Sunday, June 28, 2015

Ruling Over Sin

Ruling Over Sin

In the fourth chapter of Genesis we read about the first murder. And even though Cain’s works were evil (1 John 3:12), even before he killed his brother Abel God warned Cain about sin. The Lord made clear His intention that man should not be ruled by sin; but that man should rule over it. 

  • Genesis 4:7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

Since God intends for us to rule over sin, He made a way for us to do just that. But when (if) you honestly evaluate your own life according to what the Bible has to say about sin, you will find that you fall short of sinless perfection in your daily living because everybody sins.

  • Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
  • 1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
    • see also 2 Chronicles 6:36 and Psalm 14:1-3

 The way He made for us to rule over sin
is for us to accept His rule over us!

We do that by:

Relying on His Restraint
  • Psalm 19:13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression.
    • Pray that God keeps you from arrogantly sinning against Him; exalting yourself before God will have serious consequences (Numbers 15:30).

Trusting in His Truth
  • Psalm 119:133 Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me.
    • Allow the eternal truth of God’s Word to guide your life; this is a strong defense against a sinful lifestyle (Psalm 119:11).

Dying with His Death
  • Romans 6:12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.
    • ‘Therefore’ tells us to look back at what was just said. In Romans 6:1-11, Paul makes clear that Christians have died to sin (Romans 6:7).

Gaining from His Gift
  • Romans 6:13-14 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
    • God made a way for us to overcome sin through Jesus Christ. We are saved from sin by God’s grace through faith in Him (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Read the Romans 6:15-23 to see how Christians have gone from being slaves of sin to slaves of God!

There is a difference between sin controlling your life (Dominion) and sin contaminating your life (Dirtying).
  • Dominion – Ongoing sin without reluctance, regret or remorse.
    • You sin more and more as you continually reject the truth of God’s Word.
    • Your sinful lifestyle defines who you are and what you do (Galatians 5:19-21).
  • Dirtying – Occasional sin that offends the Holy Spirit of God that indwells you.
    • You sin less and less as you draw closer and closer to God.
    • God’s Spirit defines who you are and what you do (Galatians 5:22-24).

Those who do not know
Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord
are under the rule of sin.

And even though Christians still sin,
they are under the rule of God.

When you accept Christ as your Savior: the blood He spilled on the cross pays your sin debt to God; His resurrection makes your eternal life in Heaven possible; and the indwelling presence of His Spirit is your guarantee of the permanence of your salvation.

If you don’t know Christ as your Savior, pray that He will deliver you from the control of sin and permanently wash away its dominion over your life.

If you are already a Christian, thank Him for what He has done for you and continue to confess and repent of any sin in your life so you maintain a healthy relationship with your Savior.


Precious loving Father, thank You for delivering me from the dominion of sin in my life. I pray dear Father that You will see the broken hearts and hear the desperate prayers of those who need forgiveness of their sins through salvation in Your Son Jesus Christ. I praise and trust You! I love and need You! You are my God and my King. I pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Give Me Life

Give Me Life

Life can be frustrating. Struggling with our own weaknesses, the spiritual attacks of Satan and his demons, along with a constant onslaught of wordly temptations can be draining, discouraging and distracting. Dealing with the consequences of our sin and the sin of others can make it feel as if the life has been sucked right out of us. 

But Christians have been given eternal life through God’s Word!
  • John 5:24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
  • John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
  • 1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life

Psalm 119 is all about God’s Word; its purposes, practicality, power, purity, perfection, preeminence and permanence. The writer of this Psalm uses the Hebrew word châyâh eleven times in relation to how God’s Word gives life. 

In The New King James Version (NKJV) and The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), châyâh is translated as ‘has/have given me life’ in Psalm 119 verses 50 and 93. In these two verses we hear a bold statement based on what God has done:
  • Psalm 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life.
  • Psalm 119:93 I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have given me life.
    • I will never forget Your Word; my comfort in miserable circumstances is knowing that through Your Word, You have given me life!
For the nine remaining occurrences of châyâh in Psalm 119, in the NKJV, all are translated ‘revive me’. The HCSB translates each of these occurrences as ‘give me life’.  In these nine verses we hear fervent requests based on what God can do:
  • Psalm 119:25 My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.
    • God Preserve Me – I am so low that life doesn’t feel worth living; give me life through Your Word.
  • Psalm 119:37 Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way.
    • God Repair Me – So many useless things draw me away; give me life as I journey with You.
  • Psalm 119:40 Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me in Your righteousness.
    • God Preserve Me – I desire the truth of Your Law; in Your virtue, give me life.
  • Psalm 119:88 Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.
    • God Save Me – Give me life by Your mercy; so that I may live as You have spoken.
  • Psalm 119:107 I am afflicted very much; Revive me, O Lord, according to Your word.
    • God Restore Me – I am so beaten down; give me life as declared in Your Word.
  • Psalm 119:149 Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness; O Lord, revive me according to Your justice.
    • God Preserve Me – Oh Lord, hear me in Your mercy; give me life consistent with You justice.
  • Psalm 119:154 Plead my cause and redeem me; Revive me according to Your word.
    • God Restore Me – Stand with me, purchase my freedom; give me life as promised in Your Word.
  • Psalm 119:156 Great are Your tender mercies, O Lord; Revive me according to Your judgments.
    • God Preserve Me – Lord, Your compassions are abundant; give me life in keeping with Your divine law.
  • Psalm 119:159 Consider how I love Your precepts; Revive me, O Lord, according to Your lovingkindness.
    • God Save Me – You see how I love your Word; give me life according to Your kindness.

Until we join God in Heaven we will face difficult times. But no matter how low, how frustrated, how discouraged we may get, God’s Word both gives and preserves life!

If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, ask God to use His Holy Spirit to reveal the truth of His Holy Word to you. Ask God to give you life!
If you are a born again believe in Jesus Christ but the trials and tribulations of this world have beaten you down, ask God to revive you!

Father, Your Word is Life. Please use the truth of Your Word to comfort those who are discouraged. I beg You to save the lost through the Life giving power of Your Word. May Your will be done according to Your love, grace and mercy. I praise You for all You do, for when You do it, and for how You do it. Revive us Lord!! I pray in the name of my Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Toughest Trails

The Toughest Trails

If you were planning a weekend hiking trip and wanted to get as far from civilization possible, see the most breathtaking sights, experience wilderness and wildlife, you would prepare for the difficult trails. And once you started the hike, your heart would pound with excitement and exertion as you started up the first significant incline. But all the while, despite the obstacles and difficulties, you would be saying to yourself, ‘This is great! This is so worth it!’ 

If you don’t like the idea of a strenuous hike, think about a challenging hobby, project, pastime, etc. (building a large multi-layer patio on your house, crocheting a new and complex pattern, solving a difficult problem at work, or anything else that would be difficult but rewarding).

Sometimes human nature draws us to the easy trails; fatigue, stress, fear or other barriers make what would be a worthy accomplishment seem unattainable or undesirable.

Thank God that Jesus didn’t take the easy path. He lovingly humbled Himself and took the toughest trail.

The Toughest Trail is the one Christ walked on.
  • Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
  • Philippians 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Jesus took the toughest trail for us. And by accepting Him as Savior, we have also chosen to take a tough trail of our own.

As His children, we have to walk a difficult trail.
  • Philippians 1:29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,

The Toughest Trails

Are the Most Challenging

Jesus, the God-man, suffered all the difficulties associated with walking the toughest trail. During His life on earth He experienced:

  • Matthew 8:24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep.
    • Jesus was so warn out, He fell asleep on a boat during a mighty storm.

  • Mark 9:19 He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.”
    • Despite His Words, despite His Works, sometime people just didn’t understand or believe.

  • Luke 19:41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it,
    • Jesus understood the consequences for all humanity’s sin. He wept over ignorance and suffering.

  • Matthew 26:38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
    • God incarnate experienced despair as he faced unimaginable torture (emotionally – mocked and scorned; physically – beaten and crucified; spiritually – bearing our sin and temporary separation from the Father)

The Toughest Trails

Have the Best Views

Jesus stood on the Mount of Transfiguration with Moses and Elijah! He raised the dead, healed the sick and hurting, He saw so many yield to the truth of His Words. On the toughest trail He experienced:

  • Matthew 4:11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.
    • He overcame the temptation of Satan. He overcame death!!!

  • John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
    • He has and is the ultimate peace and shares that peace with those who surrender to Him.

  • Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
    • He knew from eternity past and with every step He took towards the cross why He walked on earth as a man.

  • Luke 10:21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.
    • He rejoiced in the goodness, generosity and glory of His Heavenly Father!

The Toughest Trails

Take You to the Best Destinations

God came to earth as a man through a virgin birth. He then lived a sinless life as the God-man Jesus Christ. He was arrested, convicted, tortured and punished for crimes He did not commit. And after reaching the end of the toughest trail:
  • John 19:30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
    • Jesus perfectly completed His mission. He paid our sin debt by sacrificing Himself on a Roman cross.
  • Luke 24:51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. 
    • Jesus joined God the Father in Heaven; he has gone to prepare a place for us. 

How did Jesus endure the suffering and difficulties of His life on earth? He remained focused on submission to God’s will and the fulfillment of God’s promises!
  • Matthew 26:39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
  • Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
  • Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

How do we endure the difficulties of the Christian life? We endure the trials and tribulations of the trail we walk on and follow Jesus’ example all the way to Heaven!!!
  • 1 Peter 2:21-23 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;
  • Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
  • 2 Corinthians 4:18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Always pay attention to what you are doing;
But don’t get too caught up
in the here and now.
Enjoy the smiles and
endure the sufferings of today;
But find your motivation and peace in
God’s eternal truth and promises!


Father: You know better than anyone that life in a fallen world brings suffering, pain, discouragement and despair. But in Christ Jesus there is comfort and joy for today, and the promise of life in Heaven for eternity. I pray the example of Jesus’ walk on the toughest trail will encourage those who are focusing too much on the sorrows of today. May Your Word bring perspective and peace. May Your truth save and sanctify! In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.