Adult Children, Bible Studies

UncondemnedPremium Content

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1


My immediate reaction when I read this verse is, Hallelujah!!! If there's any reason for the children of God to praise the Lord - and there are many reasons piled on top of each other - this must be it. If we were to list our blessings, as the old hymn exhorts us to do, surely the first in line would be the fact that if we're in Christ Jesus, we are uncondemned.

Only those who understand our state outside of Christ can truly grasp what that simple phrase - no condemnation - means. Anyone who lacks a clear vision of human depravity simply doesn't have the background to understand the fundamental importance of this verse. We must first understand, in the words of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, that:

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Do I need to forgive someone who is not repentant?Premium Content

Do I need to forgive someone even if it doesn’t seem that he is sorry?

Luke 17:3-4 answers that question this way:

"If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him."

Jesus said that without genuine repentance there is no forgiveness. One example of this principle is when he says:

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation.2 Corinthians 7:10

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Wandering in the Wilderness? Keep a Proper Perspective

We all wander in the wilderness to some extent. No one on earth has "arrived." Anxieties, fears, worries, depression, pain afflict us all.

Just because someone is saved does not mean that bad things no longer happen or that we cease to be confused at times. The difference is Who we choose to carry us when we can no longer carry ourselves.

We all have a choice to make. Are you going to be the Lord of your own life and insist on going it alone? Will you look to other people, places and things to carry you? (This is
idolatry). Or will you look to God?

Acceptance of Habitual, Unrepentant SinnersPremium Content

1 Corinthians 5:6-8 RSV
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Paul has been admonishing the Corinthian church for allowing (even welcoming) within their midst a man who is knowingly sinning . . . and continues to sin. This is a huge deal in our churches today because we embrace, even in our leadership, those who not only have sinned in the past, but who continue to embrace their sin in one way or another. We refuse to judge them based on the scripture in Matthew 7: Judge not, that you be not judged (v. 1, RSV). But I think the reason we refuse to judge is revealing. I think we refuse to judge, not out of some sense of obedience to God’s word, but because we don’t want anyone messing around in our lives. The old saying goes, "Birds of a feather flock together." We embrace sinners because we are sinners ourselves, but more than that: We don’t have to give up our own sin. By embracing the sin of others, we feel protected, justified.

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We need boundaries! We need fences!Premium Content

1 Peter 1:13-16 NRSV Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when He is revealed. Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. Instead, as He who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; for it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."

We have dogs. Currently, we have one dog, but often we have more than one. People know that we rescue poodles, and we are often called to see if we will give a poodle a home. In the past two years, the "yard" that our dogs have enjoyed has changed considerably. First, it was the portable yard that we use for our RV. We bought two units and attached them together, so it was about 6x4 feet. Not very big, but for small dogs, large enough to walk around. Last year, when we moved into the trailer, the yard was considerably larger. There was room to run and play a bit, certainly lots of room to nose around and smell (which the dogs loved to do). In this house, the yard is huge in comparison to anything we've had previously. It's a big lot and the back yard goes from edge to edge. It's possible not to be able to see our little poodle just looking out the back door; the yard is that big.

One thing every yard had in common was some kind of a fence. The fence is both a protection from at least some of the predators getting in (though there are still those, like snakes, that can get in under the fence) and a protection from the dogs getting out of the yard and being at risk of being hit by cars or stolen by thieves.

The fence is a protection.

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New Year's Resolutions

written January 1st but applicable to any new beginning

Today is traditionally a day of resolutions: I will eat more healthy. I will exercise more. I will spend more time with my family. To be honest, I’m just horrible with resolutions. Even if I make just one, I can do that one thing regularly... for a while... and then life comes crashing in and I find that my resolution (and all my good intentions) go right out the window. I just can’t handle looking at life over a long period of time. Too many things happen that make demands upon me... demands on my time, on my emotions, on my energy, on my focus.

Feel too far Gone to Claim His Promises?

Do as thou hast said. 2 Samuel 7:25

God's promises were never meant to be thrown aside as waste paper; he intended that they be used. God's gold is not miser's money, but is minted to be traded with. Nothing pleases our Lord better than to see his promises put in circulation; he loves to see his children bring them up to him, and say, "Lord, do as you have said. We glorify God when we plead his promises.

Do you think that God will be any poorer for giving you the riches he has promised? Do you dream that he will be any less holy for giving holiness to you? Do you imagine he will be any less pure for washing you from your sins? He has said

"Come now, and let us reason together,
saith the Lord:
though your sins be as scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they be red like crimson,
they shall be as wool."

Faith lays hold upon the promise of pardon, and it does not delay, saying, "This is a precious promise, I wonder if it is true?" but it goes straight to the throne with it, and pleads, "Lord, here is the promise, 'Do as you have said.'"

Our Lord replies, "Be it done to you as you desire."

When a Christian grasps a promise, if he does not take it to God, he dishonours him; but when he hastens to the throne of grace, and cries, "Lord, I have nothing to recommend me but this, 'Thou hast said it;'" then his desire shall be granted.

Behold, I Will Do A New Thing! - Genesis 1 StudyPremium Content

Several aspects of these verses in Genesis struck me in a powerful way, and for several reasons. However, they are all related, and so I want to attempt to tie them all together in this post.

The first aspect of this Scripture that really spoke to me is in Genesis 1:2, when the Lord says,

The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Have you ever felt lifeless, without energy, kind of like a worthless "formless," lump on a log? I know I have. And, quite often, I still can find myself in that place if I do not watch my thoughts. I can feel totally powerless to do anything positive about my life and my circumstances.

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What Should My Response to Suffering Be?

2 Thessalonians 1:3-8 NRSV
We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of everyone of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith during all your persecutions and the afflictions that you are enduring. This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering. For it is indeed just of God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to the afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

It’s interesting that Paul doesn’t address the persecutions of the Thessalonians in the same way that we often address persecutions. If you think about it, most pastors tell us that our faith is exemplified when we take authority over Satan and believe that our trials will disappear based on God’s love. But Paul, rather than preaching that, says that faith is based on persevering through afflictions.

We need to ask ourselves what we believe.

Rebuilding Your Old Ruins in Christ JesusPremium Content

And they shall rebuild the old ruins,
They shall raise up the former desolations,
And they shall repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.
Isaiah 61:4, NKJV

This Scripture really spoke to me this morning as I thought of how so many of us come from places of brokenness, of loss, of deep wounding. We can sometimes wonder if wholeness is a real possibility for us again, or is it just a pipe dream?

I do not believe Jesus is the Author of pipe dreams. Nor is He the author of confusion and the chaos that comes from our addictions and sin and life-controlling problems. But He is the Author of Life, the Author of the rich, eternal, abundant Life that flows forth from within His Spirit and up into our hearts and spirits as He pours His Love and Hope into our hearts:

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