Tag Archives: Romans

Why You Need A Good Umbrella

Let’s start with the fun stuff. I was supposed to announce the winners of last week’s contest in a post already, but I’ve had limited internet access this week and wasn’t able to post. So, belatedly, I wish hearty congratulations to the two winners of the baby items giveaway–

Katie Beth and Lori!!

Girls, email me your mailing addresses & I’ll get those certificates to you asap!


When it rains, it pours, right? We’ve been hearing this little phrase a lot lately.

  • The transmission in our car died and our car was in the shop for a month having that replaced, plus the shocks & struts. $Cha-ching$
  • Our dog began limping again on a knee that was completely replaced in doggy surgery four years ago.
  • The hose to our kitchen sink sprayer sprang a leak and my sweet, wonderful, talented husband tried to fix it himself, but being good at a great many things, handy-manning is not one of them. So, I was without a kitchen sink for a few days.
  • Our TV died.
  • Our oven died.
  • Our laptop died.
  • We had a medical emergency with a close family member.
  • My three year-old opened the pantry to get a snack and the cabinet door fell off. Just fell off.
  • My doctor broke his hand skiing and won’t be able to deliver our baby.

Most of this all happened within a week.

My first response to the deluge of chaos was my go-to “seriously?”

Followed by these thoughts:

What are we doing wrong that God is allowing all of this stuff to happen? (He’s punishing us.)

Why is everything falling apart all at one time? (Life is unfair.)

What about that whole “working for goodness for those who love Him” thing? (Not trusting in what I know to be the truth.)

All of these thoughts were sinful. Flat out.

But then I had this thought– what are my blessings? Yep, I started counting them. And they outweighed the chaos, of course.

Here’s the thing, though. I actually said to my husband, “We’re under attack right now and we need to get ourselves right before the Lord. Something is wrong. I don’t know what, but we need to fix it.”

Then Sunday rolls around and our Sunday school lesson speaks to me in such a way that I know God has been hearing my prayers these past few weeks and he’s reminding me that even in the pouring rain, I’ve got the best umbrella.

The jist of the lesson centered around the idea that our circumstances often affect how confidently we trust Jesus. When things aren’t going our way, we’re tempted to lean toward several spiritual dangers.

Note that this is exactly what I did without even realizing it.

Danger 1– We doubt what we believe. When things don’t go our way, we give more power to what we think is supposed to happen rather than to what God promises.

Danger 2– We believe that God is treating us unfairly and we forget that challenges in our lives help mold us to be like Christ.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who  have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Danger 3– We believe that God is punishing us for things we’ve done in the past. This thought forces us to change our behavior, thinking that we can somehow “stop” the punishment in favor of blessings, putting emphasis on our works instead of on the two things we know to be true of Christ’s sacrifice for us– grace and mercy.

There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

I am often especially guilty of Danger 3– thinking that God is punishing instead of realizing that although he allows consequences for our actions, I have been forgiven through the greatest atonement.

When the rain is pouring down, the umbrella that keeps me dry is the knowledge and faith in the saving grace of Christ.

No matter what happens in my life, no matter what the circumstances, everything points back to Jesus. I’m being molded and shaped to be more like him. My faith is being strengthened.

God’s blessings are prominent among the raindrops.

After all, it’s the rain that makes the flowers grow.

Share with me: Which of the three dangers above are you most likely to lean toward when raindrops are pouring in your life?

Real Signature

**The Sunday school material we use is The Gospel Project, Spring 2013, Lifeway Publishers.


Filed under The Christian Walk

Luther’s Order– Make a Choice


Sin is a concept which has often held me captive.

I struggle with the fact that although I am saved through the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, I can’t break free of the grip of sin.

Shouldn’t I be able to resist temptation? Shouldn’t I be able to choose right over wrong every.single.time? Shouldn’t I be able to take the following verses, hide them in my heart, and always, always follow the “way out”?

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. I Corinthians 10:13

How many times will God forgive me? Won’t he eventually get tired of my sin? Will he be so disappointed with His child that he will turn away from me? Will I ever be good enough for his grace? How can I look myself in the mirror and not see a dirty, sinful, waste of skin? Is that what God sees when He looks at me?

My favorite historical theologian, Martin Luther, also struggled with the concept of sin.

As a monk, he struggled with the same notion that I struggle with– that although we know better and strive to make the right choices for God, we fail.

As a failure to the flesh, Luther looked for every possible way to “work” himself free of the burden of sin. He followed every sacrament of the Church (he was a Catholic monk, after all) and attempted to submit to every requirement of grace that the Church presented. He even admitted to extreme fear of and anger at God, in whom he saw no possible way to achieve redemption. After all, to Luther, God judged all from a throne of righteousness that was so far out of the reach of humankind that nothing could save us except mercy, which the God he understood may or may not give.

It wasn’t until a fellow monk encouraged Luther to read the New Testament for himself that Luther discovered the path to freedom.

Within the New Testament, Luther found freedom in the blood of Christ. He realized that nothing, nothing, NOTHING else can free us from the bondage of sin except a belief that the Lamb of God was sacrificed on our behalf.

 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:17

Luther discovered the truth that would underlie everything else that he would do, including taking on the Catholic Church for the incredible amount of hypocrisy and faithlessness he saw there– sparking the Protestant Reformation.

What Luther discovered is a simple truth– that nothing we DO can achieve grace. Nothing we DO can put us before a righteous God who will forgive. Nothing we DO will ever be good enough.

It’s all about justification by faith alone– that faith in the sacrifice of the Son is what provides our righteousness, our redemption, and grace from the God who sent his son to be tortured and die with the sin of the world on him.

When I sin, I fall short of the glory. When I sin, I separate myself from the holiness of God, yet Christ took my sin and freely justified me. All I have to do is believe it.

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:22-24

When I feel unworthy, when I want to DO something to prove to God that I am truly sorry and want to turn from my sin, I have to remember that God already DID it for me.

I am free in Him through his son’s death on the cross. When he looks at me, he sees a child redeemed.

Either sin is with you, lying on your shoulders, or it is lying on Christ, the Lamb of God. Now if it is lying on your back, you are lost; but if it is resting on Christ, you are free, and you will be saved. Now choose what you want. –Martin Luther

Share with me: What is the hardest part of being a Christian to you? What theological or Biblical ideas do you struggle with?

**If you’ve never seen the movie Luther starring Joseph Fiennes, I highly recommend it.

Real Signature



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