Justified through Faith

Therefore since we are all justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Roman 5:1

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Father, I can never pay the price, the debt, I owe for ignoring You most of my life. I’ve treated others badly and wanted my own selfish way. Thank you for providing a way for me to find peace with you…a way to feel forgiven even when I don’t deserve it. AMEN.

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Accepted as Christ’s Friend

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know His master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my father I have made known to you.  John 15:15

 Wendy dipped her hands into the detergent as she scrubbed the stains on the clothing in front of her. Her knuckles hurt from rubbing so hard but she hummed a lively tune anyway. Wendy loved her job as housekeeper for Marian Mitchell. Marion never treated her like a servant but more as if she were a treasured friend.

Jesus treats us the same way. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He deserves to see us bow down before Him in submission but instead He calls us friend. He could have created us with loyalty to Him built in but instead He gave us free will so that when we seek Him, it will be because we want to. He only requests a genuine love, one that comes from our heart. He asks that anything we do for Him is because we love Him, not because we feel we have to obey Him.

Wendy loved the Lord. She was working as a housekeeper for Marian but also working for the Lord. Because she loved Him, she did her work to the best of her ability without complaining. Marian valued her loyalty and counted it a privilege to call Wendy her friend. Marian treated her as equal just as Christ treats us as brothers and sisters.

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If you meant these words in your heart, Christ accepts you as if you had always been part of His family. He now calls you brother or sister affording you the privilege of access to the Father through Him.

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Accepted as God’s Child

Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12

IMG_3242Jenny looked at her birth certificate. For some reason, her father’s name was not on it. She decided to ask her mother about it.

For three days, Jenny’s mom avoided the conversation but then one morning, she sat down at the kitchen table just as Jenny was about to leave for work. “Your father and I were never married. He was just a date, someone I hardly knew. He got drunk and… I never saw him again.” Jenny’s mom hung her head. A lone tear trickled down her cheek. “Nine months later you were born.”

Jenny’s insides felt as if she were on the downward ride on a rollercoaster. She searched her mother’s face looking for some sign that she’d heard wrong but her mom’s expression said it all. My mom was raped, Women who are raped today, are pressured to abort their babies.

Before Jenny could say anything, her mother stood. She wrapped her arms around her only daughter and said, “You were a gift to me from God Himself. I have loved you since the moment I saw you. When I met your father, he fell in love with the two of us. When we married, he adopted you right away.”

Being adopted, for Jenny, meant she had a family. She had a father who loved her and two younger brothers who teased relentlessly but were fun to be around anyway. The fact that her father had adopted her as a baby never made her relationship with him any different than the one he had with her brothers. Jenny was taken care of as if she had been born to her dad.

If you have asked Jesus to be the center of your life, you have the privilege of being adopted by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You have a Father who loves you, who cares about your deepest desires and who always has time to listen when you talk to Him. You can call Him “Abba” just as if He were your very own daddy.

Hold your head up this day. No matter what your circumstances are, you have a Father who loves you. Under difficult circumstances, or when you are challenged to step out of your comfort zone, He walks beside you and gives you the power to overcome whatever tries to defeat you or mess you up.

If you have never asked Jesus to be the center of your life, you have the opportunity to receive Him now. Pray this simple prayer acknowledging your need for a Savior, and your need for a Father who will love you unconditionally.

Father God, thank you for loving me. I am so sorry I have acted independently from you. Please come into my life and make me your child. Adopt me into your family, Lord. AMEN..

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A Perfect Beginning

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified… 1Thess. 4:3

Sanctified, sanctification – that’s a big word. For many, it’s hard IMG_3243to understand and yet so important for us to know since it is God’s will for us. Sanctification, the move toward Holiness or Christ-likeness, is a process, something that begins when we become a new person in Jesus Christ but something that doesn’t occur overnight.

Let me explain. Jodie just gave birth to her first child, a sweet little girl complete with blonde fuzz covering her head. Her innocent expression hid the independent rebellious streak that would one day erupt when her parents least expected it. Was Jodie a mother? She was as far as birthing a child but her journey toward motherhood had just begun.

Over the years, she learned from friends, family members, and books, as well as from The Book – the Bible, how to be the mother that God intended her to be. Did it happen overnight? Not so. In fact, if you asked Jodie today, as a grandmother, she would say she’s still learning to parent.

It’s the same with sanctification. It’s a process. Our walk with the Lord as we study His Word and get to know Him and His will for our lives, takes all the years He gives us in our earthly suits. He allows trials, temptations, events, times of joy and times of sorrow, to refine us into the Christ-like child that He sent His Son to die for. He knows what’s in our hearts and He knows just what we need to become sanctified.

What’s our part? Study, prayer, and confession. Immediate and consistent confession is so important to our journey for sanctification as the Holy Spirit convicts us of the sin in our lives, the garbage that we hold onto that gives Satan a foothold. God has already forgiven us but we need to acknowledge it in order for forgiveness to heal us from the inside out. We need to pray in the Spirit, asking God a question and then listening for the answer. As we seek God, listen to His answers and the Holy Spirit’s promptings, we move closer toward being the Holy person that was created in the image of our Holy God.

Dear Lord, Search me and tell me what unclean thing is within me. Father I acknowledge that I have sinned against You. My desire is to be sanctified now and forevermore. AMEN.

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Final Chapter

IMG_3251Paul was a chaplain. When he began a conversation, his first question was, “Can you ever remember a time when you did something wrong?” Every person he spoke to admitted they’d committed a sin or two in their life. He agreed with them. In fact, he told them the Bible, in Romans 3:23, says, “For all have sinned.” Everyone falls short of God’s perfect example.

Paul also told his friends that because God is a Holy God, He’s placed a penalty on humans for the sin they commit. He told them about Romans 6:23, which says the penalty of sin is death, but not just physical death. Paul’s friends could accept physical death as a fact of living. They’d seen or heard about bikers going down and not ever getting up again. However, spiritual death, separation for eternity from God, was what Paul referred to when he quoted from Romans 6:23. Imagine a world without love of any kind, without peace, without truth— ever. That is complete separation from God. He is the Author of love, peace, and truth, as well as many other attributes we take for granted.

Paul handed everyone a gift. All his friends had to do was make it their own. That gift is Jesus Christ. Because God loved us, His creation, He designed a way for that  terrible penalty of separation, of spiritual death, to be paid. He came to earth in the form of a human child, and then died as a man on a cross. He paid the price for the sin we all commit. He willingly allowed Himself to be beaten and broken in a most horrible way. Because of His sacrifice for us Romans 6:23 says, “…the gift of God is
eternal life” (with God, instead of eternal separation from Him). When our physical body dies, we step into the presence of God to bask in His love forevermore.

Paul explained that God did not wait until we deserved that gift. He paid it while we continued to sin. Romans 5:8 tells us that while we were sinners, Jesus died for us. Then, from Romans 10:13, Paul gave everyone his own personal invitation to accept that gift of eternal life with God, forgiveness of sins now and the power to live this life to God’s glory here on earth. The Bible says, “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Will you open your arms to receive this gift from God, through the words of the Apostle Paul, today? Will you finally step over the line separating you from God and take your first step of faith by receiving Jesus as your personal Savior?

God does not expect you to clean up your life first. He knows every sin you have committed and every sin you continue to commit. He only asks you to let Him do His job. Let Him clean up your life so subtle that you won’t even know it’s happening until one day you look back and see how far you’ve come.

Paul wrote in Romans 10:9-10, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord…” In other words, if you declare your allegiance with God’s motorcycle club and “believe in your heart,” you will be saved. God is the only one who knows what is really happening in your life all the time. He knows when you become His child and mean it. He knows what your heart condition is. Will you give God the right to become the leader in your life, to become the ultimate boss man in everything you do?

If he was standing here today, Paul would tell you that you are in this place for a purpose. It is no accident that you are reading these words right now. God is calling you, inviting you, to become His child, to join the club. Will you accept that invitation now? Let’s pray….

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Culture Contraire

IMG_3196But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matt. 5:44).

Barbara did not love bikers. In fact, she was flabbergasted that any Christian would go into that culture to eat with them, laugh with them, and love them. God had other plans. Standing on a rockstrewn mountainside, with the sun’s rays beating down on Him, Jesus taught thousands of people, including His disciples, to love their enemies and to pray for those who persecuted them. Bikers weren’t persecuting her, but God changed Barbara’s heart. She began to see them through God’s eyes. He loved them, created them, and died for them, just as He had for her.

God asks us to love our enemies, to pray for them, and to forgive them. Someone in a car or a van doesn’t look where he is driving; he pulls out in front of a biker on the highway, sending him and his cycle screeching down the pavement. The biker winds up in the ditch with a multitude of scrapes and bruises, broken bones, and lacerations. His motorcycle is totaled, or nearly so. Are we supposed to pray for that driver as well as the accident victim?

Jesus wanted us to give justice and mercy to those around us. On our own it’s almost impossible. Only by truly giving ourselves to God, walking in His footsteps and by the power of the Holy Spirit, can we love and pray for people who wrong us, and see them through His eyes. Ask God to deliver you from self-involvement and to help you reveal His love to the world around you. Ask the Holy Spirit to place love in your heart for all people, even the unlovable, and see what happens to your comfort zone.

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Man’s Law VS. God’s Law

IMG_3250Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before (Dan. 6:10).

In this country we have a hard time thinking of a place where we can’t pray or believe in God and worship Him. In Daniel’s day a decree was issued that anyone who prayed to any god except the king would be thrown into the lion’s den—a death sentence. When we go to a rally, there are rules. Some rules are good, for our own protection, while others ask us to compromise our faith. In this passage Daniel remained loyal to God, and God protected him.

Daniel prayed before an open window. He faced the death penalty and yet had the courage to do what he knew God wanted. When standing in a parking lot, do you fear that someone may see you praying for the smelly, homeless person? What about the biker couple who just pulled up on a Gold Wing? Are you afraid people will think you’re not cool if you strike up a conversation with them?

Fear can paralyze. It can make us ineffective just when God has opened a door or brought someone by who especially needs Him at that moment. Satan is the author of fear. Reject him, and then draw on God’s courage to build a relationship, no matter how fleeting. Be sensitive to those people God places in your path. Follow His Spirit’s leading, and then go do the right thing

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Turning Ourselves In

IMG_3190Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you…(Ps. 32:6a).

David, in this Psalm, describes aTurning Ourselves In time when he was silent before the Lord. During his silence, his bones wasted away, but when he admitted or acknowledged his sins to God, GTherefore let everyone who is godly pray to you…(Ps. 32:6a).od forgave his disobedience. His sense of peace was restored.

Ben robbed a convenience store last night. Wendy stole some money from her mother’s purse. Vicki lied to her husband about where the money from their bank account had gone. Tom gazed upon his young neighbor with longing in his eyes while his wife made dinner inside their home. Their conscience bothered them. It niggled at them for days, like a bad taste coats the inside of your mouth, until each one finally fell on their knees before God. It doesn’t matter what the sin is; you won’t feel restored until you’ve repented before God. He even gives you the courage to go to the authorities if necessary.

By praying to God and confessing our sins, we recognize that He has the right to pronounce our actions corrupt, evil, and wicked. He’s the judge. We realize that what we have done, even the desire to do it, is wrong. We announce our intention to abandon that particular transgression in order to follow Him more closely.

The desire of every Christian’s heart should be to walk closely in the footsteps of our Savior, to follow His example. Along the way, however, the path becomes rocky and we sometimes slip off. Trying to hide our mistakes, as Adam and Eve did in the garden, is like a fish in a fish bowl trying to hide from prying eyes.

Not just once a week on Sunday, but every day, seek Him in the morning, as you walk through your day, and before you go to bed at night. Restore that most important of all relationships by confessing and receiving forgiveness.

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Kingly Blessing

IMG_3240Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them (Matt. 19:13a).

Jesus prayed for others, even the least significant among His followers. He rebuked His disciples for trying to send the children away because He knew those little ones needed His prayers. Jesus is our example. He prayed for people everywhere, anytime, and under all circumstances. He was not too important to spend time with children, men, or women. The hurting, as well as the deformed and disease-ridden, came to Him.

People cross our path every time we ride a motorcycle. Some are crude and rude, but all need to know that Jesus loves them. Some are bikers, but many are just inquisitive about motorcycles, the tool God uses to catch their attention. We meet them at a convenience store, at gas stations, or in parking lots. Their curiosity about riding overrules their timidity as they approach us to ask how the ride is going, where we’ve been, and where we’re going.

A door has opened. We listen as they tell us a little about themselves, but then we ask, “Can I pray for you?” This biker blessing comes from God as He puts words in our mouth. He places His hand on the head of those we pray for, and His love flows through us to touch the heart of a lost soul.

This God appointment will bypass you if you have not taken the time to sit at His feet before you leave for the ride. Seek His face. Ask for forgiveness for your independence from Him. With boldness, He will give you the courage to share His gospel, His Bible, or His tracts— tools you carry for just that purpose. Walking in the Holy Spirit helps you focus on others when you stop for a cold drink of water on a blazing-hot day, or to stretch sore muscles. Gain strength today from a daily appointment with God, and then walk in His Spirit to see where He’s already working.

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First Things First

IMG_3242After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone (Matt. 14:23).

Jesus had just ministered to a multitude of people. They hung on His every word, an exhausting responsibility for the Lord. How did He choose to refurbish His stamina, His strength? Not by getting a good night’s sleep, but by praying. In fact, He spent a long time in prayer. He was still on His knees into the night.

How can we expect to minister to God’s people anywhere we meet them and yet neglect our prayer life? How can we expect to have the strength to listen to lost souls, pray for them, and then love them unconditionally if we don’t bask in the light of God’s love at least once a day?

Many times we return from some motorcycle event exhausted from physical labor, spiritual warfare, and lack of sleep. It is important to have people at home praying for us through those events, but it is also important that we seek the Lord before, during, and after.

You may think you are not confronting the enemy when you ride your motorcycle, but if you are looking for God’s appointments on the highways and byways, you can count on the enemy draining you spiritually. Spend time with God every day. Ask Him to show you where He wants you to go. Allow the Holy Spirit to flow over you. He energizes, strengthens, and renews your spirit for the day ahead.

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