Sword Fighting Class – The Verse and Chapter Numbers Disappear

God has some things he wants me to know.  He has some things he wants you to have an in-depth understanding of – that’s why we’re memorizing.  And it’s here – in the book of James, Chapter 2.   So we begin,

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.

Interesting – God’s going to speak to us about favoritism.  What a hot topic in our world today!  He’s got to things he wants to teach us and he wants us to really get this – that’s why we’re memorizing it.  God’s going to use this truth as we go about our lives  – watch for him.  He’s moving.

Some suggestions for how to memorize:

I’ll be writing everything we have memorized down every week – it helps me get most of the words right as I write them over and over.

I also write them on index cards and put them in my car.  Every car ride with me is a Sword Fighting Class, whether I’m alone or not.  I have to say them out loud, too, because otherwise they just don’t stick.  So I will say the new verse several times and then add it to the verses I’ve already memorized and say all of it several times.  Depending on how long the car ride is, I will also start with Chapter 1 and go all the way through at least once a week to review it all and keep the communication channels with God wide open.

I have discovered that one of the huge blessings of memorizing scripture is that the verse numbers and chapter numbers fall away and I am hearing the scripture like it was told to the Israelites back when it was written.  God’s word flows and ebbs so much better without all of the stops and spaces.  It makes so much more sense.

Thank you, Abba Father, for helping us etch your word upon our hearts and minds.

Raising My Game

If you have been following my blog for a while, you might remember the time several years ago when God had challenged me to raise my game and take my faith walk to the next level – by memorizing James 1.

I invited you along and called it my Sword Fighting Class because God’s word is the offensive weapon in our Armor of God.  This is how we face the trials and problems of our lives.  God’s word guides us as we wake up each day and take our next step. We are wandering on the dark path unless we let God shine his light of truth into our lives through his Word.  When it’s etched on our brains, God can use it all day in every situation when there are no Bibles or Bible aps in sight.

God and I had an amazing time working through James 1 together.  I have a terrible memory – you never want me on your trivia team – but I can remember scripture.  That’s God.  Through memorizing James 1, I experienced a whole new facet of my relationship with my Father God.   It was awesome to have a firsthand seat as I watched God move in my life and make this happen.

Since then, I have realized I don’t just know James 1 by heart – I feel the words of James 1, my brain uses the truths in James 1 all of the time to make decisions and  my spirit resonates with the wisdom God revealed to me through James.

Since then, God has helped me memorize Proverbs 2 and 3 and Psalm 46.

Now God has given me a new challenge.  Memorize James.  Yes, all of James – the rest of the book.

There is obviously more God wants me to know and understand.  He also wants to prove to me again that he can do this in my life – I just have to do my part.  And God asked me to invite you along on this journey.

The reality is that God commands us to etch his word on our hearts and minds.  We like to treat it as if it were an option – based on how good our memory is or how much time we have.  If we want to do what God commands us to do, memorizing scripture is not an option.  We’re deceiving ourselves if we look at it that way.

James tells us several times to stop deceiving ourselves.  That’s one of the things I really like about James.

I’m planning to add a verse every week, sometimes adding a couple together since they make more sense together and then taking a couple of weeks to get those totally added to the rest.  I’m starting with James 2 – you can start there with me even if you haven’t gotten James 1 down yet.

God is going to do some amazing things in our lives as we open up our minds, soak in his word and let him change our thinking from the inside out.  It happened to me with James 1 – I’m excited to see it happen again in the rest of James.

And it doesn’t matter how long it takes, right?  God will bless us each step of the way.  He has promised and he always keeps his promises….

So, let’s begin.  Watch for my first Sword Fighting Class tomorrow.

Sword Fighting Class – An Eternal, Personal Relationship with God

God is doing an awesome thing as he helps us memorize Romans 8!  This is a long and difficult chapter to memorize but God is blessing our efforts as we repeat his words over and over and over.Romans 8; 1-9

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because, through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin sacrifice. And so he condemned sin in sinful man in order that the righteous requirements of the law be fully met in us who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the spirit. Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what nature desires but those who live in accordance with the spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s laws nor can it do so. 

Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.  You, however, are Romans 8 - 10 - 28controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit when the Spirit of God lives in you.  If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.  But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.”

Thank you, God!  Here is the next verse:

And if the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies, through his Spirit who lives in you.”

When we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, his Spirit lives in us.  He gives us an eternal, personal relationship with God.   When we let him transform us, he gives us a new nature filled with grace and faith.

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

Sword Fighting Class – Made Right with God

With God’s help, we are memorizing Romans 8.  This is a tough chapter – it’s definitely one verse at a time.  But it’s happening!Romans 8; 1-9

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because, through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin sacrifice.  And so he condemned sin in sinful man in order that the righteous requirements of the law be fully met in us who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the spirit.  Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what nature desires but those who live in accordance with the spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind of sinful man is death but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.  The sinful mind is hostile to God.  It does not submit to God’s laws nor can it do so.  Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.  You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit if God’s spirit lives in you.  And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.”

Romans 8 - 10 - 28Thank you, God!  Here’s the next verse –

“But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin but your spirit is alive because of righteousness.”

Our bodies will die because of our sin.

When we accept Jesus as our Savior, he makes us right with God and his Spirit brings eternal life to our spirit.

This is the Good News.

Amen!  Hallelujah!

Sword Fighting Class – They Cannot Please God

We are memorizing Roman 8 together – a big challenge but a lot of understanding is getting etched into our minds.

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because, through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit of Life set us free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin sacrifice.  And so he condemned sin in sinful man so that the righteous requirements of the law are fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the spirit.  Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what nature desires but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind of sinful man is death but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.  The sinful mind is hostile to God.  It does not submit to God’s laws nor can it do so.”Romans 8; 1-9

And the next verse,

“Those who live according to the sinful nature cannot please God.”

Those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior are living according to the sinful nature and they cannot please God.  They do not have God’s Spirit living in them so they can’t have a relationship with God.  Their sin is still separating them from God.  Forever….unless they make the decision to make Jesus their Lord.

Dear Father, we lift up the people we know who have not made the decision to follow Jesus yet.  Please soften their hearts to you, dear Father.  Open their eyes.  Show them the way.  Please give us the opportunity to share with them the difference you have made in our lives.  In the redeeming name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

 

Sword Fighting Class- Hostile to God

We are being blessed as we memorize Romans 8.  This is a tough chapter for me – lots of repetition.  But its starting to stick!  Thank you, God!

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of Life set me free from the law of sin and death.  What the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin sacrifice.  And so he condemned sin in sinful man in order that the righteous requirements of the law be fully met in us who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the spirit.”Romans 8; 1-9

“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what nature desires but those who live in accordance with the spirit have their minds set on what the spirit desires.  The mind of sinful man is death but the mind controlled by the spirit is life and peace”

And now the next verse –

“The sinful mind is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law nor can it do so.”

Hostile to God.  Cold, hard words.

But true.

Those who have not accepted the redemption offered by Jesus do not have God’s spirit living within them and their minds are hostile to God.  They have not been renewed.  They have not been reborn.

This explains so much of the culture around us.

Thank you for your redeeming love, Abba Father.

Sword fighting Class- Life and Peace

We are being blessed as we memorize Romans 8 together:

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because, through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit of Life set me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin sacrifice.  And so he condemned sin in sinful man in order that the righteous requirement of the law be fully met in us who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the spirit.Romans 8; 1-9

‘Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what nature desires but those who live in accordance with the spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”

And the next verse:

The mind of sinful man is death but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.”

What a great promise!

Life and peace!

I love it!

This section of scripture seems full of long sentences and difficult wording….until we get to this sentence.

Simple.  Direct.  Life-changing!

When our minds are controlled by the Spirit, we have life (like God wants us to have) and peace.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Sword Fighting Class – Garbage in, Garbage Out

God is doing a great job of helping us memorize Romans 8!

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit of life set us free from the law of sin and death.  Because what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own son in the likeness of man to be a sin sacrifice.   And so he condemned sin in sinful man in order that the righteous requirements of the law be met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”

The next verse is:

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what nature desires but those who live in accordance with the spirit have their minds set on what the spirit desires.”Romans 8; 1-9

What are we focused on?

What do we fill our minds with?

Garbage in, garbage out.

If we fill our minds with the garbage so prevalent in our culture, our thoughts will not be pleasing to God.  Our thoughts become our attitudes and our attitudes become our actions.

That’s just the way it is.

So, if we want to change our actions, we have to change what we’re thinking about.  We have to fill our minds with God’s truth – every day.

This is exactly the reason why God commands us to memorize his word.  Because it fills our minds – renewing our thinking, changing our attitude and transforming our actions.

We’re on the right path when we’re spending time and effort on memorizing God’s word.

It’s a great thing to remember as we struggle through some of these long, complicated verses.

God is pleased and he blesses our efforts.

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

Sword Fighting Class- Grace

We’ve begun the long journey of memorizing Romans 8.  We know God is going with us on this trek and he will make this possible.Romans 8; 1-9

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the power the spirit set me free from the power of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by sinful man, God did by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin sacrifice.”

And the next verse:

And so he condemned sin in sinful man in order that the righteous requirements of the law be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the spirit.”

Jesus paid the price.

The requirements of the law were met.

We don’t fully understand the righteousness of God so its hard for us to grasp the need for this sacrifice.  I was once told this ‘parable’ that helped me –

A man murdered another man so he was brought in front of the judge.  The judge found him guilty and gave him the death penalty.  The requirements of the law needed to be met.  But then the judge took off his robe and went down to stand next to the man.   The judge told the man he was free.  The judge was going to take the punishment for man’s crime.

This is grace.  Unmerited.  Given to a guilty person.  A person who should be paying the price doesn’t have to.  Because they have a Savior.

This is me.

This is you.

Thank you, Jesus.

 

 

Sword Fighting Class – For God So Loved the World

We are just starting the long trek of memorizing Romans 8.  I know God has some special things to reveal to us as we meditate on these words by saying them over and over and over.

‘Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because, through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit of Life set me free from the law of sin and death.”

And this week we add the next verse,Romans 8; 1-9

“For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.”

For God so loved the world…..

The law was never going to make us righteous.  It just pointed out how unrighteous we are.  How much we need a Savior.

There is a righteousness and a holiness and a justice part of God that demanded payment for our sins.  But we were never going to be able to pay that debt because of our rebellion and sin.

So God sent Jesus to die for us.

And God adopted us as his children.

For God so loved us.

Thank you, Abba Father.