Posts tagged ‘sin’

Global Dying

Genesis 1:1 (NCV) – “In the beginning God created the sky and the earth.”
Day 1 – God created the earth, the sky, and light.  He separated the light and the dark to make day and night.
Day 2 – God divided the water, and put air between the water in the sky and the water on the earth.
Day 3 – God created plants, trees, fruit, grain.
Day 4 – God created the sun, moon, and stars.
Day 5 – God created fish in the waters and birds in the skies.
Day 6 – God created wild and tame animals…and human beings.
Genesis 1:31 (NCV) – “God looked at everything He had made, and it was very good.  Evening passed, and morning came.  This was the sixth day.

God created the world, and everything in it, and it was good.  It was pure.  It was perfect.  Without flaw.  It was to exist for eternity.

Then came sin.

Sin did not stand alone.  It was not the only thing to change in this new and perfect world.  It did not just effect the behavior of the people in the world.  It changed everything!  In Genesis 1:29-30, God tells how food is provided for man and beast.  God said, “Look, I have given you all the plants that have grain for seeds and all the trees whose fruit have seeds in them.  They will be food for you.  I have given all the green plants as food for every wild animal, every bird of the air, and every small crawling animal.”  And it happened.

Food was provided for all of God’s creation in the form of plants, fruits, vegetables, etc.  Notice God did not say that Adam was to go out and hunt for a deer to kill and eat.  Lions were not going to attack and tear apart a gazelle for the sake of eating it’s meat.  Why?  Because death had not entered the perfect creation.  Death was an unknown for humans and for every animal, bird, and fish.

Read Genesis 3:17b-19a – “So I will put a curse on the ground, and you will have to work very hard for your food.  In pain you will eat its food all the days of your life.  The ground will produce thorns and weeds for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.  You will sweat and work hard for your food.”  The ground was cursed.  The very earth that we live on, that was created perfect for eternity, was now cursed by God.

Just as man would grow old and die (Gen. 3:19b); just as animals would now be killed to make clothing, as sacrifices in payment for sin, and later, to be eaten as food (Gen. 3:21; Gen. 4:4 & Gen. 8:20; Gen. 9:3); the earth would now begin its decay.  It could not stay perfect.  Because perfect had been removed.

The earth has been around a long time.  Longer than any human being.  It has changed.  Mountains shift, rivers bend and wind more and more.  It has continued, but there are changes.  We see more and more natural disasters.  Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, extremely violent storms, flooding, tsunamis.  The earth is dying.  It is not because we humans are killing it.  It is not the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the pollution from our cars, or the amount of electricity we use by burning coal.  The earth is dying because she is old.  There is nothing that man can do to stop the decline.  Anymore than we can completely stop our own deaths.  Eventually, we all die.  Time for this earth is coming to an end (Matthew 24:35).  Soon.  But praise be to God, the creator if these heavens and this earth!!  He has made a way to redeem, and rescue the people who put their faith in Him!  When Jesus died on the cross, he did so to pay the penalty for our sin.  He redeemed us.  Made it so that this dying world was not our only world.  Now we can go to Heaven to be with Him when we die.  And some day there will be a new Heaven and Earth…created pure and perfect like this one was, but without the sin and decay.  2 Peter 3:13 says – “But God made a promise to us, and we are waiting for a new heaven and a new earth where goodness lives.”

Come Lord Jesus, come!!!

DO YOU HAVE THE LUXURY OF WAITING??

This has been a difficult week. A beloved uncle went to be with Jesus. We will miss him greatly. But we are so very grateful to know without a doubt that we will see him again when we are in Heaven with Jesus, too.

As with the death of any loved one, this week has brought a lot of reflection. Uncle Ron grew up in the church. Attended most of his adult life, maybe not faithfully, but he attended regularly. It wasn’t until 6 short years ago that he gave his life to Christ. I heard more than one person in the past couple of days wonder at how he spent all those years in the church, and yet waited so long to commit. It is a question we may never have the answer to. I think that to those of us who have grown up in the church, Jesus is the obvious answer. He stares us plain in the face. How can we miss seeing Him? And yet, there are a great many who do.

Uncle Ron had the luxury of waiting to accept Christ as his savior, and making Him the Lord of his life. I say that only from hind-sight. While he was living, no one had any idea when his life would end. It could have ended 7 years ago. Uncle Ron had no way of knowing that he had most of his life, and a little extra, to make that decision. He made it in time. He made it with some time to spare. My grandmother asked Jesus to be the Lord of her life just 7 days before she went to be with Him. That is cutting it mighty close.

Jesus tells us in John 14:6 – “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through me.” JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY. You can’t get to Heaven by being good enough…that would make you the way. You can’t get their by simply attending church or mass…that would make the church the way. You can’t get their by being baptized…that would make baptism the way. There is no other god, no saint, no act of kindness or anything else that will get you through the gates of Heaven and into the presence of God Almighty…except JESUS.

What does it mean that Jesus is the way? It means this. Believing by faith (without seeing) that Jesus is the Son of God. His Father is God…holy…spiritual…perfect…powerful…love…truth…creator of the universe…immortal…all-knowing…all-present…God. Jesus’ mother was Mary…human…as-human-and-fallible-as-you-and-I-human…sinful…imperfect…mortal. At the same time that Jesus is God’s Son, He is also God. John 1:1 tells us that Jesus is the very Word of God. “In the beginning there was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” So Jesus, the Word of God, took on human flesh, with all of it’s shortcomings in this sinful world, left Heaven to come to earth as a baby. Yes, a baby who needed to be completely cared for by Mary, and his earthly adoptive father, Joseph. The Son of God needed to be fed, and dressed, and had His diaper changed. He needed to grow and learn, as every child does. The difference? He had the power of God in Him so that He was able to go through His entire life on earth without sinning…not even once. Because He was perfect, and had the power of God in Him, He was then able to become our sacrifice. The penalty of sin is death (Romans 6:23 – “When people sin, they earn what sin pays–death.”). Not just physical death, but spiritual death separated from God for eternity…that means separated from any and all things good. Jesus was able to, and did, pay that penalty for us. All of us. He bore the weight of the guilt of all of our sins when He was crucified on the cross. God the Father could not look at Him because of the sin. He turned His back on Jesus. Jesus died. But because Jesus is the Word of God, and because He is God’s Son, He was raised to life again after 3 days in the tomb. The penalty had been paid. Now He offers the reward from that paid penalty to you, and me. The reward is life in Heaven with God for eternity. But the thing about a gift is that it is only yours if you accept it.

You have no way of knowing if you have 6 years left of your life, like Uncle Ron did. Or if you have 7 days, like my grandmother. Or if you have just a few hours. The gift Jesus offers can only be accepted on this side of life. Once you are gone, it is too late. Do you really have the luxury of waiting? That is a question you don’t have the answer to. Are you willing to take the chance?

How? How do you give your life to Jesus? Start by talking to Him in prayer. Acknowledge that you have sinned and ask for His forgiveness. The Bible tells us that if we confess our sins, God is faithful, and just, and will forgive our sins (1 John 1:9). Then tell Jesus that you believe that He is God’s Son, and that He died to pay your penalty. Tell Him that you believe that He came back to life and lives today in Heaven. Accept His gift of eternal life, and thank Him. Ask Him to be the Lord of your life.

If you do this, make Jesus your Lord, find a Bible. There are many available on line and as apps for all the various tablets. Obviously they are still available in print as well. Get to know God by reading the Bible. Pray and ask Him to help you understand it.
Pray…spend time just talking to God. He is there, listening, and speaking to your heart, although it may take time to hear Him and understand Him. Be patient. He will teach you because He loves you.
Find a church where they teach from the Bible. The people there will also help you as you begin this new life with Jesus by your side.

I realize that many of my regular readers are already Christians, and have been for many years. This post isn’t intended for you. But it is intended for someone. Maybe someone you know. Please take the time to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, even Pinterest…wherever. Send the link in emails to family, friends, acquaintances. The time is short. Jesus will return soon.

God’s blessings to you all!!!!

GARBAGE TRUCKS & PRAYER

I have read in numerous places that when you are battling a particular sin in your life, you need to give it to God and let Him change you. By itself it is a statement that is very passive. And there is never further explanation on how exactly to do that. Without those next steps, it is easy to believe that all we have to do is sit back, say “Here you go, God. I’m just going to go about my business as usual, and you can change me.” We continue on. If we sin, we just sort of shrug it off and remind ourselves that we have given it to God, and He is working. Eventually the sin will just be gone. And we won’t have had to do a thing to get there.

With this way of thinking, though, we really have no reason to accept responsibility for our sins. After all, if God is responsible for changing us, then what is there for us to do? We are free of guilt because every time we fail, it is because God hasn’t finished changing us yet. We are free to not have to work to change, too. After all, God is doing that work for us.

There is a problem with this line of thinking. If we are not responsible for our sin, or for changing our behavior, why does God see the need to discipline us? A person is disciplined when they have done something wrong, and correction is required. When one of my boys halls off and slugs the other, he is disciplined. Why? Because it is wrong to slug his brother, and he needs to make a change in that behavior. If he bumps his brother, I don’t discipline him. It was an accident. While he needs to apologize, and be more careful, he is not responsible for wrong-doing, and so discipline is not necessary.

Hebrews 12: 4-8, 11 (NCV) say the following: You are struggling against sin, but your struggles have not yet caused you to be killed. You have forgotten the encouraging words that call you his children: “My child, don’t think the Lord’s discipline is worth nothing, and don’t stop trying when he corrects you. The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as his child.” So hold on through your sufferings, because they are like a father’s discipline. God is treating you as children. All children are disciplined by their fathers. If you are never disciplined (and every child must be disciplined), you are not true children…. We do not enjoy being disciplined. It is painful, but later, after we have learned from it, we have peace, because we start living in the right way.

The Bible tells us that God disciplines His children. Why?

If I am not responsible for changing my behavior, my sinful ways, then why must I receive the discipline that God administers? I must receive, and learn from God’s discipline because I am responsible for my sins, and I am responsible for changing my behavior. Now God has some pretty high standards. I can never live up to them on my own. Jesus died for me because I would never be able to pay the debt, bear the full weight of God’s punishment for my sin. As God’s child, through the blood and sacrifice of Jesus, I am seen as righteous in the eyes of God. But that still does not excuse my sin. I still need to change. I can’t do it on my own. It is impossible. Neither can I sit back in my recliner and say, “God, do the work for me.” It’s a team thing. I work hard. I try. I slip and fall, ask forgiveness, get up and try again. And God helps me. He helps me to recognize my sin, with the urging of the Holy Spirit. He convicts me when I have failed. He offers me grace so I can be free to try again.

One of my sons has Autism. He sees a counselor to help him learn how to deal with life’s situations. One thing he is working on is recognizing the things that frustrate him, anger him, or cause him to be unsuccessful/unproductive as garbage trucks. When he sees a situation or person as a garbage truck, he is to STP. Stop. Think. And Plan. The sin in our lives are like garbage trucks. Sometimes it takes practice (and the help of the Holy Spirit) to recognize it . When we see it, we need to STP…Stop, and Take time to Pray. When we do that, we are taking responsibility, acting to enlist God’s help. And we are opening the door for Him to do His part in changing us. Day by day, moment by moment, this team (God and us) work to overcome the sin in our lives and bring us closer to the righteousness we will only fully achieve when in His glory. What a day that will be!!!!

walking on the narrow path.

walking on the narrow path with Jesus

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