Tag Archives: Sin

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Truths from the Bible – All Struggle

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“I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.

Did you recognize the quote?  If you had to guess who said it, who would you choose?  A strung-out addict who has had her children removed from her home? The locked-up, orange-suited prisoner whose weathered faced betrays a heart bombarded by depression and guilt?  The honored pastor of a local church?

What about yourself? Do you struggle with thoughts that depress you and steal joy from your life?  Are you ashamed of how selfish you can be and how little you have really loved those closest to you?  Do you become anxious and overwhelmed when you consider how others perceive you and what their estimations of your worth would be? Do you sometimes wonder if you are wretched? Do those thoughts keep you from exploring and engaging in a church?  Do they make you feel as if you don’t belong there?

The quote is from nearly 2000 years ago. It was said by a man named Paul, an inspirational and instrumental leader of the earliest Christian churches. It has been echoed by the confessions of many Christians since. Right before he said that, Paul explained what else he knew about himself: “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.”

Yes, even Christians struggle with depressing thoughts, guilt over their failures to love, and the fearful knowledge that their worth is tarnished by wrong.  Yes, even Christians stumble and do things their hearts, made new through Jesus, don’t want to do. It frustrates them too!  Yet, Paul asked an important question, one that Christians also ask: “Who will rescue me from this body of death?”

To that there is an answer full of good news! “Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Though we struggle each day, each day God forgives because of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice that was complete payment for all our wrongs. When God brings people to faith in Christ, he covers them with Christ’s forgiveness and counts them as completely holy – right with him. He creates in them a new heart that loves him and wants to walk in his ways. As we live in this life, the old, sinful self we have carried around since birth clings with tenacity and desires to do what is evil. It fights against the good desires of the new heart God creates within us. Even though you struggle now, you can look forward to when Jesus will come and take you to be with him in heaven. Then there will be no depressing thoughts, no shame and guilt, no anxiety over your worth – not around you nor inside of you.

If you struggle now, keep asking the question to which you God has given an incredible answer: “Who will rescue me from this body of death?” Jesus Christ is your Savior.  Jesus Christ has covered you with his mercy and forgiveness. If you struggle now, find a place filled with those who also struggle, but cling to that wonderful answer.  Find a group who put their trust fully in Jesus Christ and give thanks to God for his gift.

 

I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. … What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! – Romans 7:18-19, 24-25


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Our Savior: From the World

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Overcome to be Thankful

It is November! Maybe you are still knee deep in collected, colorful, wrapped, hardened sugar and chocolate.  Maybe the carved rind of the large orange pumpkin is still holding up.  Maybe the outfit that won first prize for best non-traditional superhero still hangs proudly in your closet.  Maybe crazy, half-used makeup containers still litter your bathroom vanity counter, but November turns our eyes to Thanksgiving…and turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, melted marshmallow covered yams and more.  The name of the holiday implies that you have things for which you give thanks.

Do you? Or, as you think about that, are you reminded of the daily battles you face?  Do you struggle?  Are there days you feel under siege on all sides.  Family problems? Health issues?  Haunting mistakes from the past you regret but cannot change? Do you feel you have much more trouble than opportunities for thanksgiving?

Jesus once said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Is that a simplistic and ignorant claim from Jesus? How could he possibly hope to cover all the potential issues that could come up in your life, in mine, in the lives of the whole wide world?! How can people you trust a promise that was made 2,000 years ago?

Jesus didn’t talk about overcoming the world by healing diseases or mending broken relationships, although there were times he did just that. He spoke of something far more important than health issues, relationship problems, or regrets from the past. Jesus promised to break and overcome the cause of all suffering and all trouble in this world. Jesus spoke of his victory over sin. Sin is the root cause behind all pain and heartache. Sin is to fall short of living well and good.  It is when we fail morally, ethically, or in any way.  It is to put ourselves first when we know deep down someone else should occupy that spot. Sin totally sets you against the God who gives all good things.  Sin robs you of life, joy, and true thankfulness.  Jesus overcame sin.  He overturned its dramatic consequences.  He overcame every trouble of this world that we will face.  He overcame when he died to it on the cross and then rose in triumph over the very cause of his death.

Now you can overcome the world too – by putting ourselves aside and placing our trust and reliance in Jesus. He leads us through the hardest of times and finally will take us home to his world—the kingdom of heaven he has prepared for all who believe in him. When you know that Jesus overcame, you can be thankful. You can be thankful even if and when you face trouble because you can look beyond the trouble and see Jesus who has overcome.

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33


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Our Savior: From Satan

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The Horror is Real

Do you have your costume yet?  Is your house decorated with spiders, webbing, bones, skulls, ghosts and more? Halloween is coming.  Whether or not you dive all into the day, some people do.  Among the costumes, there are some truly scary looking ones.  Of course, there are the red suits, horns, tails, and pitchforks of the demons and Satan himself. Some will be crafted for children. Some sized for adults will include makeup fit for a horror film. As much as we like to have a little fun around this time of year with horror, terror, and devils, there is truth behind the masks.

The devil is real. He is a former angel who fell from God’s grace. He is called Satan, which means “adversary.” He has one goal. He literally wants to “give you hell.” He stands as a prosecutor before the judgment seat of God. He dissects your character flaws; pride, anger, greed, and lust. He’s convincing and convicting. Though he is the “father of lies,” he doesn’t lie about this. You can’t deny what he says about you. You have no rebuttal to make. It appears his case work will bring the eternal sentence of hell for you.

Yet, Satan does not have the last word. Jesus Christ came to your defense. Jesus’ mission was to defeat the devil and put an end to his evil work. Jesus did not just hinder, slow down or frustrate the devil. He came to destroy him in the most unlikely way – by his death on the cross.  All of the devils’ accusations against are taken away because Jesus forgave all of your sins on the cross.  The devil can no longer successfully accuse you before God.

Since he no longer can accuse you before God, he accuses you directly.  The devil comes to you to remind you of your failures and disappointments.  He will dig up the shameful acts fo your life. He will use them to convince you God would never forgive that. Know that this is his last resort.

The victory is already won! The victory belongs to Jesus. Put your trust in him. By faith, his victory belongs to you. Resist the devil’s temptations and he will flee from you.

We can turn some scary things into good-humored fun at Halloween. On a much deeper level, we can mock the devil who tries to bring true terror into our lives.  We can mock him because Jesus died for you so that the devil cannot have his wicked way with you.

Learn more about all that Jesus has done for you. You’re invited to join Beautiful Savior in worship of Jesus at 9:30am on Sunday mornings.


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Burning Questions 1

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I’m Not Perfect. So What?

Burning_QuestionsIn 2013, the Florida State Seminoles were celebrated as college football’s BCS Champions after completing a perfect 14-0 season. In the 135 year history of Major League Baseball, only 23 pitchers have tossed a perfect game. Each of those 23 pitchers is widely celebrated for accomplishing one of baseball’s rarest individual feats. In 2009, USA Today reported that a Michigan teen got a perfect score on her ACT–and her SAT–and her PSAT! She was rewarded with a full-ride scholarship to Princeton University.

Was your New Year’s resolution to be perfect? I would guess not.

Perfection is celebrated because of its rarity.  Should the opposite be true as well? Should imperfection really be condemned? If perfection is the rarest of all feats, shouldn’t it be considered acceptable when we don’t achieve such a vaunted status? Nobody’s perfect! We all make mistakes. Who cares?

God cares. Imperfections may be an accepted part of life for you and I, but they are not acceptable to our God. Imperfection runs contrary to the way God intended this world to function. When he finished his work of creation, God was pleased to know that everything worked in harmony. There were no imperfections: “God saw all that he made and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).

Imperfections are therefore an offense to our perfect creator God, even our own, minor or major. They are not excused; they are not overlooked. They are punished for the offense that they are.

But, “Nobody is perfect!”

That’s why we need someone to be perfect for us.

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). This is the headline from our God that is incredible news for you: Jesus Christ who had no sin or imperfection became our imperfection. He received all the punishment that we deserved, paying for it by his death on the cross. In return, he grants us the perfection that we could not achieve on our own. In Christ we become “the righteousness of God.”

As much as we celebrate individual accomplishments of perfection–the perfect season, the perfect game, or the perfect test score–how much greater can we celebrate the perfection that is ours by faith in Jesus Christ! In Christ God views you as perfect; believe it! Celebrate it! Live it!

Click here for more Questions & Answers at WhatAboutJesus.com.


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