Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Is It Time to Break Up? (Continuing Romans 6)

Photo by 19 Up Stream (Flickr)
What is Satan using to destroy you? What hold does he have on you that jeopardizes your goals, dreams, and even your relationships? And most importantly, what sin or habit is keeping you from a closer relationship with God?

I can’t think of a more liberating feeling than telling Satan, “I’m breaking up with you! You won’t control me any longer, because I found Somebody else!”

Jesus’ death on the cross made it possible to end our relationship to sin, and begin living for God, once and for all. It’s hard to grasp the full meaning of that, isn’t it?

Perhaps meditating on this week’s verses will help us:

Romans 6: (NASB)
:8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 
:9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; 
       death no longer is master over Him. 
:10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; 
        but the life that He lives, He lives to God.

What does it mean to you to live your life for God? Would you have to change your priorities or your choices?

Imagine your life free from destructive conduct and negative thought processes – including the way you view yourself.

As we continue memorizing and/or meditating on (and applying) Romans 6, let’s persevere in breaking away from those behaviors that only causes regret. If placing yourself under accountability with someone will help you, then please make that happen.

If you’re not at the place of wanting to live your life for God, but you wish you were, then ask God to help you to want to live your life for Him. Ask Him to show you His purpose for your life.

In Christ, we can end our relationship with sin, once and for all. Then we will be free to live the life we were meant to live!
_______

As always, please remember that I’m here if you need me. You can use a pseudonym if you want to share a little about your struggle (via the comment link). I’d be honored to pray with you.

I will send you the weekly verses, formatted to fit a standard index card. You must be subscribed to the blog, via email. Leave a comment to let me know what translation you prefer.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

No, the Devil Didn’t Make You Do It (Continuing Romans 6)

Photo by Erik Drost (Flickr)
I read about people like Browns quarterback, Johnny Manziel, who ends up in rehab due to addiction problems, and heard that well-known TV anchorman, Brian Williams, was put on suspension due to various “misstatements,” -- and I can’t help but wonder if they're asking themselves, “Why did I let it get this far?”

I’m sure many of us can relate. However, the verses we will look at this week offer tremendous hope. They are not easy to practice, but if you will pray, asking to fully understand the meaning of the verses, your life will be changed:

Romans 6:6-7 (NASB)
Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.

In other words, we are to say no to sin, and yes to Christ each time we’re tempted. We learn that Jesus’ death on the cross not only paid the penalty for our sins, but His death and resurrection also delivers us from being controlled by sin.

As I said, I’m not saying this is an easy thing to do. And I never mean to imply that there’s some kind of instant deliverance involved when we memorize and/or meditate on Bible verses – or even when we put ourselves under accountability.

However, I am telling you (from personal experience) that there is victory over sin – even from sin that seems to cling to us – when we continually surrender our will to the One Who surrendered His life for us.

In all honesty, I don’t always spend as much time memorizing and meditating on Bible verses as I’d like. But as I continue the effort to reflect on and obey the verses I do study, I can feel myself acquiring a level of maturity, spiritual strength and a deepening love for God’s Word.

And remember, even if you just spend a little time each day (or week) meditating on these verses, you’ll reap huge benefits.

I promise!


Would you like to discuss this further? If so leave a comment or email me (see About tab for my email address).

I will send you the weekly verses, formatted to fit a standard index card. You must be subscribed to the blog, via email. Leave a comment to let me know what translation you prefer.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

If I Die, I Die. (Continuing Romans 6)

Photo by Alexander Romero (Flickr)
Bee was definitely one of my favorite ladies that I cared for when I was a private caregiver. I loved her melodramatic manner.

When Bee suffered any pestering symptom that possibly indicated something serious, she would let out a heavy sigh and say, “Well if I die, I die.” Bee wasn’t afraid of “being dead,” she just dreaded the dying process because she didn’t want to suffer a long, lingering death.

Since Bee’s death in November 2010, I’ve thought about how much I relate to her attitude about dying – but in a spiritual sense. When we “die” to sinful behavior, such as slandering, addictions and sexually immoral behavior, we are able to rise to a different way of living, a life that resembles Christ’s nature. (A perfect theme for these weeks before Easter!)

Romans 6:5 helps us to see this positive aspect of dying:
For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection. (NASB).

Whenever I have to give up something (a bad habit, wanting my own way, or any behavior that isn’t God-honoring), I undergo a definite (often a long drawn out) season of suffering until I finally die to that desire or behavior.

This week, as we continue memorizing and/or meditating on Romans 6, would you consider confessing to God (Who intensely loves you) a specific area you’re struggling with, and ask Him to help you to die to it? And, if it would help, consider sharing your struggle with your accountability person.

Question: What one sin or bad habit will you ask God to help you with this week?

Prayer:
Father, You know me much better than I know myself. You know the excuses I give myself (and the justifications I use) when I want to keep doing the things that are not pleasing to You. Show me the specific area You want me to die to this week. Then help me to nail that sin or bad habit to the cross so that I can rise to a different way of living – a way that resembles Your nature.

Please leave a comment (using a pseudonym, if you want) letting me know how you’re doing, or how I can pray for you.

I will send you the weekly verses, formatted to fit a standard index card. You must be subscribed to the blog, via email. Leave a comment to let me know what translation you prefer.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Thank God It’s … Today! (Continuing Romans 6)


Photo by Mark Roy (Flickr)
“All right, class, let’s begin your speed typing drill. Begin on the count of three. One, two, three!”

Clickity click, clickity click immediately filled the room as we typed one of my favorite sayings:

“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”

Back in the mid-seventies at Slidell High (before computers were introduced into schools), typing was one of my favorite classes. I excelled to nearly the top of my class with the speed drills. And not only did I like the rhythm of typing the above saying, I loved the message of the sentence.

Even then, I was comforted with the reality that I could start over today and head in a different direction. It meant that today I could make the choices I wished I was already living by.

But sometimes it’s easier said than done. Therefore, while we continue making our way through Romans 6, let’s also (as we discussed last week) pray with someone who will encourage us to choose behavior that will help us grow spiritually. But we start by leaving our old life behind.

In this week’s verses, baptism symbolically illustrates a believer dying to his or her old life (the years before receiving Christ as Savior) and rising to a brand new life in Him:

Romans 6:3-4 NASB
:3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized              into His death?
:4 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.

Newness of life!

Let this holy season be one of great spiritual growth. Spend time with God on a daily basis, memorize and/or mediate on His Word, and consider choosing an accountability person. If you’d rather seek and offer prayer and support online, we are available to you via the comment link (pseudonyms allowed).

Shall we begin walking in newness of life … today?!
_____
As always, please remember that I’m here if you need me. You can use a pseudonym if you want to share a little about your struggle (via the comment link). I’d be honored to pray with you.

I will send you the weekly verses, formatted to fit a standard index card. You must be subscribed to the blog, via email. Leave a comment to let me know what translation you prefer.

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