Friday, April 27, 2012

Tell Me Your Story

Romans 6:17.18 (NIV 1984)
17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.
18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

Romans 6 (AMP)
17 But thank God, though you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient with all your heart to the standard of teaching in which you were instructed and to which you were committed.
18 And having been set free from sin, you have become the servants of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in thought, purpose, and action).

Thank God! Literally.

Did you notice the opening to verse seventeen: But thanks be to God, that though you used to be slaves to sin …?

When I was struggling with the eating disorder I discussed in previous posts, I couldn’t imagine ever being free from the constant hunger and anger of not being “allowed” to eat. Along with the behavior associated with anorexia, I also fell into immorality due to extreme loneliness and “needing to be held.” Ten years ago, I was hungry, angry, and sexually immoral. Thankfully, I was able to break free from all of that because of God’s great mercy!

But I certainly wasn’t sin-free. Several years later, after marrying my wonderful husband, Bert, I discovered I had other nasty sinful habits. So almost six years ago, I found out I was critical, judgmental, and selfish. Again, thank God, I began the process of being transformed by His grace.

Almost two years ago, I began writing for this blog. But it wasn’t until I disciplined myself to take the time to memorize the verses, did I experience again a dramatic change in my behavior. So for the last several months, I’m finally becoming more loving and less demanding of others to make my life better! (I can hear all the Berts out there saying, thank God!)

How different are you from the person you were ten years ago? Six years ago? Even three month ago?

What are you no longer enslaved to? I really hope I get some comments on this. It’s exciting to see the changes God has brought about, isn’t it?

Go, God!

When we’re no longer under bondage of a bad or sinful habit, we are free to live the life God has planned for us. We’re free to fulfill His purpose for us which results in amazing peace and joy.

Let’s continue pursuing Him and His ways as we persevere in resisting sin. He is eager to help us!

In the meanwhile
 
     • What sin or bad habits have you been set free from?

     • How has it changed your life? Your legacy?

     • Have others lives been changed because of what God has done in your life?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I Will No Longer Be Your Slave!

Romans 6 (NIV 1984)
:15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!
:16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey -- whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

Romans 6 (Amplified)
:15What then [are we to conclude]? Shall we sin because we live not under Law but under God's favor and mercy? Certainly not!
:16Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)?

“I will no longer be your slave!”

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a portion of my struggle with anorexia nervosa and bulimia – behaviors that had such control over me that they could have killed me.

Today, though I no longer struggle with starving myself, there are many things I give into that could result in death: death in the opportunities I squander due to laziness; an end to relationships I abuse by lying or being judgmental; the demise of dreams that could have come true if I had not compromised my convictions; etc.

Sin will take you further than you want to go,
Cost you more than you want to pay,
And keep you longer than you want to stay.


I don’t know who said these words originally, but according to Ed Stetzer, Ted Haggard used to say this. He probably believes it now more than ever.

Sin is always deadly.

What besetting sins are you enslaved to?

When are we going to hate sin enough to stop being its slave? What will it take to make us wise up to what really could make us happy – living the life God planned for us?

Let’s decide this week, as we continue to study Romans 6, to hate sin and choose obedience. You’ll live and sleep better.

 I promise!

So …

     • This week, let’s decide which entangling sin we will you no longer be slaves to; and choose to be accountable to each other (or someone we know) to help us succeed.

     • How may we specifically pray for you this week?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Deleted!

Romans 6 (NIV 1984)
:13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.
:14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

Romans 6 (Amplified)
:13Do not continue offering or yielding your bodily members [and faculties] to sin as instruments (tools) of wickedness. But offer and yield yourselves to God as though you have been raised from the dead to [perpetual] life, and your bodily members [and faculties] to God, presenting them as implements of righteousness.
:14For sin shall not [any longer] exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law [as slaves], but under grace [as subjects of God's favor and mercy].
___
Okay, I’ll click on “Select All,” then hit “Delete.” There! All my bad and sinful habits no longer exist.

Do you wish it were that easy to delete the behavior you no longer want to be doing? Me, too!

The sixth chapter of Romans reminds us repeatedly that Jesus’ death on the cross does delete our sins. That’s called grace. We now need to learn how to apply that truth and offer our lives (and the parts of our bodies) to be used for God’s purposes. But how?

I believe it’s something we have to keep practicing. Maybe remembering these two facts will help:

     • Remember that Jesus died to pay for your sins and to set you free from   their control over you.

     • When you’re tempted to give into past behavior, remember what it cost you last time. 

Practice saying no to sin, and yes to God. In His strength, you can do anything that is His will for you. Decide to obey God in this one instance and watch His power at work.

Each time you obey Him, your confidence in His ability to keep you from future sin increases.

Read His Word daily, and pray for His guidance and strength. His power is made perfect in your weakness. Isn’t that incredible?

In Christ all things are possible. Nothing is impossible! You could even say that in Him your sins have been deleted! And you can “replace” those areas with better choices.

 So…

     • How might contemplating the cost of your sin before you commit it help to prevent you from committing the sin?

     • How can meditating on the fact that Jesus died to free you from your sin make a difference in your life?

     •  How can we specifically pray for you?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Anorexia Nervosa No Longer Rules!

Romans 6 (NIV)
:11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
:12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.

Romans 6 (Amplified)
:11Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.
:12Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies, to make you yield to its cravings and be subject to its lusts and evil passions.

If only I was allowed to eat! 

That earnest desire plagued me most of my life. Whose rules was I following that kept me so hungry that my every thought was about food? It certainly wasn’t God’s.

For years, I felt powerless to say no to the behavior associated with anorexia nervosa and bulimia. While I acknowledge eating disorders are considered a mental health issue, I also believe that for some, it eventually becomes a sin issue. It did for me.

As my relationship with God grew, I became aware that I had choices. I could continue to choose to be oppressed by the destructive behavior, or I could yield to God’s grace. But knowing I had the choice didn’t stop me from becoming more creative in my methods for losing weight. And each time I resisted God’s help, I knew I was actively disobeying Him.

The consequences of sin reigning in my body (mind, and soul) cost me my health – and even cost me the raising of my children. (See "Love is Not Jealous” post.)

I felt hopeless and defeated. I no longer wanted to live.

One day while sitting on my couch, I totally surrendered my actions and motives to God, asking Him to help me. I don’t know why that day “the prayer seemed to take,” but since then, I have consistently experienced His grace.

I began, again, to meditate on His Word, especially whenever I felt tempted to starve myself or purge. I made sure every thought was centered on Him. And I chose to believe He loved me- even as I was.

Not long after that, I noticed my love for God was growing stronger than my need to lose weight. In time, by God’s grace, I was able to break free from Satan’s clutches.

I have been free from my eating disorder for almost ten years! Yeah, God!
Today is Good Friday – a very somber day. Every Good Friday I can feel my throat tighten as I imagine how much Jesus suffered and died 2,000 years ago, so that today I can live – and eat! – free from bondage.

So …

     • What sin or bad habit has the knowledge of Christ’s death and resurrection set you free from? If you haven’t totally surrendered that sin to Christ, what better day to do so than Good Friday?

     • As we continue to memorize/meditate on Romans 6, consider asking God to show you what other area of sin you are yielding to. We would be thrilled to pray for you.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Announcing Memorizing Scripture Blog’s Monthly Drawing Winner!

Congratulations to Verna Norris:  Memorizing Scripture Blog’s Monthly Drawing Winner!

Verna will receive a $10.00 gift card from Eternal Grounds (new Christian coffee shop in Tallahassee).

Plus a choice between:

One ticket for a free seminar at The Center for Biblical Studies (Bible college and leadership training center)

OR

The President Was a Good Man a suspense novel by Murl Edward Gwynn.

How to enter the monthly drawings:

Beginning February 1, 2012, each subscriber’s name will be entered into a monthly drawing for various prizes, such as: Rayanne’s Christian Bookstore, Lifeway Christian Bookstore, or Eternal Grounds (a Christian coffee shop) gift cards; great resource books, etc., or tickets to The Center for Biblical Studies seminars.

And to encourage more sharing and accountability on the blog, every time subscribers comment on any post, their names will be entered again into the monthly drawing.

I hope you win!
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