Dive in: Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 6:23

 

Hello blog readers! For everyone participating in the #DiveInChallenge, congratulations on completing week 1, as we memorized Romans 8:1-2.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

Hopefully, you’ve been able to reflect on that passage of scripture and find comfort in it. What a gift, to be set free from the penalty of sin. This week’s verse is intended to build on that truth. The first part of Romans 6:23 tells us what sinners, by law, should receive. The rightful payment owed to every sinner is death. But, the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. What a lifeline!

The reason I chose this verse is because it’s important to know that eternal life is a gift. It can never be earned or deserved. Gifts are free. No amount of charity donations, church service, volunteer work, giving to the poor, or “living a good life” could ever earn a person’s way into heaven. Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Isaiah 53:6 reminds us that, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Iniquity is sin, wickedness, immoral behavior…. The Lord placed all of your sin upon Himself, and He personally paid the penalty for your sin wages when He was nailed to the cross.  The Lord paid the debt that you and I owe. Ephesians 2:8 emphasizes that we are saved through faith. Having faith is within everyone’s ability – not only for society’s elite, or the financially wealthy, or scholars, or priests.

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” – Romans 10:9

As you grow in your walk with the Lord, you will make mistakes. When you do, repent, ask the Lord for forgiveness, and move forward. The Lord loves you, and has the sufficient patience needed to help you grow into the masterpiece He intended. Don’t believe the lie that you have to live a near-perfect life to receive the gift of heaven. Heaven is the free gift of God to everyone who has faith in Jesus. He came to save sinners!

As we go through this week together, find peace and rest in Romans 6:23.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Prayer:
Heavenly Father,  Thank you for speaking to us through your word. May the eyes of our hearts be enlightened in order that we may know the hope to which you have called us, the riches of your glorious inheritance in your holy people. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

*All scriptures are quoted from the NIV version unless otherwise noted. Feel free to memorize in whatever version you prefer!




 

Apps for memorizing scripture

Hello blog readers!
I am very encouraged by seeing your response to the #2019DiveInChallenge. The goal is to help you along as you grow in your walk with the Lord. I am praying for you! I hope that you will invite others to dive deeper into the word of God with you, and memorize scripture.

I looked up some apps that might help you memorize. There’s even an app for kids! I typically go the old-fashioned route, repeating something over and over until I’ve learned it. But sometimes apps make life easier, and I think I’ll try at least one of these! (The BibleMinded app looks like a good one for learning longer passages.)

*App descriptions are from developers’ websites!

 

BibleMinded
Search the entire Bible for the exact verse that you want to memorize. Like memorizing large chunks of Scripture at a time? No problem, with BibleMinded you can add a whole chapter or any amount of passages from a chapter. BibleMinded also makes it easy to add as many verses as you would like to memorize from any of our Bible versions. We know a lot of you love memorizing tons of verses at once where some of you take it a verse at a time. BibleMinded makes it easy to use and focus on your verses no matter whether you are adding one or 10.
Download here.

 

The Bible Memory App
With The Bible Memory App, you’ll memorize by actively engaging three separate cognitive areas: Audio, Visual & Touch memory.

★ Touch: Type the first letter of each word in a verse to quickly memorize it
★ Audio: Record verse audio and try to speak along with the playback *pro feature
★ Visual: Draw Illustrations & Review verses using Flash Cards *pro feature

The Bible Memory App is more than an app, it’s a complete Bible Memory System for mobile devices and the web. Use The Bible Memory App on your Android and Apple devices. Your progress stays in sync between all of your devices!
Download here.

 

Bible Memory Kids
Bible Memory Kids makes Bible memory fun and easy. Kids can memorize by themselves, regardless of reading level! Even pre-readers can memorize God’s Word! Download here.

 

Fighter Verses (IOS only)
The Fighter Verses Bible memory system was created to help believers persevere in the fight of faith by arming them with God’s Word. Designed for children through adults, this system allows individuals, groups, or entire churches to memorize and review at their own pace. 
Download here.

 

Verses (IOS only)
Start memorizing more Scripture with Verses! Join others who have played over 10 million memory games to learn passages perfectly over 500,000 times! Memorize quickly and easily with simple memory games, then stay motivated by tracking your progress over time using Verses memory health tracking.
Download here.

 

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for the desire you have placed in the hearts of your children to know your word. I pray that you fill our hearts with the knowledge of your will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that we may live a life worthy of the Lord and please you in every way … bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God. In Jesus name, Amen.

Read Colossians 1:9-10

 

Dive In: Romans 8:1-2

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2

Hello blog readers! In the previous blog, I announced the #DiveInChallenge – an initiative to encourage everyone to memorize the word of God in 2019. The first passage we will memorize as a group is Romans 8:1-2. Lots of people who grew up attending church are familiar with Romans 8:1 (there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus). The reason I’ve chosen this passage is because recently I’ve heard too many people say things like, “I’m trying to live right so I will make it to heaven”.  There are Christians familiar with Romans 8:1 – who live in anxiety because they fear they might lose their salvation and wake up in hell because of some sin they are battling.

Friends, there are always consequences to choosing sin. Our imperfection is proof!  The law of sin is referred to in Romans 6:23: The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

As you stay in God’s word – the seduction and addiction of sin will weaken and become powerless over you. Find comfort in Romans 8:2 — having confidence that once you are saved, you are always saved. Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Praise God!

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2

#2019DiveInChallenge

Prayer:
Heavenly Father,  Thank you for revealing yourself to us through your word. I trust that as we spend time learning scripture, you will speak to us through the passages. I’m so excited to hear about the ways your word will come alive in the hearts of those who are committed to diving in like never before. As we go through our week, may your word become personal to us. May we be filled with joy, growing in the knowledge of who You are, and how You love us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

*All scriptures are quoted from the NIV version unless otherwise noted. Feel free to memorize in whatever version you prefer!

 


 

 

Dive in Challenge!

Hello blog readers, and welcome to the revamp!
It’s been over a year since I’ve written. God has been working on me in new ways. I’m excited to share some of those experiences with you through this blog. God has placed on my heart a very special mission for “Pray Hear Obey”, and I’d like to invite everyone who desires to participate.

A close friend recently asked me to help her memorize the word of God. As we’ve gone through weeks of reciting verses to one another, she shares how that verse has come alive throughout her week. One morning, as I celebrated her amazing growth  – God’s Holy Spirit reminded me that more people need to intentionally spend time learning and memorizing His word. He placed on my heart a mission to help others do just that.

I’m inviting you to spend time with me memorizing scripture – hiding the word of God in your heart. I’m launching the “Dive In Challenge” – encouraging you to make God’s word a top priority in 2019. You will find that as you memorize, and meditate on scripture – His word will prove to be alive and active. When the difficulties of life greet you, God’s powerful Holy Spirit will cause you to remember His Word, promises, and faithfulness. His word is the key to living the abundant life He died for you to receive.

As we move forward, please comment and share how the verses have spoken to you throughout the week. Share tips that help you memorize! Everyone learns differently, and we can all learn from one another.

Roughly, the verse will change weekly. However, sometimes we will be learning longer verses. Based on feedback, if we need a little extra time on a verse, we’ll take it. As we learn new scripture, we’ll also refresh what we’ve already learned. God wants to reveal Himself to us intimately. He promises to draw near to us as we draw near to Him. Let Him prove it to you! Let’s spend 2019 diving into His word like never before. Take the #DiveInChallenge. There’s real treasure up for grabs. The first verse that we will learn will be revealed in the next blog post.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

My heart’s anthem

Hello blog readers,
I want to share one of my journal entries with you. A few nights ago, I sat in my room, wanting to spend time with God. The most comforting thoughts came to me from the Holy Spirit. I wrote them down, and re-read them today. They are so comforting to me still, and I pray these words fill you with hope.

“I am with God. You are bathed and clothed in righteousness. You are loved beyond your understanding. You are loved beyond your own comprehension. You are blessed and favored. I am with God, and you are given favor by Him that made the earth. You have taken back the enemy’s turf. The way to God is through him that died for your sins. He is able to do things you cannot. Be free in God’s Son. Be free in Jesus. I am God’s spirit. I have plans to give you hope and a future.

Sincere appreciation for God’s spirit will result in many things. Good things. Many good things belong to those who love God and obey the word of God… who look to Him for provision, and worry not about things on their own mind. Give matters to God. He will give back peace of mind and offer abilities that no man can offer. Give Him your heart, and He will give back more than you can imagine. It’s the best decision one can make — to give himself/herself to God for the purpose of eternal salvation. Hope is given. Repair is expected. Blessed are all who wait on the Lord.

Let this be your heart’s anthem: God LOVES me!”

 

 

Be well nourished

Hello blog readers!
It’s Friday morning, and I just got home from a jog. It didn’t go the way I intended. Over the course of some weeks, I’ve been incorporating running into my workouts. The first time I ran, my body let me know quickly that my legs were weak, my breathing technique was weak, my endurance was weak. I’ve noticed that as my body becomes physically stronger, God reveals to me parts of my spiritual life that are spiritually weak. By God physically showing me that time, patience, and endurance is required to become physically strong – I’m more encouraged about the process of growth in my spiritual life.

Yesterday morning, I ran a 3.6 mile course that I set a goal to finish. I was PUMPED when I completed the run! I couldn’t believe it. It didn’t take nearly as long to build up the endurance and strength to finish as I thought. So, I got up this morning, and set out to do it again. But today,  I got halfway down my street, and noticed a difference in the way I felt. Mentally, I was dreading the thought of only being at the starting point of the trail. I had 3.5 miles to go. Physically, I wanted to stop and go home… but I kept going, telling myself, “You did this yesterday, you can do it today”.

I struggled to run half the course before I had to stop. Not just stop and walk — but stop and call someone to come get me! I was burned out and slightly embarrassed. My mother brought me home and immediately went into the kitchen and made me a smoothie – packed with all sorts of good nutrition. She brought it to me and said, “Drink this, it should make you feel better.” As I sipped it, I realized that I hadn’t properly nourished my body for that type of exercise. Last night, I ate a light meal  that consisted mainly of vegetables and no meat. Good, yes — but not what I needed to run 3.6 miles for the second day in a row.

After my body physically felt better, I thought about how many times I’ve nourished my spirit lately. What’s that diet looking like? I suppose I’ve had a few spiritual veggies (prayer and worship music).. but I have not dived into the meat of God’s word and searched His heart for wisdom lately.  That’s what I need to be well nourished spiritually.  I’m thankful for His reminders.  I burned out today on the running trail… But in that, He revealed His wisdom. He is God, and Perfect in all His ways.

The gift I didn’t give

Hello blog readers,
Today I dropped the ball — and God found another way to handle His business. Right now, I’m sitting back — thankful for Him allowing me to witness His sovereignty — and also disappointed that I wasn’t obedient to what I was being led to do.

I had a birthday about 2 weeks ago, and I was given a gift certificate to a restaurant. For the past couple weeks, I’ve been thinking about this new savings plan I’m contributing to. I set a goal to save more – and I’m pretty excited to meet the goal. When my son and I got inside the restaurant, I saw two of my former high school classmates sitting together. I gave them both hugs and greeted them before being seated at my table. Before the waitress came to take our order, a thought came to mind, “I should call their waiter over and tell her to bring me their bill.”  It was a quick, subtle thought. It wasn’t pressing. It didn’t weigh heavily on my heart. It would have been really kind.

Instead of me calling the waiter over, I thought about my savings plan. How was I going to meet that goal if I don’t save, save, save? I was using a gift card, so technically I wasn’t spending anything to eat out. I tried to dismiss the thought of paying for their meal. Besides, I didn’t want to make them feel uncomfortable. How spiritually immature of me to talk myself out of doing a kind and loving thing for someone.

After paying my bill, there were about 10 dollars remaining on the gift card. Again, I got another thought, “Give them the remaining balance on the gift card.”  And again, I talked myself out of it thinking, “I don’t have cash for a tip. So if, I give the waiter a tip from the balance, that will only leave about 4 dollars on the card — and I’ll feel silly giving them $4 towards their food..” So I told the waitress she could have whatever was left on the card. I waved goodbye to both of them as my son and I left. Neither one knew that twice in that restaurant, God tried to get me to give them something. I wanted to believe they were my own thoughts. I could set MY thoughts aside, because they weren’t in line with my “savings plan”.

When I got home, I saw on social media that one of the women posted on Facebook about her dinner experience. She posted pictures with a caption saying that while she was at dinner, she bumped into a former faculty member from high school. After a conversation, the faculty member reached into her purse and gave my classmate money to pay for their meal. She ended the post by telling her cousin — the woman she was dining with — to keep fighting. According to her cousin’s Facebook page, she is being treated for breast cancer.  How spiritually immature of me to talk myself out of doing a kind and loving thing for someone.

God’s blessing for those women was not stopped because I didn’t obey. He used someone else. I’m not ok about it. I’m very ok with Gd blessing my classmates. I’m not ok about not listening to that whisper. I was supposed to do something, and I didn’t. I put myself before His desire for me to give. I don’t know what God is up to.. but I want to be in the center of His will. I ask Him for forgiveness. Those women have a gift card for dinner coming their way.

If you have the smallest, faintest impulse to do something kind, loving, good – do it.

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Phil 2:13

With love

 

Wisdom says this

Hello blog readers,
I want to share something with you that has really blessed me. God has been ministering to me about wisdom lately. I was recently working to memorize the first chapter of Ephesians — which is a beautiful reminder of God’s gifts of forgiveness, redemption & His precious Holy Spirit to us — when my heart became drawn to scripture about wisdom. Everyday, I listen to Proverbs 8 and 9 on audio bible. I can’t get enough of hearing about the attributes of wisdom, as found  in those chapters. The more I hear, the more I desire His wisdom.  One evening, I sat quietly, waiting for God to reveal to me what I can do now to have His wisdom. He began to minister to my heart.. and I began to write:

“Wisdom says this: Whoever eats this meat I have prepared will live. I make my place in the heart of God’s servant. To worship Him is the beginning of wisdom. To fear Him is where worship begins. Adoring, admiring, looking to for sound judgment, appreciating Him, loving Him with all your heart is where it begins. I, wisdom, am new to nothing. I’ve been around since before the earth was formed. I love the children of man. If you love me, I give back more than you can imagine. I waste nothing. Time nor money can compare to what I bring forth. I waste nothing. Time nor money can bring you  peace of mind, but I can resolve anything. I have an answer for every situation. I am worth the wait. I am worth the wait. I am worth the wait. I will bless you immensely. I will give you more than you ask for. Your face will shine in the presence of God’s love. My child, you will hear me say, well done. You are loved. Amen.”

Proverbs 4:7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

You are loved, child of God. You are well prepared for more than you realize. You are well prepared for growth. Get wisdom.

*Read Proverb 8 & 9, Isaiah 11:2

 

You are destined for more

Hello blog readers,
This morning I woke up hearing the Holy Spirit say “You are destined for more”. The words caused me to become curious about what the “more” is. I immediately grabbed my journal and wrote, “Does it mean I’ll have more? or experience more? or know more? or see/hear more? Yes? Either way, it’s good. It’s all good.”

Soon after I woke up, I remembered a dream. I know the dream was from God, because I felt total peace, even though I was observing a very serious situation. It was a news article I came across online that triggered me to remember that I had the dream. Once I remembered it, I got a little nervous – thinking that my son might be in some kind of potential danger.

In the dream, I watched my son sleeping. My son is currently 9-years-old, but in the dream, he was a baby, probably around 1 year old. He was sleeping inside a car as I watched… a hot car. I saw his face turning red as he slept. He wasn’t fussy. He just slept. He even looked comfortable. I recall the thought “it is illegal for him to be there, asleep in a hot car” going through my mind in the dream – But I was calmly observing, and knew that I would remove him before he was harmed. Then I observed myself, pick him up, and take him out of the car. I watched myself coddle him, and rock him in my arms, and love him. He remained quiet as I held him. He was safe when I woke up.

I prayed, asking God to reveal what the dream meant. As I continued to search for the meaning, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “The child was you.” He revealed to me that before I turned away from my sinful ways, and gave my life to Him, I was resting in a lifestyle that would eventually lead to death. I was sleeping through life, unaware of the potential danger that I had placed myself in. He revealed that my body, was not designed to rest in that harmful atmosphere. He revealed that unless I was removed from that confined place, my life was at risk. The hot car represented my lifestyle of sin.  And just as the thought came to mind in the dream: “it is illegal for him to be there, asleep in a hot car” — we must understand that it is against God’s spiritual law for us to remain resting in sin. It’s like sleeping in a hot car. As long as I remain in that hot car, I’m in danger.

No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 1 John 3:6-7

He revealed that when I picked my child up in the dream, he didn’t resist me. He willingly rested in my arms and allowed me to love him. He didn’t kick and scream and cry because I interrupted his sleep.  If you’ve ever interrupted a sleeping child, you might know how it can cause a bit of an attitude.

As God’s children, we must allow Him to interrupt us, and pick us up from harmful situations. Rest in His arms.  You were never designed to rest in sin. Resting in sin causes our spiritual health to suffer. You are destined for more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More wisdom, please.

Hello blog readers,
It’s been a little over two weeks since I’ve written, and God happens to have spoken to me about the same thing: wisdom. It actually makes my heart for Him grow, because in the days following my last blog, I haven’t been acting wisely. I found myself allowing irritations with others to grow. In some instances it’s led to gossip. It’s also led to me keeping score of how many times people have offended me — which led to grudges and unforgiveness. I know, a mess. But God is so loving, and faithful – that He’s taken my area of weakness, and demonstrated His strength.

I had a really good conversation with a group of Christian leaders this evening. We shared a meal, and studied some material on leadership. During our discussion, I made a date with God. I silently prayed, telling Him I wanted to spend time alone with Him tonight, to elaborate on some of the things we touched on during our discussion. I came home and prayed, and ended up talking about things I didn’t expect to talk about with God. As I sat quietly, listening for His response, His Holy Spirit began speaking about wisdom. I wrote in my journal, as I sat in His peaceful presence. This is what was given:

“Wisdom is God’s gift to anyone who diligently and earnestly follows His Son. His gift of wisdom refreshes the spirit of the one receiving it. May God bless you with wisdom today. The gift of wisdom is better than wealth. It keeps better than foolish wisdom. There is a difference. This wisdom is better than man’s wisdom. It is better than interesting debate. It is kept in tact by the Holy Spirit, and distributed according to His Will. Favor is not wisdom. Wisdom is highly favored.

It is wisdom that brings out the best in you. Wisdom keeps you in line when you want to destroy friendships over emotional outbursts. Wisdom is in the waiting. Searching the Father’s heart through meditation of His Word is the way to wisdom. Searching God’s heart through worship is where we find wisdom. Wisdom is given in time, and over time. In time, meaning, it comes when needed. And over time, meaning, we receive what we need through seeking the heart of God, spending time daily in His presence, and searching the Word of God. His Holy Spirit reminds us of His faithfulness and commitment toward us.

The way we seek God reflects our heart for wisdom. If we ask for wisdom and never seek God, we ask in vain… for it is only God’s spirit who can impart Himself unto others. No one can speak for God. His hand is over every part of your life. If you believe this, you will be given life in union with authority, affection for God, and knowledge of fortunate intimacy with God. Amen.”

I’m so thankful that God is patient, and merciful, and forgiving. The importance of staying connected to Him is critical for every believer. I know when I need to spend more time in His presence. My attitude tells on me. My lack of empathy tells on me. My emotional outbursts tell on me. My lack of wisdom tells on me.

Lord, you are awesome and amazing. Thank you for nurturing me in a way that only you can. When I fail, you pick me up and show me how to do things your way. Your love is unfailing. Thank you for a wonderful date. The meal was amazing. Amen.

**Read Proverbs Chapters 8 and 9.**

Proverbs 9:1-6 Wisdom has built her house; she has set up its seven pillars. She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table. She has sent out her servants, and she calls from the highest point of the city, “Let all who are simple come to my house!” To those who have no sense she says, “Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of insight.”

Proverbs 9:10-12 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.

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