Feb 22, 2012

Wednesday SHINE....

Today's reading: Romans 7

Good morning, SHINE sisters!

My very good friend, Rebekah, will be guest-blogging today. My house is still in utter clutter after our little weekend get-away. Laundry is literally seeping through the cracks. (I wish I was kidding.)

So, I asked her yesterday, if she might could put something together for today.

Man, she's good. And quick.

Be blessed, girls.

back to my laundry,


Romans 7
By Rebekah Vepraskas

Today’s reading in Romans 7, is by far, the most underlined and highlighted and written on chapter in my Bible.  I so need Romans 7.
So do you!!
Paul says a mouthful here, so grab your Bibles, read Romans 7 and buckle your seat belts, girls!
This passage is what I base my WHOLE ENTIRE relationship with Christ on… getting this (new to me) concept of sin, the law and Jesus, found in Romans 7, was essential to a new, wonderful Peace in my life.


You see, I was raised in an Independent (super strict) Baptist faith, followed by the Southern Baptist faith, my whole life.  Oh, I knew the law!!!  Slowly, from age 16, 17, 18ish—  I was losing my grip on all of the laws and commandments.  I was very convicted by sin, knowing the rights and wrongs of everything.  I got to the point where I chose not to let it bother me so much.  I couldn’t keep up, I was feeling 2nd rate at church and so I fled.

 Just after college, I was ready to get married and be “Connie Christian” again.  Why not?  It was time.  By God’s grace, one of the 1st sermons I heard was on Romans 7.  Which spoke to my exact weakness in the “law department.”  The reason I ran.  I realized I didn’t have to be “Connie Christian.”  I could just love Jesus, focusing on Him alone, let me explain.

In the Chapter before we learn that:
Sin = death and despair
Holiness = the reward of peace in Christ and eternal life.

So, this sets the scene for Romans 7, our passage today.
We want the forbidden.  Don’t we?  I do!  We have SUCH a tough time with rules and “laws.”
We wanted the fruit, (the apple)  Adam and Eve were tempted with, because it was off limits.  It is our way, as human beings, “wanting what we cannot have.”  Since then, our forbidden fruit comes in all shapes and sizes.

We want: blank ______, many times, because someone said no.

No diving allowed (oh man, I just love to dive.)
No swimming here (swimming here looks like fun!)
No parking (this is the PERFECT spot to park!)
Missing curfew (I only need 30 more minutes and everything would be perfect.)
Drinking to cope (I have to have a drink to unwind at night!!!)
Drugging to cope (No one will ever know.)
Defiling our bodies (I don’t care, I don’t care.)
Unfaithfulness to our spouse (I need to feel special again.)

This is how WE KNOW or we eventually learn that sin and boundary breaking leads to more regret.  We do the wrong thing a lot.  It feels good.  At least for a little while.

In Romans 7, the word sin is mentioned 14 times in the NIV version.  Paul speaks of sin as an “entity” or something that exists by itself. Sinful nature, sin and the law are often brewing in conflict inside us.  All of this has nothing to do with God.  It is basically satan taking advantage of our willingness, as humans, to do/consider doing the wrong thing.

Embarrassing Example:  My husband and I have been married for almost 11 years.  We have a strong relationship and we’re great friends. Recently, he bought us a car that he loves and it fits our family of 5. I mean, HE LOVES THIS CAR— washing it all of the time, armor-all-ing, vacuuming, loving it… this car means a lot to him.
 One day, I was backing out of an unfamiliar driveway, by myself, not long after we bought the car (we were on vacation).  I “took out” a whole section of rose bushes with his precious, beautiful car.  Scratches Galore!  Scratches everywhere! Oh dear, I thought, I can’t tell him.  I didn’t run back into the house. I ran away. I was on my way to drive for 1 hour to visit a friend for lunch and one hour back to the vacation spot.  During that time, I TOTALLY bought into the idea of making up a story.  Yep, I admit it.  I did.  This is not me. But, at the time, satan had me right where he wanted me. 
 We don’t lie to each other.  I am all about taking responsibility.  Yet, in that moment, satan had my attention with holding out the option of my man never knowing the truth. I felt desperate and scared and like I was 15 again. After exhaling all of the nonsense out of my brain, I prayed. God answered in my spirit, “Just tell him the truth. Make it simple because it is.”
 I finally, unwillingly, emailed him and said, “I scratched the car backing out of the driveway, I hit several bushes and the car is badly scratched.” There it was the truth, so simple and yet so hard to face for me.

What’s my point?  Well, what did my sinful nature and satan’s temptation to lie, have to do with God in that moment?  Nothing.  Was it God’s fault I goofed and was tempted to lie about it?  No.  The same as Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit.  …Right?

All of the sales jobs satan does with sin is apart from God.  I am just a pitiful human being who thinks of the wrong thing as an attractive option.

Since Adam and Eve, we want to feed the rebel in us.  We turn from God and blame Him for our hatred of laws and rules.

Back to that sermon that I loved about Romans 7 and the idea of sin in response to the law. In this message, I was so relieved to learn that sin has nothing to do with God; it is just my problem with the law.  The pastor said, “He gave this life to you, to overcome the power of sin.  Focus on your relationship with God, not the rules/law.”

Life with God is not about do’s and don’ts????  Really????  Fantastic!!

We can make ourselves miserable just focusing on the law.  Do we just give up on doing what is right?  Not at all.  We focus on loving God.  Giving every little thing to Him and loving Him completely.

 Luke 10:27: Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.’”

If we hang our faith in Christ on this principle, there is freedom and peace.  A life with Christ falls into place when we love Him with everything we are.

If the “no swimming “ sign was written differently, how would we feel?

“NO SWIMMING (sharks lurk)”

What about “NO SINNING (despair lurks)”

I want you to know that my husband was not happy about the scratches on the shiny car. Of course, he loved me anyway.  I knew he would, right?

Jesus is not happy about our mistakes, just the same, but He loved us so much that He literally gave His life to free us from those mistakes.  Let’s lock ourselves into that kind of grace, love and peace.  It is right there and Romans 7 is our proof.  <3

Love you girls, SHINE on!!


Mary Hudgins Balicki said...

Beka!!! You can preach girl. :)) Thank you for that inspiring message. True. We are so flawed, an accident waiting to happen..but He can and will deliver us if we cling to he cross, our only Hope. Love you sister. xo!

Anonymous said...

Great message! Thank you for sharing Rebekah! Remember that pretty peacock sitting on top of that pretty car this summer at the pool? I remember you saying, "David would NOT like this, he would NOT like this..." :)

Anonymous said...

sorry, that's from me above, love, sarah

Anonymous said...

Amen-ing all over the place Rebekah, how easy it is to tell ourselves that a little white lie won't hurt...BUT it is not alright and little lies turn into bigger lies and there we go. So inspired by you Rebekah, thankful to God for you. Love, Ladona

Kelly George said...

I really, really needed this today - thank you! And thank you for sharing your story about the scratches on the car. I've had to do that several times (hit a curb, backed into the front yard, scratched the wheels, broke the radio button, etc.) and I also was tempted in some cases to blame someone else. Of course my husband still loved me (and I still love him when he makes a mistake, too!) I hope everyone is having a great day!

Anonymous said...

Love this!!

DO NOT LIE...was ingrained in me as a child!

"You will get in more trouble for lying than telling the truth"....yep, and somehow they always knew the truth and the consequence aka spanking was not worth the lie!

I could get away with just about anything but a lie!! The result----> I can be too honest sometimes, to the extreme of hurting another's feelings!! This, I still work on!

But to this day, that is one thing I cannot stand....a lie!

AND....One thing our children have caught on to real quick! I, now the parent, can tell when my sweet little angels are not telling the truth!

Funny how things come full circle!!

I wonder if this is how God feels! He tells us not to lie, all the while he ALWAYS know the truth! Even if we do not lie out loud but do it secretly to ourselves without anyone knowing....you know what I am talking about...those little lies that won't hurt anyone.....finding money in the parking lot and keeping it rather than turning it in because we think the person we turn it in to will keep it anyway, taking a few dollars from our employer and justify it by saying we work hard and deserve it, using time on the work clock to spend time on Facebook instead of time on task, ..............you get my point.........it does not matter if anyone else knows or if we can justify it.........HE KNOWS the truth!


I am sure Bekah could have made up a little tale about the car and her hubby would have believed her.....but knowing Bekah, the facade would have made her sick and not worth it!!

Let's Check ourselves: Is there some area in our life that we have made a little or big story up to avoid the truth??? If so, the consequences are not worth the cover up!!!

The truth shall set you free!!

We are told to "throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us!" (this verse keeps popping up for me!)

1 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, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3

LIES....big, small, white, tall tales, little....whatever form they take....man can they hinder and entangles us like nothing else!

Let's fix our eyes on Jesus Shine girls...run the race God has marked out for us and do so with perseverance, endurance, and truth!!!

Finding myself convicted daily...
Kim J

Rebekah Hudgins Vepraskas said...

I love this verse, Kim, thank you!!!! :)

Lisa said...

One of the best blog entries I have ever read. I'm totally serious.

Thank you Rebekah, I got a lot out of this.

Love you so.

Anonymous said...

Well written Kim, love you. Ladona