Have you struggled with feeling loved by God? Do you doubt that He will help you? Do you feel that He is against you, not for you? Whatever your need is today, your solution is found in a greater revelation of the amazing grace of Jesus Christ.
Jesus came preaching GOOD NEWS, the “too-good-to-be-true news” that is absolutely true! Jesus is Truth, and He longs for you to awaken to His truth now, today. He wants you to understand who He is and what He has done for you that is SO AMAZING!
If you have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior and you have surrendered your life to Him and have asked Him to forgive you and cleanse you from your sins, then you are cleansed. In spite of all the ways you have fallen short of God’s glory (and we all have), God now sees you as righteous. He wants you to cease being sin-conscious so you can be righteousness-conscious.
You and I owe God a sin debt that we could never pay. But Jesus has already paid our debt. He even overpaid it so we can be debt free and no longer sin-conscious. God declares us righteous through Jesus’ shed blood. That’s what the Apostle Paul called being “justified by faith.” But how can we comprehend this and truly believe it? How was it that Jesus, who never sinned, willingly took on Himself the sin of the whole world? I call it “the great exchange.” He took our sin and gave us His righteousness.
The devil wants us to be self-conscious but God wants us to be Jesus-conscious. Turn away from his accusations and the focus this puts on yourself, and focus instead on Jesus. God no longer judges you on your own merits or failings. He has placed you in Christ and He now sees in you the beauty and perfection of Jesus. Isn’t that AMAZING?
The LAW was the Old Covenant, the long list of strict rules that God gave the Hebrew people to show them how far short they had fallen from His perfect plan for them. The Psalmist wrote to the Lord, “Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.” (Psalm 143:2 NIV), and “If you, oh Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?” Psalm 130:3 NIV).
To atone for the sins of the people, the law required the sacrifice of live animals, which represented the earthly wealth of the Hebrews. A man’s wealth was measured by the size of his herds and flocks, and God said that to be forgiven of sin, a Hebrew must sacrifice the most perfect, spotless lamb, his most valuable possession of all.
But Jesus satisfied the law once and for all by dying willingly on the cross to atone for our sins. He was perfect, without sin, a “spotless Lamb.” By shedding His blood, Jesus paid the price God demanded for justice, and He brought to us the New Covenant. The Law was all about focusing on yourself and your sin. The New Covenant of grace is all about each of us focusing on and living in Jesus Christ. Through the grace of his Holy Spirit working within us, Jesus is forming His very likeness inside each of us as He transforms us from selfish, earthly beings into selfless, heavenly beings. And God now sees the likeness of Christ in us, through His AMAZING grace.
How do we get a greater revelation of Jesus’ love and grace for us? Do we read the Bible more? Do we pray harder? Do we fast more? The Pharisees committed to memorizing the Holy scripture, yet they failed to see God in the flesh standing before them. They also made sure everyone knew when they were fasting and would say their prayers loudly in public for others to see how “holy” they were. The disciplines of reading Scripture, praying and fasting are important, but if we focus on those things we can fall back into legalism and bondage. We won’t see who Jesus really is just by memorizing scripture or being “religious.” Revelation comes when we seek God in person and ask Him to reveal to us the truth of who He really is.
Now, God’s grace does not give us license to sin. The Apostle Paul preached freedom by grace, but listen to what he said to the Romans: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:1-2 NKJV) Paul is clearly saying that we must not continue in sin. Are you having trouble overcoming a sin, a bad habit you just can’t seem to break? Call upon Jesus to help you by His mercy and grace. One of my favorite verses from Paul’s writings is, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…” (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV) To me, this says we can ask BIG and we can expect God to do BIG things when we ask. That is AMAZING! It helps to admit to God, “Lord, I can’t do this myself. I will stop trying in my own power and I choose to trust Your grace to help me.”
Maybe you have been struggling financially and you don’t see a way out of your situation. Paul told the believers in Philippi, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) Why was Paul able to say this and believe it? Because He knew what Jesus blood had accomplished and he knew what His AMAZING grace meant not only for Paul, but for all of God’s people. This confidence in God’s provision is available to you also!
And don’t you think that His amazing grace is there for your pain and sickness as well? He shed His blood so that we can be healed and live well.
He took our sorrow and grief so that we can have joy and liberty of heart. His grace is complete, His grace is all sufficient for every one of our needs.
Call out to Him right now to help you. It is pointless to see yourself as never being good enough. You couldn’t earn salvation no matter how hard you tried. Refuse to believe the lie that God won’t help you or that God doesn’t love you until you become perfect. “But God shows His love for us in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
His love for you is beyond the ability to understand. His love is never ending and without limits. And His gift of grace and forgiveness is FREE! He sent His only Son Jesus to die in your place so you can know your Creator and be loved by Him, and so you will never again be separated from Him by sin. Call upon the AMAZING grace of Jesus and be healed, changed, provided for and loved.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I thank you that you are my Father and that you sent Jesus to give me the AMAZING grace I so desperately need. Forgive me for struggling on my own and for not calling upon You and trusting You to meet my needs. I want this AMAZING grace and I want to experience your great love for me. I thank you that today my life is going to turn around and I’m going to walk in the freedom you have for me. I thank you for showing me truth today. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.
Except as noted, all Scripture references are from the English Standard Version.
By Sherry McPherson | August 5, 2009 10:17 am |
Actions speak louder than words. Words without action mean nothing. The right action done in My power produces great fruit. Faith is an action word. It is a verb, not a noun. Faith without works IS dead. Faith is not to be dead, but it is to be alive. Believing in something before it is visible is faith. Faith must have truth to stand on. You find truth in My word. Truth has life, MY life in it and when it is believed in and put forth with action, that is when the invisible things become visible. I want My people to belive in My word SO much that they will take truth and move out in faith and see the impossible become possible, the invisible to become visible. There is more to this life than what you ‘see.’
Is that all you want to know is what you can see? “No, Lord! I want what I haven’t seen to be visible. I want to see more than what has been seen.” You will see if you believe and if you step out to see the unknown, then it will be “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Oh My glory has been hindered by the lack of believing and the lack of stepping out.
There are the fruitful lives and the unfruitful lives. Do you think the fruitful lives became fruitful without faith, without taking great steps in adversity? That is where faith is tested the most, in adversity. But if you take the steps of believing for more, even in the broken place, you will NOT be disappointed. Know that you eyes will see more and your life will accomplish more in this walk of faith and in the believing before seeing.
That is how the saints of old got through much adversity. They dared to believe, they dared to trust Me, to believe that I AM the Great I AM. That I am everything My word says I am. These things are not done without warfare. The enemy will fight the challenge of faith. But it is SO worth fighting for.
The full gospel includes faith, intertwined with the method of faith. Never void of faith. If you hold on to your way, you will fail to see Mine. My thoughts are not your thoughts and My ways are not your ways. You must surrender your fallible ideals and run after My ways. Search for them and take hold of them and make them your “life.”
What is going to trigger this change in your life and in your mind? Let it be the calling of My Spirit. For when you come when you are called, it will produce deeper life within. But if you wait for a more desperate time, it will take longer to take root. So come with trusting, come with faith. Come ready to take action and move in My way. THE way, THE truth and THE life.
JAMES 2:24 “YOU SEE THAT A PERSON IS JUSTIFIED BY WORKS AND NOT BY FAITH ALONE.”
JAMES 2:26 “FOR AS THE BODY APART FROM THE SPIRIT IS DEAD, SO ALSO FAITH APART FROM WORKS IS DEAD.”
(READ ALSO JAMES 2 VERSES 18-26)
ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION
By His Still Small Voice | September 24, 2008 2:25 pm |
The book of Romans, written by the Apostle Paul, is full of profound instruction for the believer. Yet, for a new believer, the lessons in Romans can be some what difficult to understand. A Bible Study on the entire book is well worth the time and effort, and I highly recommend it. In this devotional, I will be using several scriptures from Romans, but this is in no way an exhaustive study. Hopefully it will enlighten you and inspire you to do further study in Romans.
In the Old Testament, God seems to enforce a strict standard on His people. Why was God so rigid about His commandments, and why did He become so upset when His people disobeyed Him? He even allowed His people to suffer in punishment and slavery.
One way to understand the Bible is as an ongoing story, beginning with God’s creation of the universe and humankind. As the story unfolds, we see humanity’s rebellion against God and God’s ongoing call for humankind to return to Him. Ultimately, the story leads to the arrival of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who came to show us the true character of God, and to die on our behalf as the atoning sacrifice for our sins that would once and for all provide a means for us to be restored to a right relationship with God.
Romans 5:12 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand.” Why were we in need of Grace?
The first word I’ve underlined is peace. Genesis chapter 3 gives the account of the first sin by Adam and Eve. After they had disobeyed God, they realized they were naked. They became afraid and hid from God. So sin, the disobedience of God, entered the world through one man, Adam, and one woman, Eve. Through their sin, Adam and Eve lost their peace with God, and instead of peace, they experienced fear. Sin separates us from God. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” (Romans 1:18)
The second word I underlined is faith. Adam and Eve turned their faith from God’s words to Satan’s words. Either God’s words are true or they are not. The Bible tells us this about God’s word: “God is not a man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it?” (Numbers 23:19 ) As much as Adam and Eve walked with God, they still did not have a right understanding of God’s nature, and they allowed Satan to convince them that if they ate from the forbidden tree, they would become like God, “knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5)
Adam and Eve were in need of grace. After Adam and Eve sinned, God required the blood sacrifice of animals as an atonement for the sins of mankind. Genesis 4:1-7 tells the story of Cain and Abel, in which Abel brought an animal sacrifice to the Lord. Clearly, by this time, God had given some instruction about blood sacrifices. Through the atoning sacrifice of blood, God, in His grace, forgave sins. (Leviticus 17:11)
Throughout the remainder of the Old Testament, mankind continued to choose pride and sin instead of God and his righteousness. By the time of Noah, mankind had become so corrupt that God decided He must destroy all of humanity except for Noah and his family, who were righteous. Later, the tower of Babel would symbolize the continued rebellion of humans against God in their attempt to ascend to heaven. God saw that He had to do something about the pride and corruption, so He confused their languages, making it impossible for them to complete the tower and resulting in the scattering of the people to other places.
As humanity continued to rebel against God, He gave the Law, to show His standard of living and to illustrate how far short mankind had fallen. Yet, even then, in pride and rebellion, people continued to live according to their own fleshly desires instead of by God’s standards.
Yet, if God is perfect, why is there sin? God created mankind in love, in His own image. (Genesis 1:26) As part of His design, he gave us the ability to choose to love Him or to not love Him. Why would He do that? Think about it. If we had no choice but to love God, of what value would our love be to Him? We would be no different than a computer programmed to say “I love you.” God wants us to truly love Him and serve Him because it is our choice, not because we are robots that must automatically do His will.
Yet, throughout time, humans have abused their freedom to choose, following their own selfish and prideful path, at risk of destroying themselves through sin, and incurring God’s righteous anger.
But though the Old Testament years passed, God’s story was not over. The birth of Jesus Christ, prophesied in the Old Testament, ushered in a new era, the new era of grace covered in the New Testament. Mankind had forgotten the true nature of God and had earned God’s judgment. They had forgotten that God is love. The New Testament reveals that God loved the world so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to show mankind the true loving nature of God the Father, to point out the many ways humanity had fallen short of God’s righteousness. God did not choose to turn His back on mankind, but instead made a way for them to come back to Him.
To satisfy God’s requirement of a blood sacrifice for sin, Jesus offered up Himself to die on a cross, not just as an atoning sacrifice for our sins, but as the LAST blood sacrifice God would ever require for our sins, once and for all. God accepted the blood of Jesus for all the sins of mankind for all time. And by God’s grace, He offers forgiveness of our sins if we will simply confess our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. By faith in the covering atonement of the blood of Jesus, we are justified in God’s sight. That is, even though we have fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23), God declares us righteous in His sight! (Romans 4:1-8)
Jesus changed everything! When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we accept what Jesus has done for us and we have a “new nature” in Him. We are given His authority over Satan and demons, we are given His robe of righteousness and we are given power over sickness. God sees us through the interceding person of JESUS, His Son! In the Old Testament covenant, God required the shed blood of animals for the forgiveness of sin. But now we have the PERFECT sacrifice through our Lord Jesus. His sacrifice was enough. God showed His incredible love for us “in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God. For in while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life.” (Romans 5:9-10) Jesus has given us a means for a new relationship with God. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, He has accepted God’s righteous wrath that we deserved. The debt has been paid. This is GOOD NEWS.
The Apostle Paul explains it so well in Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. . . .” Verse 17 sums it up: “Because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.”
When we come to God and accept His Son, we are brought to a newness of life. Our old self has been crucified with Him so we can no longer be enslaved to sin. (Romans 6:6-7) This doesn’t mean that we never sin, but we have an awareness of sin and the evil fruit of it, and we have Christ’s power in us to overcome sin. Our desires change from wanting to sin to wanting to be righteous like Christ. And the glorious truth of all of this is that God’s gift of eternal life is His FREE gift to us. It is up to us to receive it. Romans 6:23 explains it so well: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” HALLELUJAH!
I have found that many Christians think God is angry with them, that all He sees are their faults and failures. They see God as an angry Judge who is terrifying to approach. They can’t feel “good enough” to approach Him. That was how they felt in the Old Testament, and rightly so. None of us are good enough to approach God. But Jesus has changed everything! God loves you and He wants to extend His blessings toward you. If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior and repented of your sins, God has promised to forgive you! Accept His free gift right now today. Accept Him as the loving Father that He is and know that your sins are forgiven because of Jesus.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I know I’ve done wrong. I am a sinner needing your grace. Thank you that you made a way for me through your Son dying on the cross, shedding His precious blood and defeating death so that I can have life and be free from the slavery of sin. I accept your forgiveness now and I thank you for your love for me and I receive your blessings now. In the holy name of Jesus I pray, Amen.
The Salvation Poem
Jesus, you died upon a cross
And rose again to save the lost
Forgive me now of all my sin
Come be my Savior, Lord and Friend
Change my life and make it new
And help me, Lord, to live for you
Devotional by Sherry & Matt McPherson and Don Boyer
By Sherry McPherson | May 19, 2008 12:23 pm |
You hear on the news lately that the economy is bad and companies are going under. Many people are losing their jobs. There is always the threat of terrorism. Our young people are disillusioned and confused and many have taken their own lives. Criticism of the President and government is rampant and brutal. The political candidates claim to have the answers for a better world. But what does God say? What does His word have for us in times like this? What are we putting our hope in?
One of my favorite verses in the Old Testament, and I have quoted it hundreds of times, is Jeremiah 29:11 — “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a HOPE.” This was a promise God spoke to the Prophet Jeremiah to give to the people of Israel who were in exile. Being in exile was discouraging and oppressive. The Israelites were not free to live as they desired. But God instructed His Prophet to tell the people, “I have a HOPE and a future for you.” The only way they could have hope and a future was if God would take them out of exile and set them free.
Today, we live in a free country. We are not ruled by an oppressive dictator, and we have plenty of “rights” to live quite well. But many are living in their own personal “exile.” Some are battling serious health problems, depression, confusion, anxiety, and sorrow from loss. Maybe you are struggling with some of these issues. I want to point you to some scriptures that explain to us how God is a “God of hope” and that He has the answer for ALL of our problems and struggles. He can and WILL bring us out of our “exile.”
Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” Without hope we can become physically sick. Medical professionals today speak about the many physical ailments and diseases that are caused by emotional stresses. But Romans 15:13 says we can be filled with hope by the Lord: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Why should we be discouraged when the Holy Spirit will help us believe and abound in hope?
The Israelites in the time of the exile didn’t have the Promises of Jesus as we do today. We have an even greater hope because of Jesus, who became the perfect sacrifice, suffered, died and rose again in glory and power so that we could claim His righteousness and His promises. If you have made Jesus the Lord of your life, you have stepped into God’s Kingdom and into all His Kingdom has available for you. THAT’S GREAT NEWS!
Proverbs 16:3 teaches us, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Are we committing our efforts to the Lord, or are we trying to do things by our own power? Are we worrying instead of trusting?
Hebrews 10:23 says, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Not only does God give us hope but He is FAITHFUL to fulfill His promises. He cannot lie. I believe most people do not doubt what God can do, but they doubt that He will do these things for them. I used to struggle with this until I learned about the character of God when I studied His promises. So many times we fail to receive what God has for us because we fail to believe He is who He says He is, “The God of HOPE.”
The enemy, the devil, wants us to doubt God. He wants us to get caught up in the negative. The devil is a LIAR, he is the father of lies!! God is TRUTH and He cannot lie. John 8:31-32 says, “If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
Romans 8:24 explains more about this hope: “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” The Israelites had to wait for God to take them out of exile and set them free. God had a plan, and His plan worked.
God has a plan for YOU, to get you out of your personal exile. It can start by you turning over to Him all of your struggles and fears. Write down some of these scriptures on hope and put them up in your home where you will see them and read them every day. Renew your mind by filling it with His word. We spend so much of our time obsessed with bad things, negative things. We must counteract the negative with God’s word. Let His word be in the forefront of your thoughts. Dare to trust in the “God of hope,” the God of truth, the God who loves you! He has a HOPE AND A FUTURE for YOU!!
Let’s pray: “Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for your word today and that you are speaking to me through these words of hope. Forgive me for doubting that there is a hope for my future. I know now that you cannot lie and you are faithful to fulfill your promises. Right now, I claim your word for my life. Help me to keep your word before my eyes, to hide your word in my heart and to renew my mind with your words for me. Thank you for loving me and for providing for me a way out of my exile and into the promise of a good future. I ask this all in Jesus precious name, Amen.
**All scripture references are taken from The English Standard version.
By Sherry McPherson | April 2, 2008 3:18 pm |