Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
So the other day I was babysitting the kiddos. Actually, Kelly likes to inform me that when it's your own children it isn't babysitting, it's parenting. So the other day I was parenting the kiddos. We needed a couple things from the grocery store so I loaded Emma and Owen up and off we went. When we got there I noticed a wicked, sinful, immoral display; Twinkies were on sale, 2 boxes for $5. Since Kelly wasn't with me, I grabbed a box of Twinkies and a box of cupcakes. Now understand that I completely realize how unhealthy a Twinkie is. I know that it's terrible, will kill me, etc. However, I love me some Twinkies. Or I thought I did. When I finally got around to eating one, it was OK. Not that great, just OK. Then later that night Kelly and I shared a post-dinner Twinkie (don't tell me the romance is dead). And while enjoying this horrendously unhealthy snack, she said, "Twinkies are never as good as you remember them." So I said, "How do you know how I remember them?" Actually, I didn't say that. But I began to think about what she said. And I thought, "That's not just true for Twinkies; that's true for sin."
Sin is never as good as we remember it, is it? We're going along serving Jesus, doing all we can for Him. And then we start to feel the old pull of temptation. The flesh rises up, wants to be gratified. And we begin to think about how enjoyable that sin is, how much fun it would be to indulge the flesh "one more time." And so we do. But what I've discovered in my life, and what I'm sure you've discovered, is that sin is never as good as I remember it being. The overwhelming guilt, the shame knowing that I've rebelled against my King, that I've trampled on the blood of Jesus outweighs any temporary pleasure I get from the sin itself.
Now that doesn't mean that sin isn't pleasurable. Of course it is; if it wasn't, it wouldn't be temptation, right? The Bible references the temporary enjoyment that sin affords in Hebrews 11:24-25: "By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin." Notice that the Bible makes no attempt to hide the enjoyment of sin. Sin is fun. The flesh loves to be gratified, and when we engage in sin, it's always enjoyable; for a little while. But just as this verse reminds us, the pleasures of sin are passing. That means they won't last. And at the end of the day, when we come back to our senses and realize we're breaking God's law, all the enjoyment ends. We are brought face to face with our own iniquity, and must plead the blood of Jesus once again.
I know a guy who dated a girl on and off for several years. They would break up, get back together, break up, get back together, etc. I asked him why they continued in this cycle, and his answer was telling. He said, "When we're not together I miss her, I wish I was with her. But then when we get back together I'm reminded of why we broke up in the first place." Isn't that just like our struggle with sin? We turned our backs on it because we saw the end result. We saw that we stood condemned before a holy God, and we repented. But then the flesh began to desire gratification. And we turned back to our sin. And about the time we got neck deep in it, we remembered why we repented of it in the first place. Sin is never as good as we remember it. So when you're tempted, look beyond the temporary pleasure. Look to the end result of your sin. Realize that you're trading in eternal joy for temporary pleasure. And choose to find your pleasure in the surpassing greatness of Jesus Christ, rather than the temporal things of this world.
Father, forgive me for sinning against You. Forgive me for turning my back on the eternal and embracing the temporal. Forgive me for comparing Your greatness with the things of this world. Forgive me for choosing them over You. Help me to see Your all-surpassing majesty. Help me to see how incredible, how magnificent You are. And when I'm tempted, help me to remember the end result of my sin. Help me to run from it and run to You. Amen.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Father, thank You for my wife. What a precious gift. Thank You for her love and encouragement. Forgive me for failing You by failing her. Help me love her like Jesus loves the church. Help me to learn to think of her before I think of myself. Help me to learn her shoe size. Thank You for the sufficiency of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It fixes all my shortcomings and gives me the ability to obey and glorify You. Help me to rest in the gospel today, and to live it in all areas of my life. Amen.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Psalm 49:15 says, "But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall receive me." What really caught my attention was the phrase 'the power of the grave.' So often salvation is presented as a future event. When we get to heaven, then we see the fruits of our salvation; pearly gates, streets of gold, etc. And all that will be great. I'm looking forward to seeing what the Bible describes; I'm looking forward to seeing loved ones, Bible heroes, all that. But salvation isn't just a future event. It's a present event. Every day, I can demonstrate the fruits of my salvation. Why? Because God has redeemed by soul from the power of the grave. We're not just saved from the penalty of sin, i.e., Hell. We're saved from the power of sin-we are no longer slaves to sin. Before Christ, I couldn't avoid sin. After Christ, I've got the choice. I now have within me the power to choose holiness instead of wickedness, righteousness instead of immorality. I can live in the freedom by which I've been made free. I can cast aside every hindrance and the sin which so easily entangles and run the race with Christ has set out for me to run. What a powerful promise this is! I can see the fruits of my salvation today, not just in the future. In fact, scripture tells me that I better see the fruits of my salvation. Jesus said you know someone by their fruit, right? Not by the fact that they walked an aisle or were baptized or any of that. You know someone by their fruit. Does my life bear the fruit of salvation? Am I bearing witness that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Master? One of the most important questions we can ask ourselves is this; since I say I'm saved, what am I saved from? Are we saved from the power of sin in our daily lives? God has redeemed us from the power of the grave. Jesus saves us from the power, the presence, and the penalty of sin (that sermon is copyrighted, by the way-don't use it without my written permission). Let's live that truth today.
Father, thank You for saving me in spite of who I am. Thank You for loving a wretched, wicked sinner enough to provide an atoning sacrifice. Thank You for the blood of Jesus that washes away my sins. Thank you for the power that defeated the grave. Help me today to walk in victory over sin. Not because I have the power to, but because You have the power to, and I am walking in submission to You. Be glorified in my life today. Amen.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Father, thank you for the precious gift of my children. Help me raise them in a way that honors and glorifies You. Help me to learn this lesson. Help me realize that apart from You, I can do nothing to bring glory to Your Name. Help me to remember, when I'm struggling to accomplish the things You ask of me, it's only because I've strayed away from You. Help me to stay close to You, to walk close by Your side. And help me to glorify You.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Father, thank you for Your patience when I don't love You as I should. You are worthy of so much more than I offer you, yet You still love me. I acknowledge that this isn't because of anything good within in, but only because of the blood of Jesus Christ that has atoned for my sins, and purchased my adoption into Your family. Help me to love You above all else; to love You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. You demand such love from me; You deserve such love for me. Because You love me, help me Love you. Amen.