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In Christ is not life in the Flesh, but it is the Flesh of life in Christ

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Scripture:
Rom. 8:9   But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
Observation:
Paul often talked about the contrast of life in the Spirit vs. life in the flesh. For him, life in the flesh was the old life that was governed by the law; it was the place where the physical body and it’s desires won over on a daily basis. He knew that transformation came when someone was united with Christ.
There is no separation of the Trinity, and therefore for one to be united with Christ is to be in fellowship with the Triune God. The Spirit becomes the guiding force of life. While the law brou…

An Invitation to be In Christ

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Scripture:
Rom. 8:1   There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Observation:
Paul’s comment here must be connected to previous statements made in chapter five. It is because of the sin of Adam that all are condemned, but it is because of Christ that we are now all set free. However, it’s also inclusion language. Previously humanity was found “in” Adam, but now It is because of union with Christ that we are delivered from the condemnation of sin. We are invited to move from being “in” Adam to being “in” Christ.
Application:
This is an incredible invitation for all of humanity. I’m not sure that we can ever truly grasp the hopefulness that is found in these beautiful words. It’s far too easy to live a life in which we feel weighed down by guilt and shame. In a world that has trouble defining sin, it seems that shame has actually become the greater weight. Anxiety and fear can become all consuming with freedom seemingly beyond our grasp.
It’s in those moments…

Planted by Streams of Water

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Scripture:
Psalms 1:1-3
Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.
Observation:
The Psalmist seems to understand that joy found deep down comes from meditating on the law of the Lord. It is in meditating, in a place of prayer, that we are drawn into fellowship with the Triune God. Therefore, there is no time to follow the path of sinners or to become negative and scoff. Instead the focus is positive, and it is on the Lord our God. 
When we dwell in the presence of God most high, then we are fed by and through the Holy Spirit. We become as a tree that has been planted next to the streams of water. It is always fed and nourished and therefore will produce fruit in its season. 
A…

What Really Happened in Ephesus?

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Scripture:
Acts 19:8   He entered the synagogue and for three months spoke out boldly, and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God. 9 When some stubbornly refused to believe and spoke evil of the Way before the congregation, he left them, taking the disciples with him, and argued daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord.
Observation:
What we see here is a common pattern for Paul and his missionary activity. He would first enter a city and begin his ministry by preaching at the synagogue. Maybe he anticipated the opposition to his preaching that he faced at the synagogue. Eventually he would need to move to another location for a broader audience. 
It’s suspected that Paul could have given his early morning hours to his work as a tent-maker. Then, more than likely, he used the lecture hall when it was available during the middle of the day, when lecturers broke for lunch …

While Still a Child

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Scripture:
2Chr. 34:1   Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign; he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. 2 He did what was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of his ancestor David; he did not turn aside to the right or to the left. 3 For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was still a boy, he began to seek the God of his ancestor David, and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the sacred poles, and the carved and the cast images. 4 In his presence they pulled down the altars of the Baals; he demolished the incense altars that stood above them. He broke down the sacred poles and the carved and the cast images; he made dust of them and scattered it over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. 5 He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and purged Judah and Jerusalem. 6 In the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, and as far as Naphtali, in their ruins all around, 7 he broke down the al…

Ignoring Won't Make It Go Away

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Scripture:
Jer. 36:32   Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to the secretary Baruch son of Neriah, who wrote on it at Jeremiah’s dictation all the words of the scroll that King Jehoiakim of Judah had burned in the fire; and many similar words were added to them.
Observation:
By burning the prophetic words of Jeremiah, the king thought that he had dealt with his problem. Little did he know or understand how wrong he was. In effect, by burning the scroll, the king was annihilating the peoples’ side of the covenant made with Yahweh. The fact that Jeremiah went on to rewrite the scroll reveals something about the nature of God.
Any attempt to destroy the words of God will be futile, because the words represent God’s commitment to humanity. Ignoring God, or God’s word won’t make God go away. God’s love is so intense that no matter what shameful acts we may perform, God will come back again, and again, and again. Look at what happened on Mount Sinai and the first set of tablets with…

Accountability

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Scripture:
Jer. 36:11   When Micaiah son of Gemariah son of Shaphan heard all the words of the LORD from the scroll, 12 he went down to the king’s house, into the secretary’s chamber; and all the officials were sitting there: Elishama the secretary, Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan son of Achbor, Gemariah son of Shaphan, Zedekiah son of Hananiah, and all the officials. 13 And Micaiah told them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the scroll in the hearing of the people. 14 Then all the officials sent Jehudi son of Nethaniah son of Shelemiah son of Cushi to say to Baruch, “Bring the scroll that you read in the hearing of the people, and come.” So Baruch son of Neriah took the scroll in his hand and came to them. 15 And they said to him, “Sit down and read it to us.” So Baruch read it to them. 16 When they heard all the words, they turned to one another in alarm, and said to Baruch, “We certainly must report all these words to the king.” 17 Then they questioned Baruch, “Tel…