Sin is no longer your master, what a promise! Our lives are full of choices, some are small and don’t mean too much and some other choices can affect the rest of our lives. I have come to believe that even though the big choices we face are indeed big and deserve alot of thought and prayer, it’s the small choices that can affect us, spiritually at least, the most.
The Problem of Sin
The problem of sin (and the temptation to sin), is that it’s everywhere. Now, we have more at our fingertips than any other generation before us. Through the internet, we can spend all day fulfilling our desires. Whether it be looking at porn or watching a church sermon. We each have the daily choices of what we do and do not look at, think about, and say. It’s those small choices, made everyday, several times each day, in the comfort of our homes or when we think no one is looking, that shapes who we are.
How does something we do in secret shape who we are? I have first hand experience with this. Before I came to Christ, I used to look at porn on the internet, several times a week. Looking at those women in that way, shaped my view on each and every woman I would see in public. I viewed them as sexual creatures and usually nothing more. My mind was twisted into this perversion of never looking at a woman’s heart or personality, but always at her body. This of course, spilled out into every relationship I had with women, whether it be a friend or something more. I kept thinking about all women in the same way. God was faithful and continues to be faithful to my prayers for His help. He can help you from sinning against Him.
At some point, sin goes from a daily decision to something that stays with you and begins to take root in your heart. In Matthew 15:19, we see that everything sinful comes from your heart. Your desire for something, hatred, lying, stealing, even your own thoughts about those things can take a hold of you.
In the Light or in the Dark?
We all have a tendency to hide our sins from each other and as foolish as it sounds, from God. In John 3:19 we see that the Light (Jesus) has come into the world but people prefer the darkness because it hides their sins. Light exposes our sins and lays it all out for us to see. We should take a spotlight to our hearts (Psalm 139:23-24) and expose our sins to God, asking Him to help us and forgive us. He is faithful to do so. In 1 John 1:7, it says that if we walk in the light, where Christ is, we are cleansed from every sin.
The good news is that through Christ, we can overcome temptation and sin. Jesus Christ came to take away our sin (John 1:29). The Bible mentions how Christians are no longer slaves to sin in several different ways. Why? Because God knows that we each face daily decisions and a temptations. It’s a constant battle. Even though it’s a battle, it’s easily won if we place our trust in Christ.
The truth is, if you believe in Jesus Christ, you are dead to sin (Romans 6:2, Romans 6:11, 1 Peter 2:24). It no longer has a hold on you like it did before. You have the power to say no and make a conscious decision to not give in to temptation and sin. In Romans 6:14, 18 we see that sin is no longer your master. Instead, we are set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. Through Christ, we now have the authority to stop sinning and start living in righteousness!
How can we avoid sin? (Sin is no longer your master!)
First, God and God alone can forgive us of our sins. (Mark 2:7, Luke 7:48, Micah 7:18, Daniel 9:9, Exodus 34:7) Because He is the only one who can forgive us our sins, He is also the only one who can help us with our sins.
- - Christians should pray for God to help us with our temptations and sin. God is very interested in helping us with our sins because it creates a barrier between us and Him. It is important to mention that God hates sin (Proverbs 6:16-19), not the sinner. Because God desires a relationship with each person, we can pray for Him to deliver us from sin (Matthew 6:13), to forgive our sins (Luke 11:4), to keep us from sin (Psalm 19:13), and for us to know what sins we have (Job 13:23).
- - Reading the Bible on a daily basis can help us stay away from sin. When we immerse ourselves with His Word, we are filling our minds with the right things. We are called to keep our minds clear of sin and focus on things that are good and pleasing to God (Philippians 4:8)
- - Keep away from the temptations in your life. Again, you have to make a conscious decision and stay away from the things you know are your weakness. We all know the major things we have a hard time with. Stay away!
- - Practice, practice, practice! While God helps us, we have to make the decision to stop whatever it is that we keep doing. God’s grace is renewed every single day for us. So while we are trying to make the correct choices each day we know that God’s grace covers up our occasional mistake.
God’s desire is to shape you to be like His Son, Jesus Christ. It happens throughout your life and usually not a quick fix. God is with you and continually working on His masterpiece, YOU! And remember, sin is no longer your master!
All Christians go through difficult times. Living in this broken world that is full of sin, we are not immune to it’s effects. Jesus Himself went through difficult times, times when He had to pray to the Father for help and strength. The prayer I’m talking about is in Mark 14:35-36. Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane just before He is arrested and crucified.
Praying for Strength in Difficult Times
Jesus knew what He was facing. He had told the disciples many times that He would soon be crucified. The prayer we get to see in the Garden is one of Jesus talking to His Father in heaven. It wasn’t a example prayer that Jesus was telling His disciples to do, it was a time when Jesus showed His humanity. In Mark 14:33-34, Jesus said to Peter, James, and John that His soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Knowing what was about to happen, He fell down to the ground and prayed to His Father.
In this moment we as Christians can see our Savior in anguish. During His most difficult time, He prays:
Everything is possible for You
Take this cup from Me.
Yet not what I will, but what You will.”
Jesus went three different times over the course of the night and prayed the same prayer over and over again. In verse 34, He was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death but in Mark 14:41-42 we see that His whole demeanor has changed. Instead of being sorrowful, He is charging head on into His arrest and crucifixion. What happened during that prayer?
Praying through Difficult Times
As we look at Jesus’ prayer we can see several things. The first one is how He addresses God. He approaches God as His Father. A Father who cares for and loves His Son dearly. Second, Jesus doesn’t jump in and blurt what He wants, He knows His Father in heaven can do all things. Nothing is impossible for God. Jesus than goes from acknowledging God’s power to asking for what He wants. During this prayer, Jesus is asking God the Father: If there is any other way for the sins of the world to be taken, please don’t let me go through this. Third, Jesus submits to God’s will. Jesus knows that God is in control, knows best, and loves Him.
The Key to Prayer
The key to praying through difficult times is submission. We are all stubborn and want our way. But something happens when we submit ourselves and our lives to God. He honors our trust in Him and we gain peace through the storm of life. We gain His mighty strength. That’s what changed with Jesus. He had to pray the majority of the night to get to the point where He fully submitted Himself to God the Father. But He came out of that Garden, strengthened and He had a peace about what was going to happen.
An Example Prayer to say During Difficult Times
Taking from what Jesus said, we can pray our own prayers to God following His example.
Nothing is impossible for You. You are mighty and in control of everything.
Help me, Father. I need help with (insert your own words)
I know Father that You love me. I know that you care for me beyond what I can imagine. Father, I submit my life to you. Not my will, but Yours be done.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Doing the above prayer, you may not get what you want but you will gain God’s peace and strength to go through your difficult time. Like Jesus, you may have to continue your prayer until you can truly let go of your problems. Having trust in God is the best way to live. Knowing that whatever happens, He is there with you and will never forsake you. Praying through difficult times can be very tough. We all want answers and action right now, but if we stop and trust in God, we will be better for it.
That prayer is guaranteed to be answered. Why? Because you are asking God to do what He knows is best for the situation not what you think needs to be done.
It’s been awhile since I last wrote an article. I have been checking up on this site everyday and doing behind the scenes work on it as needed. The last month or so has been interesting to say the least.
In late September, I woke up one Saturday with a noticeable lump on the right hand side of my throat. It was sore but nothing that was too bad. I knew that swelling in the throat area could potentially be pretty bad news so the following Tuesday I went to my Family Physician. He did the usual doctor throat feeling technique and told me I needed to have a CAT scan that night. I had made plans to visit my Aunt in the hospital that night as she was battling COPD for quite some time and the doctors had given her a day or so to live. I told the doctor about this and said I would have the scan the next day or so. Instead, the doctor asked if he ordered the CAT scan to be done within the hour, would I be able to do it. I agreed, surprised at his urgency. I went to have my throat area scanned within an hour of seeing my doctor and the next day he told me that my lymph nodes were swollen and he wanted to have a full body CAT scan done because there were signs of the swelling going down into my chest area.
I went the following day, Thursday for the full body scan. Thursday afternoon (about 2 hours after the full body scan) I received a call from him giving me news that it was a type of Lymphoma and it was throughout my body. He referred me to an E.N.T. (Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor) who would be able to take a biopsy of the lymph nodes to see which type of cancer it was.
Prayer is God’s way of letting us be involved in His work
As soon as I found out the news, I immediately requested prayer from the church I attend, my mother (who in turn spread prayer requests all around) and several of my friends. I was very upset and on top of all of that my Aunt had passed the Wednesday morning, going to be with the Lord. The following weekend, I attended my Aunt’s funeral (with all of this going on in the back of my mind as well). The Monday following my Aunt’s funeral, I went to see the E.N.T. and he told my wife and I that I would need to have a surgery and him take some lymph nodes out of my neck for biopsy. The surgery was scheduled for the next Monday (a week later).
Praying for God’s peace and His promises
I remember all through that week I kept praying. I prayed for God to give me His peace as He promised us in His Word. (John 14:27) As I prayed and leaned into Him, I continually was renewed by His peace and power. I remember times when I started to get upset and as soon as that happened I prayed again; “Lord, I need you now. I need Your peace to wash over me.” He never failed to answer my prayers.
God’s healing and the power of prayer
As I went through the day of surgery, I kept praying for God to have His hand over the whole situation. After the surgery was over, the doctor who performed it talked with my wife, mother, and sister out in the waiting room. He told them he was 99% sure it was a type of Lymphoma and he compared the size of the lymph nodes he removed to the size of a jawbreaker and the other the size of a marble. He then reminded them that the normal size was the size of a raisin. This doctor has been doing these types of surgeries and has been in practice for 26 years, he was certain enough it was Lymphoma to tell my family this.
The next couple of days, I recovered and went about life as normal as I could. I went the day after my surgery to a church program called Alpha. I still don’t know how I did it. I was still sore and tired but I wanted to go be with friends. Never forget, dear reader, that Jesus’ power is made perfect in weaknesses. (2 Corinthians 12:9) As I was weak from surgery and emotionally drained, God’s power rested upon me and enabled me to go to Alpha. A few days later, the E.N.T. called me and told me that all the tests from the biopsies came back negative for cancer. I will remember his words over the phone, “Thank God”. and I exclaimed, “Yes! Thank God!”
So where does this leave me at right now? They are still doing tests on the lymph nodes taken from my neck for anything else it could be, but I remain under God’s hand and I’m continually reminded of His grace and power to answer prayers every time I look in the mirror and see that scar.
I’m no one special. God answers prayers everyday and continually blesses all of His children. It is my own prayer that you take comfort from this article, knowing that our God is a mighty and loving God who has the power to heal us.
If you have a prayer request, I will be happy to support you. Send me a prayer request here.
I will update on any more news I receive to this post!
Politically Correct Christians
That term is used so much today. Let’s all be politically correct as to not offend anyone, anywhere, ever. That, my friends, is impossible. We will dive into the Bible and see what the Word says about being politically correct or as I like to call it, not stepping on anyone’s toes. But first, I will take this time to vent some frustration out towards the world as a whole for having thin skin.
First, I have to admit, this article is spurred by the Chick-Fil-A fiasco. A Christian man, who happens to own a popular fast food chain, was asked about his view on biblical marriage (one man and one woman). The interviewers had set him up for a fall, either by him lying and them pulling out the company financial records to indicate otherwise or to get him to admit the truth and have a backlash. To ask a Christian about something like that (knowing his views as a Christian) and then get upset when he answers the way you thought, is deliberately and purposefully stirring the s*#%. (yes, I really did censor that word, I used that phrase because there are a lack of words to describe that situation and that phrase fit very well)
I just recently sat down with some friends and they expressed their opinions that imposing their views as Christians on others was a bad idea. I was shocked and saddened that here are Christians, who have this great gift that God has given them (Salvation, the Holy Spirit) and they are being quiet about it. Now, I don’t go around telling every single person about Christ or the Bible but I do have a tattoo of thorns in the shape of a fish with Calvary in the middle of it, on my forearm. So we can say that I’m not shy about being a Christian either.
Politically Correct vs. Being a Witness
Christians are called to be a witness of Christ (Acts 1:8). When we are at our lowest point in life and God saves us from ourselves and sin, we are called to share that good news with people. His continual grace in a Christian’s life is something to be celebrated and shared with others. Being politically correct is the direct opposite of being a witness. When you are a witness to someone, you are in effect, telling them that there is a God who saved you through Jesus Christ. Telling a homosexual person this, lies in direct opposition to their views on marriage, sex, and lifestyle. Are we called to keep quiet for fear of offending the said party? No. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, testified about Christ until his dying breath. Even as he was being stoned to death, he forgave the Jewish leaders’ actions (Sanhedrin)
Christians are guaranteed to face opposition in this world (John 16:33). It’s because the world is ran by the god of this age/prince of this world. (Satan – 2 Corinthians 4:4). Being politically correct is another term for muffling God’s truth. The world tells us to shut up and sit down. We don’t want to hear about your God, Jesus Christ, or the Bible. They don’t want to hear about it because as the Bible says, they are in the darkness (or sin) and don’t like be shown the Light because it exposes their sin. (John 3:19)
In short, A Christian should approach each and every person with love. But do NOT be quiet about what God has done and will do in your life. It isn’t right to hide all the wonderful things He does (and forgives) you for on a daily basis by His grace. It isn’t right to not share the wonderful Gift you received when you signed on to following Jesus Christ as your Savior. I’m not saying to go out and have a fight with a Muslim because you two disagreed on the topic of religion. You can share God by being bold and sharing kind, loving words with people. Offering to pray for someone is not an offensive thing to ask, they can say no. It’s not like your twisting their arm and making them accept your offer of prayer. Even if they say no, you can give a silent prayer as you smile to them and kindly say, “Ok, have a great day. God bless.” Just in case you’re wondering, yes you say God bless even if they refuse prayer. (see Luke 6:28) You’re not being a jerk by adding that God bless, you are actually asking God to bless that person’s life so that they may see Him, His glory, be saved, and have eternal life.
Politically Correct (World’s view) or God’s view?
That’s the basic question every Christian has today. Do we fall in line with all the other people in the world? The answer is NO. In Matthew 7:13-14, it says that the path to eternal life is narrow and few will find it but the path to destruction is wide and broad. What does this mean? By falling in line with the rest of the world, you are becoming an enemy of God, James 4:4 says:
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
Going against the grain of the world is usually being associated with God. The line is the sand is clearly drawn and walking the line is not possible. Which side will you take?
This is very cute! Share it with someone who needs a good laugh.
“Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And who ever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.”
Johnny’s Mother looked out the window and noticed him “playing church” with their cat. He had the cat sitting quietly and he was preaching to it. She smiled and went about her work. A while later she heard loud meowing and hissing and ran back to the open window to see Johnny baptizing the cat in a tub of water.She called out, “Johnny, stop that! The cat is afraid of water!”
Johnny looked up at her and said, “He should have thought about that before he joined my church.”
Today I was listening to a song and part of lyric is: Tell me something beautiful. So I prayed “God, show me something so beautiful that it will make me cry at how beautiful it is.”
As I sat there in my chair and my eyes closed, I saw myself falling to my knees and worshiping God. When I saw this, I started to cry, not because it was me worshiping God but because He showed me that something so beautiful is me worshiping Him.
Some of you, like me, feel awkward to worship in church. Maybe you know your singing is off key and doesn’t sound all that great. Remember this, it is so beautiful for God to hear your voice raise up and praise His Name.
So go ahead, sing off key, God is not hearing your awkward singing voice. He is hearing your heart give the worship and praise and that is so beautiful to Him.
John 4:24 – For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.
What has God done in your life recently?
In my life, I went to “the day away” in a 10 week Alpha course teaching the basics of Christianity and received prayer from some people at the table I am at. I recieved a word of knowledge from a member of the table. Overall the day went well, I enjoyed it very much. This being my third time going through Alpha at the church I attend, I find every time it is something new to get. The tables always have new people to talk with and get to know over the ten weeks. Sometimes you get a new friend, sometimes not. For that ten weeks, you get the privledge to pray, help, and support other people who are asking questions. Sometimes it’s very tough questions that don’t easily have an answer.
It’s always neat to look back during those ten weeks and see how you once didn’t know anyone at the table but now you know a lot more about them. During the “off season” where there isn’t an Alpha going on, I really miss it.
God doesn’t always do HUGE things in a person’s life. Honestly, sometimes it’s the small things that matter the most. God, that is so powerful He can create a universe but gentle enough to hold someone close in a loving embrace.
What has God done for you today? I’m sure if you sit down and think about it, God will help you find out.
To understand the process of how we sin can be very powerful. If we know that we are being tempted and have mentally moved passed the desire to have something into the intent to have it, we have moved one more step closer to sinning. There are five points of a person goes through when they commit a sin. We will use King David as an example who committed a sin by having sexual relations with a married woman named Bathsheba. As we look at David, we will understand more of how the process of sin works. (2 Samuel 11:1-5)
So how do we sin?
- A desire for something – When you see something that you have a desire to have. When David desired Bathsheba, who was bathing on her rooftop. He saw her body and desired to be with her.
One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful
- An intent to have the object of your desire – David got it into his mind that he wanted her, so he sent his messenger to find out more about who she was.
and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”
- A game plan to get the object of your desire – When you have made it up in your mind that your going to get your heart’s desire. You start to formulate a strategy of how you will get what you want. At this point David already knew what he was going to do to get Bathsheba.
- Putting your plan to work – You are starting to put some action into, up until now, what has just been thoughts and planning.
- Obtaining the desired object – By this point, you now have the object that you desired to have.
Something that we must understand with the above example, is at the first point when David had already a desire for Bathsheba, He already committed a sin. By the thought of wanting a woman or having a lust for her, he committed a sin (by today’s standards). Something else to consider, is during David’s time by our perspective it was in the Old Testament, which means Jesus’ teachings was not known yet. In Matthew 5:27-28 we see what Jesus said about lust:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
As far as David knew, he had not yet committed adultery by desiring Bathsheba, when Jesus came He taught that we shouldn’t have lust for each other and if we do, we have already committed the sin in our hearts.
Not every sin is created equal
So you may be asking yourself, why did I use that example? I used it because the points above only act as a guide. There are certain situations, such as lust, where a person doesn’t have to go through all those steps to commit a sin. This why it’s important as a Christian to know the Bible and to know what God has said about certain things.
David was a man after God’s heart, yet he still sinned. What should we take away from that? No matter how good we are, we still fall short and are sinners. But the good news is that God’s grace is sufficient for us. When we sin, if we come before God and ask forgiveness, He has promised that our sins will be forgiven.
Please comment your thoughts and share! Thank you!
What are the reasons to follow Jesus? As a Christian, I have personally witnessed times in my life where God has been there and helped me. I know that God is with me always, even when He is doing “behind the scenes” work in my life. I have those times when He answered a prayer or where I even felt His Spirit as a way to look back and tell myself that He is with me.
Here is the main idea: If someone came up to you and asked: Why do you follow Jesus? Why are you a Christian?
What would you say?
If someone came and asked me, Why follow Jesus? I would have an answer.
- This has to be numero uno in reasons to follow Jesus Christ. Salvation. Jesus Christ died on a cross so that mankind (every single one of us) could have a personal relationship with God. The good news that’s all throughout the Bible, is that we now can be in a relationship with God. Everyone of us has sinned in some way and missed the mark but Jesus took everyone’s sins upon Himself and if we just believe in Him, we will have eternal life with God.
- He brings purpose into your life. I remember before I came to Christ, I didn’t have a purpose. I was always wondering: Why am I here? I feel like I’m just floating around in life and not doing anything. I think God was watching me have that internal struggle during all those years because as soon as I gave my life over to Jesus, God clued me in on what He wanted me to do with my life. I have a purpose. God has a plan for every single one of us.
- God’s unending love. You know, it’s nice knowing that God loves me, for me. I’m not that attractive, I’m a pretty big guy and my wife says I have a weird laugh. But God loves my weird laugh. He loves me. Even when I sin, God still loves me. I have seen signs and posters of things like “God hates sinners”. That is WRONG. God loves people, He loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die on the cross, to take our place and restore His relationship with mankind. God loves people, He just hates the sins people commit.
- Forigveness. Yep, this ties in with number three. God’s love for each one of us is so strong that no matter what we have done, He will forgive us. You may think you’re the most horrible person in the world and that there is no way God wants anything to do with you. God will meet you where you are. If you are in jail, doing drugs, killed someone, lied, stolen stuff, or all of the above….Guess what? God will forgive you and RESTORE you. Jonah tried to run away from God and God had a huge fish swallow him up. Don’t be like Jonah and run away from God, instead, run towards God. The Apostle Paul persecuted many Christians before he became a Christian himself. Paul was responsible for the killing of Stephen, the first Christian martyr. God forgave Paul and restored him. Paul went on from that encounter with God and wrote parts of the Bible among many other things.
- We have God’s peace. When we follow Jesus, we have His peace in our lives. Again, I can see this from my own life. I had such anger before I came to Christ. When I started to follow Jesus, He took my anger and gave me peace. What normally would have made me beyond angry or mad, now it just doesn’t seem as bad as it used to be.
- God has our best interests at heart. If we trust God we will come out in victory. Because God has a plan for all of us, His plans include the best. We must trust in Him and do what He wants us to do. It’s like looking through frosted glass. You can see general shapes and outlines but you don’t see the clear picture. That’s how we are. While we are viewing life with our distorted vision, God sees things clearly and can help us avoid some pitfalls in life.
- Blessings. God is always looking for ways He can bless us. He wants to overflow blessings in our lives. I have received many blessings and things God has helped me with. For example, just recently God has provided me a way to buy a camera to use on this blog, to do video and take pictures to put into my articles. The peace I have received from Jesus is a blessing. Me being in a warm home with food in my tummy is a blessing. With my physical condition, God has blessed me to still be able to walk. So many things God does for us. It’s just part of God’s awesome love for each one of us. He is like a Father who helps his kid. The Father teaches his child how to go through life. The Father helps the child as they grow up and become more mature. The Father always loves his kid and no matter how old that person is, he is still special to his Father. You are that kid and God is the Father.
Only 7 reasons to follow Jesus?
Now, you may be asking yourself. Hey wait a minute, aren’t there supposed to be 10 reasons to follow Jesus? There are way more than 7 reasons to follow Jesus, way more than 10 reasons. But each one of us will have several special reasons we choose to follow Jesus and be a Christian. These are just the ones I thought of. If you have some more, leave a comment below and share!