Category Archives: Sin

Don’t Be Ridiculous

Genesis 44

The other day I was having lunch with a friend, and she picked up the tab. I wasn’t expecting that. I argued for a minute, but she held the bill. I thanked her, and she paid for lunch.

It looked like Benjamin would have to be a slave as punishment for stealing a silver cup. Knowing how devastated their father would be at the loss of his youngest son, all ten brothers volunteered to give up their freedom and become slaves, too.

Joseph the governor of Egypt (whom they didn’t realize was actually their long lost brother), insisted that because Benjamin was “guilty,” Benjamin would have to serve his own punishment.

Then Judah, one of the brothers responsible for selling Joseph into slavery, offered himself. The punishment had to be paid, and Judah wanted to take on that punishment for Benjamin.

It’s a picture of grace, isn’t it? Unlike Benjamin who was actually innocent of stealing that cup, you and I are guilty. We are sinners. We have disobeyed and dishonored God more times than we could count. The wages, or the just punishment of sin is death.

We deserve to die an eternal, painful, unrelenting death for the sins we have committed. But Jesus stepped in, picked up the bill, went to the cross where He died, and paid our death sentence.

Now, wouldn’t it have been ridiculous for me to go to the cashier at the restaurant the other day and pay my portion of the bill after my friend had already paid it? No one in their right mind would do such a thing.

It’s as ridiculous for anyone to pay their own death sentence, too, because Jesus has already paid it in full! I had to accept my friend’s generosity at the restaurant. And because I did, I was able to walk out of there without it costing me anything.

If you haven’t accepted what Jesus has already paid, I urge you to do that today. It would be ridiculous not to.

Death at the Hand of God.

Genesis 38

Does God lie in wait to take out evil people like an army sniper? That seems to be the case with Judah’s sons Er and Onan. Scripture is very clear: these were bad men – and God killed them.

So are we to assume this is God’s MO? That if you are bad enough He just mows you down, gives you cancer, or a bullet in your head?

Yes. And no.

God wants us to know death is a part of the curse handed down because of Adam’s sin. God causes death for every human being because all have sinned and the wages of sin is death. But common sense – and life – tells us there are some very evil people in the world living to a ripe old age.

So no, God doesn’t make it a habit of killing sinners, Aren’t you glad? We don’t know why God chose to kill Er and Onan like He did. And He doesn’t owe us an explanation. But what happened to them is not a blueprint for God’s dealing with people.

In fact, Scripture repeatedly shows us how patient God is with us sinners, how quick He is to forgive a repentant heart, how He longs to save whosoever believes. Look at how many chances God gave the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. Read in the New Testament what Jesus did for sinners when He went to the cross.

I think the lesson here in Genesis is that all of us will die at the hand of God. Some will die young, others will live to be 100 years old. Our deaths won’t have as much to do with whether or not we were good or bad, as it will have to do with God’s Sovereignty.

Death will end life on Earth for all of us unless Jesus comes back first. That is His Sovereign will.

I see Er and Onan dying in their sin, because I believe had they repented we would be reading about that. That makes me want to warn us all. Because we are going to die.

My prayer is that we will be ready to die by accepting the forgiveness of sin through the blood of Jesus. Your death could come today. My death could come today.

The question is: are we ready?

The Voice of God

Genesis 31

Have you ever thought, “Well, if God spoke to me like He spoke to Laban, I’d know exactly what He wanted me to do and I’d obey like Laban obeyed. How could I say ‘no’ to the voice of God?”

It’s true that God doesn’t speak audibly to people today, but that doesn’t mean we can’t hear His voice. In fact, we can hear it any time of the day and night. He wrote down His Words for that very reason.

You just need to read it, memorize it, spend time hearing His voice in the pages of the Bible.

You want Him to tell you what to do? It’s in there. You want Him to tell you how to think, what to believe, what your attitude should be? It’s in there.

If you think God is silent, that just means you aren’t listening, or perhaps sin is preventing you from hearing His voice. But don’t think for a minute God is not trying to get your attention.

Read the Bible. God is speaking loud and clear.

Our Birthright

Genesis 25

How seriously do you take your birthright as a child of God, a co-heir with Jesus? We read how easily Esau gave up what was his in order to not “starve” (which I would bet was a gross exaggeration to begin with). Esau gave up the blessing in order to satisfy a physical longing, sold something eternal for something temporary. The man would get hungry again a few hours later. But the blessing was gone forever.

What does our birthright look like? Eternal life for one. Forgiveness of sin. A relationship with God. The Presence of God. His strength and power and grace and mercy.

Yet sometimes we get hungry for something else.

We know we shouldn’t encourage that friendship with a married co-worker, but “he understands me.” We know we shouldn’t look at porn – but it’s harmless. It’s not like I’d actually do those things. One drink, one compromise, one thought or dream can’t hurt. So what if I don’t read my Bible today, or if I skip church once in a while?

We shake our heads at Esau and think “What a fool he was to sell his birthright for soup.” But maybe we should spend less time looking at Esau and more time looking in the mirror.

Do you value what is yours by God’s grace and through the blood of His Son, Jesus? What does that look like in the choices you make every day? If it’s worth something to you – it’s worth protecting.

Is It A Lie?

Genesis 20:1-18

Is a half-truth a whole lie? Abraham and Sarah were brother and sister. So was it so bad that is how he introduced her to the king? Was the tiny detail about a wedding important if it meant the difference between life and death?

Abraham didn’t lie exactly. He just didn’t tell the whole story. What’s the big deal?

In our age of situational ethics, we may applaud Abraham for doing the safe thing. We may say in this instance it would have been foolish for him to admit Sarah was his wife and take the chance of being killed because of it. Besides – what is truth anyway? There are certainly no absolutes. What is true for you doesn’t have to be true for me.

Well, my friend, that kind of thinking is anti-God. Our Holy, Unchanging, Creator God has a lot to say in His Word about Truth – and nothing He says hints at situational truth – or multiple truths for that matter.

So yes. A half-truth is a whole lie as demonstrated here in Genesis. And a lie is a sin that comes with a death sentence. You may read this chapter and say that Abraham got away with it, so God must not think it was a big deal. But did he get away with it? There were consequences even though you and I might think he got off easy.

The bigger lesson here is the grace of God who can forgive your lie, too. That’s the truth.

Why The Tree?

Genesis 1-3

We can question why God placed that tree in the middle of the garden knowing it represented sin and separation from Him, when He created us to fellowship with Him. We could, as some do, accuse God of playing a sinister game with the victims of His creation.

Or we can recognize and be thankful for the fact that He created us with dignity, intelligence, the ability to choose to do the right thing. Yes – He knew given the choice, we would sin. But He didn’t leave us hanging.

He did what needed to be done so that when we do the right thing – when we choose Jesus – He looks at us through the perfection and holiness of His Son.

Right from the start God began painting a picture of His plan to redeem us. He placed a tree in the center of the garden. Then He very clearly said that tree was the difference between life and death. Choose wisely, He warned.

There is another tree in the center of your life. God very clearly tells us it’s the difference between life and death. I’m sure you know that tree is the cross of Jesus. And I want you to hear God’s clear warning:

Choose wisely.

Today is the first day of 2022. I hope you know Jesus as your Savior and have made Him the Lord of your life. But if you haven’t, today would be a great day to do that. Begin this year with a clean slate, a pure heart, forgiven and redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ who died on a cross to save you.

That’s why the tree. Choose wisely.

(John 19-21) What About Him?

Do you ever look at the guy down the street and ask, “Why does he have it so easy?” or look at your co-worker and wonder, “Why does she get all the recognition?” Maybe concerning your own hardships you hear yourself pray, “Why me, Lord? What about him?”

Peter was in that boat. Jesus had just described Peter’s future and gave Peter a glimpse at his own death. It wasn’t pretty. So in response Peter pointed to the disciple John and asked Jesus, “What about him?”

Maybe Peter wanted to be sure John didn’t get off easy, or maybe he wanted his own death to be the more impressive of the two. Maybe Peter had genuine concern for his friend John. I don’t know. But I think we all need to hear Jesus’ answer to Peter’s question.

Basically Jesus said, “It’s none of your business.”

When we begin to hear the “why?” questions in our heads we need to hear God tell us the same thing: It’s none of your business. How God works in the lives of other people is totally up to Him and has nothing to do with how He works in ours. God deals with all of us in many different ways, but with a common goal: the salvation of us all.

Do you trust God? Then know that however He is dealing with the guy down the street, that co-worker, or you, is done by a loving, compassionate God who just wants each of us to come to Him, to accept what Jesus died to provide – the eternal salvation of our souls.

Don’t waste time worrying about what that looks like in anyone’s life but your own. The “what about him?” question is none of your business.

(Matthew 10) Voices

There are so many voices out there these days: voices that use Scripture, compassionate voices, tolerant voices, loving and encouraging voices, voices that sound like Jesus’ voice but are really the voice of Satan. These voices can be sung in some worship services, preached from too many pulpits, written in some Bible commentaries, blogs, and study guides.

Some voices are more easily recognized as lies. They are in the news and social medias, on the lips of government officials, Hollywood, etc. At least they should be recognizable. They call good evil and evil good, they say males are females and females are males, the Constitution is bad and history needs to be erased or tweaked.

I say those voices are easily identified as lies and, with that, should be rejected. But obviously from what we see going on in our world, that is not the case. Those lying voices are loud and clear and believed by what may be the majority.

The reason for this is that we don’t recognize the voice of the Shepherd any more. We are lazy and irresponsible. We let others do our thinking for us. We follow this voice, then that, as those voices lead us further and further away from the Truth. And as we move further from the Truth, the Shepherd’s voice gets weaker and weaker.

Do you know the Shepherd’s voice? Can you distinguish it from the voice of the wolves that would lure you into death? If you find yourself beginning to fall for the alternate truths being shouted today, you need to stop and listen. Open your Bibles. Hear the voice of the Shepherd through the words He wrote to you. Reject the lies and stand on the only Truth there is.

I’m praying for you. I’m praying for us all.

(John 6:47-59) Eat Your Fill

I bet you think I’m talking about Thanksgiving dinner, right? Wrong. In fact, my thoughts today might cause you to lose your appetite all together.

I gotta be honest. Jesus’ words revealing Himself as the Bread of Life is gross. If a person didn’t know how often Jesus used metaphors and spoke in parables, they would be right to be disgusted by Jesus’ words in this passage. Be warned, my friend, before you turn to John 6.

But Jesus is not talking about cannibalism. He is not inviting anyone to gnaw on his physical flesh or drink the blood running through His veins here. It is true, however, that people who feed on Him will live forever.

Confused much?

Think about what Jesus is saying while using His body as an example. Being a Jesus-follower isn’t merely a nod at His diety, or acknowledging He is the Savior. Christianity isn’t merely a set of rules to follow, although obedience is certainly proof of being a Christian.

Jesus’ example of eating His flesh and drinking His blood tells me there is something uniquely different about being His. It’s an all-in, total transformation from the inside out. Here’s the correlation: when we eat and drink physical food and water, it enters our bodies and becomes nutrients, calories, energy and makes us healthy and strong. Eating and drinking sustains life.

And that’s what Jesus want to do in us. When we “take Him in,” He becomes our energy, strength, and spiritual health that will help us in this life and take us into eternity. He will transform us from weak, sinful people, into strong and healthy eternal individuals. It’s not about these rundown flesh and blood bodies. It’s about our spirits and souls.

When we ask Jesus to come “into our hearts,” we are asking Him to fill us completely, to become in us what we need for living today and forever. Just like food does for our bodies, Jesus does for our souls.

And Jesus isn’t talking about an occasional taste here. A nibble of food now and then isn’t enough to sustain a physical body. Neither is an occasional connection with Jesus. Read these verses. Jesus is talking about gorging ourselves on Him!

Take a bite. Read His Word. Take another bite and put your trust in Him. Eat some more by spending time with Him, growing in your knowledge and love of Him, allowing Him to transform you, strengthen you, direct your steps so that you look more and more like the One who fills you to overflowing.

Eat your fill. Then eat some more. You can’t get too much Jesus in you!

(John 1-3) The Whosoever

There is a debate among Christians over the “whosoever” in John 3:16. The question is” did God put on human flesh and live on earth for 33 years to die a horrible death for a few “chosen” people He would draw to Himself, and leave the majority of people without hope? Or did Jesus come to purchase salvation for the world, for every man, woman, and child who draws breath?

God loves the world. God gave His Son so that everyone who believes will have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world – not to condemn – but to save the world. Anyone who believes in Him in not condemned. Anyone who doesn’t believe is already condemned because of his unbelief. The truth is, Jesus came to be the Light but some people prefer the darkness. (see John 3:16-21)

Some people will point to Matthew 22:14 where Jesus said: Many are called, but few are chosen, and John 6:44 where the Lord said: No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and Ephesians 2:8-9 which says: It is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works so that no one may boast. These verses, they will argue, support the belief that God is selective in whose life He is working, that we as individuals have nothing to do with it.

Yet Jesus said: I will draw ALL PEOPLE to Myself. (John 12:32)

Here’s what I see according to Scripture:

  1. Jesus died for the sin of the world, for all of us without exception.
  2. God the Holy Spirit is revealing Himself, drawing to Himself every person – everyone! It’s not a question of “if” the Spirit moves in someone’s heart. The Spirit’s moving in all hearts. That’s a given.
  3. Now here’s where the “chosen” comes in. God chooses to save anyone who believes, anyone who is born again (John 3:5ff). God chooses to reject and condemn anyone who refuses to believe, anyone who prefers the darkness over the light He reveals to everyone.

C.S. Lewis said it best: “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, “Thy will be done.”

Think about that for a minute.

The Lord is “…not wishing that any should perish, but that all would come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9b)

I think there is much more Scriptural evidence to support the fact that God, right now this minute, is working in the hearts and lives of all people everywhere, that He is seeking to save the lost, that God chose mankind to save and provided salvation for “whosoever” at the cross.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)

If there are people to whom the Holy Spirit is not revealing Himself, if there are some who God deems expendable, if there are those God is not drawing to Himself because they didn’t make the list, they would have a right to sit in hell and say, “It’s not fair. God didn’t choose me.”

No. They will sit isolated in hell and weep over the fact they didn’t choose God, remembering all the times God wooed, drew, revealed Himself, and died, so had they believed, their eternity would be life instead of the agonizing death they suffer. They will sit there forever without excuse.

If you have yet to submit to God, to be born again, I can assure you God is working fervently in your heart right now. His desire is that you become His child through the blood of His Son. You.

If you have a loved one who seems far from making that decision, rest assured that God is working fervently in that heart right this minute, too. Keep praying. Keep living your faith in front of them. Keep trusting God because He loves that person even more than you do.

He will do everything He can to draw all people to Himself. Except making them come to Him. That is a choice they will have to make for themselves. That choice isn’t “works,” as some people believe. Paul tells us all to make that choice:

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (Romans 10:9)

That is a promise to whosoever believes.

And when they make that choice to believe, they become chosen of God. He won’t turn away anyone who comes to Him.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that WHOSOEVER believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)