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

ONE BIG REQUEST

John 15:16

Yesterday we looked at God’s promise in John 14:14. Too often people take the verse to imply, “If you ask anything, I will do it.” They overlook the most essential phrase: “in My name.”

Asking in Christ’s name has two meanings. First, believers are welcome to make requests that align with God’s purpose and plan. To do that, we need to ask Him if our prayers match His will. God has several ways of assuring followers that they are on the correct path. For instance, He may increase right desires or decrease wrong ones. Another possibility is that He will use His Word to redirect a Christian’s steps or confirm that the believer is going the right way. Either way, God will make a path for the man or woman who seeks to do His will.

Second, invoking Christ’s name means that we desire to glorify Him instead of ourselves. James gives this warning: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3). To understand that, let’s consider those who are trying to pray their way out of a financial hole as an example. The question is, Does a person want to get out of debt so that he has more for himself or so that he can use the excess in God-honoring ways? Motives are apparent to God, and He will not encourage ones rooted in sin.

In the name Jesus Christ, there is abundant power. However, calling upon Him in prayer is not a magic charm to get what we want. Rather, it is a signal that we are laying down our personal desires and our own way of getting things done. In so doing, we commit to follow God and bring honor to Him.
Bible in One Year: Luke 2-3

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from In Touch Ministries

THE CONNECTION BETWEEN PURPOSE AND PRAYER

”‘I know what I am planning for you,’ says the LORD. ‘I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you a hope and a good future. Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you’” (Jeremiah 29:11-12 NCV).

Is there anything God can’t do? There are a lot of things God can’t do. He can’t deny himself. He can’t be evil. God is good, so by nature, he cannot do bad things. Everything God does is good. And so, because God is good, God’s plans for your life will always be good.

Jeremiah 29:11-12 says, “‘I know what I am planning for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you a hope and a good future. Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you’” (NCV).
Do you see the connection between prayer and God’s plans for your life?

I’ve said this many times, but I’ll say it again: You are not an accident. There is a purpose for your life. There are accidental parents, but there are no accidental children. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did, and he wanted you alive.
Now, God didn’t have to create a plan for your life. He could have just let you be born and then wander around aimlessly.
But God has never made anything without a purpose. Everything has a purpose and a plan. God gave you a plan for your life. Why? Because he loves you. He is a good God, so he put a lot of thought into creating you.

And now you may ask, “Well, how do I know God’s plan?” God’s plans for your life are revealed and realized through prayer. The more you pray, the more you’re going to understand God’s plan for your life. When you pray to him, he listens, and he answers and reveals more of himself to you.
STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Daily Hope with Rick Warren

GOD FORGIVES YOU. NOW FORGIVE YOURSELF.

”He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve . . . He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:10, 12 NLT).God always gives us what we need, not what we deserve. Psalm 103:10, 12 says, “He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve . . . He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” (NLT).
Instead of giving us the punishment we deserve, Jesus Christ paid for all our sins and all our wrongs. I like that the Bible says, “as far as the east is from the west,” because there’s no end to east and west. There is a north pole, and there is a south pole. But there is no end from east to west. God has simply taken our sin and wiped it out!
And if God has forgiven you, then you need to forgive yourself.

There’s this guy in the Bible, King David, who committed adultery and then, to cover it up, had the woman’s husband murdered. Those are pretty big sins—murder and adultery. Did David deserve to be forgiven? No. Did David deserve mercy? No. But David knew that God is a good God, and so he asked for mercy. He prayed: “Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin” (Psalm 51:1-2 NLT).
If you are struggling with a big sin right now, you need to go read all of Psalm 51. The entire psalm is based on who God is, not who you are.

Let me make this really clear: God forgives you not because you’re good but because he is good. He is a good God, and he has a good plan for you—even when you blow it big-time. Nothing can separate you from his love!
STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Daily Hope with Rick Warren

THE CONSEQUENCES OF IMPATIENCE

Luke 15:11-21
How serious is a lack of patience? We generally write it off as inconsequential. It’s often seen as a weakness rather than a sin—after all, it’s not as bad as adultery, theft, or murder. But have you ever considered what your impatience reveals about your attitude toward God?

When we demonstrate an inability to tolerate delay, we are telling the Lord, “I don’t trust Your timing; mine is better.” Can you see the seriousness of this attitude? Impatience is a display of pride because we are elevating our understanding above that of our all-knowing God.
The prodigal son’s journey toward disaster began with impatience. He wanted his inheritance immediately and was unwilling to wait. After taking matters into his own hands, he faced the following consequences:
He brought sorrow on his family. Likewise, our impatience hurts those we love.
He left the security of home. When we run ahead of God, we often leave behind the voices of reason and wisdom in our life.
He found himself in ruin. God’s blessing accompanies our obedience, so we stand to lose a great deal when we ignore His timing.
He felt unworthy. We don’t experience fellowship with the Lord when impatience keeps us outside of His will.

Although the prodigal son was welcomed home, he could never regain the inheritance he’d lost. We, too, must often live with painful consequences as a result of jumping ahead of God. Let’s remember it’s better to wait patiently until the Lord moves us forward.
Bible in One Year: Acts 10-1

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

PURITY AND PERSECUTION

1 Peter 4:1-5

What is the connection between suffering and purity for the Christian? These are not terms we usually consider together, but Peter says those who suffer physically cease from sin and no longer live for human lusts. Instead, they live for the will of God. That is not to say we’ll reach a level of sinless perfection but, rather, the power of sin in our lives will be broken.

According to today’s passage, we are engaged in a battle, and Peter says to arm ourselves with the same attitude Christ had in His suffering. Just as He willingly submitted to the Father’s will and went to the cross, so we must accept that suffering is likewise part of God’s will for our life. It’s one of the ways He purifies us and breaks any attachment to our previous sinful desires.

As believers, we are called to live differently from the world around us. This doesn’t mean we’re to be deliberately antagonistic, but our lifestyle should be an example of purity. Others may find this offensive because it exposes their sin, and then they may respond by maligning us in an attempt to make themselves feel better.

Although we want the world to be attracted to Christ by our transformed lives, in reality we may make others uncomfortable or perhaps even antagonistic. This is why so many Christians around the world are being persecuted and even killed for their faith. But every time the church has faced persecution, it has also been purified and made stronger. God never intends for suffering to defeat us. Rather, His purpose is for it to make us holy and effective witnesses for Christ.

Bible in One Year: John 1-3

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from In Touch Ministries

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

GROWING FROM OUR HURTS

Genesis 50:15-21

Throughout history, people have suffered tremendous injustice and pain at the hands of others. None of us are exempt from conflict, criticism, and mistreatment. The question is, Are we growing more or less like Christ as a result?

Nothing that happens in our lives is an accident. As children of God, we know that everything coming our way is filtered through our Father’s loving, sovereign hands. And He can use whatever we experience to grow us in grace and holiness—yes, even injustice and abuse.

Joseph endured more unfair treatment than most of us can even imagine: He was sold into slavery by his brothers, slandered by Potiphar’s wife, and forgotten in prison. For years, it seemed that no good would ever result, but there was divine purpose in it all. Joseph learned more about God’s ways and was also being trained for the future.

The same is true for each of us. The Lord doesn’t want us to focus on the wrongs done to us and the pain we’ve suffered. Instead, He wants us to keep our eyes fixed on Him. As we read God’s Word, He reveals His ways and purposes, giving us guidance to walk with Him and patience to wait for His timing. And His indwelling Holy Spirit enables us to respond in a godly manner by forgiving those who wrong us.

Think about Joseph’s words to his brothers: “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Gen. 50:20). Remember, that is true in your life also. The pain you carry can be used for good if you’ll forgive your offenders and trust the Lord’s ways.

Bible in One Year: John 8-9

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from In Touch Ministries

TRANSFORMED INTO JESUS’ IMAGE

Ephesians 5:1-21

As Christians, we are called to a high moral standard, yet we may feel as if we’re failing more than succeeding. Perhaps our language isn’t as pure as we know it should be, or we haven’t overcome some of our bad habits. It’s easy to become discouraged if we don’t understand what is hindering our progress.

Transformation begins in the mind, because the way we reason affects how we act. We can’t expect to progress in holiness if we’re undiscerning about what to allow into our thoughts. Paul admonishes us not to be conformed to the world but to be transformed by renewing the mind (Rom. 12:2). We must make an intentional effort to fill our mind with the truths of God’s Word to ensure that we are counteracting the world’s messages.

The influence of others is another avenue by which we can be helped or hindered in our pursuit of holiness. If we associate with people who don’t share our standards, we could be tempted to compromise. Mature believers, on the other hand, can detect obstacles hindering our growth and point out adjustments we need to make. I was greatly impacted by the biographies of godly men like Oswald Chambers, Charles Spurgeon, and Dwight L. Moody. As I read, I would see qualities in their lives that I wanted in my own. These traits formed the basis for many of my prayers.

What kinds of thoughts fill your mind? Are you being influenced by friends, television, or social media more than you are by the Word of God? As the Holy Spirit helps you replace wrong thoughts with godly ones, your behavior will also be transformed.

Bible in One Year: Luke 23-24

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from In Touch Ministries