Summer Bible Study: Romans // Ch. 13

HEY! I’m so glad that you are back! I can’t wait to dig into scripture with you. If you have never joined us before, we are on chapter 13 of our Romans summer bible study. There are only a few more chapters left but it isn’t too late to hang out with us today! If you missed Romans 12, you can check it out here! This journey through Romans has grown me to love being in His Word. It’s such a comforting joy to relish in His truth. I pray that you & I would have a greater desire to study and truly live out what we learn from Him in His Word. Let’s jump right in!!

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Romans 13: 1-7

What is this passage saying?

Paul is instructing his readers to submit to authority. Although Paul seems to focus more on the government side of the authority, we can apply his words to any authority we may have in our lives. I remember when I was a teenager {Lord, help us all} and like any 14-year-old, I didn’t have much respect for my parents, much less any other higher-ups. Without getting into all of the stories of doorslamming, yelling, and eye-rolling… I did not have the attitude of submission. Most people don’t. And that’s exactly why God places that word, submission, all throughout scripture. In God’s eyes, when we submit to our parents, our boss, our teachers, or any other “authority figure” in our lives, we are really submitting to God. When government seems crooked, our boss is a jerk, or our teachers & parents are unfair, we are called to respond in a respectful and loving way.

How can I practically apply this truth in my life?

Let’s ask God for His perspective on this subject. As hard as it is, this glorifies God. There is no higher than God and we can rest in that fact. God Himself has appointed the rulers in this world for His reasons. His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. {Isaiah 558-9} We can trust that God is the only One to judge and He is in control of all things and people, including authority.

Romans 13:8-10

What is this passage saying?

Paul goes on to speak about LOVE. At the end of verse 7, Paul tells us that if we owe someone something, we ought to pay them back no matter if it is taxes or honor. He then goes on to say something amazing. “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another” We are called to love one another above all other things. Respect, submission, honor… all of those things stem from the love that we should have for one another.

How can I practically apply this truth in my life?

Before we can truly love anyone, we must know God. Did you know that?! Those aren’t just my words, either. God Himself speaks through John and tells us this in 1 John chapter 4:

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

Loving others is what God has called us to do. Period. How are you loving others? How are you loving your spouse, your children, your family, your friends, your coworkers, your actual neighbors, and even complete strangers?

Loving someone means putting their needs above your own.

Love is knowing God, experiencing His love, & sharing His love with others.

How are you loving?

Romans 13:11-14

What is this passage saying?

I picture Paul getting really excited while He is talking about love and how love is the fulfillment of all the commands from God. Then, He starts to quiet down and starts to talk s-l-o-w-l-y because He REALLY wants us to hear these next few lines. Picture a tall dude named Paul standing in front of you and a crowd of people. You know that His Words are actually God-breathed and then He says this…

“And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

…and all is quiet before he screams…

WAKE UP!

Wake up. Friend, fellow sibling in the faith, we are almost out of time. This life we are living in simply a vapor. We are here today and gone tomorrow. Are we aimlessly going through life, like we are halfway sleeping? Eat. Sleep. Work. Play. Repeat. We do not have time for simply this! God put us on this earth and called us His own not so we could indulge in our desires, sinful & fleshly. No. He created us for ONE PURPOSE: to glorify Him. We already learned that by loving others, we can glorify Him. Another way? By putting aside, throwing off, the deeds of darkness (sinful things) and putting on the armor of LIGHT.

It’s time we stop flirting with sin. It’s time to destroy it. To shine His light ALL OVER this world & it’s darkness.

Paul lays it out for us pretty clear:

“Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh

This is radical, my friend. Because all of those fans of Jesus think it’s perfectly fine to be wallowing in their sexual immorality and jealousy and drunkenness and straight up sin. God has given you one purpose, and that purpose has nothing to do with your own self. It’s all about our lives and our will being handed over, being traded with God’s…. with love, selflessness, with joy unspeakable, hope, with JESUS.

How can I practically apply these truths to my life?

Spend time with God. Pray to Him, talk to Him, listen for Him. Sing to Him, cry out to Him, whisper to Him. Ask Him questions.

All of this is done in vain if we do not know Him. Loving others is impossible without knowing God’s love. The ability to put our sin to death is impossible without Jesus’ blood covering it.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” Those verses from James 4 changed my life forever. God spoke those words to me when I was a rebellious 18-year-old searching for purpose when my world was falling apart. He spoke truth, conviction, and hope into my soul that night. I haven’t been the same since. He can change you too. Be willing. And be ready to have your world turned upside down. When He speaks to the dead, life & beauty rises. He has a purpose for you. Glorify Him. He is worth it.

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When You’re Still Afraid of the Dark…

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

When I was a kid, I remember lying in bed at night scared to death. I absolutely hated being by myself at night and I was terrified of what lurked in the darkness. I was so scared of the dark that I would even wear my glasses to bed just in case I had to get up and go to the bathroom or fight one of those monsters and I did this until I was at least twelve years old. Even though I was so afraid of the dark, I knew that God was bigger. I knew that He was the Protector of all things, my fragile, young self included. So I would pray. “Please God, send your biggest, strongest, and most fat angels into my room to protect me. Put them in the doorways so that nothing can come in to get me. Please God, send them, send them.” I prayed that prayer at least five times a night and I envisioned them floating down and standing in my doorway, eight feet tall and six feet wide. Nothing could get to me. And then, my eyes closed and my mind drifted off to sleep. I was safe.

Last night, after watching one too many episodes of Prison Break with my husband, I was lying in bed a little scared to be honest. Anyone who really truly knows me, knows that I’m a pretty sensitive person. I can’t watch disturbing or creepy things and I would rather watch rated G or PG movies over a rated R classic any day. I believe that God has made me like this for a reason and I embrace my sensitivity. Last night as I was lying there, hoping no one would sneak into our room, I thought about all of those nights when I would ask God in complete faith to send my big angel friends to protect me and how He would, every time. I didn’t doubt for a minute that He wouldn’t hear my voice or answer my plea for help.

So why do doubt Him now? When darkness surrounds me in this life and I feel like I’ll never make it out alive, I break under the pressure of fear and doubt. But, in reality, God isn’t any different from when I was a scared young girl, lying in my bed at night. He hasn’t changed or gotten any tougher on me. He isn’t far away or too busy to answer my cries for help when the pressures of this world and it’s evils are surrounding me.

I often wish that I could just believe without doubting so that God would work on my behalf. But is that really how our Heavenly Father works? No. God knows our frailty and our weakness. When I was that scared little girl, He knew that I was afraid of the dark and He protected me from it because He loves me, not because I did something right or was righteous enough for Him.

 He was simply protecting His child.  

Oh, how I long for childlike faith. I long for it but it’s in my reach and it’s in your reach. Heaven really isn’t far away. All I have to do is trust Him as the protective Father that He is. I don’t have to be good enough or say the correct words in my prayers. And even if I get a little too scared in the middle of my cries for help, He isn’t going to call the search party off.

God loves us. He cares for us. We are His children. He is willing to save us at any time of the day. He is able to save us from drowning in fear and doubt and sin and pride. He is able to turn our broken hearts into whole, thriving ones. He is able to heal our diseases and heal our hurts. He is able to pull us out of the pit of anger and jealousy. He is able. He doesn’t save us because He thinks we earned it. All we have to do is cry out to Him for help, know that He is watching, listening, and will come to our rescue, and trust Him. We must come to Him in child-like faith—- Sincere, pure, and bold faith.

We tend to over-think things as adults. We somehow believe that if we were only good enough or smart enough or brave enough, God will pay us attention. But it’s when we are at our weakest, our most vulnerable, at our most human and low state, He makes us new… because He is madly in love with His people. And He is just waiting to burst forth through the dark to save us.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
    and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
    and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
    and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” Isaiah 60:1-3

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In what area of your life do you need to humbly come before God in childlike faith?

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In His light, we see light…

-Katie

Friday Faves // vol. 2

How has it been a month since I have posted my Friday Faves?! I am excited to give a little sneak peek into a few of my favorite things on everyone’s favorite day… FRIDAY! I hope you all have a relaxing and fun-filled weekend ahead!

1. organic rice cakes, super YUM!

I have eaten this bad boy every morning for at least two weeks. Top it with a spoonful of natural peanut butter with nuts (my fave), an egg, or even avocado for a delicious and surprisingly filling breakfast food! Let your imagination run wild on top of this healthy thang. I buy my organic rice cakes at our local Earth Fare. Give it a try!

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2. unleash the nerd… pottermore.com

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This website was created by the author who posts updated tales straight from “Reeta Skeeter” herself.
>activate nerd side now<
Yes, we love Harry Potter. My husband and I love watching Harry Potter together. I think they’re just so fun and makes me feel like a kid again. I was never allowed to watch these as a kid since my parents jumped on the “no Harry Potter allowed in Christian homes” bandwagon. I plan on letting my kids enjoy a little Harry if they so wish. My opinion: Remind them that all things Harry Potter is make-believe & move on. Easy-peasy. As long as they are old enough to know the difference between truth & fantasy. What are your thoughts? I’m curious!

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3. it’s time for a new devotion!

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Since my Beth Moore Prayer Journal is now filled to the brim, it’s time to start a new devotional! Although this is more of a read than a daily devo, I plan on reading a few paragraphs and really dig into what the author is teaching. It’s about being intentional in your time with Jesus and not letting this busy life get to you. This book was left in my mailbox by a sweet & dear friend, Jessica. She absolutely loved it & I am so excited to get started! If you haven’t read the encounter of these two sisters & Jesus, check out Luke 10:38-42!

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4.  work it, girl!

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Our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY BEACH TRIP is approaching us quicker than I would like! My hubs and I joined an awesome gym in a local church & have been watching more closely what we eat! Our health & fitness has been a priority that we are finally seeing through. We fail a lot (we love our chocolate cupcakes) but like God’s grace, everyday is fresh & NEW! My bffs have become spinach salad with a handful of cashews & a drizzle of organic dressing, homemade coffee creamer, all kinds of fish, freezer smoothies & lots of water! Recipes & work out plans are in the works for the blog soon!!!   

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5. faithful friendships are my fave!

20140711-134526-49526799.jpgMy sweet friend, Jaimie, sent this to me this morning with the caption, “praying for you!” It’s the little things, friends! I am so thankful for friendships based on God, true care for the other person, & encouragement. Listen, God is glorified when you and I carry the burdens of the people in our lives. That’s what we are called to do! That little encouragement was just what I needed! Oh, and Jaimie is also a super-new blogger with a website I am sure you will be hearing about in my upcoming posts! Let’s focus on people rather than our blog’s fame. Friends over Facebook. Family over our own little personal bubble. Let’s live life with one another. That glorifies God.

You are loved!

-Katie

a little more of life

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Do you love change? I sure do. I believe that there is nothing more exhilarating than completely switching up your life or adding something new to it. Change may even look like taking something away.

I have a huge desire for more of God & more quality time for my husband and others. And sometimes you must get rid of a few things for that to happen.

Facebook has been my husband’s and my connection to our hometown and the friends there since we got married and moved away {almost a year ago!}. But now we are changing that. We have decided to get rid of Facebook to create more space to enjoy God and one another. Although we love to connect with others through this particular social media, it has stolen my time. You could say, “well control yourself, Katie”. But I am a go-big-or-go-home type of person & getting rid of it has already made me feel more free. Why do we place so much importance on Facebook, anyway? The way I look at it, if we really wanted to see what someone was doing, why not just call or text them? It means quite a bit more than just cyber-stalking them. And if we don’t have their number then chances are they aren’t really our “friends” in the first place. I desire more real friendships and connections with people. In the big scheme of things, it’s really not a big deal.

With all of this said, there will be a few changes here on my blog!

But totally for the better! I will be documenting more of my life. I want our family & friends to still be able to be reach us & connect with us. And I know that there is at least one person who enjoys seeing picture of my dog-baby even if it is my own mom 😉

 This blog was born last year around January. It’s my outlet & it’s my little ministry in a way. I want to keep it like that. It has been my purpose to stay focused on encouragement, bible study, & the like. That will not change. I guess you could say that you will be seeing more of my life.

Life through the eyes of a Christ follower, a wife, a fashionista, a dog-mom, a sinner in need of grace  daily hourly, & just another adventurer trying to make her traveling more purposeful.

You will probably see a few of my favorite things along the way as well. My husband and I have one messy, fun, weird, & amazing life and I really do want you to be apart of it!

I pray that through all of this, Jesus will be lifted high. I want you to be encouraged. I want you to feel at home here. I want you to walk away smiling! This is just another form of community which is what we are called to anyway, isn’t it?

You are loved!

 -Katie

Summer Bible Study: Romans // Ch. 7

You’re back!! It is so good to be back in my little corner of Starbucks writing to you all. Welcome to our summer bible study! We have been in Romans for the last few weeks and today we are reviewing Chapter Seven! Did anyone else highlight the entire chapter?? Did anyone else whisper “amen” or “me too” about ten times? It’s comforting to be in good company with Paul, the writer of Romans. He is so transparent & real, something that I feel we need a bit more of in our lives.

If you haven’t read Romans 7 yet, I encourage you to do that first before you read on! It’s a short yet powerful chapter. Let’s jump right in!

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Romans Chapter 7 {verses 1-12}

What is this passage saying?

Paul is calling out all of the people who base their belief of their standing with God on good works. There is no beating around the bush with this fella. Through the leading of the Holy Spirit of God, Paul, over & over, denounces this belief of self-righteousness. Through verses 1-6, Paul uses the analogy of marriage. We are born “married” to sin and the law. When a person gives their lives over to Jesus, they die to the law & their sin. The law loses it’s power over a person & Jesus becomes their Lord whom they obey. We are either bound to the law and sin or we are free in Christ. We do not gain freedom in Christ by being bound by the law because like his analogy, a wife cannot have two husbands. You are either bound by sin through the law or bound by freedom through Christ. Thank God that freedom in Christ is the only way to true peace, joy, & life.

Paul isn’t saying that the law is pointless. God created the law to point us to Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of the law. We realize our need for a Savior when we realize that we cannot keep the commands on our own. Like Paul says in verse 7, “For I would have not known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet.'” The law is in place so that we would KNOW how sinful we are & then seek forgiveness & cleansing from sin through Jesus. Some believe the lie that the law’s purpose is to save them.

How can I practically apply these truths to my life?

Have you realized your need for a Savior? Have you been seeking saving from something or someone other than Jesus? Understanding your sin is your first step. Maybe you have never asked for forgiveness. God WANTS you! He loves & desires a relationship with you! Do not wait another minute. Break up with sin. Freedom and life comes through faith in Jesus alone. Repent & move on with Jesus.

If you are a Christ follower, this is still practical for you. Are you trying to earn God’s acceptance? I struggled for years trying to please God with good works. I thought that the only way God loved me is if I did everything right. That’s an exhausting place to be. It’s a place that only leads to disappointment & not freedom. God loves you & He loves me regardless of what we do or do not do! There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Don’t beat yourself up over your sin but don’t flirt with it either! Like that bad ex, move on! Walk away from that sin & run into your Savior’s arms!

You’ll never be able to do it all on your own.

Rely on Him alone. Rely on God’s strength, the Holy Spirit’s power in you, & Jesus’ words to truly experience the life God has for you.

Chapter Seven {verses 13-25}

What is this passage saying?

Paul is exposing his heart to us in these last verses. He grips boldness as he spills his heart. “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.” Then, this is the part that really comforts me, “for I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells”

I am kidding myself if I think that I am a good person. Without Jesus, we are just sinful and weak. That totally blows the self-righteous belief right out the window. We are ALL in need of a Savior because we are all sinful. Until Jesus returns & makes all things new, we will always struggle.

Have you ever been there? Have you ever wondered why you keep on committing the same sin over and over? You know what you should do but you do the complete opposite?! You are in good company! Instead of God beating us down & leaving us spinning in this cycle of sin, He graciously and preciously gives us the strength we need every single day. He understands. Although we are new creations in Christ, we are still covered with human skin and this skin is soaked in sin. It’s in our DNA. We won’t be able to get away from it. We can try and try and try again. That’s why a daily relationship with Jesus is so important!

How can I practically apply these truths to my life?

Your walk with Christ isn’t a to-do list. It’s a friendship, a relationship. It’s just as real as the relationship you have with your spouse, parents, or best friend. It’s just a perfect version of a friendship. Jesus won’t ever let you down, mislead you, or lead you down the wrong path. His advice is perfect, his company is warm & fulfilling, & his words are sweet to the soul. He is amazing.

Realizing that you will never be perfect or good enough is the only way to be more intimate with God. He accepts our mess with open arms. He is big enough to handle our sins & our failures. He is the answer to every question & the antidote to every sick soul. He is faithful. He will give you joy & purpose!

Be comforted that you are not alone! You are not alone in this journey. And it’s definitely a journey. We arrive at our desired destination and will be made perfect, without sin, only when Jesus comes back or we go home to meet Him. Until then, it’s a fight. It’s a battle. It’s a journey. You’re going to fall and trip and trip again. You’re going to be exhausted. You’re going to want to turn around. Don’t. You’re not alone in this journey. We have each other, brother & sister. And we have the Greatest Friend & Strength on our side.

Ready-to-forgive, loving, strong, & compassionate Jesus ❤

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Join us back here next week to cover CHAPTER EIGHT!

You are loved!

-Katie

 

Wifey Wear Wednesday

Fashion. Some love it & some hate it. I personally love it. Although I am no fashion blogger, I have always had the dream of sharing my closet with you all for a number of reasons. {And confession- I adore fashion blogs… so many ideas!}

A lot is written in the Bible about how to dress & how to present yourself. I wrote here about how God has called His beloved daughters to a high standard of presenting ourselves. We are His princesses! And princesses are modest, classy, & intentional about what they put on their bodies. I have a strong desire to see girls of all ages dress in a modern & up-to-date way without compromising our standards of beauty. I think it’s so important to remember that beauty has nothing to do with how you dress. It’s not about how silky your hair is, if you have a thigh gap, or if your face is flawless. True beauty comes from the heart. It’s a way of living. Beauty is defined in our culture and around the world by how you look on the outside. God defines beauty as how you look on the inside of your heart, your soul. I adore fashion & like to mix and match fun colors, patterns, & whatever else I can find on sale. But God always reminds me that He loves me despite my hot pink flip-flops & polka dot shorts. I don’t have to rely on my outward appearance to please anyone. I believe that fashion is a hobby. It’s a way of expressing your mood, your attitude, & can even give glory to God!

I am creating Wifey Wear Wednesday to inspire women of all ages that it is possible to dress fashionably and still keep your dignity. You can look “good” without showing off skin. This is a collection of outfits that I express myself as a wifey & woman of God!

Enjoy!

I love pairing this necklace from Forever21 with almost everything! It’s great to have a statement necklace because they are so versatile, happy, & easy to add to any outfit.

My hubs and I snagged the teal bubble necklace at NYC’s Forever21 for a whopping $8!!! Talk about a happy shopper.

The earrings are from Premier Jewelry. They were actually free since I hosted a Premier show!

That denim shirt, or chambray, is from Hollister but you can pick one up at almost every fashion store nowadays. It’s probably my favorite shirt in my closet. Talk about versatile. Pair it with shorts, leggings if it’s long enough, a maxi skirt, or colored skinny jeans. Instant cuteness. I picked up my other chambray at Forever21 for only $7 on clearance! It’s worth it to dig a little!

Honestly, I have no clue where my wedding ring & band is from. All I know is my sweet hubs custom altered the original style to the engagement ring to make it look perfect & bought a special diamond at another shop. He did that so my ring would be special & one of a kind even if someone wanted to find one just like mine. One in a million, just like our love. He’s sweet like that. I had always dreamed of a thin band with a big stone & he did just that! I actually almost threw up when he got down on one knee and opened up that little black box. tmi 😉 All in all, it’s a constant reminder of God’s faithfulness & the constant faithful love that my husband and I share! And… it dresses up any outfit!

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A couple of months ago, each time my husband and I would go window shopping after dinner, I would search for a watch to match my style. I always thought that I could never pull watches off since my wrists are the size of a toddler’s. But after learning about “arm parties”, I fell in love with the idea. Although I’m not rocking a total arm party, I still love the watch we picked out. I found this pink & gold round-faced watch for only $12 at Charming Charlie’s!!!! Can you tell that I love deals? I pair this bad boy with some costume diamond bracelets and I have myself a fun little arm party. {I’m sure that sounds ridiculous to all you non-fashionistas) But regardless, it’s super convenient to rock a watch especially if it’s a cute one! Time flies!

And there you have it. Chambray, teal statement necklace, fun teal polka dot shorts that aren’t too short, & a pink watch. Pair these with some pink flip-flops & you have yourself the perfect Saturday outfit!

Check back next Wednesday for my next outfit!

You are LOVED…

-Katie

Summer Bible Study: Romans // 5 & 6

I was broken yet in my brokenness, Jesus picked up all of my pieces. I was made whole by the one who loves me wholly. He put me back together & called me His beloved child. Not because I did anything to deserve this. You see, it was quite the opposite. I was an enemy of God.

I was an enemy of God because of my sinfulness. I was blinded by the lust of this world, drowning in this sea of self that trickled down to hell. And at my worst state, God saw me. His eyes looked upon ME. And He loved me in that moment. He loved me enough to save me. Enough to swoop me up out of that ocean of sin that I was drowning in. Jesus Savior, magnificent. Jesus, the life saver of every sinful soul. God gave that precious spotless Lamb away to be slaughtered. Why? Because God Himself loves us so passionately and so supernaturally.

You can cross out every “I” & “me” in those paragraphs above and add in your own name because it is true. This story of love & loss & redemption on a cross isn’t just for the holidays. You see, it’s everything. It’s life. It’s truth. It’s the only truth in this world. How do I know this? Because I experienced it & I believe. & as much as you and I do not deserve it, God loves us, along with every other human being on earth so purely & personally, He loves us. And He wants us to be in relationship with Him because He made us & said it was good. & Jesus Christ, God in the flesh of man, is the way into that perfect union with the Father.

It’s through faith in Jesus that we are declared righteous & able to stand confidently in the presence of God Himself.

This is the beautiful story of redemption for mankind.

This is what Paul is writing to us in Romans 5 & 6.

This week of review is going to be a little different. Because these two chapters are packed full of truth & gratefulness, I want you to spend some time in prayer with God. One on one. Just you & Him. Find some time alone to be with him. Get on your face before our Father & bask in His glory!

Thank Him for His love to you

Thank Him for His goodness

Thank Him for making a way

Thank Him for the Cross

Praise Him for His grace

Praise Him for His mercy

Praise Him for His words of truth

Praise Him for His freedom

Ask Him for forgiveness

Ask Him for a clean heart

Ask Him for a closer relationship

Ask Him for His glory

You are alive through Christ, dead to your sin!

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