Rom 7:5  For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
We have been delivered from the Law. AND The power of sin comes through the Law. 1Co 15:56  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
And so we are under grace. And that grace gives us even more power to choose as adult sons and daughters life or death. YET we do not need to worry as children of God if we are forgiven or loved. Now if we truly understand the "sting" of death and sin, than we can truly appreciate the GRACE given and LIFE we have in Christ and therefore choose life! Choose to walk by the spirit! Choose to honor, respect and love God by giving ourselves to Him. When we choose to receive then we choose to obey.


Rom 7:1  Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. 
When I teach and counsel I often use marriage as a example in many areas so people can understand things. It is funny though how many people think that this verse is about "their" marriage or about the "doctrine ON marriage" but it is not. This passage is about LAW and GRACE!
Paul is using the marriage example to show who we belong to and to what we are under in this dispensation. Israel was under Law, and therefore we all were condemned under that law. Yet, when Christ died on the cross for our sins and grace was offered to the gentile world without Israel's influence and law we are now married to another. We are married to Christ! 
Rom.7:4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
 We are married to Christ and that comes through Grace! You are no longer bound to law as in married to it but rather you are free and married to grace! Grace sets you free to make your own choices. Grace says that God loves you and accepts you regardless of your sin!
Now as always many will say "than you are saying Howard, that you can sin and do whatever you want and still be saved" and I always say "YES, besides you already do what ever you want"!!!! 
YET while we can do whatever we want and make sinful choices that does not mean that their are not consequences for that sin. It does not mean that it edifies anyone. It only means that if I sin I know that God still loves and forgives me! That I am still saved, secure and set apart in Him. It means that I can correct my thinking and walk by faith!
Your married to Christ and grace and therefore you are deeply loved and completely forgiven. Stop walking in shame and guilt and start walking in His love! 

Be a Titus!
2 Cor 8:16 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. 17 For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you.
Notice that Paul gives glory to God for Titus's heart and desire. And Titus had a great heart to share and care for the church. Titus was the opposite of Timothy who was somewhat timid. Titus on the other hand was a sort of ruff, straight forward and mans man! While Timothy had fear Titus had boldness and perhaps a arrogance about him, Yet both was used by the Lord to serve the Body! Both were willing to give there lives and heart for the work of the ministry. Titus cared so much that he actually went to them, to see them in person. Titus was a great caring pastor and servant of God!
Be A Titus!
Let us also care and share the gospel of grace and the love of God with the lost and Body of Christ. Pray that you would be willing to have that same heart, as God has already given you His power and wisdom to perform it! You are deeply loved therefore share that love! You are totally accepted therefore share that acceptance! You are completely forgiven so share the cross of Christ with those that need that forgiveness and those that have that forgiveness but do not appropriate it! Teach them, disciple them and give away what you have been given!
You have been given the greatest gift anyone could ever want, LIFE IN CHRIST!!!

God spoke directly to Abraham and others in the old covenant. He begins to speak through John the Baptist and Jesus in Matthew and continues through John. He then speaks to Paul directly from heaven and by visions to Peter and the rest. 
Gen 12:1  Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:  
God has preserved His Word, and completed the bible. There are no more prophets or inspirational books or doctrine given. If you here T.V. evangelist say "God spoke to me" or the Mormons say "Joseph Smith says this or the L.D.S. modern day prophets said this and this is from God" they are wrong and lying!
God speaks through His word and that through preaching. Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; 2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; 3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
Now preaching is the proclaiming of God's inspirational word which instructs, teaches and gives life! 

2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Now the Word must be handled correctly too. Notice it says that ALL scripture is given and inspired and not ALL people. 2. that it was inspired by God and ALL true, Yet God says to "rightly divide truth"!!! 2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
All scripture is true and given to edify but God has said to understand and discern what is true for today by His inspired, and preserved word. 
We are to divide truth according to the dispensational time and Word in the bible. God has not changed but He has changed the way He deals with mans salvation and daily life.
Christ death for all mans sin is the turning point and Israel's fall and Paul's apostleship and revelation of the mystery has completely changed everything. Grace is now shown to gentiles and the Body of Christ is formed.
Read the Word child of God and let God's Word speak to you! 

1Co 12:27  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
So often we struggle with who we are and our so called self worth as the world would say! But the problem is we think to much of "our" self worth and not enough of God's worth. And in particular the worth we have in Christ. If you think about the verse above you will see how great it is to be apart of Christ. How great is it to be a cell in His magnificent Body! One cell or one little organism of our Great Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! I would rather be the smallest organ, cell or molecule in Christ Body than to be the greatest king or human being with out Him. 
We are called members of His Body, not sheep as Israel was called. We are actually apart of His spiritual Body in Him! So think of how Great He is and what a privilege to be apart of Him! You are special and beautiful in Christ! 

Put on Christ and let the Law of Love Edify!
Paul tells us to Love one another but how do we do that? 
Well first it is not by walking by the Law! The Law does nothing but condemn but rather when we put Christ on we put love on! By faith we receive and put Christ on, we then have peace. If you don't have peace emotionally then you have not put on Christ.
Then as we walk in Christ and have peace we then can edify others! Edify means to build up and to encourage others to come to Christ and grow in Christ and His Life! To know His love and grace even greater.
We then can be one with each other and then GLORIFY GOD WITH ONE MIND AND VOICE! 
Rom 13:8  Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
... 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Rom 14:19  Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
Rom 15:6  That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.


The Sting of Death is sin!
Have you ever wondered why depression, anxiety or rejection hurts so much? Or why arguing with your spouse creates such pain and suffering?  
Paul says that it is the sting of death and the sting of death is sin! 1Cor 15: 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.  
In other words when we sin it is death and others feel that sting of rejection. Sin is "missing the mark", it means to miss the very righteousness of God and to miss God is to miss LIFE! God is Life, so sin is death!
There are various types and forms of death. There is physical death but there is also emotional death and rejection is death! Offending others is death! Depression and anxiety is death. We are thinking about ourselves so much that we walk in sin and that creates a mental and emotional death!
Now the strength of sin is in the LAW! What Law you may ask? The Law that we made up for ourselves or another person by demanding them to follow! The Law that we created, and then DEMAND that they follow! The Law that says "if you don't follow I will judge you to be unlovable and unacceptable"! Even if it for a second it is still My Law, My standard and My judgment!
Then the question should be asked "WHO made me GOD"? In Genesis 3 Satan tells Eve Gen 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
BUT now we also see what Paul wrote in the rest of the verses following that one
... 1Cor 15: 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Oh My! Let us always give thanks to our great God and Savior Jesus Christ and continue to walk in His life and to abound even more in His Love and Grace and therefore be unmovable and abounding in His work!!!! 

1Co 15:35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? 36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

... 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
The question is often asked "what will we look like in heaven"? OR "will be able to know one another"? Well we first need to see God's view of the resurrection
 .... and God desires the body to be spirit because He is spirit and because the flesh has been corrupted. We will be as He is perfect because of Him and like Him a Spirit. We are born first in a natural state, and corrupted in sin. Yet we die as we are baptized into Christ death and raised alive in Christ. We have a living Spirit within us. A Holy Spirit that baptizes us in Christ and we are no longer earthy but heavenly! Our place today is in heaven, so don't bogged down in the day to day things of earth but be refreshed in the fact that you are a New creature that is alive, spiritual, heaven bound and created in Him.
You are no longer a natural, earthy and corrupted man or woman of this world, but you are a Child of God that is a Saved, Secure, Sanctified, Saint of God! You are a Son or Daughter of God that is deeply loved, totally accepted and completely forgiven! 
Be content and thankful to God in ALL things! 

People often ask me "is Ok to do this or that" or "did I do right"! My first thought is you don't understand the Word or they are walking by the Law! Religion asks the question "is it legal for me to do"! Walking by faith says "I don't need to do this thing because I am complete, whole and accepted in Christ"!
The Law of Love is what matters. Loving others....Rom 13:10  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Paul says it this way in 1Co 6:12   All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
and in 1Co 10:23   All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.
For instance is it legal for a adult to drink yes. Can a Christian drink, yes, but does it edify. Do you lose a small part of your senses when you drink, YES! You begin to be stimulated after the flesh with just one sip. Your mind is altered when you drink. You can no longer be sober minded as the Word calls for. 
Now lets look at this from the standpoint of smoking pot or any other drug. Pot is illegal from a federal law point of view and only recently made legal in some states. So just because it is legal should a Christian partake? OF COURSE NOT. AND it is the same with drinking. Just because it is legal does not mean you should partake. IF you will not or can not stop drinking to be sober mined meaning to edify, encourage and minister to your spouse, children or church than you are walking by your flesh. Just because you can does not mean you should!!!
Drinking ruins your testimony NO MATTER WHAT!!!! Don't be legalist by saying "it is ok to drink, because I am not under law" that is just as wrong as saying "don't be legalist and not drink"!!! Be faithful, be sober minded and edify the Body of Christ! 


Be Thankful for your food!
1Ti 4:3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. 6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. 
Unfortunately many Christian parents don't pray with their family. They don't pray or read the Word, therefore they teach the children that there is a God but they are self reliant . They don't teach a dedication nor thankful heart they teach a self attained and self centered heart. This is a form of religion and not a relationship oriented with God. 
We should pray before we eat because it shows that
1. that God has supplied for our very basic of needs. If you don't eat you don't live.
2. Because and just as important, we pray to give thanks and praise to God. He is God and we are not, so we give thanks to Him.
3. It teaches our family that we are depending on Him for eternal Life and are grateful for everything He has done and therefore a humble, grateful, thankful heart!!
Now this devotion is not just about praying before we eat but rather a daily, minute by minute, day by day attitude and prayer life! Pray to God, read His Word and give thanks to Him! 

Do you want to feel loved and have peace. I don't know anyone that would say no to this. In fact I think it is the thing that all of us strive for in life. We want to feel secure and comforted, which equates to feeling loved. And we want to have peace in our conscience and that is one reason why we often drift into works. We want to "feel good" about our lives so we try to "DO" good works in order to "feel good" about ourselves. Fortunately God has worked it that the only way to have and "feel" love and peace is through Jesus Christ. AND The only way to Jesus Christ is by faith through the Holy Spirit.
Read what Paul wrote in  Rom 8:1  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
... 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
... 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
We all have a choice to walk by the Spirit and not by our flesh. We can choose to receive God's love and feel that love and give that love. We can know and feel secure and comforted by His love. The Love that never goes away and is eternal. The love that is internal and fills us with peace. God is Love and therefore is the only one who can give true righteous eternal security to us. So walk by the Spirit. Dwell on, put on and meditate continually on His love. AND the fruit of that love produces peace. 
Gal 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
... 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
So walk in the Spirit, according to His word and receive the very Love and Peace that Comes from

Peter calls his body a tabernacle. Now he uses the word tabernacle because it too was made of skin! The tabernacle was a tent made up of animal skins. It was moveable unlike the temple they built later. This fleshly, human tent is were God abides in the man and is especially seen in the light of Israel's earthly Kingdom as it is the faithful remnants way of knowing the NEW Testament, Has come and in the making!!!! 
2Pe 1:13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; 14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.
Exo 25:5 And rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins, and shittim wood, ... 8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. 9 According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.
Num 4:25  And they shall bear the curtains of the tabernacle, and the tabernacle of the congregation, his covering, and the covering of the badgers' skins that is above upon it, and the hanging for the door of the tabernacle of the congregation,
Jer 31:31  Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 
Now we are also joined with Christ and we are one with Christ! We are ONE SPIRIT IN HIM! Our Spirit also contains God through the Holy Spirit and we are called the Temple of God! The difference between a tabernacle and temple is that the tabernacle is a tent, earthly made of natural skin and is movable. The Temple was a set and solid and contained the Holy of Holies, and not moveable. Just like the Temple, God abides in us and we are placed in Christ in Heaven in a immovable place forever! A Temple were the Holy of Holies resides. 
1Co 6:17  But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. ... 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
Your Spirit and Body belong to God so give Him the Glory and Thank Him by submitting to Him by receiving from in faith! Just like it says in Rom 12:1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  

Over the years of counseling and pastoring I have found that most Christians do not understand the works of the cross and the forgiveness issue. When being questioned about it they would say that ALL their sins are forgiven but when they do sin they continue to "ASK" for forgiveness. You can't be forgiven and ask for forgiveness at the same time! You either are forgiven or not!
Faith is believing and trusting in something that has already happened or in the person who accomplished it. For instance did Christ die on the cross?  YES!! OF COURSE HE DID AND YOU KNOW IT!!!
1Co 15:1  Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Eph 4:32   And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Col 2:13  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
Col 3:13   Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
In Romans it says Rom 14:23....for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. So if your a believer and have trusted in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ for your salvation then YOU ARE FORGIVEN! 
So walk by faith and THANK HIM for the FORGIVENESS YOU ALREADY HAVE and STOP begging and asking for something you already have. One is faith the other is self righteous works!!!!