Not Ashamed of the Gospel

Not Ashamed of the GospelWeek 21 of Called and Created’s Bible Reading and Memorization Plan is nearly finished. This week’s reading was Acts 26-28, and Romans 1-2. Acts 26-28 speaks mainly of Paul defending himself before King Agrippa, him sailing for Rome and getting shipwrecked on the island of Malta, his arrival in Rome, and him speaking to the Jewish leaders there.
In Romans 1-2, we read the beginning of Paul’s epistle to the Roman church.

In Romans 1:16, Paul declares that he is not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for the saving of all who believe. How many of us can honestly say the same thing? How many of us are unashamed to proclaim the gospel boldly when the occasion calls for it? In society today, a willingness to share what Christ has done is becoming more and more rare, yet more and more needed. Someone simply must tell this generation the good news!

What is this good news? What is it that we are to proclaim? Romans 1:17 answers this question. It states that the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel – a righteousness that is by faith. This world needs to know that the way to gain acceptance before God is not through being a good person, or performing good deeds. It is through faith in Christ alone. We can’t be made right with God through our own efforts. We can only become right with Him by trusting in Jesus’ righteousness, set to our account. This is the good news we must share!

Know that you have been made right with God through faith in Christ, and share the good news with others, as God gives you the opportunity. Never be ashamed of the gospel. It is the power of God for the saving of all who believe!

You Don’t Have To . . .

You Don't Have To . . .You don’t have to . . .

  • try to avoid speaking of Jesus, and what He has done for you. Modern culture would tell us to keep our faith in Christ to ourselves, in order to avoid offending nonbelievers. However, as believers, we are called to share the good news. Let’s make use of the opportunities to share the gospel that God presents us with!
  • have a schedule that’s filled to the brim, causing you to run yourself ragged. Take time to slow down, relax, and simply be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10)!
  • approach your Heavenly Father with fear or timidity. Jesus took your sins upon Himself, and paid the price for them in full. Your wrongdoings no longer stand between you and God. You can approach His throne of grace boldly (Hebrews 4:16), confident in the knowledge of what Christ has done for you!
  • struggle and strive on your own to always be perfect. No matter how hard you try, you’ll never achieve perfection through your own efforts. Instead, draw closer to your Heavenly Father, and allow His grace to transform you from the inside out!
  • do things the way everyone around you is doing them. Don’t worry about what others are doing, just focus on doing things God’s way!

Which of these common patterns do you need to break away from? How can you begin to do so today?

Linking this post up with Thriving Thursdays at servingjoyfully.com.

He Doesn’t Treat Us As Our Sins Deserve

Psalm 10310This week’s memory verse from Called and Created’s Bible Reading and Memorization Plan is Psalm 103:10. This verse states that God does not treat us as our sins merit, nor repay us according to our wrongdoings.

This world’s system tells us that if we do wrong, we deserve to be punished. Do something that’s not right, and you must pay the price – that’s the mindset that we are used to. This, however, is not how God handles things. In spite of the fact that we have sinned, because of what Christ has done, He still welcomes us as His children – and, as His sons and daughters, delights in blessing us. Instead of treating us as our sins deserve, He treats us as those who have been made right in His eyes.

Our Heavenly Father does not repay us according to our iniquities. When we turned from Him, His response was to send His Son to redeem us. Whereas we deserved His wrath and anger, He poured it out on Jesus, that we might receive His love and grace. While we deserved His fiery judgement, He placed it upon Christ, that we might be given His unmerited favor. Though we deserved punishment, He sent Jesus to take that punishment upon Himself, that we might inherit His abundant blessings. All He asks of us is to simply receive His gift of salvation by placing our faith in His Son. Considering all that He has done for us, how can we ever doubt the goodness of our God?

God neither treats us as our sins merit, nor repays us according to our wrongdoings. He is constantly showing us His limitless mercy and grace. Let’s give thanks to Him for His unending love!

He Gave His Life So You Could Be Free

He Gave His Life So You Could Be Free

Yesterday was Memorial Day – a day devoted to honoring those who have fought for our country, and given their lives for our freedom. Just as on Memorial Day, we remember those who have laid down their lives in our defense, so should we remember and give thanks to the One who laid down His life for us at the cross, each and every day.

We all have sinned (Romans 3:23), and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). In and of ourselves, not one of us are righteous (Romans 3:10). We can do nothing to save ourselves. Jesus knew this. He knew that the only way for us to have eternal life was for Him to come and give His life for us. He did so willingly. He demonstrated the greatest form of love in taking our sins upon Himself, and dying for us at the cross (John 15:13).

In His death and resurrection, He won the battle over the devil once and for all. He has disarmed principalities and powers, triumphing over them by the cross (Colossians 2:15). The enemy has no more power over us, for we have been translated from his kingdom into the kingdom of God’s own Son (Colossians 1:13). Our adversary, the devil, truly has been defeated!

Because he has been defeated, our freedom is secure. It is found in Jesus, and His finished work. He paid the price to set us free from every addiction, every fear, every anxiety, every bondage, and every chain. What He has done is far more powerful than the lies and deceit of the devil. If the Son has made us free, then we truly are free indeed (John 8:36)!

Let’s remember and give thanks for our Savior, who gave His life for our freedom, on a daily basis. Because of Him, the devil has been defeated, and we have been set free. Know this, and begin to walk in the freedom He has purchased for you by giving His life at the cross!

Paul’s Secret

Paul's SecretWeek 20 of Called and Created’s Bible Reading and Memorization Plan is nearing its end. This week’s reading was Acts 21-25. These chapters speak mainly of Paul, of his arrest, him speaking to the crowds, a plot against him, and charges being brought against him.

In Acts 21:10-13, Paul was warned by a prophet that he would be arrested in Jerusalem. The people pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. Paul responded by stating that he was ready not only to be bound, but to die in Jerusalem for Jesus’ name. What made Paul, a former persecutor of all who believed in Christ, now willing to risk his life to bring His name to others? What caused him to change direction so completely? What was his secret?

In Philippians 3:7-11, we find our answer. In these verses, Paul declares that he considers all things a loss compared to knowing Christ. He considers them garbage, that he may be found in Christ, having not a righteousness that came through the law, but a righteousness that is based on faith in Christ.

As these verses express, Paul understood that right standing before God isn’t based upon keeping His commandments. It’s based upon having faith in Christ, who kept them for us, and gave His life for our sins. Because our right standing before God is dependent not our imperfect selves, but on the One who truly is perfect, our righteousness is forever secure.

When we truly begin to understand this, something amazing happens. We go from religion to relationship. We go from head knowledge to heart knowledge. We go from an acknowledged belief in Christ to a living, vibrant, active faith in Him. This revelation of righteousness through faith in Christ made Paul willing to face imprisonment for the sake of His name. God desires for each of us to catch this revelation. I challenge you to ask God to reveal to you His grace, and the truths of the gospel, in a great way every single day.

You Can . . .

You Can . . .Many allow the ways of the world to determine how they live their lives. Romans 12:2 tells us, however, not to be conformed to the pattern of this world, but to be transformed by renewing our mind.

Just because everyone’s doing it doesn’t mean that you have to. Here’s a list of things that you CAN do, though they are contrary to the world’s way of doing things:

You can . . .

  • think for yourself, trusting the Spirit of Truth to guide you into all truth (John 16:13), rather than simply believing everything modern culture would try to tell you.
  • do things God’s way, rather than following the ways of man.
  • take charge of your own life, and follow the path that God has for you, instead of following the path that the majority of those around you are following, simply because it’s what everyone else is doing.
  • read God’s Word, and believe His truth instead of falling for the lies of the world.
  • find your fulfillment in God’s love for you, rather than this world’s empty promises.

Dare to stand out, living your life according to what God says. Instead of conforming yourself to the pattern of the world, allow your mind to be renewed to His way of doing things!

Linking this post up with Monday’s Musings at whatjoyismine.net and Thriving Thursdays at servingjoyfully.com

A Letter From God

A Letter From God

Dearly Loved Child,

I wish you knew how much I truly love you. My love for you is everlasting
(Jeremiah 31:3). It is unfailing (Psalm 36:7). It can never be shaken (Isaiah 54:10).

No matter what you’re going through, know that nothing can separate you from My love (Romans 8:38-39). In every situation, you are more than a conqueror through My Son (Romans 8:37)! I am always with you. I will never leave nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6). Because I am with you, none will be able to stand against you, all the days of your life (Joshua 1:5).

What are you in need of? Simply ask Me. Call out to Me, and I will answer you (Jeremiah 33:3), for if you ask, you will receive (Matthew 7:8). I am able to do exceedingly, abundantly, far above all you could ask or think (Ephesians 3:20-21). Nothing you could ask for is ever impossible, for all things are possible for Me (Matthew 19:26)!

Your life has meaning and purpose. I knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5). I have good plans for your life – plans to prosper you, and not to harm you. They are plans to give you hope and a future
(Jeremiah 29:11). Whether you turn to the right or the left, my voice will lead you (Isaiah 30:21), if you will listen.

I am the giver of every good and perfect gift in your life (James 1:17). Because I love you, I delight in blessing you. I desire for you to experience the abundant life that my Son came to give you (John 10:10). Know this, and receive all that I have made available to you through the promises in My Word!

I have chosen you (John 15:16). I rejoice over you with song (Zephaniah 3:17). Always remember that you are precious to me, and honored in my sight
(Isaiah 43:4)!With Much Love, Your Heavenly Father

With Much Love,
Your Heavenly Father

 

You Are . . .

This world tries to define us – to tell us who we are. Listening to the lies it tries to tell us can leave us feeling discouraged, condemned, unloved, invisible, and worthless.

The opinions of those around us, however, pale in comparison to how God views us. This is who you are in His eyes:

You Are  . . .

This is your true identity! Own it, believe it, and begin to see yourself through the eyes of your Heavenly Father!

As Far As The East Is From The West

As Far As The East Is From The WestThis week’s memory verse from Called and Created’s Bible Reading and Memorization Plan is Psalm 103:12. This verse declares that God has removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west.

Sometimes, we may feel a sense of distance between ourselves and God – as if our sins are separating us from Him. If we have received Jesus, however, and placed our faith in Him, then we have been made righteous. The very sins that we feel are causing division between us and our Heavenly Father have, in truth, been completely done away with. Each and every one of them has been forgiven, because of the blood that Jesus shed for us. They no longer need cause a feeling of separation in our relationship with God, for in His eyes they have been removed far from us.

The problem comes in when we allow a sense of guilt and condemnation to cause us to draw back from God, and be afraid to approach Him because of the wrong we have done. We simply don’t understand just how complete is the forgiveness that God has given us. When He looks at us, He no longer sees our sins, but rather Jesus’ righteousness covering us. Our sins no longer separate us from God. They simply cause a feeling of separation because we believe that they are still there, standing between us and Him.

God has removed your sins from you as far as the east is from the west. In Christ, your forgiveness and righteousness are complete and secure. Trust that because of what He has done, your mistakes and mess-ups no longer need to cause even one moment of a feeling of distance between you and your Heavenly Father!