The Weight of Sin

“Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel ,saying: ‘If a person sins unintentionally against any of the commandments of the Lord in anything which ought not be done, and does any of them, if the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, then let him offer to the Lord for his sin which he has sinned a young bull without blemish as a sin offering. He shall bring the bull to the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord, lay his hand on the bull’s head, and kill the bull before the Lord.” Leviticus 4:1-4 NKJV.

After reading through the beginning of Leviticus, one thing is for sure, everyday sin simply does not have the same weight it did back in the day. Think about it, we sin today, whether it be an innocent white lie, a lustful thought, or something as simple as spreading gossip and we don’t really give it a second thought. We may stop ourselves and think, “oh man, I really shouldn’t be thinking this” or “maybe I shouldn’t have said that” and that’s it! Everyday sin has been downplayed in today’s world. Think about the people that lived in the days of Moses, if they sinned they had to sacrifice their livestock! Even if their sin was unintentional, they still had to bring in a prized bull for the slaughter. I guarantee that if every time I sinned, even if unintentionally, I had to kill a bull I would look at sin in a whole new light. Sin would have real life consequences. What if every time you sinned, you had to sacrifice $100? I bet we would look at sin differently then!

Thankfully, Jesus Christ came down to Earth to die on the cross as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. We no longer have to do these bloody, brutal rituals when we sin because Jesus came as the perfect sacrifice. We have been washed clean by the blood of the lamb, the blood of Jesus Christ. But that doesn’t downplay the severity of sin itself. Sin still weighs the same now as it did in the days of Moses. I encourage you to read through the book of Leviticus if haven’t already. I’m still reading it myself and it’s a very brutal book, but, for me at least, it has put sin back in perspective. I’m thankful for Jesus, I’m thankful that God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, chose to send His one and only Son down to earth to die on the cross for you and for me, so that we no longer have to do these brutal rituals to wash away our sins. We often take for granted the ability to simply ask for forgiveness today, that’s why I recommend reading through this book, so that you may see the true weight that sin has.

B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth)

“For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.” Titus 2:11 NLT

The book of Titus is a short one, but a really good one. While I was reading it, something just kind of popped in my head, we spend so much time pushing people to “get saved” that we often forget to teach what we should do after. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing people truly give their lives to God, that’s the main reason we’re all here isn’t it? To become “fishers of men”. But I don’t think we spend enough time teaching what we should do after. I heard the preacher say something that stuck in my head a little while back, “Salvation isn’t the finish line, it’s the starting line.” After we accept God as our savior, that’s when our journey truly begins. Paul says in Titus 2:11-14 NLT, “For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with self-control, right conduct, and devotion to God, while we look forward to that wonderful event when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave His life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us His very own people, totally committed to doing what is right.” Being totally committed to doing what is right. I’ll admit, I struggle from time to time with certain sins, we all do. Some of us have things we battle with on a daily basis, be it drugs, alcohol, lust, or envy, we all have our struggles. We’re only human, right? Paul wrote a few verses in the book of Titus that tells us of our “human nature” and God’s unending mercy. Titus 3:3-8 NLT, “Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled by others and became slaves to many wicked desires and evil pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy. We hated others, and they hated us.” I think whether we want to admit it or not, this verse describes most of us at some point or another. It’s easy to get misled in this evil world we live in. I know all too well the destructive nature of living a life of sin can have on you. But what Paul writes next is truly inspiring. “But then God our Savior showed us His kindness and love. He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us because of what Jesus Christ our Savior did. He declared us not guilty because of His great kindness. And now we know that we will inherit eternal life. These things I have told you are true. I want you to insist on them so that everyone who trusts in God will be careful to do good deeds all the time. These things are good and beneficial for everyone.” Once we decide to give our lives over to God, the best thing for us to do is to really dig into the word of God. Read the gospels, what better way to find out what Jesus was all about than to read how He lived His life. Instead of just modeling our lives off the past examples of Christians, we should focus on the life of Christ Himself. We need to get this cookie cutter image of how a Christian looks and acts out of our heads and really read the bible for ourselves and pray that God would show you the way. “Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.” Titus 2:6-8 NKJV.

The Greatest Trick the Devil Ever Pulled

“He will use every kind of wicked deception to fool those who are on their way to destruction because they refuse to believe the truth that would save them.” 2 Thessalonians 2:10 NLV

It’s been less than a year since I started believing the truth of salvation through Jesus Christ. I read verses like 2 Thessalonians 2:10, and shake my head and think of people that it reminds me of. People that I hear or see talking about how silly “religion” is and how can people really believe that a man in the clouds is going to take us up to heaven on streets of gold and live happily ever after. I shake my head when I think of these other people, until I realize that up until not too long ago, I was one of those people. I grew up going to church, but it was mainly to see my friends and for the youth trips to Gatlinburg, TN. Once I got out of high school and out on my own, I formed this misguided opinion that there just could not be a God. How could something as awesome as God really exist? I questioned people’s faith, I mocked and ridiculed them for their beliefs, and I straight up made fun of people that believed in this so called, “God”. Looking back on it, I never made fun of anyone for being a Buddhist, or Hindu, or even a scientologist for that matter (ok I probably made fun of scientologists) but the point is, I was singling out Christianity. Why? Why was Christ the center of my focus as far as religion bashing went? The answer to that question is in the verse at the top of this blog, deception. I was being deceived by the father of lies, the evil one himself, Satan. I heard a saying once that said, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled, was convincing man that he did not exist.” That saying has stayed with me ever since I first heard it. I honestly believe that Lucifer would much rather you deny he exists than to worship him, because he knows that if you worship Satan, then you must believe in God as well. And if you believe in God, there’s a greater chance that Jesus Christ will come into you life. But if you deny that Satan exists at all, then the devil is already winning in your heart. Whether you believe it or not, one day Jesus Christ will come back. And just like Romans 14:11 says, “As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.” It goes on to say in verse 12 that, “each of us shall give account of himself to God.” So you can keep saying you don’t believe the living word of God that is the Bible, or the fact that He sent His only son to die for each and every single person that walked this earth. I don’t care what color you are, what part of the world you just so happened to be born in, Jesus Christ loved you enough to die for your sins so that you could go on to have eternal life in Him. As long as you have air in you lungs and a beating heart in your chest, you have time to turn your life over to God. I pray to almighty God that if you haven’t received Christ, that He would lay an undeniable conviction on your heart to hit your knees and repent. Because if you don’t, it’s not going to be that eternal sleep of nothingness when you die like I so often hear about from nonbelievers, it’s going to be the fires of Hell for all eternity.

Blowing on Coals

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,” Philippians 3:13 NLT.

Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. It’s funny how certain bible verses come across your life at just the right time. Some people may say it’s coincidence, but I have had waaaaay too many “coincidences” to believe that. I believe it’s God helping me through issues in my life. One of my struggles has been really letting go of some of the things that I have done in my life. I know God has forgiven me, and I know that most of the people that I have hurt along the way have forgiven me. But I am really struggling with forgiving myself. I started reading Philippians because of the verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:13. But if I were to be completely honest, there are so many other verses in this book that really impact me. 3:13 is one of those verses. It’s been six months since I gave my life over to God. I can’t even begin to count all the blessings in my life. Yet my fire has died down, my inferno has turned into a pile of coals. When I first received Christ, I couldn’t put my bible down. I was reading and studying and blogging about God everyday. I just couldn’t get enough! Lately it seems that I have been finding every excuse not to spend time with God. It’s not that my faith is wavering, or I’m starting to question God or anything like that. It’s more so of a priority issue. I can always seem to find the time to play video games or watch a movie, but not to sit down and read the bible or spend some quiet time in prayer. Maybe one of the reasons I like Paul so much is because he really puts it out there. He wrote a lot of these books while being imprisoned in Rome, literally in chains because of his faith! Yet, while being locked up, he still managed to write verses like Philippians 4:4 NKJV, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” That’s awesome! Verse 13 in chapter 3 of the book of Philippians really put things into perspective for me. It doesn’t matter where you have been, what matters is where you are going. I have to stop dwelling on the past, all I can do is learn from those mistakes and move forward. That goes for the recent past as well. “No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.” Philippians 3:13-14 NLT. Thank you Paul, for blowing on the coals of my faith. For poking the fire, for taking a stand for Christ even when it meant your own personal freedom and safety were at risk. I pray that I could be as bold for Jesus today as Paul was in his day.

A lesson In Humility

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 NKJV.

I couldn’t have found a better verse for my life right now. It’s funny, when I write these blogs I always pray that they could help someone out there that may stubble across them and be struggling with something. Or for those of you that do follow them, a verse or phrase that could shine a little light in your life and brighten your day. It seems that lately though, God has been using my own blogs to help me through issues. Chapter 2 in the book of Philippians is a very humbling read. Paul says in verse 5, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” that’s the official “W.W.J.D.” message. In all seriousness though think about how the world would be today if everyone thought as Jesus did. Imagine the change that would take place in our homes, at work, at school, or even in the political offices. It’s not always easy to think with a “Christ-like” mentality though, I’m pretty sure Jesus Christ would not have been as excited as I am about double xp weekends. Chapter 2 was a real gut check. Verse 14 says, “Do all things without complaining and disputing,”. All things? There are a lot of things I can do without complaining, but one thing I really and truly despise, is shopping for home decorations. Maybe it’s because my wife doesn’t let me turn our living room into the batcave, or maybe it’s because it doesn’t take me 4 hours to pick out a lamp. Regardless the reason, I will seriously find every excuse I can possible can to avoid going to places such as The Old Time Pottery Barn. Now if Paul, who happened to be imprisoned in Rome at the time, can tell us to “do all things without complaining” while he was in shackles and chains, I could probably go look at some mirrors for a few hours without saying too much. Right after Paul tells us not to be a Debbie-Downer, he continues in verse 15, “that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,”. Our world was crooked and perverse then, and it’s crooked and perverse now. We as Christians, must shine God’s light on this dark world. Paul describes his brother, Epaphroditus, as a fellow worker, a fellow soldier. That’s the mentality I try to have when I think about my duty as a Christian, the same as Paul’s, a soldier of Christ in His holy army. We fight a battle everyday on this earth. There are dark forces working against us, not trying to sway our beliefs, but to eliminate them all together. Organizations such as the Freedom From Religion group, are doing everything they can to eradicate God in every sense of the word. I’m pretty sure Jesus Christ took a stand for what He believed in when He chased the money changers out of the temple. We can’t just sit back and shake our head when there are groups actively trying to erase God from our lives, and in many cases, succeeding. I pray that we would all start to seek things which are of God, instead of our own selfish desires.

Pray For Me

I think it’s safe to say that most people know Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Even if you don’t know very much about the bible, you have probably seen that verse on a t-shirt, bumper sticker, or wrist band. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to knock the verse. I think it’s a very powerful and meaningful verse, and it just so happens to be written by one of my all time favorite people in the bible, the apostle Paul. Having just finished the book of Luke, I’ve been trying to find a good place to pick back up. I really wanted to read about David, but something kept telling me to keep searching. I happened to find a wristband with Philippians 4:13 on it and I thought to myself, hmmm, all the times I have heard this verse or even prayed and said this verse, I have never really read the book of Philippians. Before I go any further, I want to get something off my chest. Lately, I have been feeling pretty far from God. That raging inferno of passion I had for Jesus has turned into a nice, quiet, cozy, gas log fireplace type of fire. I don’t want to have a nice, quiet, cozy, campfire of passion for God. I want to be raging out of control for God. A fire so intense that it can’t help but be spread to everyone that I come in contact with. Well, needless to say I have been feeling kind of down about the fact that I have sort of drifted off from my daily devotions and prayers. Before I opened my bible today, I prayed that God would give me a message. That He would lay something on my heart that I could put into words to move someone out there that might be reading my blog. I wasn’t expecting to be the one that God moved. When I opened my bible case today, a bracelet fell out. That bracelet had Philippians 4:13 written on it. Being that I hadn’t read it yet, I decided to start from the beginning so could really get the meaning behind the verse. Once I started reading I felt like God Himself were talking to me directly through Paul’s message. “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11 NKJV. For some reason this message really hit home for me. Like Paul himself were praying directly for me. If I could ask one thing of my readers, it would be to pray for me. To send out a prayer for “that blogger guy”, that those prayers would fan my flames for Jesus. “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ,” Philippians 1:6 NKJV.

Words To Live By

I haven’t written a blog in quite a while. I recently started a new job and it has really been my main focus lately. I’ve had a number of people message me to say they miss my blogs and that reading them has really helped them get back on track. The truth is that since I have started working, my priorities have shifted, and not necessarily in the right direction. As I was doing my daily devotion, which has really turned into a once every other day or so devotion, I came across a verse that put everything back into perspective. Luke 21:34-36 NKJV, “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” The verses that came before this one in Luke 21 were talking about signs of the “End Times”, and to be honest, it’s a little scary. I hope that this verse has the same impact on my readers as it did for me.

Daily travels along the straight and narrow path to salvation.

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