2019 Archives

Besetting Sin

  “I never intended to do it.” “I thought I had victory over this, but now my life is a wreck, and I have disappointed my family and friends AGAIN.”

  Can you relate? You thought you’d never take another drink, never partake of that drug again, never tell another lie, or allow yourself to be entertained by such filth again. You truly believed that you were beyond the moral trap, that you could put your life back together and avoid your besetting sin, but here you are again in the pit, feeling the weight of despair.

  This may be a common predicament, but take no comfort in the fact that you are not alone in the pit. It is no consolation that many stumble, or that the mighty have fallen. There is cause for fear when we console ourselves in sin, because sin is destructive, and its end is always death.

  But there is hope! Jesus spoke of His great desire for us, “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. (Acts 26:18).” If you are willing to open your eyes and turn from your sin, the forgiveness He offers can be yours by simply placing your trust in Him.

  With our sins forgiven, though still imperfect, we are emboldened by the testimonies of those who walked the path before us, and kept the faith. We can be empowered to lay aside our besetting sins with new resolve not to return to them. As believers we are told to fix our eyes on Jesus who has walked before us in a robe of flesh, and now stands at the end of life’s path, arms outstretched, saying, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28).”

  If we should stumble unwittingly into sin again, as His children, God stands ready to set our feet back on the path of light. He tells us that, “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).”

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The Debt

  Consider for a moment a family who is well established and productive in society.  Let’s imagine that these good folks realize that technological advancements of the age have produced a myriad of gadgets that, if obtained, could increase their standard of living significantly.  Almost immediately the family’s savings is “invested” in the good life.  Let’s imagine that with the passage of time, other “opportunities for advancement” avail themselves, but since there is no more money, our family must search for new ways to afford them.

  Let’s imagine that this family discovers that it has significant borrowing power, so a second mortgage and numerous credit cards are obtained.  The family quickly spends all the money that it is capable of borrowing.  In desperation for more, they ask creditors to accept their prior purchases as collateral in order to raise their debt ceiling, borrow more money, and make more purchases.  Let’s imagine that before long the family has borrowed so much money that their collective wages are not capable of paying the interest on their loans while sustaining even a moderate standard of living.  They have crossed a line from which there is no return.  Life for them is about to change.

  Now you can stop imagining.  This scenario is about to be lived out in, not a family, but a country, …our country.  Our fiscal irresponsibility, and that of our elected officials, has us at the brink of economic disaster.  If those who spend our nation’s money do not act soon, our country’s economy will be as bankrupt as its morality has already become.  Looks pretty bleak doesn’t it?

  Someone might argue, “If there is no good news, perhaps we would be better served to have no news at all.”  Fortunately, good news abounds.  The Bible, God’s Word, is filled with promises, provisions and principles that are capable of restoring a nation, or rescuing a soul from sin.  It is truly amazing!  Maybe you should take a look!

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The Ten Commandments

  Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images.  Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.  Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy.  Honor thy father and thy mother.  Thou shalt not kill.  Thou shalt not commit adultery.  Thou shalt not steal.  Thou shalt not bear false witness.  Thou shalt not covet.

  By these, every human being will be judged before God.

    1. Did you ever give someone, other than God, first place in your life?
    2. Did you ever put some material possession ahead of your relationship with God?
    3. Did you ever use God’s name as a curse word or in a joke?
    4. Did you ever act as if the Lord’s Day was like any other?
    5. Did you ever dishonor your father or mother in thought or deed?
    6. Did you ever kill someone? (Hatred, in the heart, is the same as murder. 1John 3:15)  
    7. Did you ever commit adultery? (A look of lust is the same as adultery. Matthew 5:28)
    8. Did you ever steal anything? 
    9. Did you ever tell a lie?
    10. Did you ever want something that belonged to someone else?

  The Bible says, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10)  In light of this verse, will God find you Innocent or Guilty?  Since God is holy and just, where must He send you for eternity, Heaven or Hell?

  But there is GOOD NEWS!  God’s Son, Jesus, died, was buried and rose from the dead, to pay the penalty for your sin.  Repent (turn from your sin) and trust in Him for forgiveness.  Jesus Saves!  (Romans 3:23; 6:23; Luke 13:3; John 1:12)

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Impressionable Lumps Of Clay

  Someone once said, “You are what you have been becoming.”  It’s true; you did not become what you are by any single influence.  (e.g. being with the kids in your neighborhood while you were a child, going to a particular school or church, taking a particular vacation, etc.)  You are what you are today, because of the sum of the experiences and lessons you have learned along the way.  Every event in life has made its impression on you.  Every experience has helped to form the man or woman you have become.

  Our most recent Vacation Bible School reminded me of just how impressionable we all were as little children.  Children have been compared to little sponges ready to absorb and assimilate all sorts of data and experiences into their personality and character.  Someone else said, “They are like little pieces of clay in the hands of the potter.”  In a very few years, they will be able to say, “I am what I have been becoming.”

  My purpose in sharing these observations about our little lumps of impressionable clay is not so much for the kids; they don’t read the paper.  My hope is to encourage you as parents and grandparents.  You are the master potters; you have more opportunity to shape your children than anyone else ever will.  What an awesome responsibility, but what an awesome privilege.  I hope that you take it seriously.  Who can tell just now, what your child might grow up to be?  Perhaps he or she will make national or international news.  Will they be terrorists, traitors or CEOs of major corporations?  Will their name strike fear and dread in hearts of those who hear them, or will they be remembered as public servants, inventors of good things, and leaders of men?

  The Bible is the Word of God.  Consider what He, the Author of Life, has to say about raising the next generation, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6).”  God defines “the way he should go” in His Word.  God bless!

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Mutually Exclusive

  It may be true, but doesn’t it sound silly to say, “If you are a Democrat, you are not a Republican.”  By virtue of definition, if you are the one, you cannot be the other.  We might say that the two are mutually exclusive.  Life is full of examples of mutually exclusive things: you cannot be a law abiding thief, you’ll never meet a skinny fat man and there are no peaceful wars, … I’m sure you get the point.

  Did you know that there are mutually exclusives in the Bible?  For example, we know that God gave the Law to govern the lives of His people.  To please God required perfect adherence to the Law, out of a perfect heart.  What many people don’t realize is that God’s purpose in issuing the Law was to demonstrate that man, in his fallen state, was not capable of pleasing Him.  Every human being has miserably failed.

  God’s plan was, and is, that we come to grips with the simple fact that we are hopelessly lost in our sin, and unable to remedy the situation by our own works.  We need help!  And time is short, because our sin will destroy our lives here and afford us a place in eternal Hell.

  But there is good news!  What we are unable to do by works,  God has accomplished by grace (a gift).  Jesus died, was buried, and rose again the third day.  He lives at the right hand of God the Father, to be Savior, Intercessor, and Advocate for everyone who will come to Him by faith.

  Unfortunately, men and women down through the ages have missed the point.  Rather than accept God’s gift through faith in Christ, they continue to try to please God by their own works.  My point is simple; grace and works are mutually exclusive.  You can not work your way to heaven and receive it as a gift at the same time.  God’s way, the only way, is by grace.  “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. (Ephesians 2:8-9).”

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