September 29 – No Condemnation.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” – Romans 8:1-2 (ESV)

Our promise today is the endorsement we have that we have been set free from bondage to the law of sin and death. It helps immensely to first understand what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 7:13-25a which proceeds our promise verse today. The word “therefore” means the result or consequence of the truth just taught. Normally it marks the conclusion of the verses immediately preceding it. But here it introduces the staggering results of Paul’s teaching: that justification is by faith alone on the basis of God’s overwhelming grace. This is an amazing freedom-giving promise and it is all because of what Jesus Christ has done for us. To follow God, we have to be free from slavery to sin and its penalty—that was just the beginning. To build on this foundation, we must actively submit to the Holy Spirit’s ministry in our lives. God’s indwelling Spirit enables us to be “saved by His life” (Romans 5:10); His life is lived out through us as His instruments for righteousness. The word “condemnation” refers to a verdict of guilty and the penalty that verdict demands but Jesus promises that He has permanently removed that verdict from our account.

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*John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible., (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ro 8:1.

*Steven E. Runge, High Definition Commentary: Romans, (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014), 138.

September 5 – Nothing At All

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39 (ESV)

In Christ Jesus we are loved by God with an inseparable love. Amazing truths and this is a third promise that is ours by being “In Christ Jesus.” The key to this promise rests in the breadth of conditions which CANNOT cause any separation of our eternal life from God who gave us that life. It is a permanent bond as Christ is in us too. Some translations use the word ‘principalities’ which is fallen angels or demons which rule the world. No person or entity in positions of authority can cause a separation from Jesus Christ our Lord.  No place is high enough or deep enough for us to be apart from His love. In fact, nothing in all of creation – that means anything that exists – for  all things that exist have a beginning, a point of creation. Some created as angles followed the rebellion of Satan and became fallen and permanent enemies of God. Powerful as they might be, they do not have enough power to separate us from God’s love, the love of God that was demonstrated in Christ Jesus our Lord when He died on the cross and was resurrected to new life.  

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August 19 – Threefold Eternal Fruit

“Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the Lord will stand. What is desirable in a man is his kindness, And it is better to be a poor man than a liar. The fear of the Lord leads to life, So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.” – Proverbs 19:21-23 (NASB)

In the beginning God and man were as one.  But ever since the fall, man’s devices and God’s counsel are at opposition. There is no doubt which will triumps. “There is no wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel against the Lord. My counsel shall stand, and so I will do all my will.” (Proverbs 21:30) The privilege of doing good is within the reach of all. For when the poor fails, the desire of a man is his kindness, as acceptable as the most expensive proof of love. Such a desire is far better in the sight of God, in the heart of one of his poor people, than a man with large opportunities and hollow professions, who proves himself to be a liar. The poor gives readily. The rich cannot afford for he denies that he has the ability though he promises, he does nothing. With the grace of the gospel, we cultivate awesome respect. Threefold fruit is the promise set before us—life, satisfaction, security. It leads to life—not the mere natural life, common to the unbeliever—but a heavenly—an eternal life, in the favor and enjoyment of God.

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May 3 – Walking In Newness

“Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” –  Romans 6:4 (NASB)

In a very real sense spiritually, all who have truly  believed in Jesus Christ have been united with Christ by faith.  His death and burial become ours and we are saved from ever experiencing our own spiritual death. Even physical death becomes for us a temporary stay until the resurrection of believers. God our Father chose us for this by his mercy. What the Son of God, made real He did out of His own love and will. By God’s grace we walk in newness of life because in Christ we died and were buried with Him, and we have also become one with Him in His resurrection. Paul uses the word “baptized” in a figurative sense; in the same way we might say someone was immersed in his work or when someone experiences a hard test of their character, we might say they underwent a baptism of trials. We experience a new quality and character to our lives, and live according to a new principle of life. As Christ’s burial shows that He actually died, a Christians’ “burial with Christ” shows that they in fact died with Him to their former sinful ways of living.

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February 16 – The Bankruptcy of Worry

“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” – Matthew 6:27 (ESV)

“Don’t worry about it!” “I’m not worried, just anxious.” It seems we’re in for the worst of times and the best of times are gone forever. We know this isn’t true for we believe and trust Jesus for all outcomes. He promises we’ll have all we need. To worry is like withdrawing money from a bankrupt account⸺we get nothing. Worry, anxiety are the same. We really can’t get away with “we’re only anxious, not really worried.” Honesty will bring out the truth that anxiety is a cloak word. We might sometimes use “care” when we’re really anxious for something to happen or be over with. “When I ‘care’ over some concern” Or “When I’m eager for my child’s safe arrival home might I also worry?” We might say ‘I care’ when we mean ‘I have some worry’. The Greek uses the same word for ‘care’, ‘worry’, and ‘anxiety’. Trusting God is better than caring, worrying, or being anxious. Trust the outcome to God and it’ll be what it’ll be according to His will. We won’t live an hour more by worrying over unknown outcomes. Today, when we sense worry building, let’s trust in God’s promises.

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 February 15 – Anxious or Worried?

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” – Matthew 6:25 (NASB)

“These are the days of worry and fretting.” Is this true? Perhaps for many it is days of anxiety. If attention is given to “news” there is little reason to have confidence that all is well in our lives. We can’t begin to list all the “warnings” and “breaking news” flooding our broadcasts, newspapers, and online sources. Some translations use “anxious” as an alternative for “worry.” Our verse is much better understood in its larger context. “For this reason” indicates the connection with the preceding verses (Matthew 6:16-24). The connection between the preceding and the following passages, likely has this meaning: Since earthly treasures fail to satisfy, and setting the heart on them indicates forfeiting the enduring pleasures of heaven, the yearning for such earthly riches distorts our mental and moral vision,  And, because a choice must be made between God and Worldly wealth, we are warned to not continue setting our hearts on mundane earthly things, such as food and drink to live, or on clothes to be dressed. Our promise is that life and the value of life in God is greater than what is needed to sustain our life which God provides.

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 February 5 – Diligent Heart Care

“Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.” – Proverbs 4:23 (NASB)

We have in this passage a warning, advice, and blessing all part of the promise that is in our selected verse. The author King Solomon is teaching his son the importance of heart care. These verses and promises are good for all and a father or mother would do well to teach them to their daughters as well. Many verses from the book of Proverbs stand alone. That is not the case with today’s verse. Verse 23 is best understood in the context of verses 20-27. The words of wisdom are important enough to not let them out of our sight. In fact they should be hidden in our heart. They bring us life and health. Our heart needs guarding for out of it’s a wellspring of how we live. The word “heart” means more than mental or emotional capacity; it also incorporates one’s values. The “heart” may commonly refer to our mind as the center of thinking and reason, but also includes our emotions, our will, and our whole inner being. The heart is the depository of all wisdom and the source of whatever affects speech (v. 24), sight (v. 25), and conduct (vv. 26, 27).

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December 23 – The Only Way

“ Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6 (ESV)

If we know a verse really well and have heard it and seen it posted many times, it becomes easy to let its power and meaning fade a bit. Let’s not do this with this verse. This is the sixth of seven occasion that John records Jesus using the “I AM” in his proclamations regarding who He is and what He has to give to all who believe. Thomas asks what all thought, “Where are you going? How do we follow you there?” One of the 12, Thomas and all the others had a ways to go to understand fully the mission and purpose that brought Jesus to earth. Jesus declared that He is the way to God because He is the truth of God* and the life of God*. In this verse, the exclusiveness of Jesus as the only approach, the only door, the only way to the Father is emphatic. Jesus emphasized that salvation, contrary to what many people think, is not obtainable through many ways. Only one Way exists*. Jesus is the only access to the Father because He is the only One from the Father.

*(cf. John 1:14; John 3:15; 11:25; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy. 2:5)

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December 22 – Even Dying, Not Ever Dead

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” John 11:25-26 (NASB)

Of the seven significant and purposeful uses of the phrase “I AM” by Jesus that John recorded, this is the fifth one. It’s context is very important. Lazarus had died. Along with his sisters Martha and Mary, Lazarus was a dear friend of Jesus. Martha had an abstract belief in the resurrection that will happen “on the last day.” But Jesus wants Martha to know Him as the only one who can bring the dead back to life. Jesus is the resurrection and the life which a dead person is resurrected to. Jesus abides in us and He has, because who He is, life to give for He created all life in the first place. Jesus asked Martha, “Do you Believe this?” Martha confesses her belief that Jesus is the promised Messiah, the Son of God incarnate. Dwelling in all who believe, He is the resurrection and life to all who also dwell in Him. We live, we die, but since we have been born again by God’s Spirit we have the Son of God, who is our life and we will never die. Our life is Jesus Christ, the resurrection and the life eternally living in us.

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December 18 – Expelling the Darkness

“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” –  John 8:12 (NASB)

The story we remember and celebrate at this time of the year is the birth of Jesus on Earth when he emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, being made in the likeness of men. He did so in order to offer redemption and salvation to all who believed in Him. Today’s promise comes from another of Jesus’ “I AM” statements recorded by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel of the Apostle John. Those who do like darkness do so to hide their actions. True darkness is the absence of light. Remove the light and what remains is darkness. We all understand this. If we want to expel the darkness from a room, we turn on the light switch that we have faith will cause energy to flow to a light source. In the same way Jesus says to us to follow Him because He is eternal light. In Him there is no darkness and from Him we have the Light of life, eternal life. Following is an act of faith and the Light is an act of Grace and the ability to do so, it a gift promised from God.

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