Your Sins Can Be Forgiven!

1 Jul

What is sin? The atheist says its a figment of the imagination; But what does one do with the real feelings of regret? The Buddhist purports that sin does not exist, instead there are only skillful or unskillful actions which determine the quality of an individuals perpetual reincarnation until they reach nirvana; But how can one be reassured of the success of their “skillful actions” if they are completely unaware of their past life, and ambiguous regarding their future? Meanwhile, Islam preaches that Allah may forgive sins if they are outweighed by good deeds; But how does one keep track of their progress without becoming overwhelmed? Excusing sin away or trying to offset its encroachment doesn’t address the core issue of why sin is offensive. Why is sin offensive?

Sin is offensive because it violates a moral law. Regardless of the origin of the moral law, the Universe, Buddha, Allah, or Jesus, the offender must be punished for his/her offence in order to maintain the integrity of the moral law or else it becomes watered down to simply a moral suggestion; And the originator condescends to the status of untrustworthy. Confidence in a worldview is only as reliable as it’s author. What that author does concerning an offence to it’s moral law reveals the true nature of it’s love and authority.

The atheist contends that there are no moral laws at work in the world, therefore no one should be offended by the actions of others. This understanding is unlivable and caters to the survival of the fittest. Power not love governs this ideology. You are on your own. Buddhism similarly rejects the idea of sin but generally believe in a universal moral code. Every action, good or bad, has an automatic effect in a long chain of causes. Basically, the offender of the moral law will reap the effects of his/her actions until he/she is no longer offensive. They will continue to pay for their “un-skilled actions” until they are “skilled”. Once again, power and not love governs this ideology. You are what you eat. Islam offers forgiveness of sin as long as there is repentance accompanied by good deeds. On judgment day Allah will weigh the good deeds against the bad deeds and thereby determine destiny. However, he does not address the offence against his laws. If Islamic laws can be broken without recompense simply by performing extra credit good deeds, then their laws cannot be trusted and the author should not be believed. Power and surface love govern this ideology. You get what you pay for.

Christianity stands by the ten commandments. Every individual in the world will be measured by this standard. Anyone who falters in one or more of these commands will be put to death for all eternity. No exceptions. Recognizing that the whole world was guilty of breaking His law and needed to be punished, God sent His Son into the world in order to receive the punishment for the laws that were broken so that He can provide a way of escape for anyone willing to accept it. He addressed the offence completely, now He can offer an alternate solution for all who are willing to believe. The integrity of His law is intact and His character is confirmed. This ideology is governed by true love and power. You get more than you deserve.

Your sins can be forgiven today! Stop trying to pay for it on your own. Accept Jesus, God’s provision for your forgiveness. His love for you compelled His righteousness to make provision for His Justice so His mercy could be extended to all without ever being accused of favoritism. There will never be any question regarding your guilt. Accepting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for your sin places you in the position of innocence before the courtroom of God. Set your soul free! Break out of the doldrums. Refuse to be oppressed by sin. Yield to the free gift being offered by God for your redemption. Let Him be your strong tower, safe haven, and loving Father. The heart of the Father is overwhelmingly jealous for you. Open your heart and allow the goodness of God wash over you.

Return To God!

18 Jun

For several years, worship at the temple in Jerusalem was gravely neglected. The nation was littered with idols and everyone did what was right in their own eyes. As the Northern Kingdom of Israel teetered on the brink of destruction, God was raising up a twenty-five year old man by the name of Hezekiah who would lead the Southern Kingdom of Judah into a time of revival.

King Hezekiah began the restoration process by re-opening the doors of the temple, removing the accumulated debris, and sanctifying the priests. Next he sent messengers throughout all of Judah and Israel compelling the people of God to return to God. Living without acknowledging God was the new normal and it was evident by the rejection of the message and ridicule of the messengers. However, those who returned to Jerusalem in order to worship God were so impacted by the presence of God and the fellowship of the saints that they traveled throughout the nation going from city to city destroying idols and tearing down altars in high places. Their re-prioritization of worship led to the destruction of strongholds and reestablishment of the blessings of God.

Christians everywhere, Return to God! Repent of our negligence and restore our commitment to worship God. The well-being of cities and nations is hanging in the balance. Get into a local church and become part of a God-honoring Body so God can use your light to scatter the darkness. (II Chronicles 29-31)

Heaven On My Mind

7 Jan

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”(Matthew 16:23) Wow! What an incredibly harsh response to a friends attempt to protect. Satan? Isn’t that a bit extreme? Why would Jesus characterize one of His disciples this way? Let’s examine the context to see what precipitated this reaction.

According to Matthew chapter 16 verses 21 & 22, Jesus is openly declaring to His disciples the particulars of His divine mission. He was sent to suffer and die for the sins of the world, and on the third day be raised from the dead. Peter boldly interrupts Jesus, pulls Him aside, and corrects Him saying, “Never Lord, that will not happen to you!.” Clearly this is a battle of two wills. Heaven’s plan and Peter’s will.

If Peter’s will would have prevailed, the redemption of mankind would not have happened. Jesus was absolutely not going to allow well-meaning intentions to derail the plan of heaven. Often when the outward circumstances don’t reflect the inward expectations we yield to emotional or earthly solutions. Earthly solutions are shortsighted, but heavenly plans have eternity in mind. Jesus dealt harshly with Peter because unknowingly, Peter was playing right into the devil’s trap. When we are driven by emotion disaster is inevitable. However, as we allow heavens purposes to orchestrate our life, we become co-laborers with Christ in the salvation of souls. Stop living for the moment and get heaven on your mind.

Have You Acknowledged God Lately?

1 Aug

It always begins with the suppression of the truth, then it gradually leads to the ignoring of the truth, over time it descends further into the creation of self truth, until it reaches its full expression in the refusal to acknowledge God. Every day, God is trying to get our attention. Through the beauty, wonder and predictable cycle of nature , He communicates His grace, mercy and love. Within the bitter-sweet celebration of a wedding, He declares His willingness to sacrifice for our well-being. Within the sullen atmosphere of a funeral, He multiplies the hope of eternal life. Several times a day God is actively trying to reveal His love to us before it is too late. Failure to acknowledge God brought destruction upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Willingness to acknowledge God saved Nineveh from the pronounced judgment. How many blessings are being forfeited by the billions because God is not acknowledged? How severe is the wrath awaiting billions because they refuse to acknowledge God? (Rom. 1:18-32)

Time is not on our side, and yet pervasive negligence of God plagues our society. Now is the hour to begin peeling back the layers of godlessness in our generation. Here are a few practical suggestions that will help to get the ball rolling. First, begin every meal with a prayer of thanksgiving. Saying a simple prayer before every meal provides a daily reminder that God is our provider. Secondly, be kind to everyone you meet for they were created in the image of God. Regardless of the outward appearance, our neighbor carries the image of God. Therefore, we need to treat him/her with Christ-like love. Finally, go to church every Sunday. Public worship realigns private worry, and gives us the heavenly perspective we need to be earthly good. Living life without acknowledging God will only invite wrath. Acknowledge God in all of our ways, and He will perfect our path. (Prov. 3:6)

My New Reality

13 Apr

After the resurrection from the grave and prior to His ascension into heaven, Christ declared to His disciples a new reality that would empower them to reach higher heights, understand deeper truths, and enjoy unbroken intimacy in their relationship with God. He told them, “ALL Authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me, go therefore and make disciples of ALL nations…, teach them to observe ALL that I have commanded you…, and I will be with you ALLways.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

There is a new reality in town! Christ has satisfied the justice of God, broken the power of sin, and overcome the grave. He now sits at the right hand of the Father orchestrating our success. Every assignment ordained for our lives cannot fail because through Christ we can do all things! (Phil. 4:13) We no longer have to live under the lie of guilt, shame, and defeat. Because He lives, we have a new reality.

According to some experts, there is somewhere between 193 and 250 countries in the world depending on how you define a country. Within these countries there are hundreds of ethnicities and, by God’s grace, we are able to make disciples of them all. Language barriers, cultural nuances, difficult terrain, false religions, or rough seas are no match for Jesus and me. Because He lives, reaching all nations is our new reality.

God’s ways are higher than our ways. When God needed a light for the gentiles, He sent a Pharisee; when He needed a witness for the Jews, He sent a Fisherman. By His Holy Spirit, He leads us into all truth so we are not intimidated by the complexities of the Bible. He will enable us to understand the depth of his mind so we are well equipped to buld up godly disciples. Human intellect and the lies of the devil are no contest for Jesus and me. Because He lives, teaching all things is our new reality.

Without hesitation, the most exciting reality we have been given access to is the ever abiding presence of Christ. He promises to walk with us as we carry out our assignment. We will never face a storm alone, and Jesus will always be the first to celebrate our victories. If God is for us, who can stand against us? (Rom. 8:31) NO ONE! Because He lives, intimacy with God is our new reality.

This new reality can be yours by simply becoming a disciple of Christ. Obedience separates the disciple from the believer. Believing gives you recognition, but obedience gives you access. Believing puts you on the same level as demons, according to James 2:19. However, obedience is evidence that you are a follower of Christ. Say yes to your Jesus assignment and begin enjoying your new reality.

Stir It Up!

31 Dec

For a longtime, I never paid attention to the fact that my starbucks coffee always tasted better the closer I got to the bottom of the cup. One day while watching the barista make my coffee cup I realized the problem. She did not stir the cup! All of the right ingredients were used, but she neglected to “stir it up” in order to maximize the taste experience. While in a prison in Rome, the Apostle Paul felt an urgency to send his young protege Timothy this same massage. He reminded him of his tears that reflected true repentance; a genuine faith that was originally evident in his mother and grandmother, as well as an apostolic impartation of gifts. The only thing he needed to do was stir it up. God already deposited inside of  him all of the necessary ingredients needed to fulfill his assignment, now he was obligated to stir it up (2 Tim. 1-7)

How many people are living bitter lives simply because they have not stirred up the potential that sits idle inside of them? Too much attention has been paid to external opposition, and not enough to internal responsibility. God has not given to us the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. We don’t have to settle for a mundane, tasteless existence. Stir up the gift that God has placed inside of you, and begin to experience the incredible flavor of a synthesized life.

It’s Getting Darker, But I Can Still See The Light!

1 Nov

The writer of the book of Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 22 gives us keen insight regarding the proper mindset needed to sustain strong faith in the midst of increasing darkness. As Joseph nears his twilight years, he makes two bpld declarations that reveal the secret to his unwavering trust in God. First he reminds his fellow sojourners of the fact that Egypt is not their home. We are strangers simply passing through. Aliens in a foreign land. Do not get comfortable with your Egyptian blessing and success. The favor we are experiencing now can very quickly take a turn for the worse and become a living nightmare. One day God is going to deliver us from Egypt and take us to the promise land, so stop living like you are destined for slavery and have no future. Secondly, he prepares himself for departure by giving clear instructions to his brothers that upon their deliverance from Egypt, they were to take his bones with them to the promise land. Joseph lived everyday with the expectation that at any moment he was going home. It wasn’t sufficient for him to simply be a purveyor of truth, he must also obey the truth.

Joseph foresaw dark days ahead for his people, and yet he knew that with God there is always hope. As Christians, I see a gathering storm on the horizon and an influx of wickedness invading America. The atmosphere is charged with uncertainty, chaos, and violence. Darkness is on the move, therefore we must come to the realization that this place is not our home and begin living for heaven. Refuse to be intimidated by the barrage of discouragement and resolve to be God’s light and live so others may find Christ. Yes, the night is getting darker, but I can still see the light. We are the light!

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