“For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 NIV
Sin brings death. But all sin brings consequences into our lives. Sin is different to different people. There are sins that we all know such as murder, slandering God’s name, and adultery. But to God each sin is the same. He will forgive one as well as another. A sin is a conviction in your heart that says, ‘don’t do it.’ Or maybe to go do something. You may feel inside that you shouldn’t lie or steal. But it might also tell you to talk to someone. By not listening to that still small voice you are sinning. Sinning is wrong. It may not be wrong to eat something but if you feel you shouldn’t eat that extra cookie at lunch, then for you it is a sin. If you really need to lose weight so you can enjoy the life God wants to bless you with. A healthy, happy, productive life. Then that would be a sin. When we eliminate sin it’s brings so much freedom and peace. I know I read several different things, totally by accident, about eating healthy. About the dangers of hidden sugars. Well I felt like I needed to change the way I was eating and it wasn’t easy but I felt convicted. Not everyone feels that way, but for me it would have been a sin to ignore. After a month I lost a lot of weight and I’ve never felt more energy and alertness. That little bit of discipline helped in my relationship with God, also. I felt like I needed to exercise my arms. I didn’t have to, but it has made me feel better. I’ve been writing a daily devotional. Some days I just can’t write but that’s ok. I feel God has called me to be an encouragement to others and do all I can. When I do write , it comes so fast I can barely get it down fast enough. He will inspire me with things to write about but I need to stay in his word and in prayer to be ready to hear him. Each day I tell God to use me. I will do whatever he asks. As I see God using me I get excited and want to do more. I watched another good movie last night God has so many great plans for our lives and he will do more than we can ever imagine. He sees pictures of us doing things and being apart of something so great but sin can compromise that plan. It showed a man who had been raised right and lived a good life, but he had lost his job and decided to rob a convenience store for money. The robbery went badly and someone had been shot. God kept telling him to turn himself in, but his brother kept pushing him. Finally God convinces him to turn himself in and ask for forgiveness and to turn his life over to God. He was missing out on so much that God was trying to give him. His dad had not been around for him because he was in prison. He knew he needed to be a better person for his family and a baby on the way to raise. He turned himself in and even ministered to other men while he was in prison. His brother even came to know the Lord though his ministry.
What has God shown you that you need to change?
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
This is my favorite scripture. Ever since someone taught on it just after I was married. I made it mine. I lived my life with it as my motto. We have a loving, wonderful father who made us and knows everything about us. He made each of us unique, in all the world. No one is just like me. God knows the number of hairs on my head, that mix of colors in my eyes that is different with everything I wear, what makes me laugh, and why I think like I do. Before he ever designed me he had a particular mission for me to accomplish. I had devine appointments with many different people throughout my life and many events brought me this far in my journey. God always sees me as completing the mission , and he has given me everything to accomplish it. He is working everything, (the good, bad, and the ugly) for my best. If I had never had my stroke I would not be where I am with God. It is all worth it. I couldn’t be happier or more at peace than I am right now. God is using me! He always believed in me but now I know that he will work on me till the day I die. He never tires of my procrastination or my doubts. As long as I make time for him he continues to speak to me. Slowly I am hearing him. He speaks in everything I do. I just need to be alert. He has called me to write words of inspiration and encouragement to others. He will never give you a mission you can’t complete, with his help. This is my job and he is my employer and I need to be at his work. I set my time around his needs first. All else will wait. He is the most important to me. He also gives words of encouragement just for me in my life. We can learn so much when we set out to serve others. Some days I just can’t get inspired and that’s ok. When he inspires me I can’t type fast enough. I look back over my journey and see Gods loving, faithful hands. It’s exciting and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What has God called you to do?
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11 NIV
Who wants to be disciplined? Nobody, but it is important. The other day someone told me how as a young kid they had stolen fireworks and when dad found out he showed them the stars all right. They were spanked so hard that they never did that again. But discipline is so that we learn to do right and to be safe. Our parents love us so much and they really want the very best for us. They don’t want to see us hurting ourselves in a life of crime or getting blown up. Our parents may not be perfect but they are doing the best they can with their limited knowledge. God, though, is all knowing. He has lovingly formed us with all we need to become all we can be. He is all knowing and knows our every thought and how we will behave. He also knows just what it will take to have a wonderful, full life. It was him who made us how we are so he knows our needs better than we do. He has promised to make all that happens to us work for our good. If he is always looking out for us he will never tell us to do something wrong, for us. If we want a full life we should listen to him and follow his commands. They are not there to hinder us but to help us be our best. God wants us free, happy, loved, respected, and successful. It may not be exactly what we want but it will make us happy. I am his creation and he knows best and following his design and what works best only makes me run better. I have done it both ways, my way, messing things up badly. I’ve done it his way, boy does that work better. Even doing it my way he didn’t reprimand me but kept loving me. He understands that the world is not perfect and neither are we. We may want to do good but we will never do it perfectly. We are all sinners saved by the grace of God. He will forgive us. He just hates to see us doing things that will not help us but only hurt us. Now I try to live like Jesus would. He wanted to be just like his dad and I do too. Each day I look into his mirror and see if I look more like him. Where do I need to work? I need more unconditional love for less than perfect people. I’m sure I’ll be a work in progress for some time but I can see improvement and that makes me happy.
Do you want to live a full life?
“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only few will find it.” Matthew 7:14 NIV
Jesus has promised life to any and all that would but ask. So why is it that only a few get it. We live in a world of billions of people and billions have traveled this earth before us. They have come, made their mark, and left. It seems that with all the churches around the world that the numbers would be large. So many people say that they are Christians and I believe they truly believe it. But what are we not getting? All you have to do is believe in the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved, right? I think that is where we have gone wrong. Churches are leading people to the altar, but where do we go from there? We can’t just change ourselves over night, especially on our own and with our own power. What does it mean to be a Christian? First being a Christian is being like Christ. We should look at ourselves every day and see that we are becoming more like Jesus. In everything we do we should see through his eyes. When he was here he was setting an example for us. First and foremost was to do what his father, God, called him to do. He spent many hours in prayer talking to his father. He also spent the sabbaths in his fathers house. I saw a quote this week that touched me. ‘God gave his life for you, but you can’t get up Sunday’s for him.’ That says it all. Where does our devotion lie? I know I’ve been going out for church for years and I can’t wait for Sunday’s. Even though Covid has me locked in now I never miss on line. Now I will admit that all snuggled in bed it’s hard to get up but I know it makes my day so I just do it. Discipline is just doing it when your flesh says no. Learning to discipline yourself is actually freeing. I read the Bible first thing in the morning and know what God wants me to do. I have made his will a priority. If Gods word says to do it, I’m going to do it. That settles it. Period. There is no room for discussion. It is set in stone. This way I don’t make it about me. I am happier doing want God wants than just whatever my little mind wants. I know I believe that so I don’t change it. When I was younger my dad had us in church whenever the doors were open so it’s habit for me. The next thing he did after honoring his father was to honor all others. He loved people and had compassion for them. I’m a fixer, every minute I see people around me with needs. They may be tiny or they may be large. I try to fix everything. God has shown me I can’t do it all. Others need to help and I need to let them. But I like to be in control. I can do it. I hate seeing needs around me. I know it’s an honor to help and gratifying. That’s why I volunteer often. I have an electric wheelchair so I get around easily where others can’t. I’ve been here a long time and I know routines. I also have a great memory and remember names. When God leads me to help I jump. I want to be a just say the word and I’m there kind of Christian. We all should be but we tend to put ourselves first. We should always trust God.
What can you do to be more like Jesus?
“I know your deeds, they are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were ever one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot or cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:15 NIV
We are saved by grace not by deeds and we can not get to heaven by being good. But, that does not mean that we should not do good deeds. The way you can tell you are a Christian is if there is bountiful fruit in your life. Fruit is: Love, Joy, Peace, Forbearance, Goodness, Kindness and Faithfulness. If those branches do not have fruit on them then God will prune them back, which can be hard. So you will produce more fruit. Am I concerned with others needs? Am I willingly thinking of others first? I don’t need to worry about my needs because God already has that covered. We don’t actually need everything we want. So demanding my way is not really important. Some people don’t like what they have so everything seems important. But I see all of the things my father gives me and dwell on that. This has made me a very happy and grateful person. It also makes me want others needs met so they can be happy too. This is why I do good deeds. Also, I want to do all God has for me. I like to think he is happy with me. I also like to think there are blessings waiting for me in heaven. I don’t think there is anything wrong in thinking that way. God is the one who offered rewards for those who advance his kingdom. I am just looking forward to that day. Many people seem to think that once you have asked God into your heart you are all set, able to live however they want from there on out. But I want more. I want all he has for me, I don’t want to miss nothing. I am also willing to go after it. Remember this is a race – and I want a prize. The race only goes to the swift. One day I long to hear, “well done good and faithful servant.”
How well is your race going.?
“Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant; for I am with you, declares the Lord. Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only in due measure; I will not let you go completely unpunished. Jeremiah 46:28 NIV
God’s protection is always with us wherever we go. If you have been called by God and seek to follow the Lord, he is always with you. He will never leave you. Israel was God’s chosen people and they were known as a stubborn and obstinate people. They knew God and exactly what God wanted them to do. They still preferred to do things their way. The neglected God and sought god’s that they could see and touch. They were not really God’s though. We can also be the same way but we don’t actually make golden images, that we bow down to. We can however look to other things for our joy and satisfaction. Such as our children, our pets, our brand new car, our job, money and things that can take our attention off of God. Taking our time and attention away from him. Maybe you run to these things for the help you should seek God for. When you are in need he wants you to run to him, and cast all your cares on him for he cares for you. He is to be number one. When we sin he makes it known to you. You should come to God in complete repentance. When we sin it creates a wall between us. The longer we let it go, the larger that wall gets. God can not tolerate sin and at some point, even though we think we got away with it, sin will be punished. God let his chosen people get farther and farther away, but he then sent other countries to imprison them in bondage. Even in bondage he was looking out for them. He would punish for a time, but they were still his people. He loved them. He then would bring them home again and bless them. Although all may be in turmoil around us God is still with us. Do not grow tired of doing what is right either, because he blesses us also. It may seem like he’s not listening or watching us, oh but he is. He knows the true heart of his people and will bring about good as well as well deserved discipline.
Is there a wall between you and God?