What is sin?


The dictionary defines a sin like this: an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.

TenCommadmentsGod’s divine law is given in the Ten Commandments: Exodus 20

1 “You shall have no other gods before me.
2 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
3 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
4 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
5 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
6 “You shall not murder.
7 “You shall not commit adultery.
8 “You shall not steal.
9 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

In some way, each of us has broken at least one of these commandments on a daily basis. None of us are perfectly able to keep even these commandments every day, all day. As Paul wrote in his letter to the church, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.

We may not have a graven image of our job or our wife or any other thing in our home but if we place more importance in those than we do in worshiping God, we have created our own “god” from something or a person who can’t fulfill that role. Your position cannot fulfill your life and neither can your home or your car or any person in this world. You can find happiness in your relationship or in your job, but it is not an eternal happiness because your job is not permanent and your wife or husband is not a god.

Placing someone or something on a pedestal and elevating them or it to a position which cannot be true in the sense of being a “god” is foolish, but some people do exactly that. They may not think that they are or they may not recognize their behavior as worship toward a person or some other thing besides the True Creator, but God knows their heart. He knows exactly who it is that they revere and have placed in His position and on His throne but God doesn’t share His throne.

Make sure of your worship and your salvation before the time of grace runs out.

God is in control (part 2)


God-In-In-ControlIf you have ever thought about God being in control or even whether He is or not, the earlier post should give you some insight into His presence and persistent control.

Satan has to ask permission to touch or otherwise trouble Christians, but the rest of the world he can get into their lives as easy as walking in the door. The entirety of Creation is God’s possession and His responsibility but He loves mankind above all. It is a mystery to most regarding His love for us, especially the angels because no other created-being gets His attention like mankind has had in all of Creation.

God has always protected and watched over those who He calls to do His work on Earth. Some of them have had a “pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night“, others have had “ravens to feed thee” in Elijah’s time of persecution, but all of this is because of God’s love for us and His people Israel.

Don’t think that because these two instances were in the Old Testament that God won’t do things similar today. He does and He will do this and more, but we won’t hear about it because the media ignores most “good news” today. Especially if it seems that it may have a miraculous component to it and one which can’t be explained away. God provides us with air and water and many other things which are needed for living and yet we take all of them for granted.

Why do we do this? Because much of the world’s population doesn’t really believe in God or in His power to keep us safe and protect us. Most of the world thinks that our protection is due to natural forces which can be scientifically explained. How did the physical laws in the universe come into being? They didn’t just magically appear as evolutionists say! That kind of thinking requires more faith in an accidental process than I can muster.

God is in control and He isn’t made up of “dark matter” or quarks or any of those particles which show up when atomic nuclei are smashed into each other at near the speed of light. He created all of them and they do as they are told to do in this universe because He is in control.

Seek out His Word and His wisdom which is contained within its pages because it is only there where the Truth of everything which is needed for each of us is found. Jesus gave His life for your soul, surely you can give your heart and your life to Him for your own salvation and that of your family as well!

We are special to God


YouAreSpecialHave you ever needed help which people cannot provide? Most of us have been through exactly that in our lives, especially before we found out that we NEED Him! There are many times in life where each of us truly needs God.

In truth…we need Him every day. Can we get through the day without Him? Yes, but we will likely make more mistakes during those times while we aren’t living each day with Him, following Him through the day.

I pray that you will seek Him out while you are yet living on this Earth because one day you will face Him and you will give an account of WHY you chose to live without Jesus.

If you believe that you are good enough to get into Heaven without Jesus, you may try…but it won’t work! We are not able to be completely free from sin on our own. We are only human and our nature from a young age is to be sinful. If you don’t believe me, tell a three-year-old or a five-year-old child not to touch the jar of cookies. Even when you are still in the room they will be working out in their head how they can do it.

Then, when they do get a cookie or two, ask them if they got those from the jar that you told them not to get into. They will most likely tell you “Nope, I didn’t get any cookies”. Many of us who are parents have heard this many times, it is nothing new. We are born with a sinful nature and even when we are too young to know that we are telling lies, we know how to do it and we don’t need someone to teach us how.

joyBe joyful in the Lord because He is thy Helper and your strength in times of trouble. God knows your trials and the problems that beset you in your days because there is nothing which is hidden from Him. Amen

 

 

 

Do you bear fruit for Him?


John 15:1-8

Jesus the True Vine

1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear the fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

VineandBranchesJesus taught this lesson to His disciples during the hours just before His arrest and the mock trial that He was subjected to before being condemned to the cross. There is more to His teaching on this but this began His discourse on being a disciple which produces fruit for God’s Kingdom. Have you considered what you should do in light of the fact that as a Christian, you are a disciple as well?

We are called to be in God’s family to be disciples as well as His voice while we live in this life. Yet, many Christians don’t fulfill their duty to Him in this way. We are content with knowing that we have our salvation and that we will be accepted into Heaven one day. But, God intended for us to have and do so much more than that. His Word shows us that the disciples went out from Jerusalem and spread His gospel and we should do no less.

We have much more available to us and for us to use as platforms and possible routes to spread Jesus’ message into the world than they had. God will use your talent or He will give you the talent and the words to say to spread His message to those who need it so badly in the world today. I don’t have the ability to go on missions overseas, but this forum can get to anyone who has access to the Internet. Unfortunately, there are many who don’t have access to it, which is where actual visits are required if possible.

Some places are in areas where it is not advisable to visit with a Christian message or to bring it to those living there. It is dangerous for Christians to go, as Jesus asked us to do, into many countries in the world today. Prayer for those people and places which are not accepting of Christian ideals and its message. Do what you can with what you have and ask God to bless the outcome of your efforts.

Did God make the right choice?


Actually, that is a very silly question. Of course, God made the right choice but which one am I referring to? That depends on what you are willing to do. Has God chosen you for something? But you really don’t want to follow Him in that direction or even go in that direction with your Christian walk. You should realize that this is a decision which is dangerous. Jonah made this kind of decision and God turned him around and brought him to where he wanted him to be.

Do you really want to go against God when you feel His call in your life? Deciding to go one direction and you decide that you will wait or maybe you just won’t go at all.

If He is telling you to go this way and you decide to go but by a different route, are you really obeying Him? It is not wise to try to find your own path to get where God wants you. If He is leading you toward this area and you decide to skirt around that and go to another area that seems more promising in your estimation. Isn’t that actually disobeying God?

In life, we are faced with many choices. Some of the decisions are hard to make and some are fairly easy. So, what do you do when God calls you plainly to lead a planting of a church and you ignore Him? What about when you feel led by Him to preach on a certain scripture and then you change your sermon to something different before the service? Still being disobedient.

In the Old Testament, God expected faith from His servants that He called and He expected them to obey His commands. He still expects this today, so why don’t we hear Him and obey like we should? Is it pride or selfishness which is getting in the way? Maybe. Is it just stubbornness which is keeping us on our path rather than the path that He wants us to be on? Many times I believe that is the problem. We are comfortable where we are and we don’t want to change even if it is God Who is trying to get us to listen.

The big problem here is this: God will get your attention, one way or the other!! You can run away and hide, you can try to ignore His call, but eventually, He will win. He will get you turned around and going in the right direction. Remember, His Son died for us to be saved from our own mistakes so it is only fitting that we should obey Him and follow His lead in our Christian walk with Him.

God gives each of us a talent or a gift or some ability to be useful in His Kingdom, many of us have more than one gift but God expects us to use those gifts for His purposes and His Kingdom. Can we use them in other places? Of course, we can, but the main reason that we have these gifts is for God’s Kingdom first and foremost.

1 Corinthians 12:7-11 ESV 
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

There is so much pain…


Not just in Florida or in any of the other towns and cities where a terrorist has used a gun to kill people, but all over the world where people are persecuted for the faith no matter what it might be. Pain in hospitals where children who aren’t old enough to walk are trying to fight cancer of one type or another. There is much pain in any one of the war zones around the world because of the death and destruction caused for reasons which few can even recall today.

Why?

This is the question which so many parents and grandparents ask when their child is suffering from a disease that ultimately will end their life. Many of them are suffering from diseases which have had millions of dollars spent on research and yet there is still no effective treatment let alone a cure. Why? It seems that educators and scientists and doctors all believe that if we throw more money at the problem it will work out better in the end…but it hasn’t. In any of those areas, more money has not fixed the dropout rate or the disease survival rate significantly. I know that more children survive some childhood cancers now than they did thirty or more years ago, but what about the new cancers or those which have evolved as they speak about?

Did they change so much that even the treatments from years past don’t even work or are the drug companies just too greedy and they just raise the price of a drug and change its name? Exactly! Greed has driven this industry for far too long. Greed has driven our medical industry for too long as well.

Why am I bringing this up on my site? Because I have had to buy some medication and it was expensive. I have also talked with some friends who have medication which cost nearly $500 for one inhaler!

God did not intend for us to have to take these things in the first place and the companies are making so much money off of them! If we could go back to growing our own food and eat those vegetables exclusively then our need for medication would diminish. God loves us and did not create our world with GMO things to feed us or to plant in our gardens. When He made it, He said it was good and that means perfection!

Find a diet which follows the Bible’s recommendations. I am not talking about eating insects like John the Baptist, but eating wholesome REAL food, not man-made, modified food. This is the type of diet which will KEEP you healthy or possibly cure some of the problems that may be caused by those man-made “foods”. Seek God’s wisdom in your diet as well as in your life so that your eternity will be declared good in God’s eyes.

Death…


It seems that we can’t get through a year without a shooting at a school or some other venue. Actually, it hasn’t been a year, it has been more like six or eight months. Regardless of the amount of time between them, it is a very sad day with another school shooting today. I can’t make any sense of any of these. There is no pattern or reason for any of this violence and killing. So, what can be done? Can anything be done to stop this before it gets worse?

I’m not sure what can be done if anything. On this point, the only useful help can come from God. He is the only person Who can comfort a grieving parent or spouse. As far as the motivation for these things which are happening with far too much frequency….we are living very close to the end times predicted in the Bible. Satan and his demons and principalities are causing all kinds of problems in the world today.

I know that many people don’t want to believe that Satan is real or that demonic influence has anything to do with all of humanity’s problems but he is real and they do have a very large influence over our world today. How is this possible? Because there are so many people in the world who do not have a relationship with Jesus, that is the main problem in our world today. I know, there are wars and economic problems in our world, but many of those were also caused by a suggestion or some other prodding from a principality of Satan’s forces.

Some of those suggestions may have happened many years ago but they are becoming reality today. Just like some of the unfortunate racial persecution and enslavement in America, this was caused because some people took some part of God’s Word and twisted it to match their own philosophy. I don’t mean to say that the Bible was the reason for slavery, but parts of it were taken out of context and used in ways which God did not intend, and this was done by men, possibly being influenced by a spirit or principality of Satan.

We cannot discount young people as not being a threat to everyone, but could this be caught earlier? I don’t know. If the shooter posted his ideas and his philosophy toward being a shooter and some of the teens who knew him said that he liked to hurt animals. If someone is that disturbed and a tip is received about them, then it should be followed up on. We cannot keep ignoring the signs or the posts that some of them put up on social media.

Prayer is what the families need in Florida right now, not to be used as leverage for gun control because gun control is not the answer. Screening those who are disturbed or who show disturbing tendencies should be done, but this likely won’t be done either. Please, pray for these families and for our country and seek out Jesus as your Savior because you really don’t know which day will be your last.

 

Should you consider the alternative?


What?! The alternative to Jesus and being saved from your sins, that is what I am writing about this time. What is the alternative? Simply put..don’t change anything in your life. Keep doing what you do and living your life just the way that you always have. Don’t read the Bible, don’t go to church, don’t pray for help in any situation that you find yourself in. Why? Because the world around us says that we can take care of everything on our own with no help from some imaginary god.Yourplans&Gods

The problem is that Christians don’t believe in an imaginary god. Our God is real and is the Creator of everything. Then again, some of us do claim to worship our own version of God, like when you hear someone say: “The god that I worship wouldn’t let those children die”; “My god is not like the one which I hear preached in the church”. Exactly Who do you think God is? We cannot make Him in our image! He created us in His image and desires us to be more like Jesus in every way.

When someone says that their god is not like this or that I want to ask them if they claim to be a Christian. If they say that they are, then I would like to ask them where they got the notion that God can be different for them instead of being the unchanging God of the Bible? We cannot serve a different god and claim that “our god” is the God of the Bible because we are engaging in idolatry when we create a god like we want instead of worshiping the One true God in the Bible.

Because when you try to make God to be or to have some trait that suits you and your lifestyle, then you aren’t a Christian anymore. You are worshiping an idol. A god which you are comfortable with but also one which has no business being taught to others because your “god” is not God!

Life is confusing and stressful enough without adding a layer of ambiguous nonsense on top of our religion. God is and always has been and there is no other that He will share that distinction with. As it says in the Old Testament, I am a jealous God.

That is why God told the Israelites not to worship other gods. This part is not up for debate, yet people try to mold God into their own ideas of who and what He is or is supposed to be. The creature cannot make God in their likeness or according to their preferences. Our Creator is God the Father, Jesus the Son (the Living Word) and the Holy Spirit which goes about touching men’s hearts and convicting them of their sinfulness in order to bring them to full knowledge of Himself and to have faith in Him leading to salvation.

You can choose to believe this or not…it is up to you. But, I caution you on this. We are given a certain number of days to live, yet we do not know when our time here is up. Make sure that you do know the God of the Bible before your last breath. Make sure of your faith and salvation before this life ends regardless of how your life may be leading you, because when you do breathe that last breath your time is up and you will face God either in judgment or a welcoming embrace. Which would you rather be greeted with?

Differences between truth and ?


Pilate asked Jesus, “What is Veritas?” The word means truth, but he had the Truth standing in front of him at the time. Our world today defines truth as whatever you decide is your truth. No one wants to acknowledge the possibility of a Truth which can’t be questioned. But, the reality of truth is that God’s love is also an absolute truth as well.

In fact, truth and love could be classed as the same in the economy of God’s eternity! So which life would you truly enjoy? One that is based on God’s love and truth of salvation or one that is defined by your idea of truth? A life where mankind is the defining element of love and truth and their place in the world is flawed.

We try to define our world today by our individual ideas and “truths” which are only relevant to us as individuals. So, how can our world survive when there are millions or billions of truths which are conflicting with and against each other? Actually, our society can’t survive on individual truths which can’t possibly align with one another. We also have many different cultures within cities, let alone the cultures in a nation. With so many perceived differences between us like skin color and cultures and religious too, how can we get along?

Why can’t we get along in this world where people are connected through cell towers and the Internet? The connections between people don’t work well through the distance in between us, especially relational connections such as friends and family and loved ones. Even when we have phones capable of letting us talk face to face there is still distance and the connection just doesn’t make up for that.

Even when the letters were written and sent to us or to our family, it still doesn’t feel quite right. The problem today is that we are so used to distant relationships and texting and messages until when we are together, face to face, we don’t know what to say. It is easier to text than it is to actually talk…and that is sad. We can type in a browser or a message box many words to say to each other but when we are in the same room…talking is awkward. It is almost like we have forgotten how to have a real conversation face to face.

Technology in our world has made the world much smaller compared to the speed of the old style of mail or reading the newspaper. Although technology has done this in the past twenty-five years or so the world is the same, the people are the same, but we don’t actually SEE each other the way our parents or grandparents did. We don’t sit down at the table to eat with the family, we may sit together in a restaurant but we each have a phone screen lit up in our face. But…do you see people talking TO each other in that scenario or is it just one or two talking and the rest are texting others or maybe each other?

The TRUTH is that we are not made to live this way. Apart even when we are together, separate but living in the same house, nervous in a room with family and friends, does any of this sound familiar? Even Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, said in many of his letters that he would rather be there in person. Personal contact between him and his children in the churches was more important to be spoken to face to face. Even he was apologetic about the way that he had to advise them.

Please, try to get to the truth of your relationships and be personal with your family and friends because life will be so much more enjoyable if you have relationships with them rather than the phone and the messages.

My neighbor


Years ago when the PBS show was on, “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood“, and it still may be on (my son is 18 now so we don’t watch much PBS anymore); it was familiar like a sweater that you had worn for many years. Do you wonder about who is your neighbor and how they should be your neighbor? In the culture that we have today, I don’t think many people think about this much at all. Even Christians who are supposed to be doing this seem to let it slide or just don’t think about it much.

GoodSamaritanOur revival at church is going on and last night we had a great sermon on Jesus’ parable about the good Samaritan. It touched a lot of hearts and I think opened some people’s eyes to the fact that we do fall short in our lives on a daily basis. Do Christians sin on a daily basis? Yes, we are human after all. Do we fail to be real, true neighbors to those in need around us on a daily or weekly basis? Unfortunately, yes we do. Granted, some of us do fulfill the function of being a neighbor at least to some extent, but do we try to do it very often?

Not likely.

We pick and choose who we will help and how much. We are selfish in our helping and that is not being a good neighbor. Consider this: if you knew of a family who lives close by that was struggling with bills because of illness or loss of a provider, would you pay their bills for them? Would you offer to do so? I don’t mean by putting yourself in debt, but if you are able financially to help, would you? Most would not. Which is a sad part of today’s Christians.

The early church that you read about in Acts showed a group of believers who sold much of what they had, if not all, and gave to each other as the need arose. Were they being neighbors? I think so. We hear the Biblical wisdom which states that “the love of money is the root of all evil” and it is true. But, that is when you put money in the place of God, not when you use your wealth to help others. So, why don’t we do that?

Is it so hard to see someone struggling because of hardship of one kind or another and then not do anything to help? “That’s not my problem” or “I don’t want to get involved”; those are the same attitudes which the priest and the Levite showed in the parable which Jesus told. They were too important or too busy to help that man, but the Samaritan wasn’t. He stopped and bound the man’s wounds and carried him to an inn. Then gave the innkeeper two denarii to take care of him and promised to pay more if it took more than that.

So, in this instance which of the three men who came by was the man’s neighbor? The Samaritan. Even though they were hated by the Jews, the Samaritan did everything he could do and more for this man that he didn’t even know. Why can’t we do this? A better question would be “Why don’t we do this today?

I think it has something to do with our American independent spirit which most of us grew up hearing about in movies and TV. Be yourself, pull your own weight, be independent and don’t ask for help, if you are honest with yourself you know as well as I do that children hearing those things and seeing them in movies and TV will grow up to be that way. Independence is good but each person living for themselves and only themselves makes for a very different country and a much different society. But, that is what the world is heading toward.

Pray about this in your life and talk about it at church because our world NEEDS Christians who will be neighbors and friends, they just don’t know it yet.