Tag Archives: Sin

Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 1st Week of Advent – Day 7

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. -Isaiah 1:18, KJV

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As we finish out the first week of Advent, we look back at Isaiah. He was able to hear directly from God that He was coming to wash away all of our sins.

The irony of this is that God calls our sins scarlet – dark red – and will be washed white as snow and wool, and this by the washing through His own blood. His red blood washes us whiter than snow.

And He says, “Come and talk to with me about it. I will show you your sin and need for a Savior, and then I will show you how you can be cleaned and saved.” (A slight paraphrase of the verse above.)

The Prophets looked forward to the coming Messiah, and we can point the world today to that Messiah who is come and will come again.

Lord, thank You for washing us clean. Give us Your words and wisdom to share this good news with the world.

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Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 1st Week of Advent – Day 6

Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch.
For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree. -Zechariah 3:8-10

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The great news of Zechariah is that the Branch of Jesse, the descendant of David, the Servant King of Israel, would be coming to His people, and in a single day He would manage to remove all the sins of His people.

Through this Branch, all people will be able to come together in peace and love, living by the fruit of the Spirit in all facets of life and relationships.

This is not simply some feel-good story, but the source of the peace we celebrate at this time of year.

It is also the hope that we will one day see this fulfilled completely. It will be fully realized when our Lord returns to reign on Earth for eternity.

Lord of hosts and Righteous Redeemer, thank You for taking our sin upon Yourself and reuniting humanity with You. Guide us in bringing Your Kingdom to this world.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 1st Week of Advent – Day 2

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. –Isaiah 64:6, KJV

Even our good works are tainted by sin, making it so that there is never enough good works we can do to tip the scales to outweigh our sins and earn forgiveness from God.

As we continue our journey through Advent, we remember the longing for a Savior that the Prophets sought and preached.

We may volunteer our time at the holidays, donate clothes, food, and toys to those in need, or even welcome strangers into our home. But it takes the perfect love of God moving through us to have any true impact.

See your need for a Savior, the One who gave up all power, glory, majesty, and honor to live a simple, faithful life to sacrifice His body for our benefit.

Gracious Lord, You see our sinful natures and every motive of our hearts. Help us to see Your forgiveness through Your great sacrifice, and change us and clean us to do good works in Your name.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 1st Week of Advent

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Welcome to the first week of Advent!

Tradition holds that the first week of Advent reminds us of the importance of prophecy and that we are desperately in need of a Savior. The Hebrew Bible – the Old Testament – reveals much through the Prophets and Wisdom literature and poetry.

If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;
If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.
For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear:
Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away:
And thine age shall be clearer than the noonday: thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning.
And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety.
Job 11:13-18

We first need to see our need for cleansing from sin. Then we need to remember that, through Christ, we have already been cleansed of our sin.

This knowledge gives us hope.

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
Psalm 27:14

Therefore, we no longer wait, as Israel did, for an unknown Savior. Rather, we wait for the return of our Lord, when all misery, pain, and tears will cease. He shall reign as God and Lord over a remade and perfect Creation.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9:6-7

Heavenly Father, we have sinned against you, but You sent Your Son to save us from our sin. Thank You for revealing Jesus’ first coming through Your Prophets of old and His immanent return through the Apostles. Give us a grateful heart and a sense of urgency to spread this Good News with the world with humility and grace.


Playing dress up

wolf-2920469_1920There have a few times connected with my job as a school nurse in which I’ve had the pleasure to don a costume in skits for the lower elementary.  Several years in a row I was the Big Bad Wolf for the Great American Smokeout (smoking prevention), and once a friend of mine was the Grape Ape while I hid behind a homemade stage as the puppeteer, (for what I don’t exactly remember…)

And you thought school nurses just sat around putting on bandaids!!

One thing I noticed about being “incognito” is the emotional freedom to act out of character.  Regardless of how hot or uncomfortable the suits were, I had so much fun, which probably makes it more enjoyable for the kids. Continue reading


REPENT!

He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. –Proverbs 29:1, KJV

Do you know that person who is always right, has an excuse, and/or just ignores those who confront them?

(Is that you?)

Most of us do not like being around such people too long (sorry, if you are one.) Living this way can therefore lead to loneliness.

But it does get worse.

Consider the following:

  • Pharoah was told enslaving the Hebrews was wrong, and he refused to let them leave Egypt. He ended up in the bottom of the Red Sea while in pursuit of them.
  • The Israelites were told not to worship other gods, or they would be overrun by their enemies. They were.
  • The Israel (Northern Kingdom) and Judah (Southern Kingdom) kings were told to repent and reform their countries or be taken into captivity. They were.

Ultimately, though, (you may already know where this is going) if we refuse to accept the gospel, repent of our sin, and allow the Holy Spirit to conform us to Christ’s image, we end up “without remedy” in the torment of the lake of fire.

Listen, then, to Peter: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38) and eternal life.


Trusting Our Hearts …

He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. -Proverbs 28:26, KJV

We live in a world today that frequently tells us to “just follow your heart, it will lead you true.” And many people rely on their reason even knowing they know very little of our reality.

That second point is striking. The most optimistic scientists say we may know 6% of everything there is to know about the Universe. Yet, atheists will argue there is no evidence for God. But there is at least 94% that we don’t even know about!

However, we can trust our heart, right?

God tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

In our fallen, sinful state, we cannot trust our heart. We are selfish and want to believe what feels good, not necessarily what is true and good.

It affects our emotions, thoughts, and reason.

The wise person realizes that there is a God, who has a standard and has revealed it and Himself to His Creation – through the written Scriptures and the incarnation of Jesus.

Trusting our own heart and reason may lead us deep into sin.

Trusting the God revealed in the Bible and through the Son will deliver us from sin.


No Reason for Envy

Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long. – Proverbs 23:17

Testimonies

I love to hear stories of how God has changed people’s lives. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thrills to hear how the Lord can take a dreadful, hell-bound sinner and turn him into a saint in all respects.

But sometimes testimonies can turn into a glorification of past sin. Sometimes a well-meaning story of God’s grace can make the average person wish they’d taken a chance at being bad.

Like,

“I once was a drug dealer and had everything money could buy. I woke up with champagne and girls, drove fast all day, and then partied all night until I passed out in the arms of another supermodel. Then Jesus saved me.”

Sorta makes becoming a believer a little anti-climactic, doesn’t it?

The Truth

What we need more of is the truth – not just the truth about the consequences of sin, but the literal joys of following Christ and honoring the Father.

So often we are bombarded by images of those who are doing everything the Bible condemns and having fun while they’re doing it. All of us want to have fun and enjoy life, don’t we? Therefore, these images tend to make a lot of us envious.

But if we had more stories of the joy, peace, and awestruck wonder that accompanies the one who walks in the fear of the Lord, the fleeting pleasures of sin wouldn’t even be worth talking about.


Because We Mess(ed) Up

The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the Lord. -Proverbs 19:3 KJV

“How could a good God allow …”

This is how a popular accusation against the existence of God starts. Sometimes there are specifics (“… my son to die?”), but generally it is more general (“… evil to happen?”)

My question was “Why didn’t He stop me from making that stupid choice?”

In each of these, we are angry with God for something happening to us or to someone we love (or for evil in general).

The Thing We Fail To Understand

The root of all of this evil starts with our own human nature, with all of our boneheaded or uninformed decisions.

Boneheaded because we know better but want something now or in spite of reason.

Uninformed because of assumptions we make without all of the facts or plain ignorance.

However, it all goes back to our ultimate parents: Adam and Eve. Yes, we inherited this sinful (rebellious) nature.

But the failure to understand comes in how this applies to a good God.

The thing is, God created us with free will. It is tainted by sin, but we are still free moral agents.

This freedom to rebel against God is what allows us to freely love Him, but it also means that more often than not we choose rebellion.

And God lets the natural consequences play out.

(Still within His control, mind you.)

Why does God allow evil and sad things? Because He loves us enough to let us choose that which causes evil, but He is also just.

Death, pain, and natural disasters are a result of our ultimate parents’ sin, but we perpetuate and exacerbate the problem with our own sin.

He does intervene from time to time, but ask yourself this:

Would you want to help people who constantly complain and blame you for what others have done?

Why should we expect God to ever help us?

(The short answer: because of the grace poured out through Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross.)


Mock Sin & Mock Christ

Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour. -Proverbs 14:9, KJV

Fools mock at the guilt offering, but the upright enjoy acceptance. –Proverbs 14:9, ESV

In a previous entry, Michael discussed the dangers of hanging around with and even engaging others who refuse to believe in God.

One of those reasons is addressed in this verse.

Most people in this world will find it foolish to make atonement for sin, if there even is such a thing! The reasons vary:

  • As stated, there may not be sin. This categorically denied by most people, as they decry injustice, otherwise known as sin.
  • Good outweighs the bad in our lives. However, we can return to the analogy of being before a judge who convicts you on the crime, not your character.
  • Would a good God really condemn people? If he is really loving he would just forgive. Well …

Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Hebrews 9:22 ESV

God is good, but He is also just. His justice demanded atonement, and that atonement was achieved fully in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Those who find this truth and believe it will find the imputed favor of God, the acceptance of Jesus.

Don’t mock sin. Mock sin, and you mock Christ’s sacrifice.You are guilty of that sin and in need of That Sacrifice.