Posts Tagged ‘sin’

Easter Sunday

March 31, 2013

Today is Easter Sunday.

Yes, we know all about the pagan traditions attached to Easter: Bunnies, chicks, eggs, even the name “Easter”!

So, many people prefer to call it “Resurrection Sunday” in order to delete the paganism and keep the Christianity in it.

We aren’t here to judge, so we’ll let you do what you wish with it. HOWEVER… we still want to point out the importance of this day’s observance.

Today is the day in which we meditate on, and appreciate the incredible thing Jesus Christ did for us: Although He never deserved it He took the mockings, took the beatings, took the blasphemy, and took the death, just so we could be forgiven and have a chance to dwell in the Kingdom of God.

He certainly did not owe this to us.
And yet He did it, even though all of us today weren’t even born yet.
In fact, we wouldn’t be born for many generations at that time!

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for tolerating such pain and humiliation for us.
Thank you for giving us the only chance we could have.

 

 

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Jesus Didn’t Hate The Sinners

August 23, 2012

Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, lived only a few short decades as a human among us.
And, even though He was the Son of God Himself, and even though He was sinless and perfect in every way, He still didn’t feel entitled to hate the sinners of this world. Instead of hating the sinners He showed mercy, peace, and love towards them: He forgave the adulteress who was facing the death penalty. He healed the crippled, even on the Sabbath. He taught that people should love each other in spite of their differences. He didn’t hesitate to reach out to those who were lost in their sins: He healed those possessed of demons, He forgave immoral women, He ate with tax collectors…  He even showed tolerance towards Judas, fully knowing he was going to betray Him.  Parallel to this, He did not tolerate arrogance, self-righteousness, or mercilessness. And He did not play favorites in any of these things.

Yeah, so?

So, we need to take a lesson from this:
Jesus Christ, who never sinned, did not hate the sinners.

We, as human beings, lose that lesson — instead, we tend to hate those who sin differently from ourselves.
We see people tolerating unmarried heterosexual couples living together while hating the gays who marry. We see people tolerating Atheism while hating the Muslims. We see people tolerating violent video games while hating drug addicts.

In reality,  there is no sin which doesn’t carry the death penalty.
The Bible doesn’t mince words: The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).  There are no exceptions and no loopholes: Sin = death. In other words, that unmarried couple is just as deserving of death as that married gay couple. The lover of violence is just as deserving of death as the drug addict. The drunken slob is just as deserving of death as the crooked politician.

And yet, Jesus Christ died for them (us!), so that we may not remain dead in our sins.

So, just as Jesus did not hate the sinners, neither should we. Instead, we should take a cue from Him and throw love at these people we don’t happen to like. My sin, your sin, her sin, and his sin may all be different sins, but we all remain in the same boat, and that boat is sinking without the love of Christ. If  He had hated the sinners, none of us would be Saved. Instead of hating on others, it’s better to do what you can to share the Love of Christ, so that they too may receive Salvation through Him.

 

The Garbage Collectors

May 11, 2012

Today is “trash collection day” in our neighborhood.
It’s the day when everyone sets their garbage and recyclables at the curbside for the garbage collection trucks to pick up.
And it happens every week, like clockwork.

And I stopped for a few moments to think about what would happen if the garbage collection trucks stopped coming to take our trash away. I mean, obviously, we’d all be more careful about how much trash we generate because it would be up to us to take it to the dumping ground ourselves. We’d start using re-fillable bottles for our beverages and re-fillable containers for our foods. We’d begin using more packaging which composts quickly — we’d use the cardboard ice-cream containers instead of the plastic ones. We’d use refillable glass milk bottles instead of the plastic throw-away jugs. We’d eat more fresh fruits and vegetables in order to do away with canned waste.We’d use baking soda instead of toothpaste to do away with some of the plastic waste.

But no matter how hard we tried, we’d still generate some amount of trash no matter what: We’d still have the cardboard remnants and the rinds from the fresh produce. These things don’t compost in a day, ergo there would always be some kind of build up around on a continuous basis, continuing to attract flies and other insects.  And that wouldn’t be all of it: We’d still have leftover “dead” electronic components, and used motor oil. We’d still have broken refrigerators and junked cars. And if there were nobody to eliminate these useless things we’d all be buried in them.

We could never be truly trash-free, not even for a small moment.

But, thankfully, we don’t live in that kind of world. We have someone who is there for us on a regular basis to clean up our trash and puts it where it belongs. And this frees us from becoming inundated with our trash, allowing us to live with a high level of “clean” in spite of our continued generation of garbage.

And then I thought of how this garbage situation is so much like our sinful nature.

Our sinful nature is the garbage that we accumulate as we live our daily lives. We add to our sins every day, and sin threatens to overwhelm us, bury us. They would eventually kill us due to the increasing level of decay and filth and stench.We’d grow more and more spiritually sick as time went on, until we die buried in the trash heaps of sin.

But Jesus Christ has filled a important role for us: He takes out our trash, on a continual basis, so that we can continue to live clean lives. As continuously as we generate our “trash”, He continuously takes it away from us, allowing us to be a clean people. But this can only happen if we accept Him as our “trash collector” . If we don’t let Him take away our trash, we will die in our sins, buried in them. And He doesn’t care how much trash you have to take out: The moment you accept Him as your trash collector, He takes away everything that you’ve buried yourself in. He doesn’t take breaks. He doesn’t take a day off. He doesn’t confine Himself to working only during certain hours. His Grace is on call, 24 /7 , and takes away all the mounds of trash you’ve generated.

And THAT, is something profound to think about.

The Fog

April 23, 2012

How many of us have been driving in the morning and encountered a thick fog covering our roadways? Some of us have even been in fog so thick that you can barely see beyond the edges of the highway — and that gets pretty scary when you aren’t the only vehicle on the road.

Today, our pastor shared an experience he had when he went on a spiritual retreat recently: During his drive he encountered a very thick fog, so thick that he could barely see the outlines of the wind turbines that were erected alongside the way (these structures can be 300 feet tall, the height of a 30 story building). And it occurred to him that this thick fog could be easily likened to sin:

The fog blocked out the sun, making the drive dangerous because it was nearly impossible to see the dangers along the roadside.
The “fog” of sin is likewise dangerous because it, too, obscures the Son’s Light, making is nearly impossible to see the dangers along life’s roadside.

As the sunlight of the day shines, it burns off the fog, allowing the traveler to see his path more clearly.
As the Son’s light shines, the “fog” of sin is likewise burned off, so that one can see the path more clearly.

And, just as one can find his way back out of the fog and into the sunlight, so too a person can find his way out of the curse of sin and into the Son’s light. It’s just a matter of taking caution and not recklessly running into the hidden dangers of sin. Sometimes, this means patiently waiting for the Son to shine the Light that burns off the fog so that you can see clearly. Sometimes this means cautiously continuing forward towards the Light until it is revealed. Either way, if you seek the Light, His Grace will burn off the fog so that you can see your path more clearly.

We had a recent example of this “burning off” that came up in the news over this past weekend:

Chuck Colson was once lost in the thick fog of sin. I was only a preschooler at the time that he was involved in the Watergate scandal, so I wasn’t privy to this dark part of his life. I hadn’t even heard of the man until I gave my life to Christ in 2004, by which point Colson had become an effective, and sincere, evangelizer. I have always enjoyed listening to his message on my local Christian radio station, so imagine the bombshell on me when I discovered that he was a high profile criminal in the Watergate scandal! His actions earned him a federal prison sentence, and I couldn’t believe it. I was stunned. So I read more about his conversion: Just before his prison sentencing a friend had given him a book, titled “Mere Christianity“, written by the renowned C.S. Lewis. This book was the SonLight which began burning off his fog, and Colson proved his acceptance of Christ by admitting to his wrongdoing, against his lawyer’s advice. He proved his acceptance of Christ by willingly taking the prison sentence which was put upon him. And after he finished his debt to society, he strove to build up ministries as the Lord led him. On April 21, 2012, Chuck Colson died at the age of 80 years old, after about 40 years of ministry.

I couldn’t help but see a co-relation between Colson and the Apostle Paul. Both men were prominent public figures who were deeply lost in the fog of sin. Both men were notorious for their deeds. And both men met Christ, accepted Him, and lived the remainder of their lives in His service.

The lesson to take from this?

Don’t give up on those who are still in their fogs. Keep praying for them. Don’t lose sight of the possibility that one single action could end up burning off their fogs with the Light of Jesus.

Amen.

P.L.A.G. (pronounced “Plague”)

August 10, 2010

What is P.L.A.G.?

These are the four biggest sins that every one of us falls prey to at some time or another:

P: Pride
L : Lust
A : Anger
G : Greed

Just about every single sin I can think of stems from one of those four categories:

PRIDE — Pride covers a lot of territory: Boastfulness, self-righteousness,  feelings of superiority and egotism all begin with too much pride. Pride also includes the feeling of indignation when you don’t get what you want, excessive vanity about one’s appearance, and the idea of entitlement to bending the rules or breaking the law.

LUST — Lust isn’t just a sexual sin. In its most basic meaning lust is an excessive desire for something you simply cannot or should not have. Although this could include sexual activities, it also includes excessive desire for material possessions, indulgence in addictions, and overeating. Lust is a sin by itself, but it can also lead to other sins such as stealing, murder, and the breaking of laws. Lust is also related to envy and jealousy, as a lustful person can easily become upset when seeing someone else have the desired item.

ANGER — Anger in and of itself isn’t  a sin. It’s what you do with that anger that can be a sin. For example, when Jesus Christ rampaged through the temple at John 2:14-16, he did not sin. Although his anger caused a ruckus, he did not cause injury, he didn’t break any laws, and got his point across anyway. HOWEVER, if your anger does lead to things such as harm, injury, or broken laws, then the anger has become a sin. It also becomes a sin if your anger causes you to harbor a grudge, treat someone unfairly, or cause any kind of harm to anyone or anything.

GREED — Greed, in its most basic form, is the act of hoarding more than you need of something. Greed is closely related to lust. Greed causes some to ignore the wellbeing of others, causes others to suffer needlessly, and causes any number of problems. Greed for money is the most common category of greed: It makes a person work excessive hours instead of spending time with their families, causes gamblers to spend their rent and grocery money, and causes tobacco companies to continue making their death products. Related to financial greed is greed for power, which causes corruption in governments, scientific advances, and and social situations.

Although I haven’t listed every single sin possible, you can categorize any sin under one of the P.L.A.G. topics in some way, shape, or form. And so it is good to take inventory of yourself once in a while; identify which of the PLAG items you are currently dealing with. Identifying your issue is the first step in seeking God’s sure guidance in overcoming the problem.

(With a nod to Pastor Jim, who taught us about PLAG in his sermon some time ago).

The Mess on the Road Side

April 23, 2010

I woke up this morning and looked out my window. Today is trash collection day in my neighborhood, and I saw a pile of open rubbish on the roadway a few houses down. Something must have torn open the trash bag or something.  What impressed me though, was that someone else was cleaning up the mess; someone who didn’t “belong” to that trash.

And it got me thinking.

We are all sinners, every single one of us. Being sinners, we are chock full of “trash”, and everyone’s trash is different. Sometimes, Satan tears us open and our trash is exposed for the world to see.  This can be quite embarrassing, to say the least, as nobody likes to have their trash made public. Once everyone has seen your garbage, they remember you for it for the rest of your life.

But we are blessed, because we have someone who will clean up our embarrassing trash: Jesus Christ.  Our junk isn’t his responsibility, but that doesn’t stop him. He will come to you, clean up your garbage, and take away the filth and embarrassment of sin. We don’t have to pay him to do this, and we don’t have to owe him any favors. All we have to do is simply let him clean up the trash.

Thank God for the gift of mercy and forgiveness, thank God for the gift of forgiveness, thank God for the free offer of Salvation through Christ.

Praise God, and Amen.


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