What is sin?

What is Sin?

Christians hear about sin all the time. But do they really understand what it is? I don’t believe many realize what sin is, nor do they understand there are many things in the world today that are accepted, yet to God is sin. That’s what’s important…what God thinks is sin. It doesn’t matter if the world is okay with your decisions, behaviors, attitudes, actions and motives. The question is: is God? And if He is not…it is sin.

There are three kinds of sin. There are probably more, but these are the ones we will deal with today.
1. Sins against God. The first five Commandments talk about these and most people know what they are. But for those who do not… You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make any idol and bow down to it or serve it. You shall not take the Lord’s name in vain. You shall remember the sabbath day and keep it holy.
2. Sins against others. Dishonoring your parents. Murder, Adultery, Theft, Lying, Coveting, Gossip
3. Sins of willful disobedience or rebellious heart. A bad attitude, poor behavior, failure to act when you know what God wants you to do. James 4:17 (KJV) Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

Believers miss the mark when we know God wants us to act and we choose not to. I am certain every Believer has gone through this at one time or another. We are human after all and that was part of our old fallen nature. We must remember we receive a new nature when we accept Jesus as Savior and repent of our sins. Part of growing in our Faith Walk is learning to submit to God’s will in our life and listening to His direction.

The good news is Jesus died to free us from all our sin and shame. His sacrifice paid the price and reconciled us to Father God. And now that we have accepted that free gift of salvation, let us walk with Jesus with grateful and repentant hearts, for we are forgiven for all our sins.

Check out:

Exodus 20:3-17 The Ten Commandments

2 Corn 12:20 Other bad behaviors or actions.

Definition of sin 1. To miss the mark 2. To violate God’s will 3. To rebel against God 4. any act regarded as a transgression…willful or deliberate violation of God’s law
5. any regrettable action, behavior, lapse. A great fault or offense.

Divine Appointments

It is my belief, we miss many divine appointments because we do not have our eyes focused on Jesus. Instead our busy life gets in the way of our desire to serve our Lord. We have a guest writer this week, Ron D, The Drive By Chaplain. Ron and his wife Gladys, retired Chaplains, are two of our spiritual parents. He shares the following:

One of my best-loved verses is: Hebrews 5:11 NIV We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. I feel this is the story of my life…sometimes. I keep running to catch up. I feel that we, as the church, have squandered our inheritance on a bowl of porridge called materialism; we have ministered to things instead of people. We spend most of our time, energies and money on those things that will burn up some day. We have built great temples, and done great things in his name. But we pass people on the street every day, exchange pleasantries asking how are you but we really don’t want to know their problems. We hope they don’t share them, we don’t have the time. Besides, we have problems of our own. Being candid I must confess to you I some times feel like the rabbit in Alice in wonderland, I don’t have time I’m late for a very important date!

We have become so busy involved in our “own stuff” we do not hear the silent cries for help. Many people are seeking answers to the questions of life, where did I come from, where am I going, and what is my purpose for being here. Too many times, I miss opportunities to bless someone’s day. My mind stays fixed on my plan for my day. I find myself asking God’s forgiveness for missing it.

Recently, I was with the VFW at a funeral for a young man.  As we stood in line waiting for our turn to speak with the family, I noticed the presence of a lot of law enforcement people.  I did not know any of the circumstances of the deceased or how he died so I started to ask questions. They shared the deceased was in law enforcement. He had committed suicide.

As we entered the room, they had pictures of his wife and two little boys. My heart broke. As our group started to pass through the receiving line we took turns shaking hands and sharing the best words of comfort we could come up with, as I got to the wife, I was not the last in line, I shook her hand and said words of comfort to her. I started to move on, trying not to hold up the line. She held my hand tightly and pulled me back, looked into my eyes, as if looking for something else that I had to share. I didn’t stop, much to my later regret. I should have taken myself out of the line and prayed with her, but not wanting to be out of step I kept moving.

Now my prayer every day is for God to open the eyes of my heart to see the pain of people all around me, to have the insight into people’s internal pain, and that I never get so busy I miss so many of these cries. I do not want to miss another divine appointment, a chance to share God’s love with someone who desperately needs it. I will still miss it from time to time, I am only human and slow to learn, but I know with confidence that God never loses His patience with us.

Chaplain Ron, The Drive By Chaplain

God is not a Tyrant

Several weeks ago, I heard a news story with a Satanist opposite a Christian. I figure it was meant to make the story ‘fair and balanced.’ What struck me was the comment from the Satanist: ‘God is a tyrant.” He believes God requires…demands blind faith and total adherence to all His rules. Whereas, Satan allows them to do whatever they want, whenever they want. But I am here to tell him, God is not a tyrant. The fact is, I doubt this man realizes it is he who is in bondage since he is encouraged by Satan to rebel against a holy and righteous God.

It is important to note, every person has free will to choose, but that choice comes from God not Satan. Satan’s entire game plan is to steal, kill, and destroy every human and keep them from a relationship with God. Satan is the deceiver. He comes as an angel of light, but he brings darkness into the lives of all who choose his path. He gives freedom to his followers to do whatever they want, even to harm others without regret or consequences. In fact, if others are hurt all the better. He is the father of lies and will do whatever it takes to get people to believe God isn’t real, is a tyrant, or wants total control of your life.

In contrast, God does not demand anything, but sin is repulsive to him. It creates a barrier between us…His creation. He doesn’t want that. In fact, He created us to have a relationship with Him. He wants to be part of our lives. He gave us the Ten Commandments to give us guidelines for our life…to teach us what sin is so we can avoid it. He set boundaries, again to assist us in our faith walk and avoid evil.

Yet, God knows we live in a fallen world and sin abounds, so He made a way to restore our relationship. He sent Jesus, His only son to us. Jesus lived a humble and sinless life showing us how to live. He died on the cross in our place, taking our sins and those of every other human ever born. But we must choose to accept his gift of salvation. When we do, He renews our spirit, and sends the Holy Spirit who encourages us to follow Jesus’ example of love and forgiveness toward others.

We need to make note: Sin is at the center of the argument. Satan tells his followers…anything goes. If it feels good, do it. There is no wrong, people are free to do whatever they want knowing as they sin the barrier between them and God widens. Nothing could please Satan more.

The reality is: I adhere to His ‘rules’ because He loved me first and died for me. I chose to accept His free gift of salvation and give my life to Him because I choose to love Him. I follow his commandments because He asks me to…because submitting to God brings love, peace, and fulfillment to my life…because it is the path that brings me to my Father in Heaven and eternal life with Him in Heaven.

No, God is not a tyrant…He is my loving heavenly Father and I love Him with all my heart.

Ezekiel 33: 1-5

Ezekiel 33:1-5 (NKJV) 1  Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2  “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, 3  when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4  then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. 5  He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life.

I don’t mean to play fast and loose with the Bible, but I believe we can apply these verses to our times just as the people in the past did. (God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.) God expects us to prepare our hearts, minds, and homes for difficult times. Just as the watchmen of old warned of wars and hard times in the Old Testament, His watchmen are warning God’s people today. The question is, will you heed the warning or ignore it?

If you look, throughout the Bible, God has warned and prepared His people for coming events. He encourages, prods, and warns us…prepare. He has done this throughout history, and He uses His people to warn us today.

We had a friend’s pastor tell us that there is no need to prepare. God took care of the Israelites in the desert. He provided manna, quail for meat, and water. Therefore, we don’t have to worry, God will provide. Yes, God does provide, but He sent Joseph to Egypt to prepare for a coming famine. He used a dream to warn the King, Joseph interpreted the dream which led to his promotion. When the time came, Joseph was able to save his entire family. It is our hope to save our own family and as many friends as possible as well. We encourage you to strive to do the same. A word of caution: choose wisely. Remember, we cannot be unequally yoked to unbelievers and that will be more important than ever in the dark days ahead.

It is important to state, this pastor truly believes God will provide all his needs. Maybe God is leading him down a different path. Or the man has not sought God’s direction concerning difficult times ahead. However, many watchmen are telling us “prepare for difficult times ahead.”  So we are seeking God and listening for His answers. He speaks all the time, but we must be willing to set aside our preconceived and worldly thoughts, and open our spiritual ears to hear His directions.

The question for today, which scenario is correct? We have no way of knowing. But the prudent man listens to the watchmen and heeds the warning. He prepares knowing if he does not…it shall be on his own head.

 

Luke 1:16-17

Luke 1:16-17  (NKJV) 16  And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17  He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready aBible people prepared for the Lord.”

Luke 1:16-17 was written about John the Baptist and his role preparing the way for Jesus. As I read it this morning, it struck me…

Are our hearts turned toward our children? Have we shared our faith in Jesus with those closest to us? Have we been a light of love for them to follow? Have we been a successful witness allowing Him to live through us?

Are the disobedient believers willing to turn toward the wisdom of the just? Do we listen to the pastors, ministers, and elders we trust? Do we take to heart the wisdom they share? We cannot just follow blindly, we must check the Word of God for ourselves, and make sure their words line up with God’s. But it is important to be part of a group of believers who will encourage us in our faith walk, challenge us to grow in the Lord, and hold us accountable to walk in righteousness.

Are the hearts of God’s people prepared for the Lord’s second coming? The Israelites waited for the Messiah to come the first time, we are awaiting His return. They needed to prepare for His coming, and we need to get ready as well. We are told to be ready at any minute for the Lord’s return. Are you ready?

There have been great men and women in history who stood for God just as John the Baptist did and many more we have never heard of. They have presented the gospel message of love, repentance, and forgiveness through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. But it is not just our leader’s responsibility to live for Christ. We do not have a collective salvation. Each man, woman, and child must come to Jesus as an individual…personally establishing a relationship with Him.

We encourage you to think about these verses and what you can do to establish them in your heart as you prepare for difficult times ahead and the second coming of our Lord. If He came today, are you ready to face Him?

Wait Upon the Lord

Believers hear ‘wait upon the Lord’ all the time. It’s a catch phrase among Christians…another way of saying, have patience. I can tell you mine is wearing thin. I suppose it’s my own fault. I prayed, ‘Lord, please give me patience as we wait to find the perfect property.’ I’ve spent time looking at homes and land only to find those we like already under contract or finding one only to find something wrong that puts up a road block. This has happened four times now. That’s not counting the properties that look great and end up being dumps.

The property we are seeking is our own personal sanctuary. We know it’s out there, we just haven’t found it yet. We want no less than ten acres, though Bob would like at least twenty or more. We would like some kind of water…a pond, creek or both. Water is always a good thing to have. Pastures would be great with fences being even better. A nice house would be nice, but a good piece of land is more important. We are beginning to believe building our own ranch from scratch will be to our advantage. This would allow us to get us what we want without some of the fancy things many people have today.

I have shared in Flee to the Mountains, the first book in my series, our vision of our Sanctuary Ranch. My characters had to wait upon the Lord, just as we are. Unlike my fictional George Hamilton, most people in the real world share the same problem, money. We are not wealthy. In our own power, a ranch to support hundreds is not possible. Though I keep reminding myself: All things are possible with God.

Yet, maybe things are meant to happen in a different way, so we do what we can. So we continue our search for our own place of refuge. In the meantime, we gather with like-minded people in our area, sharing ideas and skills. Those who know about farming teach others. The same goes for  gardening, sewing, canning and anything else we will need to learn to survive dark days. We make plans to co-op establish a mean of security. We may not live on a single ranch, but we can work together for the good of all in our neighborhoods.

We encourage you to do what you can to prepare for the difficult times ahead. You may not be able to sell your house or maybe you rent a home or apartment, but do what you can where you are. You can help with a community garden or establish one if there isn’t one close by.

Just as we are waiting upon the Lord, you wait on Him as well. He will direct all our paths.

Pray and Fast

There are many Bible verses that encourage believers to pray and fast. I would venture to say there are only a few who follow this practice today. The idea of giving up food or some other activity for a day or two and focusing on God seems silly to the world. But it will help Believers to align ourselves with God. It’s an act of humbling ourselves and seekingPraying Hands (89x125) God’s will in a certain situation. It brings a new dimension to our spiritual life.

I shared not long ago, we put our house on the market. We felt it was time to get serious about selling and moving to a larger piece of land. We only have a half-acre and feel we will need more land if things get bad. So the sign went up, and the waiting began. Months later, we have a buyer and will close September 1st. That accomplished, we have been looking for property…to my great frustration. So that you know, my husband is rock solid. He patiently waited for a buyer, while I was antsy. And since we have been searching for the right property, again he is laid back and I…well you know.

Seeking God’s will, we decided to pray and fast. We stopped eating after our meal Sunday afternoon. It helped me settle and wait on the Lord. Something I was having difficulty doing. Peace flowed over me, I knew God has our back.

We had an appointment to see a house on twenty acres. It was a nice property and we decided to make a full price offer since there were others looking at the property also.

We fasted until Tuesday after we signed the offer papers. We broke our fast with the final prayer, “God if this is the place for us, let everything go smoothly. If not, please close the door in a manner we will know you don’t want us to go through with this.”

Later that day, we got our answer. Since our offer was contingent to our closing, the seller wanted a higher than usual earnest money, $25,000. They felt if they had to move and then our sale fell through, they wanted compensation. So they would accept our offer only if they could keep our earnest money if anything went wrong with the sale of our house. We would get nothing back. Great for the seller…very bad for us.

We have no control over whether anything will go wrong with our sale. Gambling in this manner would be foolhardy at the very least. We want to be good stewards of the money God has given us. As a result, we could not accept this counter from the seller. More importantly, we believe God was closing the door. He did not want us to purchase this property.

We share this to help you see how God can and will help when we ask him. We don’t know why God closed this door, but since he did, we will look elsewhere.

It is more important than ever we seek God, and a great way to do that is through prayer and fasting. As the days become darker, we will need His direction and guidance more and more. We encourage you, set aside time to pray and fast. You can fast food like we did, or something else like television or some other activity. The important thing is, humble yourself before our Father in Heaven, turn your thoughts toward Him and seek His will, and He will direct your path.

P.S.: Since I wrote this blog, two days have passed. The sellers of the property came back with a letter of apology and an acceptance of our offer without the request for the higher earnest money. However, we still believed God closed this door and decided not to move forward with the purchase.

This morning we wrote a quick note to the sellers explaining our decision. I shared with them what I told you in the beginning of this post. Tonight, they called. They did not try to get us to change our minds, they simply wanted to share they too are Believers and explain what happened from their side.

Their real estate agent already had the counter offer written up when they got to his office without consulting them first. Both felt a check in their spirit at the increase in earnest money and even questioned it. But instead of asking the agent to remove the request, they felt hurried and pushed, so they let it stand. They acknowledged they did not take the time to pray as they should have. They wanted us to know they understood our stand and share their hearts. The next day, we called and invited them over. A spirit of unity and understanding covered our visit.

This is how Believers should be with one another. Even though we are not moving forward, they were humble and gracious…as we were with them.

We all learned a great lesson. We must take time to seek God in all things no matter the circumstances. If our spirit feels uneasy, we must stop, bow before our Lord and seek His will. No amount of rushing or pushing should change that…ever. And even when things don’t always turn out the way we expect, God will bring harmony and peace to His people when they are willing to follow His path.

Balance

Balance is important in our lives. Our focus is grabbed by family, friends, job, free time, sports, recreation, and vacation. All can pull our attention from more important things. Our lives are busy. In some cases, this can lead to problems, burnout, physical difficulties, family troubles and spiritual burnout or deficiency. We need to prioritize the important people and matters, focus our attention there, while balancing it all.

Jesus should be first in our lives. I love the Lord, and I’m devoted to doing his will. But I’ll admit there have been times, family or work crept in front of my Lord (much to my regret and shame). Everyone can see the wickedness growing around the world, including here in the United States. It’s easy to take our eyes off Jesus and allow the worries and trials to overwhelm us. If this happens, refocus and direct your thoughts and actions where they belong…on our faith in Jesus and his love for us. We need his strength and direction to navigate the trials we confront. Some battles we must avoid, others we should face head on. The reality is, we need Jesus’ wisdom to confirm when to stand firm and when to retreat.

Family is second on the list. Husbands and wives need to remember their marriage vows: ‘to death do you part.’ This means you need to put your spouse first before children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, or anyone else except Jesus. We encourage you to continue to date, find time to cherish one another. Next, your kids…even adult children need your attention. Your church family and friend follow the priority of your family.

Work/Job takes a significant portion of time and the money it supplies funds everything else. Your best efforts honor God. It is a testimony of love when others know of your faith and see you diligently doing your job. We caution against being a workaholic. It is a result of an unbalanced life. There are more important things in life than work and money.

Church activities are valuable, but family comes first. Many times they go hand in hand, but never allow these programs to overtake your life. Our service to the Lord, study of his word are extremely important, but again balance is vital.

Recreation and downtime cannot be ignored. Everyone needs time off to recharge their energy and enjoy life. Vacations hold some of our fondest memories.

As preppers, we have a long list of preparations that pull our attention from other pursuits. Survival strategy, self-reliance, living off the grid, and learning gardening, canning and food storage skills…all require time to learn and implement. Meeting and working with likeminded people to establish a pre-event plan for what could happen and what to do after it takes place is important as well. All of this is imperative, however, preparing our hearts and minds for the evil times and learning to rely on Jesus, must head the list.

Balance is the key in this faith journey we are traveling. Keep your life on plumb, it makes life go much smoother.

Declaration of Independence

Our Declaration of Independence states:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long-established should not be changed for light or transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shew that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for the future security.

These words marked the beginning of the United States of America. The majority of men, who fought to establish this nation, held deep seeded faith in their Creator. Judeo-Christian values influenced the process from the tiny seed of hope for a new nation, through the declaration of Independence, and the war fought to achieve their goal. Through the years, many men fought and died to preserve our freedom…for God and country.

At one time, God and his word were taught in our schools. Now Bibles have been removed, prayer banned, and any mention of God is challenged. Once the Ten Commandments were the corner-stone of our justice system. Now they’ve been removed from public display and stripped of their importance. There was a time, when running for public office, the person must be an honorable Christian man held in high esteem. Now, the character of a man or woman running for office matters little.

Our nation began with freedom of religion. Citizens lived their lives in service to God and country. People worshiped Him in whatever way they choose and others respected the right, even those who did not have faith. Today, it has turned to freedom from religion. People of faith are scorned, belittled, and criticized. Where our Christian faith was once celebrated and encouraged, we are now under attack from educational institutions, liberal groups, and even government.

Our nation has changed. Our truths are no longer self-evident. Many do not believe all men are created equal, and it is no longer accepted our Creator endowed us with anything. The unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are now entitlements given by government. For many government is their god.

For years, our nation received the blessing of God. Many believe the blessing has been removed as our country moved further and further from Him. However, even if He has removed it from our nation, He will always bless His faithful.

Please join us in praying for our country. Our only hope for the future of the United States of America is to turn back to our roots….God our Creator. Without a return to God in this nation, we will continue down the path to destruction.

Doubts

If there is doubt, there is no doubt at all. What does this mean to you? For me, it means if you question, you can be certain. Doubt is not a bad thing. It creates the need to seek, explore, study and verify. As a Believer, the more we do search the Bible for truth and experience God’s love and care, the less we doubt.

The world’s modern thinking and philosophies can fill us with doubt as well. Believers are mocked, ridiculed, and discredited whenever possible. We are called intolerant, ignorant, and simple-minded. If our faith is not strong and well thought emoticonestablished, it would be easy for these attitudes to sway our thinking. Their lack of faith can lead to our increased doubt if we allow it.

When bad things happen: illness, death, loss of job, divorce, (you name it), any of these can cause doubt. We have to remember we live in a fallen world. Bad things happen all the time. Our faith makes the difference in how we deal with it. God is NOT the author of evil but will work in the situation to turn things around for our good. If we accept this truth, God will be a great comfort when we turn to him for help.

Satan likes to muddle our thinking hoping we doubt our faith, the existence of God, and the saving grace of Jesus. In reality, we should be honored that he does that. If we weren’t making a difference in the world, he wouldn’t be as interested in pulling us off course.

God understands our doubt. Look at Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples. He said he would not believe Jesus rose from the dead unless he saw for himself. (Passage below) We all have that mindset from time to time. Other times, our faith is solid as a rock, and there is no question.

There will be times you will have doubts about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and your faith in them. Don’t let that trip you up. God is real. Jesus did come to earth, lived a holy life, died on the cross, and rose again. After Jesus had ascended to heaven, he sent the Holy Spirit. There is no doubt.

John 20:24-29 (NKJV)
24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!”
27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at my hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”