Real Life

Re:verse–Hosea 1,3,14 (day six)

God didn’t use a vision, or a dream to reveal the heart of his message to Hosea; he used real life. God commanded Hosea to marry, only to rescue his wife years later from a life of rampant adultery. The message was clear. It was not lost on Hosea just how devastating and painful sin could be, nor the cost of covenant keeping love.

The real life of Hosea spoke volumes about the ugliness of sin and the extraordinary love of God. I wonder what our real lives have to teach us?

Mosaic of Wrongs

Re: Verse reading–Mark 14:43-52; 15:1-15 (day six)

“Why, what evil has he done?”-Pilate

That was Pilate’s immediate response to the frenzied cries to crucify Jesus. At best it was a half-hearted defense of Jesus; an effort to talk sense into the crowd. Everybody knew Jesus was innocent; the crowd, the Pharisees, Pilate, Herod, everyone knew he had done no wrong, he had done nothing worthy of capital punishment. Pilate did not know just how right he was though; Jesus had done no wrong EVER, not once had he sinned. The irony in this narrative is that it is everyone else’s “wrong” that stands out, not Jesus’. Judas’ betrayal, the Apostles’ flight, Pilate’s crowd-pleasing capitulation, the angry crowd, all a mosaic of wrongs.

Perhaps, one of the purposes of this narrative, is not for us only to see Jesus laying down His life, but to see ourselves for who we truly are, to see ourselves in the mosaic.

Achan and the Cross

Re:Verse reading–Joshua 7, Mark 15:16-20, 24-40; Mark 16:1-8 day six)

Achan’s sin is catastrophic. Thirty-six people died, not including he and his family, as a result of his disobedience. Like a cancer it spread, and although it began with him, he could not control it or contain it. A whole people were left demoralized because of one man’s moment of greed. And it resulted in death.

Jesus went to the cross for Achan. Holy Week is a searing reminder that we are no better off than Achan. We are worthy of being stoned; we are worthy of the cross, and yet while we were still enemies of God Christ died for us. In the cross and resurrection we discover the cure for that uncontrollable, uncontainable cancer. And so we lament at the great cost of our sin, and yet we also rejoice knowing that it is finished!

He is risen!

Once a Slave

Re:Verse reading–Romans 8:1-17 (day six)

Experts say that there are more slaves in the world today than there were in the 18th and 19th centuries. Human trafficking, modern day slavery, is the fastest growing nefarious business in the world, second only to drugs. It would be hard to imagine the feelings a once-slave might experience after being rescued. Probably feelings of great relief and new found joy, mixed with fear and post-traumatic stress, would be very real and present.

if you are a follower of Jesus, you were once a slave; rescued from the bondage of sin and death. And yet we still can experience the shadow of our former slavery bearing down on our present life; we can even succumb to it, immobilized by fear and insecurity. Paul reminds us in Romans 8 that we don’t have to live in fear of our former way of life because now we are declared sons and daughters of God. As members of God’s family we have free access to come to Him when we experience our own spiritual PTSD. We can cry out “Abba Father!”


Re:Verse reading–Romans 8:1-17 (day four) 

Everyone…rich or poor, male or female, regardless of race or creed…everyone is born into the law of sin and death.  The law states that all have sinned.  Then the law states that the wages or due penalty of sin is death.  Left to ourselves, we cannot avoid eternal death.  Our passage in Romans 8 though gives hope.  Verse 2 says “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”  Our passage identifies a whole list of outcomes that result from the law of flesh vs. the law of the Spirit…antonyms that result from the source of our allegiance.  If we are living according to the flesh, we reap sin and death, condemnation, curses, and we are hostile to God.  If we are living according to the Spirit, we reap blessing, we are Spirit-led, we are sons of God, we are free from the law, and we have life and peace.  Why would we ever choose to follow the flesh rather than the Spirit?

Shall we go on sinning?

Re: Verse reading–Romans 6 (day seven)

“Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” v 1.  Maybe no one actually says it.  Usually more of an unconscious thought, a false conclusion.  “If salvation is by grace alone, then sin is not such a big deal.”  “Why worry?” “No one is perfect!”  “God will forgive me no matter what.”  “I should just accept my brokenness and rejoice in His full forgiveness.”   “Right?”

Wrong!  Paul addresses this issue head on by teaching the real union of believer and Savior.  “We were baptized into Christ.” v 3.  Joined.  Made one.  Our debt becomes His.  His victory becomes ours.

Who would misuse the privilege of salvation by allowing sin to be unrepented and unconfessed?  Only a false-hearted person!  Only the one who would like to share the BENEFIT of union with Christ (forgiveness) but not the PURPOSE. (new life)

Q–Shall we go on sinning?  A–No!  We are one with Christ!

Who is Your Master?

Re:Verse reading–Romans 6 (day four)

Verse 19 says, “…For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.” Sin is never a static or unchanging action.  It always results in more sin.  If we submit our lives to lawlessness, things will only get worse.  In our culture, there is no tolerance for those who practice righteousness.  Lawlessness is never content to just do its own thing…there must be increased acceptance and practice by all.  To practice righteousness results in sanctification…in other words, you become more and more like Christ.  Instead of a deterioration of character, there is a growth in character.  Romans 1 taught us that…when man rejected God and choose deception and untruth, God gave them over to the depravity of their minds.  It is a picture we see around us every day.  Lawlessness brings death, righteousness brings life…choose wisely!


Re: Verse reading–Romans 6 (day three)

“Do not let sin reign in your mortal body.” Sin is not just in your mind. It’s in your body. Yes, sin–that dimension of evil that we associate with secret desires and private thoughts and internal struggles–is also a very physical reality. The body is not just a marionette operating helplessly at the end of the strings that the mind controls. It has appetites and habits and ways that require little to no thought from your mind or direction from your will. The Lord not only intends to save your spirit; he intends to save your body as well. That’s what resurrection is all about. The old hymn says, “Take my hands…take my feet…take my voice…take my lips….” Will you confess the Lord as Lord of your body?

What say we?

Re: Verse reading–Romans 6 (day one)

“WHAT SHALL WE SAY then?  Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?”–v 1.  Paul often uses this formula to advance his argument.  “WHAT SHALL WE SAY to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) is another example.

The short summary is “How shall we respond to God’s grace?”  “Given the truths of Romans 1-5, what conclusions should we draw?”

Note that Paul ASSUMES  we WILL reach some conclusions.  He also warns that some conclusions are incorrect.

“Since grace is free, then what I DO doesn’t matter, right?”  ” Christ paid for my debt, so sin is no longer a concern, correct?”

No! This is one conclusion that we are NOT free to reach.  Paul will spend this week convincing us. Life in Christ and death to sin are two parts of the same story.

Thanks for reading RE Verse.  It’s gonna be a great week.

Through Our Faith

Re:Verse reading–Romans 4:1-25 (day four)

It was by faith that Abraham received the righteousness of God.  We receive the righteousness of Christ the same way…by faith.  Is it by Abraham’s faith that we are saved?  If we know and understand that it was faith, not works, that brought salvation to Abraham, is that enough for us?  If we are raised in a Christian home with Christian parents who teach us about faith, is that enough for us to be saved?  No…we cannot be saved by Abraham’s faith or the faith of our parents.  We must exercise our own faith.  It is by faith…our faith…that we are justified.  When we place our faith in Jesus, our sin is credited to Jesus’ account.  When we stand before God in judgment someday, Christ himself will testify on our behalf that He has paid the penalty for our sin.  Just as for Abraham, we have the promise of God for the forgiveness of our sin through our faith.  “Not of works, lest any man should boast.”