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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Psalm 3

LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.”
But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.
Arise, LORD! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.
Psalm 3

I love how David describes God.

But you, LORD, are a shield around me

A shield doesn't just protect a warrior, it defines him.
In the middle of a battle, everyone is wearing similar armor; they look the same...so how would someone know if their friend was approaching them or an enemy? By their shield. The shield bears the warrior's family crest it protects them against attackers, but it also protects a warrior from his own friends.

When people look at us, they should see faithful bearers of God's mark. That's people identify us.

I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.

How often do you wake up and praise God because he gave you another day to live, another day to bear his crest? Life is a beautiful gift. Don't live fearful of the day your life ends, but don't forget to praise God for the life he's given you. 

my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior— from violent people you save me.
2 Samuel 22:2

Photo Credit:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Carpenter,_3rd_Earl_of_Tyrconnell

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Does God Expect Perfection?

Cute Angel Free PNG Clipart Picture
This is a question I used to ask all the time, but then I read this verse in the bible and it got me wondering again.

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Mathew 5:48

Jesus says this during his sermon on the mount. He just gave teachings like the beatitudes and covered topics such as adultery, murder, and prayer. Jesus concludes this by a verse saying "Be perfect."

If God expects perfection, we're all doomed. There is absolutely no way we can be perfect. And isn't that exactly what Jesus wanted to get across? In Exodus, the law was established to show Israel just how messed up they were. (Romans 3:20) We cannot uphold the law on our own. There's just no way that could happen. If the end of the story was that we need to be perfect, there would be no hope. Aren't you glad that this was just the beginning?

Jesus came to die, but before death, he had to live a perfect life. He came be perfect because he knew we couldn't. He fulfilled the law because God knew we never could.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
Psalm 130:3-4

Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.
Ecclesiastes 7:20

These two verses say it. We can't stand before God on our own. We cannot be perfect.

You guys probably knew that already. I just wanted to make sure we were all on the same page. So now, let's get back on topic.

If God expected perfection from us, he never would have sent Jesus, his son.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
Luke 19:10

Jesus said this to Zacchaeus. He told Zachaeus that his sins were forgiven (Luke 19:9). He doesn't expect us to be perfect, God, the righteous judge, needs some atonement for sin and that would be Jesus.

Jesus wasn't lying, he wasn't just saying something. He said what he said in Mathew 5:48 to make a point, and I think that is this: There needs to be perfection for us to get to heaven. Be glad Jesus is willing to be that perfection for you.

The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Hebrews 10:1-4

Photo Credit:
http://gallery.yopriceville.com/Free-Clipart-Pictures/Angels-PNG/Cute_Angel_Free_PNG_Clipart_Picture#.UvFErz1dWSo

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Fool

As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.
Proverbs 26:11

I thought of this verse in proverbs as I was watching my dog eat her vomit. It then struck me just how great this proverb describes sin and foolishness.

When we sin, especially return to a sin, we don't grasp how nasty it is. Just like a dog doesn't understand that you just don't eat vomit, we don't don't understand how God feels. We just shouldn't return to our sin. If something hurts us once, why try it again? We wouldn't repeatedly touch a hot stove, would we? So why is sin any different?

The second things I got from watching my dog was this: we try to make ourselves feel better about it first. My dog ate grass before returning to her vomit because she was trying to soothe her stomach first. There are times when we try or pretend to be repentant, to make ourselves feel better, but ultimately, we still come back. Why? We try to fill up on sin. After we "vomit" we're left feeling empty. Instead of turning to God, we decide to try the sin again.

Third, she won't puke in her master's house. When she feels like she's getting sick, she'll let us know she wants to go out because she doesn't want to vomit in her master's home. She has to go somewhere we won't see her, or at least were she thinks we won't. I can see the whole yard from a certain window in my house, but she doesn't know that.

God stands at the widow. He can see you just as well outside as he can in. There's no use in trying to hide from God. The only thing you can do is go to God and beg for forgiveness

If you, LORD, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

Psalm 130:3-4

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What's with Regret?

Regret is one of the biggest weapons Satan has against a Christian, but at the same time it's something we choose to do. There is a time for everything, including regret, but after you have been forgiven regret is doubting God really did forgive you. I think it's safe to say most of the times you have felt regret, it was is was in a sinful manner

God feels regret (Genesis 6:7; 1 Samuel 15:11), which means that there must be times when it's okay to feel regret, but these are in very emotional times such as before the great flood.

I'm not God and so I can't give a list of all the times its okay to feel regret, but through what the bible does say, we can understand why regret is such an issue and why we shouldn't do it. First of all, I guess would be examples of people who have felt regret in the bible
  1. Adam and Eve (Genesis 3)
  2. David (1 Chronicles 21:8)
  3. Ahab (1 Kings 21:27)
  4. Peter (Mathew 26:75)
  5. Judas (Mathew 27:3-4)
Whenever any character in the bible is described as feeling regret, they have done something terrible. These are good times to regret, but lingering on regret is when it becomes a sin.

There is the initial regret, shame, guilt, whatever you want to call it after you sin, but asking for forgiveness should follow. There can be a state mourning, but it can't last forever. Just look at this verse from 2 Corinthians:

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
2 Corinthians 7:10

There is a time of sorrow, but after the mourning is up, regret needs to be gone.

I don't know how many times I've laid in bed thinking of things done and just thinking about how stupid that was. That's a sin. It's not godly.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
Philippians 3:13-15

I have used this Philippians passage in many posts, but in the light of regret, it takes a whole new meaning.

Forgetting what is behind

Regret hinders us in our walk with God! In order to get to the goal, to get the prize we must forget what is behind us! Just like we ought to forgive and forget, we must also be forgiven and forget.

If you can forget the past, you'll miss out on a lot of life. God has wonderful things in store for you, but you have to look for them or you'll miss out.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 42:18-19

Sources:
http://www.openbible.info/topics/regret
http://www.gotquestions.org/shame-regret.html
http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Regret

Photo Credit:
http://alexrister1.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/