Scripture Speaks: I am free in Jesus.

It’s time for me to write again. God’s been pouring so much over my life through His Word this year. Much has changed (new direction, new job, new city, new home), but His Word, His Love, His Faithfulness, His Banner Over Our Family, has not. The scenery this beautiful sunny afternoon that welcomed my laptop and thoughts is different than before, but my Savior still met me here, and He will meet you, right where you are, too.

God birthed and breathed Scripture. It is His living Word, for me and you. The history recorded, words captured, letters written, prophecies proclaimed are for us to receive, absorb and act upon.

Scripture is personal.

Scripture speaks straight to our hearts, because it was written for us. It was written for me.

So when I open its pages or scroll through the verses, I encounter Christ. HE is the Word. God beckons me between the lines, to know Him, to listen to Him, to trust Him.

Let these words from Romans 8:1-17a resonate through every layer of your being today:

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.

I belong to Jesus. I am free from sin and free from death.

The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent His own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

On my own I am weak. I could never do enough to meet what the law requires. So, God did what the law couldn’t. He ended sin’s control over me through Jesus.

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

The only way I can have life and peace is by surrendering to the Spirit’s control. I can’t be in charge anymore. I don’t get to call the shots. I will never live the life I was created for apart from Christ. Obedience isn’t optional.

Romans 8:10-11But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to Him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, He will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. 

I am not my sin. I am not controlled by sin. I am free. Hear this three times: The Spirit of God is living in me; The Spirit of Christ is living in me; Christ lives in me. Jesus has made me right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in me. I am alive only because of Jesus, and through Jesus. He is life, and sacrificed His to resurrect mine.

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory.

I am a child of God. He chose me as His own. His inheritance of glory, He now gives to me. His strength, His truth and His purpose, He longs to unleash in my life. His grace abounds.

God assures me of this glorious truth: I am His. I am alive. And, I am free.

When it rains

We jumped into the car after church determined to make the trek to Silver Dollar City to see the Christmas lights. It was the last day of the season for the holiday festivities. The skies were overcast and gloomy, but our trusty weather app said the rains wouldn’t start until later in the night.

We sailed through the three-hour drive, with virtually no traffic, and were thrilled that the park wasn’t full. That meant quick lines and more fun!

Then, I felt it. A drop. Next, a drizzle, just a sputtering from the sky. We had just gotten a funnel cake sampler, so we found the last table under a canopy and began to eat. The rains came, and began to soak our winter coats. Matt had thought to bring our big rainbow umbrella, and so we huddled close together and began to walk slowly underneath to the next show so we could get in from the rain.

Under the rainbow umbrella canopy trying to stay dry

Apparently many, many others had the same idea. The theater was packed full of wet people looking for respite.

The lights went down. An angel appeared. He recounted meeting Mary and how she and her betrothed traveled to Bethlehem. There, she gave birth to a son, God’s Son. And the world was changed. The skies opened up in praise, shepherds went to find the baby, wisemen followed a star to worship the tiny king. The Gospel was shared.

It wasn’t rain that wet my cheeks inside the theater. It was the realization that God made it rain that day so this crowd could know the truth about Jesus.

The downpour lessened once the show was finished, and we enjoyed our time at the park and all its lights.

We love the Christmas lights at Silver Dollar City!

Rain will often change our plans, our moods, and our perspectives. Sometimes our lives are pummeled by storms and soaked in sorrowful tears. Rain can bring beautiful growth and refreshment, as well as hesitation and even peril.

When the hard rains come, and they will come, I want to remember these three things I realized dodging the drops at SDC.

  1. Rain can bring us closer to those we love. Instead of scattering, when we were facing rain and potentially changed plans, my family huddled together underneath the dry cover of our umbrella. We used the rain as an opportunity to be together and move together.
  2. When it rains, look for the Gospel on display. God does not waste our pain or our tears. Often our struggles are a conduit for God’s message of hope and redemption. God may make it rain specifically to redirect or prepare the heart fields to receive His One and Only Son.
  3. The rain will end. There is always a start and an end to the rain, and to the storms in life. Believe that, and hold onto that. The rain may last so much longer than forecasted or come unexpectedly, but it will not last. The clouds will roll back to reveal the sun that was always there.