Sin In An Instant…Vs Obedience   Leave a comment

Okay, so a while ago I stated to a very good friend of mine that we always have a choice of whether or not we sin. At that time, it made sense to me, but upon further reflection, something new came to me while praying…

But first, let me start with this: To my friend (you know who you are) I was wrong.

Sin CAN happen in an instant. Even without choice. (Or even without knowledge.) I was reminded of a time when a person came up to me and asked me a question; Now I consider myself a truthful and honest person, and I strive to be so, but for some reason, even though I honestly had no reason to lie to this individual, I did just that; I lied and gave the individual false information. It happened SO quickly and without any conscious thought whatsoever. I was so stunned by the fact that I had just lied so quickly, so easily, and without any reason to even do so, that I just sort of stood there while the person walked away.
Now, I felt that had happened for a reason, Because back then, I prided myself on my honesty. I believe God was showing me I had nothing to be proud of, and that I was certainly not perfect in that department (as I probably had previously thought), and fully capable of lying. It was a humbling lesson. But I digress…

The point is, sin CAN happen that quickly. Now, that doesn’t mean it always does, or even should. (More on that in a bit.)
You see, there are many factors involved that determine how much time, if any, a person has to choose the action. Here are just a few:

  • The person – how close they are to God. Their particular weaknesses. Their particular beliefs, desires, likes, dislikes, personality, disposition, etc. etc
  • The circumstance – this can vary so much and be so numerous it would be impossible to list.
  • Time – Timing is everything they say. And to a great degree, this is true. If you aren’t in a good state of mind, ie, prepared to resist sin, bad timing could be your undoing.
  • Propensity towards certain sins (we all have sin that easily besets us). But again, this has so many varying factors, it differs from individual to individual.
  • Preparation, or lack thereof. This sort of goes along with how close one is to God. But this will segue into my next point.
  • I’m sure one could come up with a myriad of other factors…but onto my next point…

So depending on the individual, and varying factors, sin can either come almost instantly, or one can have time to think about what they are doing before they do it.

BUT… While sin may not always be a choice…Obedience is.

At first, one may think that statement is a bit contradictory, or think, “Isn’t that the same thing?” Well…maybe it is at face value…but if you think about it, if you think about what it takes to obey God, I think it will begin to make a lot of sense.

Obedience, comes from a knowledge and understanding of God. It comes from a repentant heart. We SEE sin as sin, and we start making changes to strive against sin; To instead, obey our God; to conform to His perfect will and righteous character.

This is something that doesn’t always come spur of the moment. We have to be striving daily. Preparing to resist sin BEFORE sin comes knocking. This is a choice we make BEFORE we are faced with sin. Like working out. When I worked out, my muscles were growing stronger. I could then lift heavier things with ease, more so than I could before. I was prepared in that sense to lift heavier items in everyday life.

So, if one is preparing ahead of time, they are much more ready to resist sin when it arises. They have given themselves more time to make the right choice to not sin by making the choice to obey ahead of time. They have drawn closer to God, they have acknowledged Him in their ways ahead of time, before the temptation arises. They have made a choice ahead of time of obedience.

It’s interesting to point out…when Christ knew the devil would be coming to tempt Him, what did He do? He made a choice to obey ahead of time didn’t He? He went and fasted and prayed to draw on The Father’s strength. So that when the temptation to sin was brought to the fore, He was able to make the right choice. He was able to make the right choice, because the choice was already made before sin came to tempt.

This is our perfect example. In this world, throughout our lives, there are many…many….MANY opportunities to sin. Some we will resist. Some we will fall to. Some come on quickly giving us little if any time to think…some start in our minds and work their way slowly to the surface, to action. Some come like drops of water in a bucket. We are able to resist at first, but eventually our strength fades. But the more we choose to obey, and prepare ourselves by submitting to God’s will, praying, fasting, drawing closer to Him now, the more we will be able to resist sin when it arises. We make the choice NOW to obey. The more we make that choice, the easier it becomes to make the right choice when the opportunity to sin arises, because we are more prepared, and this gives us more time to stop and think before we act. Does this guarantee perfection? No. For we are human. And we know what the bible says about our carnal nature and hearts. But as we work to bury the old person, to put that old person to death daily, and to be the new creation we are intended to be, the more strength we have, when we need it.

We will still sin. But we will be able to resist it a little more, and a little more, and a little more. A little longer each time, and a little longer. But before we can make such choices to not sin when it arises, we have to choose obedience ahead of time.

Some sins will hit us quicker, and easier than others. Some sins will be more like water off a duck’s back than others. And again, it all varies from person to person. So we need to prepare ahead of time. God gives us this opportunity…over, and over, and over, and over… He gives us the freedom to choose. So we need to make our choice to obey now. Set it in our hearts and in our minds. God gives us not only the power to chose, but the tools to back up that choice; but we even have to choose to use those tools. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Even that is a choice.

Again, we won’t reach perfection in our physical lives, but the more we choose to obey, the more opportunity we will be afforded to make the right choices when sin is at our door.

Obedience is always the choice.

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Posted August 3, 2013 by buildupontherock in Simply Put

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Spotlight On Luke 5:16   Leave a comment

Luke 5:16 – So He  (often) withdrew into the wilderness and prayed. Our Brother…our example, would take time to get personal with The Father. He made time to get away from His daily tasks, routines, etc. to go and spend personal one on one time talking to, and praising, The Father. This activity wasn’t just for Himself of course. It was writtend down specifically as an example for us.

So the question is… Do we withdraw at times to pray and talk to and praise God?  I don’t just mean at our daily prayer times either. But at other times.

Think of the power one can draw from this. Not to mention keeping God in the forefront of our minds. Building our relationship with, and keeping ourselves in line with our Father.

You see, prayer is not just “talking to God”… It’s praising God. Thanking God. Calling upon Him for involvment in every part of our life. It’s building a relationship with Him. It IS about keeping Him in the very front of our minds no matter what is going on around us. It’s a shield to our hearts and minds from the evil “prince of the power of the air” and his influences.

This is something we need to be doing. Every day! We need to take moments and praise God. Call up on Him for strength, even if we are feeling strong. OR just to say, “Thank you God,” Or “I love you God,”  and talk with Him. Even if only for a few mintues. Longer if possible of course.

This is truly something we all need to do, and do more. Myself included. He IS our SHIELD. Our FORTRESS. Our HIGHTOWER. Our STRENGTH. Our EVERYTHING. We need to maintain that constant link to that.

I know many have jobs. And it might be difficult to “find time” to do this. But I guarantee time can be made. Even if only in your mind while working. So many find time for various other breaks. Coffee, Facebook, emails, texts, etc. How much more important…VITAL…is it to take a “Prayer break”, to “text” God?

Christ took extra time out to seek this relationship with God. Are we doing the same?

 

 

Posted June 4, 2013 by buildupontherock in Bible Studies, Simply Put

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What Does The Bible Say About Gambling   Leave a comment

Does the bible say anything about gambling?
Is it a sin?
Let’s take a look…

You might be surprised to learn that the Holy Bible does not contain the words “gambling” or “gamble” in it. Anywhere. Yet surely there must be some principle that we can apply. The bible is, after all, our instruction booklet for life and how to make the best choices for the best overall quality of life.

Did you know that the word, “pornography” just for example, is also not mentioned in the bible? And yet we see clear principles to lead us to the understanding that pornography is a sin. Another example is smoking. The bible does not mention smoking, and yet we know the bible instructs us to treat our bodies as the very temple of God. Therefore, deliberately poisoning our lungs and partaking of harmful addictive substances, which we also become in a sort of “bondage” to, is a sinful thing to do.

So what about gambling? While it also is not mentioned in the bible, we must be able to find some principle from the bible that we can apply to know if it is something we can, should, or should not do.

While the bible does not refer to gambling, it does speak of money, which is typically what is gambled for. (Though other currencies or bets can be placed.)

Here is what we are told about money…

Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. (Ecclesiastes 5:10, NIV)

“No servant can serve two masters. [Jesus said.] Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Luke 16:13, NIV)

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:10, NIV)

So we see, that money can easily become an idol to us (idolatry), thus breaking the first commandment. Now, does this make money itself an evil thing? Well, perhaps some would argue that it does, but we also know that it is a necessity in our current society. We have to make money to sustain our physical lives and provide for our family. So earning money, gaining money, getting money, is not in an of itself a sin….HOWEVER… HOW we gain the money, and what priority it takes in our lives is where money can become a sin. (See verses above)

If we work our work, with all our might (Ecc 9:10) and trust in the Lord to provide, He will take care of us. He promises all our needs will be fulfilled and even some of our desires as well. (Matt 6:33 & Ps 37:4) This way, we earn and provide for ourselves and our families. (By obedience to God, through God and by God.) Even having an abundance of money and being financially successful is not wrong. (eg. Abraham, Job, King David.) BUT… when we start allowing money to become a driving force in our lives; when we start focusing on the accumulation of wealth, making it a top priority or of higher importance than it should be in our lives; when we are not satisfied with what we have; when we lust and covet for more material possessions… then we are sinning. And we need to make the change in our lives to get us back in line with God’s way.

So what about gambling? How does this apply?
Well, some would argue that getting “something for nothing” is wrong. That not “earning” money is wrong. Or they might argue that gambling is all about the way of “get” and therefore should be avoided. I would easier go along with that last argument, than the first. But let’s examine…

Getting Something For Nothing
Is it wrong to win a prize? How about at a game? Any kind of game, or just certain ones? And if so, where do you draw the line? Is it only games that involve money that make it sin? If so, I would ask why? What if you win…oh, I don’t know… Live-stock? Or a car? Or a bicycle? Or a candy bar? Or a trophy? What is the difference? Some have more or less value for certain. But say I played a game of Monopoly. Would it be okay to say, “winner gets a candy bar”? Or would it be wrong to say winner gets a dollar (in which case he goes out and buys a candy bar)? What is the difference?

What about receiving a gift? This is something we have not necessarily earned. We have not worked for it. One might say, well, you have earned it through the friendship of the person giving the gift. Okay, have you ever accepted a free sample, or a discount from a store? Did you earn that? No more so than by sitting down to play a game. It is an agreed upon situation in any case. All parties have agreed upon the situation and the possible outcomes. In the case of the store, they are giving away something, in hopes (in a gamble) that it will encourage you to buy something from them.

So getting something for nothing is not in and of itself a sin. However…can there be, like anything else in life, the wrong attitude towards it? ABSOLUTELY! Like anything else in life (I want to emphasize that — like ANYTHING else in life) the wrong attitude or intent can creep in and bring forth sin. Sinful attitudes, sinful intent, sinful thoughts and sinful conduct, etc. can work their way in to anything we do. Even our calling for example… God calls us. It is of no action of our own that we are given this awesome gift of our calling. We should not think it our own glory. We are given it freely and for the ONLY reason of ….God wanted to. We are getting something we have by no means…earned. So, getting something for nothing cannot be a sin. It CAN, lead to sin, IF we get the wrong attitude about it; if we allow it to make us prideful and look down upon or mistreat others. Again,we can take something harmless or in the case of God’s calling, good, and allow ourselves to sin.
Another great example… Did we “earn” Christ’s sacrifice? For yet while we were STILL sinners, Christ died for us (Rom5:8). What WE earned, was death. What we were freely given, without earning it, was a chance at Eternal Life and freedom from the law of death. Yes, we have to strive, fight, and obey. But no amount of that would earn us a place in the Family without this free gift from God. Something for nothing. Beauty for ashes.

In and of itself, to get something we have not earned is clearly not a sin.

Gambling is about the way of get
Okay. This is true. Gambling is about the way of get. But then there are a lot of things in life that we do for entertainment that has nothing to do with the way of give. (And if its not give, its get, right?) Entertainment, whether it is a hobby, collecting something, playing a game, reading a book, playing or watching sports, horseback riding, etc. etc. is about entertaining one’s self. It’s generally not about giving. It’s about getting some form of pleasure for one’s self. Is that wrong? Is that a sin?
Think about this: God created pleasure. And He wants to give us “pleasures forever more” (Ps 16:11). So getting pleasure is not a sin. God makes many things in life simply for our pleasure. Food for example… It could all taste the same, but no. God gave us such a variety of tastes that one is likely to live a lifetime and never taste them all. And for what? For our pleasure! We get pleasure from taste. Can that become sin? YES! But is it of itself a sin to enjoy getting a variety of tastes on your table? No. But with the wrong attitude, the wrong behaviors, our enjoyment can become gluttony, which is a sin. How about alcohol The ONLY purpose for alcohol is to get pleasure. God allows us the use of alcohol. It is not a sin. Even Christ say’s He will partake of it again with us one day. BUT… with the wrong intent, or misuse, it becomes sinful doesn’t it? The same holds true for anything, including gambling. One can set down and play a game for fun and try to win something (even money). If they have a good time, win or lose, and walk away with a good attitude still, is this sin?

Where gambling become sin
Gambling is not in and of itself a sin, but can BECOME a sin. Setting down with some friends, and playing a game for money, just as an example, or betting on a game, or filling out an entry from to win something, is not a sin. It is the attitude or intent evolved that can make it a sin.
-Using gambling as a substitution of God’s way for us to provide for oneself or family is a sin.
-Using gambling simply to take from others with no regard to them, is a sin.
-Spending money (on anything) you really cannot afford can be a sin.
-Allowing gambling to become addictive is a sin. It becomes idolatry.
-Allowing attitudes of covetousness, jealousy, greed, or even hatred, definitely put it in the realm of sin.
So it really lies with the individual and the reasons and intent and attitude behind it.

Another area where gambling is a sin…
It seems safe to say, (scripturally speaking) that the casino’s and such, are wrong, and are committing sin. (And I personally believe that going to them and using their facilities for gambling would be supporting them, and therefor sin.) The establishments ARE about get. They are set up to take people’s money. AND, they use all kinds of sensual lures (lights, sounds, scents and other visuals; even down to the lay out of the casino and the color schemes they choose, all to play on the subconscious mind) and devices for one purpose…to attract and distract their “customers” into coming in and losing their money to the establishment. This is NOT something God would approve of. Obviously. Their sole purpose it to make money by taking it from other people. It is not a “friendly game”. Nor is it a fair game. It encourages people to spend more of their money than they should, and even causes addictions and other problems. They don’t look out for the welfare of their fellow man (which is in and of itself a sin). They simply take, and take, and take. They do not care if their “customers” can afford what they are losing or not. And they are even making it so that it is more likely than not that their customers DO lose their money. This is purely selfish and purely the way of get. (Though, sadly, this is has become the standard for the American industry across the board, and as such virtually unavoidable.)

I personally don’t believe that I would go into a casino and give it my support. I feel this would be indulging in their sin. Just like going to a restaurant on the Sabbath is supporting the sin of the establishment of their breaking of the Sabbath. Yes, the Casino is going to operate their business anyway. But I am, as a Christian, not supposed partake in the sins of others, let alone to even support the sins of others.
One might argue that, as I stated above, this is the standard of business today. To make profit off of others even if its not in their best interest. We could sit and make virtually an unending list of businesses that take advantage of their customers and or have unethical sinful business practices. Whether it is charging interest, using low quality materials, using child-labor, making products purposely with limited life-span, “planned obsolescence, and the list goes on…it is all about the way of get, and how to take more from others without any care or concern for your fellow man. This is sin. It is basically impossible not to, somehow, support this in today’s society. But to that argument, I would say this…let’s not make excuses. There ARE places where we do not need to go. There are things that we do not need to partake of. There are alternatives that are at very least, the “lesser of two evils.” Supporting a casino, an establishment that is blatantly harming others, (even if it is by the other’s choosing) is not something we should feel okay with or support if we can help it.

I personally would not have a problem with (and see no biblical principal against) making a friendly bet or wager with a friend or group of friends (even a monetary one); chipping in a dollar or two for some type of drawing/raffle, going to a bingo hall for entertainment, entering into a giveaway/drawing of some sort for the chance to win some free thing, etc. Again, I see no biblical principal that could be applied against it.

Do you gamble?

Definition of Gamble:
Verb. Play games of chance for money; bet. —- [Though it can be something other than money. – Me]
Noun. An act of gambling; an enterprise undertaken or attempted with a risk of loss and a chance of profit or success.

Many things in life are up to time and chance. So “gambling” is something that occurs often in life. We often take time and chance on things with risk of loss or chance of profit or success.
When you make plans for a weekend to play a game of golf (or picnic, etc), you are gambling that the weather will be good for it. When you go to college and get a degree, you are placing a lot of stock (money and time) in that you will be able to be successful in your chosen field. Those who are entrepreneurs or investors, invest time and money (though hopefully with wise counsel and some knowledge) that they will get a profit. It’s never a guarantee. So gambling comes in a variety of forms and to greater and lesser degrees. As a bit of an entrepreneur myself, I have at times invested time and money in things to sell, only to have to take a loss, or at very least, not get a profit for a much longer time-frame than I expected. (Sometimes due to my own fault, but other times to things out of my control.) But then, there are times that I get the payoff I was hoping for. That too IS a form of gambling. Even Solomon, through divine inspiration, tells us in Ecc. 11:1-2 (read it), to “take a chance;” ( paraphrasing) “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket;” “Diversify;” because it’s a gamble. Time and chance happens. Bad stuff can happen to anyone, and you don’t always know what might pay off or what might not.

Finally…
The bible is very clear who our provider is. God is very clear on where our priorities should be. And, it is very clear that money can be misused to the hurt of the individual… but that it (money) is, not in and of itself, a sin to have, or to gain. There are clear ways in which it SHOULD NOT be gained: Unbalanced scales (In other words dishonestly); usury; or stealing. The bible says nothing about getting money through a bet or chance. We find then that some things are up to our attitudes and reasons for doing things. We need…NEED to be careful. We NEED to acknowledge God in ALL of our ways, and allow Him to guide our paths. We NEED to trust in Him to provide for us both our needs and our desires. AND, when making decisions, or when choosing our entertainments, when handling our finances, etc, we need to use wisdom. God expects us to. We need to judge the situations by God’s standards, not our own. There is time and chance in life. And we do often take chances. But count the costs, and know if what we are doing will indeed hurt us or others, if should it not work out as we hope. We NEED to look out for one another. We NEED to be our brother’s keeper in love. If what we are doing is harmful or even OFFENSIVE to our brother, we need to act out of love. If what we are doing will lead us into the wrong attitudes or to sin some how, we need to be aware and avoid it.

So the bottom line… Is gambling a sin? No. Is abusing gambling with wrong intent or wrong attitudes, or to the detriment of self or others? Yes.

For some it should definitely be avoided. Just like alcohol, which we know, in and of itself is not a sin to partake of. But the misuse of it is sin.

So use wisdom and Godly character to make your choices.

Posted April 3, 2013 by buildupontherock in Bible Studies

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God’s Work Policy And You   Leave a comment

In Ecclesiastes 9:10, we find our God’s work ethic: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might…”

Yes, that is instruction for us, but it also does show us how He does things; His work ethic.

Now think about this when we read the following promises from God:

Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

And so we should have utmost confidence in His capability.

Philippians 1:6 – “…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you WILL complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

I take that as a promise. Christ began this work in me and He WILL complete it. Salvation begins with God. He started it. He takes personal responsibility to carry it out with ALL HIS MIGHT to the completion. And He expects us to do so as well. (Ecc. 9:10 is instruction to us.) He will not be deterred….Will we?

Praise God!

Posted March 29, 2013 by buildupontherock in Bible Studies

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A Tale Of Sin…A Lesson From Deleavening   Leave a comment

A couple years ago, I was deleavening the van for the upcoming Feast Of Unleavened Bread. As anyone with kids can attest to, food in a car gets in all sorts of places.

I was cleaning the back of the seats, using the vacuum cleaner. This is hard to describe so bear with me… I saw some unwanted leavend product (a  cracker or something)  and when I tried to get it, it slipped down further in behind the seat. The more I tried to get at it, the further in it would fall. So I said to myself, “well, I am not getting that one. Just goes to show you that you can’t get every sin out.”

Then I said to God something like, “The only way I could get that one is with your help.”
“Ah, cool! A good lesson!” I thought.  But the lesson wasn’t over.

I went back in to make one final attempt. I realized I’d have to do some more work to get at it. I started un-attaching the back of the seat and followed the cracker down… When I got to the bottom, I discovered a mess of old nuts, raisins, and yes, more leavening!  While I vacuumed up the lot of it, I had to laugh…

The lessons I got from this:

  • I had to get God involved in removing my sin. I can’t do it alone.
  • It takes personal effort to remove sin. If you give up, you definitely won’t get it removed.
  • One sin on the surface, can lead to much greater, and more, sinfulness deep within us.
  • Put a blanket over your back seat when going on long road trips where the kids will be eating snacks. 😉
    (ie. “Take the precautions to prevent the same sin from entering again” – Credit to Elizabeth Behan for pointing that out. Even I missed that one! But what an excellent point!)

1 Cor 5:6 – Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

1 Sam 16:7 – …for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

Philippians 4:13  – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Praise to God for this valuable lesson.

Posted March 4, 2013 by buildupontherock in Bible Studies

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Words of Encouragement   Leave a comment

Please feel free to add to these!

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

James 1:12
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 16:33
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Psalm 46:1-3
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. “Selah”

Psalm 118:14-16
The LORD is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!
The LORD’s right hand is lifted high; the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!”

Matthew 24:13
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Romans 7: 22 – 25
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

PRAISE GOD!

– A special thank you to Sunny Faulkner for providing me with these references of God’s words of encouragement.

Devil Worship In The Superbowl Half-Time Show   1 comment

While the devil and his minions in our music industry is nothing new…This video of blatant devil worship in during the Superbowl Half-Time show is shocking and yet, not surprising.
The devil is SO sneaky! Sure, we see the obvious things…but you will be shocked at what you didn’t see.
(Note. My family and I did not really watch the half time show ourselves, but it was on and I caught glimpses of it while waiting for the game to come back on)
Watch this video! Be aware of how the devil blatantly puts himself into our “entertainment” and people willingly accept it without even knowing what they are worshiping!

Posted February 28, 2013 by buildupontherock in Bible Studies

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