Friday, December 31, 2010

Sinned Too Much?

A dear friend of mine recently requested prayer for her father.  Seems the gentleman is up in years and in bad health and has never accepted Christ as his Savior.  The reason, he feels he has sinned too much.  This is burning my heart & soul.  So here I am writing my response to this assumption.

If you don't believe in God or you think Jesus is anything other than who He claimed to be, you might as well stop reading now and go on about your business.  But if you are at the place where you don't doubt there is a God and you know in your gut there has to be something about this Jesus, this Savior, but you have never accepted His forgiveness and gift of life please stay with me.  The Holy Spirit is dealing with you.  The Holy Spirit is drawing, wooing, convicting and trying to convince you of your need for Jesus and salvation.  And if you, like my friend's father, think you are too bad, too far gone to be cleansed and accepted by God that is a lie straight from Satan's mouth.  He knows the Holy Spirit is at work within your heart and he wants to stop you from responding to it.  This entry is for you.  May God bless my feeble efforts and use them to His Glory.

Years ago, I was privileged to sit in a study led by missionary Bill Hayes.  Bro. Hayes had made a list of all the excuses Satan puts in peoples minds to cut off the work of the Holy Spirit and had gone on to look up scripture to refute and reprove every single one.  As I read my friends request, I knew that "sinned too much" was one of these.  My old, worn out Bible has the trail of scripture marked out so that one could easily guide someone through these words.  So what I have to say here, draws in great part from those scriptures but the three main points I am making here come straight from the heart cry the Spirit lay upon me as I thought about her request.

Here are the three points: 
  • Sin is sin.  ALL and ANY sin separates us from God.
  • To say that you've sinned too much denies the finished work of Christ upon the cross and the power of God.
  • The Bible is full of examples of terrible sinners who were redeemed and found favor with God.
Sin is sin and God is God.  And God is Holy. 

Leviticus 11:44 (New Living Translation)

44 For I am the Lord your God. You must consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.

God is Holy.  That means he is set apart from us.  Apart from sinful, fallen man.  He is pure, clean and righteous. Holy.  As a Holy God, he cannot be around sin, part of sin, look upon sin.  Mankind assigns degrees to sin.  We designate the ones that most are likely to commit to be lesser than the ones that fewer of us commit.  We say to lie is not as bad as to steal.  That to steal is not as bad as adultery.  That adultery is not as bad as murder.  But EVERY sin, ANY sin set us apart from God.  Any sin keeps us from having fellowship with Him. 

Romans 3:10-20 (New Living Translation)

10 As the Scriptures say,

“No one is righteous—

not even one.

11 No one is truly wise;

no one is seeking God.

12 All have turned away;

all have become useless.

No one does good,

not a single one.”[a]

13 “Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.

Their tongues are filled with lies.”

“Snake venom drips from their lips.”[b]

14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”[c]

15 “They rush to commit murder.

16 Destruction and misery always follow them.

17 They don’t know where to find peace.”[d]

18 “They have no fear of God at all.”[e]

Therefore all have sinned and all sin cuts us off from God. 

But God in His love and desire to have fellowship with us became man in Christ Jesus and paid the price for our sins on the cross that ALL might come to Him and have everlasting life.  When Jesus said "It is finished." upon the cross he meant that God's masterwork, His plan of restoring man to Himself was finished - completed.  Jesus paid it all.  If we start to say that we have done something that Jesus didn't pay for, then we are calling him a liar.  We are contradicting God's own word.  If we say that then we are saying Jesus didn't do enough and God is not all powerful.  

Luke 18:26-27 (New Living Translation)

26 Those who heard this said, “Then who in the world can be saved?”

27 He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”

Romans 3:20-26 (New Living Translation)

20 For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.

Christ Took Our Punishment

21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses[a] and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

As to the examples of men who were not "too sinful" for God to forgive and restore, look to David.  While king he lusted after another man's wife, had an adulterous affair with her and then conspired to have her husband killed.  Yet when he was made to see the magnitude of what he had done and confessed it and called upon God's mercy, God forgave him.  He was still used of God and their fellowship restored.  In fact the Bible tells us that David was a man after God's own heart. 

And there was Paul.  Once known as Saul.  In his own words:

Acts 26:9-11 (New Living Translation)

9 “I used to believe that I ought to do everything I could to oppose the very name of Jesus the Nazarene.[a] 10 Indeed, I did just that in Jerusalem. Authorized by the leading priests, I caused many believers[b] there to be sent to prison. And I cast my vote against them when they were condemned to death. 11 Many times I had them punished in the synagogues to get them to curse Jesus.[c] I was so violently opposed to them that I even chased them down in foreign cities.

1 Timothy 1:15-17 (New Living Translation)

15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen.

There you have.  A man on a mission to kill and persecute.  Directly opposed to God and His plan.  Yet he was FORGIVEN and used by God IN his plan!!  Paul's missionary journeys did more to spread the gospel to the known world at the time than any others.  And he penned 2/3's of the New Testament. 

No, one can not sin too much to be forgiven by God.  Jesus came not for the self righteous, but for the sinner.  One forgiven much is simply more aware of the vibrant new life they have in Him then the one who was forgiven little.  Don't hold back my friend.  Tell Satan to "shut up" and say "yes!" to Jesus today.
Other "too much" scriptures: 
  • Matt. 9:10-13
  • John 8:1-11
  • Luke 19:9&10
  • Romans 5:6-21
  • 1Cor. 6:8-10
Online searchable Bible.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

High Tech Redneck Mama?

Well, sort of.  About the same time I made my post about cell phones and technology, Bubba gave me his old second cell phone.  Main reasons being he had a contract for two phones anyway and I travel round trip 63 miles a day.  So, yes, I now have a cell phone with me most times I leave the house. 

No, I'm not chatting away 24/7.  I use it to call home and see if there's anything I need to pick up on the way home.  I would use it if stuck in traffic to phone ahead to work or the house and let people know why I'm delayed.  I'd use it to call for assistance if I needed it.  It's a handy thing to have if Pete & I go somewhere and leave Bug at home, so we can stay connected.

Do I text?  I DO NOT text while DRIVING!  And if you do, you should stop.  It kills.  Just as surely as being tanked up on alcohol and driving kills.  Once in a blue moon, I do send a text from the phone.  But 99% of my "texting" is really IM'ing for me.  I talk to folks from my computer on thier cell phones via AIM/AOL.  It's the best way to remind Bubba of something or ask him a question when he's at work, because he doesn't have to answer right then, he can wait until he takes a break.

My only living sister, Edna, is 19 years older than me.  She doesn't have a computer, but she has discovered texting.  She, nor I, will call one another very often, as I am usually at work during the day, and in the evenings we are busy with spouses, etc.  Besides, once we get on the phone it's hard to know when to get off.  Daddy used to tell Mama "Hell, Jesse Ruth, you could have driven over and sat down with a cup of coffee and visited in the time you spent on the phone."  So this texting connection has opened a marvelous way for us to say a few sentences to one another almost every day and feel like we know what's going on with one another, what kind of day we are having and how we are in general. 

Moral of the story?  Maybe that the kids have a good thing, just not necessarily the best idea about how to use it.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

What's New With You?

Here I sit, realizing how seldom I have updated in 2010. And how long it has been since I made a "newsy" entry for my online friends. Feeling blessed by the Christmas we just had, and hoping that yours was as well. So, I'll start by answering that question myself, and encourage you to do the same in a comment or an entry of your own.

This has been a year of growing, stretching and changing as a family. Rough spots in some places and smooth traveling in others. Individually, as a couple, as a family. I'm still at the same job, for the same pay rate, for the same hours. I've decided I want to invest more time in my blog this year. It's the only true hobby I have and I miss it. I'm reasonably healthy, happier with myself then I've been in ages and rolling with the punches.

Pete's still dealing with a medley of health issues with no positive answers. He slacked up this past year in work he takes in here at home, in large part due to never knowing how he'll feel and what he'll be able to do and people expecting, wanting things done quickly. But also because a couple of folks found it not necessary to pay him for his work. Maybe they think just because he cut them a deal on the price it wasn't hard to do....or they think it wasn't worth anything. But his ex-brother-in-law had us up twice this past summer to his lakeside home for Pete to help him work on his boat dock. It gave us all a couple of wonderful mini vacations. He's still cooking quite often and making delicious meals, preserves and such to share with us, his family and with friends. I think cooking is a real joy to him most of the time, while with me it is often just a chore that has to be accomplished. He raised a beautiful garden this year, but extremely dry conditions yielded us very little to put up.

Bubba has really been full circle! He started his year unemployed and on a down-hill slide. But thank God, he realized where he was headed and came to us for structure and has turned things around. He's working as a mechanic in a local shop. Not the biggest wages he has ever drawn, but good steady work with good people. He met a sweet girl and has since made her his fiance. All of this has seemingly had a calming influence upon him and given him a sense of direction. Why even today they are spending the day down at our old house, working on fixing it up after hurricane Rita and neglect, with an eye toward the day they can begin a life together in the home he began his life in.

There was no deer camp this year for the first time ever since Pete & I were married. Dues for these things are just too high under our circumstances. So we hauled everything from our old camp site home and Pete has set up a "camp" right outside! Complete with his little camper to cook in and the pitcher pumpPitcher Pump (PP2) hooked up for easy, handy water access.

Hannah is blossoming and becoming quite her own unique and special person. Still overall loving, happy and giving. Her grades are optimal and she has a passion for readingWarriors: Power of Three #4: Eclipse that she nourishes and a flare for writing little short stories. She is very basic and simplistic in what she needs to find comfort or amusement.

Of course the biggest story of the year is her and Pete coming to Christ as their savior. I knew they would, in time, some time. For He had promised it to me. But I didn't know when or how....never expected it to be this year...but that's another story, yet to come.

Now, what is new with you?

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