Tag Archives: forgiveness

An Open Door

An Open Door

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;  I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.  Revelation 3:7-8

Today as I type this post, the temperature is negative 8.  That is right -8.  Frigid!  Opening the doors for people as they came in today, I opened and shut the door very fast in an attempt to keep some cold air out and some warm air in!

I don’t think I was too successful.

The Lord Jesus is speaking of an open door He gave to the church in the Greek city of Philadelphia in the verses above.   Chapters 2-3 of Revelation are describing the “church age” in which we live.  Each of the 7 churches listed were real places with real people and are also “types” of churches that are found in the church age.  In other words, every Biblical church today is in some way like one of these 7 churches.

As Jesus gives His message to the church of brotherly love, he tells them that He is giving them an open door.  Jesus is holding a door open for them to freely move in and out of and to freely bring other people through as well.  With the Philadelphia church being very weak, they are not able to hold the door open.  It is only a door that Jesus can open.  They do not have political clout or economic power, but they have a responsibility to go through the door and take others with them.

Many Bible students believe this is an open door through which to deliver the Gospel to this lost and dying world.  God is giving His church the opportunity to freely distribute the Word of God and Gospel message.  While the church is diminished in society today and even with the political climate growing in angst against anything Christian, it is the Lord Who is holding open the door for Gospel witness.

Have you noticed how spiritually cold our society has become?  Even this week, the Governor of Virginia is talking about delivering a newborn and then killing it as “OK” in his book.  This following the Governor of New York pushing his love of abortion right up until birth.  We live in a cold, cold climate, not just in atmospheric temperature, but in spiritual temperature.  We cannot hold the door open for people, but thank the Lord, Jesus is holding it open for us!  In addition, as fast as many non-Christians would be to close the door, slamming it shut, it is something that they cannot do.  Only God can open or close it.  That is good news.  We have as much time to witness as God will give to us, but we don’t know how much time that is. Historically in the Bible, the Lord opens and closes doors based on the people’s response to Him.

Today, take a moment and pray for a friend that you can bring to church this Sunday.

Would you invite them to sit with you at church this Sunday?

The door may not be open much longer.

Go through the door with another person while you can.

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4 “Plans” for Avoiding Sin

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Romans 6:23

Everyone is tempted to sin.  When our lust begins to control and consume us something is born called sin.  James chapter 1 speaks much to this process of temptation becoming sin.  While temptation is not sin, it leads to sin.  Could I suggest that allowing temptation to grow, or even actively nurturing it could also be sin?

John Eastwood made an insightful statement:  “People do not decide to be drunkards, drug addicts, prostitutes, murderers, or thieves, but they pitch their tent toward Sodom, and the powers of evil overcome them.”

Each of us know people whose lives were changed overnight, because of sin.  One temptation acted upon can alter an entire lifetime.  I have met teenagers who are not able to finish high school because of sin.  Many soldiers and sailors have made one bad choice and find themselves in legal trouble, or in the brig.  Ever notice the genuinely homeless people asking for food along the road?  Perhaps one bad choice, led to a whole string of bad choices and they end up with nothing.

If one sin can have such an impact, we should be looking to Jesus fervently and seeking His guidance and help to avoid sin! Here are 4 “plans” to help you avoid sin.

  1. Prayer Plan: Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
  2. Prevention Plan: Psalm 101:3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
  3. Protection Plan: Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
  4. Escape Plan: 1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

What happens if I falter and fail?   What should I do when I commit sin?  For sure we do not want to abuse the Grace of God – see Romans 6:1-2.  But when we sin, we do have an advocate with the Father – His name is Jesus.  We are instructed in 1 John 1:9 to confess our sin to God.  When we confess, we acknowledge our wrong and God forgives us.

Don’t forget about repentance.  Remember Romans 6:1-2?  That verse tells us to not continue in that sin.  That would be abusing the grace of God.  In other words, a person who confesses his sin to God, also should repent of his sin and turn around from it.  Repentance is a change of mind resulting in a change of direction.

So, can these 4 “plans” help you avoid sin?  Yes they can.  While we will never be perfect in our lifetimes on earth, we can choose to honor Jesus by living holy lives that are dedicated to Him.

The Sinking Effect

The Sinking Effect

“Her gates are sunk into the ground; he hath destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles: the law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from the LORD.”  Lamentations 2:9

With terrible grief and an abundance of tears, Jeremiah laments about the condition of Jerusalem.  The people had long abandoned following the One True God and their nation was being judged.  The nation was already divided and the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah were both overthrown.  The Babylonian Empire had come to Jerusalem and totally leveled it.  The year was 586 B.C.  It was a difficult time to live in the holy land.

This ancient, historical, and holy city was utterly flattened.  The king is gone, the temple is destroyed.  As Jeremiah surveys the scene, we find the words of Lamentations 2:9.  The pride the people because of the city walls for protection and the arrogance of relying on their gates for safety were a source of pride.  Watch out for pride.  Sometimes in the pride of life, we substitute our sense of safety and the stuff we have for trusting the Lord.

Jeremiah describes the aftermath of the defeat of Jerusalem.  In his description, the city gates have sunk into the ground.  If you go to the old city of Jerusalem today, you will discover that the city gates that were built during the time of the Old Testament can be found about 25 to 30 feet below where the current walls and gates stand.  “Her gates are sunk into the ground.”  Wow.  Just like the Bible says.  The wall and gates Jeremiah saw were rebuilt several times in later days, but it is something to consider while standing outside Jerusalem today to think about the old walls and gates buried below the surface.

God is always true, and His judgment is always right.  The city of Jerusalem fell because of their rebellion and sin.  Sin does this to us.  At the sight of this devastation, Jeremiah cries to the Lord.  He sheds real tears and demonstrates real grief for the condition of God’s people.  They were away from the Lord.

We must understand that our spiritual lives have a direct connection to our emotional lives.  He cried hard because of the spiritual problems his people had.  When was the last time you shed real tears before the Lord on behalf of a brother in Christ?  How about for the condition of your city or state?  Many Christians tend to only show the emotion of anger while others only show the deadness of apathy.  These are not the right responses.  Jeremiah’s spiritual life affected his emotions.

His solution and remedy for the effects of sin is simple:  be sorry for your sin.  Jeremiahs speaks of the “mercies of God” being “new every morning” in chapter 3 verses 22-23.  He says that there is hope for Jerusalem.  This is great news for us as well.  He confesses the sin of the people and begs the Lord for restoration.  He asks the Lord to “renew our days…” (Lamentations 5:21).

As we look around our nation and around this world, people need to receive hope.  Hope is real because of Jesus Christ.  Jeremiah said in Lamentations 3:26 “It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.”  Hope and waiting quietly are part of the solution to that sinking effect that is caused by our sin.

Pride will lift us up and because it is sin, we will be brought low.  The city gates sunk down into the ground and could no longer help.  What should I do when “the sinking effect” comes my way?

  1. Repent of sin and ask for restoration (forgiveness).
  2. Keep hope alive in your heart. As devastating as life was back then, Jeremiah kept hope that God was in charge and that God was willing to give new mercy every single day.
  3. Keep serving. “Waiting” on the Lord involves time, but it also includes service.  Sitting around and doing nothing in our Christian life does not help anyone nor does it glorify the Lord.  Find ways to share the Gospel, help your church, and serve the Lord today.

While waiting for God to take us home to enjoy our eternal salvation, let’s be faithful to avoid “The Sinking Effect” that sin can bring about.