Sunday, July 26, 2015

When Our Sin Hurts Others

When Our Sin Hurts Others

As a follower of Jesus Christ, your behavior matters.
  • James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:12 For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.

If you openly profess your faith in Jesus Christ, the things you do and say may cause others to draw conclusions about your relationship with Him; these conclusions are very important!

For those paying attention, your words and actions can:
  • Reinforce previously held opinions
  • Break down barriers
  • Trigger confrontations
  • Stimulate conversations
  • Stir one’s curiosity
  • Encourage
  • Offend
  • Etc.

Yet beyond the numerous potential immediate reactions others may have to your behavior, and looking past the personal consequences you may have to deal with, here are two possible significantly negative results of your conduct.

Any improper conduct by a Christian may:
  • Push non-Christians further from God.
  • Bring significant suffering or loss to others.

King David personally dealt with the real and potential consequences of his actions. 

  • 2 Samuel 12:13-14 So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14 However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.”
    • David was guilty of adultery and murder (see 2 Samuel Chapter 11). When the prophet Nathan confronted David, he admitted his sin (see 2 Samuel Chapter 12, read Psalm 51 for David’s prayer of confession). However, David still had to face the dreadful results of his actions.
      • As God’s anointed King over Israel, David’s flagrant sin gave the watching gentile nations excuses/reasons to curse God and slander His holiness.
      • The child born out of David’s sin with Bathsheba was going to die.
      • Rebellion and adversarial relationships would not cease in the line of David’s descendants as a result of his sin (2 Samuel 12:10).

  • Psalm 69:5-6 O God, You know my foolishness; And my sins are not hidden from You. 6 Let not those who wait for You, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed because of me; Let not those who seek You be confounded because of me, O God of Israel.
    • In Psalm 69 David is praying for help. He is being wrongly persecuted for his faith in God and his devotion to living a godly life. But in the midst of this prayer, David asks God to protect other servants of the Lord who may be impacted by how he responds to the attacks he is experiencing.
      • David actions or reactions could lead to shame or insult for other followers of God.

Notice that in both of these situations, David acknowledged the existence of his sin. Our improper conduct may be or lead to sin. The existence of our sin leads to consequences. The duration and severity of those consequences vary depending upon the exercise of God’s attributes (mercy, grace, love, patience, sovereignty, etc.) and the exhibiting of our attitudes (humility, regret, pride, selfishness, selflessness, etc.). How tragic when our sin hurts others!

No sin is secret; God sees and knows everything!

Humble yourself before God and sincerely confess your sins to Him.
  • 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Pray as David did, that others will not suffer as a result of your sin.


Father, I have seen my sin hurt others. And beyond that, I am sure there have been negative consequences because of my sin that I never saw or imagined. I beg You to restore and protect anyone who has been or could be hurt by my sin. May Your Holy Spirit empower me to live a life that honors You and brings blessings into others’ lives. Thank You for faithfully forgiving my sin when I genuinely confess it. May the Church of Jesus Christ bring help, healing and love to this broken world through proper Christian behavior as it is expressed in Your Word. I love You Father and pray in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Jumping For Joy

Jumping For Joy

What makes you ‘jump for joy’? You know what I mean; what gets you so excited that you can’t sit still? What ‘gets you going’, ‘pumps you up’, makes you want to dance, sing and shout to the whole world?

Read Habakkuk Chapter 3, verses 17-19 to see what had this prophet of God ‘Jumping For Joy’.

  • 17 Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls—

  • 18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

  • 19 The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills. To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments.

I pray that you can relate to this beautiful expression of joy in the Lord just as it is in the New King James Version. But to be sure you are getting the full impact, I have updated, modernized, ‘Americanized’ it below.

  • 17 Even though there is nothing to eat in my refrigerator, and no food in my pantry; Though my garden isn’t growing anything edible, and the farmer’s market closed down; Though I can’t find a job, there’s no gas in my car, and my bank account is empty –

  • 18 I jump for joy because of the One True and Eternal God, the supreme God of the universe who has delivered me!

  • 19 Jehovah God provides all my strength and all that I need; He makes me sure footed, and He lifts me up so that I am on top of the world! I’ve written these words as a song of worship for the praise team at my church to use during our services.

Above all else, Habakkuk found joy in the Lord. Even when all the things he depended on for daily subsistence were lacking, he sang to the Lord and acknowledged the Lord’s blessings in his life.

I love the Lord and believe with all that I am that He is Who He Is, the holy and only ‘I AM’ (Exodus 3:14)! But I have to admit, sometimes it seems like my state of mind is based more on my circumstances and possessions than on my faith and trust in the goodness and provision of my loving Heavenly Father. I find myself relying on money and stuff for peace of mind rather than experiencing joy and sufficiency in my relationship with Him.

Everyone lives somewhere between:
  • Psalm 4:7-8 You have put gladness in my heart, More than in the season that their grain and wine increased. 8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
    • Having joy and peace from God that transcends circumstances and belongings.

  • Psalm 10:3-4 For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire; He blesses the greedy and renounces the Lord. 4 The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.
    • Being so focused on desires and possessions that pride leaves no room in one’s heart for God.

What is His desire for us?
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
    • That we:
      • Continually find joy in Him.
      • Constantly commune with Him.
      • Comprehensively appreciate all that He is, does, gives and permits.

I Accept that it isn’t Always About Understanding
  • Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

I Know that I Am a Work in Progress
  • Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

I Pray that with Each New Day I Live More Like Who He has Made Me in Christ
  • Ephesians 4:1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

I Long to Truly Find My Joy in Him
  • Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!


Father God, my Lord, my Savior, Your Word is so clear about where and how we should find our joy: in You alone! I pray that no matter what is going on in my life, that Your Holy Spirit will lead me to find joy in You through Jesus Christ. I also pray that Your Word and Your Truth will comfort hearts and save the lost. I praise You and love You! In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Big Plans

Big Plans

  • James 4:13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”;

What are your ‘Big Plans’? Are planning to buy a new home or run away from the one you are in? Are planning to start a family or breaking up one the one you have? Are planning a move across town or across the country? Are you breaking free of a bad situation, starting a new business, changing your life for the better, quitting your job to chase after a dream…?

The Bible states clearly that careful and informed planning is sensible and beneficial.

Diligent planning is good. 
  • Proverbs 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.
Diligent planning after seeking out wise counsel is even better.
  • Proverbs 15:22 Without counsel, plans go awry, But in the multitude of counselors they are established.

But honestly, we don’t know what the future holds. The next beat of your heart, the passing of a few hours, days or years can bring sudden or gradual change that makes all your planning pointless.
  • Proverbs 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.
  • James 4:14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away

Our sovereign God rules over the universe with infinite knowledge and power. And in His wisdom and love, He has plans that will be fulfilled. And when our plans don’t align with His purposes:
  • Psalm 33:10 The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.
  • Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.
  • Proverbs 19:21 There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.

When we boast about the future:
  • Luke 12:18-19 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’

We put ourselves in a position where God may need to humble us:
  • Luke 12:20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’

All of our plans, big or small, should be made with the understanding that God’s plans are perfect. We should always pray and desire that His will be done.
  • James 4:15-16 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil

The more You seek to know and understand His will through prayer, Bible study, Godly counsel, etc., the more likely your plans will align with His purposes. So go ahead and make your plans; but don’t let pride about understanding God and His will lead you to the point where drastic change brings your world crumbling down around you!

And just one more thing, if God’s Holy Spirit is prompting you to accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, don’t put that off. Your next breath could be your last chance to glorify God and secure your eternal life in Heaven!
  • 2 Corinthians 6:2 For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
  • Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,


Forgive me Father when I make plans without seeking Your will and not considering that Your perfect plans may not align with my thinking or desires. Forgive the worry, regret, frustration or anger that rises up within me when Your plans put an end to mine. Help Your children to accept with joy the beauty of Your sovereign reign over all things. If there is anyone who reads this that doesn’t understand what salvation through Jesus Christ means, but they really want to know, I pray that you will send someone to share the truth with them. I pray all this in the most precious and wonderful name of my Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Four Good Reasons for Understanding God’s Will

Four Good Reasons for Understanding God’s Will

After hearing of the of the Colossian’s faith in Christ and love for other believers, Paul wrote them a letter and let them know that he and Timothy had been continuing in prayer that they would be ‘filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding’ (Colossians 1:9). And later in that same letter, Paul commends them for good order and steadfastness of faith in Christ (Colossians 2:5). But then he warns them not to be deceived by the philosophies, lies and legalism that are based on worldly principles (Colossians 2:8).

Do you have faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Do you love your brothers and sisters in Christ? Are you living an orderly and stable Christian life? If so, praise God; you are on the mountain top and you share in those things for which Paul commended the Colossian’s. But guess what, right now Satan, the world and your flesh are trying to corrupt you and every other Christian using cunning thoughts, crafty deceptions and conceited traditions. They want to drag you down into the valley of despair and render you useless as a witness for God.

So why were Paul and Timothy continually praying for the Colossians to be crammed full of wisdom and spiritual knowledge concerning God’s will? Well, we don’t have to guess; Paul told them (and us):

  • Colossians 1:10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

In this verse we see

Four Good Reasons for Understanding God’s Will

That you may:

Walk Worthy of the Lord

Our Holy God has called us to live holy lives. Living worthy of this call includes fulfilling God’s plans for our lives no matter how difficult, unpleasant or inconvenient that may be. Christ came to bear our sins and die on a cross. We honor His life, death and resurrection when we work together with other Christians to advance the gospel message.
  • 1 Peter 1:15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
  • Matthew 10:38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
  • Philippians 1:27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,

Fully Please Him

Living to fulfill the desires of our human nature will never please God. By dying to ourselves, we put to death our evil deeds and selfish desires so that they become pleasing sacrifices to God. But whatever we think or say or do, without genuine faith in His existence and the truth of His Word, we cannot please Him.
  • Romans 8:8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
  • Hebrews 13:16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
  • Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Be Fruitful in Every Good Work

When God grants us understanding and we receive the truth of His Word, with Christ in our hearts we bear varying amounts of fruit in accordance with the grace of God and the gifts He has given. But without Jesus Christ, we can do nothing of value for the kingdom of God. Being fruitful is not only about what we do, it is about our character, attitudes, intentions, influences, impact, praise and so much more. God-like love produces Godly fruit.
  • Matthew 13:23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
  • John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
  • Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Increase in the Knowledge of God

Reverence for God brings wisdom. When we learn about God we understand more about truth. As we mature as Christians, the increase of divine influence on our hearts and learning more about Jesus through Bible study, experience and the example of more mature Christians brings glory to God.
  • Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
  • 2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
  • Philippians 4:9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

A clear understanding God’s Will
enables us to bring glory to Him!

Pray expectantly that God will ‘fill you with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding’. Pray this for your brothers and sisters in Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ should bring Him glory!!!


Gracious loving Father, I ask that You fill Your church, the body of Jesus Christ, with a clear understanding of Your will. Fill us with knowledge of Your will as we read Your Holy Word, appreciate Your awesome creation, observe You mighty works, learn from Your faithful children and pray in Your Son's precious name. May all that we say and do and think and desire bring You glory. I pray these things in the power of the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.