5 Astonishing Statements from Paul

3 crosses - 1

For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:19-20

I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma—the Bible Belt. There were two main churches, Methodist and Baptist. I had a slumber party one weekend. We put on makeup, polished our fingernails, turned on the music, and danced. The girls and I had a great time. I learned later that one of the churches prayed publicly for me because we danced. The rules of the church judged me guilty of a sin I did not understand was a sin. A junior high school student completely mortified and judged sinful.

Every year, the high school hosted an annual dance. The dance was the big event of the year, and almost everyone looked forward to that dance, except the church. After the dance, the church always conducted a revival and talked the students into signing a pledge that they would never dance again. The next year, the students went to the dance and repented afterward with a new pledge.

Although the students could have chosen never to dance again, they chose to break the rules and get forgiveness from the church later.

God gave the Law to show us what it means to live a righteous life. The problem is that we cannot keep the Law. There is no forgiveness in the Law. Forgiveness is in Jesus. Paul writes that the Law is a tutor to bring us to Jesus, Galatians 3:24.

5 Astonishing Statements

What if we lived according to the words of Paul in Galatians? What changes would we make?

Consider these facts, as a Christian.

  1. I died to the Law to live to God. I’ve tried to be good, but whether in my mind or in my actions, I have broken the Law. I may have told a little white lie, or coveted a co-worker’s award or promotion. If I break one law, I am guilty of all the law, and the penalty is death. James 2:11. The Law brought death. Jesus brought life.
  2. I have been crucified with Christ. My sin was placed on Jesus on the cross, and the life that I was living was crucified. Therefore, I have died to the sinful life and have become a new creation to live to righteousness. 1 Peter 2:24, 2 Corinthians 5:17
  3. I no longer live. Since I’m a new creature, the old Karen is dead, and I am freed from sin. Romans 6:6-9
  4. Christ lives in me. Think of this promise! What if I lived with the awareness that Christ lives in me? What would my thought life be? Christ in me, the hope of glory! Colossians 1:27
  5. I live by faith in the Son of God. My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 6:19. What if I thought of my body as the temple? Would I change my thoughts and actions? How would I introduce myself to others? Paul introduced himself as a bond servant of Jesus Christ, Romans 1:1

5 Applications

  1. Ask God to search you, know you, and reveal your sins. Then ask Him for forgiveness. Psalm 139:23-24
  2. Stop throughout your day to consider Jesus’ gift to you. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the depth of that sacrifice and show you how He is transforming you. Romans 8:38-39; Romans 12:1-2
  3. Thank the Lord that He has freed you to live in Him and the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 6:7, 1 Corinthians 5:4
  4. Memorize Scriptures; for Jesus is the Word; the more Scripture you memorize, the more aware you are that He lives in you. John 1:1, 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Joshua 1:8
  5. Before you get out of bed in the morning, give the day to Jesus. Ask Him to guard your thoughts and actions. Tell Him that you want to please Him. Before you go to sleep in the night, repent of your sin and thank Him for His blessings. Mark 1:35

My prayer

 Father, what a wonderful gift You have given us! Thank You that Jesus lives in Your people. Quicken our hearts and minds to this fact. May this knowledge sink deeply into our spirits and may it transform our hearts and minds. You are holy, righteous and loving beyond imagination. We love You, Lord. Amen.

Please share in the Comment Section how you are practicing awareness that Christ lives in you.

 

Christ in You, a Book Review

ChristinYouEric Johnson has written a powerful book that Christians need to read, with Berean discernment, searching the Scriptures as they read this book. Johnson examines the last section of Colossians 1:27, “Christ in you” sometimes adding “the hope of glory.”

Johnson’s premise is that Christians limit themselves because they do not understand the depth of what it means that Jesus dwells in them. Healings, miracles, and mighty works should follow Christians as they followed the early church.

Johnson writes,”After you turned your face to God, you were grafted into His bloodline and became His son or daughter. So rather than saying, ‘I’m a sinner saved by grace,’ a more accurate statement would be to say something like this: ‘I was a sinner, and grace is what has transformed me into a saint.'”

John writes to Christians, saints who have been saved by grace in 1 John 2:1: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” I wonder how Johnson would respond.

Yet, there is great truth in Johnson’s book. We sometimes define ministry as the work done through “the church” rather than considering our professions as a venue for ministry. He urges us to remove the compartments of our lives and consider it all ministry.

Johnson writes that our Christian walk is like setting a person with musical talent in front of a piano. Before that musical talent is manifested, the person must practice hour upon hour, month upon month, and year upon year. Finally, the person is playing at Carnegie Hall. Finally, the Christian is doing greater works that she ever imagined.

“When you realize who lives in you, you will be shocked at what can take place because you are not limiting yourself to what you think you can do.”

Johnson urges readers to consider their position in light of the fact that Christ lives in them, and to step out in the power of Jesus working through them.

I recommend the book to those readers who will search the Scriptures as they read it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Chosen, for an honest review.

My prayer

Father, thank You for Pastor Johnson and his desire to free Christians from the limitations that they have placed upon You and upon themselves. Guide readers as they ponder Your greatness and their walk with You. Thank You for loving us and for dwelling within us.

Where is God’s lovingkindness leading you?

Colored RoseAll the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness and truth

It is a great and awesome thing that God gave Himself, so that men and women would be able to live with Him forever.

Declare His lovingkindness in the morning and His faithfulness by night!

The Lord is gracious and merciful;
Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.
The Lord is good to all,
And His mercies are over all His works.
All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord,
And Your godly ones shall bless You.
They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom
And talk of Your power;
To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts
And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Your dominion endures throughout all generations. Psalm 145:8-13

Lovingkindness leads us to the manger.
Lovingkindness leads us to the foot of the cross.
Lovingkindness leads us to repentance.
Lovingkindness leads us to thanksgiving.
Lovingkindness leads us to proclaim His mighty works.
Lovingkindness leads us to say, “Come, Lord, Jesus.”
Lovingkindness endures forever.
Blessed be the name of the Lord!

My prayer:

May you be filled with His love to overflowing; may you abound in His peace that passes all understanding; may you bless others widely as you live out the hope that is in you.

Walking the dying Home as we share Christ

Sharing Christ with the Dying: Bringing Hope to Those Near the End of Life

In 28 months, Melody Rossi walked the valley of the shadow of death with her mother, step-mother, and father. Her heart’s desire was to see them accept Christ. The Holy Spirit led Rossi to take on the servant role as she put on the tunic of caregiver and the shoes of the gospel of peace, walking as the Holy Spirit led her, waiting on guidance.

Rossi shares practical advise as well as spiritual insight.

The dying process, though painful on so many levels, brings a new understanding that the physical world is not the complete picture and allows the person times to contemplate the significance of this.

Rossi warns caregivers to take care of themselves, both spiritually and physically. She learned to establish boundaries with her loved ones that ensured times away from the dying loved ones … times of refreshment. She found that a Precept Bible study on the covenants of God was particularly helpful. As a Precept Upon Precept Leader and student, I appreciated her application of Scripture throughout her book.

The reader learns what to expect of the dying loved one as well as the caregiver, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Rossi reminds the reader that the caregiver is not alone. The caregiver should rally a team of people and resources to help. Rossi explains how to do this.

Rossi shares her grieving seasons … how she felt, resources she took advantage of, and her insights.

This book is a must-read for those who are walking their loved ones Home, whether believers or not. It is practical, hopeful, and graceful.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my honest review.

My prayer for you

Gracious Father, thank You for Melody Rossi and her message of hope and servanthood. As we walk our loved ones home, guide us as we patiently reflect Your love and Your salvation. Show us the path to reveal the Gospel to our loved ones who do not know You. Thank You, Lord, that You are working even when we don’t recognize it.

Jesus … The source for healing, teaching, and life

5 loaves

And Jesus called His disciples to Him, and said, “I feel compassion for the multitude, because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not wish to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” Matthew 15:32

Where would we get so many loves in a desolate place to satisfy such a great multitude?

How many loaves do you have?

Seven loaves and a few small fish.

He took the seven loaves and fish and gave thanks. Jesus broke them and gave them to the disciples for distributing to the 4,000 men plus women and children.

Seven large baskets full of the broken pieces were left over.

For three days, thousands flocked to Jesus for healing and teaching. They stayed on the mountain with Jesus even though they had run out of food, for they glorified God when they experienced Jesus.

Jesus was their source for healing, for teaching, and for food. Jesus became their manna, their life-giver.

He [God] humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD. Deuteronomy 8:3

Are you hungry for Jesus?

My prayer for you:

Jesus, You are our manna from heaven. We long for You. Fill us up with You. Thank You for waiting for us to surrender all at Your feet as we bask in Your presence, in Your words, in Your healing. We glorify You and wait for Your sustenance.

God heals today … 7 fruits

Galilee Sea

On the Sea of Galilee

Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them. Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan. Matthew 4:23-25

Teaching, proclaiming the good news, and healing … signatures of our Lord Jesus.

  1. Healings and miracles showcased Jesus’ authority to proclaim what the world might call an upside down world view.
  2. Healings and miracles highlighted Jesus’ compassion for hurting people.
  3. Healings and miracles sparked excitement and talk.
  4. Healings and miracles created hope and expectation.
  5. Healings and miracles spurred friends and families to bring the sick.
  6. Healings and miracles turned people to Jesus and His teachings.
  7. Healings and miracles bore followers and disciples.

Healings and miracles happen today. Christian doctors have established the World Christian Doctors Network. The network is focused upon pointing to the great works of healing that the Lord still does, bringing hope to patients and the world. The network has created case studies on how God still heals today.

Read Dr. Ann Verachtert’s presentation about the healing of Hugo Van Leemputten‘s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Hugo had no hope; yet, after prayer and much support, he was healed and now leads a church and healing school called God’s Ambassade.

When there is no hope, look up! Jesus is our hope and our destiny.

My prayer for you

Father, You are so loving and compassionate. Thank You for Your intimate interest in men and women. Thank You that You have many blessings in store for us. Thank You that You heal our bodies so that we can minister to others, so that we can point people to You. We love You Lord and praise Your holy name!