Do you want to sin against God? The obvious answer is no! No one who calls themselves a follower of Jesus Christ does. Yet, what steps do we take to …Might Not Sin
I have to be honest with you – I was so proud of myself when I came up with that title! Now I just need a blog post to go along with it…
In all seriousness, I do have an important point to make today, and I’m not just bending a message to fit the title.
A few days ago, I sat praying in my usual spot. It has been a fairly tough time for the family over the last few months, and I was reflecting on this and bringing it before the Lord. I started to pray for each individual involved, “God, please help me to support this person…” “Lord, please help me show your love to that person…” Lord, please help me do this, that or the other…” I began to feel overwhelmed and could not imagine how I could minister to all the people in my life who needed it at that moment.
Then, with a simple word, I felt God speak to me.
Don’t try to do my job for Me, Andy…
Now to be clear, this was not an audible voice I heard with my physical ears. I’m always conscious of pointing that out whenever I say that God “spoke” to me. This was an inner witness, and what I mean by that is simply that this was the sense I got from the Father inside.
With that one phrase, it lifted the pressure right off of me. I am responsible to love and care for the people in my life, and where led to, I should minister and support all that I can with the love of the Father. However, I am not God (clearly!). I cannot do what He can do, and I cannot take His place in the lives of those around me.
I have a part to play, but God is the one in charge. He knows far better than I what people need and how best to help them.
The truth is I have a problem with pride. In my time with God in the mornings at the moment, I’m doing a brief study on this subject, and it dawns on me how strong my prideful spirit is at times.
Pride and selfishness are close cousins. Humility and submission are likewise related.
When I become impatient in a situation, it is because my pride is kicking in and telling me I shouldn’t have to wait. When I get angry, it is frequently because I am not getting what I want. When I feel anxious, I am not trusting God but rather trusting in myself to fix the problems – which are often out of my control.
Can you relate?
Too frequently, I do things my way. Instead, let’s try to do things Yahweh…
Let God be God, and humbly submit to Him. Instead of impatience and anger, put the other person first and give them the space and time they need (even if it takes you a little longer to do what you need to).
Christ is our ultimate example of humility.
Have this in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, existing in the form of God, didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, yes, the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also highly exalted him, and gave to him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:5-11 (WEB)
Wow! These verses are just wow! What an example of humility! Jesus, equal to God, stepped down from heaven and became a human being… and just that, but became obedient to death – even death of a hideous cross.
He did things Yahweh…
How about you today? Will you try to do it all your way and in your own strength? O will you try, like me, to submit to God and do things His way? It is not a onetime choice, but something we will have to do time and time again. That is what it means to crucify the flesh and to carry the cross daily.
O Lord help me surrender to You this day! Let me do it all Your way and not mine! Help me let go of my pride and se3lfishness, and clothe myself in humility – putting others ahead of myself! In the great Name of Jesus! Amen
God has been speaking to me lately about the very issues this post raises. And I share it for your encouragement today.
I find myself constantly encouraged but regularly challenged by the writings on Bruces blog. do take some time to check out the other posts and be blessed yourselves.
The Scriptures covered in this post are from John 15:9-14 NASB. “Just as the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you; remain in My love. If you …Musings From the Gospel of John – Number 38
Do you want to sin against God? The obvious answer is no! No one who calls themselves a follower of Jesus Christ does. Yet, what steps do we take to avoid the trap of sin in our lives? If we do nothing, then we will find ourselves drifting into sin’s clutches. To avoid sin, we must be deliberate and decisive.
There are many reasons to read the Bible, and here is a compelling one from Psalm 119.
I have hidden your word in my heartPsalm 119:11 (NIV)
that I might not sin against you.
My post today may be short, simple and straight to the point. If you want to avoid sin, then you must be dedicated to God’s Word.
The one who spends their time storing God’s Word in their heart is the one who will have the best chance of defeating temptation and not falling into sin.
In God’s Word we learn what is and is not sin, and how we – as His people – should conduct our lives. We also gain spiritual nourishment so that we might be strong in our faith. As we read and study the Bible, our minds are renewed and the better we think, the better we will act.
You will never grow as a Christian if you do not take the time necessary to get to know God’s Word.
Hide it in your heart, and speak it out of your mouth. Memorise it, meditate on it, and marinate in it!
Sin is deadly. Do not be deceived, and do not falsely believe you can “get away” with it. Jesus defeated the temptation of the devil by quoting the Scriptures. When you are likewise tempted, you too can draw on the Scriptures you have stored in your heart.
Reading a few verses on a Sunday in church isn’t enough. Take time each and every day to consume the Bible. It takes effort, of course, but it is well worth it!
May God bless you richly as you engage with the Word today.
The following short passage has been coming up time and time again in my devotionals and podcast in the last few days. I sense that God is directing me to them, and so want to spend some time thinking about them today.
Therefore let’s also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him who has endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, that you don’t grow weary, fainting in your souls.Hebrews 12:1-3 (WEB)
Chapter 12 opens with the word “therefore,” and this connects it to the previous chapter. Hebrews 11 is definitely worth a read at this point if you have the time. It describes a number of the great heroes of faith, a sort of hall of fame if you like. These faithful individuals followed God and are an example to us. They were not always perfect of course, but are living testimonies to God’s kindness throughout the generations.
Hebrews 12 opens by pointing out that we are surrounded by such a great crowd of witnesses. Clearly, the author of Hebrews is pointing to the people just described in the previous chapter. As well as to the readers, we too are surrounded by their witness and can learn from the examples they set and the interactions they had with God.
Beyond that though, we are even now surrounded by witnesses to the faithfulness of Christ. Every time you set foot in church, there are those around you who are journeying through life with and for Jesus. Learn from them, let them encourage you, and do likewise for them in return.
When you are sat at work or school, surrounded by sin or the ways of the world, it can be easy to feel like the only Christian in the galaxy. Elijah once felt like the only prophet remaining, and it can feel lonely and isolated. You are not alone however!
Until the Lord returns, there will always be a church on this Earth. If you live in a place where you are able to freely worship the God of Heaven, then do so and enjoy the fellowship of other believers. Let them be a witness to you, and share your own faith journey with them to uplift and encourage.
Hebrews 12 goes on to instruct us to lay aside every weight which slows us down, and to remove the sin that easily entangles us. The verse will go on to tell us to run the race, so the idea of shedding anything that slows us down is important.
In running your Christian race, what weighs you down? Remember that it says to lay aside weight and also sin. So “weight” in this context is not necessarily anything sinful.
For example, I might love to play golf (or insert any sport or hobby of your choosing). If I become so obsessed with golf, playing it every Sunday, reading about it all week and spending all of my money on clubs and equipment, then it is likely that will weigh down my faith. Golf is not sinful, but when it becomes my top priority then it is a hinderance to my faith.
Do you have a golfing equivalent? Are there things in your life which weigh you down in your race for Christ?
And what about sin? Sin can so easily get tangled up in our lives, and in my mind, I imagine it as a rope or cord wrapping around us. When we try to run our race, we just trip and fall.
Do not take chances with sin. It is like playing with fire. If you know you are dabbling with a particular sin, stop it right now. Don’t even walk down the street where sin dwells! We must recognise its danger and flee from it with all our might.
If you know you are tempted in certain areas, then pray about it ahead of time and stay well clear. If you struggle with late night TV, then shut that thing off at 8.30 or make sure you’re never alone with it. If your thoughts are starting to wander towards an attractive person at work, keep well away from them where possible and do not let yourself be alone with them.
Sin is like an animal trap. If we get too close, it will spring shut and ensnare us. Please take sin seriously. I worry that the modern church does not always do this. We preach a great deal on God’s grace, and rightly so, but we must be fully aware of the danger of sin.
When I was at university, I recall sitting in a kitchen to an adjoining TV room. Something came on screen which was clearly sinful, and I remember one of the Christians leaping from their seat and running out of the room. They did not want any part in it, and good for them. Let us be equally quick to run from it.
I hope these few thoughts are helpful to you, and indeed convict you if changes need to be made. I have barely made it to the end of verse one today, so will likely pick up the remainder in subsequent posts.
If God is putting this passage in front of me for a reason, then I want to take it extremely seriously. Perhaps He is directing you to do the same?
Responsibilities and how we relate to them. Let’s get it straight. Luke 17:7-10 7 “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say…Parable Surprises – Master and His Servant
I hope this blog post finds you well?
I just wanted to post a quick update on why I have been so quiet on the blog these last few days. I am pleased to say that all is well, and actually just taking a few days off of work to spend time with family.
Life, as ever, has been rather hectic of late! I saw an opportunity to take a few days rest, and grabbed it with both hands!
How often do you take time to rest and relax? when you have a strong work ethic, or even a works mentality, it can be very difficult to switch off and relax for a while. Every single one of us needs to stop and rest at times however.
Let us not forget that even our wonderful God, who is infinite in power, took time to rest at the end of creation. This was not because he was tired, but simply because he wanted to enjoy the fruits of his labour.
Likewise, he built a specific command in the 10 Commandments for us to take time each week to just rest in his presence.
Perhaps it is not possible for you to take an entire day each week just to rest. But the principle remains, that each of us should take time to re-energise so that we might continue to serve him with gladness.
Whether we work in a secular job, ministry or at home, too many of us burn out because we do not stop often enough. Don’t let that be you dear reader!
Father God, we thank you for your loving grace and mercy towards us who believe. Thank you that you are the one who gives us the strength we need for each and every day.
For all who are weary, I pray that you may give them strength and rest.
Help us not to be so busy that we ceased to be fruitful.
As we lift up our voices in prayer and praise, may our strength be renewed.
We worship you, loving father! thank you for your enduring love. Thank you that you walk with us through our everyday lives.
Thank you for the times when you carious, when our strength is gone.
In the mighty and glorious name of our Lord and saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen
Paul’s last words to the leaders of the church at Ephesus set quite an example for believers to follow. I also pray that I will be able to say to my …June 30 Faithful Living
The COVID pandemic has been one of the biggest challenges that has faced our generation, many have said. Governments across the world have grappled with its consequences, and whether you think your political leaders have done a good job or not, you cannot deny the scale of the issues they have faced.
The UK appears to be in an unusual place concerning the pandemic. We were heading for a full release of restrictions on 21st June – so call Freedom Day – but due to rising cases of a COVID variant named Delta, our government have pushed this date back to 19th July.
The challenge facing the UK Government does not end on 19th July however, and a whole new set of challenges begins. Many have lost their jobs over the last 18 months, much money has been paid out to businesses forced to close during the lockdown, and our health service faces a massive backlog of treatment they could not give in the last year.
All of this came to mind this morning when reading Proverbs:
When the country is in chaos,Proverbs 28:2 (Message)
everybody has a plan to fix it—
But it takes a leader of real understanding
to straighten things out.
Whether you think it fair to describe the current state of affairs as “chaos” is down to you. As above however, this country and nearly all others are facing unprecedented times. Things certainly need to be straightened out in one way or another.
The phrase “everybody has a plan to fix it” stood out to me this morning. At every turn, and every choice the Government makes, there will be someone telling them they are wrong. Commentators, experts and the general public say they should do this or that, but of course, no one can agree. For every expert that says “Go this way!” there is another which says to go the opposite direction.
Such times as we live in, and indeed, any times really, require leaders of wisdom. They must use their wisdom to make sensible choices, and not be swayed by wavering opinions. Sometimes the right choice is obvious… but often it is not.
This is true in our own lives, let alone running a whole nation. We do not always know which path to choose, and so how can our governments when they face decisions which can have implications for generations to come?
Only God has wisdom enough to show us the right path to choose. We, as Christians, must seek Him fully in His Word and be obedient to His call. When we face a choice not clearly described in the Bible, we pray for guidance and lean on the Holy Spirit. We must pray the same for our political leaders. They may or may not be Christians, but they still need godly wisdom to do what is right.
Your government needs you! It needs you to pray, and such prayers will benefit the whole country. It is a Christian’s duty to pray for our leaders, even when we do not agree with them.
The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.1 Timothy 2:1-3 (Message)
At times, we may all be guilty of criticizing the government and our national leaders. Their job is extremely difficult, and I am not sure I would want to have the responsibility they hold. I confess that I do not pray for them as often as I should, and clearly they need our prayers now as much as ever.
Some will feel called by the Lord to get involved in politics, local or otherwise, and others will certainly not. Whether that applies to you or not, the Bible is clear that we are to pray for our governmental leaders.
If you are not sure where to start, then here are a couple of suggestions.
As above, ask God to give our political leaders wisdom to make godly choices. When the right path forward is not clear, ask the Lord to show them the right way to go.
Also, pray that the Gospel can be freely preached in your nation. There are places in this world where the preaching of the faith is strictly prohibited. While not banned in the UK, the Gospel is no longer a popular message (if the Gospel ever was) and those who wish to share it are being penned in on every side.
Your government needs you to pray for them. The Bible commands us to do so. Let each of us set aside some time this week to pray for those in authority.
Have a great day!
Listening to Christian radio this afternoon, I heard another worship song proclaiming Christ is enough… it got me thinking about the below post I wrote a while ago. Re-posting it here for you. What do you think? Is Christ enough? Clearly He is… but is “enough” sufficient?
For this Sunday here’s what you can do: Encourage someone you seen changed this past year.. For this Lord’s Day post I thought it might be …This Sunday at Church: Encourage someone you seen changed this past year