The book of Romans is one of my favorites. To me it’s the most beautiful letter Paul wrote. And I often find myself turning to its chapters when I’m feeling particularly unlovable and unworthy of God; His love, and His blessings. About the book Martin Luther wrote, “Romans is worthy not only that every Christian should know it word for word, by heart, but occupy himself with it every day, as the daily bread of the soul. It can never be read or pondered too much, and the more it is dealt with the more precious it becomes, and the better it tastes.“ …
In His perfect timing, when the world was prepared for the coming of Jesus, God sent His Son to be born in the flesh to a human woman. And why did He do this? Paul tells us it was to redeem all who believe unto His name for salvation. The word redeem comes from the Greek word exagorazo, the root word used to buy back a person sold into slavery. And that’s exactly what Jesus did. He came and used His precious blood to purchase us from the bondage of sin. Through His death, Christ broke our chains, and provided the only to escape death. And He didn’t do it just to free us. He redeemed us at such a great personal cost, to adopt us into God’s family. And as His children, we have “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade . . . kept in heaven” (1 Peter 1:4). Think of that! We are co-owners of everything that belongs to God through our standing in Jesus. And all because He gave everything to call us His!
We aren’t the only ones suffering from the bondage of sin. Paul says that all of creation groans in pain under the curses of God. Curses resulting from the fall of man. Because of the sin of Adam, none escaped God’s punishment. Not even His own perfect creation. It too was put under the consequences of sin, resulting in frustration, suffering, and death. And now, like us, the whole creation cries out with a deep longing for the day when Christ returns. The day when our glorious Bridegroom comes for His bride, and all of God’s children are revealed in glory. When all patience and hope will be rewarded, and both man and creation will be set free. Corruption is ended, there will be peace on earth, and God’s creation is restored to its original glory!
Despite being vaccinated, America’s Pastor and best-selling Christian author Max Lucado has revealed that he has tested positive for Covid. Lucado posted a tweet over the weekend, showing a photo of his positive COVID-19 test and saying he would not be preaching on Sunday at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. He said, “Groan. Covid found me. Tested positive yesterday. Turns out it’s me in a downstairs room with aches, stuffy head and quarantine.” Still Lucado feels that he would be feeling much worse if not for the vaccine. Read more about the Pastor’s condition here.
Michigan Farmers Sue Over Ban Because Of Biblical View Of Marriage
The trial of a lawsuit between Country Mill Farms owner Steve Tennes, who sued East Lansing after being denied a vendor’s license for the city’s farmers market, will begin Tuesday. Tennes filed the lawsuit after they were reportedly banned from a local farmers market in 2016 because of their biblical viewpoint on marriage. In 2019, East Lansing City officials said the decision to deny Tennes a vendor license stemmed from a December 2016 Facebook post that detailed Tennes’ decision not to hold same-sex weddings at the Charlotte orchard. Read more about the lawsuit here.
Former Strip Club Turned Into A Church
Proving all things are possible with God, a popular strip club that once beckoned customers off a busy highway leading into Anchorage is now a church offering salvation instead of temptation. And it’s all thanks to a daughter of a former exotic dancer Linda Dunegan. Dunegan believes divine intervention played a hand in transforming the building that housed Fantasies on 5th into the start-up Open Door Baptist Church, turning the show floor into a sanctuary and trading the dancer’s pole with a pulpit. Read more about the transformation here.
2021’s Perseid Meteor Shower Called Best Of The Year
The Perseid Meteor Shower is happening now, and will continue to fill the night sky with streaks of light and color until August 24. Known as the “best meteor shower of the year” by NASA because of its fast, bright and plentiful meteors that can be easily viewed outside during the warm summer months, the shower is not one to be missed. It will peak around August 12, where up to 100 meteors an hour can be caught shooting across the sky at 37 miles per second, leaving long streaks in their wake. Read more about this nighttime phenomenon here.
As soon as we receive Jesus as our Savior, the chains of bondage, sin, and death are broken. We are free, no longer under the power of the Enemy, nor any man. So why would we ever want to return to slavery? Yet that’s exactly what the apostle Paul did. Only instead of being a slave to the world, Paul eagerly became a slave to Jesus. This meant answering the call God put on his life. The same call He gives to each of us. To spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. And in order to do this, Paul became all things to all people. That means he met people wherever they were in life. Paul preached to those from all walks of life and backgrounds, foregoing traditions and comforts to share the gospel. But one thing Paul didn’t do. He didn’t compromise His morals, or the Word of God. He was careful that while going into the world to tell everyone about Jesus, he didn’t become worldly himself. And neither should we.
We’ve all heard the phrase, nothing in life is free. And it’s true. Everything must be paid for. And so it is with salvation. Eternal life is a gift from God, and one He offers freely to all. Yet although this gift costs us nothing, God paid the bill with His own blood. He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die on a Cross of wood to provide to us His gift of love. A gift we ourselves can never purchase nor earn, and one more precious than silver or gold. And all we have to do to get this gift is simply to believe. For when we truly believe that Jesus is Lord, and receive Him as our Savior, because our faith, through the amazing grace of God, He extends to us His gift of everlasting life. That’s how much God loves us! And because He wants us with Him for eternity, He gave everything to make it happen. So if you haven’t yet, I urge you to open your heart to Him, and receive the greatest gift you will ever be offered!
A Seattle area church is one step closer to being released from a Washington state law requirement that its employee health-insurance plans cover abortion if they also offer maternity care. In a win for the church, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a 2018 law caused injury to the Cedar Park Assembly of God, reversing a decision by the district that it had not and thereby dismissing the case. The Reproductive Parity Act, was signed into law in 2018. The law requires all insurance plans covering maternity care to also cover abortion. It does not include an exemption for houses of worship. Read more about the victory here.
Kanye West Releases New Album With Religious Themes
On August 6, Kanye West is releasing his newest album, called Donda. It follows his 2019 album, Jesus Is King. This latest album continues the rapper’s journey into Christian themes. West’s relationship with God saturates the album. The lead single “No Child Left Behind,” features the chorus: “He’s done miracles on me.” Named after his late mother, the album is also West’s tribute to her. Donda West was an English teacher when she passed away in 2007 after complications with plastic surgery. The death was particularly tragic for West, as he often described his mother as his “everything.” Read more about the new album here.
One Million Hours Of Prayers For Tokyo Olympics
An international prayer movement has been launched in support of the Tokyo Olympic Games, with Japanese Christians inviting the global church to unite for one million hours of prayer. Japan1Million, is an international prayer movement led by the Japan international Sports Partnership and the Japan Evangelical Missionary Association during the 30 days of the Olympics and Paralympics. “Committed prayer is needed for a significant spiritual breakthrough in Japan,” Pastor and director Keishi Ikeda said. “We believe Alfred Tennyson’s words, ‘more things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” Read more about the effort here.
Madrid Planting Huge Forest Ring Around City
To combat climate change and pollution, Madrid is building a green wall around the city. An urban forest with nearly half a million new trees. “What we want to do is to improve the air quality in the whole city,” says Mariano Fuentes, Madrid’s councilor for the environment and urban development. “To fight the ‘heat island’ effect that is happening inside the city, to absorb the greenhouse emissions generated by the city, and to connect all the existing forest masses that already exist around the city.” The project will also make use of rundown sites lying between roads and buildings to help absorb 175,000 tons of CO2 per year. Read more about the mass planting here.
Truth can be defined as the state or character of being true. And that’s exactly who God is. He is truth, light, goodness, and love. It is out of His great love that He sent His Son Jesus Christ who is the physical embodiment of that truth, and the only way to God. (John 14:6) And the moment we receive Christ as our Savior, we are set free. Free from the bondage of sin, condemnation, unrighteousness, and death. Yet sadly, there are those who receive God’s freedom but still live as slaves to the Enemy. They fall for his deceit and let themselves be defined by his lies. They live in emotionalism instead of truth. Emotionalism is the idea that our feelings instead of God’s Word define absolute truth. And instead of putting their faith in Jesus, they put their faith in how they feel at the moment. But emotions can be liars, and only in Christ can be found genuine truth, freedom, love, and peace.
Psalm 93 is one of the most popular passages in God’s Word. And even those that have never read a Bible can recite the beautiful song of comfort written by David. When we receive Jesus as our Savior, we join the flock of the Lord, with Christ as our Great Shepherd. With His unbreakable rod and staff, the Lord comforts and frees us from evil. How? The shepherd’s rod was one of many functions. It could kill an enemy threatening any sheep, or poke a bush to find a snake. With its crook it grabbed and rescued wayward little lambs, bringing them back into the safety of the fold. And at night each sheep was touched by the rod in counting, ensured all were present and none lost. All done with the greatest of care and love. And just like the sheepfold protected by its shepherd, our Lord and Savior will be by our side protecting us through even the darkest of valleys.
Freedom from debt is an exhilarating feeling. And owing nothing to a creditor or the taxman is a liberation that God wants for each of us. But there is one debt that we owe and can never fully pay off. And that is the debt of loving each other. Every day we wake up owing this debt. And every day is an opportunity to pay on it. God takes this debt so seriously, that in the Bible from start to finish, He gives the commandment to love one another. So if we are followers of Jesus and are truly becoming transformed into His image and likeness, we need to be faithful in paying our debt. That means loving others as God does. For the very foundation of Christianity is love. And in one of the greatest acts of love, God became flesh and allowed Himself to be nailed to a Cross to pay our debt. And out of hearts of obedience and thankfulness, we too need to follow His example of selflessness and let love for others be the guiding light in all that we do.