~ Life can seem so overwhelming at times. Trials and our own shortcomings often burden our hearts and send us into depression. It’s amazing sometimes to realize how much we “fall short of the glory of God.” God convicts us of our sins and shows us where we’re falling short and it can be extremely painful. And then it is up to us to respond. We can either wallow in self-pity, repeating the same vicious cycle, or we can choose to be determined to please God and change our direction. God can change your heart, but ultimately you have to change your actions. And that’s scary. It’s easier to believe that we don’t really have that much control but once you receive the Holy Spirit you choose to whether quench it or not. God says that once we are baptized we are no longer slaves to sin, but rather, slaves to righteousness. We mustn’t give up hope or lose sight of God’s promises. He says in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” No matter what we go through now, we know that God has a plan for us and that He works everything to our good.
~ I’ve been reading in Romans lately, specifically in chapters five through nine, and I’ve found so many encouraging scriptures. I won’t bother to quote them all right now…you can read them yourself if you’d like to One scripture I would like to quote though, is Hebrews 12:1-3, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” We must remember that the trials we endure are for own good and that we are called to overcome. It’s not enough just to survive life; it’s so much more than that. It’s overcoming, it’s struggling, and it’s learning to love others unconditionally and to serve God with all your heart, mind, body and soul.
~ I really want to express the joy it is to realize you can change your behavior. God’s mercy is wonderfully great and so His ability to work through you if we are willing. Yes, we will fall short of God’s glory but His strength is shown in our weakness. When we overcome the things that cause us to stumble constantly, glory is given to God and I know there must be great rejoicing in heaven. So let us continue to bury the old person and start living a new life…giving credit and praise to God for his great mercy and unfailing love. Romans 3:23-34, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
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Excerpted from More Than That, May, 2004