“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?
“What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? What can anyone give in exchange for their soul?“. Matthew 16:26 NIV
What is your soul worth to you?
I have quoted this verse many times. But I never really understood the words till I heard someone preach on it. It meant so much more after I heard what each word said to me and just had to share it. I hope it can bring some light to you too. But lately I have been praying earnestly for an awakening. Many people call themselves Christians but are they Christ like? People who are not Christians are watching us. Unless they see us as different or special why would they want to be one. If we live an ineffective life and are unsatisfied ourselves what kind of example are we. God has shown me that so much more is required than praying for our country to be changed. So I decided that just like there are many Bible translations I would rewrite this amplified. So I will elaborate. ‘If my people,’ this at one time meant the Jewish people. They were known as God’s people. He had special things for them, his special people. The promised land was a good and rich land where they would be free to worship God the way he wanted. Because they were his people they should want to spend time with him. Especially after all they saw him do for them. And in such mighty and awesome ways. We in America have been richly blessed. We are free to serve our God however we want. Our founding fathers knew how important that was. That’s why the pilgrims came here. But we have not cared for this gift. ‘who are called by my name,’ These we’re not just any people. These people had a calling on their lives. God doesn’t call everyone. There are some who will never accept God. No matter what he does or who he is there is just evil in this world and there always will be. He is not going to spend time on those that will never change. There are those that will and they are important. They are a priority. He doesn’t expect others to pray. They are too proud and they don’t need or want his help. They don’t want God telling them how to act. They are their own God and serve themselves. But they also want us to be like them. Misery loves company. They do things that are sin but everyone is doing it so it’s good. We have gone with the crowd for so long. We can be filthy and not even see it. We are complacent and lukewarm. We get used to our sins and think we are Godly. ‘will humble themselves and pray,’ Get our minds off ourselves and back on the God of the universe. The one who made us and knows us. The one who can help us. He knows what we need and always wants the best for us. If we will just turn back to him. But we need to see ourselves as God does. Totally ungrateful sinners. We are seeking our own pleasures not God. He has done so much for us, and given us everything, even his beloved son. Just so we could be free from that sin. One day he will ask us why we rejected him when he loved us so much and it will be too late. ‘and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,’ We are an imperfect people. On our own we can do no good thing. But we are called by him. He wants to help us. He wants us to seek him and want to obey his ways. To help others and see that their needs are met. We need to really want him in our lives. Because without him, all of him, we will be unsatisfied and our world will keep falling. It’s already so bad that I want to hide in my room and never come out. It will only get worse. We need to turn away from sin for it to get better. ‘then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin,’ To make an effort to sin no more. To obey his commandments. If we make that effort he will forgive all our sins. See us as righteous before him. The people he died for and greatly loves. We need to change first if we expect anything from him. ‘and I will heal their land.’ This nation was at one time founded on Gods principles. We were a very blessed country. He did so much for this country but our sin has brought us down. We are no longer that great and Godly country. Pride has taken over and we have rejected our first love. Younger generations have rejected the God of their parents. Serving themselves and they no longer need God. But our land is in trouble. So much violence and trouble. We need to wake up. Right now we need a cleaned up world and it has to start with Christians. We can’t expect non-Christians who don’t know him to help. This virus has been a wake up call and we need to listen.
Do you want to see our land great again?
“I have not run away from being your shepherd; you know I have not desired the day of despair. What passes my lips is open before you.” Jeremiah 17:16. NIV
God is always leading and guiding us, he never is too busy for us. Other things don’t consume his time. These are attributes of average people, but never of God. He thinks of us and what we need continually. We are a very high priority. He made us in his image to do great things. And he is always working on our behalf. Even if we are not following him he cares. We have been told so in his word. All his ways are laid out for us. It is not a secret or only available to some on a need to know basis. He wants us to know his ways. What he does, what he says. Good and bad. He does have reasons that really do make good sense if we just get to know him. He is a very righteous God and can not stand sin and evil. Because sin and evil harm good people. Because you are causing trouble or the one hurt by sins caused by another he hates to see it. I will give some examples. My grandson was born a healthy, happy baby , as perfect as normal. But after his first birthday we found out that he had a very rare but incurable disease. Both parents were carriers even though they are perfectly healthy. He was only given three to four years to live. He was such a loving baby. Why did this happen? I prayed every day for him to be healed but just before his fourth birthday God took him home to be with him in heaven. We were all devastated and my daughter got very involved with finding a cure and supporting other parents with children sick with this disease. We lost a great part of our family but God has his reasons. When a drunk driver gets behind the wheel or a murder goes on a rampage, good people get hurt. Sometimes killed. It angers God because it shouldn’t happen. Someone should pay. It can go on a long time before someone is punished. He has warned over and over in his word what happens for sin, but we don’t always listen or care. He does punish eventually and people say he’s not fair. They are only getting what he said would happen. You reap what you sow.
Will you spend some time getting to know his ways?
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 NIV
These passages speak of the love God has for everyone. Not just when we are good or do what he wants. But everyone and all the time. He does not want anyone ever to perish. He gave his one and only son to be born so that he could die a humiliating, horrible death so that nobody would have to die. We all deserve death because we’ve all sinned. But he died for us. That is real love. He is a perfect and holy God who cannot dwell among sin. They made a way for us to be together with them for eternity in heaven. But they also gave us free will, to be able to choose just what we want. They have made it very clear what they want. They have given us their own words written just for us to help us know them. They have given us a gift. Just like every gift you have ever been given, it is free. You have to do nothing but accept it. It takes faith to accept it because it is not something you can see or feel. We have to believe we have it. With that gift comes the promises that they will help us. Once we believe, we need to practice what we believe. We will turn away from sin. We are no longer a slave to sin but are made new. Many people choose to believe the parts of the Bible they like. It is historically accurate and has been proven to be true. If it is true, it is to be believed. All of it. If we believe all the good things like how much God knows us and loves us, knowing our every thought and always wanting what is best for us. Then we ought to believe when he tells us not to do something. Sin is not just wrong, it is not good for us if it brings eternal death. He has warned us time and time again. But this is one thing he doesn’t have control over. We do though. So nobody can say that a righteous God would not send someone to hell. He doesn’t. But we do by not believing and obeying. We have the final say over our actions. We can use any excuse we want, but not doing his will puts it on us. He is a very loving and just God. He tells us in his word how to be blessed. He tells us he to have a full and abundant life. How to have fullness of joy bubbling over in our lives. He wants what every good father wants for his children. The best. Every parent will do everything they can to see their children happy, healthy, and safe and sometimes say ‘no’. If what they want is not best for them. Shouldn’t we be glad to do things that will bring joy, happiness, and blessings.
What can we do to have a good and abundant life?
“If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have turned him over to you.” John 18:30 NIV
Jesus a criminal. Only God could have orchestrated that scenario. Jesus was a perfect human being. He lived a life without sinning. He was one of the many loving, caring, and wonderful persons ever. He never argued about being right. But he was always right. He didn’t need to get his point across. Prove himself, or defend himself. All things we do quite regularly. Somehow we see it as necessary to have people like us, agree with us, and cooperate with us. Nobody wants to be looked down on, be picked on, or bullied. We try to prove that what we do or say is right, at least to our reasoning. Jesus stated a fact. Take it or leave it. He did not need people to agree with him or to do what he said. The things he tells us to do really are the best for us and he knows that. If we don’t do them we are just hurting ourselves. He doesn’t want to see us hurting others by our choices but he has given us free will. It gives him so much more joy when we do things because we want to, our choice. He has told us what to do to be blessed. He has also shown us what will bring troubles and curses. Do you know that everything he did should have brought him so much peace and acceptance, but he came here for one reason and only one. To do his father’s will. A sacrifice had to be made, a perfect sacrifice. We are all imperfect. Not one person has ever led a perfect life, but Jesus. The only way, was for Jesus to live a perfect life and be sacrificed. He did it willingly for you and for me. He was right, never wrong, and he should have been accepted and agreed with. Instead he put up with terrible abuse. He was whipped, spit on and humiliated. Over and over he had the opportunity to defend himself but he didn’t. He could have, maybe should have. But that was not the plan. He hung there on that cross and died for you and for me. He looked to the day when each of us would say yes to the gift he offered us. It didn’t have to make sense to us, it made sense to God. He even made a point of forgiving the criminal that hung next to him when he asked. No one has ever done anything they can’t be forgiven for. He loves us. He even prayed, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Do you want to accept this extravagant gift?
“In your anger do not sin: do not let the sun go down while you are angry, do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26-27 NIV
The Bible does not say don’t get angry. We all naturally feel angry when someone is cruel, thoughtless or selfish. This says when you are angry do not sin. So being angry is not the sin. But what we do with that anger can be. Holding on to anger is like tying an anchor around your neck. It will only get heavier, dragging you down as you refuse to let it go. It really seems stupid If you think about it. I watched another movie the other night. I’m sure you can see by now that I love watching good uplifting movies before I go to sleep at night. And I have had some really good nights of sleep lately. I have always had trouble sleeping soundly ever since my stroke. But not lately. The people in the movie had some bad things happen to them that really should have caused great bitterness, but instead they decided to find love and acceptance for the one who hurt them. Oh, it was not easy. One woman was shot by an attacker but he became a very close friend. Then when that friend was tragically killed in an accident his father had to learn to forgive the one who killed his son. But by doing that he gained a whole new life with this man and his daughter that was so fulfilling. Each person had to come to a place where they could see that anger was destroying them and giving the devil control. They had to make a decision to forgive. To forgive doesn’t mean you forget, but gives you the peace to move forward. To think of someone with anger is the same thing as murder to God and it harms everyone involved. Anger and hatred are wrong and damage many. The devil loves it when we are angry because it gives him control. Whatever you do as long as it depends on you live peaceably with all people. This is something Jesus said while he was alive and it’s very good advice. The world we live in has enough anger and hatred we don’t need to add to it. We need to make this ugly world better and love, love freely. The attitude you hold on to does make a difference in everyone’s happiness. Be a difference maker. Is there someone you need to forgive?