If the Daily Grind has Made You Blind By: Alicia Bruxvoort

NOVEMBER 24, 2014

If the Daily Grind has Made You Blind ALICIA BRUXVOORT

“O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name! O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing!” Psalm 103:1-2 (MSG)

We’d argued on our drive to the hospital.

Soon I’d be lying belly up on an exam table as my stretched-out skin was covered with clear cold goo. Soon we’d get our first glimpse of the baby tucked beneath my heart.

However, my husband and I couldn’t agree on one thing: Should we find out the gender of our baby or not?

His vote was yes; mine was no.

Two years prior, we opted for the moment-of-arrival surprise when we were expecting our firstborn. I loved the thrill of hearing the doctor say, “You have a boy!” after my son had entered the world on that momentous August day.

Since I was the one laboring, I figured I deserved a weighted vote. So, when the grainy glimpse of our wee one appeared on the ultrasound screen, and the tech asked if we’d like to know the gender, I stated my preference.

Rob didn’t dispute my final call, but he did leave the hospital with measurably less excitement than his victorious wife. In fact, for the rest of the pregnancy, he tended to the daily grind — went to graduate school, paid the bills, played with our toddler — but he seemed blind to the gift growing right under his nose.

As the due date neared, I looked desperately for a way to awaken my husband to the blessing burgeoning beneath my heart. That’s when my doctor suggested an ultrasound to check on the baby’s questionable size.

With Rob stuck at work, I drove to the hospital alone. The ultrasound tech greeted me with a smile and a mint green hospital gown. She dimmed the lights and the screen alit with a wiggling silhouette of our second child. My heart ached with the weight of wonder.

Then, suddenly, I had an idea.

I pulled a post-it note from my purse and asked the technician to write the baby’s gender on the slip of paper. She nodded knowingly and wrote something in slow, choppy scrawl. Next, she rummaged through a drawer and grabbed an envelope. She slid the post-it-note inside and sealed it.

That evening over dinner, I handed Rob the envelope and explained what it contained. At first he just looked at me with quiet confusion, but as he began to understand what I was offering, a smile spread across his face. He grabbed the envelope, excused himself from the table, and returned with a fresh sparkle dancing in those deep green orbs.

For the remainder of my pregnancy, my husband was a new man. He couldn’t keep his hands off my bulging stomach or wipe the grin off his beaming face. When our bundle of wrinkles and wails arrived three weeks later, we named her Elizabeth Grace, for we both agreed she was an undeserved gift.

Once the frenzy of delivery day had grown quiet, I listened to the squeak of the rocking chair and watched my husband cuddle our baby girl. Then, I asked the question I’d been harboring for weeks. “What finally got you excited about this baby?”

Rob kissed our daughter’s soft pink cheek and shrugged his shoulders. “I guess it was that little slip of paper.”

He glanced at the miracle in his arms and cast me a sheepish grin, “Once I knew we were having a girl, I began to call her by name. That’s what made her real to me.”

Sometimes naming a gift helps us to see it more clearly. Maybe that’s why God urges us to remember our blessings: “O my soul … don’t forget a single blessing!” (Psalm 103:2, MSG)

The One who is timeless invites us to carve out time to give thanks. Not because He needs our gratitude, but because we do.

The daily grind can make us blind.

It’s easy to go through the motions of life and fail to see the gifts planted right beneath our noses. But God has given our eyes a prescription: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5:18, NIV).

Naming a gift doesn’t change the gift; it just makes it real.

So make a list, tell a friend, utter a prayer or compose a song. Tell a story, keep a journal or post a praise.

Practice the habit of gratitude frequently and faithfully, and odds are, you’ll begin to see some gifts that have been there all along, blessings burgeoning beneath your heart, just waiting for a name.

Dear Jesus, I don’t want the daily grind to make me blind. Open my eyes to see the blessings in my life. Grow in me a heart of gratitude. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY: Colossians 4:2, “Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude.” (MSG)

Grace Doesn’t Make Sense By Sharon Jaynes

Grace Doesn’t Make Sense Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus….(Romans 8:1 NIV).

Friend to Friend

This email comes to me hundreds of times every year. The names are different, the situations are varied, but the underlying theme is the same…I can’t forgive myself. Grace just doesn’t make sense. I don’t deserve to be forgiven.

And these women are right…grace doesn’t make earthly sense. We don’t deserve it. We keep reliving the Garden story with ingratitude and believing Satan’s lie, and then grace shows up with an outstretched hand. “I don’t deserve it,” we cry. And we’re right.

Grace, by its very definition, is unmerited favor from God or a gift we don’t deserve. But until we accept God’s grace and forgiveness, Satan will hold us in the vise grip of guilt, and we will miss moments of sudden glory as we hide in Eden’s bushes of shame.

After King David’s affair with Bathsheba, he was held in the shackles of guilt, unsure if he could ever be set free. But mercy came with the key of forgiveness and flung the prison door open wide. David then had to take the necessary steps to walk out of the prison and into the kingdom of grace.

No matter what you have done, God has made a way for you to be set free—a very costly toll has been paid for the road to your restoration. Jesus gave His life that you might have not only eternal life after physical death, but life filled with moments of sudden glory beginning at your spiritual birth.

I in no way want to diminish the seriousness of sin. Neither do I want to lessen the truth of grace. Refusal of the Christian to repent and dogged determination to continue a lifestyle of sin spits in the face of what Christ did on the cross. Unconfessed sin draws the shade on God’s glory. Confession with repentance raises the curtain once again for God’s glory to shine through.

When we say, “I don’t feel forgiven,” that is like saying that what Jesus did on the cross is not enough. Why should we require more from ourselves than our Creator requires of us? “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus….” (Romans 8:1). None. God’s grace river washes away the devil dams of shame and condemnation that block the flow of the glory life.

If you are feeling condemnation for past sins that you have already asked God to forgive, that condemnation is not coming from God. Once you have repented and asked God to forgive you, it is finished, over and done with, wiped away. If feelings of condemnation persist, they are a result of listening to the accusations of the enemy as he tries to keep you behind those bushes and away from union and communion with God. Believe the truth. Walk in the truth, and it will lead you to moments of sudden glory all around. Without accepting God’s grace gift, in Him we live and move and have our being will be nigh to impossible to become a reality in your life. A life saturated in grace makes it so.

Satan knows that the slightest whisper of guilt is easily received by a fragile heart plundered by life. Do not let him convince you to remain in hiding. If you have been crouching in Eden’s bushes of shame, listen closely. That sound you hear is God walking your way. Whispering your name. Do you hear it? Singing love songs of grace. Inviting you to stroll with Him in the garden of your heart where He has taken up permanent residence.

Where are you? I want to commune with you. I want to show you glimpses of my glory. Where are you?

I hope you will say with me… “Here I am Lord.”

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, I am so thankful for Your grace in my life. Today, I refuse to listen to the lies of the devil that condemn me, and commit to listen to the promises of God that free me. Open my eyes to see You as I look through the lens of gratitude and grace. I love You.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

I’ve never done this before, but I really want you to get it. I want to get it. Let’s read this excerpt from today’s devotion one more time. Savor it.

If you are feeling condemnation for past sins that you have already asked God to forgive, that condemnation is not coming from God. Once you have repented and asked God to forgive you, it is finished, over and done with, wiped away. If feelings of condemnation persist, they are a result of listening to the accusations of the enemy as he tries to keep you behind those bushes and away from union and communion with God. Believe the truth. Walk in the truth, and it will lead you to moments of sudden glory all around.

3 Ways to Press Through Unanswered Prayer By Lysa Terkeurst

NOVEMBER 12, 2014

3 Ways to Press Through Unanswered Prayer LYSA TERKEURST

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 (NIV)

I opened the anonymous letter and my heart sank. It was from another mom who wanted to make sure I had a list of all the ways one of my daughters was falling short. There in black and white she listed my daughter’s mistakes, shortcomings and frailties.

And then just to make sure I took her nameless letter seriously, she informed me she’d be sending a copy to my pastor.

My initial reaction was figure out who sent this so I could call her. Talk this through face-to-face. Assure her my husband and I were not only aware of some struggles my daughter was having but also working diligently to help her course-correct.

But as I reread the letter, I discerned it wasn’t sent from a place of love for my family or a heart that wanted to help.

From the language she used and the fact that there wasn’t a way to contact her, it was obvious she didn’t send it because she wanted the best for my daughter.

I sat on the edge of my bed and cried.

It’s so hard to have someone attack you in an area that’s already rubbed raw with hardship. Her letter was like a bullet straight to my heart.

However, it was also a wake-up call to get more intentional in praying for my daughter. I thought about her struggles a lot. I talked about her struggles. I worried about her struggles.

But thinking about, talking about and worrying about something is not the same as praying about it.

I determined to turn this letter that felt like a bullet into a blessing by using it as a catalyst to ramp up my prayer life.

Through my tears I cried out to the Lord, “I will not sacrifice Your grace for my child on the altar of people’s opinions. Of course I want my daughter to walk the straight and narrow path of great choices. But I trust You Lord to write her testimony. My main goal for her is not behavior modification but total heart transformation. I want her to want You, Lord, and Your best for her life. Give me the courage to not just pray about my daughter, but to pray her all the way through this.”

Praying her through the ups and downs wasn’t easy. There were days I wondered if God was even hearing my prayers.

It’s tough to pray someone all the way through a messy, hard, complicated situation and not see answers. Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you are there now.

Can I speak hope into your heart with 3 ways to press through unanswered prayers?

  1. Know with confidence God hears your prayers.

1 John 5:14 reminds us, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (NIV).

  1. Trust that prayer makes a difference, even when you don’t see the difference.

It may take a while for you to see God answer your prayers. But don’t miss an “in the meantime answer” you can receive right away. Philippians 4: 6-7 reminds us of the immediate answer to every prayer: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Did you catch it? It’s the peace of God that will guard your heart and mind in the process while you’re waiting for God to reveal His answer to your request. When you pray, you can trust you are doing your part and God will certainly do His part.

  1. Tell fear it has no place in this conversation.

These prayers are your gateway to feel an assurance you don’t see yet. But fear will beg you to focus on the problem more than God’s promises. Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (NIV).

It’s been a year and a half since I got that hard letter that prompted more frequent prayers for my daughter … that bullet that turned into a blessing. I recently visited her at college and could hardly believe my eyes.

She’s a completely different girl.

At one point during our time together, I asked her, “What finally made following Jesus wholeheartedly click for you?” She said, “Mom, I’ve made friends who love Jesus. I saw a joy in them that I wanted. So, I started doing what they do even when I didn’t want to. At first I thought getting up to do devotions was unrealistic, prayer meetings were boring, and listening to praise music, excessive. But as I kept doing these things, the Lord started changing my thought patterns. And when I started thinking about life from the standpoint of truth, I had so much more joy.”

She then paused and said words I’ve longed to hear and prayed to hear for so long, “Mom, I’ve just completely fallen in love with Jesus.”

I can hardly type those words without crying.

I pray this infuses your heart with hope to keep praying. I pray you believe God can take the things others intended to harm you or the ones you love, and use them for good to accomplish His purposes as today’s key verse reminds us.

I need a visual reminder of these truths. And I’m wondering if you do too. This month Proverbs 31 Ministries has partnered with Fashion and Compassion to create beautiful jewelry using repurposed bullets from Ethiopia. Our hope is that when we wear one of the From Bullets to Blessings pieces, you and I can be reminded to pray with deep assurance that God hears us and will bring good from this in His time.

And if you want my team and me to pray alongside you, visit my blog by clicking here and leave a comment about what you are believing for in prayer today.

Dear Lord, only You can turn what was meant for evil into good. I thank You in advance for all that You’re going to do in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

The Sick of Me Life by Lisa Whittle

NOVEMBER 11, 2014

The Sick-of-Me Life LISA WHITTLE

“Then I pray to you, O LORD. I say, ‘You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.'” Psalm 142:5 (NLT)

I must be honest: I need God to consume me more than my life currently does.

Life … the often busy, imperfect, challenging daily ride that brings with it human struggle.

The truth is, I am sick of me.

I am sick of being afraid. I am sick of being hot and cold for God, depending on my circumstance. I am sick of wrestling with the same things I’ve wrestled with for most of my life.

I want to be well. I want to be productive and joyful. I want to be useful for the Kingdom, valuable to my family, and have something to show of my time on earth. When I meet God one day, I want to say with open hands, Here’s what I did with the life You gave me.

I want God. I want Him to show up tangibly in me. I want Him to blow me away with insights and remind me that He is bigger than all my daily crazy. I want Him to sweep me off my feet and take me on one of His many amazing adventures.

It is not a bad thing when we are sick of ourselves. It is, in fact, a good thing. Because that’s when we will desire God in such a big way that we are willing to let go of the steering wheel of our life and let God drive us into our future.

The sick-of-me life says:

I’m tired of fighting for people to love me. I’m exhausted by this chase for approval.

I’m tired of watching God use other people. I want Him to use me.

I’m tired of being halfway in with God. I want to get off the spiritual roller coaster where I’m good one minute and the next minute I don’t want to pray or read my Bible. I want to make progress.

I’m tired of making decisions based on my fear of the unknown and my desire for comfort. I want to be free from the chains that have kept me bound.

I’m tired of trying to control everything. I want to finally know and rest in God’s ability to take care of it all.

Here’s something beautiful: If we want God, in all these areas and in any way we need Him, we can have Him. But we have to be tired of our usual life.

We have to get to the point where we say, I am sick of me. Not in a self-loathing way, but in a way that says, God, consume my life. It is in this posture of humility where God can change things. It is here that He moves, alters, heals and takes over.

Assuring us with His love while helping us change.

Overwhelming us with His presence.

Consuming us more than our daily lives.

Guiding us into a soul revival.

As only He can, God hears this sick-of-me heart cry and responds in an equally passionate way. Because He is good. Because He wants us to come to the end of ourselves so He can redeem and use our life.

Because it shows Him we want Him, more than anything else. That’s what He wants most too.

Heavenly Father, thank You for being worthy of our desire. Help me, in the busyness and craziness of my life, to want You more than anything else. I am needy, and I am tired of my usual life — even a good life is not truly good without You. With Your help, I promise to do whatever it takes to change. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY: Romans 2:4, “God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.” (MSG)

John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (ESV)

Pray Any Time for Any Reason, However Small or Off-the-Wall By Liz Curtis Higgs

NOVEMBER 10, 2014

Pray Any Time for Any Reason, However Small or Off-the-Wall LIZ CURTIS HIGGS

“Pray continually, …” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV)

My due date was circled in ink, but babies are famous for ignoring calendars. Two weeks after that long-anticipated day came and went, I wondered if our son would ever make his grand entrance into the world.

Naturally, my main concern was delivering a healthy baby, though I was a teensy bit worried about handling my part. Okay, more than a teensy.

On that hot August evening, when my husband, Bill, and I drove off to the hospital, we were certain our endless wait was over.

Not quite. I labored in vain. And prayed nonstop.

After 22 hours, I was hungry, exhausted and scared. Plans for a C-section were put in motion, beginning with moving me from my comfy hospital bed onto a narrow gurney with wheels. Not a big deal unless you’re nine and a half months pregnant.

The two young orderlies, with wary expressions, did not inspire confidence. A headline flitted through my addled mind: Mother Delivers Bouncing Baby Boy While Bouncing.

I’ve prayed some unusual prayers in my lifetime, but Please don’t let them drop me! was a new one. Even thinking those words felt foolish, but I silently prayed them nonetheless, desperate for a safe landing.

Please, Lord. Help me be brave. And help them be strong. Please?

A moment later, into my hospital room strolled an angel in blue: Don, the nurse anesthetist. Built like an oversized teddy bear swathed in scrubs, he stood next to my bed, his round face beaming. “Are you ready?”

I gulped. Here we go. The dreaded mid-air move.

After assessing the situation, Don waved away the two nervous orderlies and blithely announced, “I’ll take care of Mrs. Higgs.”

My hero.

I’d never in my adult life been carried anywhere. Even Bill hadn’t swept me over the threshold of our honeymoon suite. We’d just held hands and jumped. Now I was going to allow a complete stranger to do what seemed impossible.

Don leaned closer. “Can you put your hands around my neck?”

I could and did, though they were clammy and trembling with fatigue. Would the Lord answer my prayer, or was it time to set the type for that banner headline?

As if I weighed nothing more than a pillow, the big man with a big heart lifted me off the bed, swung me through the air, and gently placed me on the gurney without so much as a grunt.

“Nothing to it,” he assured me.

Maybe not for Don. Clearly not for God. He’d sent His best — a Paul Bunyan of a guy, whose heart belonged entirely to Him.

Four hours later, Don moved me again, this time into a recovery bed. He tucked a precious bundle into my arms and whispered, “Look what a gift God has given you this night.”

Don didn’t know that the name we’d chosen for our son meant “gift of God.” But the Lord knew.

His Word tells us, “A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world” (John 16:21, NIV).

So right. My pain was gone, my prayers were answered, and my joy was over the moon. God had provided safe transport in the arms of His willing servant, and He really came through on my prayers for a healthy baby — Matthew weighed 11 pounds, 12-1/2 ounces. Definitely healthy.

Knowing the Lord hears every request, big or small, normal or off-the-wall, our job is clear. Pray continually. Wait expectantly. Trust fearlessly.

Lord, You are beyond faithful. Even before we put our prayers into words, You know what we need and are working on our behalf. Thank You for always listening and always loving. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY: Psalm 5:2, “Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.” (NIV)

Mark 11:24, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (NIV)

Psalm 66:20, “Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!” (NIV)

Knowing About God is Not Enough by Sharon Jaynes

Knowing About God is Not Enough Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth

You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life (John 5:39-40).

Friend to Friend

Studying God’s Word has been one of my greatest joys since the day I became a Christian as a teenager. But sometimes I can get so wrapped up in studying about God, that I forget my relationship with God.

I read the Bible, pore through commentaries, and decipher Greek and Hebrew words. However, on many occasions, I have allowed my determined mind that wants to know more about God to override my soul’s deepest longing to simply know God.All my studying will be stillbirth if I do not move the words from my head to my heart to deepen my relationship with Jesus. If the words do not move me to worship and relationship, then I’ve missed the point.

All through history there have been men and women who have had an abundance of knowledge about God but have had little to no manifestation of God’s presence or power in their lives. Week after week people fill churches to hear well-delivered sermons, only to leave with the glory ache still eating away at their hearts. There is a yearning within our breasts which scholarly teaching simply cannot satisfy.

We can have a right opinion about God. We can agree that He is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient and still not be in right relationship with Him. Satan is proof of that. He knows exactly who God is and what He can do (James 2:19).

Knowledge about someone will never satisfy the longing to know someone personally. That doesn’t mean that we don’t study the Bible. But it does mean that we don’t stockpile knowledge and miss the intimate relationship Jesus died to make possible. His Word is a means by which He speaks to us in relationship. God’s Word is not a substitute for the relationship itself.

Jesus warned the religious scholars of his day: “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39-40). Could Jesus be saying the same to me and to you? Have we been filing in the blanks of our well-laid-out Bible study books and neglecting to fill in the blanks of our empty hearts with Him?

We can possess volumes of Bible study knowledge, but if the words do not bring us into a deeper, more intimate relationship with Christ, it becomes of no consequence to us. God’s word may convince us to try harder to be more moral, but head knowledge alone will not transform our lives. It is to the heart that God first speaks, and it is with the heart that our love relationship grows.

Here is what God is whispering to you today: “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me.”

Let’s Pray

Lord, today I am praying the words of Paul to the Ephesians. I pray that I will be rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ for me, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that I may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Righteousness? But I’m A Screwup… By Me (Marita)

You heard me mention righteousness before but that was when I was just coming to understand it and hey I still am but I’m grasping it a little better now…So what is righteousness? How do we get it? What does it mean in terms of God? Why do we need it? All these questions I will answer to the best of my ability according to what I’ve learned. Let me start out with a dictionary definition…this is what dictionary.com claims righteous is “characterized by uprightness or morality…morally right or justifiable…virtuous.” Okay…so it’s being upright or in good standing…I like to look at it as being perfect or pure…that’s what it sounds like to me…am I right? The next question is uh how the heck am I supposed to be perfect or completely pure? Isn’t that impossible? Yeah pretty much and that’s why we couldn’t achieve it on our own. As humans it’s no surprise that we are not perfect and no matter what we do or how we try to act we just cannot achieve 100% perfection…unless of course you’re Justin Timberlake! He’s talented and handsome!!!! Just kidding…just kidding that was ignorant of me…see that’s an example of how I myself can’t achieve perfection! Real life example for ya there people! Alright but all jokes aside really, it’s pretty much impossible to be 100% perfect, morally upright, or virtuous for your entire life. Which brings me to our next point after we talked about what righteousness is…How do we get righteousness and why do we need it? The first question has a simple answer. How we get righteousness is through Jesus. Bottom line. The next question about why we need righteousness and Jesus is a little bit more detailed and we will get into that…

For those who don’t know, when God created all of us we were right with him. We were his buddies, his creations, his pride and joys. He gave us one rule. Pretty much just one restriction. He clothed us with Glory, gave us this beautiful garden and free reign to rule it and travel about it however we wanted but we were under no circumstances allowed to touch or eat from the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life revealed truths about good and evil. Then guess what happened evil entered the world and tempted us and we gave into it and BOOM forever separated (or so we thought) from God and made unjust because we disobeyed God. God is so powerful and glorious that he couldn’t be around sin because of his power over sin. We would be incinerated just by his very presence so now being covered with sin because of allowing temptation to win we gave over our righteousness with God. Wow…thanks a lot Adam! Way to really mess that one up for thousands of generations to come! Haha kidding! Honestly though temptation is very appealing and who wouldn’t have given in so I guess we can have some sympathy…some…haha but don’t worry God had a plan to win us back! We need righteousness because we need God. God is our lifeline, he is our sustainer. He is our refuge, he is our strength, he is our redeemer, he is our protection, he is our everything! Without him we are toast!

As I mentioned, God had a plan. In order to be redeemed and brought back into the righteousness of God we needed to be bought with sinless/pure blood. Enter Jesus into the equation. No one else could do it for us. “For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” –Romans 5:17 God knew we were going to fall and had a plan before we even fell. God is not surprised by anything. He loves us though and wanted us back so that’s why he came up with a plan. Like I said we needed to be bought back with a price and God the son, Jesus volunteered to pay that price for us. He volunteered to lower himself to our level and took on the role of servant for a race that didn’t deserve it but God thought we were worth it and loves us. That is why we honor, praise and give glory to Jesus the Anointed because of what he did for us. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” -2 Corinthians 5:21 If it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t have a chance of getting into heaven or spending eternity with our father God again so that my friends is why we give our lives to him because he already paid the price for it and it’s his. We just accept and make that choice to go back into righteousness. God left the choice up to you to choose but it’s yours for the taking!

I have to tell you that at first I really didn’t get the concept of righteousness. It did not make sense to me that we are just handed righteousness in a sense. Now of course we get righteousness through accepting Christ and what he did for us and how incredible of a sacrifice that truly was! It dawned on me though that I was having a hard time accepting it without doing anything! I thought that I wasn’t good enough unless I was proving my worthiness by right actions or things that I did but I failed to realize that there is never going to be anything good enough that any human or I does to actually earn our righteousness. It is a gift from God that we accept not earn. It took me a while to get that. I was literally enslaving myself back into slavery again when Christ already set me free! That might sound extreme but it’s true. I was trying to keep all these laws of how I need to act and if I failed I was so hard on myself. All along though I just needed to understand that I am already made right with God through Jesus. The second I accepted him I was cleansed of my sins and given my righteousness back. Now yes we continue to sin but we are able to go to God through Jesus and repent of those sins when they occur and God gives us forgiveness because when he sees us he sees the son, Jesus and that alone is amazing beyond comprehension. I was pondering about this topic in the early of the morning recently and I it dawned on me that maybe it’s been so hard for me to accept because I’m a hard worker and I have the mentality that I need to earn and work for what I receive. That’s not a bad characteristic but it’s just how I’ve been all my life. I needed to understand just like you do too that it doesn’t matter how hard you work or not it’s a gift that God wants to give us. We need to accept it without fuss!

We talked about righteousness, what it is, why we need it, and how we get it. I gave the simple answer before that we get righteousness through Jesus. Yes that is true but how do we receive Jesus? Faith. So it comes down to receiving faith in and by accepting Jesus and then through him comes righteousness. It’s not about laws kept or good actions or deeds. The law is dead when it comes to righteousness. Yes act in a way that is pleasing to God. Focus on Christ as an example and don’t worry. When your mind is on Christ and is on the inside eventually your actions and deeds will result in a way that shows that outwardly. I will end with a verse and quote that originally jumped out at me to discuss this topic and shed a lot of light on this subject for me. “If being right with God depends on how we measure up to the law, then the Anointed’s sacrifice on the cross was the most tragic waste in all of history!” –Gal 2:21.

-xoxo Marita