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.

 

Has God used a nuisance to make a difference?

CountryWestern

 

Keith and I enjoyed a Country & Western concert recently. It was a “bring-your-own-chairs and Easy-Up” gathering on the green at the base of our San Jacinto Mountains.

Clapping to the music, I looked over at Keith’s feet, raised up off the grass.

“Ants! Are you about ready [to leave]?”

“Well, why don’t you move?”

“No, I’ll be alright.”

A few songs later, Keith moves his chair to the right of me, and squeezes next to a man we don’t know.

No ants. Just great music.

The man next to Keith places his hands on the arms of the chair, pushes up and falls back. Keith reaches out to catch him and cushions his fall. I jump up and run over, while Keith is still propping him up. Together, Keith pushes, and I slowly pull the 200+ pound man to his feet while his family looks on.

Ants, a little nuisance moved Keith to a different place, a place that probably saved this stranger from injury.

How many times has God used a nuisance or greater to get us to move?

but you know that it was because of a bodily illness that I preached the gospel to you the first time; Galations 4:13

God used a nuisance to prompt Paul to preach the Gospel to the Galations the first time.

Think about the nuisances in your life.

  • Has God used them to help someone else?
  • What have you learned from the nuisances in your life?

My prayer:

Father, teach us to look at the nuisances in our lives as redirections toward Your perfect path for our lives and others’. Thank You for using us even when we resist the nuisances. We love You Lord.

A divine appointment with a surprise ending

ruins

25 But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; 26 and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. Acts 16:25-26

We set a young woman free of her evil spirit. We proclaimed the Word of God. For that, our clothes were torn off us, and we were beaten with many rods, taken to the inner prison and locked in stocks!

He put them into the inner prison, the dungeon, into which none were usually put but condemned malefactors, dark at noon-day, damp and cold, dirty, it is likely, and every way offensive, like that into which Jeremiah was let down (Jer. 38:6); and, as if this were not enough, he made their feet fast in the stocks. Matthew Henry

In the midst of pain, darkness, filth, and fatigue, Silas and Paul prayed and sang.

Some of the sweetest times I’ve spent with the Lord have been those times of great pain. In that pain, by His grace, the Holy Spirit focused me on God’s great love, His awesome rest.

People watched Paul and Silas in their pain. People watched me in the pain of fibromyalgia. People are watching you.

In the prayer and worship, God worked a miracle. He sent an earthquake to open the prison doors and break the chains of pain.

“What must I do to be saved?”

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

The divine appointment?

Appointed with  rods and stocks.

Timed in the dark of midnight.

Punctuated with praying and singing.

Rocked in the earthquake.

Saved in mercy.

Wrapped in the love of God.

Sometimes divine appointments begin in pain, but they always end glorifying God.

I wonder what miracles and salvation would result if the world found us praying and singing praises in the midst of our trials, our pain, our dark nights.

My prayer for you

Father, You alone know the divine appointments awaiting our obedience to Your guidance. Quicken our hearts and minds to rest in our circumstances. Empower us to pray and sing Your praises in whatever situation we find ourselves. We await Your divine appointments and give You the praise.

Champions for the cause of freedom … America’s veterans and their families

Change Guard 2Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C.

Paul writes, “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” Titus 2:3

The word Paul uses is stratiōtēs, a champion for Christ.

America’s soldiers are champions for freedom. They are also champions for doing what is right.

Paul paid a great price as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.                        2 Corinthians 11:25-27

Many of our veterans have paid a great price to champion the cause of what is right and the cause of freedom.

Our veterans and their families have packed their belongings and traveled to unknown parts of America and the world to serve for a few years, make friends, and then move to another city to do it all over again.

Our veterans have left their families to go to unfriendly lands and returned to broken families, returned without limbs, with illness, or emotional scars. They have missed birthdays, graduations, and family milestones.

Some never returned.

All for the cause of freedom.

I salute all veterans and their families.

Won’t you thank a veteran and the family today for being a good soldier, a champion for freedom?

My prayer for you:

Almighty God, thank You for Paul and all the good soldiers who paid a great price to champion the cause of Christ and the cause of freedom. May America return to You, champion the cause of Christ, and honor those who champion the cause of freedom. May America recognize the great cause our veterans and their families have paid to champion the cause of freedom. God bless our veterans and their families.