27 October 2015

What the Law Could Not Do, He Did

" 2 For the law of the Spirit of life [fn]in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,
4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,
7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,
8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is [fn]alive because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you."

(So interesting, to have this be the first passage I read as I'm on the treadmill at my first gym trip in almost 18 months.) 

I realized again as I read this passage that receiving the Holy Spirit is a choice, not something God doles out to those who have reached some special status in His eyes. It's not an all-or-nothing proposition. And we ALL have special status in His eyes. We are His beloved, for whom He gave His own, and only, son.

As we (speaking of those of us coming out of heavily legalistic, works-based traditions) learn more and more about who God is, His Spirit is able to move with more and more power within us. As our faith grows, His power, as expressed in us, grows brighter and brighter until we receive the Holy spirit in its fullness in the baptism of fire.

Father God, I'm so grateful for Your provision for Your children through Christ Jesus. I'm so humbled by Your generosity, and by the unstinting nature of Your mercy and grace. Thank You for continuing to teach me, that every time I look for answers, You have them. And so much more. Thank You for the burden of love and purpose You have given me to carry, for it is light and easy, yoked as I am with Your Son. Keep on pouring Your love out upon all flesh, Father, and let all peoples come to know You through Jesus, the One who constrained Himself in mortal flesh, lived without sin, and suffered so much, so much, so we wouldn't have to if we would only turn and look to Him always. Let my life be a testament to Your relentless love, Your abounding forgiveness, and the limitless empowerment of Your grace. In Jesus' name, amen.

26 October 2015

His Mercy is Powerful

"It shall be when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies, and you shall go and uncover his feet and lie down; then he will tell you what you shall do."

7 When Boaz had eaten and drunk and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came secretly, and uncovered his feet and lay down.

 8 It happened in the middle of the night that the man was startled and bent forward; and behold, a woman was lying at his feet.

11 "Now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence.

14 So she lay at his feet until morning and rose before one could recognize another; and he said, "Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor." ~ Ruth 4, NASB

One of the things that has really stood out to me, in this chapter, is the strong possibility that Naomi didn't intend for Ruth to approach Boaz secretly, or stay through the night. But, for whatever reason, (maybe Ruth was nervous or worried), she waited until Boaz was asleep to approach him, instead of when he was yet awake. Naomi said to go lie down at his feet when he lay down for the night, but Ruth waited. Later verses seem to show that Ruth was saved, in Boaz's eyes, because of her widely-known virtue and her love of her mother-in-law. But, because she had approached Boaz secretly, she had to leave secretly, as well.

This is the mercy of God in action. Even when we do what He asks, imperfectly, He can make a way for His purposes to be fulfilled and His work to go forward.

Father, thank You for Your mercy, for Your grace, and for the way You keep working with Your children in patience and good humor. Thank You for this reassurance, as I feel so much is approaching in my life that You will ask me to do that I'll wish I had several years to prepare for. But I am Yours. Over and above all else, I am Yours. I will lean on Your strength at all times--especially where I am weak!--and follow You as You take this broken vessel and make it useful in Your kingdom. In Jesus' name, amen.

14 October 2015

Be of Good Cheer!

"It is not only wrong to worry, it is real infidelity because it means we do not believe God can look after the little practical details of our lives; it is never anything else that worries us." 

--Oswald Chambers, in Studies in the Sermon on the Mount from The Quotable Oswald Chambers