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


   

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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When Hope Dies—Romans 4:18

"Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be" (Romans 4:18)

I was at the darkest point of my life. I had been hoping for children for over 10 years and the 30s were slipping away from me. My husband sat me down one day and asked me to move on. He told me that he had come to terms with not having children and found a way to move past it. He wanted me to do the same.

The problem was that I didn’t know how to move on.

I had clung to the hope of having children for over a decade. It was such a part of my life that I knew something inside me would die if I let this go. I felt like Abraham, full of God’s promises, but still in a place of waiting year after year after a hard and painful yet hopeful year.

A friend was walking with me through this. As a realist, she was pushing me to start the lamenting process in order to let this hope go. To lament is a biblical process of expressing our deepest and most intimate feelings of disappointment, anger, grief, and sorrow to God. It is getting real and holding nothing back.

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Calling Things Into Existence—Romans 4:17

"As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed-the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were" (Romans 4:17)

For 17 years my husband and I were childless—a reality we could not escape. I was even asked in a job interview in front of a several of people how many children we had. So once again, I became the object of pity as I explained we had none, or at least that’s how I felt.

You see having children is such a normal part of life that most people take it for granted. I think this is why I love Abraham so much. He faced this reality for 75 years before receiving a promise from God that he would be a father.

The promise wasn’t just that he’d have a son, as it was so much more than that: the world would be blessed through him and his descendants (Gen. 13:3). Meaning Jesus—this promise was significant. But what we often overlook is that Abraham and Sarah still had to wait 25 more years.

Can you imagine waiting 25 years of trusting in a promise before you even see a hint of it happening? That’s the hard thing about promises coming by faith (Rom. 4:16), they’re guaranteed, but when we don’t experience them right away, it’s easy to talk ourselves out of them by thinking it’s not God’s will for us.

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Promises Come By Faith—Romans 4:16

"Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all" (Romans 4:16)

The Apostle Paul has just spent the past 16 verses making the case that righteousness cannot be earned. He says it in so many ways that hopefully we’ll start realizing that this right standing with God only comes by faith. Then he turns a sharp corner so all of us reading this letter will have an amazing, jaw-dropping “Ah-ha” moment! Here it is:

“Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed…”

Did you know that God’s promises are guaranteed?

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No Law, No Transgression—Romans 4:15

“...because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression” (Romans 4:15)

What a marvelous statement!

What a heretical statement!

For the Jews living in Paul’s day, for the Gentile Romans to whom he writing and also for Christ-followers today, this is a shocking statement!

Here is the Juli summarization of what Paul is saying: Living as a rule-follower makes Jesus’s sacrifice worthless. Rules only bring punishment…but if there are no rules to follow, then we can never be guilty of breaking them (Rom. 4:14-15).

Is anyone uncomfortable now?

Admittedly, it is easier to have a list to follow of the things we should or shouldn’t do. It certainly makes it more apparent if we’re doing okay before God. But following the rules to simply follow them actually changes the way we want God to relate to us. We are asking Him to deal with us according to what we’ve done instead of what He’s done.

The result, wrath—yikes!

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Happy Resurrection Sunday!

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

Happy Resurrection Sunday! Today is Easter, one of my favorite days of the year. It is very significant for those of us who follow Christ Jesus.

In preparation for today, I spent an evening this week at an explanation of the Jewish Passover. The organization, Jews for Jesus, was connecting each element of a traditional Passover feast with Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. It was incredible! Very thought provoking, convincing and powerful. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind Jesus is the Lamb of God.

At the close, the host had us stand while he pronounced the priestly blessing over us. He first sang it in Hebrew and then spoke it over us in English. It was beautiful. He was reciting the blessing the Lord instructed Moses to have the Israelite priests bless His people with. This is how it goes:

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The Law Makes the Promise Worthless—Romans 4:14

“For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless…” (Romans 4:14)

Because I write so extensively about grace and trusting in Jesus’ provision of a right-standing with God by stressing that our behavior has nothing to do with this standing. I get many emails reminding me of the importance of living well (i.e., following rules, the law, or the 10 Commandments, or the rules we make up as Christians).

Sometimes, I feel this makes people uncomfortable as they think that I am saying, we can live however we want, steeped in sin, and it doesn’t matter.

No, it does matter for many reasons (many of which Paul will get to in Chapter 6). However, nothing—again I say, nothing—nullifies the grace of God faster than believing that we somehow can sway God’s opinion of us by our behavior.

I lived for years trying to do the right things, but in the back of my mind, I always thought that God was just waiting for me to mess up. I fully believed I was saved by grace, but that is where it ended. After that starting point, it was up to me to be good, do good, and not mess up.

This mentality kept me sin-conscience and afraid of God. As Paul observes, living this way made God’s promise of grace worthless in my life.

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