Tag Archives: Forgiveness

Compassion In Witnessing

I was reading John 4:6-29. This is where Jesus is in Samaria at Jacob’s well. A Samaritan woman comes up and Jesus asks her for some water. I was reading and thinking how does this apply to modern evangelism today? First in vs. 7 Jesus starts a conversation with a sinner. The Jews felt the Samaritans were not right with God plus Jesus had a little insider information on her life. Regardless, Jesus decided to talk with a sinner. Notice the woman’s response in vs. 9. She can’t believe He is even talking to her. Many non-christians are so used to the dirty looks and lack of care from Christians that they would never expect a Christian to start a conversation unless it was one where the Christian just goes up with guns blazing yelling “you are going to hell.”

That isn’t what Jesus is doing, He is starting a non-aggressive conversation and then introduces God into it in vs. 10 and 14. The woman still isn’t on the same wavelength yet. How could this possibly play out today? Start a conversation and mention how you were thirsty until God changed your life. Now instead of Jesus staying there and trying to drill religion in her head, He turns the conversation to her in verse 16.  He says, “Go call your husband and come here.”

I worked with a woman once and she didn’t like me at all. I never knew why, but anytime I talked to her it would be a one word response. One day I decided to ask about her family. The floodgates opened up and we had a meaningful conversation about her family and problems that were there. Afterwards we talked often about her family and children. Sometimes we just have to find a link or a bridge that can start a conversation and build trust.

So the woman responds in vs.17, “I have no husband.” This is where most Christians blow it. This is the part where most Christians slap the sinner in the head with a bible, yell, “That’s right you adulteress and you are going to hell if you don’t repent”, and then shake our heads as the other person walks off in anger talking about how stupid and hypocritical Christians are. Jesus does not take that approach. He compliments her twice on her truthfulness in vs. 17-18. Then He talks about worshiping God. The end result of Jesus’ compassionate way of talking to this woman in sin is that she comes to Christ and brings others (John 4:29).

Yes, sinners, as we all do, have to come to the knowledge that they are a sinner and deserve the punishment of hell, and the only way to heaven is Jesus. However, they have to be prepared to receive that knowledge.  We must deliver it in a compassionate way. After all, Peter told us when we explain the hope we have, do it with gentleness       (1 Peter 3:15).                                                                 MSW


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As Jesus Sees

woman_at_the_wellAugust is here! Time for children to head off to school and time for our revival, plus this year there will be a revival for the youth. Another busy month where it’s easy to get caught up in all we have going on and forget about others. So what can we do to prepare ourselves for this busy month?
First the most important thing we can do is pray. Before we can pray we need to prepare ourselves for prayer. Start by taking a minute a looking at people the way God looks at them. Think back through your day. Think of everyone you have met today. How did you see them?
What do you know about them? What problems are they having? What good things do they have going on in their life? Often I’m so busy with my life that I forget to take a minute and look at people as Jesus would.
When Jesus sat down at the well(John 4:6-29) with the Samarian woman He didn’t look at her like the Jews or even his own disciple did. The Samarians were hated by the Jews. The Samarians worshipped God but they also worshipped idols. In the apocryphal book of Sirach we can see in the words of a Jew exactly how they felt about the Samarians. Sirach 50:25-26 There be two manner of nations which my heart abhorreth, and the third is no nation: They that sit upon the mountain of Samaria, and they that dwell among the Philistines, and that foolish people that dwell in Sichem.
Plus this woman had multiple adulterous affairs; a good Jew would never defile himself by speaking to her. But Jesus looked past all this and spoke and asked for water. Jesus spoke kindly and lovingly to her. Jesus told her that He was the deliverer. Thanks to Jesus not looking at her with condemnation and hate she came to know Jesus and brought others to Him. This is how we should look at God’s people. With love!

MSW


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The Great Escape

great_escapeAs you sit in your prison cell awaiting your execution. You look at your two accomplices and know that all three of you are about to die for your crimes. Robbery, murder, inciting others to violence, the list goes on and on. You were tried and convicted and you know you deserve to die for what you did.
Suddenly outside you hear loud angry voices, are they here to take you? The voices keep getting louder and angrier. A guard shows up and takes you from your cell. Where are we going, you think to yourself? Am I about to be beaten some more? You calm yourself knowing you deserve whatever they are about to do to you.
They push you out in front of the crowd. You stare into the angry faces. You look and there is another man standing there with you. He has been beaten and stands there bloody and bruised. Then you recognize him. This is that Jesus I’ve heard everyone talk about. Why is he here, he hasn’t done anything wrong? From what you hear he does nothing but help people.
You realize the crowd is calling your name. What are they saying? Release Barabbas! What? This is where they release the prisoner! Why are they releasing you when you deserve your punishment? As they release you and you try to leave before they change their mind. You look up and stare into the eyes of this other man. All you can see is the love pouring out from Him. This Jesus is about to take the punishment in your place. He is going to suffer for your sins as you go free.
And so it is with us. We are Barabbas deserving our death and punishment, but Jesus took that punishment for us. His sinless life will cover for all the sins we have committed. Lord, thank You for the grace You have given us. Amen.


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Accepting the Blame For Our Sin, Part 2

.22596068This is part two in a two part post

In 2 Samuel 11 we learn of David’s adultery. As David strolls about the top of his palace he sees Bathsheba bathing on her roof. He stares lustfully at her and asks one of his servants to find out who she is. Upon finding out that her husband is gone David gives in to his desires and sends for her. The sleep together and she becomes pregnant.
David trying to cover up his sin calls for her husband Uriah. David thinks that Uriah will go home and sleep with his wife and believe that he is the father of the child. But Uriah is more honorable than David and refuses to go to his wife, when all the other men are still away at war. So David plots his death, orders his generals to set it up, and then brought Bathsheba to him as his wife.
So Nathan comes to David and tells him a parable of a poor man who has nothing but one little sheep, he raised it from a baby lamb. It eats with him, sleeps with him and he treats it as a daughter. But there is a rich man with many cattle and many sheep in this town. This rich man gets a visit from a traveler and instead of killing one of his own sheep for the meal, he steals the poor mans lamb and kills it.
David burns with anger. He says this man must pay for this lamb and must die, because he shows no pity! As David stews in his anger at this injustice, Nathan says “you are that man!” Realization of his sin sinks in as David drops to his knees broken and repentative.
David looks at Nathan and says “I have sinned against the Lord.” David could have said “If she hadn’t been on bathing on her roof this wouldn’t have happened.”
He could have blamed Uriah for not sleeping with her when he gave him the chance. David said “I have sinned against the Lord”
Then David went into prayer and as you read Psalm 51 notice how David takes all the blame on himself. He admits his sin. He asks God to forgive him and cleanse him. He declares that God is right in his judgment.
In Psalm 51:17 He says my sacrifice is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart. God does not want a ritual or for us to put on an act of sorrow. God wants us to realize our sin and for our hearts to be grieved over failing him. He wants us to realize our brokenness and call on Jesus to save us from it. Only through Jesus can we find that relief from our guilt (v.14). Only thorough Jesus can we be cleansed of our sins( v.7).

Adam and Eve tried to pass the blame for their sins off on others. David shows us how we should accept the blame ourselves.

MSW

Psalm 51
For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.

4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.

5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts;
you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will turn back to you.

14 Save me from bloodguilt, O God,
the God who saves me,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.

16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.

18 In your good pleasure make Zion prosper;
build up the walls of Jerusalem.

19 Then there will be righteous sacrifices,
whole burnt offerings to delight you;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.22596068


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Accepting the Blame For Our Sin, Part 1

22596068I did this as a lesson on accepting the responsibility for our sins. I’m posting it in two parts here. The second part will be posted tomorrow.

The Bible starts off jumping right into man and sin. The third chapter of Genesis tells us of the Fall. God placed Adam and Eve in His garden. He told them that everything there was for them except for one tree (Genesis 2:16-17), placed in the center of the garden and next to another special tree. (Genesis 2:9) “Did God really say you can’t eat from any trees”, the serpent asked.
“Oh no, Eve replied we can eat of all the trees except one.” I can almost picture Eve looking at the serpent, getting that serious look in her eyes and saying. “God said we would die if we ate from it.”
I can imagine the serpent pulling back “surely you want die!” “No, you want die you’ll become like God. You’ll get wisdom and understanding; your eyes will be open to everything.”
Eve looks at the fruit of the tree and touches it. “Wow it’s so beautiful!” and she bites into it. She hands her husband some of the fruit and he takes a bite. Then everything changes they realize they’re naked. The pure and loving attraction they felt is replaced by a dirty lust. They don’t understand what has happened. They cover themselves with leaves and then they hear the Lord coming. Ashamed and realizing their sinful nature at the approach of a Holy God, they hide.
But the Lord calls to Adam. “Where are you?”
Adam responds broken and sinful, “I heard you and was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”
And God asks “How did you know you were naked did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from.”

Did Adam drop to his knees and say “Lord, I have sinned! I did! I ate the fruit! Lord I have defied your authority. Forgive me, Lord Please.”?

No, Adam responded “The Women You put here…” Adam yelled “She did it!” He also went so far as to blame God for his sin. “You put her here” “If You had not put her here this wouldn’t have happened!”

Eve could have taken the high road and when God asked her “What have you done”, she could have said “I ate the fruit and I gave it to my husband.” She didn’t, she placed the blame on the serpent. Neither one of them said I did it.
How many times do we fall into this same category? We know we are not living as God has commanded us. We commit sin and instead of confessing it (1 John 1:9) we try to hide it from God. We can’t hide from God (Job 34:22) He knows what we have done.
Or worse we try to justify our sin by blaming it on God. How many times have you heard someone say if God didn’t want me to be this way, He wouldn’t have made me this way.
We can’t justify ourselves. The only justification we can get comes from our savior Jesus Christ. We must call on him, confess our sins to him, and repent of our sin. We still will struggle with our old flesh. We still will stumble but through the Holy Spirit and by pursuing God, we can finish just like the runner who keeps his eyes on the goal at hand

MSW

Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart


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Everything

I love this video. I cry every time I watch it. I have found hundreds of skit versions and three video versions of this skit. It starts with our walk with Jesus then it shows how we let relationships come between us and Christ. Then it moves on to money, status, alcohol, depression and finally we run back to Jesus who will help us fight off the evils that tempt us. I Hope you enjoy this version. I’ll also post the lyrics below the video.
MSW

Find me here, speak to me
I want to feel you, I need to hear you
You are the light that’s leading me to the place
Where I find peace again
You are the strength that keeps me walking
You are the hope that keeps me trusting
You are the light to my soul
You are my purpose
You’re everything
And how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this
You calm the storms and you give me rest
You hold me in your hands
You won’t let me fall
You still my heart, and you take my breath away
Would you take me in take me deeper now
And how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this
And how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this
Cause you’re all I want,
You’re all I need
You’re everything.. everything
You’re all I want
You’re all I need
You’re everything.. everything
You’re all I want
You’re all I need
You’re everything.. everything
You’re all I want
You’re all I need
Everything.. everything
And how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this
And how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be any better any better than this
And how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this

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The Punishment Due Us

What is the worst punishment a man can have for doing wrong? Our criminal Justice system has many punishments in it. They range from community service, fines, jail time all the way up to even capital punishment. Let’s think about the jail time for a minute. You have done wrong and now you must be punished. You are locked up and separated from your friends and family. You can no longer see the ones you love whenever you want.
Even worse than that is the punishment that is due all of us. In Genesis 4:13-14 we are told of Cain’s punishment for slaying his brother. Cain tells God his punishment is more than he can bear. What is his punishment? He is to be put out of the presence of God. Cain can not stand the thought of no longer being in the presence of God. While Cain gave into flesh and did not give God the offering he should he still loved and worshipped God. Now because of his sin he is lost and sent out of God’s presence.
You and I are on that same trail 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21, and Revelation 21:8 all give a list of those who will not inherit the kingdom of God. We all fall somewhere on those lists. The alternative to the kingdom of God is hell and eternal separation from God.
Think about that for a minute. We all have times we fail and feel we are separated from God. Now imagine that separation is eternal. Cain said my punishment is too much for me to bear.
We do not have to suffer the same fate as Cain though. We can be forgiven and not only have an eternity with God, we can have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus. All we have to do is admit to God that we are a sinner, understand that through the blood of His Son we have been washed and sanctified. Completely forgiven of our sins, we can live a life walking with Jesus and knowing that we will never be separated from God.
MSW

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One In A Sea Of Faces

To see the analogies I am talking about, you need to read Tim’s Post that I have linked to below.

Back on December 15, Tim Challies posted a beautiful piece entitled One in a Sea of Faces. It is about the healing of the invalid from the book of John 5:1-15. The end of the post relates this to Calvinism. I realize in the blogosphere Calvinism reigns, and I read many Calvinistic bloggers but I cannot buy into the theology they use on Election.
I started to post on his blog but decided I would rather take a little more space and speak here instead. I do not believe that anyone should use the theology of Calvinism vs Arminianism as a reason to attack each other personally. It really is a small point as long as you don’t believe that because of Calvinism you should not go out and witness. Jesus makes it perfectly clear in the great commission (Matthew 28:16-20) that we are to go out and try to bring souls to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 1:10-13 Paul makes it clear that we should be united in Christ and not different views of religious leaders.
If you read in Calvin: Commentaries Chapter VII, Calvin resorts to name calling to prove his point. “Some Theologians would make foreknowledge the mother of election and that very foolishly and childishly.” When someone has a legitimate argument name calling is not necessary. I guess I go with the foolish and Childish theologian Peter. an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:( 1 Peter 1:1-2 ESV) (emphasis is mine).I also believe the great theologian Paul when in Romans 3:22, he said “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:” Or John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. Notice all and whoever in these verses. These words are used because God offers salvation to all that believe.
God saw my life from the very beginning. He knew every mistake I would make. He knew every sin I would commit. He knew the exact date that I would be saved by the knowledge of God’s mercy through the death of Jesus Christ. He knew when I would answer His calling on my life. Nothing I have done or could do will get me into heaven. When God spoke I answered. Did I have a choice? I had the same choice Adam had when Eve offered him that apple. I could follow death or follow eternal life through Jesus Christ. God does not make any follow Him. There are many that know of Jesus that will perish in Hell because they do not know Him.(Matthew 7:22-23)
I have heard the “what do you make of Romans 9?” argument before. If you interpret Romans 9 with the rest of the book of Romans, you will see a pattern of Paul teaching that salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ. In Chapter 9 he is referring to the Jews who believe that they can be saved by following the law. (Romans 9:3-4) (Romans 9:30-31) He is speaking of the Jews that do not feel it is fair for God to grant mercy to the gentiles who did not seek mercy.
As for the shipwreck analogy that Jessica pointed out, yes it would be like God sitting on a raft saving those who ask for help. Do I have to deal with the hell issue in defending my belief? No, God tells us in 1 Timothy 2:3 He wants all to be saved by coming to the knowledge of the truth. Sometimes my kids are struggling with something and I offer to help and they refuse. Does it hurt me to see them struggle? Yes! Do I want to help them? Yes! Should I force them to let me? Not if it is something they need to do.
Curtis I love your analogy of the courtroom. It is the perfect picture of God’s Grace. The only problem is God doesn’t just go in and pay the fine because He has the money. He received the money through His insurance policy on His Son. If the guilty people will believe that His son gave His life so that Dad would have the cash to pay their fines He will pay them. Yes, God and the Son still get the glory.
I have done nothing to deserve grace. I deserve to burn in Hell for all eternity. I thank God that He loved me so much that He gave me a way to be with Him.

I did not write this post to insult anyone or to criticize their beliefs and theology. Calvinism gets the largest share of Blogs and for those who are struggling with the truth they need to see both sides. I would love comments on this post but I do not want to see anyone attacking anyone just explaining beliefs.
MSW


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Clean Garments for the High Priest

Zechariah 3:1-10 HCSB

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”
Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”
Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.”
Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the LORD stood by.
The angel of the LORD gave this charge to Joshua: “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.
” ‘Listen, O high priest Joshua and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes [on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.
” ‘In that day each of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and fig tree,’ declares the LORD Almighty.”

This was the fourth vision that Zechariah had. It concerns Joshua the high priest. (Haggai 1:1, Ezra 2:36) It also shows us God’s grace when we stand in judgment. Joshua means Jehovah saved. We will be saved by God through the death of His Son Jesus. We will stand in front of the throne of Christ. Satan will be there saying “He is mine. He is nothing but a sinner.”
I will stand there knowing Satan is right and has every reason to call me his, but my savior Jesus will say “No, he is Mine.”
I was snatched from the fire when I accepted Jesus as my savior. I will stand filthy and stinking in front of Jesus, and He will say ” Take off his filthy clothes! See I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.”
When we accept Jesus, (v7) we are to walk in His ways and keep His requirements, so that we may be given a place among the saints. Let us all be found faithful in that day.

Reread these verses and place yourself at the judgment. None of us can make it through the judgement on our own. We must have our Lord Jesus Christ’s redeeming blood to wash our sins away. This is a picture of what is to come for those of us that have been snatched from the fire.
MSW


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Repent

Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.
Matthew 3:2 NIV
The word repent is found throughout the old and new testaments. When Jonah prophesied in Nineveh, they repented. (Matthew 12:41) God says in Ezekiel 18:30 KJV “…Repent, and turn [yourselves] from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.” On and on the Word of God tells us to repent, but what exactly does repent mean? I turned to old Mr. Webster and he said it means to turn from your sin. We know what sin is we have the Ten Commandments to show us that (Exodus 20:1-17) Jesus showed us that lust is the same as adultery and Hate is the same as murder, so we know the standard God uses to measure sin. To repent means to turn from sin. Does that make sense? Jeremiah 18:8 says “If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.” God is saying He will repent. God can’t sin. He is Holy.
The Greek word for repent is metanoeō (met-an-o-eh́-o). It means to think differently or reconsider. How are we to think differently? What is the difference in turning from sin and thinking differently about sin? John the Baptist was the voice in the wilderness telling us our savior Jesus Christ was here. (Isaiah 40:3; Mark 1:4) In Acts 19:1-4 when Paul met the disciples at Ephesus he asked if they received the Holy Spirit upon baptism. When they told him it was John’s baptism. He told them that John’s was a baptism of repentance and baptized them in the name of Jesus Christ. John’s baptism was being reborn to a new way of thinking. Before Jesus the Jews went by the Mosaic Law. That was the way to righteousness. We know that no one other than Jesus can live up to God’s expectations of obedience to the law. (Romans 3:10) This new way of thinking was that God’s Son Jesus had come from Heaven as flesh and blood and became the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Today a typical response of a lost person as to why God should allow them into His Heaven is “I’m a pretty nice guy.” Just like the rich man in Matthew 19:20, they are trying to make it to Heaven by the law. They can’t! This new way of thinking is realizing that Jesus is the way the truth and the life (John 14:6) In Acts 5:32 we learn that Jesus grants repentance and forgiveness. When we accept Jesus as our Savior we are forgiven of our sins and given a new way of seeing things. We see that Jesus is the only way to Heaven because we cannot defeat sin on our own. We see that Jesus is a light unto our path. He will lead and protect us if we just believe. In 2 Timothy 2:26 we see that God grants us repentance so that we may know the truth. If you start thinking that you are one of God’s children, if you set your eyes on the goal of pleasing God, by worshiping His Son Jesus Christ, then turning from sin will be automatic.
MSW

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The Fall & Sacrifice

The Fall

Adam and Eve were in paradise. They had everything they could want. God provided for their every need. The only thing he asked for in return was obedience. All they had to do was to avoid one tree. (Genesis 3:3) The bible mentions two specific trees in the middle of Eden. (Genesis 2:9) The tree of life led to salvation. The tree of knowledge of good and evil led to damnation. We have this same choice today! We can follow Christ to salvation or the world and Satan to damnation. Just as God instructed Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of knowledge, we are instructed by the bible to avoid the sin of the world. (Genesis 3:1-5) Satan tempted Eve the same way he tempts us. He uses pride, doubt, confusion and self satisfaction to deceive us. Instead of doing what God wanted Eve did what satisfied her. Genesis 3:6 says “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was…pleasing to the eye.” Sin is often pleasing to the eye and makes us desire it. The Devil has many ways of making sin look appealing. Many times when we plan to do evil we will try and talk others into sinning with us like Eve carried Adam into sin with her. (Genesis 3:7) “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked” When we sin we realize we have failed God and feel shame. (Genesis 3:8) “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God…, and they hid from the LORD God.” We should be happy that God seeks us out, but when we are in sin we are terrified and hide from His presence. (Genesis 3:9) “But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”” God knows when we sin yet He still seeks us out and while He knows what we have done He wants us to confess to Him. (Genesis 3:12-13) When Adam was confronted with his sin he blamed Eve who turned and blamed the serpent. When we are confronted we often try to blame our sin on others and if all else fails, “The Devil made me do it!” In Genesis 3:16-19 God tells them what there punishment will be. When we sin and dishonor God we will be punished.

The Sacrifice

The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
Genesis 3:21
This verse points us to our salvation. We can’t cover our sins with something we do anymore than Adam and Eve could cover their’s with fig leaves. The leaves did not hide their sin from God’s eyes and neither did the garments he made them. It was the sacrifice of the animal that atoned and brought forgiveness for their sin. The Old Testament repeatedly mentions a sin offering. In the New Testament we receive the perfect offering that ended the need for sacrifice. Jesus’ blood is our sin offering, all we do is accept it. Just as Adam and Eve needed the sacrifice to remove their sin, we couldn’t be forgiven without the crucifixion of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
MSW


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The Gift

Many new and some longtime Christians have a hard time grasping the fact that all God asks us to do to gain eternal salvation is confess with our mouths and believe with our hearts. (Romans 10:9) When you look back at all the sins you’ve committed, it’s hard to believe that you don’t have to do anything, but accept Jesus into your heart to be saved. God came down from Heaven in the form of a man to be beaten and crucified just so you can live eternally in heaven with Him. Many Christians feel there has to be something else you have to do. This causes them to doubt whether they were ever saved. They start to ask questions like: “Am I truly Saved?” “How can I know?” These doubts build frustration and the frustration can lead us away from our savior.

How can you know yes I am truly saved? Look at Romans 10:9. That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Okay, you say I did confess and I do believe Jesus died and arose on the third day. But He has to expect something out of me and I try to be perfect but I Can’t. God realizes we can’t be perfect Romans 3:10 “There is no one righteous, not even one; What you must realize is your salvation is a gift from God. Matthew 7:11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! If you’re a Christian you should know that your fleshly body is evil. Now let’s apply this verse to the gift of salvation. You give a gift to your child, not for any reason other than you love them. What do you expect in return? Think about it for a minute. A thank you is nice, but you aren’t going to take the gift back because you don’t get one. An “I Love you!” is nice, but again you aren’t going to take it back if you don’t get one. Your Child cleaning their room without being told as a thank you is nice, but you didn’t’ feel they owed it to you. We are evil and this is how we feel about giving a gift. Think about how much more our Heavenly Father loves us.

To me the greatest joy in giving a gift is in seeing the joy of the one who receives it. This is the reason God gave His only begotten Son to die for our sins. (John 3:16) He gave us a gift! He expects nothing in return. It was a gift to show that He loves us. God loves it when we worship and praise Him, but salvation is a gift with no strings attached. Realizing this, it is easy to be sure of your salvation and start showing God you love Him.

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My Servant Nebuchadnezzar

In Matthew 20:1-16 we have the parable of the workers. This parable is about a man who hires workers at four different times during the day. At the end of the day he pays them all the same amount. The ones who worked the longest were upset because they thought they would get more even though they had agreed to the amount they received. The owner of the vineyard showed his generosity to everyone the same. This parable isn’t really about money though. It’s about God’s gift of eternal life and how He shows His grace to those who come to Him at the end of their life, just as He does to those who come early.
I studied the book of Jeremiah last month and while I found nothing about bullfrogs or joy to the world, I did find mention of wine. (Jeremiah 25:15) If you didn’t get that joke you are making me feel old. Anyways I spent most of my time studying Jeremiah in the book of Daniel. All because of two words. Before I start let me say I believe the Bible is the Divine Word of God written by God through Man. I also feel every word was intentional and used for a reason. When I study I try to look at each word individual and see why it was used. When I saw Jeremiah 25:9 refer to My Servant Nebuchadnezzar; I had to wonder why God referred to him as His servant. No mistake about it again in Jeremiah 27:6 under the authority of My servant Nebuchadnezzar appears. Okay why is He calling Nebuchadnezzar His servant. Nebuchadnezzar is an evil man, he throw men in furnaces, (Daniel 3:11) kills children in front of their father before poking his eyes out,(2 Kings 25:7) his army bashed in the heads of babies,(Nahum 3:10) oh yeah and he encourages worship of an idol that requires them to put their children through fire. Yeah we have a real saint here. Most of the commentaries quickly say that this just shows God uses evil people to do His will. Okay that makes sense, but I’m still not ready to bite. If that is the reason then there has to be another occurrence of the words My servant talking about someone who does evil to achieve Gods purpose. There isn’t. So to see who old Neb really was I went to Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar made Daniel ruler over his kingdom and allowed Daniel to appoint his friends to offices. I believe Daniel was fond of Nebuchadnezzar. When he interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, He said “if only it were your enemies.” (Daniel 4:19) Daniel 4 is written by Nebuchadnezzar near the end of his life around 562 BC. Look how it starts in Daniel 4:1-3 “King Nebuchadnezzar, to those of every people, nation, and language, who live in all the earth: May your prosperity increase. How great are His miracles, and how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation.” “I am pleased to tell you about the miracles and wonders the Most High God has done for me.”, sounds like the beginning of a testimony to me. Now look at Daniel 4:34 “But at the end of those days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven, and my sanity returned to me. Then I praised the Most High and honored and glorified Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion. and His kingdom is from generation to generation.” Now jump to Daniel 4:37 “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt, and glorify the King of heaven, because all His works are true and His ways are just. And He is able to humble those who walk in pride.” That sounds like a man who has had God turn his life around.
Now back to Jeremiah 1:5 “I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” God knew whether or not we would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus before long before our creation. Now look at the beauty and grace in these three words: My Servant Nebuchadnezzar. To God Nebuchadnezzar was already His servant twenty something years before he called on God. Even before we decide to confess and repent God considers us one of His own. Look back at your life and all the sins you’ve committed and think the day I was born God looked down and referred to me as His servant.
Heavenly Father I praise Your glorious name. Lord I thank You for all You do in my life. Father to see Your Grace and Forgiveness demonstrated in the book of Jeremiah with such simple words as My Servant. Lord it brings Joy to know that You forgave me before I even knew the mistakes I would make. Father thank You for the grace You have shown me. Father I thank You for Your Word to give encouragement. In Your Son’s Holy name in the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen

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Peter’s Love

A while back I had heard a sermon by David Jeremiah about Peter’s reinstatement. I heard another one a couple of weeks ago by Dr. Michael Youssef. At first they seemed to contradict each other. The more I thought about the sermons and who Peter was; I realized the two different views really complimented each other. First we need to look at who Peter was. Before Jesus called him he was a fisherman. He had just had a bad night where he didn’t catch any fish when Jesus showed up. Jesus told him where to put the net and he caught so many fish it almost sank the boat. Jesus told him to come He would now fish for men. (Luke 5:4-11) From that point on Peter was gung ho head first in his love for Jesus. When Jesus walked across the water, it was Peter who stepped out of the boat and went to Jesus. (Matthew 14:22-33) When Jesus meets Elijah and Moses on the mountain, it was Peter who offered to build them shelter. (Matthew 17:4)When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, it was Peter who said “No, you shall never wash my feet.” When Jesus explained “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”, Peter said “Then, Lord, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” (John 13:5-10) When Jesus told the disciples “This very night you will all fall away on account of me”, guess what, Peter was the first to speak “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” (Matthew 26:31-35) When the soldiers came to take Jesus away, it was Peter that drew a sword and cut off Malchus’ ear (John 18:10)
Peter was always there. He was always out front. Yet Peter denied Jesus when the time came. Imagine how Peter felt. Put yourself in his place. He had given his life to Jesus. He had been Zealous in his pursuit to please Him. Now here he is. He just blew his chance to stand for his beliefs. He just denied Jesus for the third time. On hearing the third denial Jesus lift’s His head and looks Peter in the eyes. Put yourself there. Jesus has already been beaten. You’ve already denied him twice. You’re scared they will take you and beat you too. Then the third person says you’re one of them I recognize your accent. You curse the man and say “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Then Jesus raises his head and looks you in the eye! You see the bruises on His face! The blood dripping off of Him! The sad, hurt look in his eyes! The pain he feels just screams at you through his eyes! You’ve failed! You go outside and weep. (Luke 22:54-62)
You go back to your old job. Oh how the days drag by! The guilt you feel! The emptiness! You can’t seem to catch any fish. Then as you head in for the night a man on the bank tells you to drop your net on the right side of the boat. You can’t even lift the net it’s so full of fish! In your excitement you dive in the water and swim to the shore. Now you’re looking into His eyes again. The look of hurt that was in His eyes the last time you saw Him flashes in your head. What does Jesus ask you “Peter, do you love me?” How do you answer that? Of course you love him, but how can you say I love you. You failed Him! You denied Him! Wow! What can you say?
Now let’s step back and look at what happens.(John 21:15-19) When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
To properly understand what is said we have to look at the Greek Words. When Jesus says “Do you love me?” He uses the word agapaō(pronounce agape). It is a deep devoted love. It is the strongest of the four Greek words for love. When Peter responds he uses the word phileō. It means have affection for. Now picture again that this is you. You know the love you feel in your heart, but you have failed Jesus. Again he asks and both of you use the two different words. What could hurt worse than this? A third time Jesus asks “Do you love me?” This time he uses phileō. The bible says Peter was hurt. I imagine hurt does not even begin to describe what Peter was feeling. Then Jesus prophecies of your service and death. With two simple words you are redeemed. All is forgiven. Follow Me!
This is a beautiful picture of our coming to Christ. Especially if we have made mistakes after we have come to know Jesus. Did you notice when Jesus came to call Peter the second time. It was identical to the first calling. This was a new beginning for Peter. (John 21:1-10;Luke 5:1-9) Why did Jesus ask “Do you love me?” three times? So Peter would have complete forgiveness for the three denials. What a great and Marvelous Lord we have!
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Parade of Sin

A Few Months ago, I was talking to someone who is a homosexual. They were angry that churches will not allow them to become members. I made the comment that the bible refers to homosexuality as an abomination to God. (Leviticus 18:22 KJV Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abonimation.)(also see Leviticus 20:13 , Romans 1:26-27 )Their response was “what makes my sin any different from anyone else’s.” This caused me to think, none of us are without sin (Romans 3:10 KJV As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one) even Paul had his weakness (2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.) I don’t believe the church should allow sin to enter in that way, but how is their sin any different from mine. God finally showed me their sin is that they are proud of their sin (Isaiah 3:9 NIV The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves. Jeremiah 6:15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.) Paul wrestled with his thorn (2 Corinthians 12:8-9 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”… )All Christians wrestle with some sort of sin. The difference is that they carry it to God, they ask for forgiveness, they ask him to take it from them, and they try to avoid whatever their weakness is. This homosexual does not feel bad about their sin they are proud and feel God and the church should accept them. I will not accept it. I refuse to watch any show that comes on my TV with the intent of making me think its okay. I hate the sin not the sinner. I pray continually God will touch their hearts so that I may see them for eternity in Heaven. I hope that eventually they will see what God wants to give them, bow their knees and say Lord forgive me. I know I’m a sinner. You through your grace sent your son Jesus to die for my sin. Lord I thank you and ask that you help me for I am too weak to do this on my own. Lord take this from me and shape me to be the Christian you would have me to be.
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God’s Forgiveness

My daughter has a Barlow Girl’s CD with a song on it called I Need You To Love Me. It starts off “Why are You still here with me, didn’t You see what I’ve done?” Wow that is so true. I know in my past I’ve asked God how can You still love me. I went through a rough time in my life were I was angry at God. After I got over my anger, I spent several years feeling that because I had abandoned God .He wouldn’t take me back. When I started back to church I had to fight the demons of my past. Just as Satan used Paul’s Guilt over the stoning of Stephen. Acts 7:54-68; 8:1 He used my guilt to keep me from going back to God. I prayed about it and asked God how could He feel I was worthy of the price His Son had paid. All he told me was to get ready. I didn’t understand what he meant. How am I supposed to get ready? What am I supposed to get ready for?
I picked up my Bible and started reading. I had heard the Bible stories as a child. I had even tried reading the Bible before. Like most people when they start begatting I begot bored. This time I prayed first. Lord I want to read your word. I want to understand it. I want answers. As I read I realized no matter what I had done God still loved me. He had been there all along waiting for me to return to him. My sin was washed as clean as snow. Isaiah 1:18 God gave me so many examples of His love and forgiveness. Jacob stealing his brother’s birth right.Genessis 27 how he wrestled with God. Genesis 32:24-29 and how he stood by and did nothing as his sons massacred a village.Genesis34:25-30(Old Jacob sure knows how to make someone feel good about theirself.) God still blessed him. God speaks of David with Pride. Acts 13:22( I give this example but God used David as the standard to measure all kings from this point on) Yet we know David committed adultery 2 samiuel 11:4 and arranged a murder 2 samuel 11:14-15 to hide the fact. But when we read Chronicles God has forgotten about it. Why did He forget? David went to Him in Sincere Prayer. Psalm 51 He confessed his sin and asked the Lord to blot out his transgressions. That’s all we have to do. The day I got down on my knees and told the Lord these are the things I’ve done please forgive me. Immediately I felt as if a bag of rocks had been taken off my back. A few years later I’m doing a church newsletter working with the children and youth of our Church, and now doing this blog in the hopes that I might help someone else.

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