Monthly Archives: April 2020

The Seven Deadly Sins – Conclusion

The Seven Deadly Sins are pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth.

   We are all aware of the Ten Commandments handed down to Moses by God on the mountain top. They are only a part of the Law of Moses (the first five books of the Old Testament) that all together make up 613 laws covering every aspect of life.

   We all also know how Jesus summed up all the Law and Commandments to just two Golden Rules. Love God and Love your neighbor as you love yourself. The seven deadly sins in their current form are not found in the Bible. However there are Biblical references that address each of them individually and we will look at each of them.

The seven deadly sins are also referred to as cardinal sins or capital sins and as such these names give the impression that there are degrees to sin. The idea that some are not so severe or problematic to the spiritual state of an individual in comparison to other sins. This, I believe, is a slippery slope and can lead people to believe that they are better then others simply by virtue of being considered less obviously sinful. Such as comparing a yourself  (and your easily overlooked short-comings) to someone whose sin is self evident and appalling.  Sin is sin and there is none that is greater or lesser than the other. Given the opportunity to repent and turn away from ones sins – no matter how great, how many or how shocking – all sins will be forgiven.

In previous posts we have looked at Pride and Greed in depth. Here today I will attempt to sum up the remaining five – lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth. As insidious as sin in general can be I believe that some of these seven to be greater traps than others. Pride, greed, lust, envy and wrath are exaggerations of our natural emotions. Kind of like a highjacking of our emotions if you will.

After all we all feel good about doing well and accomplishments we have achieved but pride can be blinding if we fail to see our shortcomings or if we inflate ourselves above others around us. Jesus always pointed to The Father. He said He did the works of Him who sent Him. He humbled Himself as a servant and didn’t even respond to threats and accusations during His trial. Just as God the Father acknowledge Jesus, Jesus sparks of the Father and the Holy Spirit speaks of Jesus. Humility among the deity of the Trinity.

Likewise with greed we see our natural desire to have our basic needs met but when we begin to want more than reasonably necessary it a problem. This, I believe, could be said for the remainder of the seven. Natural instincts going too far even if we are helpless to the insidious spiral.

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of GodRom 3:23 NKJV

All have sinned. Yes, all. That means me. That means you. That means everyone.

But what is sin? Who is to blame for the sin condition? Can’t we fix or stop it?

Sin – by definition is a transgression of divine law/ an act regarded as such a transgression, especially a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principal. (1)

It has also been said that Sin is simply missing the mark. The “mark” obviously being the standard set by God.

Who is to blame can be a more contentious topic than what sin is. the Bible tells us that by one mans disobedience (Adam) many were made sinners. (2) This speaks to what is commonly referred to as original sin. What about the sins we accumulate in our lives? Adam can’t be blamed for my lying, stealing, lusting or hoarding – can he?

Paul talks about the human condition when he tells us that the flesh and the spirit are at odds. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. Gal 5:17 NKJV This means that we have to put an effort into obeying or listening to the Spirit of God in order to have victory over the flesh/human condition to sin. So does this mean we are to blame for our sins? Yes! But only to a degree.

Paul also explains to us that there is an invisible battle going one around us. He explains that there are forces at work behind the scenes that influence behavior. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Eph. 6:12 NKJV

When Jesus met with people who were considered insane or suffering from seizures He cast demons out of them. When Peter told Jesus that he would protect Jesus from those that meant to harm Him Jesus rebuked the devil behind Peters words. Now, I know what you’re thinking. This is 2020 and you’re talking about demonic possession? I know you are probably thinking that we are past all that silly way of thinking. But are we? Pick up the paper. Turn on the news. Surf the internet and see the degree to which society has spoiled. Like a jug of milk left out in the hot sun we have spoiled and gone rancid in our decay. The degree of depravation of man against man is a testimony to the darkness that influences our world. The extreme cases exemplified by not only these seven deadly sins but all sin should be a wake up call to how far we have fallen and also how close we must be to the Lord’s return. Paul told us that this day would come – But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,  2 Tim 3:1-3 NKJV

Road rage, abortion, sexual immorality, the desensatation to blood, gore and death, the applauding of lifestyles and ideals that only a generation ago would have been shamefully looked down upon are only a few examples of just how far we have fallen and it shows the finger print of the one who is behind it. It is not all our own sinful fallen nature but also not all demonic. It is more closely a little of both.

After all, if we had it within us to be victorious over sin then Jesus didn’t need to die for our sins. That is unless you think He died for “Their sins” because you don’t have any or you have conquered those little sins that troubled you when you were young and foolish.

The biggest sin is the one we can not see. Jesus rebuked the religious people who pointed out the small sin in others lives while not clearly seeing the huge sin in their own lives. This brings us back to Pride. (3), (4)

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud,But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.*                                                                James 4:1-7NKJV

*I heard a great sermon years ago called ‘Formula for victory over sin!’ based on this scripture. the finer point of the teaching was how we need to use the entire formula and not just try to resist the devil. I need to be reminded of that sometimes. Be Blessed A&B

 

Earth Day @ 50!

50 Years ago the First Earth Day was celebrated! 50 years ago I was 12 and my classmates and I were tasked with cleaning up a huge corner lot which later became the new high school. ahhh the memories!

Earth Day, the Environmental movement and Mother Earth have been around for centuries. (1), (2), (3) The worship of the earth as a god or goddess (along with other celestial bodies; sun, moon stars and even animals) is not new. In current times we do not look at Earth Day as a worshipping of the earth but more as an acknowledgment of our impact upon the earth and our combined responsibility to try and preserve it. Reducing emissions, slowing the growth of greenhouse gasses, curbing pollution and various other acts are meant to lessen the impact of mankind to the environment.

What is or should be the Christians stand in all this? Do we appose these ideals because they may have their roots in Earth worship? Do we arrogantly site the Bible which clearly teaches us that this world will be transformed and renewed in some future whether near or distant? Do we comply with any and all mandates handed down by the authorities over us regardless of our religious beliefs? What if doing so violates our beliefs?

Now we all should know very well that our God is a jealous God and demands that we have no other gods before Him. (4) So worshipping the earth as a deity is out of the question. Currently, the earth day ceremonies don’t lean towards worship like they did centuries ago. Our understanding of the prophesies concerning the future of this planet and its condition is good for our own peace of mind and perhaps as a tool evangelism but doesn’t give us the right to be arrogant or irresponsible with the care of the planet/environment.

When questioned about whether or not Jews should pay taxes to the Roman emperor Jesus plainly explained that since Caesars face was on the money the people should give back to Caesar what was his but more importantly to give back to God what belonged to God (their hearts – implied). Other Bible verses tell us to live in peace with those around us and to obey the laws placed over us as long as to do so doesn’t violate our conscience or the laws of God. (5)

So, as long as using a cloth shopping bag rather then plastic or limiting the pesticides used on my lawn or recycling some portion of my garbage, isn’t grieving the Holy Spirit I see no harm. I am secure in the knowledge of the creator of this Earth and my relationship with Him is not in jeopardy by my compliance with local laws regarding environmental concerns.

Let us all remember that Jesus made this earth along with everything in it for us to live with and enjoy. Let us be good stewards of this garden He has given us while we are here. Like any other gift He has placed under our authority and care we want to act responsibly so that we will here Him say “Well done good and faithful servant” (6)

 

Be blessed A&B

Can I Get A Witness?!

Can I get a Witness?

Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works!             1Chronicles 16:9 NKJV

O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works.                                                                                                                   Psalms 71:17 NKJV

Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works!                     Psalms 105:2 NKJV

Can I get a witness? Can you tell me what the Lord has done for you? Or, would that be bragging? In the sight of pain, confusion and stress around us would cheerfully telling people what the Lord has done for you come across as bragging? It shouldn’t!

In fact God commands it!

Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven”.                                                                                  Matthew 10:32 NKJV 

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.                                     Mark 16:15 NKJV

And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.  But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”                                                                                                  Acts 1:7-8 NKJ

In the sight of pain, confusion and stress around us today would cheerfully telling people what the Lord has done for you come across as bragging? It shouldn’t!

At this time, more than ever, we need to spread hope and encouragement. What better why to do so then to recount the dark and hopeless place God saved you from. I, obviously don’t know you, but I am certain that if you believe in Jesus and have accepted Him as your Saviour and Lord, you went through something that only He could have saved you from.

Maybe it was the darkness of self doubt and confusion. Or perhaps some type of sickness or disease. Maybe you suffered from the hopelessness of addiction or the powerlessness of watching a loved one suffer. Perhaps you don’t consider what you went through very significant or great.

I am here to tell you that Did loves you and was with you through all the pain and hurt you experienced. He was there and He did what others could not. From His vantage point He held you up and saw you through even if you didn’t know it at the time. Where you are now is because of His love for you. Where you are now is a testimony of His love for you. Whatever it was that you went through it was meant to bring you back to Him and give glory to Him.

Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth.  And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.                                          John 9: 1-3 NKJV

The 9th chapter of Johns’ Gospel gives us an example of how God intervened in the sufferings of one man and the result was glory to God. The man was born blind and was well known around the city. His parents, when they were questioned about his new found sight, said that he was of age so ask him yourself. This tells us that he was at least 21 years of age. So, this man was born blind and lived this way for 21 years (or more) so that God could be glorified through him. His years of suffering were ended in a moment and his eyes were opened to both natural sight and the truth of who Jesus was. He did not lament the years blind or the what-ifs that past him by for years. He does give a matter-of-fact testimony of what God had done for him. Was this bragging? I don’t think so.

It has always been my opinion that the answer to the eternal question – “why me!!!!”- is that you will not learn from other peoples experience. Admittedly, that a fairly cynical way of thinking. The Gospels show us that people can learn from the experiences of others. That only serves as further proof of the importance of witnessing. Whether you go door to door or stand on a street corner or just share your good news with your circle of friends and co-workers, tell someone what the Lord has done for you. Tell them that He is no respecter of persons (He does not discriminate or play favorites) and if He did it for you He will do it for them.

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.                                     Mark 16:15 NKJV

 

Be Blessed A&B

HE’S ALIVE!

 He’s Alive! He’s Alive! He’s Alive and I am forgiven!

Here in lies our hope…..

  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.   1 Cor 15:17 NKJV

If Jesus Christ did not rise from the grave then He was not who he said He was. If He was not who He said he was then He was not the Lamb of God and did not die for our sins. If He did not die for our sins then we are still in our sins and doomed to be separated from God. For the Law and the shedding of the blood of lambs and goats can not wash away sin but only cover them up until something better (The Savior) came along. If He did not defeat sin and death then we are doomed…..

But He did rise and when He died the veil in the Temple was torn in half from top to bottom signifying that we can boldly go directly to God because of the life-changing work that Jesus did that day.

He is alive! No great mystery. No Doctrinal dissertation. No religious dogma. No rules and regulations. No fees to be paid or tolls to pass threw.

Just open up your heart and let Him Love You!

 Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.  Rev 3:20 HSCB

 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.   Matthew 11:28 KJV

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.  John 1:23 NKJV

 As we all celebrate this Sunday in a new socially distanced safe way remember that our hope is in the Lord Jesus Who rose from the dead some two thousand years ago today – and if He be risen than we are free from our sins and will also rise again – and be with Him forever!!

Happy Resurrection Sunday

Take a moment to listen to Paul Harvey tell a story please. To those that never knew him Paul Harvey was a Radio personality and a wonderful story teller.

It’s Friday but Sunday’s Coming

 

It’s Friday but Sunday is coming!

It’s Friday

Beat, bleeding, betrayed and berated Jesus is sentenced to death!

But Sunday is coming

It’s Friday

They nail Him to the cross and watch for Him to die as the sky turns black

But Sunday is coming

It’s Friday

The Son of God

Creator of All things

Takes the sin of the world

But Sunday is coming

It’s Friday

The punishment for my sins are laid on Him

God the Father turns away

The Son of God

Let’s out His last breath

But Sunday is coming

It’s Friday and the mourners cry

The apostles flee

The world is dark

Hope is dead

But Sunday is coming!!

Sunday is the day of Promise

The Day of Fulfillment and Joy

The Day that Death lost it’s sting

And the Grave lost it’s hold

Jesus, The Lord of All arose

And left the burial cloth behind

Jesus, The Risen Lamb that was slain

Lives so that we may live with Him

To those of us who believe

To those who call Him Lord

There will be troubles and trials

These will be our Friday’s

But if we believe

But if we call Him Lord

There will be victory

There will be Sunday

God Bless You on this Resurrection Sunday

John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Rev 1:4-8 nkjv

This is a reposting of something I wrote years ago but in light of the Cover-19 pandemic these words and the sentiment they convey are even more relevant now. Be encouraged. Trust in Jesus and Love one another.

Denial, Fear or Faith!!

Dear God help me please!!

If God had a social media presence His phone would be blowing up!!

Global Pandemic! The number of sick growing daily almost hourly! The dead being stored in refrigeration trailers because funeral homes can’t keep up!

Add to that the healthy people that are out of work. Businesses that can’t operate or operate in a limited fashion. Unemployment claims being placed by the millions in America alone. Families sheltering in place. The elderly isolated in nursing homes.

Where are you in this storm?

Whose side are you one? Are you trusting God or blaming Him?

What?! Whose side? What kind of question is that to ask at a time like this!?

Granted, it’s strange question. But the truth is that each of us are on a side. Maybe we have even changed sides a few times since this started. Maybe since you got up today.

What are the sides?

Team Denial! “Yea this is pretty bad but I’ll be ok and it’s gonna be over soon so why the fuss. Let’s play ball or have a party!”

That may sound like a crazy comment to imagine anyone saying given the current state of this situation. But, how many times since this began have you seen people ignoring the social distancing rule? How many times have you or someone you know ignored the stay at home order for something other than food/med shopping or going back and forth to work? Just how seriously are you taking this? Think about it? Either our appointed leaders are giving us the best possible advise concerning our health and well being or they are just playing a sick joke. I don’t think anyone is joking here.

Team Fear! “Oh my gosh! It’s the end of the world!! Hospitals and first responders won’t be able to keep up! The stores will run out of food and supplies! Rioting will break out as the infrastructure crumbles!”

This mentality is equally as destructive as the previous one. Blinded by fear is just that – Blinded! Fear never motivates a positive response just ask anyone that works saving lives of people drowning. They know that they are at risk of drownding by being climbed on by the very person they wish you save. The frantic fear filled person will never think rationally and their actions will reflect that irrational mindset. Going down a rabbit hole of fear and what if’s will drain your strength and destroy the spirit.

Team Faith! “God will provide! Don’t worry just pray and trust in the Lord. He will be glorified in this storm you wait and see!”

There’s a saying I heard many years ago (If you have been reading my posts you know that I have a bunch of these) that goes like this – Don’t be so heavenly-minded that you are no earthly good. I think this applies here. At face value the rallying cry of Team Faith is good. It’s scriptural. It’s a faith statement so to speak but it can be flippant and superficial if your level of Faith isn’t there. It can be alienating to others at a time when being supportive and compassionate is needed most.

The Gospels are full of examples of the level of faith people had and how it affected their lives. The woman with the issue of blood believed that she need only touch the hem of His garment to be healed. The Centurion beloved that Jesus could nearly speak the words and the servant would be healed. Juries believed that if Jesus touched his daughter she would live. In contrast, Jesus was unable to do many things in His home town because of their unbelief. See Luke 8:40-55,  Matthew 8:7-10, Matthew 9:26-29, Matthew 13:53-58

We should not expect anyone to have the level of faith that we have. Whether we have a small level or a huge level of faith in God it is ours and it is a reflection of the relationship we have with Him. Furthermore we should exercise our Faith in God responsibly. Ever see those people that play with snakes because the Word of God say that a believer shall be able to take up serpents? Their show of faith (I can’t judge) almost mocks the Word of God and creates a sideshow atmosphere.

Let’s not be blinded with naive denial or frantic with fear or superficially spiritual.

Let us, the Body of Christ, bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world around us by meeting them where they are. Paul said that he would be all things to all men for the sake of the Gospel. This does not mean that he was disingenuous. To the contrary. Paul was what we would call a “people person”. The kind of guy who could strike up a conversation in the line at the grocery store. Yea. That guy!

When Paul traveled to Greece to spread the Word of God there was a law in place that prohibited the preaching of new gods. Paul saw that there was an altar dedicated to “the unknown god”. Paul didn’t disregard the law of the land. He could have but he didn’t. Instead, he saw an opportunity to inform the people about this “Unknown god” they had but an altar for. He wasn’t disobedient to the law. He didn’t cower in fear and he wasn’t flippant or superficial. He seized a moment and shared the truth of just who this God was. He met them were they were.

With each passing day and ever news broadcast there are opportunities to be in denial or fear or faith. Be confident in the faith in God that lives within you. Share that Faith. Draw on your past experiences with God and tell people what God has done for you. They will get it if you tell it from the heart.

Be Blessed A&B

Passover – Never Forget!!

For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.  Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.

Exodus 12:12-14 NKJV

As Christians we observe many holy days. We celebrate The Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ as well as Passion week when He was betrayed and given over to be tried and crucified. We celebrate the last supper in the form of Communion most Sundays. Some denominations celebrate many other events or persons as they affirm their faith. Obviously we see other Faiths, such as the Jewish brethren, remember important events in history of their relationship with God.

Those of the jewish faith celebrate Passover this week. They remember that God called them out of bondage from Egypt. By the signs of many miracles God used Moses to stand against the pharaoh and speak God’s word. The last sign of Gods’ power was a reversal of a curse that the pharaoh spoke against the children of Israel. Death of the first born!

God prepared His children against this day and instructed them to slaughter a lamb and place the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of their homes. “and when I see the blood, I will pass over you:”  

All those years ago God Almighty poured out His love on His people by saving them from the Angel of Death. He made it possible for them to be saved from what must have been a huge devastating event.

Many years later God made a way of saving His children again.

He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to be the sacrificial Lamb Whose blood will wash away the sins of many and save them from eternal damnation.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 NKJV

We who believe in Him have eternal life. Eternal Life, not here in this sinful decaying world, but in the world to come. So, as these difficult times of Covid-19 play out before us. As the days of Spring bring a rebirth of flowers and trees and gardens. Find courage and Peace because you are not called to death and darkness but to Life and everlasting light with Him.

This post was written in a bit of a hurray before I ran off to work but I think we as Christians should always remember that we have not replaced The Children of Israel in Gods eye but rather we have been grafted into the tree of that God planted many many years before us – His chosen ones – Israel.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.

Ps. 122:6 NKJV