Tag Archives: sin

Not Too Late

Genesis 25-27

I see me in Esau. He wanted his father’s blessing. He just wanted to live life on his own terms, too. He hadn’t really taken his father all that seriously, until it was too late.

So often I want God to bless me. But I also want to live life on my own terms, like Esau did. I read God’s demands in Scripture, but I don’t always take them seriously. I think both Esau and I are counting on our Father’s love to overlook our selfish choices.

The thing is, no matter how much He loves us, God CAN’T overlook our choices that go against His rules. He is holy. He demands holiness of us. He won’t let the guilty go unpunished. He wouldn’t be holy if He did.

Esau missed out on the best his father could offer. He was given a blessing of sorts in the end, but oh, what he’d given up because of disobedience.

I am blessed much more than I deserve. I thank God that when I confess and repent of my sin, He gives me the greatest blessing of all – HIMSELF! It doesn’t get better than that.

Esau reminds me that in order to receive all the benefits from that precious blessing, I need to obey. I need to humble myself, let go of the reins, and let God have His way in my life. My Father wants to bless me beyond what I can ask or think. He only asks me to follow His rules.

It was too late for Esau to receive the blessing he was hoping for. It’s not too late for me. My gracious Heavenly Father is eager to shower me with the blessings of His presence and care, His joy and salvation. May I be ready to receive all He has to offer, as I submit to His will, and let go of mine.

Rash Decisions

Genesis 12-16

Have you ever reacted in the moment, then lived to regret it? I sure have. And so too, I think, did Abram. More than once.

First, when famine hit Canaan, Abram packed up and moved to Egypt. I don’t see him consulting God about that. It appears to be a blatant act of disobedience. But, the grass is greener on the other side of the Nile.

Entering Egypt placed him and his family smack dab in the middle of enemy territory. Abram wasn’t ready for that. Which leads us to rash decision #2.

Abram told his beautiful wife, Sarai, to lie to the King of Egypt. Dangerous move, there, Abe. Again, I don’t see Abram calling on God about the situation. Maybe, like Adam, Abram thought he could hide from God. Maybe he knew he shouldn’t be in Egypt in the first place and thought he’d gotten himself into this mess, he’d get himself out. (been there, done that myself a few times).

Both of these decisions indicate Abram’s lack of faith in God. Hold onto that thought. Because bad choice #3 tells the same tale.

God had promised Abram children. Lots of children. But at this point, Abram hadn’t fathered even one. So when Sarai came up with an idea, Abram went with it. Do you see either of them going to God first? I mean, God was the one who had made the promise. Maybe He would have had a better idea than having Abram sleep with a slave girl. Just saying.

Anyway, Abram went ahead without God, and the world has been paying for it ever since.

Have you found that reacting in the moment turns out to smack you in the face? That has been my experience more often than I care to admit. I would venture to say every life choice I’ve made without including God has ended badly. Some of those choices have minor consequences. Some of those choices have resulted in consequences I still experience decades later. Some choices effected only me. Other choices have caused others to experience pain.

But all is not lost. With all the mistakes Abram made, look at 15:6. And he believed the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

When we believe the Lord, when we obey Him, when we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

Which makes us righteous, too, just like Abram! Aren’t you glad God doesn’t write us off when we make those rash decisions? I am. There may be consequences, but there is forgiveness when we ask Him.

In Good News Club this week I was talking to the children about peer pressure. When faced with a hard decision, I encouraged the kids to think first. Is what they are considering right or wrong? If they do that thing, would it please God? That advice isn’t just for kids.

May we all think before we react in the moment. May we ask ourselves if our reaction is right or wrong according to God’s Word. And, maybe most importantly, would my reaction please God?

I think if Abram had thought about what he was doing, if He had prayed first, the world might look a bit differently today. If I had done the same, thought, prayed first, my life might look differently today, too.

I’m thankful for the life of Abram, a flawed individual who loved God, and whom God used in spite of his failures. I’m thankful for the cross, for forgiveness, and for prayer to a God who wants to help me make the right choices, ones that will be the best for me, and will glorify Him.

Name Your Source

Job 21-28

The Life Application Bible I am using this year to read through the Bible does a comparison of the wisdom expressed by Job and his friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. Eliphaz seems to believe he’s figured God out by observing how God works in lives and in Creation. Bildad says he just needs to learn from those who have lived before us. Job’s observation is that God’s revelation of Himself to man is directly related to the humility of man and the trust man puts in God.

But it’s Zophar who got my attention this morning. He seems to have the idea that he is one of a very few who have an ‘in’ on wisdom. His wisdom has no other source than himself.

Yep. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? I’m pretty sure we are living among a bunch of Zophars: people who claim to be the sole authority of their own wisdom. “If I say my truth, you are obliged to accept it as truth.”

We have a society that accepts the rantings of internet influencers as truth, people whose main objective is to get noticed, liked and followed by millions, people who sit in their cars and act like they are authorities, then go home to their bedrooms in their parents’ homes. These are people with opinions, passing them off as truth. So I decided to scroll through Instagram (and believe me I couldn’t scroll fast enough).

There was a girl with rainbow colored hair and face piercings explaining why I should use her made-up pronouns when addressing her. I watched long enough to see her work up some tears as she talked about how threatened she is by people who wanted to call her “she.”

A bearded young man dressed up like a girl started to name all the different genders I am supposed to embrace. I scrolled pretty quickly past him.

A woman who looked like she was in her fifties used some pretty foul language as she told me how phobia-filled I am because I refuse to accept the fact she identifies as a cat. She had a pretty good vocabulary for a feline.

I guess all you have to do these days is turn on a camera and download nonsense in order to be an influencer or authority on just about any subject. Speak the lie, and it’s out there in cyber-space forever. Oh, someone might “fact-check” you and determine what you said is not true. But it’s impossible to pull in the reins of a lie already on the net. One “share” and it’s off and running again.

Sadly, as I was scrolling through some of these posts I paused and read comments that seem to support the sinful choices these people are making. Many of them have hundreds if not thousands of “likes.” Are people actually swallowing this garbage? Evidently.

Once again, I am reminded that all of us need to hold to the Truth that God inspired in His Word. It is the only Truth. And Job will tell us the first step toward wisdom is a healthy fear of Almighty God.

I have been tempted to throw up my hands and say, “Come back Lord!!! End this insanity once and for all.” But as I was scrolling through Instagram a simple phrase passed by:

What Satan intends for evil, God can use for good.

That was taken from something Joseph said to his brothers after they had sold him into slavery. I believe the same can be true today.

The voice of evil is getting louder. Maybe this is just what the Church has needed to happen in order for us to use our voices once again. We’ve been silent way too long, and look what’s happened as a result. Maybe God wants to use this to get us motivated. Let’s start to speak up. Deny the lies. Speak Truth in such a way as to be heard.

Many have been praying for a revival in our country and in the world. I think we are on the verge, forced into repentance by the breaking down of truth. But it might be our last chance at redemption. If we don’t get on our knees right now, then stand together for Truth, we might be looking toward a time when we have no voice.

What is the source of your wisdom, of your truth? All I can say is, it better be the Bible. If it isn’t, you have no more wisdom than that chair you are sitting on. Your truth is a lie if it doesn’t align with Scripture… no matter how loudly or how often you say it.

So tell me what you believe. Name your source. Then I’ll check your source with mine before I believe what you are saying. Satan might think he’s got the Church backed into a corner. But God can turn the tables, if we are faithful.

Let’s be faithful!

Heaven

John’s Revelation

Think about it: God will wipe away our tears. No more night. No more heartache and sin. No more cares and worries, sickness or death. And we we look upon the One who loves us with a love we cannot fathom right now.

I don’t know if there will be a thousand calendar years before we enjoy our eternal home. It doesn’t really matter if John’s revelation has a material interpretation or whether it is meant to be interpreted spiritually. This book, to me, is about hope.

It’s about redemption. It’s about Jesus and the fact that one day I will be in His Presence! I’ll look into those eyes, study that face, see those nail prints in His hands and know at last I am home.

I have no doubt about that. I know it is a fact because I have died, and God raised me to new life in Him. How? I admitted my sins and repented of them from a humble heart in need of a Savior. I’ve accepted the redeeming work of Jesus, His death and resurrection, and I know I can stand before the Holy God without fear because Jesus paid my death penalty and placed His holiness on me. It wasn’t my doing. It’s all Jesus.

Tomorrow marks a New Year, a new beginning for many. I pray that you will welcome in 2023 with Jesus, your Savior, at your side and in your heart. I pray that you will grow a relationship with Him by reading His Word every day, praying every day, resisting Satan every day.

Who knows if the ball will drop on 2024? It may, or may not. Reading God’s Word reminds me when Jesus returns (and He will) it will be too late to change your mind, too late to repent of sin and accept the Savior. Too late.

There is a heaven for God’s followers. And there is a hell for anyone who hasn’t accepted God’s saving grace.

Choose Jesus. And have a blessed 2023 as His precious child.

Love Like God’s

Jude 17-23

Jesus told us that the second greatest commandment, after loving God with our whole being, is to love one another. It’s that important. People will know we are followers of Jesus if we love one another.

But the modern Church has perverted the meaning of love to mean tolerance and acceptance with a “do not judge” theology that is antichrist. I hope you’ll read what God has to say through Jude in these verses. Pay special attention to verse 23:

Show mercy to still others, but do so with caution, hating the sin that contaminates their lives. (NLT)

HATING THE SIN THAT CONTAMINATES THEIR LIVES.

You might say, “Hate is a pretty strong word.” It’s not my word, it’s God’s. He tells us to hate sin. HATE.

Why would God use that word in regard to sin? Well, sin leads to hell, and He doesn’t want anyone to go there. The only way to avoid hell is to deal with sin, not tolerate or accept it. That knowledge should make every Christian hate sin.

There are progressives who call themselves Christian and will tell you they have a deeper understanding of Scripture than the rest of us. So I laughed out loud today when I read what John said about that in his Revelation. In regard to false teaching he said:

‘deeper truths,’ as they call them – depths of Satan, actually. (Revelation 2:24)

These ‘deeper truths’ people are claiming to have are, according to Scripture, deeper into Satan’s theology. Beware!

I will stand by Scripture that tells us to love people enough to address the sin in their lives so they can repent of it. I stand by Scripture that tells us there is no other way.

Real love, God’s kind of love, is NOT tolerant or accepting of sin, according to Scripture.

It’s Not Their Fault

1 John 1-2

I hope you’ll read John’s introduction to this letter. You can feel his love for Jesus, and his desire for you to love Him, too. John saw Jesus, the Creator God, with his own eyes, touched the flesh and blood body of Jesus, and knew for certain that Jesus is the Word of life!

Then John says this:

This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light and there is no darkness in him at all. (1:5)

At all.

We can look at what is happening in our world and recognize the darkness. John told us that people love darkness rather than light. Why? Because their deeds are evil. (John 3:19)

Today, they don’t even hide their sin in the darkness. It’s out in the open, in our government, on our phones, and forced on innocent children. It is out of control. The world is corrupt. Satan is on a roll.

Is it because Satan is getting stronger against God? Or is it something else? I think John has the answer there in 1 John 1:5. There is no darkness in God, only light.

You understand darkness NEVER wins over light, don’t you? Where there is light, there cannot be darkness. Not in your living room, not in your hearts, and not in the world. But there’s a problem.

So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness, we are not practicing the truth. (verse 6)

Jesus told us that we are the light of the world,

A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glory your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

And there you have it.

The world isn’t getting worse because sin is winning. It’s getting worse because Christians aren’t shining the Light, not exposing sin, not showing sinners the way into the Light through the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

John goes on to say all of us need to admit our sin, repent of it and accept God’s forgiveness and cleansing.

Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. (2:6)

So the fault of our world’s sinful condition does not lie on the shoulders of sinful people. It lies squarely on believers who have stopped shining the Light of Truth. It falls on Christians who want to blend in with the world and wonder why the world doesn’t recognize the light in us.

Darkness isn’t winning. Christians have just stopped living in the Light.

Next time you lament over the increasing darkness in the world remember:

Darkness CANNOT exist where Light is.

The question is: what are you doing with the Light you’ve received?

You Are Chosen

Romans 8-11

Paul specifically says God shows mercy to some people, and chooses to harden the hearts of others so that they refuse to listen. (8:18). He gave Pharaoh as an example. Then he goes on to say, “that’s the way it is. Don’t question God. He will show mercy and compassion to anyone he chooses.”

There are those who base their theology on these and similar verses. They call it election or pre-destination. And as I read these verses this morning, I prayed: Are they right to believe you decide to deny salvation to some based on a criteria we can’t understand? Is that what Paul is saying?

Then I read chapters 10-11 and heard Paul say salvation is for everyone. I was reminded of the “whosoever” of John 3:16, the “not willing that any should perish” of 2 Peter 3:9. How do I reconcile two seemingly opposite views? Because I believe both views are true by the fact they are God-breathed Scripture.

Which makes me think they aren’t all that opposite after all. Here’s what I believe Scripture teaches from Genesis to Revelation: God loves people. Jesus died to save people. God, from day one has been revealing Himself to people, to draw all of us to Himself.

But God created us with the gift of choice. Anyone who chooses God, God chooses to accept. Anyone who chooses to reject God, God chooses to reject. From before creation, God knew who of us would choose Him and who would reject Him. From before creation He chose to save all who choose Him, and condemn all who reject Him.

That’s what He predestined: the means of salvation.

You might not like it. You might think it’s too cut and dry, black and white. Hear Paul say: who do you think you are to question your Creator?

I think many of us have been caught up in trying to figure out predestination, and we may have overlooked the important message Paul wanted us to hear. I think Paul (speaking for God) wanted us to consider the seriousness of rejecting God.

Do you accept that Jesus died to pay your sin debt? Do you choose to believe that He is the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life? Have you been born again? Then you are chosen by God to receive His grace!

But if you don’t accept Him on His terms, if you don’t believe, you are chosen by God to receive His punishment without mercy. And hear His warning:

If you reject Him, He hardens your heart. The consequence of denying Him is an ever progressive hardening toward Him, so that eventually you won’t even hear Him any more. Not that He won’t be revealing Himself. But it will be harder and harder for you to see Him.

Rejecting God is serious. And I think that is the important lesson Paul was trying to convey here. You are chosen by God to be His child. Jesus died for you so that your sins can be forgiven. That is His choice for you.

The question is: what is your choice?

Your Job Description

1 Thessalonians 5:12-22

What does it mean to be a follower of God, a disciple of Jesus filled with the Holy Spirit? What does it mean to be part of a church fellowship, worshiping and serving with other like-minded believers? I think Paul gives us a pretty good job description. ( I’m using the NLT today)

  1. Warn those who are lazy. The thing is, none of us should be idle. James tells us our faith
    without works is dead faith. Those who are satisfied to sit on the sidelines need to be warned of that.
  2. Encourage the timid. Baby steps. A new believer, or a believer who hesitates to serve for any reason, needs someone to come along side and support them until they are ready to fly. It’s another description of mentoring.
  3. Take tender care of those who are weak. And who isn’t weak at one time or another? Yet we so often end up condemning the weak instead of nurturing them and giving them the spiritual PT they need be be strong.
  4. Be patient with everyone. Not just the people you like. We are all works in progress.
  5. See that no one repays evil for evil. Paul is not just saying YOU shouldn’t do that. He is telling you to be sure I’m not doing that, either. Yes, we are accountable for each other.
  6. Do good to each other and to all people. Look around. Jesus died for that person, and that person, and that one. Reach out to them for Jesus’ sake.
  7. Always be joyful. That might be a tough one because we all go through times of deep sorrow. Does Paul mean we are to put on a sappy smile? If you are a believer, I think you understand the difference between happiness, and the gift of joy from the Holy Spirit. It’s not just a feeling. It’s what comes from knowing our sins are forgiven, from a right standing with God, and a relationship with our precious Jesus. It’s not dependent on circumstances, but rather on the person of Jesus Christ.
  8. Never stop praying. That constant conversation with our Lord is vital to our relationship with Him, and our service for Him.
  9. Be thankful in everything, for this is God’s will. Yeah, thankful. Everything. Paul counted it a privilege to suffer for the Name, thankful for the chance to represent God even to the people who persecuted him. You have an opportunity to be a light to people living in darkness, through whatever you are dealing with today. Are you thankful for the privilege?
  10. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. You stifle the Holy Spirit when you are holding on to a sin rather than repenting of it.
  11. Do not scoff at prophecies but test everything you hear according to God’s written Word. There are a lot of things being tossed around today by people claiming to speak for God. Can you tell the difference between who is true to God’s Word, and who is speaking Satan’s lies? Open your Bible!
  12. Hold on to what is good. Hold on, dear one. Our world is calling bad good and good bad. You need to know the difference, then hold on to what is good with all your might.
  13. Stay away from every kind of evil. That might mean turning off your TV, walking away from a group of friends, coming out from among the ungodly and being separate. We are told to be holy as God is holy. We can’t be holy if we continue to sin without repentance.

So how did you stack up as a child of God according to Paul’s job description? I know there are some things I need to change if I want the privilege of doing that job well. I believe if our churches were filled with people who fit that description we would see an epic outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and many lost people would find their Savior.

And isn’t that what we want to see as followers of God, disciples of Jesus filled with the Holy Spirit, and members of His Church?

Be A Berean

Acts 17

We need more Bereans today, people who search the Scriptures to know if what they are hearing is really the truth. Sadly, too many people aren’t interested in THE truth any more. They’re happy with the lie they are clinging to.

I guess the most obvious example of this is the pronoun issue these days. Yeah. Pronouns. Does that sound as ridiculous to you as it does to me? But here we go…

What does Scripture say about male and female? Did Jesus use gender specific pronouns? Did the Holy Spirit use pronouns as HE whispered His Words into the men who wrote the Bible? Did God create male and female humans (and animals and plants)? Or is there anywhere in Scripture that suggests gender is a choice?

And, no. I am not going to give you the Scripture that addresses those things. Open up your Bible and search it for yourself. Isn’t it time we stopped living on baby formula?

Even apart from Scripture, is a boy’s anatomy different than a girl’s? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to answer that one. Our anatomy is the outward evidence of the DNA, chromosomal identification of gender within. You don’t change that by lopping off body parts, or masking it with drugs. I know that is the truth, unless you can point me to Scripture that says otherwise.

Find where God speaks about transgenderism as something He acknowledges, much less approves of. Chapters and verses, please.

If God “knit (us) together in (our) mother’s womb(s),” HE CHOSE OUR GENDER. Whether you are a biological male or female, know that God lovingly and purposefully made you that way. Your gender is His gift to you.

And hear me when I say, parents, you had better be teaching your children how blessed they are to have been made by a loving Creator exactly the way they are. Shame on any of you if you convince your babies God made a mistake in them or anyone else. You had better be living the truth, and teaching your children to embrace their God-given gender, to celebrate it, protect it, and live it as the special boy or girl they ARE.

To deny or mutilate what God has made is to deny Him. To deny Him is sin. And unconfessed sin cannot be forgiven. Search the Scriptures if you don’t believe me.

Here’s another example that addresses our need to be a Berean and search the Scriptures: PC Bible translations. I have in my home translations of the Bible that have already replaced male pronouns with “they,” or “people,” or “men and women” instead of the original use of “man” or “men” to include everyone. I don’t like it. I don’t think it was necessary. But I have used those translations anyway. But sin isn’t satisfied with the first step.

The Presbyterian USA Church is now “Queering the Bible.” And they are proud of it! God, forgive us! We Bereans need to be sure we are searching the translations of God’s Word that comes directly from the original. To do otherwise is to invite heresy into our hearts.

Come on, Christian. Study God’s true Word. Know what it says. Fire your preachers who preach any other Gospel, any who are more concerned about being politically correct than they are about being accountable to God. Quit simply lamenting in your Sunday School classrooms about the horrible state of the world, and get out there and stand for TRUTH. Know what God says. Reject anything else. And reject it loudly.

Be a Berean.

The Beginning

Matthew 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 19

The people watching the crucifixion thought Jesus was stuck up there, unable to save Himself. What they refused to see was God choosing to stay on the cross so He could save them.

The proof that Jesus is God, the perfect, spotless Lamb sacrificed to redeem sinners, is in the fact that He didn’t come down off that cross. He died in order to pay our death sentence, and that of the very people who hung Him there.

When you read the crucifixion account in all the four Gospels, the beatings, the mocking, His mother and John, the soldiers, His words, the thieves, the darkness, the curtain, the prophecies fulfilled that day, you are reading about the King not defeated – victorious!

His enemies thought this was the end of HIm. But it was just the beginning!