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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These Shoes Were Made For Walking [and that’s just what they’ll do]

I mentioned in an earlier blog post that we were so privileged to be able to go to a Cru conference for most of the international interns in Nerja, Spain. After the week-long conference, we had a week of vacation time to take.

We were needing a break from our at-times-stressful-third-world, so we took some time to relax after our conference in 2 countries in Europe. It was nice to be able to drink Starbucks, eat something other than rice, drink fountain drinks, drink water straight out of the tap, have clean feet for a week, sleep in beds that weren’t on the floor, feel cold, and EAT MCDONALDS.

What I have failed to mention was that I bought new shoes in Senegal for our vacation. Apparently packing closed toed shoes wasn’t high on my priority list in October… Anyways, I got these shoes for $10 at an African market. And here’s all the places they took me.

So much swag, Dakar couldn't handle it.
So much swag, Dakar couldn’t handle it.
Shoes1
Safely arriving in Nerja, Spain.
Leaving Nerja at like 4 a.m. Yup. I wanted to go back to bed.
Leaving Nerja at like 4 a.m. Yup. I wanted to go back to bed.
arriving in Athens, Greece!
arriving in Athens, Greece!
At the Parthenon in Athens
At the Parthenon in Athens
This was by far my favorite spot. It was Mars Hill in Athens where Paul threw down the mike in Acts 17:16-33
This was by far my favorite spot. It was Mars Hill in Athens where Paul threw down the mike in Acts 17:16-33
Next stop: Berlin, Germany. And of course not without eating McDonald's breakfast first... so. delicious.
Next stop: Berlin, Germany. And of course not without eating McDonald’s breakfast first… so. delicious.
We got a free tour of the Bonhoeffer house in a suburb of Berlin. Really interesting!
We got a free tour of the Bonhoeffer house in a suburb of Berlin. Really interesting!
Walking into a concentration camp
Walking into a concentration camp. One of the most, if not the most, disturbing things I’ve ever seen.
walking around in Corinth. I'm pretty sure we weren't actually supposed to be IN the ruins, but you know..
walking around in Corinth. I’m pretty sure we weren’t actually supposed to be IN the ruins, but you know..
sleeping in the Athens Airport cause our flight was at 4 a.m.
sleeping in the Athens Airport cause our flight was at 4 a.m.

Your Vindication by Chris Tiegreen

I just read my daily devotional and the scripture for today was from Isaiah 54:17. It says, “No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me, declares the LORD.”

First off, I don’t know why I’m not just sitting here studying the book of Isaiah because it has some pretty solid truths in there!  Anyways, I’m going to post most of what Tiegreen had to say about this verse. I hope it blesses you the way it blessed me!

“A cold, hard truth in this fallen world is that those who side with God will share His enemies. They are numerous, and they can be vicious. They often have little regard for truth and a great capacity for scheming. David found it to be with Saul, the prophets with their prophetic rivals, Jesus experienced it with Roman and Jewish leaders, and Paul heard it from other preachers and churches. Whenever God does a great work, either in your heart or in your world, it will be greatly opposed. Those who are His servants will face the opposition firsthand…

We who claim God as our defender must not take up our own defense…. God has a way of vindicating His servants that is beautiful in the end. The aggressors fade into oblivion; the righteous remain in His glory.”

🙂 There was more but those were the main points. It’s beautiful to see this passage while I’m coming out of a dark time of questioning and doubts. I’m super thankful for God’s timing. He really does know when I need to hear these things and when I’ll be open to receiving them. 

Although I still think this past, well… I don’t know what to call it. We can call it my “Walk in the Dark.” I think this past “Walk in the Dark” was one of the worst things I’ve ever experienced. I’ve had to battle constant lies and depression. There came a time where I couldn’t put the armor on anymore. But I’m glad that I got to that point where I couldn’t fight anymore and I had to fully rely on God to be my defender. I am thankful He’s restored me to a sound mind, a beating heart, and a soul that is revived. 

Readers, if you don’t have a real, genuine, life altering relationship with the creator of the universe and you’d like to know how, please message me. I’d love to tell you about Him and how He loves you. He wants to vindicate you. He wants to be your defender.

This is a song that wrenches my heart. It’s beautiful. I think it’s fitting 🙂