RSS

Tag Archives: death

My God is…not pleased with anyone’s death Ezekiel 18:31-32

Ezekiel 18: 31-32 Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get Doing What's Rightyourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord God. Turn, then, and live.

For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone

These verses come on the heals of God explaining that each person is responsible for their own sins. Their transgressions are their own. They aren’t blamed for their father’s sins, and also the father is not blamed for the child’s sins. He also says that those that turn from their sins are no longer condemned. Why does this matter? Because, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Because we are sinners, we are not supposed to live in heaven. We are supposed to be condemned for our sins and experience death, a total separation from the love of God. Even when we confess and try to change, we sin. It’s a part of our earthly condition.

Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me

As Christians we struggle with our sin so much. We are pulled one way by our flesh and another way by our Spirit. Remember those pictures of a man with a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other? I think this is the struggle they were trying to represent with that image. We feel torn between our earthly selves and our desire to be closer to God without any of the junk of sin between us. We need to get rid of the sin that keeps us from having a fulfilling life with the Lord (here on earth and on for eternity). God calls on us in this verse to cast away our transgressions. He doesn’t want us to keep them close by. He doesn’t want us to sort of give them up. He’s calling us to throw them as far away as possible from ourselves. To distance ourselves from the sins that entangle us. The sins that get in the way of our relationship with others and especially with Him. He doesn’t want anything to get in the way of the blessings He has in store for us. He loves us.

It can be really hard to distance ourselves from our sins. Especially if we kind of (ok really) like them. Maybe you enjoy having sex with multiple partners. Maybe you don’t care that you binge drink every weekend. Perhaps you’re not that worried about flirting with someone other than your spouse. Maybe you don’t care that you cheat a little on your taxes or wrote some fictional successes on your last resume. Maybe you don’t care, but God does. Not because he likes to keep you under control, but because when you start to do these things, they eat away at your soul. They distract you from God. You start getting problems that complicate your life and divert your focus on God. You get a disease, get crippled in a drunk driving accident, get arrested for tax evasion or any multitude of distractions. But it’s not just these things, but anything that gets in the way of our relationship with God. Sometimes that’s even other relationships. Anything that makes you think about yourself or something else more than you’re thinking about your relationship with God is an unwanted distraction. Be alert to the temptations.

Get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit

It’s not too late. We can get rid of those distractions, or rather God can get rid of them for you. Go to Him in prayer. Tell Him you’ve had enough and that you need His help. Maybe you can use these words from Psalm 51 as a starting point:

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
and blameless when you pass judgment.
Indeed, I was born guilty,
a sinner when my mother conceived me.

You desire truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit.

Turn, then, and live

God gave us Jesus Christ to die on the cross to make restitution for our sins. We can’t do this on our own, but God doesn’t want anyone to experience death. He wants to be in a relationship with us forever. He gave us a way out of our sinful demise. He saved us with the ultimate sacrifice; His Son. In response to this awesome love and forgiveness, we now must work to turn from our sins and turn back to the Lord. Keeping our focus on Him, that we might live.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

My God is…Glorified Psalm 86:11-13

Psalm 86:11-13 Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

I will glorify your name forever.

My women’s Bible Study is currently studying John (yes still). The study is amazing and takes a nice walk through John, looking at each verse. It’s taking a while to get through it, but every Tuesday I’m awed by how each lesson builds on the last. One of the things that stood out to me this week was actually what was taught the week before (perhaps I’m a slow learner). The woman leading this video series (Karen Lippert) said that there were only two reasons someone goes through a trial. Can you guess what they are?

To strengthen our faith

The first reason she gave for us going through trials is that when we get to the other side, our faith can be strengthened. How often has it happened that the worst time in our lives actually lead to some of the best times. Even if we can’t point to a good time that resulted, we can see how that time in pain and struggle helped shape us into who we are and that we grew from that experience. I think this is the answer most Christians would probably point to if they were trying to encourage fellow believers going through a trial. My friend in Bible study likes to say, “Got to go through the trial to see the triumph” (probably not an exact quote – but you get the gist).

To Bring Glory to God

The other reason Karen gave was that those trials would in some way bring glory to God. And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God. Luke 18:43 Throughout the Bible you’ll find a lot of examples of how this works. The Lord does something and the people glorify Him. The things the Lord does are always intended to draw someone closer to Him. Sometimes it’s the people He healed, but sometimes it was someone in the crowd. The way we react to hardships, to disease, to frustration, these are the biggest opportunities for us to glorify God.

You’ve seen it happen. Almost all of us have been amazed by someone’s great attitude during a fight with cancer, the death of a loved one or the pain of divorce. Every struggle and pain we endure is an opportunity to bring Glory to God. I don’t know about you, but this wasn’t something that really registered to me as a reason I might be put through a trial. I think I knew I might have the opportunity to witness through a trial, but I don’t think I thought about it being the cause of the trial. I think that helps me to look at each trial as an opportunity rather than a burden. A chance to show in a clear way where I’m putting my faith. Let’s see if I can actually do it the next time something hard comes along. But with friends and Bible Study Buddies, I know that they will help me to hold myself accountable and take each opportunity to praise and glorify God.

Why do you think we go through trials?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 30, 2012 in My God is Glorified, Psalm

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

My God is…Forgiving Mark 2:1-12

Mark 2:1-12 – Jesus Heals a Paralytic 

And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

Hope for healing

The story of the healing of the Paralytic is really interesting. Obviously by this time the word had gotten out that Jesus was a great healer, and those with chronic conditions like being paralyzed now had hope of a different sort of life. The Paralytic’s family and friends were likely his caregivers, and they too had the new hope that they would no longer have to care for their friend or family member. Yes they likely loved the man they brought to Jesus, but there was something in it for them too. They had a hope that their life was going to change for the better when Jesus healed the paralytic.

“Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Great – thanks a lot Jesus! Do you think the paralytic was going to be satisfied with being forgiven? What he wanted (and his friends) was that he would walk out of that place on his own. Little did they know that Jesus was less concerned with the paralytic’s physical condition than with the condition of his soul. Jesus knew that this man’s body was temporary, but with faith and forgiveness from the Lord, this mans life would continue for eternity. That’s what mattered to Jesus.

But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins

Jesus didn’t heal the man for the man’s sake. He healed him so that the scribes sitting there calling Jesus a blasphemer would be able to see that Jesus had the authority to forgive sins. Jesus was showing them that He had the full authority of God the Father behind Him and that He could rule over sins, health and anything else.

Jesus, a Man with all this authority chooses to forgive first

What a blessing! Our sins are often more debilitating than our diseases. Often the worry and stress we gain by our sins are contributing to our bad health. God is less concerned about our comfort than the condition of our heart. He wants us to be forgiven so that we might be drawn closer to Him. Often when we feel we’ve battled and won against one sin, we fall for another sin. Sins get our focus off our Lord and puts it back on ourselves.

Healing or Forgiveness?

Often people ask for prayers of healing for our friends and family members, but how often do we, like Jesus, focus on what’s more important, their forgiveness. Have you ever asked for prayers of forgiveness? Have you ever prayed that someone would repent of their ways and seek God’s forgiveness? Not often, I bet. As modern Americans we don’t really like people sticking their noses in our business and we don’t want to stick our noses in theirs. We don’t want to judge, lest we be judged. But I think we may want to take a page out of Jesus book and focus on what’s really hurting that person. Not that we need to judge them per-say, but that we can pray for forgiveness for those who are struggling. That they might find the freedom to live for God that only comes after we’ve been healed from our sins. After we’ve been freed from the paralyzing nature of sin. Sin that keeps us from moving forward, closer to God and our families. Sin gets in the way.

At least you have your health

I find this to be an annoying phrase. A lot of people don’t have their health. I don’t. I know I have a disease that could eventually rob me of my mobility and make me very dependent on the people around me. That burden that is created on those around you is saddening and frustrating. I’m sure I’ll be ever pleasant and easy to work with if I ever need that kind of care (I’m never cranky or bossy now – so nothing will change). But one of the things I felt I learned by finding out I had Multiple Sclerosis is what do you do when you can’t say “at least I have my health”. I can say – “At least I have Eternal Life”. My hope doesn’t rest in the years my body works, but in the work Jesus did for me on the cross. His death that worked the forgiveness of sins is more important to me than whether or not my legs work right, if I have pain in my feet, back or head. I have a hope that surpasses human understanding that would have us focus on the physical realities of this world. God is good, even when my legs don’t work. He’s more concerned about the condition of my heart than the condition of my body.

Forgiveness or Healing – which is more important to you?

 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 24, 2012 in My God is Forgiving

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

My God is Merciful Micah 7:18-20

Micah 7:18-20 Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
You will be faithful to Jacob, and show love to Abraham,
as you pledged on oath to our ancestors in days long ago.

Who is a God like you

When I was studying this verse, I noticed in the notes that phrase might be a pun on Micah’s name which means “Who is like the Lord?”. It’s a good question. Who is like that? Not me that’s for sure.

You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.

What a beautiful thing to know about our God. That He doesn’t stay angry forever. He has every right to, but he doesn’t. Sometimes I think a parents love is like this. We get mad. Boy, do we get mad. But we don’t stay mad at our children. We love them in spite of themselves. They may drive us crazy, but we love them. Ok – some of you may know this is not a perfect reflection (especially if you put one of those Dr. Phil cameras in your house – you know some problems never go away!).

God delights to show mercy

When is the last time you were delighted. Close your eyes and think about it. I can think of a time I was recently delighted. My friend Tara sent me a present out of the blue. It was a very special, encouraging present. It was unexpected and amazing. My heart delights when I think about it now. Delight is such an amazing thing.

Definition of DELIGHT  de·light noun \di-ˈlīt, dē-\

1: a high degree of gratification : joyalso : extreme satisfaction
2: something that gives great pleasure <her performance was a delight>
archaic : the power of affording pleasure
It brings God joy to show mercy. 
He does show us mercy, doesn’t he. I know when I was in college, I was stupid. I made a lot of mistakes. It wasn’t until later that I found out that my mother had been praying all those years for my sister and I. She was praying that God would not give us the full consequences of our sins. That He would show us mercy. And thank God He did.
Are you given the full consequences of your sin?
In Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We’re told that the wages (consequences) of sin is death, but that’s not what God gives us. By His mercy he gives us more than we deserve. He gives us eternal life, because of Jesus Christ.
Why do good things happen to Bad people?
I’m sure your friends, Christians and non-Christians alike, have asked “Why do bad things happen to good people?”. But the truth is, we’re not good people. We’re sinners. I think a better question to ask is Why do good things happen to bad people. The answer is the Mercy of our God through Jesus Christ. Because of Him we don’t get the full consequences of our sin. I’m grateful my mom prayed this prayer for me, and today it is my prayer for my family and you as well. May you never have the full consequences of your sins, but instead receive the mercy given you through the death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 
3 Comments

Posted by on December 6, 2011 in My God is Merciful

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,