Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 11”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters this week with Romans 11. Last week, at the end of Romans 10, Paul quoted where God said that He was found by those who did not seek Him, and He revealed Himself to those who did not ask for Him. And as for Israel God said, “All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people” (Romans 10:21, NASB).

Paul begins Romans 11 explaining that God has not rejected His people. There was a remnant chosen, not by works, but by His grace.

I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed Your prophets, they have torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” But what is the divine response to him? “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.

v. 1-6 (NASB)

For the rest of Israel, who did not believe, they were hardened for a time so they could not see or hear the truth.

just as it is written,

God gave them a spirit of stupor,
Eyes to see not and ears to hear not,
Down to this very day.”

And David says,

Let their table become a snare and a trap,
And a stumbling block and a retribution to them.
Let their eyes be darkened to see not,
And bend their backs forever.”

v. 8-10 (NASB)

But God did not leave them to fall beyond recovery. He had a plan to use their disobedience to save the rest of the world. By bringing salvation to the Gentiles, God’s mercy was shown to all, so if Israel would not continue in their unbelief, they too would be shown mercy and receive salvation.

I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too.

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?

v. 11-24 (NASB)

Because of their disobedience, Israel was hardened and cut off for a time so the world could be reconciled to God through Christ. I love how Paul stated above that if they do not continue in their unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. God is so patient and merciful toward us!

For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimationthat a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written,

The Deliverer will come from Zion,
He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.”
“This is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”

From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy.  For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen

v. 25-36 (NASB)

Just as we were once disobedient to God, we have been shown mercy because of their disobedience. And because of the mercy shown to us for our disobedience, they may be shown mercy for their disobedience. Praise God for great His mercy and kindness toward all who believe Him!

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3:3-7 (NIV)

Heavenly Father,

We praise You that You haven’t given up on Your people. And You will not give up on us. You are faithful to Your promises. Thank You for bringing salvation to world through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank You for Your mercy and kindness to all who believe. Help us to continue in Your kindness, keeping our faith in You, so we will not be cut off from You.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

 

How did God speak to you through Romans 11? Is there anything He revealed that you would like to share with others? 

 

*This series will continue next Monday as we study Romans 12. Have a blessed week receiving God’s mercy and kindness!


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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 10”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters in Romans to Philemon this week with Romans 10. In Romans 9, Paul talked about how Israel tried to pursue righteousness through works, instead of by faith. Paul expressed his love for them by saying he would give up his salvation if it would save them.

Paul starts Romans 10 off by expressing:

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.  For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

v. 1-4 (NASB)

They had a zeal for God, but because they lacked knowledge of Him they sought to establish their own righteousness through man made ideas and rules.

‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’

Matthew 15:8-9 (NLT)

Paul explains in the next verses of Romans 10 the only way to know God and be righteous before Him:

The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

v. 8-13 (NASB)

Believing Jesus is the only way to know God, be righteous, and live eternally with Him. As the familiar saying goes, “Know Jesus, Know God; No Jesus, No God.”  In the verse above, “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart,” is referring to Jesus. Jesus is the Word (God’s testimony) as John1:1-14 explains:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:1-14 (NIV)

Psalm 119:105 says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (KJV). Jesus is the lamp that lights up the path to God. He is the revelation of God (the Word of God). He is God’s testimony of who He is and what His will is.

Jesus said,

“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true.

You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.

I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

John 5:31-40 (NIV)

Scripture can’t save us. But Scripture testifies to the One who can save us. The Bible says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16, KJV). God spoke through those He sent to write the Scriptures to testify about Jesus before He sent Him. Though Israel diligently studied the Scriptures, they all did not receive the testimony of Jesus. They denied the gift of eternal life that they so diligently sought to receive.

Paul explains,

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have;

Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
And their words to the ends of the world.”

But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says,

“I will make you jealous by that which is not a nation,
By a nation without understanding will I anger you.”

And Isaiah is very bold and says, “I was found by those who did not seek Me,
I
became manifest to those who did not ask for Me.”

But as for Israel He says, “All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

Romans 10:14-21 (NASB)

People can’t believe if they haven’t heard the truth about Jesus. They can’t hear unless God has sent someone to tell them the truth. And even then, as Paul explained about Israel, though they hear they may not believe. When we are sent to share the truth about Jesus, we pray God shines His light and opens their heart to receive the truth, but we must not lose heart and give up if  they do not believe.

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for giving us knowledge of You and Your will through Your Son, Jesus Christ. We receive His testimony, which is Your Testimony. We receive all that You have given us through Him. Send us out to share His testimony with the world. Help us not lose heart when people do not receive Jesus’ testimony. Give us strength to press on and continue fearlessly sharing Your truth, and allow Your light shine to brightly in us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:1-4 (NIV)

 

How did God speak to you through Romans 10? Is there anything He revealed that you would like to share with others? 

 

*This series will continue next Monday as we study Romans 11. Have a blessed week sharing God’s testimony in Jesus wherever He sends you!


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Monday’s Blog: Thanksgiving (Paul series continues next week)

Since Thanksgiving is this week in the U.S., I want to share a message I’ve posted in the past on Thanksgiving as a reminder to keep our hearts filled with praise for all that God has done for us. I’ll continue our study of Paul’s letters in Romans to Philemon next Monday with Romans 10.

 

Thanksgiving – The Reason Behind Praise

 

I pulled out a journal I started in 2002. As I was flipping through it, I noticed every page was about some trial I was going through at the time. Remembering some of the trials brought me to tears. I wanted to go back and say to myself, “Look ahead! Stop worrying! It works out on the next page. God got me through it!”

If we could write down our problems today, and then flip the page and write down, “It all worked out! God got me through it!” how much more would we find ourselves praising God instead of worrying!

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

I used to wonder why God instructed us to praise Him. I remember thinking, “Does God say that because He needs our praises?” But I knew in my heart that wasn’t the reason. I knew it had to be for our benefit.

God eventually revealed to me why He desires our praises. About seven years ago, I created an online praise report group where people could come and share what God was doing in their lives. When I wasn’t seeing God work in my life, it often encouraged me to see Him work in the lives of others. I knew God was not partial to anyone, so it helped me keep the faith, believing He would work in my life too. So I wanted to create the praise report group to bring encouragement to others.

The group started out well, but then slowly went down to me being the only one posting praises. During that time of praise, I noticed a significant difference in my life. Another woman who shared her praises at that time expressed the same thing. We felt more joyful when we lifted our hearts in praise because it brought us into His presence. His presence fills our hearts with joy.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 16:11

We often wait to praise God until something good happens in our lives, when we should be praising Him before it happens. Praise keeps us looking expectantly to God instead of focusing on our problems.

I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

Psalm 9:1-2

I believe praise shows God that we trust Him. When we trust Him, we won’t be stressed out trying to solve our problems on our own. Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

We tend to share our prayer requests with God more often than our praises to Him. In Matthew 6:9-10, Jesus instructed us how we should pray, beginning with, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

We are also instructed in Psalm 100:4 to: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.

Our prayers seem to mostly be, “Father, help ME … give ME … provide for ME … what about ME ….” I had a revelation of this at a church play one year. In one scene, all the individuals on the stage were crying out to God at the same time, each separately sharing their own troubles. Being in the front row, after about a minute of listening to their moans, it started to get overwhelming and I thought, “My gosh! Is that how we sound to you, Lord?”

If I had created a prayer request group, I don’t think it would have ended like my praise report group did. It’s a lot easier to focus on all the things we need than to focus on what we are thankful for.

With Thanksgiving coming up, we are often reminded to think about what we are thankful for. What if we challenge ourselves to remember to be thankful the other 364 days in a year? I believe we would see our lives dramatically change for the better. We would be content and enjoy our lives, instead of being depressed and worried all the time.

In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus told us not to worry about our lives. He said to, “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and ALL these things will be given to you as well.”

If we spent our days praising God and seeking Him we would find our needs being met. When I am filled with praise and enjoying God, my faith grows and I start trusting Him to provide for my needs. Praise strengthens our faith, which opens the door in our hearts to receive what Jesus died to give us.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.

2 Corinthians 1:20

Everything God has promised in His Word has been given to us through Christ. So when a situation comes up, we should praise God that He has already provided the solution through Jesus.

The solution may not always be what we think it should be, but it will be what we need. In my journal, all my trials didn’t necessarily work out on the next page the way I wanted them to. They did, however, work out for my benefit. I may not have seen the good right away, but looking back now I can see how God used those trials to teach and equip me for the future.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

I want to challenge you today to “Flip the page!” Fill your heart and mouth with praise that God has already provided the solution to EVERY  situation you will ever face. Thank Him every day. Be filled with praise. And watch and see your life change as God works everything out for your benefit!

Heavenly Father,

We praise You that You work our trials out for our good. We praise You that You provide for all our needs.  You never leave us in lack. Help us to remember this as we praise You 365 days a year. You are more than worthy of our praises.

We praise You in Jesus’ precious name, Amen!

Have a blessed week praising God for all He’s done for you!

 

 *This post was also featured in Deborah Bateman’s newest book “Give Thanks.

 

 

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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 9”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters in Romans to Philemon. This week, we are reading and studying Romans 9.

Paul opens the chapter by expressing his sincere love and concern for his people, Israel, because they did not believe Jesus.

I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.

v. 1-5 (NASB)

That’s a powerful statement Paul made. He truly had the love of Christ in him to say he’d take Israel’s place and be cut off from Christ if it would save them. That’s humbling to me. I have to look at my own heart. Is my heart really filled with the love of Christ that I would desire to give up my salvation to save others?

So how do we sincerely love like Christ? What hinders our hearts from being filled with the fullness of His love?  First Timothy 1:5 provides us with the answer:

“Whereas the object and purpose of our instruction and charge is love (agape), which springs from a pure heart and a good (clear) conscience and sincere (unfeigned) faith.”

(AMP, emphasis mine)

We are called to agape love. Agape love is God’s unconditional love. Romans 5:5 says that the love(agape) of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. That agape love that God has poured into our hearts can only spring out from us when our hearts are pure, our consciences are clear, and our faith is in Him.

We are often misled to believe that to love  is to do good deeds. But Paul said, If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing” (1 Cor. 13:3). True agape love only comes through faith, completely believing and surrendering to God and His Word. Faith must come first. Faith will then lead us to action and produce the good works (James 2:18). When our complete faith is in Christ, He purifies our hearts and cleanses our consciences so that His love can flow freely through us.

…how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Hebrews 9:14 (NASB)

In the rest of chapter 9, Paul explains how Israel tried to pursue righteousness through works, instead of by faith.

What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, just as it is written, “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

v. 30-33 (NASB)

They were God’s chosen people, yet they rejected the One God sent to save them, Jesus. Paul expresses,  “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “through Isaac your descendants will be named.” That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants” (v. 6-8, NASB).

The promise He made to Abraham and his descendants were not made to his physical descendants, but to his spiritual seed, those who would put their faith in Christ. It all comes down to faith. It doesn’t matter who we are, or what we do, if our faith is not in Him we cannot be filled with His love.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Hebrews 11:6 (KJV)

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for Your agape love displayed through Jesus Christ, Your Son. Fill our hearts with Christ’s love. Cleanse our hearts of any unbelief and help us completely surrender our hearts to You. Purify our hearts from evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies, for these are the things which defile us (Matthew 15:19-20, KJV). Remove everything that is hindering Your love from springing out from our hearts.   

In Jesus’ faithful name, we pray. Amen!

 

Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.  Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Psalm 51:9-12 (NIV)

 

How did God speak to you through Romans 9? Is there anything He revealed that you would like to share with others? 

 

*This series will continue next Monday as we study Romans 10. Have a blessed week allowing God to purify your heart!


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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 8”

I am sorry this message is a little late. I have my house up for sale and we had an increase in showings last week. I wasn’t able to be at home much. When I was at home, I was busy keeping it clean for the showings. After an exhausting weekend focusing on my house, God led me last night to 2 Peter 3, humbly reminding me to set my mind on things above.

2 Peter 3:10-12 says:

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.”

My house is temporary. Everything in this world is temporary. It’s easy to get caught up in the things of this world and take our minds off God’s Spirit. In our study of Romans 8 this week, Paul begins the chapter talking about how those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit (v. 5).

Those who are not in Christ do not have the Holy Spirit, so they cannot set their minds on things above and please God.

For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

v. 6-8

Those who are in Christ have the spirit of God dwelling in them, working in them to know Him and live a life pleasing to Him.

However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

v. 9-11

Since the Spirit of God is in us, we have an obligation to set our minds on following His Spirit instead of our flesh.

So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

v. 12-13

Last week, in Romans 7, Paul talked about how our flesh leads us in opposition to the Spirit. When we follow the Holy Spirit our flesh will inevitably suffer.

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

v16-18

God wants to set us free from everything that keeps us in bondage to sin. As He sets us free, He can glorify Himself through us to reach and set others free.

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

v. 19-21, 29-30

At the end of the chapter, Paul explains how the Holy Spirit also helps us in our weaknesses as He intercedes for us along with Jesus in accordance with God’s will.

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies;who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

v. 26-27, 33-34

If God is on our side, and we have His Holy Spirit living in us and interceding along with Jesus for us, what can possibly defeat us in this world?

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

v. 31-33

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for Your unconditional love for us.  We praise You for always knowing how to get our attention and turn our hearts in the right direction. Help us to keep our minds set above, and follow and yield to Your Holy Spirit. Let Your glory be seen in us so the world can know You and the freedom You have given us in Christ Jesus.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

 

 

*This series will continue next Monday as we study Romans 9.


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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 7”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters in Romans to Philemon. In Romans 6 last week, Paul instructed us to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God. In Romans 7, Paul continues to explain how we are released from the law and bound to Christ:

Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.

For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

v. 4-6 (NASB)

Paul explains that even though the law aroused sin in us, the law was not bad. It was given for our good.

What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

v. 7-12 (NASB)

As Paul explains above, if apart from the law sin is dead, why did God make the law? If we were once alive apart from it, why did we ever need it?

Paul explains the answer in the following verse:

Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful.

v. 13 (NASB)

I believe the purpose of the law was to show us our need for God. The purpose was to reveal how evil sin is so we would choose to follow God to life instead of the devil to death. Before I knew Christ I didn’t see a need for God. I didn’t see or understand the effects of sin. I didn’t know I had an enemy who was deceiving me trying to lead me to his fate. Once God got hold of my heart, and I started reading His Word, my spiritual eyes opened to see sin for what it is. Gaining knowledge of sin drew me closer to God. The knowledge of sin changed my desires to detest evil and cling to what is good (Romans 12:9).

If we detest sin, and no longer desire it, why do we still sin?

Paul ends the chapter explaining why we sin even though we no longer desire it:

For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.

But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.  For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.  But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

v. 14-25 (NASB)

Paul understood his deep need for Christ. He knew that nothing good was in him. His sinful flesh was a reminder of how helpless he’d be without Christ. Instead of allowing his flesh to have dominion over him, and being depressed by his sin, he rejoiced that Christ set him free.

As Paul explained above, the battle is against our minds. The Bible says to cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5, KJV).

We can’t turn from sin by just setting our minds not to sin. Believe me I’ve tried, and it doesn’t work. We turn from sin, and win the battle Satan wages against our minds, by rejoicing that Christ has set us free from sin. I didn’t understand this when I first started following Christ. I wanted to change and not have sin rule over me, but the more I tried to do good, the worse I became. As I was sitting in a parking lot one day, worn down and depressed that I was not changing, I cried out to God for revelation. A minister was on the radio that moment explaining how we can’t change ourselves. God showed me that instead of putting my faith in Him, and relying on His Spirit to change me, I was relying on my flesh to change me, which was impossible.

You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope.

Galatians 5:4-5 (NIV)

The law shows us how sinful our flesh is, so we can turn to His Spirit to free us from our flesh and transform us. The devil attacks our minds to keep us depressed in our sin and take our attention away from God and the work He wants to do through His Spirit in us. We must remember this whenever we are reminded of our sinful flesh. We can take those depressing thoughts captive and rejoice that He who the Son has set free is free indeed (John 8:36).

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for making a law and revealing how evil sin is so we would see our deep need for You. Fill us with joy in Your Holy Spirit that we have been set free. Sin no longer has a hold over us. When the devil reminds us of our sin, remind us to take captive those thoughts and rejoice that Your Spirit is doing a wonderful work in us. We rejoice in Christ that we are truly free.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

 

How did God speak to you through Romans 7? Is there anything He revealed that you would like to share with others? 

 

*Come back next Monday as we study Romans 8. Have a blessed week rejoicing that you are free in Christ!

 

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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 6”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters in Romans to Philemon. Last week, in Romans 5 we learned the benefits of being justified by faith. Two of the benefits Paul talked about were grace and righteousness.

For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ

Romans 5:17 (NASB)

In Romans 6, Paul talks about how God’s grace and gift of righteousness are not licenses to continue in sin.

In the first half of the chapter, he shares why as he explains how we are dead to sin:

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”

 v. 1-2 (NASB)

I like how the Amplified version explains what it means to be dead to sin:

Are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life.

For if we have become one with Him by sharing a death like His, we shall also be [one with Him in sharing] His resurrection [by a new life lived for God].

We know that our old (unrenewed) self was nailed to the cross with Him in order that [our] body [which is the instrument] of sin might be made ineffective and inactive for evil, that we might no longer be the slaves of sin.

For when a man dies, he is freed (loosed, delivered) from [the power of] sin [among men].

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,

Because we know that Christ (the Anointed One), being once raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has power over Him.

For by the death He died, He died to sin [ending His relation to it] once for all; and the life that He lives, He is living to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him].

Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.

Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies, to make you yield to its cravings and be subject to its lusts and evil passions.

v. 3-12 (AMP)

When you die, sin no longer has control over you. Paul is telling us that since we have died with Christ, we have been freed from sin, so we should no longer submit ourselves to its control.

Even though we know that we have died with Christ, do you often feel like sin does have power of us? How do we break free from its control?

Paul instructed us to consider ourselves dead to sin. But we can’t forget that he also instructed us to consider ourselves alive to God. In the second half of Romans 6, he explains what it means to be alive to God:

and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.  For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?

v. 13-17 (NASB)

To be alive to God is to be living in unbroken fellowship with Him. When we died, our relationship to sin was ended. But when we were made alive, our relationship to God was restored. Paul instructs us not to submit ourselves to sin’s control by presenting ourselves as slaves to it once again. Instead, we are now to submit ourselves to God’s control and present ourselves as slaves to righteousness.

Do you notice how easily you fall when you neglect your relationship with God? When sin has control over us, we have broken fellowship with God and returned to being a slave to sin. To break free from sin’s control, we simply return to God and restore fellowship with Him. Since our relationship with Him has been permanently restored, we can approach Him with confidence that He will give us the grace we need to help us turn away from sin.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 4:15-16 (NIV)

To summarize Romans 6, we have died with Christ and been set free from sin.  We have been raised with Christ and made alive to God. To no longer submit ourselves as slaves to sin, we must submit ourselves to God as slaves to righteousness.

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

John 8:36 (KJV)

Heavenly Father,

We praise You that You have set us free from sin and broken our relationship to it. It no longer has power over us. We praise You for making us alive in Christ, and restoring our relationship with You, just as You intended from the beginning. Help us to keep our fellowship with You and submit to You, so You can fill us with Your righteousness.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!

 

How did God speak to you through Romans 6? Is there anything He revealed that you would like to share with others? 

 

*Come back next Monday as we study Romans 7. Use the share tabs below to invite others to join us in this study of Romans to Philemon. You can also subscribe below to receive email reminders of new posts. Have a blessed week in fellowship with our amazing God!

 

 

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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 4”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters in Romans to Philemon. Follow this link to read any previous messages in this series. This week we are studying Romans 4.

As in the previous chapters, Paul talks about how we are justified before God and made righteous by faith, not by works of the law.  Paul explains how Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.

How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.

v. 10-12 (NASB)

Abraham set an example for us to follow in his footsteps as he, against all hope, believed God was faithful to deliver what He promised him. Because he stood firm in faith, Abraham received what God promised and he became “a father of many nations” (v. 17).

Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

v. 19-21 (NIV)

We can learn by Abraham’s example how to receive what God has promised us in His Word. First, we learn that Abraham didn’t deny the fact that he and Sarah were well past child bearing age. Walking in faith doesn’t mean we ignore the facts. Walking in faith means we trust that God can change the facts. 

…God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.

v. 17 (NASB)

Second, we learn that Abraham didn’t allow himself to waver in unbelief. The Bible says, But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do” (James 1:6-8, NIV). Abraham was spiritually minded. He refused to entertain carnal thoughts of doubt.

Third, we learn that Abraham’s faith grew as he did not allow himself to doubt God. He was fully convinced that God had the power to do what He promised. To receive God’s promises we must be fully convinced in our minds that He will certainly deliver.

I once needed healing in an area. I read God’s promises on healing and believed it was His will for me to be healed, but I didn’t see any change.  One evening, when I was starting to lose hope, I cried out to Jesus and told Him if He was here on earth today I would come to Him and He would touch me and I would be healed. I told Him that His Word says He’s the same yesterday, today and forevermore. I cried out for Him to reach down and touch me so I would be healed. Later that night, I awoke from my sleep and noticed my husband was awake. My husband, not knowing what I prayed for, said that while I was asleep God spoke to him to tell me I was healed. Receiving that confirmation took away any doubt and convinced me in my mind that it was already given to me. Because God spoke that promise to me I was able to stand firm in faith and receive what He promised.

It’s not that we don’t have the faith to receive from God. The Bible says that God’s already given us a measure of faith (Romans 12:3). And all it takes is the faith of a tiny mustard seed to move mountains and do the impossible (Matthew 17:20). It’s that our minds need to be renewed and convinced of His will in order to see it come to pass in our lives.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2 (NIV)

 

Heavenly Father,

We praise You that no matter how many promises You have made, they are “Yes” in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20).  We want to receive all that You have for us. Help us to renew our minds in Your Word and cast down any doubt, so that we can be fully convinced that You have the power to deliver what You have promised us.

In Jesus’ faithful name, we pray. Amen!

 

How did God speak to you through Romans 4? Is there anything He revealed that you would like to share with others? 

 

*Come back next Monday as we study Romans 5. Use the share tabs below to invite others to join us in this study of Romans to Philemon. You can also subscribe below to receive email reminders of new posts. Have a blessed week renewing your mind in God’s Word!

 

 

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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 1”

I am starting a new series today. I invite you to join me in studying Paul’s letters in Romans to Philemon. This series will run every Monday. We will study one chapter a week. If you would like to follow along with this series, read the chapter listed for the week and then share whatever God taught you through that chapter in the comment section below. We can minister to one another, as God may teach each of us something different through the chapters.

This week, we start out by reading Romans chapter 1.

The first half of the chapter talks about the benefits of faith and how the gospel of Christ is exalted through faith.

In verses 1-17, I learned that:

  • Faith is obedience (v. 5).

 We often think we have to do everything right to be obedient. But the Bible says, “know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:16).

  • Faith is noticeable and spreads to others (v. 8).

When we believe God is who He says He is, and believe He will do what He says He will do, His power is unleashed in us: his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:19-21).

  • Faith builds and encourages us, and those around us (v. 12).

When I am in faith I am filled with God’s Holy Spirit and lifted up. “But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 1:20). When I start to lose hope, and God leads me to someone in the faith who is filled with the Holy Spirit, they encourage me and build up my faith. “Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord” (Acts 11:24).

  • Faith leads to righteous living (v. 17).

James 2:18-19 says, “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” Faith does not just believe God exists. Faith trusts God as Lord of our lives. When we submit our lives over to God He fills us with His righteousness and our actions begin to change.

 

The second half of Romans 1 talks about the consequences of unbelief, and how it hinders the gospel and leads to unrighteous living.

In verses 18-32, I learned that:

  • Unbelief suppresses the truth God has placed within us (v. 18).

God has clearly made Himself known to all of us. There is no excuse for us not to believe Him (v. 19-20).

  • Unbelief darkens our hearts (v. 21).

Even though we know God, we don’t acknowledge and worship Him as Lord and our Creator. Instead we acknowledge and worship the things that have been created. When we start to worship things of this world over God, our hearts begin to harden to the truth and we become blinded by Satan’s deception. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

  • Unbelief does not please God (v. 28).

When we deny God, He gives us over to our depraved mind (v. 28). The Bible says, “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:6-8).

  • Unbelief separates us from God and His righteous, and leaves us in our unrighteousness (v. 29-32). 

We need God’s righteousness to do what is right. When we reject Him we are “filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; [they are] gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.” (Romans 1:29-32, NASB)

 

So to summarize Romans 1, when we put our faith in Christ, the power of God is released in us and displayed through us. When we persist in unbelief, we hinder His power to change us and impact the world for Christ.

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for this study of Paul’s letters. Thank you for teaching us in Romans 1 about faith and unbelief. Help us to continually put our faith in You and make You Lord of our lives. Fill us with Your righteousness so that we are empowered to do what is right. In Jesus’ faithful name we pray, Amen! 

 

How did God speak to you through Romans 1? Is there anything He revealed to you that you would like to share with others? 

 

*Come back next Monday as we talk about what we learned in Romans 2. Use the share tabs below to invite others to join us in this study of Romans to Philemon. You can also subscribe below to receive email reminders of new posts. Have a blessed week walking in faith!

 

 

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Monday’s Blog: Renewing Our Minds

I am starting a new series next week on Paul’s letters (from Romans – Philemon). In my Bible, I probably read Paul’s letters the most because they are filled with teachings on how to follow Christ’s example by living a godly life.  This week, I want to share a message I posted last September from a series I did on training ourselves to be godly, titled “Pursuing Godliness.” In this message, I shared how Paul exhorted the Corinthians to follow his example as he followed the example of Christ (1 Cor. 11:1). This message was one of the most helpful posts God has ever given me to share. It teaches the importance of renewing our minds so we can follow Christ’s example and live a godly life.

 Renewing Our Minds

The Apostle Paul exhorted, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

How do we follow Christ’s example? How do we train ourselves to be godly?

The answer is in Romans 12:1-2:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

We are transformed by the renewing of our minds. The Greek word for renewal in the above verse means “renovation.” When you renovate something, you restore it to a better state. The Bible says if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Ephesians 4:22-24 instructs us:

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

The only way to put off our old self (ungodliness), and put on our new self (godliness), is to renew our minds. Last summer, I reorganized my entire house. While going through my house, I was amazed how many notes I found with teachings and Scriptures I wrote down through the years. I had stacks of notebooks, piles of Bible study workbooks, and a number of odd items such as napkin pieces with Scriptures written on them. When I first started walking with God I was desperate for change. I was hungry for His holiness. I pursued godliness by taking every opportunity I had to feed and meditate on His Word.

Through the years, God has done an amazing work in my life. At times I take it for granted. Looking through those piles reminded me that I can never stop pursuing godliness. If I don’t diligently stay connected to God and seek His Word, I will easily fall back into my old pattern of behavior.

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!

1 Corinthians 10:12

I did a study once on renovating my mind, using Nehemiah 1-6 and rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. My intention was to strip off my old carnal mind and replace it with the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

Just as Nehemiah inspected Jerusalem’s walls (Nehemiah 2:11-13), I began the study with inspecting my thoughts. I identified and made a list of every carnal thought I had. I was astonished how many negative thoughts I had even though I had been following Christ for many years. In my journal for the study I wrote: “My mind is like that broken down wall (Nehemiah 2:13). It lies in ruins (Nehemiah 2:17).”

After identifying the carnal thoughts, I got to work tearing them down and rebuilding my mind with God’s Word (Nehemiah 2:18). Each day I focused on a different negative thought from my list. I wrote down every verse I found pertaining to that thought, and prayed and meditated on them.

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; Meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.

Joshua 1:8

The tearing down and rebuilding wasn’t easy. I did the study for about fifty days, close to the amount it took them to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls (Nehemiah 6:15). It took me fourteen days to go through my list. Then on day fifteen, I had to re-examine my thoughts to see where I still needed help. After the first re-examination, the list was about a third of what it was when I started the renovation. The last few carnal thoughts were strongholds. Those took longer to tear down.

I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.

Psalm 119:45

I gathered a few notes I wrote in my journal during those fifty days. They reveal some of the attacks and ups and downs we can experience as we seek to renew our minds with God’s Word.

Rebuilding the Walls of My Mind Journal

Day 2: I have been having a lot of bad dreams, revealing the strongholds I have in my mind. Last night, I dreamt an evil woman was chasing me while I was trying to protect a child. I got tired of running and turned around and commanded her to stop in the name of Jesus. She stopped instantly and changed as the demon left her. A great reminder to stop running from the devil. Make him flee.

Day 3: I’m being attacked big time. I’m sick. I’ve had bad dreams and I’m having negative thoughts like crazy.

Day 4: The enemy is angry and greatly incensed that I am renovating my mind (Nehemiah 4:1-7).

When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews …What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?’” (Nehemiah4: 1-2)

Day 7: I acted so badly yesterday. I am ashamed. I was rude to the lady at our church. This isn’t me. I can’t believe all the junk in me. Help me Lord! Cleanse my mind and rebuild it with pure thoughts so my actions will follow.

“The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!” (Nehemiah 4:19-20)

Day 9: Things are looking brighter today. I feel my joy returning and my outlook expanding.

Day 14: I feel my mind getting better. The power of the strongholds seems to be weakening and it’s not taking as much effort on my part. God is healing my mind.  

“When word came to …  our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it…. They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, ‘Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.’ [But I prayed,] ‘Now strengthen my hands.’” (Nehemiah 6:1-9)

Day 17: I don’t want to give up. God, renew my strength. Change my thinking. Renew my mind.

Day 24: I need to check and pay attention to every thought. I feel like I’m falling backward now.

“Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.” (2 John 1:8)

Day 25: The devil is fighting and attacking me greatly because he doesn’t want me to renew my mind and tear down the stronghold’s he’s worked so hard to build.

Day 27: I feel great today. God’s grace is tearing down my strongholds. God is showing me the lies I believed.

Day 30: Just as with a house renovation, once it is finished, I can’t leave it alone or it will return to its old state. I need to keep it up. Care for it. Catch the small repairs so they don’t turn into large projects.

Day 34: I’ve been fasting from junk food for over 30 days. Because I fasted so long from it, I don’t desire it anymore. If I fast from carnal thoughts, I will no longer desire them. I would be foolish to return to the junk I no longer desire.

Of them the proverbs are true: ‘A dog returns to its vomit,’ and, ‘A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.’” (2 Peter 2:22)

Day 39: I have a fire in my spirit. My mind is being rebuilt with Jesus and the Word of God as my foundation!

 Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts. (Colossians 3:16, AMP)

Day 40: Lord, use me as an instrument to bring revival to your church and to carry your name before the world (Acts 9:15).

 Day 47: God is doing an amazing work in me. I feel alive and energized and full of the Holy Spirit.

“Nehemiah said, ‘Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.” (Nehemiah 8:10, 12)

 

 

As you were reading the journal entries, did you notice a pattern? The first part (majority) was spent putting off my old self. Once those carnal thoughts were brought to light I was then able to put on my new self: God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, ready to do the good works God prepared in advance for me to do (Ephesians 2:10).

As God helps us put off our old worldly thoughts, and tear down the strongholds in our minds, He can rebuild and fill our minds with spiritual things (the mind of Christ).

We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:

“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?”

But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:12-16

 

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for washing away our sins by the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We are new creation! The old is gone! Help us to take off our old self and put on our new self. Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). Help us to diligently seek Your Word and continually renew our minds by the truths we learn from the Bible every day.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen!

 

 

*Come back next Monday as the series on Paul’s letters begins. You can subscribe below to receive email reminders of new posts. You can also use the share tabs below to help spread the word of this series to bless others. Have a blessed week seeking the Lord and renewing your mind in His Word!

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