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.

 

7 Reasons Why This is Good Friday



  1. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
    In His beaten, scourged, punched, spit upon, shamed body, Jesus prayed for His enemies.
  2. Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43
    Between two thieves, Jesus promised eternal life to the one who asked to be remembered.
  3. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her,
    “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.”
    John 19:26-27
    Hanging from the cross, Jesus made sure that His mother would be taken care of after He died.
  4. From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). Matthew 27:45-46
    His Father is holy and cannot look upon sin. Jesus became my sin, your sin, sins of the past, sins of the present, and sins of the future, and God turned His gaze away from Jesus.
  5. Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” John 19:28
    In all His humanity, Jesus became thirsty. He taught that all who came to Him would thirst no more, for He has living water.
  6. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” John 19:30
    Hanging on the cross, Jesus paid the price for my sin and your sin – death. His work was done. The price had been paid.
  7. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Luke 23:46
    Jesus dismissed His spirit and died. The perfect sacrifice that paid the price of sin, death, – the Lamb of God.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

This eternal life is for you if you accept it.

Today is commonly referred to as Good Friday. Good, because the body of Jesus was broken for you and for me, and the blood of Jesus washed our sins away, if we just accept this free gift of God.

Won’t you take this gift today?

A Review of Max Lucado’s New View of the Old Rugged Cross

“God does what we cannot do so we can be what we dare not dream: perfect before God.” (p. 71)

Max Lucado has compiled over 30 meditations from his books to help readers focus upon God’s great grace in The Gift for All People. As Christians around the world are focusing upon the cross, it is the perfect time to read this devotional. It may give you a different perspective on Jesus’ sacrifice for the world.

If you love Lucado’s poetical style of writing, you will be pleased with this book.

Lucado wrote “My prayer is that through these pages you’ll see his gift like you’ve never sent it.” I sensed that the book has been bathed in prayer.

This book is a must read in any season, and yet, a special gift in the weeks leading up to the sorrow of Good Friday and the joy of Resurrection Sunday.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for an honest review.

My prayer

Father, thank You for Max Lucado and his passion to worship You through his writing. We are so blessed by his writing. Empower readers all over the world to understand You more as a result of his books. Father, glorify Your name. Your grace is truly great, and we magnify Your Word.

 

 

Jesus’ 7 prayer points … 5 prayer promises

 

    Walking the earth, Jesus proclaimed the arrival of the kingdom of heaven, taught practical living strategies, healed the blind, raised the dead, touched the lepers, fed the thousands, calmed the storm, cleansed the temple, gave power to heal to His disciples, ate with sinners, and washed dirt-covered feet. Now, it was time to pay the price for the sins of the world. A severe beating and death on the cross lay before Him.

Looking towards the cross, Jesus stopped to pray. His hour had come. A new level of service was before Him–the cross.

  Seven Prayer Points 

  1. Glory. “Father, the hour has come, glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you.” John 17:1
  2. Intercession. “I pray for them.” John 17:9
  3. Protection. “Keep them from the evil one.” John 17:15
  4. Sanctification. “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” He also prayed for His future believers. John 17:17-20
  5. Unity. “That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us” John 17:20-21
  6. Presence. “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me.” John 17:24
  7. Love. “love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:20-26

On His way to the shame and pain of the cross, Jesus stopped to acknowledge the glory of God, the glory He shed when He came to earth, and the work He accomplished on earth–a few short verses. The rest of His prayer was focused on His present and future followers. He prayed for you and me in the shadow of the cross!

Five Prayer Promises

Since the Creator of the universe, Jesus, prayed for His disciples, present and future, you and me, should we walk confident in the service He has given for us to accomplish?

Jesus prayed in the perfect will of God; therefore, I can be assured that I have what He prayed for me. I might even call them prayer promises.

  1. Protection. “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
  2. Sanctification. “So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endure.” Hebrews 13:12
  3. Unity. To “equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, …” Ephesians 4:12-13
  4. Presence. “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19
  5. Love. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

Jesus is our High Priest sitting at the right hand of God always making intercession for us, praying for those who are called by His name, Hebrews 7:25-28.

My prayer

Father, thank You for sending Jesus to earth to serve Your creation and to pay for our sins on the cross and then to be raised from the dead to sit at Your right hand to pray for His followers. Show me how to walk in the five prayer promises we see in the prayer of Jesus. These are His priorities for His followers, priorities that I need to focus on. Thank You for preserving this prayer. Cause me to abide in this prayer. Thank You, Jesus, for Your love. Amen.

Share how you are walking these prayer promises in the Comment Section above.

Greatest Promise in the Bible

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“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16

As children of God, we have approximately 3,500 promises in the Bible. Some are given conditionally, and some are freely given. From relatively small and temporal to large and spanning eternity, Christians have been given an abundance of promises. We reach out and unwrap some of the promises, and we leave others behind.
Of those gifts that we have unwrapped, we smile at the colors, turn them side-to-side, hug them, bask in their fragrance, and soon, we toss them aside for another unwrapped present or a dollop of the world’s sweetness.
What if we opened the greatest promise in the Bible, took each part of this hope-filled gift apart, prayed, pieced it together as a beloved quilt, and wrapped it around us … every cell feeling its life-giving warmth?

For God …

God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, our triune God, our God who is all that is holy, pure, and perfect acted on our behalf.

… so loved …

Almighty God, Prince of Peace, and Wonderful Counselor loved His creation. He loved you and me … in our brokenness, in our sin, in our rebellion.

… the world …

The Creator of the Universe loved His creation, even though this creation rebelled against Him, even though the man and woman said they would rather taste the forbidden fruit than trust that their Creator wanted what was best for them.

… that He gave …

The Everlasting Father gave us a gift. He had already given us the earth to take care of, and we botched it. We did the one thing that Father told us not to do; we ate the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We learned what sin was.

Father is giving us another gift!

… His only …

Father had only one of these, and He’s giving it to you and me! He must love us greatly.

… begotten Son …

Jesus! Father’s giving us Jesus, not an object! God’s Son left His glory with God in heaven and entered Mary’s womb to become a baby. He lived in a poor carpenter’s family. He taught the people about the kingdom of heaven. He healed the lame, touched the leper, gave sight to the blind, brought sound to the deaf, raised the dead, fed the 5,000, calmed the sea, taught the multitudes, and loved the unlovely.

Jesus, the One we nailed to the cross, took our sins upon Himself. He paid the penalty for our sins.

Jesus died on the cross.

Jesus rose from the dead.

Jesus sits at the right hand of God, saying, “I paid the price for her, for him. They are my sister and brother.”

Jesus loves you and me.

… that whoever …

Anyone? Yes, anyone who reaches out and unwraps the gift. That means a murderer, a liar, an adultress, a thief … anyone.

… believes in Him …

Anyone who trusts in Jesus, God’s gift to the world, anyone who clings to Jesus.

… shall not perish …

The person who clings to Jesus will not suffer spiritual death, a separation from God that would result in great suffering in hell.

 … but have eternal life.

The gift is the fullness of life without an end … walks with God in the cool of the garden … life basking upon the glory of God … life wrapped in the color-filled quilt washed with the precious blood of Jesus.

My prayer

Father in heaven, cause Your great and precious promise to seep into every cell of our being. Cause us to understand Your incomprehensible love, a love that would give Your most precious gift to an unloving and rebellious people. We want to press into You and possess Your promise in all its depth, height, and width. Help us, Lord. Thank You, Jesus!

Tell us the promises God has given you for 2016 in the “Comment” section.

Jesus loves you

 

Sea of GalileeBlessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8

Waves spilled into the boat and tossed it like a bobber on a fishing line.

A ghost walking towards the boat!

Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.

Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.

Come.

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Matthew 14:23-30

Peter got out of the boat and walked toward Jesus. His will? Walk toward Jesus. His eyes fixed on Jesus, he walked on the Sea of Galilee towards His Messiah.

But he turned his eyes onto the storm, and his will changed. His will became,  “survive the storm.”

Peter knew that if Jesus told him to step out of the boat, he would be able to walk to Jesus even though there was a storm and only water was under his feet. So Peter stepped out of what men had built to keep him afloat onto the water. Impossible.

Peter walked with purity of heart. Soren Kierkegaard wrote that purity of heart is “to will one thing.”

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 1 John 3:2-3

In Biblical times, the heart was viewed as the throne of the spirit.

And He [Jesus] said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ Matthew 22:37

One will.

We live in a busy world that requires much of us. There is the family, the career, the church, the friends, the neighbors, the school, the community, the nation, the world. How do we love God with ALL our heart, soul, and mind … one focus, one will?

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8

God is holy, and anyone who approaches God must be pure in heart. In myself, I’m not pure in heart. I’ve sinned. I’ve not kept God’s commandments, God’s Law.

The Bible tells us that the price of sin is death, Romans 6:23 and that there is no one who does not sin. This death is a physical death and a spiritual death that eternally separates us from God and all that is good and pure, an eternity of darkness and misery that we could never imagine.

Yet, God loved you and me so much that He sent His Son into the world, so that all who would believe in His Son would not suffer this consequence.

Jesus entered the world as a baby, born in poverty and humility. He grew up in a family with brothers and sisters. He learned his earthly father’s trade, carpentry.

In God’s timing, Jesus began His ministry. He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, raised the dead, walked on water, calmed the sea, performed other miracles, and taught the multitudes.

The world rejected Jesus. My sin, your sin beat Jesus so badly, that He was unrecognizable as a man. My sin, your sin nailed the Son of God to the cross. Jesus took my sin, your sin upon Himself. Jesus paid the price of your sin, my sin, and the sin of the entire world … past, present, and future.

Three days after He died, Jesus rose from the dead. He showed Himself to His disciples and many others. Jesus now sits at the right hand of God, speaking on your behalf, my behalf, and on the behalf of all who believe in Him.

Jesus is the Way to a pure heart … the only Way … and He offers this Way to you and me … His free gift … His everlasting gift. All you and I have to do is accept the gift, trust Him, and let Him begin His good work in you.

Like the Psalmist, tell Jesus,

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. Psalm 27:4

My prayer

Jesus, I have sinned. Thank You that You loved me so much that You became a man, that You paid the price for my sin, that You died on the cross, and that You rose from the dead to advocate for me in heaven. I want to follow You. I want You to be my Savior. Please forgive me of my sins. Make my heart pure. I want to live my life for You. I want to see You. I want to behold You and live with You forever. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, please let me know in the comment section, and I will pray for you and your new walk with Jesus.

May the Lord richly bless you and keep you.