So now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Years ago, I had a elderly friend who lived across the street. Ann loved to play Bingo and one day she asked me if I would like to go with her. I liked spending time with her and I thought it would be fun so I said, “Yes.” I soon discovered that the Bingo Ann played was not the Bingo I remember playing in elementary school.
This was a serious game. To increase their chances of winning, these bingo players played with multiple cards instead of only using one. Since I was new to the game, Ann suggested that I start with just a few cards until I got use to it.
We were a few rounds in when to my surprise I covered five numbers in a row and yelled out “Bingo”! The whole room collectively groaned as the caller came over to check my card. He immediately said without looking at my numbers, “You don’t have Bingo.” What I didn’t realize was that each round had a different pattern that determined the winner; it might be cover the four corners, or make a box and I clearly did not have the pattern they were playing.
I could tell Ann was a little embarrassed as she explained the hybrid game to me. We continued to play and a couple rounds later my covered numbers were in the correct pattern so I called out “Bingo”. The caller came over to check my numbers, glanced at my card and again said, “ You don’t have Bingo”.
The game had changed patterns and I was following the wrong pattern. Ann, with an apologetic look on her face to the friends around her, explained to me the game pattern changed each round. I wish I could say that was the last time I called a false “Bingo,” but I did it one more time. I don’t think I have ever had so many elderly people mad at me at one time. Understandably, Ann never invited me to play Bingo again.
I didn’t want to call false “Bingo”, embarrass my friend and make everyone angry at me, but I did. In Romans 7 Paul expresses his struggle with doing what he does not want to do. “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” (Romans 7:18-19 NLT)
What an incredibly accurate description of how a follower of Christ struggles with sin. When we are walking closely with the Lord we will not want to intentionally sin because of our love for the Lord. Our desire is to live holy lives that reflect who Jesus is. The problem is, although we are a new creation in Christ, we still have a sinful nature that remains until we step into eternity.
As believers, sin does not cause us to lose our salvation, but it does affect intimacy with the Lord. It grieves the Holy Spirit, it weighs us down, hurts our witness and steals our joy. Paul expresses the sorrow sin brings when he exclaims in Romans 7:24, “ Oh what a miserable person I am.”
Lovingly, the Holy Spirit will convict us so that we will confess our sin and turn from it. 1 John 1:9 and Psalms 103:12 tell us that confessed sin is forgiven and forgotten by the Lord. The trouble is we don’t forget the terrible things we have done. This will cause us to believe the enemy’s lie, that because of our past sin we are worthless and unusable by the Lord.
But we must fight that lie with the truth of God’s Word. After Paul lets us see his struggle with sin and shame he boldly proclaims in Romans 8:1, “ So now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
The enemy wants to paralyze us with shame so we will not fulfill the calling the Lord has placed on our lives. We must fight this attack by allowing this truth to flood our minds, penetrate our hearts and then boldly proclaim, “IN CHRIST THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION”.
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, make their home in central Arkansas. They have five grown children and are grandparents to wonderful grandchildren. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.