Archive for ‘Sin’

August 29, 2012

Hateful Speech

by pastortimfowler

Speech is Silver

I saw this on Facebook today: Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate. When I read it I thought about our nasty political climate and presidential campaign and it made me think about these verses of the Bible:
1 Timothy 2:1-2 (GW)
1 First of all, I encourage you to make petitions, prayers, intercessions, and prayers of thanks for all people,
2 for rulers, and for everyone who has authority over us. Pray for these people so that we can have a quiet and peaceful life always lived in a godly and reverent way
.
Christians should really think before they post things on Facebook or anywhere else that are full of hateful words. I think that it is very easy for us to lose our credibility as the people of love that we are supposed to be when all people see or hear from us is hateful slams of those we disagree with. Some of you may quickly say that in America, we have freedom of speech, and that is true, but as Christians, we have freedom from sin and using hate filled speech is sinful.
Years ago, I got out of the Navy and because I needed a job to provide income immediately, I went to work as a car salesman. One of the things I had to do is learn about the competition’s cars. All car makers make a model to compete with the others, like compact, mid-sized, full-sized, and pick-ups. What you learn is that there are subtle differences between each of them and that a good salesman could tell you what they are. My boss told me to learn those differences, not to talk down about the other make of cars, but to point out the ways your make of car was better. For instance I might say to a customer, Yes sir, the Chevy does have good towing capability, but the Ford we sell will tow a thousand pounds more than that. Given the fact that they are both fine vehicles, wouldn’t you get more for your money with our better towing capability?
But for some reason, people like to talk about the bad stuff or the different stuff as if it were bad. I was told years ago that different is not always wrong, it is just different. That is the way our country was built, to respect and give freedom to be different. But in the case where different is in deed wrong, slamming that wrong publicly rarely results in change. That is where Christians need to remember the words written in the verses above. Whatever leader is in place, it is because God has allowed that leader to be there. We are to follow the laws of the land and to respect those who are in authority over us and most of all we are to pray for them. Romans 13:4 The government is God’s servant working for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid. The government has the right to carry out the death sentence. It is God’s servant, an avenger to execute God’s anger on anyone who does what is wrong.

So I challenge you to promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate. Love covers a multitude of sin.

Advertisements
April 25, 2012

Personal Suffering

by pastortimfowler

Wow. I asked for some blog ideas yesterday and got quite a few suggestions. One of the questions has to do with personal suffering. This is something that most of us can relate to and there is much controversy over its place in the Christian community. The reason that I am responding to this one first is because I have had several people ask questions about this in the last week.
First place to start is why do we suffer stuff like sickness and disease? The simple answer is easy; sin. When God created Adam and Eve He intended for them to live forever. He told them that if they disobeyed that it would bring on death, and in that, pain and suffering. As we all know, they disobeyed and God kept His word. From that time on, pain and suffering were a part of our lives. As humanity reproduced, the sin nature is passed from generation to generation and therefore, we have and always will have pain and suffering.
This does not mean that God does not care about our physical well-being. However many churches make their claim to fame as one of healing the physical ailments of believers. Jesus was very compassionate when it came to those who were sick and lame. He healed them and committed much of His earthly time to this. But He healed more people who did not believe than those who already believed because He was dealing mainly with the Jews, they required miraculous signs to believe. (1Cor 1:22) Even in the early church when the Apostles performed miracles, most often it was to the unbeliever.
But God has never promised that we would always be healed of our physical ailments. In fact, even the Apostle Paul had physical ailments and wrote to the church about ways to help when they were physically sick. Not even Lazarus, who Jesus raised from the dead, was given permanent physical healing. One of the reasons for physical ailments in believers is so that we learn to depend on God’s grace to be sufficient. That is what God told Paul about his “thorn is the side”.
Jesus was asked why a boy was physically impaired and whether or not it  was because of his mother’s or father’s sin. Jesus told them that it was neither, but rather it was for God’s glory. Of course Jesus healed the boy and God was glorified, but still, the point was not that the ailment was a curse, just a fact of life. God wants us to ask Him for anything that we are concerned about. He does still heal today, but not everyone. Not even Jesus healed everyone that He came in contact with. So there is no promise of physical healing.
Many quote, and wrongly so, this verse from Isaiah, that says, by his stripes we are healed. They forget the rest of it. Isaiah 53:5 … But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. It was for our spiritual healing that He bled and died, not our physical. Way too many Christians become disappointed with God when they believe otherwise. We have the promise of eternal life, not this physical life.
Sadly, our society teaches us that if we don’t look like someone on a magazine cover that we are flawed. If we weigh more than this or don’t have muscles that show every detail, or our breasts are not the right size, or our hair is not bald, (I added that for me), them we are not right. But God made us unique and special to Him. The beauty that He sees is not on the outside, He looks on the inside. He sees the intent of the heart and loves us unconditionally.
Jesus said it best: John 16:33 …These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye may have peace. In the world ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

March 13, 2012

Give It Up

by pastortimfowler

My wife and I were watching TV last night and saw a commercial that made us both laugh. Perhaps the seriousness of it was not meant to make us laugh but there was a line that caused us both to laugh very hard. The commercial was for one of these devices that you wear around your neck and press a button if you need medical assistance. What got my attention is that everyone on this commercial was a woman. I thought to myself that maybe only women were allowed to buy them and maybe I had a discrimination law suit against them. But what got us laughing is that one woman said that she loved her device so much that she would give up beer, wine, and cigarettes to have her little button around her neck. Image that. Willing to give up tobacco and alcohol to save your life. But my thought was, if she gave up the alcohol, maybe she would not fall down as much and could see the numbers on the phone to dial 911.
In my life I have given up alcohol and cigarettes. I have given up drugs, chasing women, and driving like crazy too. All of which can be dangerous to your health. I can’t say that my motivation was to give them up for health reasons as much as because of my relationship with God, but I have quit a few bad habits for a reason.
What are you willing to give up and what is your motivation? Many people have bad habits that would benefit us to give up. Health reasons are not enough. Money is not enough either. Wives, husbands, and children are not always enough either. So what is it that makes us decide to give up something that we think we enjoy but don’t need?
I am of the opinion that until we decide that we want to quit something it is virtually impossible to quit a bad habit. For years I drank alcohol and drank habitually. I knew that it was not good for my health, but that was not the motivation. I even got to the point to where it was ruining my marriage and my wife told me to quit or else, but that wasn’t enough. It wasn’t until I got to the point that I wanted to quit, and yes those things were a motivational part of my decision, that I finally had what it took to quit. I guess the bottom line is that we are the only ones in control of our lives.
This is why so many attempts to quit something fail. It is the reason why attempts at religion fail. It is why we don’t continue going to the gym or keep other New Year’s resolutions. We will never do the hard stuff until we decide that we really want it. That runs deeper than a decision made from disgust or peer pressure, it is a heart matter.
It would be nice if someone would invent a button that we could wear around our necks to push when we decided to do something tough. Just push the button and it does all the work for us. When we have fallen and can’t get up, we just push the button and we are set free. But it just isn’t that simple. That little button that was advertised was a method of calling someone to save you. The only problem is that you still had to wait for them to get there. You still had to hope that someone on the other side got there in time to do any good. Even if the lady gave up the beer and cigarettes, and could afford the service, it could still fail. But I guess if you are old and your mobility if limited, it is a nice thing to have at whatever cost.
Humans all have a need to be saved. Maybe it isn’t our health that is the problem. Perhaps we have a sin problem. Perhaps a physical death is not what we really need to be saved from. What happens when you die? What if you had to stand before a Holy God that did not tolerate any sin of any type when you die? How would you be saved then? Well there isn’t a button to push, but there is a very simple way. God says through the Bible that whoever will call to Him through Jesus Christ with faith that Jesus died in our place, will be saved. It is the method that I chose to believe and it has not failed me yet. There are many other promises that come with the promise of forgiveness and salvation, one of which is the power to overcome the things of this life that hold us back. That is how I quit smoking, drink, chasing women, and many other things that would kill me. I decided I wanted to change and God said He would help. Who knows, maybe you could be so bold? But like I said, until you decide you want it, it is probably not going to happen.
Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

December 6, 2011

Born Naked?

by pastortimfowler

Yesterday I was challenged to blog about some questions I was asked concerning the gay lifestyle. First, thanks for all the kind words, even from some who did not fully agree with me. I hope that you remember that I am going to give answers that come from the Bible and remind everyone that the Bible is not a book of condemnation, but of forgiveness, hope, and love. There is not a sin that God has not already condemned to the cross and forgiven for all who ask and sin is not defined by me or you but by God. After that, His grace allows us to grow and make mistakes and learn from those mistakes without suffering His wrath. This is all because of God’s love for His most precious of creations, mankind.
For those who are still wondering about whether or not someone is born gay, ask someone who is gay. One of my friends who is gay says that she was born that way. I don’t know how I can argue with that, but I was not born gay, I was born naked. What is my biblical basis for this you may ask? Job 1:21 Naked I came from my mother, and naked I will return. The Lord has given, and the Lord has taken away! May the name of the Lord be praised.”
See? Everything that I blog about, to the best of my ability, is founded in scripture. Many people believe that the Bible is old-fashioned and out dated and I say bull feathers. Do you know that there has not been a documented case of a child being born with clothes on, so far, in 21st century? How modern can you get.
Now we have to ask, are people who are born naked sinners? The answer is yes. There is a post-modern culture today that does not want to accept this, but it is true. People who are born naked tend to become liars, and at an early age have a tendency to take toys from other children without asking. One of my own children was born naked and before he could count to 100, he was already lying about things. He grew up and got married and later confessed to his mother and I some of the things that he did as a teen and it was all sinful. All of it can be attributed to him being born naked.
I have done much research on this and found that people like Hitler, Jack the Ripper, and George w. Bush, were all born naked. Could there be a more hideous group of people? And, they are all sinners. I do not know any of these guys sexual orientation, except for George Bush, he was married. But their sexual orientation did not make them sinners, being born naked did. Here is another fact about these 3. Jesus died to pay for their sins and they can be forgiven. That is not my opinion, it is what the Bible says. Romans 10:13 So then, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Let me lay it out for you. God loves us no matter who we are right now. His is able to fix anything we may have screwed up and forgive any sin. He is not as much concerned with which sin, as much as He is concerned with all sin. We can’t name them all and but we can name the one who took the penalty for any and all sin, Jesus.
All have sinned, this makes us unholy. God is holy, this makes us not God. God loves us and made a way to fix our problems. Jesus died in our place. God says that is good enough for Him. God says all we need to do is ask and He will forgive us. That makes us holy, not what else we do. Once God forgives, who cares what others say, God says we are his.
God takes people who are born naked and clothes them in salvation. Isaiah 61:10 I will find joy in the Lord. I will delight in my God. He has dressed me in the clothes of salvation. He has wrapped me in the robe of righteousness like a bridegroom with a priest’s turban, like a bride with her jewels.

September 28, 2011

Slaves In The Bible

by pastortimfowler

My dear friend has been challenging me to blog about some really tough stuff. So now she asked me to blog about slaves in the Bible. I have been hoping I could do this one for a long time. (Sarcasm noted)
One thing my friend is experiencing is the ignorance of people when it comes to the Bible. Notice I did not say stupidity, although that can be a problem too from time to time, but you can’t fix stupid. Ignorance about the Bible comes from people who are not Christians and people who are Christians. Sadly, Christians form their opinions of the Bible when what they really need is to accept the truth of the Bible. We spend a lot of time picking out one or two things that sound like the point that we want to make and running with it as if it were fact. We take things out of context and the true meaning gets twisted. Any writing taken out of context can be dangerous and any writing that someone sets out to criticize can be condemned by those who want to find fault.
Let me give a brief overview of what the Bible is. It is God’s communication to man in the written form. It is not everything that God knows, but it is what He wants us to know. It is not an old writing that has no relevance for today, but rather a writing that when studied in context, including the context of the culture of the times that it was written, can be applied to any culture and time. Too often people get stuck in what is an event or teaching relevant to only to an era and fail to be able to take the principle of the teaching and apply it to present time. The Bible is the account of God creating the world for humans to occupy, giving them free will to make choices, including wrong choices, and loving us in spite of our flaws. In that love, He gives us a way to restore the flawed humans that He loves so much and gives guidelines for His will in our lives and how to deal with the times when we chose to go against His will and screw things up.
Bad choices have consequences and some of those last throughout generations. Cultures often dictate many of our choices, including ones that God’s people fall in to. Just because God permits something to happen does not mean that He approves of it. We do this with our own children as a teaching tool when they chose not to listen to wisdom, don’t we? In God’s perfect will, we would have no pain, sorrow, or death. Because we have freedom to choose and we chose to go against God, the consequences permeate culture and culture adopts those things that are contrary to God, but seem good to some people, especially those in positions of power.
Slavery was never an idea of God. When we think of slavery, we think of the evil of owning another person and often the mistreatment and abuse of those people. The most common word used in the Bible for slaves is the word servant. There were two types of servants, the person who served you in return for protection, housing, and food, and the other is the person used for forced labor. God gives very specific instructions on how to treat those servants that worked for you in the first capacity. They were to be treated properly and provided for and freed from their obligations to you at the end of seven years, and, even then, they were given the choice of staying with you because this was most similar to a job. God gave harsh penalties for mistreating these servants and never gave the command to own people. Society had made owning people acceptable, not God.
In the case of forced labor, slavery, God is best known for providing their freedom, commonly known as the Exodus, and the movie, The 10 Commandments. God sets people free from all sorts of bondage, especially sin. Sin puts us in the mindset of thinking we are right and God is wrong. Sin causes us to put self before others and is what led to slavery as we think about it in the worst of ways. Sin also makes us slaves to things like drugs, alcohol, sex, and money, to name a few. All of which have good and godly ways of being used, but perverted outside of that, in turn result in bondage. God cares about those who are oppressed and provides a way to set us free. He frees those who are slaves to people who pervert authority and those who are slaves to those who pervert the freedom of our own will.
For who the Son sets free, you are free indeed. Only God can provide true freedom, and because of that, I choose to serve Him.

September 6, 2011

Heart Troubles

by pastortimfowler

I went to see a friend today that just had a triple bypass heart operation. He was doing remarkably well for someone who 4 days ago had his chest cracked open. I laughed because I drove about 40 minutes, and only stayed about 2 minutes because he said he was hungry and sleepy, then had to run in the rain back to my truck to drive 40 minutes back. But it was a great use of my time to see an answered prayer face to face.
The human heart is an amazing organ. It pumps blood 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year for on average, almost 80 years. When something goes wrong with it we know it. We get tired, short of breath, and often feel pains like we have never felt before. What my friend had was what is most common for heart problems and that is blocked arteries that supply blood to the thing that pumps the blood. When this happens there are a couple of things that can happen. In the best cases, we can change our diet and exercise, and start taking some medications to help clear things out. A little worse and you get to have a roto rooter job done on the arteries and have stents put in to open them up. This too usually comes with diet and exercise changes and some meds. The last and most severe cases get the ol’ bypass operation. This is where they crack open your chest, clip some spare parts from other locations and install them in the heart to get the blood flowing again. Once this takes place they again tell you to change your diet, exercise and take some meds. With advances in medicine, most people are living 20 or more years after this procedure and regaining their health to a level that was better than before. Incredible!
The human heart is not only the amazing organ that keeps us alive but has also become the symbolic place of our emotions and our conscious. We ‘wear our hearts on our sleeves’ if we show emotions to easily for some and we are quick to say that ‘God knows our hearts’ when talking about our intentions to do good. God is called the Great Physician because He can physically heal our bodies when doctors say there is no hope, but what He does to our heart that we claim controls our inner being is even more amazing.
I have had a bad heart since I was born. The organ is fine, but the inner me is really in need of some help. My condition fluctuates from one degree to the other, but either way, without the help of the Great Physician, I would be dead. When I was about 20 years old I realized that my heart was really bad and God actually gave me a transplant. He put in me a new heart that He had designed to overcome my sin problems. He told me that if I would eat right and exercise that I would have no problems but if I ever decided to go back to my old habits, I would have problems. He restores the blood flow that gives life. That blood is the blood of Jesus. My diet is the word of God and the exercise is my faith of which I need to walk daily with.
There have been times when I ignored the Doctor’s orders and went back to eating the same old junk I use too and I have needed the bypass. It was painful and even embarrassing to think that I messed it up so bad. But I regained my spiritual health and started eating better and exercising and things went good. He restored the blood flow and sin was no longer clogging the way to my heart.
Today, there are still times that I have to allow the doctor to check me out and He usually fusses if I am straying off my diet and exercise. He prescribed a daily dose of His word to me back when I got my transplant and it is usually when I don’t take it like I should that the problems start-up. But every time that I get back on my daily routine that was prescribed, I feel better and my heart feels good.
The doctor really gets great joy when he sees a patient years after an operation and the patient is doing well. I don’t think anything is more disappointing to them than to see a person waste such a wonderful opportunity get their lives back. The doctor can only do so much, we must take responsibility for following His prescription for good health.
Every day now I check in with my Doctor. He is great in that He never gets tired of my calls. He never stops encouraging me to live the lifestyle that He prescribes and promises that no matter how much damage I do, He can fix it if I will let Him. The old part of me still desires the stuff that messes me up, but the more I stick to His plan the better my heart really is.
I hope that you never have to experience a heart bypass, but if you do, be encouraged that it will work and your heart will get better. I hope that everyone will let the Great Physician replace your old heart with a new one and that you to can have a life that is eternal. But don’t ever try to crack your own chest open and do it yourself. You will die. And you know what? You can’t fix your spiritual heart either and that death is forever. See the Doctor and get it done right
Ezekiel 36:26-28
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove your stubborn hearts and give you obedient hearts.
27 I will put my Spirit in you. I will enable you to live by my laws, and you will obey my rules.
28 Then you will live in the land that I gave your ancestors. You will be my people, and I will be your God.

August 31, 2011

How Long Does It Take?

by pastortimfowler

Have you ever seen someone who a few months ago was doing really well and today they are hardly recognizable as the person you thought that you knew? What I am talking about is the type person that use to come to church, was very active in worship and serving and seemed to have their act together, and one day they just quit coming. So you run into them and they have began to live a lifestyle that has no resemblance to who you knew them to be just a little while ago. How does this happen?
Today I finished reading 2 Chronicles in the Old Testament. It chronicles the time in the Jewish history after the period of judges up to the captivity of the Babylonian empire. In short summaries we hear of each king and their actions and how their rule effected the people of Israel. Those kings who followed the ways of God and passed that on to their people were blessed and the nation was blessed and those who did not follow God’s ways brought on misery for the themselves and the people.
Because these are short summaries of each king’s reign it often looks like a rapid decline in morality, when in reality things progressed over a few years, but from time to time you could see the fall take place within months. In these cases the kings before them who tried to follow God, often forgot or refused to destroy the places where idols were worshiped. They would try to make people happy on both sides and play church when it was convenient and please the idol worshipers when that was convenient. As a result, when a king would come in behind him who did not follow God at all, the fall of the people happened very fast and often in months.
Becoming a Christian happens at the blink of an eye. The very moment that we repent and accept Christ as Savior, we become a Christian. The growth of Christians takes time and effort. We must build new habits and tear down the things that are not pleasing to God. Often times we will leave those bad things alone and just try to build our Christian faith around it. We do all the right things and ignore those that are counter productive to our growth. Often in this period of Israel’s history, a new king would come along and try to restore things to God but leave the idols and their alters in place. The effort was always full of conflict because it is easy to worship something that does not hold you accountable. Idols don’t, God does.
God wants us to tear down and destroy the things that distract us from following Him fully. If they are destroyed they can’t tempt later. But the people who fall away, like I mentioned in the beginning, are those who usually just tried to build around the old ways and not get rid of them.
There is no way the we can ever live a totally sinless life as long as we are flesh and blood. But the Holy Spirit in us does allow us to continually work toward holiness. We do need to build new ways into our lives. We need to lay a new foundation and use fresh, new material that God provides. But often before we build we need to spend time doing a bit of demolition. We must tear out the old foundation and things that our lives had been built upon. God is giving us a new foundation in Jesus Christ.
So when you see someone who has fallen away and it seems like they have only taken a short time to fall a long way, remember this. God wants the old stuff destroyed, not moved around or built around. He wants us to start over with newness and build on one solid foundation, not covering up the old one because we like it too much to get rid of.
I tell my staff all the time that we are all closer than we will ever want to admit to falling into our old ways. I warn them and they warn me of things of the past that need to be torn down and gotten rid of. I encourage you to take a few minutes in prayer and ask God to play building inspector and look around to see if there might be some things you need to work on. I surely don’t want to run into you one day and see you in a broken mess and wonder, how long did it take?

August 25, 2011

Responding to the Response

by pastortimfowler

Photo copyrights see http://www.flickr.com/photos/capturecreation/5733866534/in/pool-inspiks

Not understanding God is does not mean that He is wrong or what His word, the Bible, says is wrong. In fact, it is confirmation that what the Bible says about God is correct. Isaiah 55:9 “Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” I constantly remind myself of this verse. But that does not mean that we can’t, won’t, or shouldn’t try to understand the things that challenge us.
One of my last blogs was responded to more than any other in quite a while. The one about lying. Many agreed with me, which by the way, is the right thing to do, but I was surprised at how many tried to justify that there was a good time to lie. I have to admit and remind you that I too said that it was very difficult and at times it seemed right, but God disagrees. If Jesus is the Way, THE TRUTH, and the Life, then anything not the truth is not the way to go.
Many of you gave scriptural references of people who lied. Abraham, Moses’ family and others were brought to my attention. What you have to realize is that God did not put those in there as an example of what to do, but rather as an example of how He could still use a fallen mankind. In the case of Moses, it is important to remember that the whole reason Israel was in Egypt was because of a lie. Joseph was left for dead, sold as a slave and dad was told that he was in fact dead. Only by God’s grace and favor on Joseph did his family eventually move to Egypt during the famine and eventually ended up as slaves. Lies and sin never go unpunished. God is a just God and cannot allow sin to go unchecked.
Sure, there were always good things that came from the situations but that is not because of man’s sin, it is solely because of God’s grace. His grace is greater than all of our sins. Jesus did not die for the righteous, but for the sinner. It was a lie that convicted Jesus, but God used that lie as part of His plan to redeem fallen man. The only way an innocent man can be convicted is through a lie or the truth being ignored, call it what you want.
In the past several months I have been pounding into the ears of my church and anyone who will listen the fact that God wants us to read the entire Bible starting at Genesis 1:1 and all the way through to Revelation 22:21. Only when we take the entire Bible into account can the whole truth be revealed. Stories, chapters, or verses always build on or compliment the rest of the Bible. It is not a book of one liners to prove our point or children’s stories to teach a fable. It is the living word of God, the Truth, and the story of the redemption of a fallen man.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 Every Scripture passage is inspired by God. All of them are useful for teaching, pointing out errors, correcting people, and training them for a life that has God’s approval. 17 They equip God’s servants so that they are completely prepared to do good things. Our human nature wants us to lie. It wants us to find a reason to justify our actions when they contradict the Bible. But if you are a Christian, your human nature must be replaced with God’s nature and a desire for the truth. Satan is the father of ALL lies, and we are no longer his children but rather Children of God, born into the family by the Truth, Jesus Christ.
Thanks so much for being honest about what you think about my blogs. Thanks for being honest enough to say that you struggle with some things that God says. We all do. In fact, let me leave you with one last scripture to help when you struggle.
Romans 3:2-4
2 There are all kinds of advantages. First of all, God entrusted them with his word.
3 What if some of them were unfaithful? Can their unfaithfulness cancel God’s faithfulness?
4 That would be unthinkable! God is honest, and everyone else is a liar, as Scripture says, “So you hand down justice when you speak, and you win your case in court.”

August 23, 2011

Tell The Truth

by pastortimfowler

The hardest sin in the world to not do is lying. I am sure that someone is already saying that they don’t lie, so that should be proof that we all do it. Personally I struggle with approximately 783 different sins on a regular basis, but I am special. In those, lying is incorporated into half of them. There are times when I want to lie so bad it almost hurts not to. I feel the convictions all the time and often rip my cloths like they did in the Old Testament when they were upset. Can anyone see that there may be a few lies mixed in to this already? I like to call them artistic liberties.
Lying is deeply engrained in us. It starts as babies when we learn that we can cry for no reason and mommy will come get us. No one ever taught us how to lie, it just starts to happen. When mom or dad asks us if we did it and we say no, knowing that we did and that our parents know it before they asked. The Bible tells us that Satan is the father of all lies and so he uses that against us all the time.
I am not saying that everyone is a habitual liar or chronic liar, or lying for evil ways. I am just saying that we all lie and it always ends up coming back to get us. We are taught in children’s stories like The Boy Who Cried Wolf, that lying is wrong and has consequences. Our parents and teachers tell us that we shouldn’t lie and yet we still do it. And, I can think of a few times when lying has seemed like the right thing to do and therefore justified it. I am not proud of that fact, but this is one time I am not lying.
Let me give a few things that most of us have lied about. Our age, even jokingly, we do that. As young boys noticing girls for the first time, especially the older ones who liked only older guys, we often said that we were a few years older than we really were. Women as they get older never get older. Our occupation. This usually has to do with impressing the opposite sex too. I have held several fictitious positions in my life. Our income. Again, often tied to impressing the opposite sex, but sometimes we do it to get credit that we don’t think we qualify for. Our weight. Most of us are heavier than we say we are. Why that matters, I am not sure, but it is a lie for most of us. Our availability. You know what I mean. Sorry, I am busy that day or time, when really you just don’t want to be around that person. Our family. Sounds strange, but I had this uncle growing up that did everything and had everything and took me everywhere, even though no one ever met him. Wrong number. Who hasn’t used this one? I did not know what the speed limit was through here. HA! Yes we do, we just didn’t plan on the cop using radar that day.
Most of these are common and relatively harmless, except for the fact that God hates lies and He did not say only the big ones. He does not like “stretching the truth”, fibbing, or little white lies. He doesn’t even like it when a husband says, “sure honey, that looks fine” so that the wife doesn’t get mad at you.
That being said, how can we deal with this lying thing?
I have found that often a lie can be averted by asking the question, do you really want me to answer that truthfully? That causes people to at least think long enough for you to think about how to tell the truth tactfully. You don’t have to scream to your wife, “Oh my gosh, that thing is hideous!” You could say that you don’t think it compliments her like some other dresses she wears. You can just tell the truth and let people know that if they ask you something they can expect the truth and most people will then be very careful what they ask you after a while.
I have some good news and I have some bad news about lying.
The bad news is that lying is a sin. God hates it and expects better from those who claim to know Jesus as Savior. The good news is that He forgives us if we ask and make an attempt to change our ways.
The bad news is that many people lie about knowing Jesus as Savior. They act the part, but it has never been a real conversion. The good news is that God waits patiently for those who don’t know Him and freely gives salvation to those who trust Him by faith.
The bad news is that many people die thinking they were good enough to get to heaven, but they believed a lie. No one can be good enough. We are all sinners and need to be forgiven and need to ask for it. The good news is that no one has to die and go to hell. Jesus said that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. If you trust the truth, you will be forgiven. God loves us that much.
I was told that if you lie, you will eventually have to tell another lie and then another and so on. But if you tell the truth you never have to remember which lie you told to who. I guess that is what makes God so awesome. He only tells the truth, He never has to change it and He never has to apologize for it. When Jesus told us to let our yes be yes and our no be no, He was simply saying…tell the truth.

April 14, 2011

Sin is sin

by pastortimfowler

I recently was sent a video of a guy saying that Christians need to get over our anti-gay agenda. He quoted that we ignore commands to not eat certain things and that Jesus said to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. So here we go, this is my blog on homosexuality or at least a response to what I consider an ignorant person when it comes to God and His word.

First of all, the Old Testament laws were given to the Jews. The food laws and ceremonial laws were for them only. The law was also given so that all humanity realizes that we are law breakers, sinners. Romans 3:20 says this… Not one person can have God’s approval by following Moses’ Teachings. Moses’ Teachings show what sin is.

The New Testament is a promise that Jesus fulfilled those laws and now we live under grace. Grace is not a free pass to sin. It is a provision given to God’s children who are born again by faith in Christ and his death to pay for our sin and His resurrection to defeat death. His Holy Spirit makes us God’s children when ask for forgiveness and accept our place as helpless sinners saved by God’s grace.
Fulfilling the law means completing all parts of the law. For instance, we know that speed limits are part of the law. Going faster than the posted limit breaks that law. The law also says that for breaking the law there is a penalty, in this case usually a fine. The law in not complete until the penalty has been paid. I can pay it or someone who has compassion for me can pay it but either way it must be paid. That is what Jesus did for all law breakers. He paid the fine, death.

There are still the same consequences for sin today as there were in the beginning with Adam and Eve. The laws have not changed. Sin still has a fine to be paid. The fine is death. But God’s gift is forgiveness and life and He will allow Jesus to pay that fine with His death.

What sin causes this death? One would definitely be homosexuality. Others would be lying, stealing, murder, idolatry, and many others that we could name. Homosexuality is no worse sin that any other, yet it still a sin.

When we are born again God forgives the death we owe and begins to change us as we grow in our Christianity. Some people are able to overcome some sins quicker that other sins. I personally overcame drunkenness but it took me about 8 years. None of us are ever able to never sin again, but we are expected to try.

Sexual sins also include adultery, incest and bestiality. Jesus said that if even looked on a woman in lust we have sinned. He has perfection as His standard of judgment, we can only judge that same way. However we lack perfection in ourselves and must refer back to God and His word to seek that guidance.

It is sad that there are some Christians that condemn those who struggle to overcome a certain sin. Jesus told a woman who was caught in the act of adultery that He did not condemn her, but did tell her to stop doing what she was accused of. He also said that anyone who was without sin could cast the first stone and no one was able to do so.

Condemnation is not what Jesus asks of His people. He did say to love even those who were our enemy. He loves sinners, no matter the sin. But He does promise that He will forgive all sin when asked or He will judge all sin if not asked. Romans 6:23 says, “The payment for sin is death, but the gift that God freely gives is everlasting life found in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

It is a dangerous thing to flaunt any sin in the face of God though. No matter how we try to twist things, the Bible clearly states what some specific sins are, with no ifs, and, or buts. God is gracious, but expects us to begin to agree with Him, not the world, about our sin and begin to seek His help to overcome it. No matter the sin. Any sex outside of marriage is sinful, so yes homosexuality is a sin. Not for me to judge and yes I am to love the sinner, no matter the sin.So if we take all sexuality out of the picture, we still have a lot of sin to deal with, thanks be to Jesus for paying the price for ALL.

To throw a blanket over all Christians as homophobes or needing to “get over” something like that is just as wrong as throwing a blanket over all homosexuals as perverts and the worst of all sinners. So know that all have sinner and come short of God’s glory, I think if we look closely we will find forgiveness as a common ground.

Tags: ,