Turns Out…

Turns Out

Daily Reading: (Philippians 1:19):

“for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.”

Paul is sure of something in his life that has not even happened yet. Our lives in Christ give us great hope that things will always turn for our good. It doesn’t mean that we won’t have trials, tribulations, persecution, or difficulties. Paul explains it like this, “Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword separate us from the love of Christ?” The answer is no. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). “More than Conquerors” is a Greek word that means a surpassing victory.

The love of Christ gives us a surpassing victory in all things we face in our lives (Romans 8:37).

There is something that I know about my life, things are about to turn. I am being given a surpassing victory and the way God has chosen to do it is through your prayers and the provision in the Holy Spirit.

God will use those things that look to imprison us to set the captives of sin free (to advance the Gospel) Philippians 1:12. Paul already knows why he is in prison and will testify to it. In verse 16 he says, “knowing that I am put here for the defense of the Gospel.” You do not need to fear the path ahead if you know who goes with you and the provisions that have been made for you in Christ Jesus.

Are you sharing your salvation story to lead others to faith in Jesus Christ? How has God turned things for you in the past, how He has prospered you here and now in this season of your life even with what is happening in your life today? Do you have an expectation of God working all things together for your good, giving you a surpassing victory in Jesus’ name? God’s blessings are not limited by where you are at in life, if He did it for Paul in prison think what He might do in your life.

Paul says something that is subtle but it is also so profound.

“And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the Gospel without fear” Philippians 1:14. The only way that you can share the Gospel without fear is if you see the love God has for you.


Cancel Culture is Contrary to Christianity

Daily Reading: (John 8:3-6):

“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.”  

Today we’ll find that cancel culture is nothing new and it is actually an ancient practice, at its core is contrary to the Spirit of Jesus.

So, what is cancel culture? Webster’s dictionary defines it as: the practice or tendency of engaging in mass canceling as a way of expressing disapproval and exerting social pressure.[1]  In Scripture we will see the ancient practice of engaging in an attempt of mass canceling (someone) by exerting social pressure to do so in John chapter 8.

“At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.” (John 8:2-4).

Now if there ever was a Biblical moment where someone has been publicly shamed with the intention of permanently canceling someone else this is that moment. Did this woman do something wrong? Absolutely! Should her entire life be over because of it? The crowds think so.

Are things that are called out publicly today about what others have said or done in the past wrong too? Yes! In the same way, the women caught in adultery was also guilty.

“In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” The question for us should be how should we respond as well?

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7b). Jesus uses the Law as it’s intended purpose, to expose sin, to show us up that none of us in ourselves was righteous. 

Jesus essentially says, “go ahead, you self-righteous religious leaders and cast the guilty verdict by stoning her if you yourself aren’t guilty of violating the Law too.”

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

The word “condemnation” in the original Greek means “condemning sentence”. That is exactly what the cancel culture brings- they are after something they can condemn someone else with.

How different would it look like if our desire when someone has messed up would be that they move forward as a changed repentant person of the wrong they did, instead of trying to oversee their destruction? Jesus has a message to the people who just witnessed cancel culture 2,000 years ago” “When Jesus spoke again to the people (the very same people), He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jesus is the Light that brings the lost out of darkness (John 8:12). 

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). The only reason we are not condemned is that we are in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the only requirement to remove our condemnation. So, Romans 8:1 only means something, when you have done wrong, because that is when the gift of no condemnation matters to you when you should be condemned. God’s desire is for us to not live a lifestyle of sin, “go now and leave your life of sin” The power to do this comes when you first receive the gift of no condemnation.

The only way for people to go and sin no more, wouldn’t this be what you want cancel culture? The only way for people to be empowered in their life, to walk in peace, joy and faith, and to live the abundant life that Jesus came to give us is to understand that there is now no condemnation in Christ. When we understand that God does not condemn us in Christ, it allows us to stop condemning ourselves. And then when we understand that God does not condemn us in Christ, we will stop condemning others.

[1] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cancel%20culture

Free From Condemnation

Free From Condemnation

Daily Reading: (Romans 8:1): “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Who wouldn’t want no condemnation? Every single one of us has done things and said things that we wish we would not have. Romans 8:1 is grace in a nutshell that God will not count my sins against me. I deserve to be punished for my sins. I deserve to be separated from God forever. I should be forever condemned but God gave me what I didn’t deserve when He sent Jesus to die for the penalty of my sins in my place, so that in Him I might be given His life and counted as righteous. This verse is easy to understand but yet so hard to believe when we mess up. God must be mad at me. God must have caused that shopping cart to dent my car to teach me a lesson for taking someone’s spot. I hear this all the time, “God is judging me”. “There is now no condemnation in Christ.” Your worst moments are forgiven and that is a hard thing for any of us to receive. Here is the result or the fruit of this truth: because of how greatly you have been forgiven you are now enabled to extend forgiveness to other people who don’t deserve it. I don’t know where we learned that someone has to say sorry or show remorse in order for us to forgive them. The only person you are hurting when you decide to carry an offense against you is yourself.

“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10).We all were guilty – the sentence was pronounced. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Now that we know just how guilty we were and the death sentence we faced we now see how great the love of God is toward us the criminals in order to save us and give us life. 

God’s grace that we have received by faith, gets out of the prison of sin and death at the cost of Jesus’ life. However, continuing to sin causes damaging consequences to you and people around you.

I don’t know if you have ever played the game of Monopoly before, but if you have, you would know you can receive something in the game that keeps you out of jail, a get out of jail free card. The nice thing about having the card is you don’t have to worry about rolling doubles too much or landing on the go to jail space or even receiving another card that sends you to jail, you can really enjoy going around the board and scooping up properties. If you have the get out of jail free card, it doesn’t mean you won’t do stupid stuff and make bad decisions during the game. Would you like to buy this property to make a set? No, I’m good. We can go around the boardgame of life and make some really stupid decisions and continue in sin even though we have been given the abundant life. Jesus said, “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]” (John 10:10b AMP). You have been given the opportunity to live the abundant life but you might choose to walk after the flesh.

One time I was playing the game of Monopoly and I was doing so bad that when I landed on community chest I received a card that said, “Go to jail, go directly to jail. Do not pass go do not collect $200.” My opponent asked if I was going to use my get out of jail free card? I told them that I would rather stay in prison, just so I didn’t have to pay them rent. That is the opposite of what abundance looks like, choosing prison over freedom. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). What this means is: “We have been set free because of what Christ has done. Through his blood our sins have been forgiven. We have been set free because God’s grace is so rich” (Ephesians 1:7).

In life although you possess eternal life, although you possess all the spiritual promises made to us in Jesus it doesn’t mean that you will choose to live in the freedom you have been given and walk in victory.

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1 John 2:1).

[The Greek aorist tense would be better translated, “so that you may not commit an act of sin,” or the equivalent.]

God’s desire for you and me is that we do not sin, but if we do, we have Jesus the Righteous One as our Advocate (1 John 2:1) which means there is no condemnation for those in Christ (Romans 8:1).

The Greek word is paraklētos one who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant, an advocate of Christ in his exaltation at God’s right hand, pleading with God the Father for the pardon of our sins.

As our advocate, He pleads for what He has done in behalf of people; that is, by the plea that His sufferings and death in behalf of sinners have done as much to honor the law, and to maintain the truth and justice of God.

Now, it does not say that if anyone repents, we have an Advocate with the Father. It says that if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father. The moment a child of God sins, straightaway, his Advocate, Jesus Christ, goes into action to pray for and protect him.

There is no need to try and atone for your own sins – you can’t. Instead look to Jesus’ atonement as sufficient. Know that Jesus ensures that what He died and suffered to give you, you get! In heaven right now, He defends and represents you to ensure that the healing, wholeness, protection and other blessings that He died to give you are enforced in your life. Have confidence in and rest in the ability of your Advocate-Jesus Christ.

More Than Conquerors

More than Conquerors

Daily Reading: (Romans 8:37): “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Julius Caesar, Cyrus the Great, and even Hitler what did all these men all have in common. They were all conquerors. When we hear the word conqueror we might think of ones of these individuals, but the chances are we might not think of ourselves in that way. You are not just a conqueror, but more than a conqueror. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Since we know our battle is a spiritual one (Ephesians 6:12) it is significant to know that we are more than conquerors in the spiritual realm.

More than a conqueror- (hypernikaō)- to gain a surpassing victory.

What are the things that we are more than conquerors against? Paul list what we are more than conquerors against (in verse 35) and verses (38 and 39) and if you read the chapter in its entirety you would see a header that identifies the fact that Paul is talking about us living our life in the Spirit. Victory in the spiritual, (the battle in our mind), will manifest itself into the physical realm.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose.” Do you believe the battle you are going through is for your good? If you see yourself as more than a conqueror in Christ you will. 

“If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” God > Everything Else  (Against Us) [Romans 8:31]. I recently taught my daughter Ava how to play the card game of War. I was dominating her early on and she was getting frustrated, but I hadn’t seen an Ace come up yet. I told her don’t lose heart because I have all your two’s, three’s, and four’s. I said it’s not the number of cards you have, it’s really about who holds the ace’s. And then she began to dominate me even though I had more cards because she held all four aces. If God is for us (the Ace), it doesn’t matter how the cards fall in the moment- who could be against us? The victory is ours in Jesus. As a child of God, you have an inheritance. Knowing the victory we have in Christ is crucial as we move forward, led by the Spirit as more than conquerors.

#God is a Promise Fulfiller

Daily Reading: (Romans 8-28-31):

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

If you are a believer, I have a question for you: why are you a child of God? Paul will answer this question in Romans 8, God’s love pursues you to the point that with the aid of the Holy Spirit, you believed and received the greatest gift of all time, Jesus Christ as your Savior. The moment you believe that He died for your sins you might become a child of the Promise and whatever God promises He fulfills because He is a promise fulfiller.

The reason for Paul’s sadness in Romans 9 is many of the Jews (Paul’s own Ancestry.com people group) were given all of the privileges of God, including the covenantal promises. But some Israelites rejected God’s Son. Paul writes in verse 2 and 3- I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people.”

Paul says: “it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children (or what we just learned it is not just physical descendants who receive the call of God), but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. God’s people are not a singular nation but people from all nations (Romans 9:6). That was God’s covenant to Abraham (Genesis 17:4).   

Children of the Promise (epaggelia): pledge; especially a divine assurance of good. What Paul is saying is backing up a statement he made in the previous chapter in Romans 8:28.

Children of the Promise (Romans 9:8)- have a divine assurance of good (in all things God works for the good of those in Christ (Romans 8:28) Which is further expressed in verse 31: With God on our side like this, how can we lose (Romans 8:31b, MSG)? This is due to the effectual calling of God.

What this means is that when you know God is pleased with you regardless of your productivity, it will free you from the pressure to perform because in all things God works for the good.

What Christ Is to Those Who Are Called

He says that out from among those who hear the general call there are those who are “called” (1 Corinthians 1:23-24). And the difference is that those who are called in this narrower sense stop regarding Christ as a stumbling block and as folly. Instead, they regard him as the power of God and the wisdom of God.

The call of God produces faith; it opens the eyes of the blind to see that Jesus is the wisdom and the power of God (Romans 8:30).

The effectual call of God is the new covenant fulfillment of the promise in Deuteronomy 30:6. “And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.”

All the called are justified, and all the justified will be glorified. There are no dropouts. This is why all things work together for good for those who are called according to God’s purpose. His purpose is to save us utterly by his own almighty grace of initiative and power.


Hope’s Vital Ingredient

Watch the Message

Daily Reading: (Romans 8:22-25) 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Paul is saying that the only hope that will produce salvation is Jesus. “IN THIS HOPE”… all other hopes in people and things will only disappoint in terms of saving us. Think of salvation beyond everlasting life. The proper Greek translation into English here is “for hope salvation”. Paul purposefully doesn’t use the Greek word “soteria” for salvation -he specifically uses “sozo”.

Because in Christ we can have a confident expectation (elpis) of all that (sozo) would encompass:

  • keep safe and sound,
  • to rescue from danger or destruction
  • to save one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health
  • to deliver from the penalties of the Messianic judgment
  • to save from the evils which obstruct the reception of the Messianic deliverance

So, I have hope, a confident expectation of my eternal salvation, that I am penalty free from all my sins when I stand before God, but I also have a confident expectation of good, for God to protect me, to rescue me, to heal and make me well. Hope’s main basket ingredient is faith. As flour is to cake so is faith to hope. You can’t have hope Paul says without faith (Romans 8:24).

Believers are the “firstfruits” of God’s Spirit (Romans 8:23)” and are a kind of firstfruits of all he created” (James 1:18). Spiritual “firstfruits” may also be the first converts in an area (Romans 16:5) who will blossom and pollenate the fields of humanity with the Gospel of God’s grace. This means that believers as “firstfruits” are a testimony to God’s power in salvation. They are His first born, redeemed by Christ’s blood.

So, in having the “firstfruits of the Spirit, ” the work of the Spirit in effecting the present redemption of their souls, believers are given the guarantee that they will have the future redemption of their bodies at the second coming of Christ (Romans 8:23). That is something I am hoping for. I have not experienced a body that doesn’t get tired and worn out. I have hope to one-day have a glorious new body.

 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. There is an amazing element here”.  If you confidently believe the promise is coming, it doesn’t matter how long it takes for it to happen (Romans 8:25).

In summary, when I look to the future I do so with great hope (Romans 8:24). I have a confident expectation of the good God will bring about in my future and so I will wait patiently until He returns (Romans 8:25)- even though there will be internal groanings in my earthly body (Romans 8:23) because I long for what lies ahead.