“…Unless You Turn From Your Sins…”

3 Then he said,“I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. — Matt. 18:3 NLT

Matt. 18:1-6 NLT

When some hear this passage, they think of the innocence of a little child who has not yet learned the difference between right and wrong.  Perhaps that’s what Jesus was referring to but I am not so sure.  I think in the context of His remark about humility, He may very well have been referring to something deeper than that.  After all, small children who truly do not know the difference in right and wrong would not need forgiveness, would they?  No, I believe Jesus is referring to us becoming as dependent on Him for everything we need as a small child is dependent on his/her parents for everything they need to survive.  We have to come to Jesus in such humbleness and humility because we realize that we can do nothing about our situation. We are lost and will stay lost without his mercy and grace. But I believe He is reaching even deeper than that. We must humble ourselves to the point that we really and truly understand that we can do nothing in any situation without Him.  Just like a little child comes to us and says “Daddy, tie my shoe strings because I can’t”,  so must we humble ourselves before our Daddy and confess that we can’t.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“…The Boss Over Your Mind…”

6 If your sinful old self is the boss over your mind, it leads to death. But if the Holy Spirit is the boss over your mind, it leads to life and peace.— Romans 8:6 New Life Version (NLV)

 Romans 8:1-6 NLV

Spiritual battles are fought in our minds.  The thoughts that we allow to linger in our minds long enough will turn into words and actions.  That is why the mind must be guarded at all times.  In the early days of computers, there was an acronym that was used quite frequently when computers spit out garbage or nonsense.  That acronym was “gigo” , garbage in, garbage out.  Our minds are the most fantastic computers imaginable.  It is said that most of us never even use ten percent of the capacity of our brains.  So, if we feast on visual and oral garbage for hours every day, then that is what is going to come out of our minds.  We need to be God-focused, not sin-focused.  Don’t fall into the enemy’s trap of remembering and rehearsing your sins and mistakes.  Rather, focus on what you know to be true.  God fulfills every promise.  He forgives us every time we fail.  When satan tempted Jesus, Jesus responded with scriptures. We must fight evil the same way.  That is the example we are to follow. If satan whispers in your ear that you are not forgiven, just quote 1 John 1:9 to him.9 If we tell Him our sins, He is faithful and we can depend on Him to forgive us of our sins. He will make our lives clean from all sin.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Oh, What Joy…”

7 “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight.
8 Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.”  — Romans 4:7-8 NLT 

Romans 4: 8-10 NLT

God, because of His great love, mercy and grace made the plan of salvation so simple that a child can understand it.  Because of the simplicity of the plan, it often brings the question, “Is that really all I need to do to be saved?’.  And the simple answer is “Yes”.  So, we can just keep doing what we were doing?  No! and again No!  But now we are talking about sanctification which is a lifelong process.  The good works we do are not to gain a greater salvation.  If we could do enough good works to be saved then Jesus died in vain.  We might as well still be living under the law and all of its impossible requirements.  But Jesus did not die in vain. His death and resurrection fulfilled the law and opened the gate to heaven so that all that chose Him in faith could come in.  When Paul tells the Philippians to “work out your own salvation”, he is not telling them to look for another way to be saved.  He is telling them to do good works to show the world the results of their salvation.

Phil. 2:12-15 NLT  

Jesus “went about doing good”.  He is our example of how we are to live our lives as His brothers and sisters.  As Christians, our response to certain things should be so different from the response of the worldly that it gets their attention. Our good works not only attract others to Jesus but they are also how we “lay up rewards in heaven”.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Purify Me From My Sins…”

7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. — Psalm 51:7 NLT

Psalm 51:7-15 NLT

David was chosen by God to rule over His people Israel.  God had brought him from the lowly position of shepherd to the highest position in the land. He had watched over and protected David from all of the enemies of Israel and had given him victory after victory. Springtime was when all of the kings went out to war.  Whatever David’s reasons were for staying home in the spring we will never know.   Instead of going out to lead his army as he should have, he sent the army out to fight while he stayed home living a life of leisure and idleness. As the trite old saying goes, “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop”.   David got caught in that trap and fell into sin.  His sin led him to adultery and finally to murder.  As we are told in the book of James, sin brings death.  It brought the death of a marriage, a husband and finally, the death of David’s son.  When Nathan confronted David about his sins, David became humble and repentant.  God forgave him but there were still the consequences of his sin that he had to face.  We must be careful to stay on course and not deviate from what God has called us to do. If we stop and stay idle before the job is finished, we put ourselves in jeopardy. When God shows us our sins, we need to have the same heart David had and react the same way.  God is not looking for ways to punish us but to forgive us and restore us.

1 John 1:5-10 NLT

The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Repent of Your Sins”

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19 Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. — Acts 3:19 NLT        

 Acts 3:17-21 ISV

Except for Jesus, all humans were born with a sinful nature. We, including Jesus, were brought into a sinful world.  Before the death and resurrection of Jesus, most people could use the excuse of ignorance of that fact as a reason not to accept His story.  Even in today’s world of high tech and instant communications, there are still some who can legitimately say that they have never heard the name of Jesus.  Although the Gospel has been preached in every country, it is believed that there are more than 6550 people groups that have never heard the gospel.  There are even more groups who have heard the Gospel but don’t have established Christian organizations to witness to each and every one of the people. Even in our own country and in a lot of our own neighborhoods, there are those who may have heard the name of Jesus but have little or no idea of His story of eternal life.

6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.7 If you have known me, you will also know my Father. From now on you know him and have seen him.” – John 14:6-7 ISV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“I Will Never Again Remember Their Sins “

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12 For I will be merciful regarding their wrong deeds,​ and I will never again remember their sins.”​ – Hebrews 8:12​

In yesterday’s passage, we read about erecting landmarks and altars to remind us of the goodness of God.  We were reminded of how He provides for us and watches over us so that we might proceed safely on our journey.  He has established a new covenant with us beginning with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Instead of an earthly high priest, Jesus is our high Priest.  He has made each of us members of the royal priesthood.  We can now speak directly to God Himself.  He is the complete, final sacrifice so that it is no longer necessary for us to carry out the rituals required in the Old Testament.  Along with that new covenant, He has written His laws in our hearts and in our minds.  He has chosen to forget our sins against Him  The Holy Spirit testifies that this is true.  ( Hebrews 10:14-18).  Just as God forgives and forgets our sins, we are to forgive others. To do that, we are going to have to go back through the memories of our lives and tear down some mental landmarks.  All those memories that bring back the times we have felt or actually been mistreated are going to have to be dealt with and released into God’s captivity.  As humans, we may not be able to forget entirely, but if we follow the instructions given us in 2 Cor. 10:3-5 to bring every thought captive and teach them to obey Christ, then we will find that it is completely possible to make those bad times in our lives insignificant.  If not insignificant, then, at least, no longer worthy of mentioning.  Otherwise, they become the roots that produce fruits of bitterness.  Give those thoughts to God and allow Him to tear down the landmarks before they become strongholds that keep our relationship with God from growing into maturity.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“No One On Earth Who Is Righteous”

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20  Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins. — Eccel. 7:20 NIV

We all fall, but we don’t stay fallen.  I am encouraged by Paul whose claim to be the “chief of sinners” could be contested by some of us in today’s society. He clearly knew who he was, Whose he was and where he was on his journey. He lets us know that he is not there yet, but he is on his way and he is determined to arrive there.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. — Phil. 3:12-14 NIV


”Forgetting what is behind” is the example Paul sets for us. That is a hard thing for humans to do.  But, if we don’t practice that, then satan will use those memories of our failures to condemn us and make us feel unworthy to approach God and ask for His forgiveness.  If we allow this to continue, we will soon become beaten down with guilt.  Condemnation is from the devil, conviction is from the Holy Spirit.  Rebuke satan and his condemnation.  Accept the conviction of the Holy Spirit and ask for His forgiveness.  Accept that forgiveness and “press on toward the goal to win the prize”.

8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. – 1 John 1:8-10 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Seven Things He Detests”

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16 There are six things the Lord hates—
    no, seven things he detests: – Proverbs 6:16 NLT

Proverbs 6:16-19 NLT

Somewhere at sometime, satan deceived someone into thinking and/or believing that God has a prioritized list of sins ranging from “little” to “big”.  That lie has been propagated throughout the generations, much to satan’s delight. A short study of Scripture will quickly prove that untrue.The above verses in Proverbs and this one from The Revelation are good examples.

8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” — Rev. 21:8

God doesn’t see lies as black and white, to Him, lies are lies, period.  While the external effects of some sins are greater than others, the internal effect to each of us committing those sins is the same.  Sin, any sin, separates us from the love of God.

2 ​But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. — Isaiah 59:2

As long as there is unconfessed sin in our lives, we limit what God can do for us and through us.  Just as the rebellion of the children of Israel limited God in the wilderness, we do the same thing. If we continue to live a lifestyle of rebellion and unconfessed sin, God has no choice but to withdraw His blessings and protective covering over our lives. The children of Israel were defeated in battles when they were disobedient to God.  We live defeated lives, when we refuse to obey and confess our sins.

40 How often they provoked Him in the wilderness,And grieved Him in the desert!
41 Yes, again and again they tempted God,
And limited the Holy One of Israel. — Psalm 78:40-41

God knows every minute part of us and every thought that we have, we cannot hide it from Him. When we have sinned, instead of running from Him, we need to run to Him, He is waiting with outstretched arms.16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. — Hebrews 4:16

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“You Will Die In Your Sins”

24 That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” – John 8:24 NLT

John 8:23-27 NLT

Jesus continues to try to convince the crowds of who He is. “You are of this world” but “I AM not”. Then He said to them because you refuse to believe you will die in your sins. The people repeated their demand, “tell us who you are”. Jesus said “I AM”. He tells them that He only says what He hears from the one who sent Him. You would have thought that hearing “I AM” would have reminded these Old Testament scholars of what God told Moses when Moses asks Him, “Who shall I say sent me and God replied “tell them that “I AM” sent you”. But just as Pharaoh refused to believe and his heart grew harder, so it was with the religious leaders and Pharisees of that day in Jerusalem. Let us speak the words that we hear the Holy Spirit say to us and pray that those word will fall on listening ears and the seeds of faith will be planted in the hearts of those that hear. When we are questioned, we too, can say that “I AM” has sent us.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 04-23-2020

“Remain In Fellowship With Christ”

28 And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame. – 1 John 2:28 NLT

i John 2:26-29 NLT

We need to remember that we are always in God’s presence. He is omnipresent, there is no escaping His eye as it roams to and fro over the earth. We must strive to live holy lives every day.

17 I see everything they do. They cannot hide from me the things they do; their sin is not hidden from my eyes–Jeremiah 16:17 (NCV)

While our sins are forgiven, any unconfessed sins in our lives temporarily breaks our fellowship with God. That was the reason for the prayer that Jesus prayed in Gethsemane. He knew that when all the sin of the world was put upon Him, His fellowship with Our Father would be temporarily broken. That would be the one and only time that would be true and it caused Him great anguish. We should feel that same anguish when we fail. When we fail, we should never let satan use that as a weapon to bring us down. What we should feel is not guilt or condemnation, but conviction that causes us to repent. But that is not the end of the story. Just as Jesus was restored to full fellowship with God, so will we be. When God looks at us, He sees us through the blood of Jesus. So, He sees us as righteous just as Christ is righteous. Hopefully, as we strive to live obedient lifestyles, we won’t have to suffer through many of those times of broken fellowship.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 02-02-2020