Forgiveness and Blessing

God’s people are not exempt from falling into sin.  In fact, it is overtly stated throughout scripture that there is none who does not sin.  However, as God’s people – His dearly beloved  – we can rest assured that when we sincerely repent from our sin; crying out to Him to forgive us and change us and and committing to change and turn from it – He will not only forgive and cleanse us – but He will surely bless us!  What must we do? Humble ourselves. Pray. Seek His face. Turn from our sin.  This promise was spoken to God’s people Israel, but I believe that as God’s people today this truth still applies.  When you sin (and you WILL sin) – submit to God’s authority; cry out to Him for forgiveness; listen for His direction for you; and commit to never go back to doing that thing and I believe that even when we sin grievously and find ourselves in the hand of our enemy – He will turn that thing around!  Our sin will surely bring with it unpleasant consequences but it is His good pleasure to bind up our wounds – even those He inflicts upon us.  Our pride will bring us to destruction – but if we humble ourselves under His mighty hand – He will exalt us in due time.  He knew we would falter – and He has always made a way for us to set things right with Him.  Forgiveness and blessing!  Who wouldn’t serve a God like that?!

If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:13, 14

We better watch out!!


I was reading Deuteronomy 32 this morning. If I removed the Old Testament names and references, this could be talking about America!!

We (The United States of America) were never a Christian nation – we were built upon a foundation of religious freedom and freedom to pursue personal satisfaction —  BUT we’ve always had a reverence for God and godly people! This was evidenced at one time by things like: not using profanity in the earshot of ministers; turning down our radios when we passed a church; removing our hats in a place of worship; keeping our hateful words and thoughts private; attending church at least on Christmas, Mothers Day and Easter; etc. I’m sure you have your own lists. But now …. we who call ourselves Christ followers align ourselves with those who profane His name; who minimize His ministry of grace; who make themselves high; who spew venom…..

Y’all!!! We better watch out! God blessed America for many years and we are not even His chosen people! He blessed us because there was a time when we, as a nation prayed for the peace of Jerusalem; there was a time when He could see at least one righteous among us.  He blessed us because in spite of our grievous sin, we had a reverence and respect for the things and people of God. But, in the words of my friend Eulalia King, “We have lost our Plum D minds!”

Believers – rise up! Speak out! Act justly! Love mercy! Because as for me and my house – we ain’t trying to go out like that!!

From The Message Bible. “Jeshurun put on weight and bucked; you got fat, became obese, a tub of lard. … You walked out on the Rock who gave you your life, forgot the birth-God who brought you into the world.  GOD saw it and turned on his heel, angered and hurt by his sons and daughters. He said, “From now on I’m looking the other way. Wait and see what happens to them. Oh, they’re a turned-around, upside-down generation! Who knows what they’ll do from one moment to the next? They’ve goaded me with their no-gods, infuriated me with their hot-air gods; … I’ll pile catastrophes on them, I’ll shoot my arrows at them: Starvation, blistering heat, killing disease; I’ll send snarling wild animals to attack from the forest and venomous creatures to strike from the dust. Killing in the streets, terror in the houses, Young men and virgins alike struck down, and yes, breast-feeding babies and gray-haired old men.”” ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭32:15-25‬ ‭‬

 

Oh, be careful little eyes what you see

be carefulSome of the shows that intrigue me most on television these days are filled with images of sin.  Some of them have gotten so raw that I stopped watching because of what they make me feel.  A friend of mine challenged me not to stop watching but rather use what I see in my teaching of the Word of God.  I’ve taken that advice to heart and decided to study a bit.

You see, I grew up watching and LOVING cartoons — Popeye, Tom & Jerry, The Road Runner & Wile E. Coyote, Foghorn Leghorn, Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny (my personal favorite!), Elmer Fudd, etc.  When we moved to Ghana I even took DVDs of my favorites with me so I’d have something light to watch on heart heavy days.  I made the comment to my children that the cartoons of their day were just not as good and wholesome as the cartoons of my day.  So, a couple of Saturdays ago I was watching the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner movie and decided to pay attention to what I saw – Ahem … let’s just say I was surprised to note:  greed, covetousness, disobedience, laziness, cheating, deception, anger, rage — and then I stopped listing because I knew without a doubt these modern writers had to have put those things in there after I had already grown up!  Surely those things were not in there when I was a kid!

I decided to do the same thing for the most popular shows of today.  So I sat down the other evening and watched – but instead of merely watching I took note of every sin that was blatantly highlighted.  I’m sure I missed plenty, because I got tired of writing them down – but here’s what I saw: Idolatry, greed, covetousness, love of money, gluttony, complaining, tempting God, high-mindedness, disobedience, cussing, careless use of God’s name, laziness, filthy talk, dishonoring parents, murder, anger, hate, enmity, rage, brawling, rioting, unforgiving, wrath, spitefulness, stealing, dishonesty, lying, slandering, extortion, fornication, adultery and MORE!!  I decided they should call some of these shows How Not To Live As A Christ Follower.  The list was longer than my cartoon list for sure — but my conclusion is that a worldview that espouses the satisfaction of our own desires has always been the way of media.

I’m not trying to make you turn the television off – and I am certainly not calling watching television a sin. I enjoy a good television show after a stressful day, it is one of my favorite escapes.  But don’t fool yourself into believing that you can watch sin filled images (or listen to sin filled messages) all of the time and not be affected by it in any way. Be careful not to be fooled into believing that what you see on that screen is merely entertainment.  Be careful about the last image you see on that screen; do you really want that to be the last thing that enters your mind before your head hits the pillow?  The world’s job is to lull you into a false sense of what sin is and to convince that you should take advantage of the grace extended to you as a follower of Christ – but the word says different (Romans 6:1, 2).

In 1 John we are admonished not to love the world; the world’s ways; the world’s things because we squeeze out the Father when we do so.  When we begin to schedule our lives around these images that have nothing to do with our Father or His ways – I think that means that we are coming to ‘love’ these images.  Just my opinion.  Truth is that once an image is on television or in a movie, we begin to believe falsely that the image is mere entertainment.  Be careful, my brothers and sisters.  These images are not our reality and they are not our truth.  God did not send His son to die for us and free us from the bondage of sin so that we could enslave ourselves once again to our enemy, Satan.  Ensure that you are filling your mind with the Word of God and with the Truths of God and take care to call the sin you see what it is!

Go ahead — watch your favorite shows, but  let it be entertainment and not what fills you up.  I encourage you today to make a covenant to fill your eyes, your mind and your ears with things that are genuine, honorable, upright, trustworthy, crucial, and compassionate.  Make the choice!  It will change your lifeview – it will make you walk lighter – it will help you to be joy!   Be careful – our enemy is doing a great job; lets not make it easier for him…

1 John 2: 15 – 16  Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Weeping for Lost Souls

hearttearsReading the account of Lazarus death and resurrection in John, I was struck by the grief of our Savior.  The onlookers remarked about his love for Lazarus.  I re-read the account and it occurred to me that because He is God – what He grieved for was probably not what we might think he  grieved for.  Yes – He loved Lazarus; but it seems unusual to me that our Lord who knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead would be weeping over the loss of life; so I re-read the passage several more times and then it occurred to me that the humanity of our Christ came face to face with the reality of the wages of sin and what it means for a fallen humanity.  He was fully human – Yes! – but he was without sin!  He loved these people deeply and what was happening here brought our Lord face to face with the effects that sin would have not only on the sinner, but on those whom the sinner loves. I believe that He grieved for their sinfulness. He grieved the effects of their unbelief.  Continue reading