Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Decisions and Seeking God

"Israel went out to meet the Philistines in battle and camped at Ebenezer while the Philistines camped at Aphek. The Philistines lined up in battle formation against Israel, and as the battle intensified, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who struck down about four thousand men on the battlefield."

"When the troops returned to the camp, the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord defeat us today before the Philistines? Let’s bring the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Shiloh. Then it will go with us and save us from our enemies.” So the people sent men to Shiloh to bring back the ark of the covenant of the Lord of Armies, who is enthroned between the cherubim. Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God."  (1 Sam. 4:1-4)

Have you ever made a decision that did not turn out so well? Whom did you consult to help you with the decision? Did you take time to prepare and pray to God?

Israel decided to go into battle against the Philistines and both times they get slaughtered. When we see why it makes sense. Even more, when we follow the same pattern as them, we can see why we sometimes face "defeat" in decisions we make. Two reasons come up that show me why Israel was defeated.

Israel did not seek God's will to fight

Whether the prophet/priest Samuel gave a word or not or the elders just decided, it is clear Israel made a decision to fight without the proper consultation with God. God established rules for the people to follow before engaging in war. (1) He must go before them as their sovereign king and (2) they are to purify themselves through the proper rituals as a part of the preparation for God be amongst them and to fight. Neither of these is done. Even more, they eventually have the corrupt sons of Eli to "lead" them. Nothing they have done has indicated they want to honor God or truly desire Him to lead them.

What are the decisions we make without first talking to God about? Prayer and preparation have always been key components to major decisions of one's life or within the church. Often, disciples or Jesus Himself could be found fasting, praying, and seeking solitude in order to prepare for what is to come. The same is said of the godly leaders found throughout the Old Testament. It is about honoring God as the sovereign king of our lives and trusting that He knows what is best for us above what we even think is best. When we are hasty in decisions and do not properly seek God, the impact and consequences could be great.  

They try to use God as a commodity

After the first defeat, the elders get the idea to bring out the Ark of the Covenant because God's presence is with it. While God did use it to symbolize His presence among the people, it was not the only resting place of His presence. So, the people bring it out and hope that it (the Ark) will save them. It is possible the "it" in Scripture could be translated as he, but it is ambiguous. This tells us that somewhere along the way what was a symbol of God's presence became a god to them. Andrew Blackwood states, "First, men said that God was in the Ark. Then they insisted that God was the Ark. Later they assumed that the Ark was God. Hence they relied on the Ark as a substitute for the God of their fathers." Once the symbol became God, God became something controllable and manipulated by them to their will. Instead of asking and waiting for God to approve what is happening, they now try to bring God into their plans. They basically said, "Okay God, we got us here and now we need you to come into this mess and go ahead and bless it." An attitude like this happens when we can "mold God to what we want".

When we do not properly seek God and understand who He is, we make grave mistakes like this. Even more, we make even good things like music, buildings, or people our "chosen god". We turn possessions or experiences of this world into idols. In addition, when we desire these other things over God it can lead us to find leaders who are willing to compromise. The elders allowed spiritually corrupt men to lead them in Eli's sons. They are not proper leaders and have compromised their relationship with God and are leading the people to do the same. We must be careful to remember who God is and who we are to Him. Misplaced perspective such as 1 Sam. 4 teaches can lead to great very serious consequences.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

"Life Worship"

"I understand that God has saved my life through the work and sacrifice of Jesus and He mercifully saved me." This is the person who through intellect or knowledge of Scripture what salvation means. This is only in the head. When true faith and salvation impacts the heart and life is when it is lived out as Paul presents in this verse. "Paul now reveals [the body of the believer] to be the ultimate key to the practice of the victorious Christian life. It is of little avail to know theoretically the truths of Romans 6-8 (or other Scripture) if the body(the practical outworking) is not surrendered so that the life of Christ can be expressed in the everyday affairs of life." (John Phillips)

The life lived in Christ is marked as holy and pleasing to God that is worship of Christ. To be holy is to be set apart, consecrated, devoted to God. The implications are 2 fold:
1. Sinful actions and lifestyle are entirely opposed to the life that is holy and pleasing to God. We usually apply this well. In youth ministry we see this summed up for students by the "big dont's"- don't do drugs, don't have sex before marriage, don't be mean to people, etc. However, lifestyle is just the revealed attitude of one's life. How you live is determined by your heart. So, if you are a bitter person, your heart may be racked with anger. This example is to help see that action alone is not the sole issue of sin. Attitude of the heart, the root cause of behavior is just revealed in how we live.
2. Though things of this world may not be sinful to participate in, the question of does it please God and reveal His holiness through me is key. I believe Paul wants his readers to see that living a life of worship for Jesus is of far greater value than our desires. I may choose to not participate in certain things because it could affect my witness of my life as worship of Jesus, even though I may have the freedom to do those things. What is of greater value for you and me? My wants or desires that I am free to participate in or my life as worship of Christ? Can I be willing to sacrifice what I want for the sake of Christ?

Hobbies are good, but if they force me to neglect my spiritual duties (lead family or lead church) or callings, they interfere with my "life worship".
Media such as music, movies, or books are of value to a point. But if the content conforms me more to the world rather than Christ, my worship is hindered.
Work, education, sports, travel, possessions, and money all are perhaps necessary or elements of life that can be important, but if they replace Christ they are now the object of my worship and my life will reflect as such. 

So, the call of Paul is to live a life of worship that is pleasing to Him. It is not what we do on a Sunday morning alone that is worship. How we conduct our lives are actually greater elements of worship. Think about this: the 3rd commandment is to not take the Lord's name in vain. We associate that with not cussing to saying "God" or "Jesus" like curses. However, to claim Christ as Savior and Lord and to not live a life worthy of worship to Him is also to take the Lord's name in vain. It is in fact the name of Jesus we call out to to be saved. It is the name of Jesus we claim who changed us.

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Intersection

"Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God--which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures--" Romans 1:1-2

In 5th grade, I had my intersection moment. I grew up in church for the most part and heard the gospel. But one evening in my room I lay in bed and suddenly it was pressed upon my heart that I was devoid of God truly present in my life. I had sin that separated me from Him and I needed Jesus. I wept as the conviction of my sin was made clear and my need. I prayed and asked God to intersect my life, to take over and make me what He desired. I was not in church when this happened. I was not in the middle of some amazing worship service that led me to hear from the Person of Jesus. No, I was in the quiet of the night, just me and Him. It was an experience, one I cannot deny, one that has put me on a path of a changed life forever.

Paul is writing to a church and in these first couple verses he is establishing who he is and the "credentials" of his authority to write the church. However, I find something deeper present. Paul writes about an intersection. An intersection is a point at which two or more things intersect or cross or meet. The "Paul intersection" is more about two paths of life that were perpendicular to each other that became parallel. Paul says he is a servant of Christ, called as an apostle, and set apart for the gospel of God. James Edwards of the New International Biblical Commentary says, "Here are two planes of reality. There is Paul, a human being who belongs to the same world we do; and there is God, who is beyond our world and yet intersects it with the gospel of Jesus Christ." (26) God breaks into our world all the time, intersecting with us, bringing us His gospel, His grace! For Paul, this intersection experience was so strong that Edwards describes it as such, "The preeminence of that encounter forever changed his orientation, and at a deeper level his self-understanding." (28) Essentially, Paul belongs to Jesus, his allegiance is to Jesus alone. In reading this I have found two important elements critical to understanding our intersection with Jesus, our salvation moment if you will.

You Don't Possess the Gospel, It Possesses You

Edwards relates that the for Paul the above heading was indicative of his life. Here is why it is important for us to understand this. If we can possess the gospel of our own doing then it becomes of us. This means we bear the right to make the gospel what we want it to be. The gospel can become a social justice gospel alone that centers upon humanitarian aid. Social justice certainly is a part of the gospel, but it is not central and not something we get to direct as such. If we possess the gospel we can make it works based on our standards. If we possess it, then my standards I place on myself I get to place on you. The problem is I couldn't even keep my standards if I tried--even if I set the bar extremely low--so how could I expect others to keep them too? If the gospel is just a "get out of hell free" card or an adherence to "simple" church traditions that I want it to be, then I have made the gospel about works I can achieve. Or, I can make the gospel about a set of theological ideas that I grasp intellectually, but in my heart and in practice they mean little when I possess the gospel and I am not possessed by it. In fact, the gospel is more than any of these things I have listed. It is more than an idea I accept in my life. It is much deeper and more alive than that. Much like my intersection experience, I was not intellectually assenting to some theological ideas. I was intersecting with the alive, ever present God. Which leads to the second element.

"The gospel is really not a thing, but a person, Jesus Christ."

Edwards states the above heading from his commentary and this is key! If the gospel is a person, and a person a part of the Triune Godhead, then I can't possess it/Him. But...He can possess me!! This is what makes the gospel alive. Not a bunch of theological ideas (though necessary), but that the living, active God has and is intersecting in my life and yours. Perhaps this is why many churches in America have been found lifeless because they have made the gospel devoid of the one thing, the only Person who can give it and us life: Jesus. I am reminded of the church at Laodecia in the book of Revelation. They are devoid of anything that resembles what Jesus desired of them. They are called to repent, to turn back to Him. Not ideas, not a cool worship style, not the good old day hymns, not more service, not a church potluck, a new program, but Him. He says that He stands at their door and knocks waiting for them to open the door to let Him in. Only then, can true redemption, true transformation can take place.

Take some time to reflect on how you have understood the gospel. Has it been a mere idea that you just believed? Was it simply just some prayer you prayed without an understanding of the Person of Christ? If you believe, but have a flatness in your faith currently, could you need a reawakening to the Person of Jesus?

Monday, October 22, 2018

Walking Away From God

Zephaniah 3:1-2
Woe to the city that is rebellious[a] and defiled,
the oppressive city!
She has not obeyed;
she has not accepted discipline.
She has not trusted in the Lord;
she has not drawn near to her God.

Israel has yet again decided to rebel against God. God has warned, extended His corrective discipline and still they walk away from Him. Honestly, this kind of sounds like my kids at times. They know the "rules", rebel against it, are disciplined, and then decided to do it again. Sometimes the discipline actually works, even if my wife and I don't see it right away. In the case of Israel and in this passage of Zephaniah, they didn't accept the discipline and are walking away from God. Micah Fries in the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary says there is a pattern of walking away from God present in verse 2. I agree and it was the focus of my quiet time this morning. So, here are the steps and individual or even an entire nation can take in walking away from God.


Obedience to God is less about living morally good lives or checking off a list the things God wants of us. It is more about living life His way and reflecting the character and nature of God. If we are called out by Him to be His representatives through salvation offered in Jesus; then His name is at stake in us. Through obedience we represent the name and character of God that is found in His Word. This is the first step to take in walking away from God. Being obedient keeps us consistent with His way and His Word and close to Him. It allows for the relationship with God to flourish and our connection to be strong.

Reject Discipline

If the character and name of God are represented through us, then He has every right to discipline us. Discipline from God is corrective, to change our hearts and nature of our being, not just to change behavior. Ultimately, discipline is to lead us to Jesus to rest and trust in His grace and salvation. Discipline is in fact an act of love. Like a parent He lovingly corrects us to Himself. Why? God loves us enough to meet us where we are, but not to keep us there. He knows and can see who we can be in Him and strives to lead us that way. My oldest son at times can be the hardest of our children to discipline. I can come down hard on him at times, but I also see how he can be a great leader. I can see who he can be, if he would just listen and follow. Therefore, I strive in love to correct him and lead him. He has to be willing to follow that discipline and lead though. If we have begun a life of disobedience, rejection of His discipline that will follow disobediecne is easier. In fact, we have a choice to make. We can either accept the discipline and our lives be redirected back to obedience or we can reject and find ourselves taking the next steps.

Distrust God

The heart of disobedience is rejectin God's way; His character of holiness in our lives and living our own way. This does something to our hearts. We begin to trust in ourselves or perhaps in other things not worthy of our trust. In addition, when God disciplines, we can either push further in or away from Him. To take this step in walking away is to push away, to move our trust from Him. Typically we reject God and no longer trust because we no longer believe His discipline was fair or good. Usually we form in our mind that He Himself is no longer good and able to be trusted. In fact the opposite is true. It is for our good that He disciplines and shows that He loves us enough to discipline which should lead us to trust in Him more. Moreover, He is consistent with who He says He is. God isn't changing the rules for His chosen people here is Zephaniah because they are His chosen people. If He did, that would make him fickle and untrustworthy. Unfortunately, as we step further away from God we don't always see it that way.

Move Away From God

If all the other three steps are in place, this is the natural course to go. Truly, we should push into God more, especially when He disciplines, but we can find ourselves drawn away. The relationship at this point is damaged. Our hearts are cold and hard by this point and it is much harder to return back to Him. It is not impossible, but it does become difficult. We now carry more baggage and habits that just hinder a reconnection. The good news is God is powerful and willing to go to great lengths to help us return, to reconcile what is broken. We just have to want it.

Inverse the Process

Ironically, if we inverse the process of walking away and make it positive steps, we can find ourselves on a path of return.
1. Draw Near- When we draw near, He will draw near to us
2. Trust in Him- As we draw near, we see who God really is and begin to trust once again.
3. Accept His Discipline- When we see the character of God correctly and the relationship is restored, discpline can be accepted easier and our hearts our softer and moldable to His way.
4. Be Obedient- As we obey, we reflect the nature and character of God. We find ourselves is right relationship and it becomes a joy to follow.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Handling the Judgment of God

Struggling with God's Judgment

I have always struggled with reading through the prophets in the Bible and understanding the judgment of God. It seems so harsh and punitive. Rightly so, it is because the people have rebelled against Him. The harder aspect for me has been when He speaks of wiping out His own people. In relation to being a believer, it can seem that God is precarious and willing to take back that salvation He offers. As I have begun a study in the book of Zephaniah, I have learned a different perspective.

"I will stretch out my hand against Judah

and against all the residents of Jerusalem.
I will cut off every vestige of Baal
from this place,
the names of the pagan priests
along with the priests;
those who bow in worship on the rooftops
to the stars in the sky;
those who bow and pledge loyalty to the Lord
but also pledge loyalty to Milcom..." Zeph. 1:4-5

The people of God have turned from Him and followed and replaced Him with false gods. Gods that led the people to pursue comfort, wealth, and political influence that led to compromise. So, God speaks of His coming judgment, not just on the general population, but on His own people. This is hard because we want to see God as loving and merciful God alone. That He is, but sometimes "our vision and affections need adjusting so that we can focus on Christ." (Fries, Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary, 6). So, why bring judgment on His people? Especially on believers today who are covered by the grace and salvation of Christ?

Judgment is not punitive

Judgment for the believer is not punitive as the debt has been paid through the sacrifice of Jesus. It is finished by the cross. Fries helped me understand this better through Romans 8:1-2, "Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit's law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death." Fries explains, "In other words, while Christians may still sin, God's response to their sin has changed. Specifically, God will not punitively discipline His children." (Ibid,6) Judgment on believers is to correct. To change the nature and heart of the believer to reflect Him more. Again Fries helps, "God is going to judge the people that He loves, mainly because they have begun functioning as those who are not His own." (Ibid, 5) For those outside of Jesus's grace and salvation, judgment is punitive as a choice is made to reject that which was provided. So, for the believer judgment is seen in their life is designed to correct for a change of heart and nature rather than a punishment for the sake of damages done by disobedience.

Judgment is for the integrity of God

One of the 10 commandments is to not take the Lord's name in vain (Ex. 20:7). Jesus also spoke in His famous sermon that when we take an oath our yes should be yes and no should be no (Matthew 5:37). To claim Jesus by name and yet reject His character in our lives is to "defame the name of God (Ibid, 8). Fries explains, "WHen we misrepresent the name and character of God, we are not only guilty of engaging in a form of character assassination, we are guilty of preaching a false gospel (Ibid, 8). As the God of all things, the Scripture is clear that God deserves all glory and honor. If He is going to put His "name on the line" as we become His representatives (2 Cor. 5:11-21), then He bears the right to correct us for the sake of His integrity. 

Our Response

The cost of following God is actually high, but the question is whether its worth it. Even more, when God brings judgment on us as a corrective measure we are left with a decision. Do we accept it and pursue change or reject it? Both carry a cost, but which one is greater to us?

Thursday, May 17, 2018

How Did I Get Here?

Have you ever had that moment driving where you got to your destination and don't fully remember how you got there? Most of the time that happens because we travel a route so much, it just becomes a part of life. We may be focused or thinking about other things and our destination or the route we are on is not even a part of our thoughts. I have done this a few times and it is scary.

What if we can do this spiritually?

I was reading through the book of Jeremiah and came across a very interesting set of verses:
 "Yet my people have forgotten me. They burn incense to worthless idols that make them stumble in their ways on the ancient roads, and make them walk on new paths, not the highway. They have made their land a horror, a perpetual object of scorn; all who pass by it will be appalled and shake their heads. I will scatter them before the enemy like the east wind. I will show them my back and not my face on the day of their calamity" (Jer. 18:15-17)
God is essentially saying to His people through Jeremiah that spiritually, Israel has found themselves in a progression of spiritual apathy that finalized into turning away from God. Today we read and hear about so many young people "walking away" from the Christian faith or the Church. I admit that much of the reasoning is nuanced and not as black and white as some might want to paint the picture to be. However, I think the progression here in Jeremiah can be a factor to what we see today. Some of the factors are the personal responsibility of individuals and some the passing down of a lackluster faith. So, here are some steps I see that we can fall into that leads to spiritual apathy or walking away.

"Forgotten God..."

The beginning of verse 15 God says the people have forgotten Him. How does one forget God? Especially, one as personal as the God of Israel is and interacts with them? I think a good explanation could be the people are no longer being informed by the Person and Word of God. People can forget God as we allow our lives to become distracted with so much. I am more convinced that people in and out of churches are constantly consuming copious amounts of information without much reflection or processing. Even more, that information we consume is less about God and His way and slowly we become less concerned about God and His Word. Thus, our hearts and minds are more informed by whatever social media tells us, what Fox News or CNN informs us to believe, or whatever the next big entertainer "preaches" as the "flavor of the month" truth.

I remember much of life before cell phones, social media, technology like we see today, and we still found ourselves filling our lives with other things than God. However, it feels like there was more time for me to think and reflect on life. Perhaps my experiences were just different. I used to paint apartments for a seminary as a teen and young adult for several years. It was a great job because I would spend many hours alone. I would have music going, but I remember having time to think about life. In fact, it was in those years that I eventually discovered a call to ministry by God.

What consumes your time the most? Does it replace time thinking, interacting with the Person and Word of God? If so, you might be on the first step to spiritual apathy or walking away.

"Burn incense to worthless idols..."

Once our lives are less informed by the Person and Word of God and perhaps more informed by other things, action follows what informs us. The people of God became informed by the religions around them, the false gods that were worshiped. The result was taking action to worship those gods. So, what primarily informs our hearts and minds leads to dominating actions. Essentially, it is worship of something even if indirectly. I remember when I was younger how I filled my life with so much entertainment. Movies, music, gaming, etc became a staple in my life. They were not bad in of themselves, but I had a moment of clarity when my friends and I spent 12 hours one Saturday playing video games. I asked the group, "What are we doing?"! We made our time about us, our desires, and about what we were informed that teenage guys are supposed to do.

What consumes our time past an ordinary amount? Work, busyness, sports, gaming, keeping up appearances, people, etc.? All of these can replace our worship of God and become our worship. Here's the thing. Our faith is only as strong as the object of our worship. So, if your faith is struggling, if the worship of God is boring compared to other things in this world; is it possible that the object of your faith is something other than God? Once we replace God, we are on the next step of apathetic spirituality or walking away from faith.

"Stumble...move from ancient paths..."

Most who claim faith in God typically do not desire to move away from Him, but it happens ever so subtly. Truly, when we forget about God, we replace Him with idols, our final step is a life that no longer looks like what Christ desires His people to be. The Israelites have strayed from the ways God provided for them. His way of life, the path of righteousness, of living that was ultimately best for them. Yet, somehow that path appeared irrelevant to them now, maybe even archaic. The new way of life they took on must have been appealing, but was it the best? We will stumble on our path of life all the time. However, if we are not informed by the Person and Word of God and we fill our lives with other "informants" of idolatry, it becomes all the harder to get back to our original path found in God.

The Final Result

When the people of God get caught in this progression of sin and spiritual apathy it creates problems for all people. God reveals how the Israelites have made their land a horror and they are an object of scorn by others. A people who once followed a God so closely and claimed His power are now walking away from Him. How foolish and hypocritical that must look to the outsiders. In addition, if the ways of God are not being lived out and passed down to the next generations, the land will end up in disarray. So, please reflect and consider: If I claim a radical, life-changing salvation found in Jesus Christ and yet don't show/live that radical life change, what am I speaking to others, especially those who don't know Him? How have I subtly moved from a life for God to something that is filled with more than Him? How will that impact my family, my community, my church, possibly my nation? There is so much at stake living mediocre, apathetic life for God. See that what we are called to by God is something greater than us and something that makes a great impact in this world!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Dressed For Death

"And you, devastated one, what are you doing

that you dress yourself in scarlet,

that you adorn yourself with gold jewelry,
that you enhance your eyes with makeup?
You beautify yourself for nothing.
Your lovers reject you;

they intend to take your life" Jeremiah 4:30

To fully understand the context of this verse and the title of this blog, the context from chapters 1-5 of Jeremiah are needed. Basically, the nation of Israel began walking away from the ways of God. He chose them to represent Him and to follow Him and they start following the gods of other nations. The prophet Jeremiah is called to speak to this nation and persuade them that if they do not turn back, destruction will follow. A destruction that comes from God, but also destruction from their own doing. This is where Jeremiah 4:30 comes into play.

Have you ever had to dress up for something in order to impress someone? Perhaps prom comes to mind, a date, maybe a wedding, or a meeting for work. What was the intended purpose to dress that way? Was it to work something to your advantage? Was it to catch the eye of that special someone? We dress to impress in order to "cover" those elements about us that are ordinary, that could be less impressive or are just plain ugly. Israel is called to repent, to turn from their ugly, sinful ways and back to God and His ways. If they don't a local nation will come in and take over their nation. They will be a people without a home. Instead of heeding God's warning, they "dress to impress" those they have been in a relationship with instead of God. In reality, they are only dressing for death, both physically and spiritually.

How often do we "dress to impress" spiritually either to others or before God?

Spiritually we can draw on a couple of points:

We cannot bring about our own salvation or life change.

Israel is refusing God's way of salvation that starts with repentance from their ways. Instead, they are hoping to impress those around them, woo them to keep from taking over their nation. Note that in the verse above that God calls them "devasted one" and that the other nations plan to take their lives. He knows what is going to happen. He is extending grace by His means and they reject it. We see this all the time with people who refuse the gospel, but what about those who believe? Remember, these people know God, they acknowledge Him...at least by word they do. When we refuse to accept God's way of salvation (both the initial moment and the continued process of removing the old way of life) and we try our own way we are only "dressing for death". Sin and the Enemy desires nothing more than to destroy to "death" our personal walk, our marriages, our parenting, our jobs, our kingdom impact, our church community, etc. Instead of adorning ourselves to look good, to put on a show, we must get real and raw with God and deal with the sin present in our lives. Only in Christ can it be redeemed and taken care of.

Repentance is more than just a one-time event

Often we treat repentance with the initial moment that one accepts Jesus as their Savior and Lord. Through Israel's example, we can see that repentance happens more than that. Repentance is about a posture spiritually just as much as it is a moment in time. God is big enough and able to handle our mishaps and mess ups, that's why Jesus died on the cross. But, when we refuse to accept the humble posture of dying to self daily, of recognizing that we are still a work in progress we can end up dressing to impress. We can try to impress others or even God by making our spiritual life look so "good" that we are just fine. We begin to try to cover up those undesirable things, those ugly things spiritually that actually hurt us. We become devastated by it and that sin intends to take our life. This means we need to make confession and repentance a daily action and conversation with God. We need to let God wreak havoc over our hearts in order to allow life to be brought in. 

Therefore, I am convinced that the altar that preachers call people to in order to do their spiritual business with God is just as much for believers as it is those who need to "get right with Jesus". Just because we make a confession of belief initially does not mean we are done with repentance. It just means we are covered by the work and death of Jesus. He stands before the Father and says we are no longer condemned. But our fickle hearts need constant redirection back to God's way found in His Word and a reminder of what Jesus has done on our behalf. So, make your life one of continued confession and repentance. I bet you will find a refreshing in your spirit.