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


   

The Sign of Righteousness—Romans 4:11

"And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them" (Romans 4:11)

When I was in my early twenties, I occasionally traveled to other states to help train cooks and servers when new Perkins restaurants were opening. I’d be gone for a couple weeks at a time. After one trip, my boyfriend surprised me with a beautiful diamond engagement ring. We had been talking marriage, and I knew it was coming, but this was one of the best homecomings I’d had ever had. A little over a year later, we were married and the rest…well, as they say, is history.

My ring and the millions of rings floating around the world are a symbol of the amazing covenant of marriage. It is not uncommon during a wedding ceremony for an explanation of the ring to be given. Wearing a ring doesn’t make you married; instead, marriage is willingly entering into a covenant relationship with another person. The ring is simply the token of the exchange that takes place.

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God Revealed—Fully God, Fully Man (Video Teaching)

God Revealed—Fully God, Fully Man

Watch this video teaching by Juli entitled Fully God, Fully Man*

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the very image of the invisible God. If we want to know what God is like, we look at Jesus. The Creator of the world became a human baby so that we would not be afraid to to approach him, to know him, to learn from him and to worship him. When Jesus came, He came fully God and fully man, but this is such a hard, hard idea for us to grasp. This is tension we see lived out in Jesus’ life, and it is a tension we have to hold on to as we relate to Jesus. As fully human, he knows our weaknesses, he understands our temptations, so he is approachable. As fully God, he is sovereign over his own birth, his own life, and his own death, as well as over the manner in which he had to cover our sin and shame with his own life.

*Juli taught this sermon at Orchard Hill Church on December 10, 2017.

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Righteousness Came Before Circumcision—Romans 4:9-10

"Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness. Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before!" (Romans 4:9-10)

In the 10th grade, I sat with two friends at lunch every day and we argued about baptism. We all had different viewpoints and because of it, different agendas. It seems so silly now. Absolutely nothing was accomplished during those mealtimes, except our ability to talk over each other.

Thinking back, I wonder why this debate was so important to us. I imagine it stemmed from a similar debate Paul was heading off in these verses—when exactly is righteousness obtained?

The Jews, to whom circumcision was a big deal, were staking their claim in it. It was so ingrained in their culture and in their spiritual practices that it became synonymous with being righteous (or acceptable) before God.

However, Paul had already dropped a mind-blowing statement in chapter 2 saying that this by no means makes a person a true Jew, as circumcision is merely an outward and physical sign and true circumcision is of the heart done by the Spirit of God (Rom. 2:28-29).

Knowing this, here’s the next question Paul raises: When was Abraham justified? Was it before he was circumcised or after?

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Blessedness Through Christ—Romans 4:6-8

"David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him" (Romans 4:6-8)

Can you imagine King David shaking your hand? He’d see you from across the room only to make a beeline straight to you in order to congratulate you. Sounds weird, right? This is King David we’re talking about, a symbol of the glory of Israel.

And yet, in the Psalms, King David saw a glimpse of what was coming through the Messiah, the time we now live in and called us blessed. The Amplified Bible puts it this way:

“Thus David congratulates the man and pronounces a blessing on him to whom God credits righteousness apart from the works he does:

Blessed and happy and to be envied are those whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered up and completely buried.

Blessed and happy and to be envied is the person of whose sin the Lord will take no account nor reckon it against him.” (Rom. 4:6-8 AMP)

King David saw this through the eyes of faith and said these people should be congratulated because they are extremely blessed.

What did he see?

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Credited as Righteousness—Romans 4:4-5

Credited as Righteousness—Romans 4:4-5

"Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness" (Romans 4:4-5)

Anyone working a job knows the end of the week paycheck isn’t a gift. It’s the result of the blood, sweat, and tears of our labor. We give our employers our time, effort, skill, and passions, in return they pay us.


As Paul points out, God justifies the wicked and in reality, everyone falls into this category.
 

Necessary in the workforce, but scary with God. As Paul notes later in the letter, the only wage earned on our own merit is death (Rom. 6:23).

The contrast of earning something from God is to trust in His grace. The result is that we, too, (like Abraham in this example) have God’s righteousness. 

That’s right, given Jesus’ perfect sinless record!

Good news—It’s not our ability to be good! Trying only excludes us. As Paul points out, God justifies the wicked and in reality, everyone falls into this category. 

It’s an either-or scenario. We can earn something from God (death). Or we come as we are (wicked) and trust Him. God then credits us with always having obeyed everything He said (justified). 

It takes faith to trust God’s good intent toward us offering nothing in return. But the payoff is huge—God gives Jesus’ righteousness.

Where are you trying to earn God’s favor? 

Where could you thank Him for His favor? 

Previous: Romans 4:3  Next: Romans 4:6-8

Original article published June 30, 2009.

Abraham Believed God—Romans 4:3

Abraham Believed God—Romans 4:3

"What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness" (Romans 4:3)

“Abraham believed God.” This is a profound statement!

Wow! To have Abraham’s faith! Scripture records he trusted God, but I imagine this was a daily battle.


These promises required nothing more from Abraham’s but to enjoy them.
 

Abraham was homeless and without an heir when God visited him, making outlandish declarations.

These promises required nothing more from Abraham’s but to enjoy them. We see bumps in the road, but the summation in Genesis is that Abraham trusted God.

The result? The imputation of righteousness, something given, not earned.

Like Abraham, our faith pleases God. When we trust Him to do what we cannot, He responds in our favor.

Today, where can you trust God? 

Did God make a promise in scripture you can act on?

Previous: Romans 4:1-2  Next: Romans 4:4-5

Original article published June 28, 2009.

How was Abraham Justified?—Romans 4:1-2

How was Abraham Justified?—Romans 4:1-2

"What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God" (Romans 4:1-2)

What a shocking statement!

Imagine reading a mind-blowing essay turning everything you knew about God upside down.


What made Abraham extraordinary? Simple, he trusted God. That’s it!
 

Would you be reeling?

The next question after Paul described the righteousness that comes through faith is: What good was Abraham’s works?

This is Abraham! Father of the Jewish nation, patriarch of the entire race. The Apostle Paul uses his example to prove: “… that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law” (Rom. 3:28).

Here’s what’s shocking. The Jews claimed right standing with God came from circumcision and following the law. 

But, Paul said Abraham could not boast either of these, yet God declared him righteous (Gen. 15:6).

Abraham’s behavior didn’t count because the law wasn’t around during his lifetime. Moses received it 430 years later (Gal. 3:17). 

Circumcision didn’t count because God declared Abraham righteous long before God circumcised him (Rom. 4:10). 


What does it mean for you today to accept God’s gift of righteousness without trying to earn it?
 

What made Abraham extraordinary?

Simple, he trusted God. That’s it! He trusted everything God said to him when circumstances were contrary to God’s promises.

This made Abraham extraordinary!

God declared Abraham righteous (in right standing with Him) because Abraham trusted Him, period! No wonder the Apostle Paul was quick to prove that no one is acceptable by the things they do and based on Abraham’s example.

I wonder if we, too, like Abraham’s should trust when God says, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Rom. 3:22a).

What does it mean for you today to accept God’s gift of righteousness without trying to earn it?

Previous: Romans 3:29-31  Next: Romans 4:3

Original article published June 29, 2009.

Hey Remember Me?

Hey Remember Me?

Chances are many of you do. You’ve faithfully followed this blog for years, occasionally sending me an encouraging note.

Many of you are new after subscribing over the past year during which I took a hiatus from writing, and so you might not even remember how you got on my subscription list.


It’s time to write again. It’s time to deeply delve into God’s Word again. It’s time to share the overflow from the marriage these things bring.
 

To all of you by all of your paths, I say, Welcome!

Here is what’s new:

We had a beautiful baby girl named Lillian. She’s incredible.

I’ve learned to slow down and enjoy quiet moments that are now more active and fun. I’ve taken time to savor these fleeting things, but something in my heart has grown restless and I know it’s longing for expression.

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Parables—The Sower of the Seed (Video Teaching)

Parables—The Sower of the Seed

Watch this video teaching by Juli entitled The Sower of the Seed*

In the parable of the Sower of the Seed, Jesus explains how the Kingdom of God works, using the illustration of a farmer sowing seed. He shows how the Kingdom operates on the principle of seeds, with the Word of God being the seed that needs planted. Then tells how different reactions to this seed determines the outcome of the harvest in our lives. This parable is an essential truth in unlocking the scriptures and understanding how the Kingdom of God works.

*Juli taught this sermon at Orchard Hill Church on July 2 2017.

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Faith Upholds the Law—Romans 3:29-31

Faith Upholds the Law—Romans 3:29-31

"Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law" (Romans 3:29-31)

I remember the first time I really started studying the Book of Romans. I was learning so much and understanding the grace of Jesus in a way I had never imagined. But then I read this verse and it left me dumbfounded. Paul’s closing question, “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith?” I was ready to answer, “Yes”… but Paul answered, “Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.”

What?


Does the Apostle contradict himself?
 

Immediately after Paul makes the amazing declaration that faith alone justifies us before God, he wraps up the third chapter emphatically by declaring that faith in no way makes the law ineffective or useless—not the answer we expected in light of what he just said.

Does the Apostle contradict himself?

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