Category Archives: Sin

November 19; Faith

Galatians 1:1-4:7

Does reading Paul’s letter to the Galatians thrill you as much as it does me? Salvation comes from placing my faith in Jesus.

I can’t be good enough, generous enough, even religious enough to earn what Jesus freely gives to those who come to Him. He bought the right to forgive all who believe. That in itself thrills my soul.

Receiving forgiveness is the same for you as it is for me, as it is for that murderer on death row or that sweet little old lady down the street. We all must be born again by placing our faith in Jesus, the One who loves us and gave Himself for us.

Consider Abraham; “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand, then that those who believe are children of Abraham. (3:6-7)

Abraham believed. Do you?

But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised (righteousness), being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. (verse 22)

Isn’t that thrilling? Believe, and receive. Then this:

So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. (4:7)

Oh, dear one, I pray that you have placed your faith in Jesus. There is no joy greater than having your sins forgiven, no blessing better than being a child of God, nothing more thrilling than knowing you are going to heaven.

I am praying for you.

November 18; Determination

Acts 13-14

When Paul and Barnabas entered a city and began preaching the Gospel of Jesus, one of two things generally happened. One is that people believed and were saved. The other is that people didn’t believe, and wanted to kill Paul and Barnabas. Even the city that wanted to worship the men as gods ended up stoning Paul and leaving him for dead.

What speaks to me about Paul and Barnabas is their steadfast determination to share Jesus, no matter the cost. Do you know what Paul did after the stoning? “…he got up and went back into the city.” (14:20) He left the next day, but the fact that he went back at all speaks to me.

It makes me wonder how many times I have shared about Jesus, only to be met with opposition or ridicule, then avoided that person the next time we were in the same vicinity. I wonder how steadfast is my determination to share Jesus with lost people, whatever the cost.

The truth is, most people don’t automatically become believers the first time they hear the Gospel. In fact, hearing they even need a Savior can make people very angry. Am I one and done? If they don’t drop to their knees and pray for forgiveness after hearing my testimony or my sermonette, too bad. Move on, Connie. Or run for your life. But don’t make the mistake of talking about God with them a second time. They might get mad.

I hope that isn’t true for any of us. We can learn from Paul who counted it joy to be persecuted for Jesus’ sake. Certainly we who know Him can count it joy if someone tries to hurt our feelings because we are sharing the Gospel, can’t we?

Let’s be determined to share the glorious truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with someone today, and again tomorrow, and the next day if it’s necessary. Let’s be determined to be obedient to God’s leading no matter the cost. People need to hear the truth. Let’s be determined to be the ones who will tell them, then tell them again.

November 17; He Is Coming

James 4-5; Acts 11:19-12:25

My pastor preached from I John 2 this morning. John warned that this is the last hour, that Jesus is coming again, and time as we know it will be no more. For those who know Jesus, it is a day to look forward to!

James, in chapter 5, is saying the same thing. Except he gives a different kind of warning. In fact, he says “weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you.” How could John tell us to look forward to Jesus’ return, and James tell us to prepare for misery concerning it?

James goes on to talk about those who are ok with life as it is, who live in luxury, who live by their own rules. The Judge is at the door, he warns.

I don’t pretend to know when Jesus will return. Anyone who says they do are lying. The truth is I might die before that trumpet sounds. Or the clouds may part and Jesus appear before I’m done typing this today. I don’t know. No one does because Scripture doesn’t say.

But Scripture is clear that I – and you – will one day face the Judge. Everyone who has ever lived will be held accountable for the lives we lived on planet Earth. Until the day we stand before God Almighty, we have choice.

We can either align ourselves with God through the blood of Jesus, or we can live by our own rules, then stand before Him on that day on our own. I can absolutely tell you what to expect, without being your judge.

The Bible leaves no room for interpretation on this subject. With Jesus, you will go to heaven. Without Him, you will go to hell. Standing before the Judge, wearing Jesus’ righteousness, will usher you into a glorious eternity with God. Standing before Him wearing your pitiful attempt at goodness (which is nothing more than used menstrual pads) will usher you into an eternity more painful than anything our minds can even imagine.

There is no third option.

Jesus is coming again. When He does there will be no time to change your mind, no time to accept what He did on the cross when He paid for your sin. Oh, you can pay for them yourself with an eternity of hell if you choose. But I can’t imagine why you’d want to, when that debt has already been paid.

Jesus is coming again. It might be today. It might not. You may die today and face the Judge before the sun sets on your town. Or not. But are you ready to meet the Judge? You need to decide right this minute, my friend. Because when it’s over, it is truly over.

November 15; Even the Gentiles

Acts 9:32-11:15

I am so thankful for the Jews. They were the ones through whom God chose to bring salvation to the world. God had stuck with them even when they disobeyed, protected them even when they put themselves in danger. They didn’t deserve His kindness, but God knew that He would come to earth through a Jewish woman. And in spite of the Jews who rebelled, Jesus was indeed born of Mary.

It’s no wonder the Jews felt Jesus was exclusively their’s. For centuries they knew they were chosen, set apart, and they felt superior to anyone not Jewish (known as Gentiles). The Holy Spirit had come to the Jews there in Jerusalem. Salvation through Jesus was their’s.

So Peter’s vision and subsequent encounter with Cornelius, a Gentile centurion, was met with criticism. “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.” (11:3)

What were you thinking, Peter?

But I love that when Peter explained his vision, shared what happened when the Holy Spirit was given to non-Jewish believers just as it had been give to them, the once horrified Jews “had no further objections.” Then this:

(they) praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” (11:18)

Yes. Yes He did. Even Gentiles. Even me!

 

 

November 14; To Change or Not To Change, That Is The Question

Acts 7:54-9:31

Simon believed he was someone great. He wasn’t the only one. It sounds like he had quite a following. His sorcery must have been amazing, because people even thought he was divine.

That is, until they heard Philip preach the “good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus.” Many believed in Jesus, and were baptized – including Simon. Simon ended up following Philip around after that. Being a sorcerer, he was amazed at the miracles he saw Philip do.

Then when Simon witnessed Peter and John placing their hands on believers who then received the Holy Spirit, he wanted in on the action. He was willing to buy that ability. Peter recognized Simon for who he really was, and addressed Simon’s sin in no uncertain terms. “You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right with God.”

Simon had believed in Jesus. But Simon was still the same old Simon. His heart had not changed.

Saul, on the other hand, was not only NOT a believer, he had dedicated his life to destroying the church by getting rid of anyone who did believe in Jesus. But his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus changed him.

Completely.

Saul became Paul who then dedicated his life to sharing Jesus with everyone, in hopes that everyone would believe. Paul’s belief in Jesus didn’t stop with the knowledge that Jesus is the Savior. Paul’s belief in Jesus changed his heart.

Do you believe? Scripture tells us even the demons believe, and shudder. (James 2:19). Belief is the first step, but it isn’t the only step.

If accepting Jesus as your Savior hasn’t changed you, let me suggest you check your heart. Is your belief head-knowledge, or a heart-changing, person-transforming, sin-defeating relationship with God Himself?

Change, or no change? That’s the question. And the answer is the difference between being a child of God, and being someone who has no part in His ministry, His kingdom.

Let your belief in Jesus change you.

November 11; It’s Thrilling

Mark 16:9-20; Acts 1-2

Yesterday’s Scripture had me reaffirming my belief in the resurrected Jesus. Today Peter reminded me of the Old Testament Scriptures, prophecies that were perfectly fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

It must have been thrilling to have been part of those first few days at the beginning of the Church; the dramatic coming of the Holy Spirit, 3,000 people accepting Jesus in one day, then boldly being baptized in a public declaration of their faith in Him.

That act of baptism in itself is amazing considering they were aligning themselves with the very Man the Jews had just crucified a few short weeks before. Talk about thrilling!

But it is also thrilling to be part of God’s Church in 2019. Sometimes we get caught up in the negative, we lament the sin in our world, and wring our hands at the seemingly weakening of the Church.

But God is reminding me today that He is still alive and well and working in the hearts of all men and women in every corner of the world. Jesus still lives! The Holy Spirit is still present! Hearts are still being changed, and eternity is won every day.

Now that’s thrilling!

November 9; He’s Alive!

Mark 15:42-16:8; Matthew 27:57-28:10; Luke 23:50-24:12; John 19:38-20:18

He’s alive. Jesus is alive. The real flesh and blood body of Jesus got up from that grave and lives once again.

The public had watched Him die. The centurion had made sure He wasn’t faking it. Pilate had turned over a corpse to Joseph of Arimathia. The man Jesus was dead, then buried, then sealed inside the tomb carved out of a mountain, guarded by soldiers.

But He didn’t stay there!

No one revived Him. No one put the AED paddles on His heart. Jesus gave up His life, and He took it back again.

No one, not any god or prophet or guru has ever or will ever do what Jesus did. Because not any god or prophet or guru is God, except Jesus!

I serve a risen Savior!