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Posts Tagged ‘sinfulness’

I love this message found in Proverbs 24:16 —

The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.”

Our being godly is not reflected by being flawless, but instead by being faithful.

And our being faithful is reflected by pressing forward in serving God even when our failures and the forces of darkness press against us.

We all trip by committing overt sins or sometimes we subtly sin by not trusting God to help us keep doing the right things when wrong things come against us.

The godly among us recognize that we’ve fallen short of God’s glory at such times and that we’re to seek God’s forgiveness so that He’ll put us back on our feet spiritually and emotionally.

It’s a wonderful thing to experience God’s forgiveness and restoration to being used by Him at home or work or school.

“He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.” (Isaiah 40:2)

God is in the lifting business, dear friend. Let’s call out to Him in faith whenever we’ve fallen.

It’s what the godly do.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Many years ago, a comedian named Flip Wilson hosted wildly popular TV variety show that featured a character he played named Geraldine Jones.

Geraldine was a churchgoing lady who lived in the fast lane of worldliness.

Her signature wardrobe in the church service was a miniskirt which in the early 1970s was unheard of in a church service.

Geraldine didn’t want to hear about spiritual accountability for her choices, though, and whenever confronted about a choice, she’d use the line Flip Wilson made famous — “The devil made me do it.”

The Geraldine character always got lots of laughs when she’d throw out that line.

But making a joke of sin is never a laughing matter.

The fact is that the devil doesn’t make us sin.

We choose to do it.

If he could make us sin, then every Christian would never worship God, never give to God, never pray to God, never give money to those in need, never forgive those who need mercy and perpetually choose flesh over faith.

Sin is a choice. Always has been and — until Jesus returns — always will be.

Our choice.

Adam tried to shift blame for his sin in the Garden of Eden over to his wife, but that was a stupid choice.

Eve didn’t hold Adam down and force the fruit into his mouth.

Why was the tree holding forbidden fruit put in the middle of the perfect garden? Have you ever thought about that?

It was there for one reason — to test Adam’s and Eve’s loyalty and trust toward God.

It was a measuring tool that would explicitly reveal their need for God’s grace if they disobeyed.

They were clearly warned in advance of what the consequences would be if they didn’t remain loyal to God.

You know what happened.

And, no, the devil didn’t make them do it.

It was their choice.

They had no excuse.

Neither did the Old Testament Israelites wandering in the wilderness whenever they ignored the commandments given them through Moses.

Satan couldn’t make them do anything. But he sure could lure them into believing lies and choosing to embrace sin.

Millions didn’t enter the Promised Land as a result.

Listen, sin is always a choice.

We opt into that which dishonors and disobeys God and devalues our spiritual testimony.

There is no excuse for our sin.

No matter what culture and social media sources and Hollywood megastars say.

God gave us the Old Testament Law and the teachings of New Testament scriptures so that we would know and follow the right path.

We have to know that there are no excuses for sin as Romans 3:19 tells us.

In fact, the Apostle Paul said the Law was given to us so that we wouldn’t rely on excuses for sin.

Throwing out excuses might impress other people and even prevent us from consequences with family or friends or employers.

But they also block us from the one remedy that can solve our sin problem with God.

That remedy is repentance.

When sin occurs in your life and mine, it’s vital that we avoid excuses and confess our failure to God.

It’s vital that we repent and pledge to avoid repeating the sin.

Geraldine might think sin is a laughing matter.

But God and His Son who died on the cross to pay the price of atonement sure don’t.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Guard rails are not fences.

They’re not there to keep cars off the road but instead to keep cars on it.

Fences are to keep people out.

Guard rails are to keep people in.

Sometimes, we Christians lose sight of this when it comes to our faith.

The Bible and the beliefs it calls us to embrace are for the purpose of keeping us in His family, not for trying to keep people out.

Scripture really is, in effect, a God rail.

Here’s why I say this:

“Godliness guards the path of the blameless” Proverbs 13:6

Godliness is a guard rail.

It keeps us on the narrow path that leads to eternal life.

When we reject godliness — and we’ve all had moments or seasons of doing so — the guard rails disappear and we inevitably end up in a ditch — or worse.

Nobody likes running into a guard rail… or a God rail.

We get banged up and we have consequences to sort through, not the least of which is a bruised, convicted conscience.

I’m thankful for the God rails in my life that the Holy Spirit has used to get me back between the lines of godly living.

I pray that you’ll feel the same as you travel the narrow road.

As always, I love you
Martin

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“Thank you, Lord, for a potent reminder of all the reason we need to continually strive to please You.”

This thought resonated in my mind this morning after my devotional time in the Bible. More specifically, the words of Psalm 49:15 jumped off the screen and into my soul.

“But as for me, God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of the grave.”

I thought of that horrible scene in the movie Ghost when the director’s vision of death angels came to take the soul of the bad guy with them to hell. I am so glad that I don’t have to worry about a kicking and screaming trip to hell.

You see, Christ’s death on the cross has given me the gift of a choice between heaven and hell.

Because Jehovah is my God and Jesus is my Savior, I have chosen heaven.

I have chosen life.

I have not earned it, of course.

But I have received it.

Earlier in Psalm 49 were these frightening words:

“Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough to live forever and never see the grave.” (vv. 8-9)

Believers are blessed people, that’s for sure.

We’re bought and paid for from a divine pocket infinitely deeper than ours.

This provides all the hope and peace we need to keep sharing with others about the hope and peace they need.

Start speaking words of hope and peace into others’ lives today, my friend.

One kind word and one kind action at a time.

We are saved by a higher power. Let’s show others how that higher power can help them.

As always, I love you
Martin

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It’s so easy to get tangled up in multiple messes of everyday life to the point of distraction from God stuff.

It happens to us all.

Health woes.

Money woes.

Job woes.

Family conflict woes.

Car woes.

Personal morality — or immorality — woes.

Real estate or house repair woes.

The list goes on and on.

So often there are more woes than hours to resolve them, it seems.

So how are we to remain faithful with respect to the teaching of 2 Timothy 2:4?

Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them.”

Do the things of God first, that’s how.

Keep up with your daily prayer and Bible reading time.

Welcome any opportunity the Lord gives you for encouraging others and praying with them, particularly your family members.

Talk with others about the blessings that God has sent into your life and how He does the same for all who embrace Him.

Attend worship gatherings and home Bible study group meetings.

Tithe without fail.

Obey your Commanding Officer on high without making excuses as to why you’re not available for serving in the Lord’s Army.

Yes, we all have to manage our housing needs, our food needs, our transportation needs, job needs, family needs, etc..

In fact, if we don’t provide for our families, we’re worse than unbelievers, Paul wrote.

But providing a godly spiritual example is the greatest need they have from us. So let’s please the Commander of the Lord’s Army, Jesus Christ.

Let’s do what we need to do for the Lord and then we can do some of what we want to do for ourselves.

That way, we won’t get tangled up in cords that can drag us down rather than lift us up.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Sometimes we humans are tricked by our human nature into seeing ungodly choices as if they were hidden eggs in a childhood Easter egg hunt.

We’re not quite sure where the godless eggs of “Get ’em good” revenge tactics or unjust riches or illicit sex are hiding, but we’re sure racing sometimes to find them before somebody else does.

It’s really sad when you think about how often this happens, even among Christians.

This should not be, of course.

For any of us.

And yet, we’ve all fallen and come short of the glory of God.

The specific failure varies from person to person, but the fact of sin is universal.

And it has been since the Garden of Eden, other than for our sinless Savior Jesus Christ.

God loves people and He wants them to follow a better, spiritually brighter path.

That’s why He calls certain people into Christian leadership — to help others step onto and stay on that path.

To succeed in that mission of avoiding the “godless egg” hunts, the leaders are to set the example of what God desires.

And that’s why the Apostle Paul wrote the following words to his ministry apprentice Timothy.

But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you.” (I Timothy 6:11-12)

The evil things to which Paul was referring included the chasing of riches, an unhealthy desire to debate over the definition of words and other foolish and harmful desires that “plunge” people into ruin and destruction.

Paul is not saying we have no need of income. He’s not saying we should ignore false teaching in the church. And he’s not saying it’s wrong to enjoy the privileges of married romance.

What he IS saying, instead, is to place the things of God listed above at the top of our priority list.

This is what people of God do as they are running away from those things that are such dangerous threats.

Yes, they are dangerous and can destroy us.

I would never walk up to a grizzly bear and ask to dance. If I saw one coming toward me, I’d run as fast as I could.

Listen, a grizzly is a teddy bear compared to Satan.

Let’s make sure we run from him and his schemes.

As always, I love you
Martin

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None of us need reminding from others that we are imperfect.

We do a real good job of proving it to ourselves over and over again.

One of us struggles with cursing.

One of us struggles with greed.

Another struggles with porn.

And yet another keeps falling into the cesspool of gossiping.

The list goes on for life after life after life.

Your life.

My life.

Many Christians don’t like this roller coaster of sin and forgiveness, sin and forgiveness, sin and forgiveness.

But it’s that path we’re on until we’re walking the streets of gold.

You’d think that after we’ve been forgiven countless times for the same sin we seem bungee-strapped to, we’d reach the point of simply stopping that particular behavior.

But we fail again.

And again.

Against the backdrop of this pathetic pattern, we can find hope from the words of the Apostle Paul.

He knew exactly what you and I face with our “stumbling block” sins with which Satan so easily entangles us.

Read carefully his words recorded in Romans 7:21-25 —

“I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Paul struggled with recurring sin.

We struggle with recurring sin.

Paul escaped the sentence of eternal death resulting from that sin. He did so by accepting Christ as Savior.

Please escape the same penalty. Please make sure you’ve accepted Christ as Savior.

You’ll still fall. But you’ll have the peace of knowing that that day is coming when you’ll fall no more because you’ve been lifted up forever.

As always, I love you
Martin

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