No Condemnation. No Separation: Learning How to Live With a Clean Slate In Christ

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The eighth chapter of Romans begins with No Condemnation and ends with No Separation. You are not Condemned – you are Called. You are no longer Carnal – you are being continually Conformed to the image of Christ. You are not Jacked up – You are Justified.

Let’s look at the following verses in Romans Chapter 8 in both the New English Translation and The Message Translation to get a deeper understanding of how we can finally learn to walk free from the condemnation of our past.

here is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8: 1-2 (NET).

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. Romans 8: 1-2 (MSG).

What does this mean for us in our daily lives full of struggles? It means that we don’t have to walk around condemning and judging ourselves for everything we have done wrong in the past or what we still may do today as we grow in God.

Christ took care of our mess on the cross. We don’t have to live under the stigma and stain of always feeling guilty, always waiting on God to beat us up over the head over something we did. We don’t have to walk around in fear of punishment all the time. We don’t have to condemn ourselves and inflict our own self-punishment anymore. Christ took care of the punishment we deserve on the cross.

The trick of the adversary is to get us to beat ourselves up, think about how bad we’ve been, wait for the consequences we think we deserve, and worry that because we of what we did that we don’t deserve for God to bless us. We believe that because of a particular sin that happened back in 2001 is why certain negative circumstances exist in our lives today.

We cut off our own blessings and refuse the grace of God because we still want to live in the past. As a man thinketh in his heart so is he, so if we continually think about our sin we are continually conscious of our sin all the time. We magnify the sin instead of God and we remain stuck, powerless Christians going to church without any real change in our lives. We can easily wind up being the kind of Christian that will never rise above his or her sin-consciousness to having a rewarding, righteous, and joyful lifestyle of being a blessing to others and the kingdom of God. This kind of Christian is no threat to the enemy.

Further in the passage we read that:

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how we should pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes on behalf of the saints according to God’s will.

Yes, we are weak in our own strength. We know the thoughts that we think. We know our own personal struggles and issues. But God! As shown above, He helps us in our weakness. He knows what the real deal is with us – the things no one else knows and we sometimes try to hide from ourselves. Yet, in his love and mercy, Christ intercedes for us daily. On top of that He works to ensure that ALL things are continually working together for our good.

And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.

It is not our job to figure out how He is going to do it. It is not our job to attempt to piece together the puzzle of our life. He knows his original intention for our lives before we were even conceived in the womb. He knew what it would take to conform us to the image of Christ once we accepted Him into our hearts. He has predetermined our destinies, called us to be who He created us to be, and justified us in spite of ourselves.

With that said, it is critical for us as believers to stop allowing the Enemy of our souls free reign to capture our thinking at will. Where our thoughts go, our emotions and our mouth follows. Jesus died for us to walk in complete and total freedom without the tyranny of past or even present sins, struggles and issues hanging over our heads and running out of our mouths.

Finally, we read:

No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In the midst of every struggle, we are to know deep within our souls that we are being continually transformed to the image of Christ. Therein lies the reason for the struggle. Without the struggle we would not change. This is where the “all things come together for good” comes in. All of the struggles are working together for our good. While we are struggling he has graced us to overcome the struggle through the power of the Holy Spirit. He wants us to not condemn ourselves and to know we have been called and chosen to do what He has equipped us to do for such a time as this. We can walk out our collective destinies knowing that we are profoundly loved without condemnation and that absolutely nothing can separate us from Him. There is therefore now No Condemnation and No Separation for them who are called, chosen and justified in Christ.

(Image source:http://spiritualinspiration.tumblr.com/post/43716366379/therefore-there-is-now-no-condemnation-for-those)

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Regroup, Redefine, Recalibrate & Recover! The 4 Things You Must Do to Keep Moving Forward

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Are you feeling scattered, unguarded, upset and unprepared as you close out this year? Did you learn anything from the hardships and circumstances in which you found yourself?  Was there anything done that could have been done differently?  Did you make the right decision?  What series of steps got you to this place right now?  What are you planning to do differently going forward and how in the world do you plan to do it?  To enter into the New Year with a fresh perspective and resolve, we must to do the following:

REGROUP.

And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. (I Samuel 30:6)

The word regroup is a military term which means to come back together in a tactical formation after dispersal in a retreat.  It also means to reorganize for renewed effort after a temporary setback.  In the scripture above, David and his troops came back home to Ziklag to find that the Amalekites had burned down the city and taken captive their wives, sons and daughters.  David and his men wept so badly that they did not have any tears left.  On top of that, his grief-stricken troops were thinking of stoning him to death.  Instead of getting swallowed up in the sea of grief, David chose to regroup by encouraging himself in the Lord.

Oftentimes in our lives, it is necessary to regroup after we have undergone a situation which caused us to scatter, use up and disperse our strength.  We find it necessary to regroup ourselves mentally, emotional and spiritually after we have taken a “hit” from the enemy so to speak.  If you have undergone several battles, obstacles, unforeseen events within this past year and have not taken the time to sit still before God and gather your spiritual and emotional strength, you will not be able to walk into the New Year with confident expectation, but rather you will walk into the New Year still scattered, unguarded and weak. Not only did David encourage himself in the Lord as part of his regrouping experience, but he went on to ask the Lord what he should do next.

REDEFINE.

And David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? Shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all….

Prior to the Ziklag experience, David had just been told to leave the Philistines because they did not trust him to fight on their side.  They were afraid that because he was Hebrew and still a servant of King Saul that he would later defect and turn against them.  After he was told to leave the Philistines first thing in the morning, he goes to Ziklag and finds the city burned and his wives taken captive.  Undoubtedly, this must have been a very low point for him.  He was anointed to be King of Israel, but here he was running in the wilderness from King Saul.  He tried to work for the Philistines who just rejected him and now everything he has is burned up and his wives are gone.

For this great and mighty warrior to ask God whether or not he should pursue the enemy seems to be rather odd.  He must have struggled mightily within himself regarding his calling, his identity and whether or not God was really on his side and if he really was ever going to be king of anything other than the rag tag group of warriors who wanted to stone him. Just like King David, once we have taken the time to regroup ourselves, it is now time to redefine and get clear again on Whose We Are and Why We Are Here — our purpose.  Is your “Who” tied up and wrapped up in your “Do”?  In other words are you defining yourself based on your natural performance and what “they” think?  In this past year did you define yourself based on how others perceived/saw/said about you or did you define yourself based on what God said about You?  Did you define your purpose as something that you have to “DO” in life or did you define your purpose as a state of actually BEING the person God created you to be?

In spite of the bitter blows to his identity as a future King through the Philistine rejection, the wilderness wanderings and the burn down of Ziklag, the Lord still tells him to pursue. God had to let this battle-fatigued mighty Man of God, Warrior, Future King that yes indeed, he shall pursue.  Yes, indeed God was still with him. Yes indeed, he is still called and yes indeed, he is still anointed! His identity is not wrapped up in his current bleak circumstances.  It is not wrapped up in his title.  It is not wrapped up in his performance as a leader.  It is, however, wrapped up in Him who is the Head of all principalities and powers (Col 2:10).  David is God’s workmanship created by Him for preordained good works (Eph 2:10).  In God, David lives and moves and has all his of his being (Acts 17:28).   God Almighty is the author and finisher of David’s faith and David’s story, not the Philistines, not King Saul, nor the Amalekites (Heb 12:1).

Getting very clear on this is important because it will enable to you live your life intentionally and on purpose.  Redefining yourself according to God’s view and what He has placed in YOU will make it much easier for you to make decisions that line up God’s intention for your life.  Being fully confident in Who You Are and Whose You Are enables to you to design the life you want to live and you will not be caught up with every thought, idea, notion, plan, etc. that other people may thrust upon you.  You will not be easily swayed into the crowd mentality of what “they said” and what “they are doing”.   Living this way will help us to identify people and situations that cannot cross over with us into the next season.

RECALIBRATE.

So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, and came to the brook Besor, where those that were left behind stayed. But David pursued, he and four hundred men: for two hundred abode behind, which were so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor… (I Samuel 30: 10) Once the decision was made to pursue, David went full steam ahead with the plan, however, he had to make some major adjustments.  He had to let go of some folks who could not go over with him.  Instead of taking the original group of 600 troops, he took only 400 with him to recover all.  The remaining 200 soldiers were too weak to cross over. He regrouped himself emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  He received clarity and redefinition from God in Who He Was at a very low point in his life.  Now it is time to make the proper adjustments in order to recover from the setback.  Some of us may need to make minor, fine-tuned adjustments to get back on track.  However many of us may need to do a major overhaul.

The word recalibrate is derived from calibrate which means to adjust precisely for a particular function. To recalibrate something means calibrate it AGAIN because it has deviated from the standard.  That’s how it is in our lives.  We start off on the right track and then due to circumstances, other people, wrong thinking, fears, etc. we start deviating from the set standard — what we know God has put in our hearts to do.  We allow life to keep us from walking in our purpose.  We allow toxic people who weaken us into our lives.  We then come to the end of a year or the end of a season and realize that we are way off track.

God has a precise and accurate way that he desires for us to flow and function in our lives.  He uses His Word and the Holy Spirit to calibrate us to keep us on track. As we sit on the brink of a new season, we must take the time to reexamine everything in our lives including relationships, certain situations, commitments, etc., with a view to making the necessary adjustments.  What needs to be recalibrated going forward so that we can recover from what happened and move into the next season?  

The two main keys to recalibrating our lives is to: 1) realize that we cannot do it in our own strength (Read “Are You Striving Inside or Resting? You Must Be At Rest To Receive the Blessing!” here http://wp.me/p33WY9-2J)  and 2) constantly renew and transform our thinking (Read “Cancel That Chorus – How to Cancel the Chorus of Ungodly Thoughts at http://wp.me/s33WY9-24) .  If we try to stay perfectly calibrated in our own strength and power, we will fail.  If we fail to immerse ourselves in the Word of God and deal with the negative thought patterns we will not change. We will not reach perfection, however we can make progress as we adjust and fine-tune our lives so that we stay in alignment with the purpose and direction that God has called us to.

RECOVER!  

David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken and rescued his two wives…Nothing was missing, small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that had been taken; David recovered all….(I Samuel 30: 18-19)

To recover means to get something back again; to restore one’s self to a normal state or to be compensated for.  It also means to get back something that was lost or taken away.  After David had gotten himself together (regrouped), remembered Who He Was (redefined), made some adjustments (recalibrated), he was now well on his way to getting back everything that was taken away from him (recovery).  In the David’s recovery process, it is interesting to note the unusual way in which God led David to the enemy’s camp.  He received direction and assistance from a very unlikely source – an Egyptian slave left by the Amalekites.  Note this pattern, he did not get directional help from his healthy, strong warrior comrades but from a sick, rejected slave left to die. (1 Samuel 30: 12-15).

Oftentimes, in our recovery process, we will require assistance from unlikely sources.  God usually does not take us down the path of recovery that WE THINK we should be on, but rather God’s ways and methods are often quite different and unusual.  Remember that His Ways are not our ways and His Thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55: 8-9).  Here we see a Mighty Man of War and Future King of Israel humbling himself, feeding and helping a lowly slave in order to recover all.  Who are we to think that we will not have to do something similar in order to move forward?  In the recovery process, we will need to swallow our pride and humble ourselves to receive the help we need in order to recover. This will require being honest with ourselves and our situation.

As you reflect over your life and prepare for moving forward, I strongly encourage you to NOT make another set of resolutions, but rather to take the time Regroup yourself from being scattered all over the place, seek the Lord for renewed clarity and Redefine Who You Are, work with the Lord to make the necessary Recalibrations and then — without fail, you shall surely Recover All.

Until Next Time,

Lady Tonika Maria

When Your Dream is In Limbo: 3 Keys to Keeping Hope Alive for the Remainder of 2013 – Part 2

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Let’s face the facts.  This time last year as we were finishing out last two months of 2012, we were already beginning to think about what 2013 would look like.  We received prophecies.  We prayed, praised and worshipped.   We began to make confessions.  We began to declare and decree what would happen in 2013.

But alas, it is now November.  The year is far spent.  No doubt 2013 was a year that brought both challenges and blessings.  Not everything we had hoped for has materialized.  We thought for sure that we would be at a certain point, but we are not.  There are dreams and visions still yet un-manifested and unrealized.  We made significant shifts and progress in some areas, but in others we sit in the exact same position that we did in 2012.  What happened, Beloved?  Are you still in limbo?  Are you still waiting?   What hindered you?

Let’s pick up our discussion that began back in August (see When Your Dream is in Limbo – Part 1).  In Part I, we defined what Limbo is:

A region or condition of oblivion or neglect; a state or place of confinement; an imaginary place for lost, forgotten or unwanted persons or things; an unknown intermediate place or condition between two extremes; a region on the border of hell.

 Another way of looking at being in Limbo is also to view it as a season of Transition or Wilderness.  (see other posts regarding Wilderness Seasons and Transitions) We also looked at the first 3 keys to surviving being in Limbo so that we do not lose our minds, faint give up and turn back around: 1) Learning to Be Complete, Content and Rested in Christ; 2) Learning to Have Confident Expectation and 3) Let Him Continually Redeem and Regulate Your Mind while in Limbo.

To survive the remainder of this year without becoming overwhelmed at the prospects of what 2014 could potentially bring and to still keep hope that God will do what He said He would do, let’s look at a few more things.

Have the ROOTS [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him… (Col 2:7, AMP)

Let Him Help you Master and Maintain Your Deliverance while you are in Limbo. You don’t want to lose the valuable lessons and deliverances you learned before the limbo season started.  During the first part of this limbo season, God has rooted something things in you – such as a greater deeper root in Him, greater security in Him, being grounded in Him and His love.  Then there is a brief season of rest.  Then you may transition to a second valley which could be triggered by external circumstances and situations.

This second part of the wilderness experience or transition limbo focuses on rooting out, or purging out the stuff that accumulated in the first wilderness, i.e., mostly negative thought patterns, hurts and wounds not fully addressed or dealt with that accumulated in the first wilderness that would flare up and cause issues in the Promised Land. Note the process. In Wilderness/Limbo #1, God allows situations to develop for you to become dependent on Him and not the opinions of others and thus causing you to be ROOTED IN HIM.  In Wilderness/Limbo #2, God allows circumstances to force you to see your heart again and exposes things in you that need to be ROOTED OUT.  God waits for us to be rooted in Him, so that we could hang on when he begins to root stuff out of us.  We wouldn’t be able to survive the Rooting Out Process if He did it the other way around.  We must be rooted in Him to survive the purging process without giving up on God.  It would kill us.  So God, rich in grace and mercy, left the same character flaws in place while He rooted us in Him , and then when we have established enough root in a certain area, He initiates another purging through to take us through another process.

Thought purging and mindset pattern purging is extremely difficult without the grace and power of the Holy Spirit.  It is a mammoth battle — one not to be taken lightly.  You have to be rooted in Christ before you are in a position to handle this battle with any degree of deliverance or victory.  A key feature of this purging process is the intensity in which the thought patterns assert themselves in circumstances and situations once you are aware of them, repented of them, and actually attempt to focus on what you are thinking about and the right thoughts.  If you are trying to determine if you are in this season, let this be a clue.  THIS IS WARFARE!

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil 1:6, NIV)

Learn to Focus -Not Force.  Focus on what God is forming and working in you and your life this at time as we close out 2013.  Do not try to force what or where you think should be.   Let God do His work. He is the creator.  You are His Workmanship.  There is no use in getting anxious about it now.  This could be a potentially great season of your life if you let it.  Don’t worry about what someone else could do or may do or what could potentially happen.  We must trust God.  God is forming a deeper level of humility, grace, discretion, prudence and wisdom in us.  We are being tested in a variety of ways in how to conduct ourselves, how to handle business/financial/personal/family pressures, how to give encouragement to others in the midst of going through ourselves, and how to conduct ourselves in a way that generates trust and respect.  We are being tested in our ability to keep our mouths shut.  We are being forced to humble ourselves in ways never done before.  We are being forced by circumstances to realize a deeper dependency upon Christ that we did not have before.

LOOKING unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…(Heb 12: 2, KJV)

Look to Christ – Not Yourself & Not the Other Person or Persons.  Realize that as you look to Christ,  and cast the cares of your relationships on Him, that His timing for your deliverance will occur: 1) when you are not looking and sweating about it and; 2) when you are so focused on Him that the situation doesn’t bother you anymore.  Right now, we are still struggling, still learning how to daily cast cares, and how to daily stop re-running and re-hashing the same issues in our minds.  We are still struggling with trying to figure out how someone else is thinking and feeling.  We are still learning how to let it go, how to forgive, how to trust God with our ISSUES.  If we don’t stop looking out our own inadequacies and other people, it could keep is in a Perpetual Limbo, going about in the same old circles this time in 2014.  Beloved, let this not be your testimony!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Phil 4:6, NIV)

Learn to Calm Down –  Christ is Here.  Remember that greater is He that lives in you than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4, KJV).  Christ is in your situation because He dwells in you.  You have the Mind of Christ.  No need to get emotionally depleted because you can’t figure it out and 2013 still looks the opposite from what have believed for.  Christ is right there in the midst of it so you can calm down right now. He is the Prince of Peace and He dwells within YOU.  Peace is the absence of all strife or fighting from within and without.  He is working.  He does all things well (Mark 7:37). If you have been earnestly seeking Him and praying, God is there!  Your motives have been purified. In 2013, you have been doing best you know how in your present situation.  God sees. He has not forgotten you.

I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: FORGETTING WHAT LIES BEHIND and straining forward to what lies ahead..(Phil 3:13, AMP)

Learn to Finally Let Go of the Past in Limbo.  You just can’t drag it with you where you are going.  Let go of unrealistic expectations and your will.  Let them off the hook for what they did to you.  God is your validation and vindication.  For some people in your past, they must stay away from you at a long distance and do not need re-entry into your life at all, because they are emotionally and spiritually toxic for you.  It is totally understandable, healthy and expected for you to disconnect and not engage with such people but still be able to forgive them and pray for them from a far.  It does not mean you are being hard and cold.  It means you are setting healthy boundaries to protect your own life.  Jesus did not die a dishonorable death on the cross to bring you abundant life for you to allow dishonorable people to mess up your life.  Keep your boundaries intact as you move forward in 2013, let them go, don’t think about what happened, and keep it moving.

Until Next Time,

Lady TB

Image source: http://www.saharamet.org/desert/sahara/photos.html