The Longest Plan of Salvation, Like Ever.

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I’m a details kind of gal. I can’t help it. I blame it on my ADD. Mom used to say that when she would ask me to clean a room, she’d come back 45-minutes later to see the room looking like a disaster. But let me tell you, the window panels were cleaner than the day we got them. I’ve always been like that. I tend to be very focused on the details that make up the big picture.

When I sit down to study scripture, I am the same way. I spent about nine months in the book of Colossians, daily dissecting every single word in the book. I have to remind myself before studying to read the book fully first. I have to see the big picture, so I won’t miss the forest for the trees.

Today I sat down to study Romans. Lord bless it. I was in 1:1-4 for two and a half hours. I love connecting with the Lord that deeply, but I know (time wise) that’s not sustainable for everyday life. I wanted to share some thoughts on how cool these verses are:

1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our lord,

Why are these verses important?

It’s important because it sets up verses 5-6. Well, and all of Romans concerning God’s plan of salvation.

I tried to sum up what these verses were saying. Here’s what I got, “The gospel of God was promised by God through His prophets in the OT. The gospel was always about Jesus-who was a descendant of David in the flesh and the Son of God in power, proven by his resurrection.”

Why are the Prophecies important? 

I thought to myself, “Why is it so crucial that Paul is confirming Christ’s fulfillment of prophecy to the church in Rome?”

One reason, I think, was to reaffirm that YHWH, the Lord our God, is the one true God and is sovereign over all creation. Looking back at the early Roman church, most of the people there were gentiles having come from a long line of polytheism. It’s essential to point out that there is only one God and He has made a way for redemption.

One cool thing is that these verses show is that Jesus Christ dying for the sins of man and conquering death through resurrection was God’s plan of redemption from the beginning of time. It wasn’t a “Whoops! Let’s see how this turns out and if I like this generation I’ll choose to save them, and if not oh well!” kind of thing. This was His plan because of who God is. The Lord’s character is consistent and has been since the beginning of time. His plan attests to that.

From cover to cover, we see that this was God’s plan and He has been faithful to complete it for His glory.We can see in Genesis that it is God’s plan for Jesus to crush the head of the serpent. In Revelation, we see Christ’s second coming and conquering sin, death and Satan for all eternity. It’s the same promises in all of scripture for all time that are all fulfilled by Christ. We know this to be true because of 2 Corinthians 1:20. There is not one promise that He has made that is not fulfilled in Christ.

These verses in Romans help show God’s goodness and His steadfastness to creation for thousands of years. And y’all, something I struggle with and fight to believe in? The fulfillment of His promises (that have already been fulfilled and will be fulfilled in Christ) are in no way dependent on me or my works. His plan for salvation was never “If you’re good enough, I’ll send a savior.” It was His plan to send a savior, and He is accomplishing it for His glory through which we benefit from that grace. It’s not about me. That’s a humbling position to be in.

Where in the OT is Jesus prophesied about?

Firstly, who even claimed (besides Paul) that the prophets were talking about Jesus? Well, in Luke 24, Jesus claims that!

In regards to the prophetic books, I don’t know about you, but I only ever really think about Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Isaiah. I think of all those verses that we look at around Christmas about the birth of Jesus. I looked it up in my ESV Study Bible (Thanks Steph Norris!) and found that there are former prophets, minor prophets and the main four everyone typically thinks of. And you know what’s cool, if you add up all the prophetic books in the OT, there are 22 in the OT. We all know, thanks to the help of the Jesus Storybook Bible, that all the stories in the Bible are about Jesus. It doesn’t matter if they are a “prophetic book” or not. But what is so cool is that the promises of the prophets in the OT are concerning His son, Jesus. That’s really cool! 22/36 books in the OT testify to Christ’s coming. Awesome.

Just to encourage you today that the gospel is God’s plan for salvation from the beginning of time, here’s a few verses I found in the OT that encouraged my heart that this whole Christianity thing isn’t made up. It’s too consistently true over mass amounts of time to be a lie.

Micah 5, Isaiah 53, Isaiah 42:1-9, Daniel 7:13-14 (cf. Mark 14:61-62 and Rev. 19:11-16).

Respond

One thing I think we can do as we reflect on these verses is ask God to make this truth deep to us. Worship Him that it is true and seek to dig deeper into His gospel of Grace, Mercy and Redemption.

He’s so good, y’all.

 

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Rhonna#1: The Year to Fly

Wendy: Peter, I can’t come with you. I’ve forgotten how to fly. I’m old, Peter. Ever so much more than twenty. I grew up a long time ago.

Young Peter Pan: No, no, no! You promised!

Wendy: I have children of my own now. They have children of their own. That’s my grandchild, Moira, asleep in the bed.

Adult Peter: [voiceover] When I saw her lying there sleeping, that moment, something changed in me forever.

Young Peter Pan: I shall give her a kiss.

Wendy: No. No, Peter. No buttons. No thimbles. I couldn’t bear to see Moira’s heart to be broken when she finds she can’t keep you.

Young Peter Pan: No. I mean a real kiss.

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One thing every kid wants more than anything is the freedom and ability to fly. The wind beneath our wings and the limitless possibilities of where those wings could take us tantalizes our confined minds. I suppose that’s where we get the expression and heart behind the saying, “I’m as free as a bird.” That’s what we all long for, I guess. Freedom.

Once we grow up, as Wendy did and eventually Peter chose to, what does freedom and flying look like? Just think happy thoughts.. doesn’t always work in a world torn apart by natural disasters, wars, and real life pain. I think it is getting back to remembering. Remembering who we are, what we were created for and where true joy, hope and purpose comes from.

When I was little, my daddy was my best friend. I thought he could do anything, and I thought his jokes were hilarious (that’s where I get my sense of humor.). He always reminds me of anytime I got out of the car I would say, “Hold my hand daddy!” There was dependence upon my father that allowed me to live in freedom knowing that nothing bad would happen.

I think we lose that blissful freedom as we see the corruption and devastating affects of sin in the world. We become aware of the limitations we have and the thought of flying moves, at best, to the back burner of our hearts. But I don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to go. We are created for something greater. We’re not supposed to forget how to fly, as Wendy did. There’s freedom to live in the security of our Father that is offered to through His son. There’s security and purpose and hope and joy, unending joy! And that’s where we fly..

Remembering today that the only place to find liberation is in the One who liberates. And who better to fly with than the creator of heaven and earth?

Wendy: So… your adventures are over.

Peter: Oh, no. To live… to live would be an awfully big adventure.

Modern Day Slavery

Well, I don’t know how often I’ve written about this topic, but it has been on my heart and mind quite often!  This summer I went to a bookstore with my friend Becka. We were looking for this book called “And the Bride Wore White.” We couldn’t find it anywhere. So, instead we just looked around the store for literally two hours. I bought about 8 books that night (I know, I’m a book junkie!). One of the books I bought was “Escaping the Devil’s Bedroom: Sex Trafficking, Global Prostitution, and the Gospel’s Transforming Power .” This book is about just that. It’s about human sex slaves, people in prostitution and how the Gospel has the power to transform those in bondage and their oppressors. It’s an amazing, hard book to read. I suggest you get a copy of it if you can! That book has changed my life. Literally. 

Tonight, I went to a seminar called Rescue about modern day slavery. Ryan Dalton, the founder of SAFE, was one of the quest speakers. He’s with an organization called OBS: Operation Broken Silence. I knew that human trafficking was bad, but to hear the statistics Dalton gave were astonishing. There are about  27 million slaves in the world right now. And I know when I say the world most people think in Africa, Asia, but not here. Wrong. It happens in the land of the free. It happens in the United States. On August 31, a man was arrested in Memphis because he was trying to sell a 16-year-old girl to prostitution. You probably think, “That poor girl.” Yes, that’s right! That poor girl. But did you know that of those 27 million people who are slaves, most of them are girls under the age of 18? 

So much is taken from these victims: the life God has planned for them, the joys of life, freedom that we take for granted, true love, all of these things. It’s so insane to think about. 

This is something that needs to stop. People need to be educated on human trafficking and how alive it is. You can make a difference!

I really hope that this is an area that I can serve the Lord in. I want to be a part of setting the captives free. People need that. People need to experience the Love of Christ and the freedom that He offers. I really am going to be praying that He uses me in this battle against modern day slavery. 

If you want to know more organizations that are in the fight against slavery here are some really great organizations to check out:

CATW- Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

Polaris Project

Amnesty USA

Freedom in Christ

Good news: Today was my first full day of feeling back to normal! Chicka-what! Praise the Lord for deliverance! Thank you Lord for that! I can’t describe to you how much better my day was than yesterday (and the many days before that). Such a blessing!

Well, I think one thing God has shown me today was how controlling I am. Yesterday, I mentioned to my bible study leader that this summer I was so confident in my ability to do overseas missions. And yesterday, I wasn’t feeling too confident in myself. She agreed with me. I think she’d rather see me do a stateside internship. Today I was looking at the application for Campus Crusade‘s STINT program. STINT is a Short Term International Internship. I had to have four references, one of which had to be my current bible study leader. My initial thought was, “Crap! I can’t put A.L. down! She won’t support me going.” This was me controlling the situation. This was me saying, “God, I know you’re calling me to Africa, but I need to try to control this area of the application so I’ll get accepted.” Wrong. If God wants me to go, He’ll make it happen. If I don’t get accepted, it wasn’t His will for me to go. I can rest assuredly knowing My God is bigger; my God is in control.

Chris Tiegreen has an amazing passage in his devotional. It says

“He is the Master of our circumstances; there is no need for our guile. The opportunities He wants us to have will be opened before us. The people He wants us to know will come into our path. No manipulation is necessary-or even welcome. All that He requires from us is our willing obedience to His plan.”

I am finding that I frequently put on the yoke of slavery that Paul warns us about in Galatians 5:1 “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” The cool thing about this verse is that Paul says, “… do not submit..” This implies that we have the active choice. Christ has set us free, for freedom. We are free. We, as free people (consciously or subconsciously) put ourselves under the yoke of slavery. That is not from God. Me trying to control everything is slavery to my own limitations. I cannot, but He who is in me can!