Friday, August 28, 2020

Why do I sin? (Part 2) - 1 Thes 5:23






















Why do I sin? (Part 2)

August 30, 2020

1 Thessalonians 5:23


Last time we looked at the concept of sin, and where it originated.  We recognized sin started with Adam, and since that day we all have a sinful nature.  None of us likes to be reminded of sin, yet it is something each of us falls into, time and time again.  


Romans 3:23 tells us "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God"


From age 10 onwards I have wanted to be a faithful follower of Jesus, and be obedient.  Yet I had a continual struggle against sin.


This led me to worry about the state of my conversion.  If I was a born-again Christian, how come I seemed to mess up time and time again?  I read the verse in 1 John 3:9 which says "Whoever is born of God doth not sin", and wondered what was wrong with me!


I imagine I am not the only one with these questions.


Today we are going to find out why Christians still sin.


Spirit, Soul and Body


The key verse to understanding this, is 1 Thessalonians 5:23. "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ".


A literary form often used in the Bible is repetition.  Here, a concept is stated once ("sanctify you wholly"), and then is repeated in different words ("your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless").


From this verse, we understand that the whole of "me" is made up of three distinct parts, "spirit and soul and body".


Here is another way to express this:


SPIRIT

+

SOUL

+

BODY

--------

ME


So now the question is, what are these three distinct parts?  We will look at each of them in turn.


BODY


The part of us called "body" is probably the easiest to understand.


This is the physical aspect to "me".  It is made of flesh and blood and bone. It has a particular shape which defines me as a physical person.  It has a head (which includes the physical brain), a torso, and the limbs. The body is physical, and is mortal, it dies.


"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens … earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: … that mortality might be swallowed up of life." - 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 .


During our physical lifetime, the physical body is the temporary physical house or home or container where our spirit and soul dwell. 


SPIRIT

+

SOUL

+

BODY  =  temporary physical house for spirit and soul

--------

ME


So now, let's take a look at that part of us known as spirit.


SPIRIT


Before we knew God, we already had a spirit component. We were born with it.  “Who knows the spirit of man that goes upward, and the spirit of the beast that goes downward to the earth?” - Ecclesiastes 3:21.  Also, “... the Lord, which ... forms the spirit of man within him.” - Zechariah 12:1.  These verses relate to all human beings, not solely Christians.


This spirit of man is what makes us alive physically. When Adam was created, God “... breathed into his nostrils the breath (Heb. neshamah, breath or spirit) of life; and man became a living soul (Heb. nephesh, soul, self, life, living being).” - Genesis 2:7.  This spirit of man imparts physical life to us.  


SPIRIT  =  our human spirit that makes us physically alive

+

SOUL

+

BODY  =  temporary physical house for spirit and soul

--------

ME


So what about the Holy Spirit?


THE HOLY SPIRIT


This human spirit is not the same as the Holy Spirit.  


The spirit of man gives us life.  So it is in us from the start of life, in other words from conception.


The Holy Spirit on the other hand, is generally only given to us upon our receiving Jesus into our life. “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. - Acts 2:38. 


The Holy Spirit comes after our conversion.  With rare biblical exceptions, we are not born with the Holy Spirit.  So the spirit of man we have from conception, is not the same as the Holy Spirit, who comes later.


In a spiritual sense, our human spirit is dead. "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins." - Ephesians 2:1. Our nature was to be disobedient. 


Our human spirit needs to be quickened or given spiritual life, by the Holy Spirit.  “Who also has made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.” - 2 Corinthians 3:6. “It is the spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” - John 6:63. 


Before Jesus came into our life we were spiritually dead. But when we surrender and invite Jesus into our life, he comes to make his home in us, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit. "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." - John 14:23.

"I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth … for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." - John 14:17. "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" - 1 Corinthians 6:19.


When we surrender and invite Jesus in, God's presence brings life. God is spirit and he now dwells in that part of us called spirit.  God is sinless and holy. His presence in our spirit makes our spirit sinless and holy (sanctified). We are forgiven by Jesus sacrifice, and sanctified by Gods presence "... ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." - 1 Corinthians 6:11.


CONCLUSION


Summarising what we have covered so far:  


  1. We are composed of three parts, spirit, soul and body.

  2. Our body is our temporary physical house which houses our spirit and our soul.

  3. Our human spirit is a spiritual component that gives our inanimate body, physical life. 

  4. Our human spirit is spiritually dead, inanimate.

  5. When we surrender to Jesus and welcome him, he, the Father and the Holy Spirit come to dwell in us. 

  6. The presence of God (Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit) now makes our human spirit alive and holy.


In other words, after surrendering to Jesus, this is who we are: 


SPIRIT  =  our human spirit that makes us physically alive + God (Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit) who makes us spiritually alive

+

SOUL

+

BODY  =  temporary physical house for spirit and soul

--------

ME


Next time we will explore the matter of the soul. This will give us a lot of clarity regarding our motivation to sin, even as Christians!


Sunday, August 16, 2020

The Return - 9/26 Day of Prayer










This is a crucial time! 

Our enemy Satan, hates and is attacking this country and particularly Christianity with all he has. 

The only thing standing in his way, is Christians who are awake, and at their posts. If we do not stand in the gap for our nation, and repent, first of all for our own sins, and then for the sins of our nation, asking God to heal our land,  darkness will prevail. 

Pray for our president, pray for our judiciary, pray for our Senate and congress. 

Please watch the attached video by Jonathan Cahn, about The Return, all the way to the end.  

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=cn9wlzsFKzc



Taking the high road

 










This morning we are at a new RV park. I'm sitting outside, before it gets too hot, with my coffee, thinking about you all. 

You know, this year has been a struggle for many of us.  For some the struggle has been similar to that of others. For others, our struggle has been unique. 

Our struggle can have either a bad or a good outcome. We choose which direction we will go. 

Hitler was an unknown wallpaper hanger in Austria. He struggled against his personal demons. He wrote his book "Mein Kampf" meaning "my struggle". 

This manifesto detailed his racist vision for a racially pure Aryan Third Reich. His demons led him down a road of atrocities,  terror and attempted genocide. 

He made a choice to give in to his struggle with his demons, while he could have chosen the overcomers path, been freed from his demons, and become a force for good. 

We each struggle against our own issues. We choose. 

Will we give in to our struggle? Or will we choose the high road, the righteous path? As overcomers. The choice is ours.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Worship 8.2.2020 - Why do I sin? (Part 1)

















Worship Service 8.2.2020


Join with us in worshiping our Savior King!


Cornerstone - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvLxZEU02uI  

Savior King - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ljxi1_Eo48w  

I will rise (Chris Tomlinson) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fa8w7mGug0c  

10,000 reasons / Bless the Lord  -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXDGE_lRI0E  

I surrender  -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7jXASBWwwI  




Why do I sin (Part 1)?

August 2, 2020

Roman's 5:2


Oh no! Not again! I felt ashamed! I had been trying so hard to conquer this sin, but I had tumbled again! It seemed the harder I tried, the more I failed!


I just didn't understand. I had surrendered my life to Jesus. Yet I kept messing up. I felt worse than worthless, I must be such a disappointment to God. My life seemed to be a never ending cycle of doing the wrong thing, feeling terrible, saying I was sorry, and trying again.


Why is it that we as Christians, keep on sinning? 


Surely if I surrendered my life to Jesus, my life would be pure and holy?  Doesn't 1 John 3:9 tell us that as a Chritian, I cannot sin? "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." Does this mean I am not a Christian?


Today we are going to take a brief look at the subject of the origin of sin. 


INNOCENCE LOST


Where did sin come from? Adam and Eve were created perfect. They were as innocent as a new born baby. There was no sin in the garden of Eden. God created man and woman and looked back and said, "That's good! In fact, that's very good!" (Genesis 1:26, 31). God was close to Adam, talked with him and all was well.


Until the day Satan, in the guise of a snake, slithered into the garden, and lied to Eve. Eve fell for the deception, Adam caved in, and sin entered the world (Romans 5:12). 


A FALLEN NATURE


From that time forward, mankind has had a fallen nature. Theologically, this is the doctrine of the Depravity of Man. 


Because man has this sinful nature, he is incapable of being pure and sinless. We have all sinned (Romans 3:23). Ugh! In fact, our fallen nature hates God! It hates God, and loves sin (Romans 8:7). Sin leads to death (Roman's 6:23). Consequently, this fallen nature is spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1, Colossians 2:13).


THE CURE FOR SIN


These events though, did not take God by surprise. Even before the creation (Revelation 13:8), it had been foreordained that God in the form of Jesus would pay the price for sin, so our sins could be forgiven. He sent Jesus to become human like us (John 3:16-17), to die in our place, so the penalty for our sins could be paid.


When a person turns to God in repentance, and asks for forgiveness, God responds, and blots out their sin (1 John 1:9). Their sins are forgiven. This is the state of the Christian. 


SAVING GRACE


We call this saving grace, because even the desire to repent is initiated by God (Roman's 2:4). God gives us forgiveness as a sovereign gift. We may try to be obedient,  but even if I lived a sinless day today, that would not remove yesterday's sin. Forgiveness is a free gift from God. It is grace (Romans 5:15). We earned guilt by sinning, we receive forgiveness as an undeserved gift.


So, as a Christian, we have been forgiven. We live in a state of grace. 


This is why 1 John 3:9 tells us we cannot sin. When we surrendered to Jesus, we entered this state of grace. We no longer desire to live a life of sin. Our desire now is to be pleasing to God, instead of hating anything to do with him. In that sense, we cannot sin, we no longer live in a state of sin. 


"Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." (Romans 4:8). It is not our personal righteousness or purity. Instead, God imputes the righteousness of Jesus, to us.


This does not mean that we do not sin. When we do sin, we repent, ask for forgiveness and get back up again. "For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief." (Proverbs 24:16).


Next time we will look at what actually happens when we become a Christian! There is a huge change that happens! Understanding this, will make all the difference in how we see our Christian journey!


Have a blessed day!


Pastor Gerry

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Worship 7.26.2020 - Hope for Today and Forever!
















WORSHIP SERVICE - July 26, 2020

Relax, listen and worship with us today!





Be Thou my Vision  -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Optrm7lF16s  

Let it Rain/Healing Rain  -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccoIvchSJB0  

Shout to the Lord  -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk5yLJbQCbI  




Hope for Today and Forever!

July 26, 2020

Psalm 38:15


INTRODUCTION


Susanville is a small but important town in the northeast of California. Dianne and I lived there ten years, as pastors and prison chaplain. It breaks our heart that the Hogg wildfire is threatening the safety of our friends, and the town as a whole.


At the same time, the coronavirus is hitting the local prisons, and from there, is spreading into the community. People are scared of what is happening.


It is a tough time for Susanville. 


But it is a hard time for much of the country as well! People are angry because of centuries of racial injustice, anxious about the possibility of contracting a tiny but deadly virus, worried about financial survival, depression is on the rise, suicides are up, and people are in pain! 


Is there hope for the future?


Today we are going to see that there is indeed!  There is hope!


BODY


First of all, what do we mean by hope?


Faith and hope are closely aligned. Perhaps we could say that hope is a longing for something or some event. And that faith adds substance to that longing in the form of confidence that the anticipated event will definitely occur.


"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." - Hebrews 11:1


"Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life." - Proverbs 13:12


There are three forms of hope that can change our entire perspective on what is going on around us.


Hope for positive change


God is in the restoration business. 


God's intention for us is that we experience good! Jesus tells us, "The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." - John 10:10


When Jesus started his ministry he quoted from Isaiah to outline his mission, his manifesto: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel (good news) to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted,  to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty  them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord." - Luke 4:18-19


Jesus's ministry was characterized by preaching the good news of the kingdom of God, that a new day was dawning, and that those who believed could experience change, even in this life. 


He brought healing to the broken hearted, those enduring suffering and mental anguish, those going through grief and depression, anxiety and emotional pain.


He preached deliverance to the captives, those in held in chains of suffering by the enemy, Satan. He commanded demons to leave, he declared freedom in people's lives, he broke the powers of darkness over suffering individuals.


Jesus preached or decreed recovery of sight to the blind. He did not just heal blind people, but all manner of sicknesses (Matthew 4:23). Sickness was not God's intention for his creation, it came as a result of the Fall. When people turn to him, he offers healing in the physical realm. 


"Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up …" - James 5:14-15


He sets at liberty those that are bruised.  People with emotional wounds need healing. We have a nation of walking wounded. People who have been betrayed, abused, taken advantage of. People who have seen things no human was meant to see. People who have witnessed the atrocities of war. The pain of seeing a loved one die of cancer, an inch at a time. The pain of being violated as children. The trauma of witnessing death and suffering in our hospital wards and on the roads, and as a first responder, the horror of finding charred bodies in the wake of a wildfire. Jesus says he provides healing for the bruised among us.


And he says he never changes.  He healed in the past, he heals today (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8)


Hope for life after death


Many of us have experienced the pain of loss of a loved one. It leaves an indelible mark on us, as we experience walking alone where our journey has heretofore been shared.  This pain can feel overwhelming, like a part of you has been ripped out, like a cloud of painful darkness all around us.


Yes, we have lost the most precious person in our life. They have gone, and we must now find our way to continue our journey. But we have hope that we will see them again.  Here are some verses.


"If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change comes." - Job 14:14


"But i would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not, like others which have no hope. … For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel,  and with the trumpet of God: and the dead in Christian shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds,  to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." - 1 Thessalonians 4:13, 16-18


There is hope for life after death, we will be reunited with our loved ones!


There is another hope we have as well, if we are honest with ourselves.


Hope for relationship


"As Vice President, George Bush represented the U.S. at the funeral of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Bush was deeply moved by a silent protest carried out by Brezhnev's widow. She stood motionless by the coffin until seconds before it was closed. Then, just as the soldiers touched the lid, Brezhnev's wife performed an act of great courage and hope, a gesture that must surely rank as one of the most profound acts of civil disobedience ever committed: She reached down and made the sign of the cross on her husband's chest. 


"There in the citadel of secular, atheistic power, the wife of the man who had run it all hoped that her husband was wrong. She hoped that there was another life, and that that life was best represented by Jesus who died on the cross, and that the same Jesus might yet have mercy on her husband." - Gary Thomas, in Christianity Today, October 3, 1994, p. 26.


There is an emptiness in the human soul.  Man was created with a deep inner need for God.  We have attempted to satisfy this hunger with toys, with drugs, with sexual addiction, with money with power and control.  


Unfortunately, each of these is only a pale, anemic, temporary substitute for the one thing that will truly satisfy our need. What we need is a dynamic relationship with our Creator, resulting in peace, knowing we are right with him.


How can we insignificant people even dare to seek such an audacious relationship?


That relationship has already been initiated by our Creator!  John tells us, "We love him, because he first loved us" - 1 John 4:19.  "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - John 3:16


God invites us into a no holds barred relationship!  He adopts us as his children (Romans 8:15, 1 John 3:1-2), with all the selfless love that goes along with that!  He sent Jesus to die, to remove the barrier of sin between him and us.  Wow! And he stands ready to welcome us (Luke 15:20). Through Jesus, we have hope for relationship with our Creator.


So how do we reciprocate?  It comes down to this: we surrender our life to him. Without him, we are empty.  But when he comes, he imparts fresh life!


Thank Jesus for making this relationship possible. Ask him to forgive your sins. Ask him to be your personal Lord and Savior. Determine to follow him, the rest of your life!


"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:9


Jesus tells you, "... Him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out." - John 6:37


"Come unto me, all year that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." - Matthew 11:28


"Lord, I come to you and I surrender my life to you. Please forgive me for all my sins.  Thank you for dying on a cross, paying the price on my behalf. I welcome you as my Lord and Savior. In Jesus name,  amen."


If you just prayed this prayer from your heart, you now have a relationship with your Creator! You now have hope for the future, a hope that carries you through all the good times and bad times, knowing that there are better times ahead, in this life, and in the eternity beyond.


Walking the journey with you. Have a blessed day!


Pastor Gerry


PS: If you have any comments to make on this service, or if you made a decision for Jesus today, please feel free to write to us at healingshepherd@yahoo.com. If you have anything you would like us to pray for, please email us. We commit to bring your requests before the Lord who loves you, more than you can imagine! Love you!


Way Maker  -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26jEkcGtFlM  


Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Focus, focus, focus!


It was way back in my teens.


My family had moved areas, and consequently I had to change schools.  The school I was leaving was behind on teaching the state curriculum, while the school I was now attending was ahead.  This left a considerable gap in curriculum that I had not been taught.  The consequence of this was that my grades plummeted.


What could I do to turn this situation around?


I realized this was going to take hard work.  I had to double down on the subjects in which I was behind, and study curriculum on my own.


In short, I had to focus.


God knows we need to focus.


Matthew 6:33 “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”


Hebrews 12:1-2 “... let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith …”


Matthew 6:24 “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (wealth).”


So, what is the focus of my life?


Is the focus of my activities, God and obedience to him? Or is my focus on the cares of this world?


God says, if I center my life on him, he will take care of my needs.  God has the power to provide for his children, and what father would withhold provision from his family (Matthew 7:9-11)?


We are in an unfamiliar world right now.  The covid pandemic has turned our lives upside down.  Some of us may have contracted the virus.  Others may have family who are suffering.  We may have lost our employment.  We may be wondering about how to make ends meet.  We may be anxious.


But God says, don’t be anxious about tomorrow.  Because he is in control.  He knows our needs, and he loves his own.


Does this mean we don't need to work and take care of our families?


No, Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 5:8, if we do not take care of our family, we have denied the faith and are worse than an infidel.  So there is a balance we need to achieve in this.


However, our overwhelming focus needs to be on spiritual things, our relationship with God, not on things of this life (Colossians 3:14). Ultimately, that relationship is the treasure we seek, not physical riches.


God will take care of us.


Not just in this life, but for all eternity.  


He has prepared a place in heaven for each of his own. Nothing can happen to us that God has not allowed for or prepared for (John 14:1-3).  His purpose for our life will be fulfilled.  There is no need to fear.


Our part is to keep our focus on him.  And he will take care of us.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Would you like a do-over?

Have you ever wished you could have a do-over?

Life throws us curve balls, things happen, and we are not satisfied, either with ourself or our circumstances.  Looking back, we may wish we could have grown up in a different place, a different family, perhaps more affluence, better school, etc.  

Of course wishing will never make anything happen.  It is good to review occasionally, even regularly, with a view to managing the path of our future.  If we want to change our future, action will be required.

Let's explore this a little.

What things do we wish had been different?  Here are some ideas:
  • Perhaps home was not a happy place.  We wish we grew up in a different family.
  • Perhaps we grew up in poverty.
  • Maybe school was a bad experience - I'm thing of deeper stuff here than whether or not we liked the classes we took.
  • Maybe we did things, or made choices in the past, that we wish we could change
  • Those words we said to our wife, husband, son or daughter.  We wish we could somehow take them back.
We cannot undo what happened in the past.  

That thing I said twenty years ago, has happened.  I cannot change this fact.  It is indelibly recorded in history.  The choices I made in my history have ongoing repercussions in my present and future.  I would like to keep the good things of my past, but somehow erase the negative things.

You know, such an erasing is possible.  In fact it is offered to each of us.

No matter what the things we have done or said, Jesus stands ready to forgive us.  

"Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow" Isaiah 1:18.  
"You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea" Micah 7:19.
"Purge me with hyssop (soap), and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow" Psalm 51:7
"As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us" Psalm 103:12
"Repent (turn from your sin) ye therefore, and be converted (changed), that your sins may be blotted out" Acts 3:19

Our sins can be blotted out, because Jesus paid the price for us.  Why don't you pray the following prayer with us?

"Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on a cross for me, so that my sins could be forgiven.  Would you please forgive and blot out my sins.  I welcome you into my life as my Savior and Lord.  In Jesus name, Amen."

When we take this step, Jesus starts to transform our life, giving us purpose and a future, both in this life and the life to come.  Amazing!

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Reacting to provocation ...

INTRODUCTION

On the news the last couple of weeks we have watched scenes of unprecedented violence and anger.  Shops have been looted, property vandalized and destroyed, and anger has boiled over into full-scale riots.  The event that precipitated this violence, was the tragic murder of George Floyd.  The perpetrator will be facing the courts and hopefully will never again be in a position to repeat his crime. The way in which the mobs reacted though, was totally out of proportion and indiscriminate.  These riots are an example of out of control anger and rage.

Anger affects all of us.  It is an emotion we all experience, at one time or another.  Hopefully we do not express our anger in the way the news has portrayed recently, but it is normal to experience this emotion, from time to time.

So today we are going to take a look at the issue of anger, examining what it is and how to deal with it.

WHAT IS ANGER?

Here are some definitions of anger:

"Anger is a natural, though sometimes unwanted or irrational, emotion that everybody experiences from time to time. Anger experts describe the emotion as a primary, natural emotion which has evolved as a way of surviving and protecting yourself from what is considered a wrong-doing."  https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/anger.html

"Anger is one of the basic human emotions, as elemental as happiness,happiness, sadness, anxiety or disgust. These emotions are tied to basic survival and were honed over the course of human history."  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/anger 

Anger is a basic emotion God gave us.  There is nothing wrong with this emotion of itself.  Where it goes bad, is in how we express our anger.  It can be expressed in a good way or a bad way.  Throwing rocks through store front windows, or beating someone up are obviously not the way God wanted us to use this emotion.

Ephesians  4:26 tells us "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath".  The Greek word orgizo used for 'angry' in this verse refers to being provoked or aroused to anger.  We have no control over other people.  People provoke us, get under our skin.  It is not sinful for us to become provoked by someone's actions or words.  Where the sin comes in, is in how we now deal with this.

So how should we deal with anger?

HOW WE CAN MANAGE ANGER

1.  Manage the anger

At one level, we can be aware of when anger is escalating.  We can notice what is happening in our body: is our heart beating faster, does our face feel flushed, are we breathing faster, are our muscles tensing up?  These are all ways in which the body is preparing for a possible confrontation, our in-built "fight or flight" mechanism.

When we recognize our danger signals, it is time to act. We make a choice to allow the anger to build up.  Or we choose to not go down that route. It is all about choices we make.

There are things we can do to de-escalate.  The first one is, be watching our reactions.  This in itself slows the process down.  Secondly, we can choose to create space between ourself and the person provoking us.  Later, when we have cooled down, we can go back to the person and talk things over more calmly.  In talking with them, do not judge them or impute motives.

2.  What Would Jesus Do (WWJD)?

At a deeper level, think about how God would want you to react.  Would God want you to cause harm to a fellow human being?  Would He want you to retaliate, rebel against the government, destroy property, become angry and violent?

What does it say about Jesus?  "He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth ... as a sheep before her shearers is dumb (silent), so he opened not his mouth" (Isaiah 53:7).

Jesus told us "Blessed are the peacemakers" (Matthew 5:9)

Fruits of the Spirit include "love, joy, peace, long-suffering (patience), gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (Galatians 5:22-23)

So, we can choose to not react angrily to provocation, but instead think of the other person as a fellow human being, made in God's image just as we were. They are deserving of our love and kindness, just as God has shown us that same love.

Notice that I have not discussed the rightness or wrongness of the other person's position.  Our reaction as a Christian is not determined by the nature of someone else's provocation. It does not matter who they are, or even if they are Christian or not.  We unilaterally decide to react in a Christian manner, no matter how much we may feel provoked.

In this way we follow Jesus' example, walking in his steps.

CONCLUSION

In the face of all the chaos and confusion around us, it is our job as Christians to show the way.  We are to be lights in the world, not stumbling around in the darkness.  There is hope for humanity, and we are privileged to share it!  Jesus is alive and well, and cares about every human being on this planet, whether they know him yet or not.


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Our besetting sin?

"Leaving behind the sin that so easily besets us" (Hebrews 12:1)

Do you have a sin that so easily besets you? A sin that you fall into time and time again? Is it time to lay down that weight and hindrance in your walk with God?

King David had such a besetting sin. That sin was lust. In 2nd Samuel 11 and 12, we are told about an incident in David's life when he caved in to the sin of lust. It is the story of David's adultery with Bathsheba, and the sins committed in attempting to cover it up, deception, betrayal, murder.

Many of us have a problem with lust. Here are some startling statistics about pornography:


  • 25% of search engine requests are related to sex
  • 35% of downloads from the internet are pornographic
  • 40 million Americans say they regularly visit porn sites
  • 70% of men aged 18 to 24 visit a porn site at least once per month
  • The largest consumer group of online porn is men between the ages of 35 and 49
  • One-third of all internet porn users are women
  • Sunday is the most popular day of the week for viewing porn (https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/process-addiction/porn-addiction/related/pornography-statistics/#gref)
  • 55% of married men say they watch porn at least once a month, compared to 70% of not married men. 
  • The following percentages of men say they view pornography at least several times a week:
  • 18-30-year-olds, 63%
  • 31-49-year-olds, 38%
  • 50-68-year-olds, 25% (http://www.provenmen.org/2014pornsurvey/)

David's incident with Bathsheba was not isolated. It was the culmination of years of sexual self-gratification. David's first wife was Michal. Then he married Abigail, then Ahinoam. Then followed Maacah, Haggith, Abital, Eglah (2 Samuel 3:2-5). This was while David still lived in Hebron, during his first seven and a half years as king over Judah (2 Samuel 2:11). He took even more women as wives and concubines when he reigned from Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:13). David was never satisfied sexually. David had a problem with lust.

Gods intention for us is that a man would have only one wife, to whom we would cleave and have a faithful close relationship, until death do us part (Genesis 2:24, Malachi 2:14-16, Matthew 19:5, Ephesians 5:31-33, 1 Timothy 3:2, 12, 1 Timothy 5:9, Titus 1:6).  When we disregard this, like David did, it has repercussions.  

This is why it is so important that we confess our sin, and repent to God for having broken God's marriage laws, and damaged our relationships till it has become the norm to divorce and remarry.  This is not God's way. His way is the way of repentance and reconciliation, not abandonment.

"Lord, please forgive us for being unfaithful to the wife of our youth, and for having indulged in sexual addiction.  Please forgive us and cleanse our minds and hearts. In Jesus name. Amen."