Tag Archives: sin

The cage of choice?

Bewildered.

Unsettled.

And in a great deal of danger.

This Blue Jay had chosen to fly into the chicken run, but now it was trapped.

It’s fellow cage mates were eagerly awaiting it to land within reach.

Because chickens will eat other birds, one peck at a time.

This was a circumstance of it’s own choosing and now it’s consequence was grave.

How long could it keep out of reach?

Where was the passage out of this death sentence?

Thankfully, God had sent me to feed the lamb early.

I shouted to Jase upon seeing this bird and took the picture while awaiting his help.

Then we both got into the pen.

Jase held the chickens back while I opened the door and encouraged the jay to fly in the correct direction.

The crazy thing about this is it’s not the first time.

A few weeks ago a Blue Jay had flown into the run and by the time I found it, the poor thing was gasping for air, it’s tongue hanging out of it’s beak, holding onto the chicken wire upsidedown, to try to stay out of reach.

After it gained it’s breath again it began throwing itself all over the run in an effort to fly out.

That time, I was able to get the few chickens who were in the run, back into the coop and then opened the run door and waited for the bird to fly out.

Afterwards, I checked the entire run to be certain there wasn’t a hole somewhere.

After investigating, the only space I found that it could come in were two small areas above the door which is rounded and the opening which is rectangular.

I have no idea why it would fly through that small space once, much less twice.

Yet, something of humanity resembles this bird and the deadly cage it chose to fly into.

And the Lord said to me, “A conspiracy has been found among the men of Judah and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers who refused to hear My words, and they have gone after other gods to serve them; the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken My covenant which I made with their fathers.”
Jeremiah 11:9‭-‬10 NKJV

The consequences of turning one’s back to God and living according to the dictates of one’s selfish desires is grave.

Too often people fall to the enemy’s lie that God’s commandments are too cumbersome, they restrict unfairly, but nothing has changed since the beginning.

Genesis 3:4 NKJV — Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.”

The lies of the enemy are just as cunning and just as deadly as at the beginning.

Thus, we must be on guard against sin and those smooth sounding reasons to turn our back upon God.

John 15:10 KJV — If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

God’s commandments are for our protection, to keep us from harm and from harming those around us.

When one chooses sin for themselves, they are locking their lives into a cage where their cell mates want to devour them and their ability to live for the purpose God created them is extinguished.

Instead of living a life full of the joy of the Lord, they wear themselves out just trying to survive.

Psalm 32:10 NKJV — Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; But he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him.

But it doesn’t need to be this way.

Daily surrendering ourselves before the Lord Jesus in obedience to His Word, gives us protection from falling prey to the enemy’s snares and lies.

Deuteronomy 11:26-28 NKJV — “Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known.”

And if one finds themselves already inside this horrible cage of their own choosing, God is merciful, but one must repent.

Luke 13:3 KJV — I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

How much better it is to be wise and faithful before God, than to choose sin and suffer needlessly.

Let us, therefore cling to God and choose to serve Him, living in fullness for which He created us, in reverence and love to the One Who gave us life and salvation.

Psalm 100:2 KJV — Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for this example of the dangers You want us to avoid. Thank You for giving us instructions to live by. Lord Jesus, I lift up those who have fallen prey to the lies of the enemy. I lift up those who are already trapped inside the cage of their own choosing which is ultimately death. Lord Jesus, thank You for Your mercy and grace. Thank You that You want to release those who are suffering from their own sin. Please put Your Word into their lives and let them see the truth of their choices. Lord Jesus, please continue to teach those who believe in You how to avoid the snares of the enemy and how to shun evil and cling to what is good. Lord, please walk with us daily, guiding us and granting understanding that we might not only avoid the cage of sin, but will teach others to avoid it as well. Lord Jesus, for those who have yet to know You, I pray that they might hear Your voice, see Your truth and turn away from those things which have separated them from You. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for Your mercy. Thank You for Your grace and the gift of salvation. May my life bring glory and honor to Your name, Jesus. Amen.

Violence

Yesterday was a strange mix for me.

Not a mix of activities, but a mix of information.

Our history class had carefully told the horrible, but true facts of the acts of those who committed violence against the innocent in opposition to the Reconstruction after the Civil War.

I’d read a blog about bullying and the horror they had inflicted upon another.

My daughter asked me about the attack on the Ukraine: why was it happening?

Earlier, I’d read that very question as the title of an article from a news source.

A thread seemed to be the same throughout.

Those causing the violence felt completely justified in their behavior.

“How can anyone think it’s okay to hurt others like this?” my daughter asked.

And the Lord answered clearly for me.

“It goes all the way back to the beginning.”

Genesis 4:6-9NKJV — So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Murder of innocent people is a direct consequence of a life in rebellion against God.

“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

The violence being distributed is horrifying and it’s understandable why our hearts are outraged at these abuses.

For the follower of Christ it is our responsibility to stand in prayer for others.

To recognize the real truth behind this kind of behavior and to remember we have an adversary.

1 Peter 5:8 KJV — Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Although, our attention is grabbed by the people inflicting these atrocities, the battle is not with them.

Ephesians 6:12 KJV — For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

The spiritual battle is often overlooked, but the Bible makes it clear that the enemy is the one who steals, kills, and destroys.

As followers of Christ Jesus, we have hope for eternal life and a command to train up disciples in the truth of Scripture.

No time is more valuable for that than now.

Let us take up our cross daily, speak the truth in love, fulfill the calling to make disciples, encouraging, teaching, helping, and stand in the gap for the innocent, the helpless, and those who have yet to know Jesus.

Ezekiel 22:30 KJV — And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

May it never be so again.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your truth which helps us better understand why horrifying violence is carried out, it’s all the result of sin and the enemy of our souls. Lord, thank You that we know it will not always be this way. Thank You that You paid for my sin and saved me from living a life separate from You. Lord Jesus, it is so painful to know that people are hurting and killing one another, but I thank You for Your promises. Thank You for Your mercy, which stays Your judgement. Lord, thank You that we can stand in the gap for others. Thank You for Your helping the helpless, freeing the captives, and saving the lost. Thank You for Your scriptures which clearly outline not only the why of all this, but also what is to come. Lord, may our hearts remain steadfast, our feet not stumble, and our eyes see clearly, open our understanding through Your Word. Lord Jesus, I humbly lift up those who are being oppressed and harmed by wickedness. Please continue to save them and give those who stand literally in the gap for the innocent the courage and integrity they need to stand in the way of evil and defend those who cannot defend themselves. Thank You, Jesus. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for Your salvation. Amen.

Honestly…

The Lord is so forgiving and His love is incredible.

I’ve made many mistakes throughout my life and I’m certain I’ll make more.

It’s not easy to be open and honest with others, but it’s vital to our walk with the Lord that we live that way.

This week has been a struggle for me and although there’s multiple reasons, the main one is my health.

My doctor is putting me on a new medication for my asthma and sending me to a specialist because we don’t know why I’m losing my voice.

I don’t want to go and after all the different inhalers, I don’t want to try yet another one.

But my life is not my own, I belong to Jesus and if this is part of His plan for me, I will follow.

Because my emotions don’t make my decisions, but it’s important for me to be honest.

During my twenties, the Lord taught me that honesty is a gift.

Because to be honest and open about myself and my life was an opportunity to trust Him.

I thought I had the art of facade down to a fine science, but sin finally caught up with me in a way I couldn’t hide.

My boyfriend and I had good intentions, but to be honest we had very few boundaries save “waiting till marriage”.

So, my “good Christian” image was shattered and my shock staggering when I discovered I was pregnant at twenty.

(I was as good about lieing to myself as to others.)

We quickly got married and the next several months I had to learn to trust God when people asked “How far along are you?”, “How long have you been married?”.

Because it would have been easy to lie, but that would be wrong.

After the Lord showed me the truth of myself and my sin, I was determined to change.

Being honest about our sin and our repentance was a wonderful gift.

It was the beginning of healing for me, my husband, and our individual relationships with the Lord.

And the Lord wasn’t finished with teaching me about honesty.

Through our twenties we had three more children, and a lot of loss.

A month after we celebrated our first year of marriage my father died in an accident.

For the next four years someone we loved passed away, whether friend or family, some years it was both.

I actually began to feel fear every time the phone rang at a weird hour, because the thought, “Who will we loss now?” would run through my mind.

I’d never walked through grief before the death of my father and as I walked through those years of loss my heart was learning more about trust.

Yet, during it all God showed me what He can do through a life surrendered to Him and willing to be open and honest.

He started with cleaning out my heart’s rebellion against His law.

(There’s a reason He tells us not to sin, it hurts us and leads to death.)

As He was doing this, He gave me opportunities to testify of His forgiveness for my rebellion and how He was restoring those things broken by sin.

(My facade as a good Christian disappeared and He began teaching me what a true follower of Christ was.)

My honesty about my past granted me courage to be honest in the present.

I didn’t always do it correctly, but I was learning.

When I stopped trying to live according to my ideas of what was best and started applying the Word of God to my life I learned I could live in His ways and be honest about my daily struggles.

His honesty about who He is and what He requires is true, it works, and His plans for my life are good.

He is daily teaching me, so my walk with Him is authentic.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11NKJV — Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your truth which guides and directs me. Lord Jesus, thank You for teaching me to trust You, not to live a life fearful of my neighbor and their opinions. Lord, thank You for being completely honest about Your love and the consequences of sin. Thank You for dieing on the cross to pay the price for my sin, that we might have everlasting life through Your name. Lord Jesus, thank You that I can find great joy and peace in walking in Your Word and be honest about the day-to-day struggles. More than anything, Lord I want to live for You and to bring glory to Your name. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

When I fail…

It occurred years ago, but it was in the wee hours of the morning that I faced it.

I’d failed.

There had been an opportunity to reach the lost with the love of Christ Jesus and I’d totally missed it.

Rather than show grace and mercy, I stood on my rights and quietly, but firmly asked the offending party to leave.

I wish I’d handled it differently.

I wish my mind had recalled the Lord’s words:

Matthew 5:40 NKJV — “If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.”

The naked truth is, I lost an opportunity to shine the love of Jesus.

So, what does a follower of Christ do when we’ve failed?

We repent.

1 John 2:1-2NKJV — My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

We remember the truth.

1 John 1:7 NKJV — But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

We walk in the forgiveness of Christ and seek another opportunity.

1 John 2:5-6 NKJV — But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

For a soul redeemed by Christ, is one who admits the sin, but chooses to walk away from the continuation, doing whatever is required to put an end to the sinful behavior.

Matthew 5:29 NKJV — “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.”

The consequences will remain, but how we deal with them is completely different.

1 John 1:8-9 NKJV — If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

For me, it is learning from my error, made so long ago.

Looking honestly at my incorrect motivation in the moment, confessing my error, and taking whatever steps are required.

Leaving the past in the Lord’s hands, rejoicing in His forgiveness, and humbly choosing thankfulness for the painful lesson.

Living today, understanding my failure, but being defined by my Savior.

Philippians 1:6 KJV — Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

While I look forward to that, I am encouraged to live in today with my utmost devotion to the One who makes me perfect in Him.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Lord, thank You for truth which surpasses all understanding. To know that You love me, You forgive me, even though I have never deserved it! To walk with You in humility and love is the best and most wonderful gift. Lord, You know of my failures. Lord, You know of my struggles to do what is right. Please continue to teach me Your ways, to lead me in Your paths, to be honorable before You. Lord, You understand better than I what this day holds, please help me to walk with You and to love as You do. May my life bring glory to Your name. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

It’s not just you…

but those who come after you.

And afterward when David heard it, he said, I and my kingdom are guiltless before the LORD for ever from the blood of Abner the son of Ner: let it rest on the head of Joab, and on all his father’s house; and let there not fail from the house of Joab one that hath an issue, or that is a leper, or that leaneth on a staff, or that falleth on the sword, or that lacketh bread. So Joab and Abishai his brother slew Abner, because he had slain their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle. 2 Samuel 3:28‭-‬30 KJV

Joab’s action bore consequences which would be felt by his children and grandchildren.

This truth is seen elsewhere in scripture as well. (1 Samuel 3:11-14, Exodus 20:4-5)

The warning is clear, if we choose to sin, we are choosing pain and suffering for ourselves and our family.

Sin doesn’t sting only the person choosing it.

Thankfully, Jesus Christ broke the cycle of sin and the suffering which goes with it.

Through Christ we are cleansed!

But this doesn’t mean we can choose sin and then not feel the consequences, rather it means learning to stop choosing sin.

Romans 6:15 NKJV — What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!

Ephesians 5:10-11 NKJV — finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

Romans 6:23 NKJV — For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus, through His Word and the work of the Holy Spirit wants to cleanse us completely.

He guides us with clear instruction, that we might understand what is righteous, honorable, and true. (Phil. 4:8, Gal. 5:22-23, Exodus 20:1-17)

He gives us warning of the ways of the enemy, that we might recognize evil and know how to respond.(1 Pet. 5:8-9, Eph. 6:11-13, Jas. 4:7)

He grants us the responsibility and privilege of bearing His name and His message, that others might know and choose life eternal.(1 Cor. 1:4, Gal. 2:20, Mat. 28:19)

How we live today really does matter.

For it is in today we make the choices which ripple into tomorrow.

Ephesians 5:15-17 NKJV — See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your salvation! Thank You for saving us from sin and death. Lord, please help each one of us to be wise, not foolish, not short-sighted. Please teach us how to live for You in today, redeeming the time. Lord, please remind us to seek Your face and to humble ourselves before You, for it is not on our own strength or in our own understanding where we should be walking, but in You for all things. Lord, please break through any lies the enemy has deceived us with. Please shine Your truth into our hearts and minds that we might see clearly and walk in obedience to You. Lord, thank You for Your patience and love, for Your mercy and grace. Thank You for breaking the cycle of sin and bringing us out of the ways of darkness. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

A little leaven…

God’s Word is clear, we are to avoid sin.

For when we choose to sin, or ignore our sin, we are deceiving ourselves.

“It’s just a little white lie…”

“It won’t hurt anyone else…”

“Just once won’t matter…”

These false words lead to destruction.

No one can hide sin from God and it never is contained.

The example of leaven in dough is how sin works into every part of our lives.

Galatians 5:9 NKJV — A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

Thus, we must beware of those things which God says are sin.

1 John 2:16 NKJV — For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

We must be on guard against such, being diligent to seek first the kingdom of God.

Knowing that it is easy for a little sin to corrupt our whole perspective.

1 Corinthians 5:7-8 KJV — Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Only through the Lord Jesus can we be made clean from our sins.

Romans 5:8 NKJV — But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God knows we need help to be able to learn how to walk in this truth, thus He gave us His Word and His Holy Spirit.

It is through God’s Word and the Holy Spirit we are able to discern between right and wrong, truth and lie, good and evil.

John 16:7-11NKJV — “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

John 16:13 NKJV — “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

Hebrews 4:12 NKJV — For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

For sin destroys, but God has provided an escape from sin.

God’s love is compassionate and His Word is our guide.

And we can choose to put off those things of the world and put on Christ Jesus.

1 John 2:17 NKJV — And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for truth. Lord, please continue to show me sin, that I might turn away from it. Lord, help me to listen when the still small voice speaks. Lord, I want to obey You in all areas of my life. I want to honor You with every part of myself. For You paid such a high price for me. Please, help me to beware of sin. Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness, Your mercy, Your grace, Your patience, and Your salvation. Truly, You are amazing!

“…that I might not sin…”

Psalm 119:11 NKJV — Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

Scripture is clear, there is none sinless, but Christ.

Yet, we also see a marked difference between those who choose to follow God’s Word and those who choose sin.

The Psalmist is of those who chose to follow.

It’s not that he is sinless.

Instead, it’s that he’s very aware of his sin and is diligent in guarding himself from it.

Proverbs 22:3 KJV — A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.

Like the Psalmist we can choose to adhere to God’s Word, following His instructions, and avoid evil.

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for this verse. Lord, the longer I live, the more I realize this is a daily activity. Each day, I must hide Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Lord, please continue to teach me. Please continue to hone my heart that I might not cause pain. Lord, thank You for all You have taught me already and how gracious and merciful You are. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for life! Please continue to touch the sick and hurting, to help the helpless, to defend the fatherless, to restore the wayward, to provide for the needy, to save the lost. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

Accusing God

Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’ ” Matthew 26:59‭-‬61 NKJV https://bible.com/bible/114/mat.26.59-61.NKJV

Here is the most embarrassing moment in all of history.

From the time of the serpent in the Garden, lies have been spoken about God.

Genesis 3:1 NKJV — Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

Genesis 3:2 NKJV — And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”

Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
Genesis 3:4 NKJV

And so entered sin into humanity with the taking of the fruit.

Many heinous and deplorable acts of wickedness have occurred since that moment.

Yet, this trial of Jesus is the lowest point of mankind.

The creation was prosecuting their own Creator.

But lies wouldn’t stand, they couldn’t condemn Him on falsehood, no matter how much they tried.

So, instead they accused and convicted Him on the truth.

But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!” Jesus said to him, “ It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Matthew 26:63‭-‬64 NKJV https://bible.com/bible/114/mat.26.63-64.NKJV

How ironic, God’s own creation, plotted and schemed, to accuse and convict God for being Himself.

Why?

For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Genesis 3:5 NKJV
https://bible.com/bible/114/gen.3.5.NKJV

Because our sinful nature wants to be God ourselves.

And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
Genesis 11:4 NKJV https://bible.com/bible/114/gen.11.4.NKJV

Mankind wants to make a name for themselves, instead of being called by God’s.

People want to live lives unto their own desires.

Thus, when faced with God in flesh, mankind choose to crucify Him.

If one is honest with themselves, and observant of others, we can easily see the accusations and falsehoods have not stopped.

“If God is so loving why all these wars, famine, and death?”

“If there is a God, He must not care about anyone, look at the mess we are in!”

“If God is truly all knowing and all powerful why didn’t He stop that?!

Since the beginning, we have blamed God for our sin.

Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to  be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
Genesis 3:12 NKJV https://bible.com/bible/114/gen.3.12.NKJV

But the incredible thing about this is what God did through the accusations.

Jesus allowed Himself to be convicted and punished for being Himself.

Then, after dieing for all sin, He rose again and gave us a way to be saved.

Genesis 50:20 NKJV — “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”

What a wonderful holy God, Who loves in such a way!

To turn lies aside and use the truth to set us free from sin and death!

2 Timothy 1:9 NKJV — who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,

Romans 8:28 NKJV — And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Praise the Lord!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for being the Son of God. Thank You for Your sacrifice and for using our accusations to show us Who You are. Lord, too often our pride and rebellion towards You causes us pain, confusion, and misunderstanding. Lord, please help us to humble ourselves, confess our sins and be made new. Please help us to relinquish our own ideas, our desires, even our dreams into Your hands, that we might follow Your perfect will as the bond servants we are called to be. Lord, please help us to discern lies from the truth. Help us to walk with You daily in humility and in surrender. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

Psalm 12

To the Chief Musician. On an eight-stringed harp.[fn] A Psalm of David.

Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases!
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.

They speak idly everyone with his neighbor;
With flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

May the LORD cut off all flattering lips,
And the tongue that speaks proud things,

Who have said,
“With our tongue we will prevail;
Our lips are our own;
Who is lord over us?”

“For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy,
Now I will arise,” says the LORD;
“I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.”

The words of the LORD are pure words,
Like silver tried in a furnace of earth,
Purified seven times.

You shall keep them, O LORD,
You shall preserve them from this generation forever.

The wicked prowl on every side,
When vileness is exalted among the sons of men.

Psalm 12 NKJV

It is easy to think the times we are in are unique, never before seen.

In many ways this is a unique time, but it is not never before seen.

God has seen the ways of mankind from the very beginning and although we may be coming up with new ways of doing old things, the heart of man is the same as of old.

Wickedness and evil are still here.

The poor and the needy are still here.

There are oppressions, slaves, and wrong doing happening around the world.

It happened in David’s day, our day, and all the days in between.

But God…

He knew at the fall of Adam and Eve that sin would wreck His good creation and He promised at that point in history to provide a way for us to be saved.

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Revelation 7:9-10 NKJV

Although, these days are unique to history in the way people are suffering and striving, but God knew this would be the consequence of our stiff-necked rebellion and He loves us so much He saves us from these things.

Our God is Mighty and able to save.

He came Himself as a humble man to endure suffering and to walk among those who strive to bring hope, peace, and salvation.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for all You have done and all You are doing each day. Lord, thank You that these things we are seeing and experiencing are not outside Your abilities. Thank You that You have already brought us salvation and now we are able to rest in You, knowing our soul is safe when we believe upon Your name and what You have done. Thank You for all Your compassion, mercy, and long suffering. Thank You for reaching out to each sinner, loving us before we loved You. Please help us to be devoted to You in all things. To walk in the paths You have given that we might bring glory and honor to Your name. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Dealing with sin

Then the woman in her wisdom went to all the people. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and threw it out to Joab. Then he blew a trumpet, and they withdrew from the city, every man to his tent. So Joab returned to the king at Jerusalem.
II Samuel 20:22 NKJV

If one is unfamiliar with this story, it seems harsh and gruesome.

The backstory is where we find out this wise woman who acted quickly, saved many lives.

King David’s son, Absalom, took matters into his own hands.

First, he planned the assassination of his brother Amnon. (2 Samuel 13:23-36)

Amnon deserved severe punishment, but it wasn’t Absalom’s place to meet it out. (2 Samuel 13:1-22)

After having his brother killed Absalom fled to another country. (2 Samuel 13:37-38)

Through the work of Joab, King David allowed him to return to the country, but obviously Absalom’s heart was far from repentant, for he began to steal the hearts of the people for himself by slandering his own father. (2 Samuel 15:1-6)

Then he lied to his father the king and went to Hebron to be anointed as king, where he then turned around to return and wipe out his father and all who supported King David. (2 Samuel 15:7-12)

2 Samuel 15-18 records who supported King David and how Absalom was defeated.

It also records the tribe of Judah escorting the king and his people back across the Jordan.

Just then all the men of Israel came to the king, and said to the king, “Why have our brethren, the men of Judah, stolen you away and brought the king, his household, and all David’s men with him across the Jordan?”
II Samuel 19:41 NKJV

An argument between the people of Judah and the people of the other tribes of Israel begin shouting at one another over who has more right to escort the king back to Jerusalem.

Which is where Sheba comes on the scene.

And there happened to be there a rebel, whose name was Sheba the son of Bichri, a Benjamite. And he blew a trumpet, and said: “We have no share in David, Nor do we have inheritance in the son of Jesse; Every man to his tents, O Israel!”
II Samuel 20:1 NKJV

The people of Israel leave:

So every man of Israel deserted David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri. But the men of Judah, from the Jordan as far as Jerusalem, remained loyal to their king.
II Samuel 20:2 NKJV

King David returns to Jerusalem to put all things in order.

He sent the army out to deal with Sheba.

This wise woman knew the stakes were high.

The kingdom had just gone through a civil war brought on by a young man who had no regards for what was right.

Absalom did as he thought best and suffered the consequences.

Sheba comes on the heels of this painful and splintered time, and by all accounts his treachery could further splinter and shatter the kingdom.

But for this wise woman.

She saw danger.

She found the source of the sin.

She acted in quick response to what would deal with it quickly.

Unfortunately, Sheba had signed his own death warrant by his actions.

But there is so much to learn from this story.

Sin causes pain, violence, and destruction.

It needs to be dealt with, quickly and completely.

There is no record of King David punishing Amnon for his sin against Tamar.

King David’s own son, Absalom, was a murderer and yet the king did not punish him.

We will never know what would have been different if the king had dealt with the sins of his sons.

But he didn’t let Sheba’s sin slide and neither did this wise woman.

Evidently the king had learned much from his previous error and the results are far different.

In this case only the one who committed the sin paid for it, Sheba.

Because of Jesus’s payment for sin we no longer have to die eternal death to pay for our sins, but we still must be wise.

The New Testament tells believers to put away sin.

2 Timothy 2:22 KJV — Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

No one is immune to sin, therefore the Word of God gives us instruction.

James 5:16 NKJV — Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

1 John 1:9 NKJV — If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

As this year comes to a close and a new year begins, let us be honest about the sin within our walls and deal with it as the wise woman did.

For Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness!

Praise the Lord!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the example we see in scripture. Please Lord Jesus, do not allow any sin to hide inside my heart, but reveal it that it might be dealt with completely. Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness in continually showing me the way I should walk daily. Please continue to shine Your truth into my heart and mind. Lord, You alone have all that I need and Your Word is my guide. Please continue to hone my heart. Thank You. Amen.