Tag Archives: sanctification

The Truth About Sin

 

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Francisco de Goya: Prisoner

Why do parents train their children to look both ways before they cross a street?

It’s because they love them, and want to protect them from harm.

Why do you think God gave us commandments?

It’s because He loves us and wants to protect us from harm.

It’s interesting the Greek translation of ‘sin’ has similar letters of ‘harm’: hamartia, it means ‘to miss the mark.’ Have you ever tried to throw a wad of paper in the trash and miss it? Well, it was no big deal because you can pick it up. But to miss the mark in one of God’s commands is a matter of life and death.

God does not give us commands because He doesn’t want us to enjoy life, but because He wants us to have life abundant in Christ. Even though sin may ‘feel good’ for the fleeting moment, the consequences are harmful. It is harmful to you, and harmful to others. In fact, it breaks the greatest two commandments: loving God and loving others. Once the counterfeit enjoyment of sin is accomplished it brings forth death. Do not be deceived…sin steals, kills and destroys.

  • Sin destroys relationships: you hide from God and His people; you no longer hear God’s Truth as love but as hate. You become insecure with your relationships with God and others and you become oversensitive and selfish.
  • Sin kills and destroys faith: It produces doubt and insecurity. Doubt that God could forgive ‘this’ sin.
  • Sin kills and steals grace: bringing you condemnation
  • Sin kills and steals confidence: bringing you shame
  • Sin kills and steals your purpose: instead of bringing glory to God you bring shame to yourself and testimony

Sin brings discouragement, depression, and division. Sin binds us. Chokes us. Mutes us. You become entangled and you have given Satan a foothold, and begin to believe his lies, after all he IS the thief who comes only to steal, kill, and destroy.

With this shame and discouragement, you begin to stop reading God’s Word. Even though you’ve been born again of the Spirit of God you become the walking dead. It’s not a matter of eternal salvation but of sanctification-growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ. You can’t grow because the ‘lying’ words of weeds wrap around and choke you, making you feel you’re in bondage. If you are a child of God, there’s no joy in your life because your sin has grieved the Holy Spirit living inside you.

What are we to do with this shame and condemnation?

  • Some live alone in bitterness and anger hardening their hearts, perishing until the day they die.
  • Some run full force into sin, searing their consciences and numbing their hearts, denying the toxic affects of sin not realizing the consequences of sin begin in this life, not just in hell.
  • Some live in a façade. Outwardly living ‘normal lives’ pretending everything is ok, but they know they are not. Instead they start to ‘do good works’ and try to make themselves feel good by serving in ministry.
  • Some hear and remember the gospel, turn from their sin and are healed: They remember in order to obey God’s commandment we need a Savior:

(God) He made Him (Christ) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

They remember they have ‘begun in the Spirit and must be perfected by the Spirit’ that ‘apart from Christ’ they can do nothing. They remember it is by grace through faith they were saved, and are being saved. They remember: “Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.”

The longer I walk with God, the more I cannot fathom His love. I see the reason He asked fullsizerender-9Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I see what type of death and condemnation He was trying to protect them from. Indeed it IS the kindness of God that leads to repentance, which leads to abundant life in Christ.

“…He Himself (Jesus) bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might DIE to sin and LIVE to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:24-25

Heavenly Father, thank You for being so loving and patient with me. Thank You for setting boundaries to protect me and others from harm. Thank You for Your loving discipline to help me to return to You when I willfully disobey. Give me a love for You and Your commandments as never before. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

 

May God be glorified. May Christ be magnified. May the brethren be loved and edified.


{in}perfection

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His shoulders slump and his head is down in defeat as he shares with me a repeated sin he committed. He looks frustrated, weary and condemned. I too am frustrated ready to pile on condemning words, until I felt a tinge of compassion fill my heart. I was reminded of the confessing cleansing conversation I had with a friend about my sins just minutes before.

By God’s grace, I knew it was most important to share with my son the spiritual heart of the matter, to tell him the truth about the Truth-Jesus Christ.

To be transparent and share my genuine compassion for his sin struggle because I struggle too. It was a holy opportunity to share the Gospel. To share the gift of forgiveness and mercy that comes through repentance towards God and faith in the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. To share the freedom that comes by power of the resurrected Christ. To walk him to God’s throne of grace.
It was a chance to remind us we’re not perfect and we need a Savior. Any righteousness we have comes from Jesus Christ in us. We are to practice righteousness, press on to maturity, but only God will perfect us until the day of Christ Jesus.
I write this stone of memorial to remind myself, we must practice patience–with ourselves…and one another.

***

When I was a new Christian I was naive to think I would no longer make a mistake. I read  that I was a “new creation” and given a “new heart,”and though I “knew” I was not perfect, I made an expectation for myself that I should be perfect or I was a hypocrite.

This led me to great frustration and even condemnation because I couldn’t understand the continual struggle against sin I was dealing with, let alone the number of times I failed. What I see now is any holiness I have is CHRIST IN me. I have seen my flesh and it’s ugliness to the point I’ve doubted my own salvation! The redeeming part is that my flesh and sin remind me of my need for a Savior. This gives me compassion for those that struggle, beginning in my own family.

A fruitful life comes by a daily walk of abiding in the one who is perfection: Christ.

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Glorify God. Magnify Christ. Edify the brethen.


The CROSSroad

 

"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death." Romans 8:1-2

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” Romans 8:1-2

Conviction is a pathway leading to the CROSSroad of condemnation or freedom.

The narrow road to freedom comes through Jesus Christ as we confess and repent of our sins.

Daily we get to choose whether we will walk in condemnation or freedom. The choice is ours but so are the consequences.

May we walk and live in faith by the Spirit.

Stay focused: Glorify God. Magnify Christ. Edify the Brethren

*Galatians 5:16-26 *Romans 7:14-8:1-17


It’s Hard To Believe…

It IS hard to believe…

It’s hard to believe I need a sacrifice for my sins.
It’s hard to believe God would come down in the flesh and save me.
It’s hard to believe I’ve been forgiven of my past sins.
It’s hard to believe I have the power to overcome future sins.
Its hard to believe I can speak to God Almighty.
It’s hard to believe God can hear me.
It’s hard to believe I can hear Him.
It’s hard to believe God lives in me.

It’s hard to believe God loves me.

It IS hard to believe.

That’s why it takes a working of GOD to save us:
To save us from this of doubt Him.
To save us from this division from Him.
To save us from this depression within.
To save us from this darkness around.
To save us from our sins.
Oh what GRACE is HARD to comprehend!

Please LORD,
Remind me again how Your grace and mercies are new each morning.
Remind me how the blood of Jesus still cleanses;
Remind me of Your faithfulness and righteousness to forgive;
Remind me of Your presence within.

 

***

God saves
When I was first born again six years ago I was overly zealous for Jesus Christ. Though I shared Christ with those around me, I was trying to make others believe. I had salvation ambition and I came across as a ‘Bible thumper.’ I wanted so badly for others to be rescued out of the darkness and depression I once knew.

But what I didn’t fully realize then that I do now is this…I can’t make anyone believe, not even myself. Saving faith is a work of God.

So today I sow the Word implanted in me…I sow with my mouth, I sow with my writing, I sow with my living and I sow with my tears.

I pray and wait as God causes a growth.

May this God Friday be the day of someone’s salvation.

*Read Titus 3


A Change of Heart

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You begin life with a selfish heart.

Everything you say is right and everyone else is wrong. It needs to be your way, you hurt people with the things you say and do but don’t care. If they hurt you, you harden your heart and cut them out of your life pretending they don’t exist.

But one day after making another selfish decision it doesn’t “feel” right. You wonder what this “feeling” is about…maybe your conscience? You shrug your shoulders and ignore the “feeling,” sometimes escaping and using things of the world to numb your heart.

This “feeling” happens often enough you begin to see other things, like how your selfishness hurts others. At first you react indifferent as if you don’t care, but deep inside you do. You begin to see “ugly” in you. It comes to the point when you can’t handle it anymore and you wonder, “Can I ever change?”

You strive to succeed. You try to be nicer to people, try to say nice things, but your thoughts reveal the authenticity of your heart…”ugly.” You still press forward and begin to do charitable deeds to feel good about yourself but it never lasts.

But one day you’re introduced to perfection—Jesus Christ. You don’t know Him but you know about Him and You want to be like Him. He’s so loving, patient and kind, all the things you know you are not. You begin going to Church, reading the Bible and you try to be like Him but fail every time. In fact, the more you read the Bible, the more you learn about the Holiness of God and the more you see your “ugly” heart and your inability to love God and others.

You “pour” out your ugly heart and begin to “mourn” and weep about the “ugly” in you. You feel hopeless and doubt there could ever be a change in your “ugly” heart. and you want a new heart. You are overwhelmed on where to begin in this change…then one day you meet Jesus for yourself and are invited into a reconciled relationship to KNOW the One that heals hurts and hearts…the scales fall of your eyes and you see:

  • The only One that can change your heart is the one who created you–God the Father
  • The only Way to get to God the Father is to be reconciled to Him for all those times you cherished your “ugly” heart and hurt Him and others
  • The only Way to be reconciled to the Father is through Jesus Christ
  • The only Way to get a new heart is to be born again
  • The only Way to keep this new heart unstained by the world is to walk in the Light

The only Way to walk in the Light and be Revived is to place your faith in Jesus Christ:

  • Believe Jesus came to save you from your “ugly” not condemn you
  • Believe Jesus took the sacrifice for your “ugly” and it is finished
  • Believe Jesus reconciled you to God the Father
  • Believe you have been given the resurrection power to abstain from “ugliness”
  • Believe Jesus is praying for you
  • Believe God is faithful and righteous and will continue to forgive you of your “ugly” and cleanse you

So one day you give your “ugly” dark heart to God and He takes your heart of stone and gives you a heart of flesh and puts His Spirit in you, telling you the way to go and you begin to walk in the Light.

You know you are not perfect but believe God will complete the work He began you until the day Christ returns.

As you walk in the Light with your new heart you sometimes experience that same “feeling” and see “ugly” but now you don’t ignore this “feeling” and instead you daily pour out your heart to God and turn to Him and experience a new feeling a “burning.”

This “burning” is God refining you, making you more like Christ….isn’t that what you wanted? To be like Jesus Christ?  That is what our Creator, your Father wills.

***
*The “ugly” is sin

*That “feeling” about sin is conviction

*That “pouring” about sin is confession

*That “mourning” about sin is godly sorrow

*That “turning” from sin is repentance

*That “burning” of sinful flesh is sanctification making you more like Christ

A change of heart only comes through God by turning from your sinful ways to God and placing your faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Repentance towards God and faith in The Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith…is the lifestyle of a child of God.

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“Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:22

‘”For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

2 Corinthians 5:14-21


Joy comes in the mourning…

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Image credit: Gracieediaz

Life without the presence of God is dark and depressing with sporadic moments of happiness birthing from our circumstances and experiences.

But circumstances and experiences are fleeting, leaving us empty and depressed once more. How do we experience a lasting holy joy?

In God’s presence is the fullness of joy.

No one can come into the presence of God the Father without an advocate for the forgiveness of sins. But there is an advocate, His name is Jesus Christ.

You must be willing to turn to God and come into the Light of Christ to allow the Holy Spirit to convict you of sin, righteousness and judgement. You must courageously confess and mourn for your sins against God and others.

You will see, God’s faithfulness and righteousness is demonstrated in His forgiveness of our sins. You must continue to believe the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses you from all your sin and unrighteousness…then you can enter into God’s presence and experience His Holy joy and rest through the Holy Spirit.

This joy can only come after humility and genuine sorrowful repentance for sins.

May “the grace of The Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14

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I saw this painting in a local coffee shop and was immediately inspired to write this post. This is a demonstration of the how the gifts and talents of the body of Christ stirs one another to love and good deeds. You can find more inspiration and stirring at the artist Graciee Diaz’s website here.


Stacking Stones…Not Throwing Stones

When I drew near to God and was born again, I was overflowing with gratitude from the grace and mercy lavished on me. I did not deserve to be forgiven of my sins and I knew it.

I didn’t need anyone to remind me I was a sinner nor did I need someone to convince me I was a sinner, the Holy Spirit was already doing the convicting. It was this conviction that drew me to my knees causing me to pouStacking Stonesnd my chest with my eyes downcast asking God to be merciful to me, the sinner. The day of my salvation is a HUGE stone of remembrance I visit often.

I must confess, if I don’t visit the day of my salvation I can become arrogant and think highly of myself, forgetting I was saved by grace and it is by God’s grace I am kept.

I’ll never forget the first time God taught me a lesson about His love and grace…that it wasn’t just for me.

It was just three weeks into my new birth experience when my family and I went to a local train show and I saw people that were in sin standing near my children. My heart was enraged and I began to judge them and I was haughty in my heart when God’s Holy Spirit led me to Truth and the words of Jesus were brought to my remembrance:

He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone…” John 8:7

Immediately I couldn’t see past the plank in my eye and realized I could no longer see past my own sin and this humbled me. I saw though they may have been in outward disobedience I was inwardly disobedient to God. I immediately repented of my judgmental thoughts and thanked God for His forgiveness, and prayed for them. My heart was tested that day.

Just weeks later God brought a person struggling with the same sin into my life and my heart was now ready to love because I knew my place; I am the vessel not the judge. I am the conduit, not the source.

God showed me if I really wanted this person to be transformed I needed to love them…just love this person. By God’s power that’s what I did. After months of working with this person they approached me and told me they noticed how I was different and she wanted what I had. That moment my cell phone rang and my ringtone, “How Great Is Our God” was singing in the background while I shared with her the Gospel of how Jesus Christ transformed me and how He died on the cross for all of us and we don’t need to ‘clean up’ to come to Him we just go to Him and He will take care of the rest. What an honor to lovingly share the Gospel with someone God is drawing to Himself!

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What Im learning is this…I am called to exhort my fellow brethren to stay on the narrow road and if they are in sin I am required to restore them and share the Truth in love but…I can’t love apart from God’s Holy Spirit, and before I open my mouth I better make sure they are His Words, His Timing by His Spirit or else it is not Him it’s me.

We can’t love without giving and in this instance it may involve giving up of my own opinion of how they live their lives according to the Bible and wait for God to use me. He can’t use me if I am full of myself, arrogant, quarrelsome–opposite of who He is: LOVE. I’m finding God prepares me for such work by granting me a testing sanctifying moment before I share His gospel by His Spirit.

Dear reader, if you are not a believer and disciple of the LORD Jesus Christ, and a Christian has thrown a stone at you, I am sorry. I have made that mistake before too. As Christians we are not perfect and we still make mistakes. Please do not let man keep you from a relationship with Your Heavenly Father.

I pray God will draw you into His presence and He will send yielded obedient vessels full of His love ready to pour out on you so you will taste and see the LORD is good, kind, compassionate and He is longing for you to come to Him. No matter what you have done, or where you have been, if you turn to Him and draw near to Him, He will draw near to you for Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

*Titus 3:1-7


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