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Posts Tagged ‘sin’

The “wicked”… Who are they?

 

Dictionary.com gives the following definitions for the word wicked: 
1. evil or morally bad in principle or practice; sinful; iniquitous:

wicked people; wicked habits.
2. mischievous or playfully malicious:

These wicked kittens upset everything.
3.distressingly severe, as a storm, wound, or cold:

a wicked winter.
4. unjustifiable; dreadful; beastly:

wicked prices; a wicked exam.
5. having a bad disposition; ill-natured; mean:

a wicked horse.
6. spiteful; malevolent; vicious:

a wicked tongue.
7. extremely troublesome or dangerous:

wicked roads.
8. unpleasant; foul:

a wicked odor.
9. Slang. wonderful; great; masterful; deeply satisfying:

He blows a wicked trumpet.

10. Slang. very; really; totally:

That shirt is wicked cool.
But what does the Bible tell us about wicked people? 
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Psalm 119:53 describes the wicked as those who have forsaken the law of God.  Psalm 119:155 describes them as those who do not seek out God’s decrees.  In Psalm 141, David describes them as those who are evildoers.  Acts 2:23 tells us that Jesus was put to death on the cross as God’s plan and with the help of wicked men.  And in Acts 3:26, we read about Peter preaching that God “raised up His servant” in order to “bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”
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To put it simply, the wicked are those who do not obey God, those who choose to ignore Him.  We are being wicked if we choose to not spend time with the Lord, but we have plenty of time for watching television or going shopping or spending time with friends.  We’re being wicked when we choose to stay in bed on Sunday instead of going and worshipping with other believers as the Bible tells us to do in Hebrews 10:25.  Ignoring God sums up the word wicked.
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Ignoring God sums up the word wicked.
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Look up the word wicked in your own concordance and see how God feels about “the wicked.”  If you’ve been ignoring God, seek Him out and ask for forgiveness, ask Him to give you a stronger desire for His presence, and begin today to turn from being one of the wicked.  God wants a relationship with you. He loves you.
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It’s heartbreaking to me seeing all the posts and listening to people talk about how they’d die for their faith in Christ, yet…. they choose sin over Jesus every day in the way they talk, treat people, what they watch on tv, read in books, post on Facebook, the jokes they enjoy, and the way they spend their time (“I’m too busy to read my Bible or pray or spread the Gospel… that Candy Crush Saga is so time consuming ya know!”).

As John McArthur wrote – “True repentance and faith in Christ denies the usual depraved longings of the human will.”
Or go straight to our Savior, Jesus Christ Himself, and see what He has to say…

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth; I did not come to bring peace but a sword.  For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.  He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.  And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.  He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.”  Jesus in Matthew 10:34-39 NASB

Folks… He is pretty clear on what He expects of us.  Don’t allow yourself to be fooled by false teachers and there are plenty of them out there!  Nothing is more important.  Nothing.

I share this because there was a time when I thought (was just positive) that I was in the “good” with Jesus, but I wasn’t taking up a stick for Him, never mind a cross.  I was living in sin, doing what I pleased while saying I loved Him.  I was lying to myself and Satan was loving it.  It’s Satan’s goal to keep us deceived.  Some of Satan’s greatest weapons are preachers and people that sit in churches each week thinking they’re okay and leaving the impression with others that they’re okay.  The Bible clearly states to KNOW FOR YOURSELF. Once you’ve heard the gospel message, you will be held accountable.

Please.  Get this right.

We never know what tomorrow will bring, or if we’ll get another chance.   Don’t break His heart by not taking His gift and living for Him.

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Did you know that sin breaks God’s heart?  Jesus dying for our sins did not make sin acceptable to God.  Actually, continuing in known sin, like it’s nothing – not a big deal, after having accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and accepting His death and blood on the cross as payment for your sins, is like stomping all over His cross and saying it was worth little, maybe even nothing to you.

 

You may say, “But D… it’s just so hard on me cause I love to (insert watch that tv show, listen to that music, read that kind of book, talk like that and so on…)______________!!!!!  I just don’t know if I can quit!!!”   God’s Word says differently.  We’re told in 1 Corinthians 10:13  The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.  And God is faithful.  He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand.  When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.  ❤

 

Choosing your sin over the Lord Jesus breaks His heart.  It’s really that simple.  Jesus Himself tells us in John 14:15 “If you love Me, obey my commandments.”   And in 1 John 5:21 we’re warned – “Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.”  Choose Him instead of the world’s sin.  Choose life.

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Backsliding.  We’ve all heard the term.  The dictionary defines it as: to relapse into bad habits, sinful behavior, or undesirable activities.

Bad habits, sinful behavior, undesirable activities….  doesn’t sound so bad really, does it?

The Bible, however, has a different attitude towards it.  Hebrews 2:1-3 tells us that backsliding is indeed VERY SERIOUS and not to be taken lightly, in the least.

We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.  For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?  Hebrews 2:1-3

In 2 Peter2:20,21 it’s addressed this way – If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.  It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 

I don’t know about you, but these two verses alone give me such a different view of “backsliding” and a good healthy respect for how truly serious backsliding really is.

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I used to smoke,  a lot.  I started at the tender age of 14.  My mother smoked and back in the day it was thought to make you look cool, and older.  I was a terribly rebelious teen so smoking seemed like a grand idea.  A good way for me to look cool and rebel parental authority all at the same time.  Everyone knows a teenager of 14 wants more than almost anything else to appear more grown up, so smoking helped me with that too. At least in my mind, if not in reality.  In reality, I’m sure I just looked foolish and silly, if not stupid.

Over the years I deeply regretted having started smoking.  They cost a ton, they stink, they make you stink, and they make you sick.  Even so, I still loved smoking  – so I was in a mess.  I knew they were making me sick, yet I loved them.  I knew I had to go to the Lord and request His help in wanting to quit smoking first.  Without the desire to quit, nothing I did would make any difference.  Sounds silly to want to quit, yet not, but that was me.  My desire to smoke was just larger than my desire to quit.

I began asking God to please give me the desire to quit the nasty habit and then I picked a date.  I chose to simply give the whole mess over to the Lord and let Him deal with it.   After all, I knew He’d want me to quit and He tells us to ask and He’ll give us our heart’s desires. (Psalm 37:3-5) 

The date I set was November 1 of 2007.  I told everyone I knew that I was going to quit (not one single person believed me either – that’s how much I LOVED smoking at that time of my life – sadly) and that the Lord would help me accomplish it.  I knew He’d help.  I just KNEW it, deep down in my heart.  I didn’t know if He’d make it easy for me, or if He’d just hold my hand and walk me through the process, but I just knew He’d stay with me the whole time.  I was prepared for it to go either way and simply told any and everyone that would listen that I was going to quit on that day and that was that.

And I did.  I was blessed by my complete and total belief in Him and His promises, and He made it much easier than I’d ever dreamt of.  I’ve been extremely thankful ever since.  Thankful enough to know that I can never pick up even one and smoke it…. ever.

Now, it seems like I’m going to have to go to Him again and get His powerful help with another apparent addictiion – anger.  Seems kinda out there to call anger an addiction, but I honestly feel that it fits.  Anger is like a drug, like nicotine.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I’m not running around punching people or anything, but still… I know that anger (and pride) are some serious issues that I need to be delivered from.  I hate the way it makes me feel.   It’s so hard to let it go while in the midst of whatever issue has upset me.  I don’t like that feeling.  I’d much rather be more humble and less concerned about myself.

I had a work issue come up recently and, at first, couldn’t wait to tell one of my close co-workers all about it.  But then I got to thinking that no… I shouldn’t talk about it and fuel that fire.  I felt like I needed to just give it to God instead.  So, I decided to not speak about the issue the next day when I’d see this co-worker.  However, she brings up an issue closely related to the one I was upset over and even though there was a part of me screaming out, “Be quiet!!!!  DO NOT go there and complain or gripe or whatever you wanna call it!  Just don’t!”  Sadly, I found myself doing it anyway….  Ugh!  I hated that!  I felt just like I had in all the many times I’d tried to quit smoking in the past when I was trying to do it all by myself. There was the whole argument going on inside of me of “Tell her!  No!  Don’t, it won’t help anything and will only get her upset too!  Tell her!  No! Don’t…. ”  I felt like I’d failed myself, but mostly like I’d failed my Lord and Savior.

The experience has reminded me though that, just like when I prayed for His help to desire to quit smoking, I first need to go to the Lord and ask Him to give me more of a desire to let go of silly annoyances and the effect that they can have on me,  more of a desire to see His will done, rather than my own.  To be more concerned with loving His people, than what’s “fair” in my own eyes and understanding.   I need His help in desiring to lay down my hurt and pains at His feet, rather than seeking a way to make myself feel better through “making people pay” in any shape form or fashion.  After all, God tells us that vengeance is His.

There are times when anger is appropriate, but often times, our actions when angry aren’t.  I need Christ’s help in knowing what’s what and in choosing appropriate reactions.  The Bible tells us in Matthew 5:22 (the words of Jesus) But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment!  If you call someone an idiot,  you are in danger of being brought before the court.  And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.”    In Romans 12:14-19 We’re told, Bless those who persecute you.  Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.  Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with each other.  Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people.  And don’t think you know it all!  Never pay back evil with more evil.  Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.  Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.  Dear friends, never take revenge.  Leave that to the righteous anger of God.  For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.

69286_554861371205447_1968733517_nIt’s not nearly as hard once the force of the feelings of the anger have calmed down some.  Once that’s happened, then I’m able to pray for those that have hurt me or angered me.  It’s during that “heat of the moment” that I’m having trouble with.  But I know that I know that I know that I can take this problem to Jesus and lay it at His feet and He’ll give me a strong enough desire to get past my “feelings” no matter how strong they may be at the time.  I KNOW I can trust in Him.  Please, won’t you also pray with me on this?   If this is an issue for you, please feel free to comment and we’ll pray for you too!  Or if you need help with quitting smoking, please feel free to comment and request prayers for help with that too!  With Jesus, we can all quit smoking and giving in to anger!

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I was just reading a post on a “Christian facebook” page where the person had put up one of the cute little pictures that talked all about not judging someone just because they “sin differently” than you do. (I had to take that “cute little picture” and then tweak it just a bit) It seems like those that want to always tell everyone “DON’T JUDGE!!!” are the ones that want to continue in their sin and not have people make them feel bad about it. They take Scripture and twist it all up to suit their desires, just like the Bible says people like that will do. (2nd Timothy 4: 3, 4) A person that’s truly wanting to follow Christ and turn from their sins for Him seem to want to know when they’re making a mistake and committing a sin, so that they can get with the Lord and pray for help in that area.

Yes, Jesus told the Pharisees and teachers of religious law that if they wanted to stone the adulteress to death for the one who’d never sinned to cast the first stone (John 8: 1-11) , but people today want to use this verse to try to convince people that it’s wrong to point out another “believer’s” obvious sin.

However, Jesus Himself also tells us in Matthew 18:15-17 “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen. take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.”

Ephesians 4:21-24 tells us – “Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from Him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God -truly righteous and holy”, and in Ephesians 5:6-11 we’re told – “Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey Him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of the light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.”

There are plenty of different Scriptures that can be used to show God’s thoughts on sin and judging of it amongst believers, but you have a Bible to go and look those up if you want to read more. I will add one more though. One that I have felt such conviction from lately. One that is hard folks. Hard. It’s in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 where we’re told by Paul – “When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside, but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”

Wow, a person that claims to be a believer, but that consistently chooses to do things that they know are sin is actually considered an evil person and someone you should not only judge, but you should also totally avoid them. That, my friends, is hard.

So, when it comes to people that profess to be a believer in Jesus Christ and believe to be among the saved, it is actually our obligation, according to God’s Word, to confront them with their sin and “judge” them.  Ouch.  Certainly not one of the easier things we’re asked to do as believers and followers of Christ.  Definitely won’t be winning any popularity contests, at least none here on earth.  Jesus is worth it though. It’s a narrow road, but His love is more than worth whatever the cost is to follow Him and fully be one of His disciples.

**God longs to forgive us, but we do need to do our part and repent of our sin, turn away from it, and turn back to Him again.  Always, always, always remember that Jesus LOVES you so much that He chose to die in order for your sins to be forgiven.  Don’t toss His incredible gift back in His face and continue in any type of sin.  Nothing in this world is worth it.

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I saw this picture posted on Facebook and it really grabbed my attention.

This can be oh so hard… the world, and especially the culture of today, calls for us to compromise, to live in the gray areas we try to create for ourselves.  We try to rationalize our own known sin because we WANT to do it.  Then we attempt to assuage our guilt by getting self righteous and looking at others and their sins to make ourselves feel better. “Well, I’m not so bad cause look at So n So and what they’re doing! At least I’m not doing THAT!”  Doesn’t matter, never did.  God sees absolutely ALL OF IT – even what we may not see for ourselves quite yet. The Bible tells us in James 1:5-8If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you.  He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask Him, be sure your faith is in God alone.  Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.   You can’t live with one foot in with the “world” and one foot in with God.  It just doesn’t work that way, as the Lord is clearly telling us here in James.

It is of utmost importance that we get something straight and sooner, rather than later.  Jesus didn’t suffer and die so we could continue in our sins, doing whatever pleases us.  Far from it.  Don’t take my word for it though! Please don’t!  God’s own Word, the very book He gave to us in order for us to learn all we can about Him and from Him – The Bible – explains it to us quite well.

In Matthew 18:3 we are told by Jesus Himself – “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.”   Jesus isn’t mincing words here.  Turn from your sins and become like little children (innocent) OR you will NEVER get into the Kingdom of Heaven.  We may not like it, it may seem harsh, but regardless, He’s pretty clear.  Jesus also tells us in Matthew 18:7-9 “So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet.  And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away.  It’s better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.”   According to Jesus, we are better off if we cut off limbs and gouge out our very eyes, than we are if we sin.  That’s a pretty clear statement regarding sin!  Another statement Jesus made that tells is as plainly as possible is Matthew 7: 21-23 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.  On judgment day many  will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord!  We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.”  That folks, is a dramatic and clear statement and no one can deny after reading it that turning from sin and obeying God’s laws is something Jesus wants and expects us to do. 

In Matthew 16:24-27 we’re told – “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.  If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.  And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?  Is anything worth more than your soul?  For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds.”  The very definition of a Christian is to be a follower of Christ.  Jesus tells us to be one of His followers we must give up everything for Him. 

It’s heartbreaking, as well as quite terrifying, to me that for so many years I believed various things I was told about Jesus.  Things like:  Jesus is LOVING so He’ll not send me to Hell as long as I believe He’s saved me.  All you need to do is say the “Sinner’s Prayer” and then you’re Heaven bound no matter how you’re living.  You can’t “earn” salvation, so don’t worry about your sins.  Only God can “change” you, so just “believe you’re saved” and don’t try to change anything because that would be “works” and no one can “earn salvation” since it is a gift.  It sure was nice thinking I could say a simple little two minute prayer and then I could carry on living as if nothing happened and will still enter Heaven!  Were I to have died, it wouldn’t have been “nice” at all. My life and the way I lived proved only that Jesus wasn’t Lord of my life at all, thanks, in part, to my believing false teachers, but also thanks to the fact that I enjoyed some of my sins and didn’t want to give them up.

The Bible warns us of false teachings. Matthew 7:15-16“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.   You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act.  Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?”

Please do not misunderstand me.  I’m not suggesting that we work for our salvation at all.  It is a free gift, no doubt about that.  However, where I messed up for many years, and where many others appear to be messing up, is in taking advantage.  Thinking that since Jesus paid for our sins with His very death, that it was okay to continue in sin – known sin, and to not fully love Him.

To truly love Jesus means to put Him first in our lives, as the Bible clearly tells us to, and I didn’t do that for a long time.  Oh, I had all sorts of convenient excuses…. “I’m busy and don’t have time to read my Bible cause I just have so much going on right now, I don’t like going to church, it’s full of hypocrites, well I’m only human so sure I’m gonna make mistakes, and no one is perfect except Jesus, but it’s okay cause Jesus died for me.”  There were plenty others too, but you get the point.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 23: 37- 38“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment”  Again, Jesus is clear in His teachings.  Put God first in your heart, in your soul, and in your mind. He doesn’t tell us to put God first, but only if it’s not going to interfere with your other plans, wants, or desires.  I can’t find Jesus saying that anywhere in the Bible!  

To truly love Jesus and put Him first in our lives means we’re to turn from sin and to do as God’s Word tells us.   James 1:22- 25 tells us – But don’t just listen to God’s Word.  You must do what it says. Otherwise you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the Word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror.  You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.  But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.  

To live a Godly life instead of a worldly life can be hard, of that there is no doubt, but God will help us.  In Galatians 5:16-25 we are told: So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives.  Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.  The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires.  These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.  When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealously, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.  Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.  But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. There is no law against these things!  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.  

Yes, let’s do that.  With the Holy Spirit’s help, we can.  Amen!

I am so thankful that the Lord chose to keep after me until my eyes were opened to what is  real instead of leaving me to die in my sins.  Now, I seek Him daily and am more in love and alive than ever before in my life.  Giving it all up for Him isn’t like losing anything at all, it’s more like gaining everything and then some.  I am thankful to know Him and blessed by His amazing love.

You know what?  He loves YOU too!

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How many times do we tell God – I love You, but…?

Anytime we choose sin over God’s good plan for us, we are basically telling Him that we love Him, but this other activity is worth going against His plan. Maybe it’s a tv show you love, maybe it’s music you enjoy, or movies, or books, even hanging out with friends that aren’t believers; things we enjoy, but deep down inside, we know in our hearts that it makes God unhappy because it isn’t good for us. The Bible is His gift to us so we can know about His plan for us, what’s best for us to do, and what’s best for us not to do. God KNOWS all that is best for us and wants us to have that best.

Satan comes along and does his best to tempt us and blind us to God’s Word. He makes us think that this one little thing (favorite tv show or music video) won’t really matter cause gee… look at what so n so is doing and well goodness… it’s fun and I love this (song, show, movie, whatever). Surely, this   o n e   l i t t l e   t h i n g  won’t matter all that much to God. Surely, me doing this   o n e    l i t t l e    t h i n g    won’t really “hurt me” in any way since, after all, I’m saved by **Grace, not by my “works”.   These are all saying to God “I love You, but.”

He’s the Author of everything, He loves us so much He sent His very own Son to live on this earth, and be a perfect sacrifice for us.   Yet, we sell Him out for an hour of primetime tv. I don’t know about you all, but this hurts me when I think of what this does to His heart.  I pray that the Holy Spirit will help me to say “God, I love You, but…”  less and less each day.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 (NLT)

You say, “I am allowed to do anything” — but not everything is good for you.  And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. 1st Corinthians 6:12 (NLT)

 

 

** God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  Ephesians 2:8-9  (NLT)

***Chapters 7 and 8 in Romans are both good to read in regards to this subject.

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