There are so many subjects that have been taboo for churches or Christians to discuss in the past and I believe the result of that has been confusion and apathy instead of further study. I am so glad that is changing.
Guess what, God created sex! He knows we FAIL CONSTANTLY! He does not care if we have TATTOOS on our body (although if one is a christian and gets one that could allow someone to question their faith they may at least want to think long and hard. . .but I digress) or make-up on our face! It is okay to wear shorts, sleeveless shirts and bathing suits! First and foremost, HE ALLOWS US TO MAKE OUR OWN CHOICES SO WHEN WE SCREW UP WE RUN BACK TO HIM! I truly believe that a lot of other things could be included in this particular rant, I am sure you can think some up yourself. It is an absolute truth that 'we are not to conform to this world, we are to transform by the renewing of our minds' but does that include alienating people of the world so that they see christianity as a set of rules and hypocrisy that they have no interest in? I say NO!
One of my favorite U2 songs, Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, brought me to tears the first time I heard it and it still does now. It seriously affects me every time. I hope my son realizes he always has me to lean on.
Of course, there is a bigger picture. We can not ever make it on our own. We can attempt to rely on ourselves and we will fail, in some way. Maybe financially we will fail, maybe not. Maybe emotionally we will fail; somehow, somewhere, we all fail at something. It is a great comfort to know that Christ will pick us up from wherever we fail and blow a breath of fresh air softly over us and prod us to keep going. The creator of the universe is our great Encourager.
Chew on that for a bit and thank Him for His blessings. You can't ever make it on your own. No 'sometimes' about it!
My church in AZ read the Bible together cover to cover over 2 years. It changed my life as well as the life of other folks in all stages of their lives. God gave us His word to gain knowledge of Him. He speaks to us in this way and we need to listen to Him. So often we take an idea from a sermon or Sunday school and decide it is truth without bothering to gain this knowledge. When I taught Sunday school I always stressed my fallibility. I wanted those high school kids to challenge what I was saying by reading and studying His word! I believe with my whole heart that Christ reveals more of His truth to us the more we engage with Him. That is the only way to begin to understand these conversations and help others to also gain the knowledge of Christ. His words are infallible and they are the only words that exist that are. We must talk with His words on our lips and in our hearts and to do so we must know Him!
This is the true "love" chapter in my own humble opinion.
Deliverance from Bondage
1Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,
4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
5For 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.
6For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,
7because 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,
8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9However, 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.
10If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
11But 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.
12So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh--
13for 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.
14For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
15For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"
16The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,
17and 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.
18For 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.
19For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope
21that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
22For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
23And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
24For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?
25But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
Our Victory in Christ
26In 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;
27and 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.
28And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
29For 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;
30and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
32He 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?
33Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies;
34who 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.
35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36Just as it is written,
"For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered."
37But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
39nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8 (NASB)
Encouragement For The Week
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