No Condemnation

John 3:17: “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

Have you felt the sting of condemnation? I sure have, and it hurts! There is no greater pain than that of being told that you don’t measure up, that you never will measure up and that there is no hope for you.

It is from this pain and bondage that Jesus came to free us. Jesus knew that we could not make peace with the Father on our own. We were in bondage to our sin; there was no way out and no hope to change. Jesus came to make a living sacrifice so that we could be freed from the effect of sin, the bondage of sin and so that we could live in hope.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). There is freedom, healing and hope. Are you living into the freedom, healing and hope? Praise God if you are and then share those gifts from God with others.

The Gift of Righteousness

Romans 4:1-3: “What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due. But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness.”

Abraham was made right before God by believing and not by doing. He obeyed God to leave his home and to go to the land that the Lord would show him. Abraham failed many times along the way. His obedience, though commendable, could not justify him before a holy God or make him righteous.

Instead, the righteousness of God was reckoned to Abraham through faith. Like Abraham, we can never obey perfectly to earn a righteousness of our own. But we can, through faith, receive a righteousness through the gift of Jesus Christ.

Where do you look for your righteousness? This Lenten season, may we marvel at the great gift given to us through Jesus. He was and is the only one to live a life of righteousness.

God will never leave you nor forsake you

“I will not leave you or forsake you” (Joshua 1:5, ESV).

Truth:  God will never leave you

There is only One who can make such a promise to us.  People make promises; spouses make vows.  However, even with the best intentions, people fail us; people sin; people die.  God is not like people.  His promises are never broken.  When God says that He will never leave us nor forsake us, it is a promise of His constant presence.

God speaks these words to Joshua as Joshua is being commissioned to take Moses’ leadership.  Right after making this promise, God commands Joshua to be strong and courageous.  We also must be strong and courageous to live lives of faithfulness — to raise our children, to love our spouses, to fulfill our unique calling in this world.  The promise to Joshua and the promise to us is God’s presence throughout our lives.  We do not have to be strong on our own; we can and will be strong in the Lord.  His strength will never fail.

Do you live your life knowing that God is always with you?  Do you trust in His presence and rely on His strength?  In Psalm 23 David writes, “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me”(verse 4).  God’s presence dispels fear.

Rest, ladies, rest in God’s perfect presence.  With His perfect presence is perfect love.  Our God will walk every step of life with us casting out fear and empowering us to be all that He calls us to be.  God’s promise enables us to walk courageously through life as His beloved child.

You Are Desperate For God

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1, ESV).

Truth:  You are desperate for God

I know this is a different truth than I have been conveying throughout this Lenten season.  As you know, my goal has been that we give up negative thinking based on the lies of the enemy and accept God’s truth about us.  I pray that you have been built up in God’s truth and that your mindset reflects more of His thinking.

The fact that we are desperate for God can sound negative or harsh; however, it is life giving for us if we accept it and allow God to meet the need He created within us.  We are made to be in relationship with God.  It is our most basic need and that need cannot be met by anything or anyone else.  We are desperate for Him!

In Psalm 63, David recognizes his need and cries out to the Lord.  David compares his need for God to his need for food and water.  Why do we deny this desperation in our own lives?  We hide it or fill it with busyness, people pleasing, alcohol, shopping, etc.  There is something in us that does not want to need anything or anyone with such desperation.  Ironically, not admitting our need creates a greater void within us.  There is nothing that can fill the need within us for relationship with the Lord.  Nothing!  Not a great husband, a great job, a healthy body or finances, wonderful friends.  All those are gifts to be enjoyed but they will never fill the void within us.

Can you admit your deepest need today is for the Lord?  He longs to be in relationship with you.  He longs to fill you with all of Him.  If you do not admit your need and ask Him to meet it, the hunger and thirst will remain and will drive you to other less than satisfying things.  You are desperate for Him and He is desperate for you.  Take your deepest longings to God today:  “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek You.”

You Are God’s Masterpiece

“For we are God’s masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago”(Ephesians 2:10, NLT).

Truth:  You Are God’s Masterpiece

There is nothing like having your preschool son or daughter bring home their latest masterpiece from school!  Faces light up with joy and excitement as they await the right moment to disclose their work.  Then, there is even greater joy as the picture is revealed and mom and dad get to see the fruit of their labor.  Children experience this pride and delight because of the great investment they put into the masterpiece.

Your maker also takes great pride and delight in his work. God has invested in you. Your life is not an accident.  All the details of who you are have design and purpose.  Masterpieces don’t just happen.  They are planned and created in love.

God’s love is not based on what you do.  Instead, what you do flows from knowing who you are.  Ephesians 2 teaches that salvation is a gift from the Lord.  Gifts are not earned; they are given and meant to be received.  As the child longs to share her gift with the mother so God longs to share his gifts with you.

The Lord calls you “His Masterpiece.”  That is a precious term of love, pride and delight.  Will you live as God’s masterpiece today allowing His love to flow over you, in you, and through you?  Will you delight in His gifts to you?  If so, you will then be able to walk in “the good things he has planned for you long ago.”

You Are God’s Child

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1, ESV).

Truth:  You are a child of God

What does it mean to be a child of God?  Think of what you long for the most right now?  Security, love, healing, acceptance, provision.  All of these are things that a good earthly father longs to give His daughters.

Though all around you may be unstable and uncertain, God’s plan for you is good. There is perfect security in the fact that He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deut 31:6) and that He will work all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).

God has perfect love for you, the love you have longed for your whole life, the love you were made to receive.  This is a sacrificial love that was demonstrated in the person of Christ and His sacrifice for us:  “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).  There is no greater love than this!

Consider the life and work of Jesus: the sick, the lame, the crippled, the outcasts, even the dead were brought to Jesus and He healed them.  Jesus demonstrated God’s heart in that He is a healer.  God does not want us to carry our burdens, heartaches and physical pains.  He is a God who wants to intervene in our lives so that we can be healed and free.

There is nothing about you that God does not know.  With that perfect knowledge of you, He loves you and accepts you.  God’s desire is for you to be cleansed and holy, yet He understands your brokenness, sin and shame.  These are the very things that Jesus came to forgive.  In Jesus, you are made clean and declared righteous.  You are accepted.

God is the creator of all things and all things are under His care.  There is nothing He cannot do including providing for your needs.  As Matthew 6:8 says, “for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”  In the next chapter God the Father is compared to earthly fathers.  If earthly fathers want to bless their children, how much more so will God the Father.  He is Jehovah-Jireh, your provider.

Ladies, you have been called children of God.  That is your hope.  God the Father is your source of security, love, healing, acceptance, and provision. The call is for you to embrace all those things as God’s beloved daughters.

You Have the Mind of Christ

“But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16, ESV).

Truth:  You have the mind of Christ

As believers, we have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within us; therefore, we have been given the mind of Christ.  We are not victims of Satan and the evil forces that seek to devour us, but we can discern God’s will and truth.

Having the mind of Christ is an awesome gift from the Lord. However, the mind is much like the muscles we work to strengthen each day. We devote time to training these muscles by using specific exercises.  It is work.  Without the hard work, muscle development doesn’t happen.

The same is true with our mind of Christ.  We have to develop this mind that God has entrusted to us.  That means we have to read His word, spend time in prayer and give ourselves in worship on a regular basis.  We have to guard what we see and hear.  There is great opposition to the mind of Christ.  The world with all its temptations, secular teachings and influences seeks to draw us from this mindset. We must resist and claim what is rightfully ours through Christ.  As we know, exercise is a discipline.

Ladies, you have been given a great gift!  Set your mind on the promises of God, the character of God, the truths of God.  The Lenten discipline to replace lies with truth will is designed to help you develop the mindset of Christ. Keep putting truth into your mind so that the lies can be dispelled.  Earlier in this chapter, Paul writes:  “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (v. 12). These things promised are yours as you develop the mind of Christ.  It is worth the exercise!

“Be Still and Know That I Am God”

“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)

Truth:  God is God and you are not

We live like we are in control and are responsible for all the details of life.  We spin and run and panic to have life nicely organized, together and presentable.  Sadly, we know that God is God, but we often live as if we are the gods.

Fundamentally, it comes down to where we place our trust and hope.  Is God worthy of that trust and hope?  Is He everything we need and will He really take care of us?

God’s words to us indicate that He is able and willing.  The command is clear: “Be still and know that I am God”.  Taking on the role of God results in feelings of exhaustion, insecurity and frustration.  We are not meant to take on this pressure.  God knows His good plans for us.  He will work on our behalf but not while we are trying to work for Him.

Can you rest today and entrust the details of your life to Him?  As we have been studying the past few weeks, God loves you and longs to care for you.  Run to Him; believe in Him; ask Him to help you understand His ways and will; rest in His care and love for you.  He is God!

God Delights in You

“The Lord your God is with you.  He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you.  He will quiet you with His love.  He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17, NIV)

Truth:  God delights in you

We all long to be delighted in — to have someone who knows us and enjoys us completely.  There is that deep craving to be truly loved.  The Lord put those desires within us.  He wants to be the one to meet those needs and fill those places.  Blaise Pascal called this the God-shaped vacuum.  No one but God can fill that deep place within you.

On Sunday, I had the joy and privilege of spending time with my friend’s precious son.  He is 2 and full of energy, joy and wonder.  His words are new and often hard to understand, but he communicates so enthusiastically.  I found myself hanging on his words longing to know what he wanted me to know.  We kicked a soccer ball over and over again.  Each time his face lit up with joy.  I felt genuine joy in his joy.  My heart felt full of love for this boy.  I delighted in him.

My delight in Lleyton is just a glimpse of God’s delight in you.  God’s love is perfect.  His experience of emotions are much greater than you or I could ever comprehend.  God displays His heart for you so beautifully in these words of Zephaniah:  “He takes great delight in you!”.

Today, take a moment to reflect on the fact that God delights in you.  He longs to hear your heart, all the words of your heart.  He desires to look into your face, to tell you that you are beautiful and that He has a good plan for your life. God longs to pour out His love into your heart. When He sees you, He feels joy — joy that burst into singing.  That is true love my friend.

You Are Free

“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2, ESV).

Truth:  You are free from the law of sin and death

As Americans, we take freedom for granted, especially in my generation.  We have not fought the wars to preserve the freedom; we have never experienced anything but freedom.  Despite the freedom afforded us as Americans, many of us do not live truly free.

Instead, we live in bondage to addictions, to past hurts and abuses, to fears, to the many expectations of the world and others.  This list could run endlessly as we serve so many things and people besides God.  The bible calls these things and people idols.  Worship of idols does not lead to freedom but to slavery.

Worship of the Lord leads to freedom.  When we give our lives to the Lord, we receive the Holy Spirit.  That Holy Spirit takes residence within us and sets us free from the law of sin and death.  The Holy Spirit is the sign that we have Christ’s blood covering all of our sins.  Because we could not uphold the law, Christ did it for us.  His perfect obedience is now ours and that Holy Spirit is the proof within us.

You are free to live as God’s accepted, forgiven and loved child.  Can you give up the idols and the slavery and embrace the freedom that has been given to you?  It is a gift.  It is a gift that leads to life, a life in which God will be known and glorified.  Do you want to be free?

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