A Collection of Topical Articles

I love to write through chapters of the Bible or spend time on thinking and writing through Biblical topics. Here is that collection, arranged easily to be able to find what you are looking for. Here is the list of things I have written on.

Most Recent Blog Articles


   

No Jesus, No Peace; Know Jesus, Know Peace—Romans 5:1

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ..." (Romans 5:1)

Occasionally while driving I see the old cliché bumper sticker: “No Jesus, No Peace; Know Jesus, Know peace.” It always makes me smile. During tumultuous times, we long for peace but without Jesus, peace is an elusive thing.

In earlier chapters, Paul makes a stunning argument that righteousness comes by faith in Jesus Christ apart from what we can do to earn it (Rom. 3:22). He brilliantly covers objections one can make. Now, he’s switching gears to describe the blessings of righteousness—Peace with God!

Did you hear that right? Yes! We have peace with God in Christ Jesus.

Paul explains, through faith in Jesus, we have a perfect sinless record as if we’ve always obeyed God’s righteous standards. This ushers us into a place of friendship, unity and peace with God the Father.

The sentiment of the old bumper sticker still rings true today! Trouble comes but knowing Jesus helps us to experience peace with God.

Reflect

Do you consider yourself a friend of God?

What things keep you from experiencing soul peace between yourself and God?

Pray and share these things with God.

Previous: Romans 4:25  Next: Romans 5:2

Original article published July 19, 2009.

Delivered to Death, Raised for Life—Romans 4:25

"He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification" (Romans 4:25)

When I first started understanding Romans, this verse was an ah-ha moment. A critical brick in the foundation of a grace Jesus built in my life. 

I had understood partial truths my whole life. Truths that focused on Jesus dying for my sin. My interpretation made the hero of the story my sin. “You are a sinner, God doesn’t like you, Jesus had to die for you—now try harder.

There was a serious disconnect between Jesus dying to pay for my sin and Him liking me. This is true for many of us. Hey, why else do so many of us refer to ourselves (and each other) as sinners saved by grace?

This turn of phrase stabs Jesus the heart. 

Here’s why—Yes, Jesus’ death was necessary. Yes, Jesus did it willingly, but the goal wasn’t only to pay the debt of sin for the world (past, present and future: Heb. 7:27; 8:12; 9:12, 14, 26, 28; 10:10, 12, 14, 18, 22; 1 Pet. 3:18). The goal was to secure a change in legal standing before God (justification, Rom. 4:25). 

Our status changed with the resurrection—We’ve missed this!  

This means that God once considered us sinners guilty of breaking the entire law (James 2:10). But, Paul says that Jesus’ resurrection was to secure our justification. Justification is a legal change from guilty to not guilty

But our status of not guilty isn’t that we’re considered as never having broken a law, our new status credits us with always having obeyed the law. That is incredible! 

Paul explains it further in Chapter 8, “For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit,” (Rom. 8:3-4).

Do you see the difference? 

In Christ Jesus, we are not merely sinners saved by grace; we stand before God with a perfect, sinless record. He does not keep score. He doesn’t look at us as the sum of our mistakes. He looks at us and sees Jesus’ perfect record (righteousness). 

Once I started to understand this, my relationship with God changed. I understood myself as a beloved daughter that didn’t need to hide from God. I could let go of past sins and mistakes. I quit berating myself, wallowing in shame. I found the elusive freedom promised in scripture.

Do you consider yourself as a lowly sinner saved by grace?

How would your life change if you thought of yourself as having Jesus’ perfect sinless record?

What past sins and mistakes do you need to forgive yourself for? 

Need More on Justification?

You’re in luck, check out these articles on justification and marvel at all that Jesus did for us.

Previous: Romans 4:23-24  Next: Romans 5:1

Original article published July 18, 2009.

Righteousness is Credited to Us—Romans 4:23-24

"The words "it was credited to him" were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness-for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead" (Romans 4:23-24)

Let’s give a collective sigh of relief! We too can experience peace and acceptance with God (righteousness) by trusting in God’s power to save us and make us right with Him. This means we stop trusting in our own ability. A point Paul has made so many times in the first 4 chapters of Romans, it’s ridiculous!

Paul plays the trump card so we understand God’s power—He raised Jesus from the dead! 

How many of us can say this?

No one.

There is a stark contrast between our power and Gods. This is one more reason to trust God when He asks us to put our faith in Him. If His power can raise the dead, what won’t it do in our own lives?  

In this chapter, Paul compares and contrasts what two Old Testament heroes knew that we miss, stop trying and start trusting (Rom. 4:5, 13). The result, righteousness. Right-standing with God, having a record that doesn’t keep score of our sins and mistakes. It credits us perfection, as if we’ve always obeyed God’s laws and standards. That’s incredible! 

What comes to mind when contrasting your power with Gods?

Do you see yourself with a perfect record?

Where are you keeping score of sins and mistakes?

What areas are you trusting in your own power?

Where could you trust in God’s resurrection power? 

Previous: Romans 4:22  Next: Romans 4:25

Original article published July 17, 2009.

Truth After Truth—Adoption (Video Teaching)

Truth After Truth—Adoption

Watch this video teaching by Juli entitled Truth After Truth—Adoption*

Juli debunks the myth that we need to work hard at pleasing God. She unpacks a powerful scripture nestled inside Romans, Chapter 8, explaining how God has adopted us into his family as children, not hired hands. Juli shares a simple truth that in Christ, we have a new status, a new family and a new future. 

*Juli taught this sermon at Orchard Hill Church on November 10, 2019.

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Credited as Righteousness—Romans 4:22

"This is why "it was credited to him as righteousness" (Romans 4:22)

Paul, the author of Romans uses Abraham to clarify this point: “Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring...” (Romans 4:16a). 


Abraham’s deep trust in God was the sole reason God called Abraham righteous
 

His point? We have to put complete trust in God to do what we cannot do ourselves. Abraham trusted God when facing impossible circumstances (Rom. 4:19). In the same way, we have to trust God when He says acceptance and right-standing with Himself (righteousness) comes through faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:22). 

Remember, Paul’s whole argument in Romans until this point is that the living well by following the rules (law) can never save us. The laws purpose is to defeat us so we’ll look outside of ourselves for help (Rom. 3:19-20; 7:10; Gal. 3:10, 23). Abraham’s story is a hyperbolic example of knowing defeat and then looking to God for help.

Abraham’s deep trust in God was the sole reason God called Abraham righteous (acceptable, right, virtuous, good, excellent). It was nothing he did; it was everything God did.

What stirs in you when you hear God declared Abraham was righteous based on nothing he did to earn it? 

In what areas of your life are you trying hard to earn God’s acceptance?

Where can you practice trusting in God today?

Previous: Romans 4:21-22  Next: Romans 4:23-24

Original article published July 16, 2009.

Fully Persuaded—Romans 4:20-21

"Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised" (Romans 4:20-21)

I remember sitting in an Easter service, tears rolling down my face. My heart cried for children but the constant waiting brought doubt to the surface. Holidays amplified grief.

I remember God’s presence in that moment. I told Him if I never experienced children, it wouldn’t change my belief He had good intentions toward me. We experience brokenness in life but the pain of this world can never overshadow God’s goodness, even if we don’t always see it.

It was one of those declarations that sometimes go unsaid but important to say. Doubt would break something between me and God if I allowed it. I couldn’t nurse resentment or doubt His character. This was my version of what happened with Abraham.

Faith and doubt work together in opposite directions to strengthen trust in God. Coming face to face with doubts, always results in deeper faith. God shows up in questions, even if we never get answers.

Abraham experienced this too. He wrestled with reality. He was old, Sarah was old, she was barren (Rom. 4:19). All reasons to doubt. Abraham also had to wrestle with God’s promise: I will bless and make you the Father of many nations (Gen. 12:2-3; 15:5; 17:5-6). Faith and doubt worked in opposite directions helping Abraham persuade himself God was bigger than the circumstances. 

Abraham gave Glory to God, this is key. Through struggle, he got his eyes off circumstances and onto God’s power. Faith swelled until he persuaded himself that God would do what He promised. 

Where are you struggling with doubt?

Is doubt overshadowing your ability to trust God?

What is one way to persuade yourself of God’s power to rescue you? 

Previous: Romans 4:19  Next: Romans 4:22

Original article published July 15, 2009.

Is Jesus’ Teachings For Us Today? 

I get questions from readers all over the world. Questions are important because they challenge and help us grow in our faith. Some questions are important to share because I suspect that many of us have this same one. 

Dear Juli,

I am Luigi, 44 years old, I got born again a few years ago and I live in France.

I have a question concerning the Old and New Covenant.

The entire earthly ministry of Jesus happened under the Old Covenant and directed only to Israel (Matthew 15:24, Romans 15:8). When Jesus first sent out His disciples, He told them to only go to the people of Israel (Matthew 10:5-6). But after His resurrection they were sent into all the world to tell the Good News to everyone (Mark 16:15, Matthew 28:19).

So every word spoken by Jesus before His resurrection was spoken before the New Covenant existed.

Does this mean we should consider what Jesus said before His resurrection “less important” as they were intended for Israel and not really for us? We have to remember He was talking to people under the Old Covenant, not the New Covenant. what I mean is, Jesus was telling people how to get saved under the old covenant, how does it apply to me today?

For example, in Matthew 19:16 the rich young ruler asked Jesus what to do so he could have eternal life. Jesus’ answer in Matthew 19:17 to “keep the commandments” is much different than the answer in Acts 16:31 which says to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved,” or 1 John 5:13 which says those who believe in the Son of God may know they have eternal life.

Does the things He said to His body, the church, after He redeemed us with His blood, take precedence over the words He spoke under His Old Covenant ministry on earth, because they recognize the reality of the New Covenant?

Please excuse my English and thank you for answering me if you have time.

God bless you and your family

Luigi


Good morning Luigi,

(Your English is great!) Very interesting questions. 

Everything Jesus did and said is important for New Covenant believers because He shows and explains God to us in a way that the Old Covenant never could. We learn a lot more about God’s true nature in the Gospels than the Old Testament could ever convey. 

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Getting Over the Wall (Video Teaching)

I Could Do That!—Getting Over the Wall

Watch this video teaching by Juli entitled Getting Over the Wall*

How do we come back after we've hit the wall in our spiritual journey? How do we let our hearts engage with God after grief, pain, complacency, hardness, and bitterness, wreak havoc in our lives? In this teaching Juli talks about the epic battle that rages for our hearts, while sharing ways she softens her heart to engage with God again. Don't miss this teaching!

*Juli taught this sermon at Orchard Hill Church on July 28, 2019.

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Does God Hate Clean Clothes (Video Teaching)

Rest—Does God Hate Clean Clothes

Watch this video teaching by Juli entitled Does God Hate Clean Clothes*

Sabbath Rest for God's people has always been grounded in creation and liberation. In this teaching, Juli reframes the obligatory rules surrounding the Sabbath and describes a way to embrace it as a shear gift bringing us life.

*Juli taught this sermon at Orchard Hill Church on June 24, 2018.

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Facing the Cold Hard Truth—Romans 4:19

"Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead-since he was about a hundred years old-and that Sarah's womb was also dead..." (Romans 4:19)

A critical step in realizing a promise from God, especially when healing is concerned, is facing the cold hard truth of the problem. When something is wrong, when your body is sick, when you are dying of cancer, whatever this made be, we have to come to the realization that perhaps nobody can help us.

One thing I faced while clinging to the hope for children year after year and speaking in faith about it (Rom. 4:17) was this unmistakable look of pity in people’s eyes. It was as if they pitied me for not realizing that this wasn’t going to happen. But the truth is that I realized the gravity of the issue more than they did. I was the one at the doctor’s appointments when diagnoses were made. I was the one paying for failed treatments. My husband and I had to come to a place of understanding that the medical field could help us only so far.

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