Posts tagged ‘repentance’

January 28, 2013

How Did We Get Here?

by pastortimfowler

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I want to fast forward through the rest of Genesis to get to Moses and the deliverance from Egypt. I am currently working on a commentary of the Bible so I don’t want to duplicate that in blog form. Most people are familiar with the story of Moses and how God used him to free Israel from slavery in Egypt. What most don’t think about is how they got there. If you have read your Bible you know the story of Joseph being sold into slavery and the brother’s lie to the dad saying that he was killed. What happens after that is often forgotten when the slavery part comes around.
The Old Testament is full of typology. Certain things and places represent certain common theological issues all throughout the Bible. For instance, Egypt is a type of sin. God’s people, Israel were in bondage to sin, Egypt. When we get to that point in the Bible, most of us are feeling sorry for Israel and rooting for them to be delivered. We all want God to fix the injustice that Egypt is inflicting on them. What we forget is that Israel chose to live there.
Keeping in mind the typology, Israel chose through the years to disobey God. God promised them a land through Abraham and his descendents and over time they rebelled and did what they wanted to do. They chose what felt right to man over what was right to God. That is how sin works. It causes us to go farther and farther away from God. Before you know it we are deep in trouble and crying for God to get us out of it..
Remember that Joseph was sold and left for dead. God sent a famine, and his family that did this to him had to face their sin by going into Egypt and asking for help. Joseph made it possible for the family to move into Egypt and for a while, things were great. But that is how it is, way to often, with sin. It usually feels good and for a while even looks like the right thing, but before long, sin shows its true colors and turns ugly.
God said from the beginning that sin would lead to death. He said that sin would cause trouble for mankind as long as we are on this earth. The more we sin, the less God can fix our problems until we finally decide to turn to Him in desperation and let Him restore us. The good news is that when we finally ask God for help, He will help. He is the only answer to our sin problem. His gift of salvation and forgiveness comes through. Call to Him with all your heart. It is called faith and repentance. If we cry out to God with a change of heart He will forgive us and begin to deliver us from our sin.
The best thing we can do is trust God before we move to Egypt. Turn to God before we think that we can fix a problem by trying to get even further in sin.
Don’t forget that it was Israel that chose to live in Egypt. Don’t forget that even their best efforts turned into slavery. Don’t forget that God is the one who set them free. And don’t forget that you too can be set free if you cry out to God.

August 22, 2012

Forgive It

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/26015375@N06/3914730774/

2 Corinthians 2:5-11
5 If someone caused distress, I’m not the one really affected. To some extent—although I don’t want to emphasize this too much—it has affected all of you.
6 The majority of you have imposed a severe enough punishment on that person.
7 So now forgive and comfort him. Such distress could overwhelm someone like that if he’s not forgiven and comforted.
8 That is why I urge you to assure him that you love him.
9 I had also written to you to test you. I wanted to see if you would be obedient in every way.
10 If you forgive someone, so do I. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did in the presence of Christ for your benefit.
11 I don’t want Satan to outwit us. After all, we are not ignorant about Satan’s scheming.

The Apostle Paul is talking to a church who is not forgiving one of its members. I am not sure what was done, but what I do know, because of his other teachings, is that this person must have asked for others to forgive. You see, it is biblical that if you have wronged someone who you should ask for the forgiveness and if you ask another Christian, they are required to give the forgiveness. If someone does not ask, there is no repentance, and no forgiveness is required to be given. I am sure that someone is going to challenge me on this, but I am talking about a situation that is being dealt with in this church and this spans both letters that Paul wrote to the church at Corinth.
Forgiveness is one of the hardest things for anybody to do. When we get hurt, it is somehow in us to return the hurt rather than forgiving. Sure, some of this comes from that person not asking, but far too often I hear people saying that they just won’t forgive.

Paul says that in the case where it has been asked, and withheld, we risk overwhelming that person. Later in this same letter Paul states that Christians have been given the ministry of reconciliation. In other words, we are to fix broken relationships, not shatter the pieces even further, making things beyond repair. So when we are asked to forgive, we should, and in that, we strengthen that person and encourage that same pattern of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Paul tells them that by forgiving, they are assuring that person of the love they have from us. It is easy to love those who treat us right. Anyone can do that. But Christians are supposed to love like Christ loves, and we must remember that while we were still His enemy, Christ died for us, showing His love. Love is not warm fuzzy feelings and never having to say you are sorry. Love is patient, kind, not selfish and doesn’t keep track of wrongs, according to the Bible.
Far too many Christians miss being like Jesus when they don’t forgive. Many others miss feeling the love of Jesus by not asking for the forgiveness. Forgiveness is the act of giving up our right to be angry and instead of holding a grudge, hold our relationship with people higher than our pride. Far too many marriages crumble because they are too busy pointing the finger of blame rather than opening the arms in love.

I encourage you to ask if you need forgiveness and give it when asked. Satan wants Christians to hold grudges and act like we don’t love people. Paul says that we should not be outwitted and that we should know that this unforgiveness thing is part of Satan’s scheme. Kick Satan in the butt and forgive. You will be more like Christ if you do, and something tells me that you will feel better than if you continue to hold that grudge.

November 1, 2011

Curses

by pastortimfowler

I hope that I cover all of the questions that I was asked for this blog about curses. This is an interesting subject that probably takes more than a blog to clear up all the questions, but at the same time, can be a simple answer to give. I like simple and believe that it is the best way to study the Bible and the it best way that allows my brain to work.
The first curse came from God, when He cursed the serpent, man, and the ground. When you look at the word curse from the original texts it means that God’s favor is removed. There is no greater curse than that.
One of the questions was, who or what does the cursing. Only God can remove His favor. He can give authority and has given authority to humans to speak a curse, but only when prompted by following God’s word or His leadership. In Matthew 18 Jesus says that whatever we bind on earth is bound in heaven. I think that this could be a curse on a believer who is not following God’s instructions for repentance. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:5 that the church should give a Christian who refuses to live a sexually pure life over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. I believe this too is a curse to Christians who refuse repentance.
Many believe that those who practice witchcraft can put curses on people. I do not know enough about this to speak with much authority, but I do know that dabbling in the supernatural world of the occult can lead to demon possession. But a person who is not living for God in already cursed by not having God’s favor. I don’t know that I would agree that casting a curse on someone in this sense of the word is truly putting a curse on someone or something.
As far as who or what can be cursed, God clearly shows us in His first 3 curses that it can be man, beast or an inanimate object. Jesus cursed the fig tree. God cursed the ground. In 1 Samuel 4, a child is named Ichabod, which means God’s glory has departed, as a sign to Israel that they were being cursed. I have heard of pastors pronouncing the curse of Ichabod on churches and cities who were not responsive to God’s word. Jesus even said to dust your feet off if someone was not responsive to His words.
I think it is a dangerous area for the average Christian to dwell in. I see nowhere in the Bible where anyone other than a spokesperson for God who was directly instructed by God to pronounce a curse, happens. Christians are far greater instructed to speak blessings into the lives of others. Jesus says in Luke 6:28, Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who insult you. I don’t think that these curses as spoken toward the believer, can remove God’s favor from your life, but the idea is that they will try to remove your trust in God’s favor.
The last question, is there an evil, good, or just curse. When God pronounces a curse it is just. He is a just God. Evil curses are like I spoke of earlier, in my opinion, are demonic and those who dabble there are already cursed. As far as a good curse goes, that would have to be in the same lines as the just curse, because God always wants repentance and if a curse drives someone to repentance, it is a good curse.
My favorite curse outside the Bible is the curse that Snoopy speaks to the Red Baron. I just thought you would want to know.