our plans for them to still be good.

What can we personally take away from studying these events in Elijah’s life?

Perspective is the key to trusting God. And so often the clarity we need to see things from God’s perspective happens in the wilderness experiences we all wish we could avoid.

Maybe the three truth-filters which helped me can help you in whatever life circumstances that seem unfair, unreasonable or hurtful beyond what you can bear. Let God whisper His truth that He is good. He is good to you. And He is good at being God.

Father God, I’m so thankful You don’t condemn me for my fears. Instead, You have given me the gift of Your perspective-shifting, lie-sifting, head-lifting Truth. Help me use Your Word to preach truth to my own soul when I start to doubt Your goodness. Teach me how to use it as the powerful and effective weapon it is when the enemy tries to convince me I have been forgotten and forsaken. Let it remind me that You see me, You love me, and I am safe — both in Your hands and in Your plans. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:

Psalm 56:3-4, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise — in God I trust and am not afraid.” (NIV)

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Proverbs 31 Ministries

NOTHING CAN SEPARATE US

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

(Romans 8:38-39, KJV)

WORD:

People may come and go from your life, but God is always with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. His love goes way beyond any human love you have ever experienced. Human love may be conditional, but God’s love is supernatural; it’s unconditional and knows no limits. There’s nothing you can do to earn His love and nothing you can do to stop His love.

The Scripture tells us that His love is patient and kind. His love believes the best. His love redeems and restores you. No matter what you’ve been told or what you may think about yourself today, you are His most prized possession. There’s nothing that can separate you from His love! Remember, faith is activated by love. As you allow Him to flood you with His love, your faith will be ignited, and you’ll be empowered to live the abundant life He has for you!

PRAYER:

Father, thank You for loving me and setting me free. Thank You for working in my life and restoring the broken places. Everything I have I surrender to You. Fill me with Your perfect love in Jesus’ name. Amen

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Today’s Word