Tag Archives: Sin

Fitness trackers and Faith

We are a fitness tracker family. We set goals and track our steps (gotta get those 10,000 steps in!). We keep a record of our weight and our water and food intake. We compare and compete and congratulate each other. Being a construction worker, it’s not hard for me to reach some goals, such as steps and distance. But reaching other goals like weight lose or water intake can be harder. At the end of the day I can see where I am at and where I fell short. Every Midnight starts a new day of tracking and all of yesterdays successes and failures are a thing of the past. While I sleep a new clean slate is made and I wake to the possibilities of reaching or even surpassing my set goals.

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassion’s fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Lam 3:22-23 KJV

The love and compassion of our Lord are new for us every morning. A clean slate awaits us with each wake up call.

Isn’t that just our life of Faith in Jesus? We are blessed to serve a God of “Now”! Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not here, yet. All we have is right now. We wake up with a clean slate. At any point in our day we can take an accounting and if needs be, start over. Start over or renew our efforts to reach our goals. These trackers can remind you to get up and walk every hour. They can show you the number of steps completed in relation to your goal so that you can take action to reach the goal.

Paul shared with us that with all that he had done and all that he had been threw he did not presume to have reached the goal but he continued to press on to the mark of the high calling of Christ Jesus. Phil 3:13-15 Paraphrase mine

“Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before”…Phil. 3:13 KJV

Putting yesterday behind us and heading straight into the day ahead of us with the goal of pleasing our Lord

Just as we have physical step goals and weight loss goals and strength goals that we set for ourselves we have spiritual goals that we can aim for. Just as we may fall short of these physical goals we will fall short of the spiritual ones as well.

“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3:23KJV The definition of the word “Sin” translates to “missing, or falling short of, the mark”

Fortunately we have a Lord Who is full of mercy “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1John 1:9 KJV. Whose mercy is new every morning. Lam. 3:22-23 KJV

Every morning is a new opportunity to reach our goals so be encouraged and inspired

So get up and go!!

What are you feeding?

Have you ever had a garden? Whether it was a flower bed or a vegetable garden you probably learned very quickly that if you neglected to water or feed it things died. Conversely, if you diligently took the time each day to weed and feed and water it things flourished and grew.

   It’s a very basic rule of gardening –

What you feed grows and what you starve dies

   The Bible speaks often of spiritual things in terms of gardening and farming for good reason. The same rules apply. Neglect a garden and things die. Forget to water a potted plant and it will wilt. Don’t spend enough time with your spouse or family and you loose connections. Keep putting off time for Jesus and you will loose your strength.

What you feed grows and what you starve dies

    We like to have flowers in the Summer. Hanging baskets and flower beds as well as potted plants on the deck and steps but what the sprinklers can’t reach we have to water – or else. We took a two week trip this Summer to London and Paris. Family members watched our home and tried to keep up with the flowers.  When we came home we had to throw out some plants and patiently nurse others back from the brink of death because they didn’t get the attention they needed.

What you feed grows and what you starve dies

    Habits can be like gardens as well. Little white sins too. Our enemy, the devil, roams about like a roaring lion seeking who he can devour. Give place to him with a secret sin or a bad habit at your own peril because what you feed grows and what you starve dies. Have you ever been able to quit a habit? Maybe smoking, over eating, drinking, gambling, gossip, anger, whatever? Do you recall the difficulty that you faced those first few moments after making the decision to turn away from the habit? How the days seemed so long? How hard it was at times? You were breaking a tie. A soul-tie and the way you were breaking it was by starving it. You refused to give in to it’s pull. You stopped feeding it and it didn’t want to die. If you were successful it did die and no longer has power over you or pulls at you. But it took time and prayer and maybe even family and friends to get you threw it.

   I quit smoking in June of 2004. Eleven years ago. Cigarettes no longer call to me or have any power over me. But it wasn’t easy. I had tried before and failed. Thank God that I got the victory but if I go back to smoking it will start the cycle of slave and master all over again. Now, before you say that I’m being melodramatic, consider that Jesus told us that we can not serve two masters. You will love the one and hate the other. Maybe cigarettes aren’t your problem. Maybe you have no problems. Maybe Jesus is the Lord of every area of your life and Praise the Lord if that’s true. But for those who struggle with secret sins or bad habits (anything you know the Word speaks out against) please keep this simple truth in mind –

What you feed grows and what you starve dies

You can do all things threw Christ Who strengthens you

and you can be victorious over any enemy

stop feeding it and it will die

and a dead thing

can not

hurt you!

Be blessed, AL

A Formula For Success

So give yourselves humbly to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from youJames 4:7 TLB

   We all strive to be successful. Whether it’s success in our profession or our personal lives we want to be our best at whatever we do. How can we insure our success in all of our endeavors? What can we do to have an edge?

Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race,

but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize1 Cor. 9: 24 HCSB

   If you have run in a race you know that there is a wall that you hit that seems impassable. It can stop you in your tracks or motivate you to push threw. But, it requires calling on ever last ounce of effort. Sometimes that extra effort isn’t enough. Sometimes our best efforts and shear strength is not enough.

What do we do then? Give up? Make excuses?

Jesus gives us insight into how we can succeed in life.

 “I am the vine, you are the branches.

He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit;

for without Me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5 NKJV

for without Me you can do nothing

   Wait a minute! That’s got to be a misprint! I am an adult who is able to do anything. How can Jesus say such a thing? He can say that because He knows that we are only able to do so much while we live this life. We can get by for awhile but to be successful in this life – in a way that is important to God – we need to be connected to the source of power and strength.

Jesus is that source

and He uses the example of the vine and branches to illustrate His point.

   The Word of God is full of people who were incapable of great things in their own strength but will God did mighty works. Abraham, Moses, Gideon, Samson, Paul, Peter and many more. His grace is sufficient for them and is also for me – and You too!

  So the next time you are tempted to sin (no matter what that might look like) remember the formula for success –

  1. Humble yourself before God

  2. Resit the devil (the temptation)

  3. Rest in the assurance that you and God have sent the devil fleeing

also consider this

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Cor 10:13 NKJV

and this

 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Heb 4:15 NKJV

and finally always remember

He who has begun a good work in you will complete it  Phil 1:6b NKJV

Thank you for stopping by and God Bless, AL

….and the Lord God planted a garden….

The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. Gen 2:8a NKJV

I think it’s safe to say that almost everyone knows of the Garden of Eden. It’s the garden that God made to be the home for Adam and Eve. It’s the place where they ate the apple. It’s where they realized that they were naked.

But how many remember that this is where they also had fellowship with God. Gen 3:8 tells us that they heard the voice of God calling to them in cool of the day. I believe that this was a regular occurrence but that this time they hid because of their sin.

This garden was the perfect example of Who God is and how gracious and merciful He is towards us all. Within the garden were all of the trees and plants and animals. Nothing was held back. God instructed Adam that everything was his for the taking except the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. This was, I believe more a cautionary warning regarding something harmful rather than willful withholding of a delicacy as the world would imply. This is where we see the Just and Fair character of God Almighty. He could have just as easily NOT planted that tree and kept them safe. He rather planted the tree and gave a stern warning in hopes that they would trust Him and obey. Not so dissimilar than a parent instructing a child to not touch wet paint or a hot stove.

Armed with their freewill and a relationship with God Almighty they lived in the garden together. Until the serpent showed up. The serpent raises one question to Eve that set the tone for the whole conversation and is the same trap/test that he continues to use today – “Has God said….?” By asking her a question he already knew the answer to he is looking to see just how well she knows God. Sadly, she fails this test by answering him incorrectly. And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.” Eve added “nor shall you touch it” and that told the serpent that she didn’t know God. Armed with this he was able to plant seeds of doubt regarding the trustworthiness of God. God is withholding from you. He doesn’t want you to enjoy this beautiful fruit and the power it brings. Why, you will become just like Him and He doesn’t want that. Look at how pretty it is.So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.” Gen 3:6 NKJV

Herein are the three roots of all sin – “good for food’ – the lust of the flesh; “pleasant to the eyes” – the lust of the eyes; “desirable to make one wise” – the pride of life. But we’ll visit that another day.

Eve showed that she didn’t have a complete understanding of what God said and that may have been Adams fault for not telling her or it may have been that she didn’t have a close relationship with God fro herself. Either way this has been the devils doorway into our lives for generations. Sadly, for many years only the “Church” had the Word of God and so people were in the dark as to what God said. In modern times we have the Word printed in every language and spoken loudly on the radio, TV, worldwide web and in churches across the globe. Yet, so many are still unsure of what God did and did not say.

Today, more than ever, it is important to not only know the Word of God but to have a relationship with God and His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit because the devil knows his time is short. We live in a world where you can read online about how God is a myth and how Jesus never existed and how we all get to live over and over again threw reincarnation. We live with thousands of abortions daily but have to rescue puppies from pounds. How we can have intimate relations with anyone we want but just don’t go to that fanatical church. The devil, like a roaring lion, looks to see whom he may devour because his only job is to kill, steal and destroy. The glorification of the sinful nature of man is ramped up all around us. Truly we are in the days when good will be called evil and evil will be called good. By not knowing God or His promises in His Holy Word so very many have believed the lies of the devil and are perishing daily.

Brothers and Sisters let us read the Word of God while we can. Listen to the voice of God always. Tell this dieing world about He Who died for them before it is too late.

 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. Jude 20-23 NKJV

He’s Making a List…..

As the song says,

He’s making a list

checking it twice

gonna find out

whose naughty and nice

This may be true for good old Santa Claus. We are told he keeps a list in hopes of manipulating us into toeing a line of good behavior. His list is supposed to have the names of the naughty and nice children but I have never heard of any naughty ones. Have you? Perhaps there were naughty children who got coal for Christmas in a land long ago and far away but to my knowledge every one gets on the “Nice” list these days.

Sadly, this mind set has carried over into the secular thoughts about God and Heaven. Some people see God as a Santa in the sky Who they can make a wish to when they want something.  Furthermore, there is the belief that all the world will eventually be seen as “nice” or just and therefore will be saved. There’s never a thought of whether or not they are naughty or nice. If there is any guilt about bad behavior they simply bargain the consequences away promising to do better if He will only just come threw this time for them.

God is concerned with whether or not we do the right thing although His idea of “Nice” is not the same as ours. We can try to live a good life and be a good person but by whose standards do we see “Good”? God gave us the Ten Commandments to show us what is expected of us and to open our eyes to the fact that we can never live up to them. At least not by ourselves. He is ready willing and able to help us live that victorious life. This is the very reason we have this holiday season. It’s a very well known passage of scripture but always bears repeating –

 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.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17 NKJV

Our in ability to live up to Gods Standard of righteousness (otherwise referred to as Sin), is the very reason we needed a Savior. God Almighty sent the answer to our sin problem. Rather than just let us wallow in our inability He freely chose to come to us and take on our fragile form and pay the penalty for our sins. There is, however, one very simple condition that is left for us. We have to accept that this was done for us because we are sinners and repent of our sinfulness. Once we do this we can honor His sacrifice by letting Him lead us down a path of righteousness – His righteousness.

For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” John 18:37 NKJV

But this salvation the Savior brings requires an action on our part. It isn’t just given to us the day we are born. we have to accept this gift by recognizing our need and asking Jesus to be our Lord as well as Savior. It really is that simple. Thankfully!

But although he made the world, the world didn’t recognize him when he came. Even in his own land and among his own people, the Jews, he was not accepted. Only a few would welcome and receive him. But to all who received him, he gave the right to become children of God. All they needed to do was to trust him to save them.  All those who believe this are reborn!—not a physical rebirth resulting from human passion or plan—but from the will of God. John 1:10-13 LB

 The Reason 1

He’s making a list and I hope your name is on it because one day there will be a reading of the lists and a separating of the naughty and the nice – Jesus told us about that day several times –

 “Just as in this story the thistles are separated and burned, so shall it be at the end of the world: I[will send my angels, and they will separate out of the Kingdom every temptation and all who are evil,  and throw them into the furnace and burn them. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Then the godly shall shine as the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Let those with ears, listen!  Mat 13:40-43

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”Acts 16:29-31 LB

This may not be the usual or politically correct Christmas message but the truth can be hard to hear sometimes but nevertheless needs to be stated………

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OUR FRIENDS

and God Bless you in the New Year, Al and Betty

"Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" is a Christmas song. 
It was written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie

Ashes to Ashes

Ash Wednesday 2014 to millions (or more) Christians today mark the beginning of Lent

  Wikipedia says – Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a celebration and reminder of human mortality, and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, alms giving, atonement and self-denial. Its institutional purpose is heightened in the annual commemoration of Holy Week, marking the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the tradition and events of the New Testament beginning on Friday of Sorrows, further climaxing on Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday, which ultimately culminates in the joyful celebration on Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

OK, So we have 6 weeks of prayer, penance, repentance of sins, alms giving, atonement and self-denial.

   I have two problems with this concept. The first is the obvious one – just six weeks? What about the other 46 weeks? But I think it’s a given that we should be a witness of God’s love all year long so I’ll leave that there – for now. Likewise, prayer, repentance of sins, alms giving and self-denial (also referred to as self-control) are all good things for a true believer to do year round. But, its the reason that these things are done that align them with the misguided concept of penance and atonement. I am not saying that millions of people are wrong for following their hearts during these next 6 weeks. I am saying that the goals or ideals of such an exercise is not Biblical and misleading. Unfortunately, the evidence of this misguided adventure is heralded at the end of it all – Jesus Christs’ trial, death and resurrection!!

 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:But this man (Jesus Christ), after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Heb 10:11-22 KJV

after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God vs 12

   Jesus carried out the ultimate “self-denial” by suffering and dieing on the cross that WE deserved to be put upon. Furthermore, having done this He put an end to the sacrifices of the Temple and the old way –Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.  Heb 9:12 KJV. The veil of separation in the Temple was ripped in two down the middle from top to bottom when He died on that cross signifying the end of the old and the beginning of the new. As if that wasn’t enough – Jesus’ own last words from the cross should quiet the debate – It is finished. John 19:30 KJV

Still, Paul addresses this –  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:Not of works, lest any man should boast.For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Eph. 2:8-10 KJV or otherwise put this way in the Living Bible – Because of his kindness, you have been saved through trusting Christ. And even trusting is not of yourselves;it too is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good we have done, so none of us can take any credit for it. It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others

_MG_7165

Finally, We can not EARN our salvation. If we could do that Jesus would not have had to come and die for our sins. Having done that though, lets not insult the gift of God by trying to earn it. That would be like trying to pay me for a the present I gave you for your birthday even though you have no money or source of income. As I mentioned before,  prayer,repentance of sins and alms giving are all good things that every Christian should do daily out of a thankful heart towards God but atonement, penance and self-denial as a way of earning salvation is futile because its already been done and can not be added to. Celebrate the fact that Jesus Loved YOU enough to hang on a cross so that you don’t have to and be grateful. Truly, deeply and sincerely grateful.

To obey is better than sacrifice 1 Sam 15:22 KJV

Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifice as much as in obeying the Lord? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams. 1 Sam 15:22 HCSB

Black Friday Deal!

Hurry, hurry! There’s a door-buster Black Friday Deal waiting for you!

   This deal is without a doubt the best deal ever! It is the best deal ever because you can get this deal today as well as tomorrow and Black Friday. For that matter this deal is available every day of the year 24/7! Really!

But most of all – IT’S FREE!

   The Deal is this – Rest for the weary, Love for the Lonely and Hope for the Broken-hearted. Jesus said for all who are tired and carrying a heavy burden to come to Him and He will give them rest.1 He also tells us that ALL of us have sinned – that is we have fallen short of the mark. 2 But this is why He came to us and died for us to pay the price for us. Not to condemn us but to save us instead.“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. John 3:16-18 The Message

Take a moment today, apart from your holiday planning or shopping or whatever it is you are doing and consider your heart. Jesus said that He will take away your old heart and give you a new heart – Freely! He said He stands at the door of your heart and is knocking – will you let Him in? He said that all who come to Him He will not refuse. Call out to Him now and He will meet you right where you are. That’s a Promise from God to YOU!

Gift of God Times Sq

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.Eph. 2:8-9 NKJV

Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear. Romans 3:24-25 The Message

1.  Matthew 11:28 NKJV Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest

   2. Romans 3:2 NKJV …for all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God