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Someone once said, “Yesterday is a cancelled check, tomorrow is a promissory note, today is cash, spend it wisely.” One of life’s greatest tragedies is missed opportunities.. who knows how many great books go unwritten, how many inventions are unseen, how many great songs go unsung because thier authors never got around to it; didn’t believe they had anything​to offer, or had no one to encourage them to go forward. Worse today! Make every moment count to the glory of Christ who indwells, empowers and sustains you.

the easy pathThere is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. Proverbs 14:12

When I was in high school I remember leaving my girlfriend’s house and heading home. I was one of those first nice days of early spring and even though it was well past sunset, I decided to take the long road home. There was a road, well, more like a path through a section of woods that I decided to try. This path was a favorite ‘stopping point’ for high school couples. I was never plowed, so it was closed in the long winter months.

I noticed some tire tracks so I decided it must be open and turned cautiously down the road. At first, it was nothing but mud and ruts. The tire tracks stopped and it was obvious that whoever had been down this road had turned back…but not me.

As I rounded the curve I began to have second thoughts. Then my headlights showed what appeared to be clear sailing over a smooth level bed of snow. What I didn’t know, but would soon find out, is that the snow covered a thin layer of ice incapable of supporting the weight of my car. I came to a stop. There car refused to go forward or backward. I realized I was stuck so I opened the door to get out. When I did so water and chunks of ice flowed in. I closed the door, opened the window, climbed over the car and jumped to safety.

The next day we called a tow truck and had the car removed from the water and ice. I learned a valuable lesson that day. The road that looks smooth isn’t always what it appears to be. Sometimes the rugged road of ruts and mud is much safer.

Life is a lot like that road I traveled. Sometimes we struggle to get through the mud and ruts and shout with glee when the road ahead appears to offer smooth sailing. Then, we find out that smooth sailing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!

It’s no wonder that Jesus warns us about tough times ahead. It’s no wonder that New Testament writers encourage us to rejoice when we go through trials. The narrow, rugged path is often best because it forces us to rely on God to see us through.

The world screams at us to look for the easy way out. The age of entitlement tells us what we deserve and it’s always good…at first. But God’s ways, even though they are hard, are always the best ways.

Be encouraged. Whatever struggle you are going through now isn’t meant to defeat you. Rather, it is brought into your life to make you stronger and to show you how strong your God really is. God’s way isn’t the easiest way, but it’s always the best way.

PRAYER: Father God. Even though it’s hard to do, I thank you for the ruts in my road because they remind me I’m much safer with you than I am on the road the world tells me is easiest. Thank you for the strength I receive through Jesus Christ and your Holy Spirit. Amen.



Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

Imagine what it would be like if you were caught red-handed in a crime. You were arrested and brought to jail, and then before the judge. There was no way out. You were guilty. The judge knows it, everyone knows it. Your crime carries the punishment of life in prison with no hope of parole. In essence your life is over. All the freedom, all the dreams, all the hopes for your future have been dashed by this one desperate and stupid decision.

Now imagine that while you are standing before the judge he stands up, comes around the bench and stands beside you. He states to all in the court room that He, Himself, will take full responsibility for your actions. As a result, you are free to go. The judge not only removes the penalty for your sin, but, with the power vested in his position he removes your criminal record as well. You are free to go with no record of any wrong doing. Awesome!

You leave the court room that day and go directly to the local office supply store and by a lanyard to hang around your neck. You hang a sign from your neck that says, “Guilty. Sentenced to life in prison” in big bold letters. Everyone you come in contact with sees the sign and avoids you. If, by chance they don’t see it, you point it out to them, making sure they are aware of your despicable crime.

Everyday that lanyard reminds you of your failure. Some days the weight of it is almost more than you can bear. It keeps you from pursuing your dreams. It affects the relationships you have now, and keeps you from moving ahead to build new, vibrant relationships.  Eventually, the weight of the lanyard is too much. You lose it all.

One day you are sitting on the curb and you hear a voice behind you. You turn to see the judge who pardoned you. He has a completely shocked look on his face and asks you what you are doing here. You show him the lanyard and explain how its weight has completely destroyed your life.

The judge sits down on the curb beside you. Gently he reaches around and takes the lanyard from your neck. The relief you feel when the weight of the lanyard is gone is unbelievable. “Thank you!” You say to the judge. He puts his arm around your shoulder and looks into your eyes. “You were never meant to bear this burden,” he says as he looks you straight in the eyes, “I took this from you once. Why take it back. You are free. Now, go! Go enjoy the freedom of life!” With that he takes the lanyard and destroys it before your very eyes and you feel freedom like you have never felt before.

That’s what it means to be free of condemnation. When the apostle Paul penned Romans 8:1 he wanted us to know that we are free. We don’t need to be tied to the sins of our past. They are done. They have been removed by the judge. You are free because of Jesus Christ to enjoy life, to pursue your dreams and to grow healthy strong relationships with those around you.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. Thank you for taking my sin on the cross. Thank you that I no longer have to be burdened by the mistakes of my past. You know I have made many mistakes, hurt people and destroyed the trust of many. Please forgive me for those sins. I praise you that I am no longer condemned. Empower me to live life free of the feelings of condemnation. I hereby give you my lanyard. Amen.

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August 2022
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