sin

Beautiful Mercy for Ugly Sin

This love letter is amazing. As I read it and study more, the more I learn the heart of God and how much He truly loves me in spite of. Anyhow, there are four people that come to mind when I think of those that Satan very specifically targeted, not just a demon: Peter, Job, Judas, and David. Of course there may be others, but they are all I got. The first three I mentioned you are probably familiar with, but still going through Chronicles, I read about Satan’s encounter with David, and the story I knew but Satan’s role was unfamiliar.

Briefly, Satan was attempting to bring down Israel and used David to do so, by swaying him to pride and mistrust. You can read 1 Chronicles 21 for all the details. By counting the people David’s pride caused him to think that his success as the king thus far was by him alone, and what he had attained and accomplished was his doing. On the other hand, in doing so it was another slap in God’s face because it was as if David didn’t really believe the promise God made to multiply. He didn’t trust that God was doing what He said He would do. What I find the most intriguing are the events thereafter.

After David realized what had happened and God dealt with him, he was driven to build an altar and make a sacrifice to compel the Lord to stop the plague. However, in doing so, due to his guilt and shame, he nearly backed out because he was afraid, but the mercy of God is incredible. For the same place where David humbled himself after being so full of himself that God had to correct him, the place that represented one of his most costly mistakes and or sins, God still used it to build His temple.

So often in our own lives we mess up big and God has to deal with us, but when He does it’s in such a way that only He can get glory. God takes our mistakes and creates miracles. He uses our faults and failures as building blocks to an amazing testimony of His faithfulness, mercy and power. And truth be told, like David, it can be scary coming to God knowing just how flat out wrong we were, but His compassions are new every morning and His love endures forever. Coming to Him with a repented and humbled heart, the Lord is always willing to receive us with open arms. God will take the very thing hurt us and use it as a platform to help us and to see His promises come to fruition. David prepared the way for his son, Solomon, to build the temple of the Lord in the same place he built an altar.

In the end of his preparations for the next generation who would build the temple, David encouraged them. (See 1 Chronicles 22:17-19). He reminded them that the Lord was with them and everything was taken care of, so all they needed to do was focus on the task. He told them to devote and seek the Lord and begin to build the sanctuary so that things could be set in place.

The same speaks for us. We must continually seek the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33) and surrender all of who we are to Him, heart, mind, body and soul (Matt. 22:37). As we do so, we begin to build our temples, our bodies, the place where the Holy Spirit resides (1 Cor. 3:16) and we allow those precious fruit and sacred things of God to fill our hearts and minds that will give witness to the name of Christ, like joy, peace, forgiveness, love, and hope. These things will give room for the work of God to go forth in our lives and through our lives that the Name of the Lord may be known by whoever interacts with us as we use our gifts, talents, passions, and abilities to usher in His presence and leave His sweet aroma wherever we go. We have to prepare the way and give God the ugly things, the broken things, the sin that hinders the process, so that His beautiful mercy and love can cover it and be our foundation to build on. In doing so we have mastered the art of being ourselves for a purpose.

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Lessons from Eden: Part III

So recently in a weekly group I attend we’ve discussed the first three chapters of Genesis, creation and the fall of man, and oh my, there is so much more to the story. I have written in the past about lessons from the Garden, but there are some more that I want to share that my eyes were just opened to see.

tree of the kgeFirst off, one of the lingering questions in the story is where Adam was during the whole conversation between Eve and the Serpent. Well in reading, the Bible does assume he was there, but how close is up for discussion. Nevertheless, lets assume that he in fact was there beside Eve as she was talking to the snake. The first lesson here is that silence is not always golden. Especially considering that he was the leader of that home, he should have spoken up when the Serpent began to misquote God’s word, but he didn’t because maybe he was just shocked that the snake was speaking or intrigued by what it was saying. Still, as we often do today, he didn’t speak up because he possibly didn’t see the threat in the lie that Serpent was speaking or in the Serpent himself who was said to be subtle and cunning. This very act of silence that we see here has shown it’s effects on our society. These subtle lies and doubts that the Enemy has whispered in our ears to make us question or reinvent the Word of God has desensitized us and confused even Christians as to what is right and wrong, and our society has greatly fallen because of it. It emphasizes our need to have continuous fellowship with God, as they did in the Garden, because for that brief time they were apart from God for one reason or the other, Satan slipped in and well, here we are today. God’s word is the truth and we must speak up for Christians have been silent for far too long and sin has prevailed in this society because of it, but yet we want to be popular and accepted and don’t want people to look at us weird or call us names, yet that is what was promised when we signed up to be followers of Christ. Now more than ever we need to not only speak up with the Word of God no matter how small or trivial the matter seems, but live a corresponding life showing that right is right and wrong is wrong.

As just said, for that brief moment Adam and Eve were not walking with God as they had done pretty much every day, so what happened? I don’t know, but what I do know is that we all miss the mark at times and for one reason or another we get out of touch with God. That doesn’t mean we just become heathens overnight, but perhaps we get too busy or life gets so chill that we forget our need for God, yet it’s that time we are out of fellowship that the Enemy likes to attack us and makes us question who God is, who we are and what we are supposed to do as he did with Eve. Our priorities get mixed up, we become anxious and worrisome, questioning the power and provision of God, pride sets in, and or we become apathetic, and before we even realize it, our thinking begins to change and that space between us and God thickens, our language changes, and sooner or later we fall into sin, whether worry, cussing, fornication, getting drunk, pride, bitterness, anger, jealousy, or whatever your vice may be.

So we mess up to some degree or another and feel so icky that we do the worse thing and pull away from God completely out of guilt, like Adam and Eve. We try to hide ourselves and our sin as if God doesn’t already know. We are afraid to pray, stop listening to devotionals, block out people from our lives, stop going to church because we feel so ashamed of what we did or how far off track we’ve gotten, because we don’t want people’s perceptions to change about us or let down those that looked up to us. So like Adam and Eve, we go under a rock or hide in a bush and put on a mask so no one can really see us. But God in His awesome love, grace, and mercy went out looking for them even though he was well aware of what they had done. He does the same with us, we just have to be willing to respond like Adam. God didn’t jump on their case or write them off from history because of their sin, but instead he covered them, though there were still consequences. As a body of believers, we should have the same mindset of God and should someone go missing from church or you notice a different pattern of behavior or attitude, reach out to them and show them the way home without automatically condemning or judging them, but show them the same grace, mercy, and love God showed to you. Yet, we neglect to do that far too often for a long time now and so many have slipped through the cracks and have been forgotten. So as much as you are able, check up on each other.

The last thing I want to point out that was pointed out to me is that God said not to eat of the tree originally, yet Eve told the Serpent that they were not to touch it nor eat it. Credit to her. Why? From Eve, this simple recall shows a great sense of maturity that we can apply today by not touching sin. Far too often we tease sin and put ourselves in compromising situations because we want the experience or we want to see how far we can get without actually sinning, but how much does that go as planned. More times than not we go further then we desired and do what we said we wouldn’t do and things get messy. We just wanted to touch it. This lesson from Eve urges us to just completely abstain from sin as much as we can, whatever is in our control, the choices we make every day. Though we can only control so much and get tempted, through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God we are able to not touch, preventing us from tasting the fruit.

This is one of the more lengthy posts I’m sorry, but I’m glad I was able to share and I hope and pray it blessed and encouraged you. Take these lessons from Eden and use them every day to more and more be you for a purpose.

If you want to check out other lessons from Eden, check them out on the links below:

Lessons from Eden

Lessons from Eden: Part II

Jewel of the Garden

Debt

14_debt-paidDebt. At some point we have all had it, a little or enough to look at the number and cry, whether a credit card, mortgage, phone bill, student loan, cable, etc. Debt is a major part of the society we live in, just considering the massive debt the US is in, but that is neither here nor though. The question of the hour, so what?? Whenever a person faces debt, the relief of being able to pay it off or work it off brings a sense of happiness, comfort, satisfaction, gratitude, completion, and self-worth. So obviously, the greater or more substantial it is, the more it means when a debt is satisfied or forgiven, and the more grateful and sometimes humble a person tends to be.

There is the story of a woman who was being herself for a purpose; she was honest about her situation and about the debt that she owed. When she realized she had the opportunity to pay it off, she did so in a manner of extreme thankfulness. So much in so that she was judged, slandered, and criticized right in her face, but because she knew who she was and didn’t deny it, she pressed on still because she desired her relief. Her name is unknown.

When you understand how much of a wretch you are, how dark your heart really is, and how unholy you truly are in comparison to a perfect and holy God, you realize you owe a debt that is far greater than anything you could ever pay, literally or figuratively. Being you for a purpose means acknowledging the dire need for a Savior and how completely lost and blind you are. Considering the last blog, “Murder,” no matter how good you think you are, trust me you are far worse, and I am learningpaid in full that and how immensely far from perfect I really am continually. Thus, I am more and more grateful for the cross and for the blood of Jesus. It was his, and only his, sacrifice that saved me and paid my terribly deadly debt in full.

Like Mary, we have to be honest about how messed up we truly are and that we are in need of someone to wipe out or forgive all that we owe. Again, I heard it put this way, “we will never know how unholy we truly are until we realize how holy God is.” When we are true to who we are with who created us, we can no longer hide behind our insecurities or failures, or use the mask of our accomplishments and achievement, because He sees us; He knows us; He created us. When we come before Him and take off the make-up, the cover-ups, and the veils of pride, arrogance, ignorance, perfection. deceit, denial, egoism, self-righteousness, judgement, and self-pity, He is then able to break away the pieces that shouldn’t be there and mold us, like a potter (Jeremiah 18), into the person He designed us to be. It is then His grace and mercy can begin to calculate how much is owed, and his blood takes the information and uses just enough drops to pay the bill. The beautiful part is that whenever we need more, it is there for us whenever we need it.

Just for me, the more I understand how wicked my heart really is and how much He loves me in spite of me, thus, the more I want to love and serve Him. Being me for a purpose, the good, the bad, and the ugly, I realized how high the price he paid for me on Calvary, and though I can never pay Him back, I plan to spend my life trying as if I could.

I love the story of the woman and her alabaster box, because she was a woman at the crossroads, no longer afraid or worried about what people would say; she didn’t care, for in that moment she knew she had nothing else to lose; it was now or never, all or nothing. She gave all of herself, and put it all on Jesus’ feet. She recognized there was only one person that could make her whole and that would afford her any type of compensation for her debt, and give her life meaning, restore her value, significance, and worth, and instill a purpose for her life. She did what she had to do, and Jesus paid it all.

Be you for a purpose and take off the mask. Remove the blinders. Open yourself up fully to the only one that can pay the debt for your soul.

Murder

Whatever you say or do, do it on purpose.

murder

That line is the first part of the Be You for a Purpose motto and it’s interesting because I haven’t really written specifically on that portion, so it is about time I did. Now I am sure you are asking, what in the world does that have to do with murder? So let me explain.

A lot of times when we try to determine how good of a person we are, we tend to refer back to the Ten Commandments, which is an awesome point of reference. But right around the last five, we tend to get a sense of relief and say, “see I’m not so bad, I haven’t murdered and I will never commit adultery.” If this applies to you, you are an awesome person. #thumbsup

However, if you read continue to read Scripture you will find that the vast majority has failed to uphold every single one of the those commandments, in one way or another, even those dreaded two. Shocking I know, but stick with me. For the sake of adultery, Jesus himself said that if you just look at another person in a lustful manner, if your heart is in the wrong spot, you have already committed adultery (Matthew 5:28). And I will be honest, that lust thing is so easy to get caught up in, because these men be fine, and I love my superheroes…but I digress. Of course, it doesn’t help with the overly sexual society we live in, not to even mention pornography or what is presented on television and movies with no second thought or consideration. Lust…adultery…check.

Nonetheless, I want to focus on murder. The word does sound so haunting when you hear it, and for good reason. Proverbs tells us that life and death are in the power of the tongue, therefore, words alone have the power to kill, and to be honest again, I have been on both sides of the spectrum, giving and receiving. So like me, I am sure that the vast majority of us have spoken words that have ended relationships, have cut a person deep, or have slandered a person’s name (whether we knew them or not) in a way that destroyed who they were.

Furthermore, we tend to speak the most deadly when we are angry or don’t care too much for someone. Right before speaking on adultery, Jesus spoke on murder and how a person commits murder when they speak to or about someone in contempt. Additionally, James calls the tongue evil, and even equates it to fire, and says it’s full of deadly poison. Need I say more. Our words have the power to destroy and kill, like poison.

Another side note: Out of the heart, the mouth speaks, so many times our words reveal what we truly feel, and those unpleasant dispositions we have toward others at any given time, and how we love is displayed in how we speak to each other. If our words are hateful, or anything of the sort, that hate or resent for another person, for one reason or another, makes you a murderer, well at least, that’s what John says.

When you are being you for a purpose, part of that, as the motto explains, is being intentional of the words you speak. Your words can bring life or death. Which do you choose to bring? If you ask me, there is already enough people committing murder, I would rather not add to the body count. At the same time, it just reaffirms our need for Jesus, because he is the answer to our evil nature, and it’s his blood covers all of our sins, murder and adultery included; he desires to transform us into the best, His best, that we can be, speaking, thinking, and doing as to fulfill His purpose in our lives. Consequently, whatever you say and do, do it on purpose. Whoever you are, be on purpose.

Devil’s Credit

You know what, the choir sang a song today, and the lyrics express a doctrine that many church people believe. With all that said, I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, we give the Devil waaaaaaaaaay too much credit. In this scenario, like the song I heard them sing today and many other popular gospel songs, we talk about how the Devil came and stole this and that from us and we are taking it back. Now don’t get me wrong, Jesus himself said that the Enemy comes to steal, and yes he does; full-time he is fulfilling his purpose. But may I dare say, he doesn’t steal everything we give him credit for stealing. More times than we admit, we give it to him or we let him take it, or turn the other cheek when he begins to creep.

Just like what is in your house, you fight to keep it and safeguard what’s in it, so that if anyone tries to get to it, you fight for it. You put up an alarm system or keep a weapon close by, or take up some form of self-defense, and whatever other safety measures. Yet there are those that don’t don’t guard themselves or don’t put forth any worthy effort and pretty much hand over their stuff to the intruder. The Christian life is the same.

Too many of us just hand over our promises without even fighting; we give up too easily; we don’t prepare for the enemy so we can’t and don’t defend ourselves, for things that we never should have given him. To be real, he may not even have our possessions at all, we just let things rust for one reason or another. God says certain things belong to us, and like anything we own, we won’t just hand it over without a fight, and the blessed part about it, God has given us the resources and weapons to protect what’s ours just by His Word alone. What God gave you is yours, not the Enemy’s, to use for His noble purpose that He has for you. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world, and if you believe that, there are some things the Devil shouldn’t have access to and should be protected at all times at least by the weapon of His promises. Joy, peace of mind, patience, love, and self-control, those are things that as a follower of Christ, the Enemy should never have the ability to steal, less we give him the keys, giving him access and permission.

Likewise, too many times the things that are going wrong in our lives and the situations that are anything but pleasurable in experiencing, we say the Devil set it up or set us up, or he is attacking us, and we rebuke it. Again, yes he is busy and forever disrupting the kingdom man or woman, but far too often we credit him for what we did too ourselves. To be honest, enough of the things that we do experience that unfavorable things people are giving the Devil credit for, its by their own merit, their own sin or wrongdoing. Sin, going against God’s Word or not doing what He tells us to do in certain situations, we set ourselves up for trouble whether we realize it or not. There is a quote that says “sin will take you further than you ever wanted to go, keep you longer than you ever wanted to stay, and cost you more than you ever wanted to pay.” On the flip side, sometimes the hell that is breaking loose in our lives is a result of prayer; we may have prayed for patience, a good man, a good woman, a sign that God wants us to leave a job or relationship, a more loving spirit, for God to keep us humble, a better house, or a better car without realizing what it will take for us to see His answer fully manifest; so we wind up upset and broken because we forgot what we prayed and neglect to remember that His thoughts and ways are not our own.

So in reality, when we are really reaping what we have sowed or God is setting us up for what we prayed for and preparing us for His purposes, we blame Satan himself. It’s time to wake up with a purpose so that God can get the glory, not the Devil. Lucifer was kicked out of Heaven because of his pride, stop blaming and giving him credit for everything and blowing his head up even more.