Monday, November 26, 2012

The Nose Hook of Sin

Sin is sin; it cost our Savior to die whether it was a white lie or murder.  What’s the greatest sin?  Does God have a scale to measure what is the greatest or least committed sin by mankind?  As I was reading Genesis recently; I was very surprised at a verse found in Genesis 6:6, “The Lord was grieved that he made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.”  Have you ever thought of God’s heart filled with pain? It was hurt due to several issues: sons of God were marrying ungodly women, inclinations of the thoughts of heart were ONLY evil, and full of violence; and corrupted there ways. (Genesis 6:1-12)
What people do not understand is our thoughts are just as important as our actions.  Sin is birthed in the mind through our OWN evil desires.  James 1:14-15 records, “But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”  Sin destroys not only our relationship with God but with mankind; this is the truth of the commandments.  Yet, sadly it seems we desire to compare our sinful scars or validate ourselves since we haven’t committed someone else’s sinful act.      
    It’s only through the Word of God is sin defined.  “We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers-and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine.” (I Timothy 1:8-10)  Doesn't it sound like a rough crowd of people?
     Besides sin being defined by God; the Father sent the cure-His Son to die for ALL mankind.  Sin has been committed by all; no one is righteous. (Romans 3:23)  Yet, the penalty of sin has been paid for through the death of Christ.  It’s only through the death of Christ we can be made righteous before God. (Romans 5:19) If you are human, we all have been tempted by sin even our precious Savior was tempted. (Hebrews 4:15) Only Christ is the only one who was tempted in all ways but DIDN’T SIN.  He is our advocate, mediator and high priest who can sympathize with our weakness.  So, we don’t have to be afraid to approach him regardless of the dark deeds we have done, he just wants us to come.
     Although the Apostle Paul describes himself as “the chief of sinners”, scripture is full of some interesting characters who have committed some horrifying actions such as King Manasseh.  King Manasseh did evil in the eyes of the Lord by following the evil practices of the nation. (2 Kings 21:2) What was so evil? Scripture records Manasseh committed the following: rebuilt the high places, erected altars to Baal, made an Asherah pole, he bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshipped them, built altars to the starry hosts in the Lord’s temple, sacrificed his OWN son in the fire, practiced sorcery and divination, and consulted mediums and spiritists. (2 Kings 21:3-6)  Sadly, the list continues through the chapter by leading the children of Israel astray and his sins were GREATER than the Amorites.  God called out to Manasseh but he ignored His voice.  What was going to turn Manasseh’s heart?  Manasseh was pulled by a hook in his nose and shackles into the dungeon of his enemy. (2 Chronicles 33:11) Sin will capture your life with shackles pulling your soul into the chambers of Hell.  As the shackles weighed upon his life; it was leading him to his prison cell.  Was Manasseh getting righteous judgment by God?  Of course, the penalty of sin was to be paid.  God’s holiness will produce righteous judgment but the judgment issued comes from our choices. 
     What if King Manasseh entered our church doors?  How do you think we would respond?  Would we offer grace to this man; a man who murdered his child, committed idolater, and caused the downfall of a nation?  How great is Manasseh’s sin?  It is pretty great; there is no argument here.  Yet, there is something greater!  God’s amazing grace!  God’s grace covered all of Manasseh’s sin, restored his life, and his kingdom.  What captured the heart of God?  It was a heart with humility. (2 Chronicles 33:13)  He sought the favor of the Lord in his distress, truly repented by removing the evil he made, and followed God’s Word.  
The only way to get free from the nose hook of sin is humbly calling upon God.  If we truly are broken over our actions, turn away from our sinful life, and choose to follow Him; it's how repentance is defined.  We can't hide our sinful deeds from God but we can be set free from sin, the dreadful shame removed, and our life restored.  We don't have to walk in bondage to the chambers of destruction with the enemy having a hook to our nose.  Have you committed the same sins as King Manasseh?  Maybe so or maybe not but it doesn't matter what you did.  Christ came to redeem the vilest of all sinners who will call upon His name.  It's time to remove the chains of sin!  Christ died to set you free, so come to Him!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Book Review: Everyday Matters Bible for Women

     As the mail sat upon my table for a few days, I kept ignoring the pile of bills awaiting my response.  Yet, as we all know bills have to be paid, so I walked over to the table to start sorting it.  When I picked up a small pile of bills, a key fell through the envelopes.  What was this key for?
     My best friend who was visiting me said, "I bet you got a package in the mail."  After she said that, I was puzzled who would send me a package?  Yet, as I thought about it I got so excited I grabbed the key and ran out the door in my purple leopard pajama's to my mailbox.  At night, I am running to the mailbox without my shoes to open this wonderful package.  Oh, I am sure I as a sight for sore eyes!  Yet, I admit I was worse then my own children at Christmas morning.

What was it?  It was a beautiful Bible designed for women.  Recently, I signed-up to review books by authors through Christian Women Affiliate.  So, I was very honored with the opportunity to read it.  After my children went to bed, I got nestled on the couch to explore it.  A warm smooth cup of my favorite coffee, my blanket, and the Word.  It was going to be a wonderful night.  As I opened the Bible with my mind "to review it", I got an unexpected surprise right to the heart from the Holy Spirit.  The Word of God is sharp; it will cut right to the heart.  My very first page was an article about the life of Sarah about faith and doubt called "Sarah: Laughing Her Way to Hope" by Carla Barnhill.  As I was reading it, I was not only convicted, a sobbing mess, but shocked how the Holy Spirit works in unexpected ways.  God's Word is powerful alone.  Yet, I loved the illustrations and applications used to bring God's Word tangible to everyday life.  So, I admit I personally got taste of "how it is applies."
     Besides the wonderful illustrations and applications, I admit the "nerd" inside me wanted to give it a test drive for all the tools for study.  All of the tools were very beneficial especially spiritual practices icons to aid someone who is new in the Christian faith.  Whatever issue of study, it was only a fingertip away of getting some very helpful guidance to disciple.  My only dissatisfaction with the this Bible was no concordance for further assistance.  Also, I enjoy highlighting or underlining key phrases or scriptures during my personal time with the Lord, I was hesitant since the pages seem so frail.
     Overall, I was quite impressed with my new Bible but it was short-lived because my daughter found it.  It was a real joy to see her excitement of getting her "own" Bible.  Also, she gave a young woman's perspective of the Bible, she loved the layout and cover.  She couldn't wait for my review to be done, so she could read it.  What mother would be disappointed at that?  So the Everyday Matters Bible for Women touches the heart of the young, the mature, and the nerdy who desire a closer walk with God.  If we can touch the younger generation, we can change it for God's glory.  As a Christian mother and licensed minister, I couldn't have asked for anything more.

I received a free copy of this book to review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.  I am part of the CWA Review Crew.