Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spirit of the Living God

Romans 8:11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as he raised Christ from the dead, he will give life to your mortal body by the same Spirit living within you

That first line, read it, take it in. Pause and think about having the SAME Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead living in you. He doesn’t visit on the holidays, or occasionally chit chat, no he LIVES in me. No matter where I go, what I do, who I see that same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is with me. The Spirit that parted the Red Sea, crushed the walls of Jericho and fed 5000 people lives in me. It’s humbling and I am the last person to deserve it. As the Easter story unfolds and as I celebrate God conquering death I pray that I remember that the same Spirit that accomplished all of this lives within me and I pray that day after day He leads me.

Romans 8:12 So dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation whatsoever to do what the sinful nature urges you to do.
I have four words for you. Easier. Said. Than. Done. But Paul knew. Paul speaks from experience. Sometimes the urge to sin is SO overwhelming. To just give in, just once, is so much easier than a constant battle. We think about the here and now, the temporary taste of satisfaction. We have those limitations but we don’t have to give in. Sure, it feels like we do. It seems that we’ll get no rest until the sinful nature is appeased, but that’s not God. God destroyed sin’s hold over us. We have a choice. We won’t win every battle…but we’ve already won the war.

Romans 8:13 For if you keep on following it you will perish. But if through the power of the Holy Spirit you turn from it and its evil deeds, you will live.
By the power of the Holy Spirit you turn from it. Not yourself. When “you” is mentioned alone, so is the word “perish,” that’s what will happen. When we live life according to ourselves and our rules, we die. End of story.
But for Christians it’s not the end. We have the Holy Spirit to get us through temptation. Just as Jesus wasn’t alone when he was tempted neither are we. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit can we turn away from sin. Does this mean we are failures if we sin? YES. But thankfully God doesn’t look at us, He sees His Son, the sacrifice, and welcomes Him and His friends in as if they were His own.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sinful nature vs Holy Spirit

Romans 8:8 – That is why those who are under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

Verse 7 states that the sinful nature could never, never ever, obey God. If we are under the control of the sinful nature there is no way we could EVER please God. For me, my love of God drives my obedience. When I sin I usually feel guilty not because it happened, but because my love of myself trumped my love of God in that moment. The Holy Spirit resides in me….but so often the control I let it have is minimal. Sin is slavery. Christ has set me free yet most times I revert back to my enslaved condition. It is a vicious, vicious cycle. It makes sense why Paul couldn’t wait to be rid of this world, if I were more aware of just how atrocious my sin is I would be more impatient for heaven as well.

Romans 8:9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Holy Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you (and remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them are not Christians at all)

I find this verse hard to grasp but pretty self explanatory. Sometimes I’ve questioned whether or not I have the Spirit in me. I have accepted Christ as my Savior…EVERYONE has been given the Spirit when this occurs. The Spirit does not care about race, popularity, or wealth. If you are truly a Christian then you have the Spirit. Whether we follow the Spirit is another thing, but we have it in us at all times. We are never alone and never without help.

Romans 8:10 Since Christ lives in you, even though your body will die because of sin, your spirit is alive because you have been made right with God.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Jesus turns the Values of the World Upside Down

“The pattern of the Cross means that the world’s glorification of power, might, and status is exposed and defeated. On the Cross Christ wins through losing, triumphs through defeat, achieves power through weakness and service, comes to wealth via giving all away. Jesus Christ turns the values of the world upside down.”

— Timothy Keller

The Reason for God

Friday, March 18, 2011

Our Default Ways

Day 5 – Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things. But those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit – Romans 8:5

This verse really got me thinking. I thought about what I think about (yeah…SO confusing). What thoughts dominate my mind? What consumes my days? Movies, music, actors, and books, everything it seems…except God. 

Day 6 – If your sinful nature controls your mind there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind there is life and peace – Romans 8:6

It sounds so bad, mind control. But either way something controls your mind. You (aka your sinful nature) or the Holy Spirit (when you deny yourself and follow Christ). And I love that there is no promise of money or happiness or health. There is life and there is peace. We live in a fallen world and we are plagued with sin both from ourselves and from others. The banks account may be low, the smile gone and the health waning…but you have the Holy Spirit and with him comes life and peace.
Following our sinful nature may be money and happiness and health…but those are temporary, they are like waves on a beach, there one minute and gone the next. And worst of all they lead no where. nothing is waiting at the end of life on this earth except death.

Day 7 – The sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws and it never will – Romans 8:7

This is the very reason why Jesus tells us that to follow Him we must deny ourselves and take up our cross. The sinful nature is ALWAYS against God. The first man and woman listened to that voice and obeyed it..ever since then we battle with following our sinful ways or following God. It's a choice, free will, choose me or choose Him. And I don't know about you but for me, more often than not, I choose me. Denying myself gets better with discipline, but I'm not perfect and never will be on this earth. We were given the Holy Spirit for this very there was SOMEONE else telling us which way to go, because our default nature is TOTALLY against God. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

He Himself is the Healer

Jesus Christ is so far from hating us, who are His own flesh, that He applies all sorts of remedies with a strong patience for the cure of our infirmities, and He is moved to do it with the greater patience because He knows we shall be restored to perfect health and soundness indeed, and He Himself shall be the healer.

Finally, with an infinite love and joy, and glory to Himself, He will present us to Himself most glorious, without spot, wrinkle, or any such thing.”

— Thomas Goodwin

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Gospel

“A Substitute has appeared in space and time, appointed by God Himself, to bear the weight and the burden of our transgressions, to make expiation for our guilt, and to propitiate the wrath of God on our behalf. This is the gospel.”

— R. C. Sproul

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fitting Together the Ultimate Act of Love

I’m gonna kick out a couple of these today. I just like to write down my thoughts concerning each verse =)

Day 3 – The Law of Moses could not save us, because of our sinful nature. But God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent His own Son in a human body like ours, except that ours is sinful. God destroyed sin’s control over us by giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. Romans 8:3

The ultimate act of love. By ourselves we’re goners, absolutely nothing we can do can help us escape sin’s control over us. It was impossible, but nothing is impossible for God. He devised a different plan to save us, sure it would have been easy to make this species that obeyed and did whatever He wanted mindless…but where’s the glory in that? God devised a plan of ULTIMATE glory. Make these creatures KNOWING they will turn from me and loving them anyway then sending my Son as a sacrifice for their sins so that they can choose to be with me forever. It’s amazing.

Day 4 – He did this so that the requirement of the law would be fully accomplished for us who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. Romans 8:4

Upon first several readings of this verse my thought was “God is not bound by laws. There are no requirements for God” but then I found it. He did this so that the requirement of the law would be fully accomplished for us. Before Christ came we had to sacrifice animals. It’s not what He wanted and it’s not how he created us, but after the fall took place innocent blood needed to be shed in order to forgive sins. When Christ came his innocent blood was shed once for ALL. You, me, that guy over there, EVERYONE. Those who want to follow the Spirit instead of the sinful nature now have an option to accept this sacrifice that God sent and honor it with their lives. Again….so amazing. It’s like watching puzzle pieces fit together.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


One of the worst things about being a girl: High flying EMOTIONS. Ugh. I hate when I feel like my emotions are taking me over, a mutiny is what that is. I once read that my feelings are not reality and I try to keep that in mind when I feel like I'm insane. Anger and frustration are big ones for me. It's a family thing apparently. One thing sets me off and I'm through but it only lasts for MAYBE a day. We also throw things, that's fun. My cousin and I were just talking the other day about our habits when we're angry. Apparently it skipped a generation and we inherited our grandmother's love of throwing things, lucky us.
BUT that is not why I'm writing this. I read this today and it hit close..
"Our words can only treat the symptoms. Only God can heal the disease of uncontrolled emotions...Something makes us furious; then someone tries to "talk some sense into us." We feel a little better and pledge to put our anger away forever. Then, here it comes again with the power of gale-force winds. Our emotions negatively ignited can be more powerful than we are. Our best recourse when negative emotions begin controlling us is to fall before the throne of grace and seek God. Take solace in the fact that Christ knows how it feels to be tempted by feelings (Heb 2:18; 4:15)" got me.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Restoring Beauty to His Bride

“Let us suppose, in the manner of some romances, that a king was betrothed to a beautiful wife, whose picture was sent to him before he himself saw her. But when she set out on her journey to him, she fell sick of some loathsome disease, such as the smallpox or leprosy.
But suppose that he knew before she came to him that she should be restored to her first primitive beauty, and that even though he knew he would be troubled by her disaster, distemper, or disease, he easily quieted himself for that little space of time in which her infirmity, though greatly disfiguring her, was to continue. For he himself would be her physician, the only one who could cure her and restore her to her first perfect beauty, which he know he could and should do. Thus he would show all love and peace toward her, even though her disease was loathsome, in full hope of her recovery.

This is the case between Christ and the church.”

— Thomas Goodwin

A Habitual Sight of Him: The Christ-centered Piety of Thomas Goodwin

Free from Sin and Condemation

Today I’m taking on a MAJOR endeavor, memorizing Romans 8. Sojourn Community Church has broken down the chapter so that you memorize over the 40 days of Lent. Needless to say I’m pretty freaking stoked. Pretty sure it’s not normal to be this excited to memorize Scripture. Memorization has been an obstacle that I’ve been trying to surpass for a while now. It is one of those commands that I just passed over. But after memorizing some verses I find that years and months later those verses still come to me, ESPECIALLY when I need them.

I’m a tad late so I’ll be memorizing the first three verses today, which won’t be so bad.
Not only do I want to memorize this beautiful piece of Gospel, I want to meditate on it and hide it in my heart. So that is where this nifty blog comes in.

Day One: “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus”
Rom 8:1
This one sentence is SO powerful. You can’t screw this up. You can’t get on my bad side. You belong to Christ Jesus. We’re cool. I’m so thankful for this fact because if there were a way to screw this up…I would find it. But I can’t. I belong to Christ Jesus so there is no condemnation for me, in my past, my present OR my future. But as Paul says “Does this mean we should keep on sinning, NO!” My love calls me to obey. I strive to obey because I love Him.

Day 2: “For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death” Rom 8:2
I see it like this:
Power of Sin --> Death
Power of Spirit --> Life
Power of Spirit > Power of Sin
Hmmm…what to choose.
This verse is also a wonderful reminder to me personally. I struggle with many sins that I just can’t seem to get ahead of. The Spirit’s power is bigger than that, GOD is bigger than my sin. I can’t get ahead of it but God can. And He can not only get ahead of it but CONQUER it. Through Christ I. AM. FREE. Woot.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Obedience and Submission

“But Samuel replied, ‘What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to His voice? Listen! Obedience is more pleasing than sacrifice and submission is better than offering the fat of rams” – 1 Sam 15:22

This is one lesson that thousands of years later we still have yet to get through our skulls. So many times I catch myself doing and doing and doing for God, thinking that by these things I gain favor. Then I catch myself. Nothing I do makes my sin less despicable, absolutely NOTHING. The other day I read about 20 men gang raping an 11 year old. I was sick to my stomach. Even thinking about it now makes me sick. And as I prayed for that little girl and for those men God reminded me that my sin is just as horrible to him. It may have different consequences and a lower degree on earth but to Him my sin makes him sick. He loves them just as much as He loves me. I hope He reminds me more often so I can try to wrap my mind around just how much I need a Savior.

Innocent blood needed to be shed in order to cover the people’s sin so God commanded sacrifice. But He doesn’t need dead lambs and first fruits. Nothing we give Him can come remotely close to redeeming ourselves. We are a lost cause. That’s why Christ is SO amazing. He covered us. His perfection stands in front of our imperfection. He gave up His life so that we may have life and live it to the fullest that is why when we accept Christ our life is no longer our own. We give up our sinful ways to God and trust Him to mold and shape us into His image.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship Romans: 12:1

How do we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice? By obedience and submission to the Lord. And we’ve come full circle =)

Love that Surpasses Knowledge

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and love and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love surpasses all knowledge that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God -- Ephesians 3:16-19

The more my heart says that verse, the more I can feel his love and strength in me. I know I don't grasp this love that surpasses knowledge, but one day I hope to get an idea of it...and I hope you do to.

God's strength makes me feel like this =)