Posts Tagged ‘sin’

A lesson in Hebrew

It’s hard to preach the truth, because people will start to hold you accountable to it. 

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“The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions.”

God is good. But when he saves us, he doesn’t tell us to stay as we are. He tells us like the woman caught in adultery, to “go and sin no more.” Her sin did not become less real because He forgave her. And his forgiveness did not take away her need to change. Salvation does not remove from us the responsibility of the law; it simply removes from us the fear of it. Salvation allows us to look in the mirror and face our fears, our sins, our inadequacies, and our worries, and enables us to say that God is greater than the things we let control our lives.

The Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalms 34:18) The word for near in Hebrew is karov, and it means close enough to touch. We don’t need to shout for God to hear us, or kneel for him to listen, or close our eyes for him to act. God is close to us. Close enough to touch.

The truth is, much of the suffering we go through as Christians is inward. We are attacked with depression, self-hate, sin, temptation, lack of self-confidence, failure, and lust. Often times there is sorrow in our heart that no one else can share. But our brokenness is what draws us to Christ for healing.

God is near to those with a broken heart, or nishbar lev. The Hebrew word lev refers to our inner life: our affectations, our mind, and our will. Those who have a broken heart realize that they have no control over their own lives. They are inwardly broken, and are in need of God’s salvation.

Salvation, in Latin is salvare, to save, which in Hebrew is yoshia. In the Hebrew language yoshia signifies ‘making room from what restricts or distresses us.’ Thus Salvation frees us from what oppresses and constricts our inward life. It is God saving us from ourselves.

“A sculptor does not use a manicure set to reduce the rude, unshapely marble to a thing of beauty. The saw, the hammer, and the chisel are cruel tools, but without them the rough stone must remain forever formless and unbeautiful.”

“A sculptor does not use a manicure set to reduce the rude, unshapely marble to a thing of beauty. The saw, the hammer, and the chisel are cruel tools, but without them the rough stone must remain forever formless and unbeautiful.”

For God to work in you, he will often times remove the things you trust and cherish, so that instead of life’s priorities and passions you will focus on Him.

‘The flaming desire to be rid of every unholy thing and to put on the likeness of Christ at any cost is not often found among us. We expect to enter the everlasting kingdom of our Father and to sit down around the table with sages, saints and martyrs. But for most of us it would be an embarrassing experience. Ours would be the silence of the untried soldier in the presence of the battle-hardened heroes, who have fought the fight and won the victory, and who have scars to prove that they were present when the battle was joined.’

Oftentimes we want to be used by God, but determine by ourselves the time, intensity, and method of the trials and suffering we meet on the way. We want our strengths and abilities to shine forth, not our broken hearts, or our weaknesses.

We don’t have to look for suffering in order to be used by God—trials will always find us. But when they do, will we see them as God being indifferent to us, or will we see it as His hand molding and growing us so that we might enjoy being with him for an eternity.

Examine it further:
A.W. Tozer. Eric Jonas Swensson. Crossway. Hebrew4Christians.

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To be condemned…

I sat in church. Second row from the front. Different week, same routine.
But I desperately wanted to leave. The tiredness of everything the week had brought hit me at that very moment, and I was so tempted to just get up and walk away. I had a ride to church, but at that moment I seriously contemplated walking the 30mins back home. But somehow.. I decided to stay.

I’ve started realizing that the moments when I most want to get up and leave the presence of God are the times that I need to sit and stay the most.

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The preacher started speaking. His general topic: “the attitude of gratitude.” ‘Cute,’ I thought to myself. I settled in for the long haul, but my ears picked up as he slowly focused in on his point.

My eyes followed him as he spoke. He had a deformed hand, so whenever he spoke I always made a conscious effort to focus in on him and not his hand. The first time I had heard him speak, I couldn’t hear his words. I was staring. His deformity was all I could see. But I no longer let myself see him by what he was outwardly lacking. That day he spoke about how he lost so many fingers. I realized people around me began to stare at what was left of his hand. But my eyes never left his face. He talked and talked. At this point he had stepped down from the pulpit. He paced back and forth in front of the church, and then he reached out and touched me, with his hand that wasn’t whole, and I didn’t flinch. I only smiled and looked straight into his eyes.

Then he turned to me and said. “God is not going to bless you because you are good.” I almost cried. That was it. Those were the words. That was the message.

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As I grew in my Christian walk, it became less about how much time I spent with God, and more about how much I could do for Him. But the more I did, and the more I grew. The more I felt the weight of my sin.

I sought to be good. But word after word, action after action, thought after thought, condemned me. I recognized my self as a sinner, not a saint. I was so aware of my shortcomings, failures and burdens. I was consumed the knowledge that not only was I disappointing God, I was also disappointing myself. I was called to a higher standard. But it seemed like I could never reach it. Should I just give up? Should I accept defeat? Was it even possible to reach that perfection?

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Precept after precept, law after law. The bible. It condemned me. Shouldn’t I be struck down? Why would God even bless me?

I realized over time that I could never accept God’s forgiveness, if I couldn’t also subsequently forgive myself.

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His banner over me is love.

The law has seen me fall short time and time again, but his love always seems to lift me up.  Yes. It is indeed discouraging to fail in your walk with God, but never even trying to live God’s purpose for your life is akin to slavery. You become a slave to your every whim, want, and desire. No higher calling. No greater mission. No moral compass. You become consumed with pleasing yourself, and soon realize that self is never satiated.

The most amazing thing is that the people around you, those who proclaim to have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, will judge you, condemn you, and rebuke you. But Jesus speaks in love, and tells you to go and sin no more.

I often wonder at the magnitude of the sin of the woman at the well. What a burden she must have felt to never sin again. How hard was it for her to leave her current husband, one that she probably loved, though she had no legal claim to him? How did she support herself without a male companion? Did her whole lifestyle change overnight, or was it a gradual process? Did she wake up the next day, a saint? Perfect in all her ways?

Somehow I know in my heart that after Jesus told her to go and sin no more, it was just the beginning of her transformation. That though she daily found new sin in her life, she daily went back to the source that not only convicted her, but continually cleansed her. The battle is not for the faint of heart. But how comforting to know that the battle is not ours, but the Lord’s.

Phantom

Phantom

60-80% of amputees experience the sensation of a phantom limb. Invisible toes curl, imaginary hands try to grasp things, or a ‘leg’ feels so sturdy a patient will even try to stand on it.’ This feeling is also associated with intense pain.

Oftentimes we as Christians hold on to phantom sin in our lives. After we have asked God to forgive our sins, we forget to also forgive ourselves. We let the feeling of guilt for past mistakes haunt us—even after we bring them to God.

Christ died for our sins—all of them. And when we come to Him, He does not condem us, but bid us to “go, and sin no more.”

The Search

For a long time I searched for God. I wanted Him to be real in my life. I saw the world through my struggles, my failure, my disappointments. I knew I had let God down, and I wasn’t worthy of His love. I thought He had left me.  And I knew I deserved it. I read the bible, but all I saw were the words. I went to church, but all I saw was a charade. It wasn’t enough for me. I wanted His assurance that everything was going to be okay. I wanted His assurance that He would never leave me nor forsake me. I didn’t just want to read it. I wanted to see it. I wanted to feel His touch. To know that He was the hand that was holding me up. The one who counted the tears that fell from my eyes. I searched for God. But He wasn’t lost. I was. And He found me. He found me in my sin, in my low estate. And do you know what He told me? He said: “Oh You of little faith, why are you so afraid? Why do you doubt?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves in my life. He said no to the traps I had laid for myself. He said no to my fear, my doubt, my pain, my unhappiness. And it was completely calm in my life. He didn’t take away my problems. But He brought me to the eye of the storm. Where amidst all the chaos around me. I could see Him and not my problems. I could feel His touch, and not my inadequacies. “The trouble that came into your life, did not come to break you, but to introduce you to God in a new and a fresh way.” God does not let you go through certain trials without having prepared you. So that when you are about to despair you can remember how He has lead you in the past! Remember what He has already brought you through, and His power to overcome whatever may come your way. He is with you!

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