sin, sin, sin – go away

“I have heard of people set free from addiction after a single prayer. But it was not like that for me. For all that ‘I was lost, I am found,’ it is probably more accurate to say, ‘I was really lost, I am little less so at the moment.'” – Bono of the rock band U2

Is that how you feel? Many people don’t truly understand that Jesus sets us free of our sin(s). Romans 7:19, which quotes Paul – a leader in early church days says:

For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evile that I do not want to do.

Paul is telling us that even he, the great leader that he was, struggled with sin. But there is good news, even for the sinner:

Who will rescue me from this body of death?

I thank God the answer is Jesus Christ. – Romans 7:24-25

Even though our bodies are full of sin, Jesus died for us so that we would not have to endure suffering any more. Paul continues in chapter 8 saying:

Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. – Romans 8:1

It’s that simple. Jesus sets us free. Now, if you are still relying on your own understanding then, you must return to Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding

Trust in Him today to save you from sin. He will set you free!

Life is worthless when…

Life is worthless when the government is in charge…
Disclaimer: According to recent legislation under review by our current government, the healthcare reform bill proposes a government controlled system where life is valued based on one’s age. According to the recent proposals, individuals under the age of 15 and

persons over the age of 40 will haveless access to medical care due to their “lower value of life.” Synopsis of valuing life: Essentially, the proponents of the healthcare reform bill state that those under 15 have not yet had substantial resources invested into their life, and therefore are not as valuable as that of a 20 year old. Furthermore, those over the age of 40 “have lived their life,” and therefore are not as worthy to spend government/health insurance on their well-being.
Now, this is NOT intended to imply that ALL of the healthcare reform proposals are bad. We do, in fact, need healthcare reform. Be cautious of what you read, as in many cases, the proponents of such reforms will only highlight the positives (which do exist), but fail to give you the whole story. Read the entire bill for your own edification.

The policies that devalue human life contained in the reform by comparing one’s life to another’s is absolutely unconstitutional and unbiblical. Our Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal…and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are LIFE, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” If we recall, the Nazi’s, Russians, and Cambodian’s had similar philosophies as they killed millions of citizens that they considered “less valuable.”

Furthermore, we find that human life represents that of God (Genesis 1:26 – “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’”). We received another reminder through Moses and the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:13 – “Thou shalt not murder.” Some would say that the healthcare reform bill does not promote murder, but the details suggest that the refusal of treatment to certain sects of society is a passive method of murder in which we “allow them to die” (or commit murder). This is referred to by many as “passive euthanisia.” Euthanasia – the taking of life when a person is elderly, but not dead – is just as sinful as abortion – the taking of life when a person is not yet born, but still alive.

Countries where government supported healthcare (Britain, Holland, Scandanavia) has already been enacted, have already proven the unsuccessful state of such government run programs and the deteriorating effects of quality of care that follows. As recent as 1995, Tennessee adopted a government run healthcare and by 2005 the governor said “Our experience with trying to do universal coverage ended up being a

disaster” which took the state on a road to bankruptcy.

Young children with life threatening diseases are told that their life is not worth spending government money for treatments and are “allowed” to die. The elderly that require extensive surgeries for bypasses or broken hips are not only denied treatment, but also denied pain medications.

How would you like the government to tell you that your premature baby was “too young” for treatment when it is born? These are NOT hypothetical situations. These situations WILL OCCUR if we allow the current healthcare reform bill to pass!

 

 

It is one thing for a person to refuse treatment that will only prolong a person’s death in terminal cases. It is a total different topic to permit the government to decide/refuse the consideration of such treatment.

Now, do you really want the government deciding the value of YOUR life? Speak out to your congressmen and senators quickly!



Additional note: The government plans to start collecting taxes to pay for healthcare reform on Jan 1, 2010, but we won’t receive any supposed “benefit” until Jan 2013 because the budget office has realized that to pay for 7 years of healthcare will take 10 years of taxes.

Live with sin no more!

How can we who died to sin still live in it? – Romans 6:2

After we have become a child of God, we are to no longer be held captive to sin. For those students who attended Big Oak 2009, we “buried” our sins. Those things that hold us captive – they should no longer control us. If we allow them back in our lives, we have not truly buried our old self, our old ways.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. – Romans 6:3-4

There are times where, as humans, we backslide. We accidently repeat our old ways. When this happens, we must repent of these sins. We must purify our bodies again, and move forward with a new life.

We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body…would no longer be enslaved to sin. – Romans 6:6

Do not allow the things of the past to control your future. Christ died so that we would no longer be a slave to sin. Therefore, use prayer to strengthen yourself and begin NEW TODAY! Start over with a fresh life, absent of past sins (for God has already forgiven you!). Rebuke the devil when he begins to tempt you again. Do not allow your eyes to wander, or your body to endulge in those things that you know are sinful. While it may be hard at first, you must use the strength of God through your requests to become more powerful than the sin that had corrupted your old way of life.

For the death [Jesus] died He died to sin, once for all, but the life [Jesus] lives He lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. – Romans 6:10-11

 

the freedom of God’s grace

Having problems in your daily walk? Paul, a great servant and disciple of our Lord God, gave us some great advice in the book of Romans:

Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life.” – Romans 6:12-13

Paul reminds us that WE HAVE CONTROL over our own bodies. We get to choose what we do. And it’s our responsibility to keep sin out of our lives. However, it is because of God that we have this choice. It is because of God that we have NEW life!

Therefore, brothers and sisters, do not allow sin to come back into your life, instead give up your body as a living sacrifice to God. Jesus gave sacrificially to His death for us to have new life. Simply put HE DIED FOR YOU! The least we can do is LIVE FOR HIM!

“So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.” – Romans 6:13-14

Go . . . and make disciples! Be His witness in everything you do. Keep sin from your life and live “under the freedom of God’s grace.”

You just don’t understand

Has someone ever told you, “You just don’t understand?”

As I re-read sections of The Shack, I am reminded that I  just don’t understand! There are so many things I just don’t get. Like why does God allow evil in this world? (see http://docs.google.com/View?id=dfr2db42_1h7jkkg6 for a paper I wrote that explains theologically why God may allow evil).

Still, everyday millions of people turn from God or to God for answers to this and many other questions. Why? It’s because we just don’t understand. After all, if we understood, we wouldn’t need to ask. But why don’t we understand? Well, according to the author of the Shack, we “try to make sense of the world in which [we] live based on a very small and incomplete picture of reality.” (p. 126). God has a plan much greater than ours. I didn’t say “better” although that’s true, but His plan is greater in all ways. The scope of His plan extends beyond the limits of our small space, it even extends beyond time.

We attempt to fix things within our space (the things and people we interact with). And we attempt to fix things NOW. We sometimes don’t think about the consequences of our actions in the future. 

But God has a grander picture, one that covers ALL things through space and time. If we truly trust God, we wouldn’t attack Him and charge Him “guilty” when evil is present in our lives; instead we would THANK HIM for loving us and producing a harvest in us that is better than we could sow. 

God is continually growing us and if we could just see that, then all things would fall in to place. As the author of the Shack said, “If you knew [God] was good and that everything – the means, the ends, and all the processes of individual lives – is all covered by [God’s] goodness, then while you might not always understand what [God] is doing, you would trust [God]. But you don’t” (p. 126).

That’s a hard statement to accept. If we truly trusted God, we wouldn’t necessarily understand, but we would accept it. How do you trust God? We’ll talk about this more later, it comes through a relationship with Him. Come back soon and we’ll start work on developing that relationship!

{quoted passages taken from The Shack
.}

Hungry?

Proverbs 10: 3 – “The Lord will not let the Godly go hungry, but He refuses to satisfy the craving of the wicked.”

The book of Proverbs is not a book on Christian doctrine, but a book of moral truth. It includes a vast amount of material and knowledge that can be applied personally to follow a godly life. The word proverb comes from the Hebrew word meaning “to rule or to govern.” We should allow these proverbs to govern our lives.

Will we ever go hungry in life? I’m sure that most all of us can say we have at some point. However, what I’d like to focus on is the second part of this proverb.  – “He refuses to satisfy the craving of the wicked.”

Let’s think about the wicked . . . sinners (that includes us). Think about the last sin you committed…was it fun during the act? It seems that when we sin, the “enjoyment” of it only lasts temporarily. In fact, as soon as the sin has been violated and over with, the flesh (our body) wants more of it. Worse yet, the more often that sin is committed, the easier it gets, and the more the flesh wants. It seems to be an unending, losing situation. Remember – “He refuses to satisfy the craving of the wicked.”

Now, let’s go back to the first part of the proverb – “The Lord will not let the Godly go hungry.” Frequently, I speak to fellow Christians about my walk with the Lord. It seems that when we do fellowship, worship, and speak about the Lord and to Him, our souls are refreshed. Not just during the time that we are together worshipping the Lord, but for a long time following it. The Lord has made us so that when we do right, we feel right. Our soul is refreshed during worship and our bodies are made new again in Him. 

Remember Matthew 18:20 “where two or three have come together in my name, I am there among them.” Take time to be with another and come into the presence of the Lord. Let Him refresh your souls today, don’t go hungry!

Evil in the World

This topic is about Why God would allow evil in a world that He loves.

Instead of blogging per se, I propose instead to publish a paper I wrote for Seminary. Although this paper may discuss some deep theological discussions, I hope and pray you will take time to read the entire paper and appreciate the information contained in it. I believe it will help explain the apparent dilemma of God and Evil in the world.

I would also appreciate your commentary on this subject – submit a comment and let’s discuss it.

Excerpt from paper: “With the problem of evil comes an apparent dilemma: if God is sovereign and in control of everything, God is responsible for evil, therefore God is evil, and thus God is not the Christian God. However, as will be noted in this paper, this apparent problem is not difficult to explain or justify….”

Link to paper: http://docs.google.com/View?id=dfr2db42_1h7jkkg6