Christianity 201

May 5, 2013

The Ugliness of Sin

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I think the blog this was found at, The Olive Branch, is now inactive, but this last post is an excellent picture of what happens when we freely engage in willful sin.  Click the title below to link directly.

The Devastation of Sin

 by Charity Pence

KeyVerse: Psalm 1:6 “For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” (NKJ)

What comes to mind when you think of sin? I’ve been reading through the book of Psalms, and there is a particular passage that stands out to me. 

“There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your anger, nor any health in my bones because of my sin.  For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me.  My wounds are foul and festering because of my foolishness.” Psalm 38:3-5. 

My wounds are foul and festering.  When I picture that, I see a terrible, painful sore oozing with pus.  It’s a nasty image, isn’t it? But that is exactly what sin does to us.

The consequences of freely partaking in sin can be devastating.  Sin weakens our body and makes us physically ill.  David, the writer of the 38th Psalm, understood this very well.  The physical toll is not the worst consequence, though.  Sin wedges itself between us and God, causing a separation between us and our Heavenly Father.  Isaiah 6:3 tells us God is holy, holy, holy.  And in 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 we are reminded,

“For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.  Therefore, he who rejects this does not reject man but God, who also has given us His holy spirit.” 

So in choosing sin, we forsake God.  For how can we stand in His presence, He who is most holy, when we are full of sin?

We can find comfort in Romans 6:23:

“For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” 

Whew.  We can breathe easier now, right? Perhaps.  But only if we’ve truly repented and made Christ our Lord.  The question is this: if we are freely partaking in sin, are we truly repenting? Or are we foolish enough to think sinning is okay because we can repent for it later and be forgiven? Now don’t get me wrong.  The Bible assures us of God’s grace and forgiveness.  But that means we have to continually check ourselves and be sure we are truly striving to resist sin.  This is where prayer comes in.  The truth is, we can’t do this on our own.  We have a sinful nature.  However, God fills us with His strength when we pray which allows us to resist the temptations we are faced with daily.  Prayer is our strongest tool.  We should use it more often.

Dear Heavenly Father, You know what sins we struggle with daily.  You know the burden sin places on us.  You call us to a life without sin because you know the damage it causes.  Therefore, be with us, O Lord.  Please fill us with your strength so we can resist the traps set for us by the devil.  We are your children, and we wish to draw near to You.  We love You, Lord.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Application: When you find yourself tempted this week, call out to God.  He will always show us the correct path as long as we seek it.

Power Verses:

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Titus 2:11, 12 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.”

April 26, 2012

Be Careful Little Feet Where You Go

Today we introduce you to award winning writer Amy Sorrells, and I especially want to urge my female readers to click through on this one and then look around the rest of Amy’s website in the hope that some of you will become regular readers.  This appeared at her blog under the title Choosing the Better Gate.

If you’ve read The Secret Garden, you remember well the day Mary Lennox finds the garden gate. Covered in overgrown vines thick as the apprehension we feel as she turns the key for the first time, the door opens to a wonderland which eventually blossoms with joy and healing.

Not every secret gate opens to such blessings.

While mosey-ing along in writer-reasearch-mode this past weekend, I browsed various web sites and books about a couple of controversial, faith-related subjects. When I stuck close to well-respected, proven Christian authors and websites, I felt peace and confidence. But as soon as I veered onto web pages touching on pagan and non-scripture-based views, I felt darkness and doom like a cloud covering my soul.

Quick! Click away from that page! I thought.

Sometimes I did.

Other times, the lure to investigate other viewpoints kept me in those dark places much longer than I should’ve been.

And afterwards, I felt slimed.

In hindsight, I thought I was “Christian enough” not to be impacted by the evil. I thought my shield of faith and all the other armor was enough to ward off any residual ick.

For the most part, I’m okay.

But the experience opened my eyes to just how thin the tightrope is between good and evil in the world. Sometimes, as in the case of my purposeful research, it’s pretty obvious when a door is opened into places we shouldn’t peek into.

Other times, we find ourselves in dark places without realizing we’ve been lingering in them for a good, long while.

It made me realize, as a writer sharing words, how important it is for me to check what I’m inputting into my mind. I don’t want anything coming through my pen which could leave even the slightest smudge of information that could mislead anyone through a gate of trouble and darkness.

Needless to say, I ran back through the gate and into the arms of Philippians 4:8, which is my prayer today as I write and live:

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. (Phil. 4:8-9 The Message)

Sometimes it’s good to be re-awakened to things in the world which need God’s light and truth, so we can be torch-bearers for others who might be stuck there.

Sometimes, it’s just plain scary to learn about them, and it’s better to run the other way.

How about you? Do you ever find yourself knee-deep in dark places without realizing you’ve gone there? How do you protect yourself from such moments, and/or what do you do if you find yourself lingering there?

Amy Sorrells