Besetting Sin

We all have that "sin that does so easily beset us". We all have that particular weakness. I have never been tempted to be an alcoholic (I don't like the taste of alcoholic beverages), but I am tempted just as much by other things. I have never been tempted to be addicted to drugs, but there are things I must constantly guard my heart against. Your besetting sin may not be mine, but I have one and it is just as dangerous to my soul as yours is to you! The importatnt thing is not to argue over who's sin is the greatest (some would say, "Well at least I'm not an alcoholic."), but to determine and deal with whatever our overwhelming temptation is! Sin is sin! Although the repercussions of one sin may be more readily visible or it may be deemed "more sinful" by human reasoning, all sin is cosmic treason against the ruler of the universe. I see a very overweight preacher on TV who preaches against the sin of adultery with all his might, forgetting that gluttony and addiction to food is sin as well.
The devil has watched us all our lives and he knows what temptation has worked against us time and time again. We pray and ask forgiveness and vow never to do it again and for awhile, we don't. But that temptaion doesn't go away, it hibernates. The devil puts it on the shelf for later. Just when we start thinking we have utterly overcome that temptaion and forget the Bible's warning that "when you think you are standing, take heed lest you fall" and "flee youthful lusts", we are overtaken once again by that same old sin! We can be overcomers, but only if we let Christ's strenth be our strength and obey His commands.
Some people start thinking that, because the temptation doesn't go away, maybe that's just the way they were born. They "weary in well-doing" and the devil tells them that the reason that thing keeps coming around is that, that is just who they are; that's just the way God made them! When they fall for that lie, they become what they think they are (as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he). It's easier to give in than to fight and believing the lie is easy when it comforts the flesh and makes a person feel like they're not resposible, God is.
Whatever your besetting sin is, take it to the Lord and ask for His strength in overcoming it. When you see it coming aroung the bend sometime later, stay away from it. Don't give it your attention for a second. Jesus will set us free from a thing, but the Bible says that whoever you choose to obey becomes your master. Don't give yourself back to it again but flee! And please don't ever entertain the lie that because you often tempted by that same thing, that God made you that way. God made you in His own image to be perfect as He is perfect!



Many people these days struggle with their sense of self-worth. Maybe you've been told by a parent or teacher or someone else you trust that you're not worth anything. Or maybe you just have this poor self image and you really don't know why. Let me assure you that you do have worth. You are very valuable and that is a fact that no one change.
What something is worth depends upon what someone would be willing to pay for it. Therefore, what something is worth to me may be not be what it's worth to you. Let's take a Porsche for instance. A Porsche sports car here in the USA might be worth $100,000. But in the Amazon jungle, the natives there wouldn't place much value upon it at all. Snow shoes may be valuable in Alaska, but no one would give you a dollar for them in the Sahara desert! Notice how differently people see the worth of an object the next time you're at a flea market or auction. An old chair may get an offer or bid of five dollars from one person and an offer or bid of fifty dollars from someone else! So, what is the chair worth? It depends on who you ask! To the person willing to pay five dollars, it's worth five dollars! But to the person willing to pay fifty dollars, it's worth fifty dollars!
If one person tells you you're valuable and another tells you you're worthless, which one do you believe? You will believe the one who's opinion matters the most to you! Well, if you believe in God, His opinion should matter the most to you. Who is more knowledgeable and better equipped to judge your worth than Him? He created you!
So, what does God have to say about your worth? Well, as I said before, you're worth is dependent upon what someone is willing to pay for you. The Bible teaches us that God sent His son Jesus, the most valuable thing God had to offer, to die in your place! God paid the ultimate price for your soul! He could have paid no higher price! Therefore, to God, you are of infinite worth! The Bible says that we are bought with a price; the precious blood of Jesus! If God thinks you're worth that much, what does it matter what anyone else thinks your worth?
You are valuable in the eyes of God and in the eyes of God's people no matter your age, gender, race, level of education or how much money you earn! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!


Old and New

Some churches reject anything new because we must "seek the old paths". God never changes and therefore, the old ways are still His ways and all this newfangled stuff is not to be embraced (or trusted). Some churches reject the old ways because they are "out-dated" and stuffy. God never changes and His word never changes, but He does things new ways with new people. No one puts new wine into old wineskins do they?
I can see the logic of both these views. I guess I'm somewhere in the middle. I know that God reaches people where they are, so I see Him doing the same things He's always been doing (reaching out to lost people with His love), but He's doing those things in a way that people today can understand and embrace. Not everything new is bad! Then again, I see the wisdom of the old paths. We can't afford to forget about righteous living, holiness and the fear and admonition of the Lord. Not everything old is out-dated!
What I don't understand is the way we fight over these issues. The Bible says to work out your own salvation, so why do we try to make everyone act the same?! Read the Bible, pray for wisdom, listen for the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart and do what He says. And let your neighbor do the same! I know there are those who teach things that are contrary to the scriptures and we must all stand against error and stand up for the truth of God's word. But when it's all said and done, I will answer for my life and you will answer for your life. No one will be able to blame someone else for their sins nor ride into Heaven on someone else's faith! I am willing to let you be you and love you even if we disagree!


Scary God

When I was a child and was told that God is everywhere and sees everything, it scared me! One of a child's best defenses is to hide. Remember when you used to think that if you closed your eyes, no one could see you? All of a sudden, here's this "person" who is constantly watching everything you do and you can't hide from him! Scarrrry!
Now that I am grown (physically and spiritually), I take the fact that God is everywhere, all the time, and sees everything, as a great source of comfort! I like knowing that I'm never alone. When times are good, I have someone to celebrate with me, even if no other human is around. If times are bad, I have someone to mourn with me and comfort me, even if I appear to be by myself.
I must admit that there have been times when I've done things or gone places and I wish God didn't know about it because I'm ashamed of my actions. But, upon reflection, I'm glad my heavenly Father loves me enough to go with me even when I'm somewhere I shouldn't be or when I'm doing something I shouldn't be doing. He loves me too much to leave me alone, especially then! Those are the times I'm likely to need His presence and helping hand the most! I've been known to get myself into trouble pretty deep!
When I lie down to sleep at night, it is a great comfort to know that my Father doesn't sleep or slumber and I can rest assured that He is taking care of me at my most vulnerable time. His omniprescence and omniscience give me peace.



President Obama used "change" as his campaign catchword. It seems like everyone was ready for some "change". Change keeps our lives fresh. Knowing that change will always come (eventually) gives us hope for the future when times are bad. Change is good.
There's another place where change is good. Actually it's not just good, it's necessary. It's the change that happens when we accept Jesus as our savior. There's a Steven Curtis Chapman song that talks about people having all the "trappings" of Christian life, but, the song asks, "What about the change?!". We can go to church, carry a big Bible, sing hymns, have christian bumper stickers, wear "witness wear" clothing and all the other things that people do identify themselves as Christians. But if there's no change in our lifestyles and our hearts, then we're only fooling ourselves!
The Bible teaches that we can judge a tree by it's fruit. If we truly have been translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light, there will be a change in our fruit! If we talk the same way, act the same way and think the same way as before, then we're still the same! The change is the sign of our transformation. If you've been baptized and joined the church but nothing about you has changed, then you're just a wet sinner who belongs to a church. The Spirit has His own fruit that He will bear in you. If you're still bearing apples, you're still an apple tree!
I know it's very confusing to worldly folks when someone confesses to be a Christian but nothing changes about them. They still cuss, fuss, drink and hold a grudge, just like they always did. They wear the name of Jesus around their necks like a rabbit's foot thinking that church membership and water baptism will get them a ticket into Heaven. Talk about your rude awakenings!
Change is the key. Not just change for the sake of change, but that real change that starts in the heart and spreads outward. Change is good.



What is progress? Is progress simply moving forward? Most people seem to think it is. The cry of the world against conservative Christians is "You're blocking progress!". Every time someone wants to push the envelope they do it in the name of progress. But progress isn't just moving forward. Progress is moving toward a goal! Sometimes progress can be moving backwards!
If I'm in New York and my goal is to get to Los Angeles, moving north is not progress. I can move north just as fast as I can and, even though I'm moving fast, I'm not moving toward my goal. That's not progress! If I'm in Tennessee and my goal is to get to Ohio, moving north is progress. But if I keep moving north and find myself in Michigan, turning around and going back South would be progress! Continuing north would be forward movement, but not progress!
Let him who hath an ear hear.


How Did We Get In This Mess?

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. ~ Proverbs 29:18

This verse has been misquoted, misused and even selfishly abused at times. The first half of the verse is generally used, but the second half is almost always left off. Usually this is because the second half doesn't jive with what they're trying to make the first half mean! I like the way it is translated in the CEV; "Without guidance from God, law and order disappear.".
How did the greatest country in the world get into the kind of economic mess we're in today? I think this verse illustrates the problem perfectly. We (and by that I mean everyone who has done it and everyone who has not done anything to stop it) have taught that there is no God. And since there is no supreme law-giver, there is no real truth. We have taught that there is no moral right and wrong, but that everything is relative. What's right for me isn't necessarily what's right for you. There was a time when the Bible says everyone "did what was right in his own eyes" because they had no one to lead them in righteousness. What goes around surely seems to come around, doesn't it?!
The problem is that what is right in some people's eyes is "I'm going to get mine even if it destroys you!".  We have CEO's who think it's alright to accept a 5Million dollar bonus even though they led their companies into financial ruin. They lay off thousands of workers and still take their bonuses! And then they have the gall to ask the taxpayers  (many of whom they have just deprived of employment) to bail them out! This is just one example among many.
Without the Word of God to lead us, we're heading into complete lawlessness. When we don't recognize God's existence and His guidance, law and order, right and wrong, liberty and justice, what we have always called "the American way", will cease to exist!
"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." Psalm 33:12



Your flesh is your greatest enemy! I'm not talking about the meat under your skin, I'm talking about your soul. "Then why say flesh if you're talking about my soul?", you might ask. When your soul is so influenced and overwhelmed by the desires of your body that it is overcome by those desires, God calls that condition "flesh". God created us as spirits who have a soul and live in a body, but when people's souls became so ruled by bodily desires that the spirit was left completely out of the picture, God said that they were "only flesh"!
Believe me, your flesh is out to kill you! And your flesh is the favorite, if not only, tool of the enemy of your soul, Satan. The Bible says that we are tempted and "drawn away by our own lust". It would be hard to open a door without a doorknob and the lust of our flesh is the doorknob that Satan takes hold of to enter into our lives! The flesh wants constant attention and continuous entertainment. Think about it; people eat themselves to death, drink themselves to death and will use drugs, alcohol and tobacco knowing that it will harm their health! But the flesh doesn't care, as long as it is pleasured!
As I said before, you have a spirit and you have a soul and you have a body. The soul will be ruled by your spirit and it's desires or by your body and it's desires. That's just the way it is. If your soul is led by your spirit, the Bible says that you are "spiritually minded" (the mind is a part of your soul) and that you will have life and peace. If your soul is led by your body, the Bible says that you are "carnal (body) minded" and that you will have death.
The old story tells of two dogs in a fight, a black one and a white one. The one who wins the fight will be the one who was fed the most. That's a simplistic illustration that falls short in many ways, but I think you get the picture. Galatians 6:7-8 tells us that "he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he
who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life."


Faithful Stewards

I Corinthians 4:2 tells us that it is required of stewards to be found faithful. Notice it doesn't say that it would be a good idea for stewards to be faithful, or stewards should be faithful if at all possible, or even, I suggest that stewards be faithful. The Bible says that stewards are required to be faithful!
A steward is someone who is in charge of something that belongs to someone else. Therefore, we are all stewards of everything we have! God created our bodies, our souls and our spirits. He gave us the talents and abilities we have. He gave us our intelligence and personalities and even our looks. God owns everything we are and everything we have. He gives us the ability to gain wealth and therefore even our money is His! The whole Earth is God's by reason of His creating it. When man creates something entirely out of nothing, then we will have something that we own! But, don't hold your breath waiting for that!
God owns; men possess! God owns everything, but He allows us to possess it and He expects, even commands, us to be faithful over all He has given. The Bible warns us explicitly that we will be judged according to what we did with what we were given! If we will strive to see everything as belonging to God, we'll find it easier to be faithful with it.