“For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and by him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of his blood on the cross. This includes you where were once so far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions, yet now he has brought you back as his friends. He has done this through his death on the cross in his own human body. As a result, he has brought you in to the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand in it firmly. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.”
I’m having a little bit of technical difficulty here on the new blog. It’s really cool because I can add gadgets and widgets that I couldn’t on the free site, but right now, I can’t delete anything. Strangest thing. Hopefully, WP Support will have some answers…
Onward and upward though…
I’m still reading my One Year Bible and today found some wonderful verses in Jeremiah. The Old Testament can be hard to read sometimes. I try to read the Bible with an active “What does this mean to ME?” mindset. Don’t know if that’s always the right way, but that’s just the way I am. When I read the OT, sometimes I come away feeling condemned because so much of the communication from God is all about the law.
Obey or be destroyed. It can be hard to feel the grace in those statements.
Today’s verses, though, did give me a glimpse at how much God wanted his children back with him. He interchangeably uses the relationship of Father and Husband. Both of those roles carry different levels of protection and intimacy.
This is what the Lord says: “O Israel, my faithless people, come home to me again, for I am merciful. I will not be angry with you forever. Only acknowledge your guilt. Admit that you rebelled against the Lord your God and committed adultery against him by worshiping idols under every green tree. Confess that you refused to follow me. I, the Lord, have spoken! Return home, you wayward children,” says the Lord, “for I am your husband.”
I just hear him aching for us to come home to Him!
Today, it’s going to be about Remaining in Christ. My quiet time this morning was me asking God a bunch of “How?” questions. How do I do what he wants me to do? I am most comfortable when I have things under control. If I let go of control, chaos ensues. Or at least it will in my realm. So, I asked God how I was supposed to both let go of my control-freakiness AND stay responsible and accomplish the things that are mine to do.
The answer I got? “Remain in Me”
Tamera wrote this morning about words. This was another thing God was teaching me out of my reading this morning (Psalm 59:12, 16). My words are one way that sin makes its way into action. Speaking sinfully is sin. I know that it can start even earlier, but this is one way it sneaks in that I’m feeling particularly attuned to this morning.
I don’t think I can remain in Him AND say things that are sinful, negative, hurtful, condemning (including self-condemning) or defeatist. I like Tamera’s idea of a focusing bracelet. I’ve done that before. And have removed it when it stops being a reminder.
What do you want to prayerfully remember today?
The fear of the Lord is true wisdom;
to forsake evil is real understanding.
As the deer pants for streams of water,
so I long for you, O God.
I thirst for God, the living God.
…’Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.
The temptations in your life
are no different
from what others experience.
And God is faithful.
He will not allow the temptation
to be more than you can stand.
When you are tempted,
he will show you a way out
so that you can endure.
1 Cor 10:13
But let the Lord Jesus Christ take control of you, and don’t think of ways to indulge your evil desires.
There. Is. No. Condemnation. Period.
- John 6:37 – However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.
- Romans 8:1 – Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…
Though healthy eating would be a blessing to my body, and a good idea for me, it is not a “salvation issue” regardless of what some programs may preach.
- John 6:27 – But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”
I need to lighten up. I have allowed myself to be oppressed, but not by what I thought. I put myself into that pit by choice. I chose to believe that God has been supremely disappointed in me, frustrated by me, and has turned my back on me because of my weakness. My humanity. My inability to rescue myself. But it turns out that maybe my accepting my weakness will be the beginning of my allowing God to do His thing…
- Romans 8:23-27 – Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
- 2 Corinthians 12:5-10 – That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I honestly don’t know where my next steps are. I am going to continue with the TLT study, if for nothing else, to see if it’s possible to continue and not be placed back into the pit of condemnation that I have been in.
I need no other guide in this process but the Word. It is the ultimate authority. I must take every bit of wisdom put out there by others and hold it up against the truth I find in the Word and let the Holy Spirit direct me accordingly.
I think I’ve finally been released from the shackles that I allowed myself to be chained with in the WD movement. Finally. It has taken almost 8 years to see how hateful and dark legalism is. It’s alluring. It’s seductive. It makes you feel special. It makes you feel included. It makes you feel worthy.
I am not worthy. That’s why Christ died. So that my unworthiness could never again separate me from God. I accept his gift of life. I believe he died to save even me. I can not be condemned by my actions anymore. My life is God’s. I am protected. I am accepted. I am fully loved.
But I will never, ever be worthy. Any changes that are worked out in my sanctification process are solely and completely a work of God and not, I REPEAT, NOT due to any strength or worth of my own. No amount of striving, nor dedicated obedience to any laws or rules or structures or organizations will ever make me “better”. Only Christ’s death on the cross bridges the gap. Permanently.
Now, I know that there are a lot of open spots and theological gaps in what I’m writing here. But what I am writing is what is on my heart. The nuances that I need to fully accept. It is imperative that I learn to believe the truth of God’s love for me. I have been really bruised and beaten by my inability to conquer my own sin. It’s once again time for me to step back and see that maybe there’s another way…
PS – I love you mom!
Save me, O God,
for the floodwaters are up to my neck.
Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire;
I can’t find a foothold to stand on.
I am in deep water,
and the floods overwhelm me.
I am exhausted from crying for help;
my throat is parched and dry.
My eyes are swollen with weeping,
waiting for my God to help me.
O God, you know how foolish I am;
my sins cannot be hidden from you.
Don’t let those who trust in you stumble because of me,
O Sovereign Lord Almighty.
When I weep and fast before the Lord,
they scoff at me.
But I keep right on praying to you, Lord
hoping this is the time you will show me favor.
In your unfailing love, O God.
answer my prayer with your sure salvation.
Pull me out of the mud,
don’t let me sink any deeper!
Rescue me from those who hate me,
and pull me from these deep waters.
Don’t let the floods overwhelm me,
or the deep waters swallow me,
or the pit of death devour me.
Answer my prayers, O Lord,
for your unfailing love is wonderful
Turn and take care of me,
for your mercy is so plentiful.
Don’t hide from your servant;
answer me quickly, for I am in deep trouble!
Come and rescue me
free me from all my enemies.
Excerpts from Psalm 69 (NLT)
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?…No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love…Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away. Romans 8:35, 37, 38b