Tag Archives: sin

A Revival Prayer

A Revival Prayer

O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.   Habakkuk 3:2

With our annual Revival Meeting nearing, it is good to pause and to pray for the Lord to send revival.  Will you pray for personal revival in your life?

What is revival anyway?  A basic and most thorough definition I have used for years is this: “Revival is falling in love with Jesus all over again.”  Simply stated, and right to the point.

As time goes by and we are further away from our conversion and new birth as Christians, we can become complacent.  Just like many people let their physical bodies get out of shape, or neglect proper eating and exercise, we can do the same thing spiritually. Many Christians have become lethargic in their walk with God.  Their service in church is pale and anemic, their pulse for loving God and other people has slowed down, and their appetite for the Word of God has decreased.  Even just opening the Bible at home causes difficulty in breathing.  If I was describing symptoms in a person’s physical body, you may think the person had a heart problem.

Some Christians have high blood pressure spiritually (in some cases literally) and are complaining and bickering with others then wonder why they do not feel as close to God as they once did.  All of this is symptomatic of a much bigger problem – a spiritual heart problem.  Are you loving Jesus more today than you were loving Him yesterday?

Why or why not?  It could be that loving sin, reveling in pride, or loving the world has diminished you love for Jesus.  Will you pray for personal revival?  Will you pray for family revival?  Will you pray for church revival?

Pray like the old-time prophet Habakkuk, who poured out his heart to God after hearing the Word of God spoken: O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.   Make his prayer – your revival prayer today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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More Than Death Insurance

More Than Death Insurance

“When one asked the salesman what he was selling, he said, “Life insurance.”

“That’s not life, but death insurance.”

“What do you mean?”

“You have to die to win.”

“Not always. You get your money back with big interest in 10 or 20 years if you live, but if you die your family is protected for a number of years.”

“Fine. The Bible says, ‘But if any provide not for his own, specially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel, but it’s more important to carry life insurance.”

“Say, what are you selling?”

“Life insurance. Eternal life. Nothing to pay, and you begin to get big dividends immediately, of peace, joy, contentment, and an understanding of God’s plan for your life.””  (-Knights)

What kind of insurance do you have?  Jesus came to earth to give something better than death or life “insurance.”  He came to earth to purchase eternal life.  Jesus paid the full price that our sin – death.  He died in my place.  He died for my sin.  He died in your place.  He died for your sin.  He shed His blood for our sin.  Theologians call this Substitutionary Atonement.

Romans 5:8 teaches, But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Jesus demonstrated or proved His love for us with his work and action on the cross.  He did not just say “I love you.”  He demonstrated love when He laid down His life for us.  No matter how BIG or little you perceive your sin to be, Jesus still loves you!  None of us are worthy, but He loves us anyway.

Then He rose from the dead.  The phrase: “Rose Again” in 1 Corinthians 15:4 indicates that while He was previously dead, He came back to life, and continues to be alive!”  What an incredible truth!  Jesus continues to be alive today.

As I prepared for Easter Sunday preaching, I searched out all the leaders of the worlds major religions.  Here is what I found:

Buddhism. The Buddha’s body was cremated in Kushinagar, India and the relics were placed in monuments or stupas, some of which are believed to have survived until the present. Ramabhar Stupa in Kushinagar was built over a portion of the Buddha’s ashes on the spot where he was cremated by the ancient Malla people. The Temple of the Tooth or Dalada Maligawa in Sri Lanka is the place where the right tooth relic of Buddha is kept at present.

Christian Science.  Mary Baker Eddy is buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the United States.

Confucianism. The grave of Confucius, founder of Confucianism, is in his home town of Qufu, Shandong Province, China. The grave of Confucius is located in a large cemetery where more than 100,000 of his descendants are also buried.

Islam. According to early Muslim sources, Muhammad is buried in the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (“Mosque of the Prophet”) in the city of Medina in Saudi Arabia. The tomb of Muhammad lies within the confines of what used to be his wife Aisha’s and his house. During his lifetime it adjoined the mosque, which was expanded during the reign of Caliph al-Walid I to include his tomb.

Scientology.  Upon his death, L. Ron Hubbard was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.” (Wikipedia)

Christianity: Go to the Garden Tomb at Jerusalem.  There are no bones, no ashes – nothing!  Jesus walked out of that stone tomb alive!  Jesus is alive today. 

Would you believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus?  This is called the Gospel.  Jesus is alive and calling to you for a response.  Will you accept the forgiveness of sins and receive eternal life from Jesus?  He loves you.  Believe in Him today.

God’s Desire for Missions

With our annual missions conference starting Saturday, I thought I would search out several Scriptures that indicate God’s Desire for Missions.  God’s heartbeat should be the heart beat of His church.  The most important indicator of any churches vital signs (indicating good or poor health) is it’s pulse for missions and Gospel witness.

Psalm 67:2 That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.

Psalm 96:3 Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.

Isaiah 42:4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

John 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

Acts 14:27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.

Ephesians 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

1 Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

These 10 Scriptures give us a glimpse of the will of God for the Gospel to go into all the world.  The Lord uses His people to take His Word and Gospel message to other people.  If you are saved, the Lord used a person to either talk to you, preach to you, hand you a tract or Bible, or you found a Bible or Gospel tract that a person printed.

God can use you to give the Gospel in your local community.  The Lord can use you in global missions too.  Prayer for and giving to missionaries through your church will honor the Lord, help Gospel preachers, and will plant the Seed of the Word into the hearts of men and women, boys and girls, all around the world.

Do you have the same heart beat of God?  Are you doing your part to see the Gospel propagated throughout the world?

An Unimaginable Trade

An Unimaginable Trade

Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.  Romans 5:14

Before Martin Luther penned his 95 Thesis, John Hus, had already been burned at the stake because of His faith in Jesus.  He was a “pre-reformation” reformer who loved the Scriptures. Speaking of Christmas, John Hus said, “Rejoice, that the immortal God is born, so that mortal men may live in eternity. Rejoice, because the rich Lord of the Universe became poor, that He may enrich us needy ones.”

Jesus came to right the wrong that the first Adam had started… Rebellion, pride, sin. Because of our personal sin and our sin nature – both a result of Adam’s sin – we needed Jesus. The “one to come” in the above verse was Jesus.  He came for us and that is why we celebrate Christmas!

  • Jesus left the throne of Heaven and traded it for a lowly feeding trough.
  • Jesus left the bright light of Heaven and traded for the dark lighting of a stable/cave.
  • Jesus left the splendor of Glory and traded what many would consider the “slums” of earth.
  • God took on human flesh. He became man and walked among men for 33 years!

This is a trade that Jesus made because of love.  Jesus was sent by God the Father and He willingly embarked on a mission of mercy to seek and to save the lost.  We are lost in our sins and Jesus made the way for salvation.  He was born to die.  He came to earth to be the only sacrifice the Father would accept for the forgiveness and atonement for our sin.  Jesus traded riches for rags that we might be eternally rich!

Be thankful for Jesus.  Whatever this day is bringing your way – trouble, pain, difficulties, busyness – stop everything and thank the Lord Jesus for making this trade – for coming to this earth for us.

By the way – there is one more trade we cannot forget.  Jesus traded our sin for His righteousness.  He took our sins upon Himself and paid for them on the Cross.  He washes away the sin of the believer and when the Father sees a Christian – He sees the righteousness of Jesus.  What a great deal for us!  It really is an unimaginable trade!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bodies Were Still Warm

The Bodies Were Still Warm

Blame.  Who is to blame?  500+ people shot, nearly 60 dead. The worst shooting scene in American history.  The dead bodies of the concert goers were still warm when people began to play the “blame game.”

Politicians began to politicize.  The Media began its narrating and spinning. Conspiracy theorist started to make their guesses.

Some blamed Isis.  Others blamed the US Constitution and the Second Amendment.  Still others even went so far as to blame Christians.   Other ideas from “white males” to the President, drugs, and even money were brought up.

What was the shooters motive?  Was there only one shooter?  Is there more to the story? How long did it take to plan for this?  Early news reports are just that – early.

Some commenting on this event are so violent (in their mind) that they even suggested that “white colored, country music fans” deserved to be killed because they were most likely Republican!

Vilifying one another, casting blame, and trying to legislate morality does not actually address the deeper issue here.

Why do bad things like this happen?

Sin is the cause of all heartache, pain, loss, suffering, and death.  Sinful thinking leads to sinful deeds.  Theologians call this “Origional Sin.” That is the problem. All. Problems. Stem. From. Sin.

Proverbs 23:7 teaches: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…”  What is in the heart of man is what eventual comes out.

Adam and Even introduced sin into this world.  Mankind is to blame for our own sin.  God is not the originator of sin.  He allows mankind to make choices.  Adam chose rebellion and disobedience. He chose sin.  We have had to live with the consequences since then.

While you may never take another persons’ physical life, Jesus taught that hating people is the same as murdering them.  Read the “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew chapters 5-7.  Try, with God’s help, to live that way.

How did we get here?  How is it that new records of evil and atrocities are being recorded in our lifetimes?   Where we live?  How?

Romans 1:21 tells us: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

Instead of valuing God, we value money.  Instead of valuing truth, we value what is convenient.  Instead of loving our neighbor, we are loving ourselves… to death.

Examine your heart.  Are you living in spiritual darkness?  Those who commit such acts have been living in darkness for some time.  Come to the light today.  Believe in Jesus.  Become a Christian and then enjoy a daily relationship with Him.  God is love!  He wants us to love one another.

No matter if we ever find the motivation, or if accomplices are ever uncovered, we can know that our fallen sinful nature is blame.

As a whole, these United States are no longer submitting and yielding to Jesus, the author of love and peace.  As a result, we are divided.  People are being unkind to one another. And sadly, more tragedies will unfold.

Pray. Ask the Lord to help us to turn back to Jesus.  Turn to your neighbor with love and kindness. And look for ways to show kindness to your fellow man.

If you have not yet believed in the Gospel, please go to the “How to go to Heaven” section on this site to learn how to be forgiven of your sins and be saved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sour Life

The Sour Life

A little sour goes a long way with me.  A little lemon is good, not a lot.  Do you like rhubarb/strawberry pie?  Grandma Harness used to make that a lot.  I also enjoy rhubarb crisp.  Each year we harvest our own rhubarb and are sure to put a lot of real sugar in the crisp  because of how sour the rhubarb is! I even like some of the “Sweet and Sour” candies made today.  Sour foods taste bitter, acidic, and tart.  My palate can handle only so much.  I like sweet much better.

When it comes to relationships, sour, is not something that you want your life to be described as.  Christians do not want their outlook to be “sour.”  Our relationships should not taste sour and our emotional/spiritual perspective should not be bitter.

“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled…” Hebrews 12:15

One funny story goes like this: “Two writers who were bitter rivals were both attending the same party. One had recently had a book published, and the other commented to him, “I read your new book and liked it. Who wrote it for you?”

The other replied, “I’m glad you liked the book, who read it to you?””   (6,000 Plus)

Two simple observations of the devastating effects of bitterness include:

  1. Bitterness troubles the one who is bitter. This includes a guilty conscience, irrational reasoning, with confused anger and responses to others.
  2. Bitterness affects the people around the one who is bitter. A husband affects his wife.  A wife affects her husband.  Parents will impact their kids. While some believe a self-propagated lie that “my bitterness only affects me” – the truth is “many be defiled” by one person’s bitterness.

Some people are bitter about their childhood and upbringing.  Some are still angry with their parents for schooling, sports, discipline, and other areas.  Some people are bitter towards childhood acquaintances from school, church, or teams they played on.  Others develop hatred in college, towards their “first romance” or even in the first real job.  Some are in relationships with people right now and are allowing unresolved issues, anger, selfishness, pride, or misunderstandings sour their outlook on life.

A basic practice of Bible Christianity is “self-examination.”  Considering the Word of God, are you harboring any level of bitterness towards someone?  Here are several identifiable characteristics of bitterness that can help you in your self-assessment:

  • Obsessive thoughts of revenge
  • Sarcasm
  • Critical or unkind comments
  • Self-righteousness
  • Conflicts with others
  • Aggressiveness in relationships
  • Controlling behavior

Bitterness will wreak havoc on a person and their family.  Being bitter will bloom into many other areas of sin; neglect, hostility, and wrong thinking.  The fruit produced by bitterness will be a life of regret, an outlook of despair, and a heart of hatred.

If any of the characteristics of bitterness are found in you, do everything you can, with God’s help, to get it pulled out of your life.  What should a bitter person do?

  • Confess the bitterness as sin.
  • Identify the source: jealousy, anger, rage, fear, pride.
  • Ask other people to pray for you. This demonstration of humility makes it clear that you mean business.
  • Ask for another Christian to hold you accountable when you exhibit any of the characteristics of bitterness.
  • Ask forgiveness of those you have impacted directly with bitterness.
  • Ask forgiveness of those who were indirectly impacted because of your bitterness.
  • Restore your relationship with God. The vertical relationship with Jesus is directly impacted by your horizontal relationship with other human beings. Getting relationships right with others is one way to get your relationship right with God.
  • Be happy in Jesus!  Don’t live “the sour life!”

 

 

(“Characteristics of Bitterness” – Guide to Biblical Counseling.  Clinton and Hawkins.)

 

 

 

 

The Defeated

The Defeated

I could not believe it.  Our team lost.  Having gone undefeated through the entire softball season, the playoffs were not that much more challenging.  After all, our team had generally won most of the games by the “mercy rule.”

Now in the last inning of the conference championship game, our team is ahead by several runs.  I played the catcher position.  I had the best vantage point of what was about to take place.

The pitcher tossed the ball and the first hitter hit the pitch and ran safe to first base.  Then the next batter made contact.  Before long, the bases were loaded.  A run was scored.  A pop up was caught.  A ball was dropped by a fielder.  Another out was made on a ground ball.  A walk loaded the bases. Another hit.

In the last inning that season, our team had 2 outs with the bases loaded and by that time, the score was tied.   Eventually the other team caught up and tied the game which we were not used to.

The final pitch tossed was smacked over an infielder, and the “go ahead” run scored.  We lost the game.  The undefeated team was now defeated.

No one likes to lose.  “Second place is the first loser!”  What about the Christian life?  No one likes to come up short, and yet we come up short frequently in the Christian life.  That is OK.  That is why Jesus came.  However, some Christians avoid admitting when they have been defeated by Satan, the flesh, or the devil.  Admitting failure is OK.  In fact, it is a requirement for the Christian to grow.  Correction of what is wrong cannot be made until confession is expressed.

When we are defeated, our pride can cause us to not admit, confess, or seek to get things right with God.  When this happens, we feel guilty, restless, and comfortless.  That is what Jesus is speaking about in the famous Sermon on the Mount, when He says “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4).

There is no comfort until there is confession.  There is no confession until there is contrition.  Contrition is being sorry for your sin.  Expressing you were wrong is the best place to start in restoring your fellowship to God or to others.  Humility is the greatest quality to have, and yet it is found the least in mankind.  God does not grant peace of mind and heart, or comfort, until we are sorry for our sin.  Even to the point of mourning over our wrong.

Do you ever feel down right defeated?  Perhaps your mind is programed to the default mode of “guilt, trouble, anger, discouragement, and what is wrong with life.”  The Christian need not live a life of continual defeat.

A perpetually defeated mind is an indicator of wrong thinking.  Perhaps a bad experience has not been forgiven correctly or the event/circumstances continually “pop up” in your mind.

Time can remove the distance from your defeats, but it cannot remove the perpetual pitfalls and ruts your mind sinks into.

We need more help what will power or letting time go by can give.  We need the Bible to shape our thinking.

After reading the following Scriptures, pause a few moments and meditate on how these verses can change the defeats in your life and get your heart and mind back to winning thinking.

  • 2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
  • Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
  • Psalm 43:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

With God’s help, you do not need to live in perpetual defeat.