Redemption

Fixing Our Eyes on Jesus – Not the Logs!

Sometimes I fail to take time to just stop and be still with the Lord, meditating on just what it means that, "I was sanctified, I was justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.1 Corinthians 6:1-11 NIV


It is truly amazing to know that Almighty, holy God set me apart for Himself, which is what it means to be sanctified. I am holy – set apart – separated from those who do not know Him; set apart from those who have not been washed clean in and by the shed blood of Jesus.

Why have I been set apart? Not because of anything that I have done or could ever do, but because of the finished work of Jesus on Calvary's cross. When Jesus gave His very life up for me, He had faith that His sacrifice of Himself would pay the price, the penalty, for my sins – past, present, and future! And because someone told me about His amazing atoning sacrifice for me and I believed in this Good News through the God-given gift of faith, I have been justified: I have had my sins washed away by the blood of Jesus! For to be justified means that it is the same as if I had never sinned. To be justified means that I am just, no longer guilty of the wrongs that I have committed; I am innocent before the throne of God! In His eyes, it is as if I had never sinned!

Praise be to God in Christ Jesus our Lord! My Abba! Father loved me so much that He allowed His only Son to suffer an excruciating death for me, for you, for all of humanity, that we might believe and be washed clean in His blood and saved from the eternal death that is the penalty of our sin! And when I accept Jesus' gift of perfect atonement for me by faith, I am granted eternal life, a life that is meant to be lived with abundant love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and, self-control. I cannot help but think of Psalm 27:1:

Can Jesus save... that person, that situation, that problem?

Hebrews 7:21-22, 24-25 NRSV
"The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind,‘You are a priest forever' " -- accordingly Jesus has also become the guarantee of a better covenant. . . . He holds His priesthood permanently, because He continues forever. Consequently He is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Can Jesus save... that person, that situation, that problem, that illness, that sin? Can Jesus save? I think the answer ("yes") is something I believe intellectually, but not always something I believe in faith. I do have the choice of trusting (having faith) or observing (looking at what I believe are the facts) and often I choose the "facts" over faith.

I like optical illusions. But I have to admit, sometimes I don't get them. I look and look and just can't see what it is I'm supposed to see. It's the same with jokes. Often I listen to them and then... nothing. I just didn't hear the humor (while my husband is bent over laughing). Both are, in a sense, illusions for a reason. They take "fact" and twist it for a purpose (to amuse). So, I think, facts are not static. Facts are not, then, the same as truth because facts can obviously be manipulated.

Self-Forgiveness

An alcoholic woman told me, "My dad was always drunk and in and out of prison." She sniffled and continued, "I hated him for that. Now I'm doing the same thing to my family." She leaned over my desk, sobbed and said, "I can't forgive myself."

A drug addict told me he couldn't forgive himself because his use left him with short-term memory loss and in financial ruin.

Jesus said on the cross, "It is finished." John 19:30 He never said it is finished except for alcoholics and other addicts.

Do you identify with them? What is at the root of this lack of self-forgiveness?

Maybe you've done something awful. You asked God for forgiveness and He forgave you (1 John 1:9). However, you think you need to punish yourself anyway. God doesn't need your help. Jesus paid the price in full for your forgiveness.

But What Am I Guilty Of?

I would almost make a presumption that almost everybody in the world knows what guilt is and that they are guilty of something in their life. Who has not told a "white lie" in order to make things look a little cleaner than they actually are? I admit to telling more white lies than I can count and I am only 36 at the moment. And even if you were to argue that you are not guilty of anything, have I got some shocking news for you. According to the Bible, everybody is guilty of sin. In fact, when we are born, we are born into a sinful world and we automatically become part of that sinful world. (Isaiah 53:6 New Living Translation (NLT)

All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the guilt and sins of us
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10 RSV)

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

And the Bible tells us that if we think we have not sinned that what we are indeed doing is calling God a liar -
1 John 1:10 King James Version
(KJV) If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

What we are guilty of depends on how we were raised, what we were taught to believe in school, at home, and our other places of meeting. But the Bible makes it clear that all sin is equal. There is no one sin greater than another like we as humans class them as, save one special sin. According to the New Testament, Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is the ONLY sin that is not forgivable.

A Believer Who Struggles with Depression, Anxiety, Alcoholism, Sexual Addiction and Codependency

Hi, I’m Sharon, a believer who struggles with depression, anxiety, alcoholism, sexual addiction, and codependency. It’s taken half a century, and five marriages and divorces, and a near-fatal car accident but here I am. I’m glad to be here to share my story with you . As Romans 8:38 & 39 proclaims:

...I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I believe this whole-heartedly because I’ve been in some situations I should NOT have survived. I spent years of my life trying to separate myself from God. But God, through Jesus, has walked with me every step.

I grew up in a small country town in New Mexico. We weren’t well off, but we weren’t dirt poor. My father worked hard as a welder to support the family and my mom stayed home with the kids. There were four of us. My older brother and sister were from my mom’s first husband and they were 9 and 11 years older than me. Because they were so much older, I really had no relationship with them. My sister married when I was in 2nd grade. My older brother was out of the house shortly after that and I don’t really have many memories of him growing up. My younger brother and I were from Mom’s second marriage to my dad.

In Trouble? You have a Privilege and a Future

"Call upon Me in the day of trouble! I will deliver you--and you shall glorify Me!" Psalm 50:15

In this portion of the divine Word, you will discover:
1. your present portion--trouble;
2. your constant privilege--prayer;
3. your future prospect--deliverance.

1. Your present portion is TROUBLE.
You must expect trouble, and will certainly be deceived if you expect to escape it. Sin is the parent of trouble--and our sin-cursed earth its fruitful soil. Trouble springs up all around us, and appears in an almost infinite variety of forms.

Every connection we form,
every character we bear,
every office we fill, and
every relation we sustain--
is a fruitful source of trouble!

We shall have...
trouble in mind,
trouble in circumstances,
trouble in body;
trouble from almost every quarter!

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.

Are You on the Safe Side?

The Safe Side!

There are usually two sides:
the one dangerous--the other safe;
the one is uncertain--and the other is sure.

It is always the wisest--to be found on the safe side!

Look at the unbeliever:
He denies the Bible to be God's book.
He walks by his own reason.
He gratifies his senses and his lusts.
He lives in sin.
He must soon die.
He has no Savior.
He has no true hope.
If the Bible is false--then he is safe; BUT
if the Bible is true--then he is damned forever!

Making Choices

Romans 6:16-18 NRSV
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

The Lord has been talking to me a lot lately about how I make decisions. There has been instilled within me a strong Puritan work ethic: God only helps those who help themselves. And while I do believe that Christians are commanded to work and to work hard (and often), I think that my own worldview has been corrupted with the idea of American self-determination.

Romans is an interesting book. Of all the books, this is the one that is the least personal. All of Paul's other epistles are letters written to churches with whom he had personal relationships, but the letter to the church at Rome was written to people he had never met. Thus, Paul takes the time to outline the doctrines of Christianity. In essence, this--even more than the other epistles--is a book of the Bible written to us for this time, a church which Paul never meets and a church which desperately needs the anchor of correct Christian thought and practice.

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