Hahahaha! I woke up and looked in the mirror this morning and just laughed!
This picture is real. No make-up. No filter. Nothing. And guess what? I’m not the least bit afraid for you to see it. This will now be on Google for all to see and that doesn’t bother me at all.
How did I go from spending the majority of my life with my goal being to impress others and get them to think I was perfect to being able to share this picture in a blog post without caring at all what anyone else will think and in fact, sharing it on purpose to help set others free?
The love of Jesus has invaded every corner of my heart!
Look at this awesome news in Romans chapter 5 from The Passion Translation with some commentary from me in green.
Our New Life
1 Our faith in Jesus transfers God’s righteousness to us and He now declares us flawless in His eyes.
Did you see that? As believers in Jesus, we are flawless in His eyes. The more we understand the truth of this one verse, what others think of us will matter less and less! I mean, seriously, if God sees no flaw in us, what other opinion do we need? Talk about confidence!
This means we can now enjoy true and lasting peace with God, all because of what our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, has done for us.
Yes, yes, yes! True and lasting peace, regardless of our circumstances. I had one of the most difficult weeks, circumstantially, that I have had in a long time recently. It was the week leading up to my speaking engagement in Branson. My daughter Angel got Bronchitis, I got a terrible cold with a huge sore under my nose, Starr got sick and on and on.
BUT, I was able to enjoy true and lasting peace that week because I have something that holds so much more weight than my circumstances now. I have the love of God that has been shed abroad in my heart. His love in our heart transcends circumstances, just like an eagle uses the raging winds from a storm to soar above the clouds.
2 Our faith guarantees us permanent access into this marvelous kindness that has given us a perfect relationship with God. What incredible joy bursts forth within us as we keep on celebrating our hope of experiencing God’s glory!
3 But that’s not all! Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. 4 And patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope. 5 And this hope is not a disappointing fantasy, because we can now experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives in us!
Amen! When you and I have a revelation of the love of God, in times of trouble, we can be unshakable – just as if we are hidden in His love, because we are.
6 For when the time was right, the Anointed One came and died to demonstrate His love for sinners who were entirely helpless, weak, and powerless to save themselves.
That was me. I recognized I was helpless, weak and powerless to save myself so I accepted Jesus as my Savior at the age of 8 years old. But then, sadly, instead of allowing Jesus to live in and through me, I spent the next 34 years living independent of His help, trying to be capable and strong.
Oops, I didn’t get the memo that I was suppose to live my Christian life by God’s grace, just as I had been saved by His grace. That’s ok. God is patient. He waited for me to run out of self-effort energy and come to end of myself. Best day of my life!!!
7 Now, who of us would dare to die for the sake of a wicked person? We can all understand if someone was willing to die for a truly noble person. 8 But Christ proved God’s passionate love for us by dying in our place while we were still lost and ungodly!
9 And there is still much more to say of His unfailing love for us! For through the blood of Jesus we have heard the powerful declaration, “You are now righteous in my sight.” And because of the sacrifice of Jesus, you will never experience the wrath of God. 10 So if while we were still enemies, God fully reconciled us to Himself through the death of his Son, then something greater than friendship is ours. Now that we are at peace with God, and because we share in His resurrection life, how much more we will be rescued from sin’s dominion!
11 And even more than that, we overflow with triumphant joy in our new relationship of living in harmony with God—all because of Jesus Christ!
Wow! Look what we have been given in Christ Jesus!
The Gift of Grace Greater Than Sin
12 When Adam sinned, the entire world was affected. Sin entered human experience, and death was the result. And so death followed this sin, casting its shadow over all humanity, because all have sinned. 13 Sin was in the world before Moses gave the written law, but it was not charged against them where no law existed. 14 Yet death reigned as king from Adam to Moses even though they hadn’t broken a command the way Adam had. The first man, Adam, was a picture of the Messiah, who was to come.
15 Now, there is no comparison between Adam’s transgression and the gracious gift that we experience. For the magnitude of the gift far outweighs the crime. It’s true that many died because of one man’s transgression, but how much greater will God’s grace and His gracious gift of acceptance overflow to many because of what one Man, Jesus, the Messiah, did for us!
16 And this free-flowing gift imparts to us much more than what was given to us through the one who sinned. For because of one transgression, we are all facing a death sentence with a verdict of “Guilty!” But this gracious gift leaves us free from our many failures and brings us into the perfect righteousness of God—acquitted with the words “Not guilty!”
OK, I feel like running around the city at this point! People, it is all about Jesus!
17 Death once held us in its grip, and by the blunder of one man, death reigned as king over humanity. But now, how much more are we held in the grip of grace and continue reigning as kings in life, enjoying our regal freedom through the gift of perfect righteousness in the one and only Jesus, the Messiah!
That “but now” and what follows in verse 17 is extremely powerful.
Steve and I were talking recently and he was remembering how, in one of the churches he grew up in, there were a whole lot of “but nows” in the sermons.
He said they were very performance driven. They didn’t necessarily come out and say these exact statements I will make below, but the sermons subtlety gave the message “you need to strive to get right with God.”
They would give mixed messages such as:
“Jesus loves you and accepts you, but now, you better get the sin out of your life…or else.”
“Jesus shed His blood for you and forgave you, but now, you better confess every one of your sins…or else.”
“You are righteous in Christ, but now, you better get with it and act righteous… or else.”
But actually, all those “but nows” have to be removed. Otherwise, it’s not the pure gospel (the gospel of grace) you’re hearing.
The truth is, Jesus satisfied every one of those “but nows” through His finished work! I like to say, “there are no catches in grace.” It is Jesus plus nothing and when a person understands true grace, they will actually live in dominion over sin. They will reign in life knowing that all their sins – past, present and future – have been forgiven because of the blood that Jesus shed for them and by accepting their righteous identity in Christ, completely separate from their behavior.
There are no catches. Grace annihilates the power of sin in our lives, period, end of the conversation. It’s all because of Jesus (the person of grace) and it’s all about Jesus!
And get this, the only thing we are suppose to be striving for is to enter His rest AND if we refuse to enter His rest by believing He finished the work, it leads to disobedience in our lives. (see Hebrews 4:11)
Oh my goodness. Do you see how this is the exact opposite of what many people are being taught?
18 In other words, just as condemnation came upon all people through one transgression, so through one righteous act of Jesus’ sacrifice, the perfect righteousness that makes us right with God and leads us to a victorious life is now available to all.
Yep, Jesus plus nothing equals everything!
19 One man’s disobedience opened the door for all humanity to become sinners. So also one man’s obedience opened the door for many to be made perfectly right with God and acceptable to Him. 20 So then, the law was introduced into God’s plan to bring the reality of human sinfulness out of hiding.
I thank God for the law for what it is intended for, which is to bring each person to the understanding of their need for a Savior. WoooHooo!
And for Christians, and there are many, who still insist on living under the law instead of God’s grace after they have received Jesus as their Savior, every single one of them (it happened to me in 2011), will have to come to a place where they crash and burn (so to speak) before they see the truth that IT IS NOT about their works. IT IS ABOUT Jesus’ finished work!
As I said, the day I crashed and burned was the best day of my life. It was only after this that I entered into that place of rest and as a result, my spiritual life took off like a rocket. I completely gave up and threw myself on the grace of God and I’m never going back!
And yet, wherever sin increased, there was more than enough of God’s grace to triumph all the more! 21 And just as sin reigned through death, so also this sin-conquering grace will reign as king through righteousness, imparting eternal life through Jesus, our Lord and Messiah! –Romans 5 (TPT)
I experience this every single day of my life. Just because I’m living under grace does not mean I never sin. I told a story at my recent speaking engagement of how I sped down my hill in a complete rage with my kids in the car. They were so scared they were crying. I also shared how I handled that situation under grace and how because I handle my sin under grace now, I sin so much less than I used to. WoooHooo! (I’ll share that message with you soon when I get the link to the audio.)
Some people think teaching people about God’s grace will give them a license to sin. Nope. In fact, it will give them a license to win! I know, because I am reigning in life through the wonderful grace of God and the gift of perfect righteousness given to me all because Jesus loves me so much!
My friend, He loves you just as much as He loves me. I encourage you to print this blog post off, if needed, and underline the scriptures that stand out to you and meditate on (roll over and over in your mind) the truth about what Jesus did for you so you can begin to reign in life through Him!
It’s not about if you have a good day or a bad day. That’s the mistake that many Christians are still making in regards to grace. They say they believe in grace (God’s unmerited favor), but then when they have a bad day or make a bad decision, they refuse to receive God’s grace until they get themselves “cleaned up” in their own mind.
There’s a big problem with this theory. It’s not grace that is being received at all because if it is true grace then there is nothing any of us can do to deserve, earn or merit it. Jesus did it all for us. All we can do is believe and receive and rest in what Jesus has already done!
And this, my friend, is exactly why getting under that waterfall of God’s grace and refusing to budge will cause you to understand the height, depth, length and breadth of God’s love for you and in turn cause you to fall in love with Jesus more than you could ever imagine possible!
Click here and scroll down if you would like to learn more about “The Transformational Power of God’s Love.” I have six other blog posts under this category, including one audio post.
If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!