Posts tagged ‘sin’

What A Shame

What A Shame!

“To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, in You I trust,
Do not let me be ashamed;
Do not let my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none of those who wait for You be ashamed.” (Psalm 25:1-3a NASB)

It is a beautiful and wondrous thing to experience the forgiveness of sin that is found in Christ alone! Especially when we contemplate that price that was paid to make that forgiveness available to us! But often, even though we have been forgiven from the sin, we still carry around the shame of it with us.
Shame can be spiritually debilitating. Whenever we begin to step out in faith and do the work of the Lord, our adversary whispers in our ear saying, “who do you think you are, telling people about Jesus? If they only knew about your past, they would see what a hypocrite you are for trying to do something in Jesus’ name.”
It is shame that causes people to believe the lie that they are unworthy of God’s forgiveness and grace. As a result, many spend their lives addicted, defeated, and feeling like they have messed up their spiritual lives beyond repair and are no longer useful for God. That is why so many times we turn from a sin, especially an addictive sin, and eventually go back to it. We stop the behavior, but because we have not left the shame, we don’t feel any better than we did before, and it draws us back into the trap.
And all because they have believed a lie! I love a quote I heard today by Beth Moore. She said, “Shame is satan’s laughter morphed into a human emotion.”

But walking in shame over forgiven sin is not the way Christ would have his children to live! For on the cross, Jesus not only paid for our sin, but he also bore our shame!
“keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2 NET)

Isaiah prophesied about it this way (from the Amplified Bible):
“Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy]. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.” (Isaiah 53:4, 5 AMP)

When we carry around guilt over sin that God has already been forgiven, we are in effect saying that either we don’t really believe what God has said about forgiveness, and/or that the blood of Christ was not sufficient to pay for their sin. We dare not go there!

I am not saying that we don’t try to make amends when we sin, or not to not remember how bad the guilt and shame felt before we were forgiven. But we must also remember to leave behind both the sin and its guilt at the foot of the cross and not go back for it!

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Are You Going To Eat That?

Are You Going To Eat That?
Today’s post starts with the inspired narrative telling about dire situation that ensued when Samaria was under siege by Syria and was totally cut off. No longer could they go to Jerusalem to worship at the temple and offer sacrifices to God. They were isolated and starving physically and spiritually.

“Now it came about after this, that Ben-hadad king of Aram gathered all his army and went up and besieged Samaria. There was a great famine in Samaria; and behold, they besieged it, until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a fourth of a kab of dove’s dung for five shekels of silver. As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall a woman cried out to him, saying, “Help, my lord, O king!” He said, “If the LORD does not help you, from where shall I help you? From the threshing floor, or from the wine press?” And the king said to her, “What is the matter with you?” And she answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’ So we boiled my son and ate him; and I said to her on the next day, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him’; but she has hidden her son.” When the king heard the words of the woman, he tore his clothes-now he was passing by on the wall-and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth beneath on his body. Then he said, “May God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on him today.” (2 Kings 6:24-31 NASB)

This is such a heartbreaking scene, but it is typical of what happens when people are completely cut off and begin to despair of life. Desperation breeds panic, and people find themselves doing things that they would have once been unthinkable.
The Israelites had been reduced to eating dove dung and donkey heads. Can you imagine what it would be like to come home to Dove Dung Soup or Donkey Head Surprise? What type of hopelessness brings people down to that level? And during their fight to survive they keep seeing the prophet, Elisha, who had told them how to keep out of this danger by turning to God and forsaking their idols. Instead of heeding the Word of God, the wanted to kill the messenger.

In many ways, we are the same way personally. When we cut ourselves off from God, we inevitably, eventually will find ourselves doing things we never would have done before, accepting as normal things that were once an abomination, and wanting to close our ears to any who would show us the way back to God. Take a look at the things you watch and listen to. Look at the activities you see or even participate in that once would have been shocking. How desensitized have we become? How seared over are our hearts against being sensitive to what pleases God? It is like in our day, we have replaced the idols which brought judgment on the Northern Kingdom of Israel with full length mirrors. With great seriousness and piety we look into the mirror and say, “My kingdom come, my will be done” as we submit to our ideas instead do to the Word of God.

Our national conscience has also been deadened. We have a society that openly promotes that which God condemns. It stands in defiance to the commands of God, and declares that he has no place in government, as if somehow that means God will be able to leave our nation’s sin unjudged because we have declared ourselves “secular”. We are consuming toxic, filthy, garbage (i.e. dove dung soup and donkey head surprise) and calling it normal, and freedom. But in the end it will kill us as a nation! And just like in the narrative above, the children are the ones who suffer and are consumed.

We have to wake up and see our situation the way God sees it! We have to take another look and what we watch and listen to and laugh at, and measure it by the Word of God and decide one thing – if I am taking this in, is it pure food, or is this dove dung and donkey heads served on a silver platter. Because filth and garbage served in a fanciest restaurant by waiters in tuxedos, is still toxic and it will slowly kill you.

Our God loves us so much that, even while we are wallowing in the gift wrapped filth of the world, He demonstrated His love for us by sending His Son to die for us. (Romans 5:8) His desire is to give us the bread of life and living water. To fill us with things that bring life instead of corruption so we will never hunger and thirst again. God said it this way through the prophet Isaiah:
“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters;
And you who have no money come, buy and eat.
Come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without cost. “Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And delight yourself in abundance. (Isaiah 55:1, 2 NASB)

All of this sustenance is to be found “in Christ”. How do we get into Christ? By hearing and understanding the Gospel, repenting of our sin, confessing faith in Him, being baptized into Christ.
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Galatians 3:26, 27 NASB)

There it is. It’s simply beautiful and beautifully simple. Obey the Gospel and be added to the body of Christ. Then you can forsake the filth of the world (repentance) and follow after Christ.
Don’t delay.
The world will try to convince you that right is wrong and wrong is right.

Come to Jesus, on His terms, today!
(Acts 2:38)

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What Happens In The Garden

What Happens In The Garden

My mom has always loved gardening. For as long as I can remember, she has had lush flower beds and a vegetable garden. While the eleven of us were growing up, mom and dad had a huge garden, along with goats and chickens. Most of what we ate came from our own pasture or gardens. In retrospect, it was an idyllic time, and a wonderful way to grow up.

In the span of salvation history, gardens are important places for God as well. When God created Adam and Eve, he placed them in a garden (Gen 2:8). It was a lush place, with everything that could be desired. It was also a place of intimate fellowship with the Creator, and he would physically manifest (preincarnate Jesus?) and walk with them in the cool of the day (Gen 3:8).

But the garden became defiled by sin, as Adam and Eve willfully said “no” to the command of God and they, their descendants, and the earth over which they were given dominion fell. From then on, sin reigned and through sin, came death. As a result, they were expelled from the garden that had been their only home.

Thousands of years later, another scene was taking place in a garden. This time it was the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus, who would be called the “second Adam” (1 Corinthians 15) The difference was that this Adam, who was a perfect man in an imperfect garden, was saying “yes” to God and would, through His obedience, bring eternal life to all who would receive it.

Someday, there will be another garden. One that is perfect, wherein righteousness dwells. With a river flowing out of the throne of God, and with the tree of life. We shall once again have perfect communion with our Lord, and spend eternity in his presence. John describes it this way:
“Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 22:1-5 NASB)

My friends, that will be a garden worth seeing. And unlike the gardens of my youth, there will be no weeds to pull. Just the full enjoyment of paradise spent in His presence.

And THAT will be the most wonderful garden of all!

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