Category Archives: Sin

Sin and a Savior.

My heart and mind have been so consumed lately with the law.  Something I have been trying to figure out since I started studying the bible in college.

We are studying through the book of Exodus at church and let’s just go ahead and say we are all lawbreakers.

While I study these commandments I see my sin so clearly, and isn’t that part of their purpose?  To show us our desperate need of a Savior?

Thinking through even the Ten Commandments…a quick thought about all ten…

  1. I often times turn to myself as ruler of my life
  2. I definitely have what many would consider graven images or images made in likeness (in fact I don’t even see how it is possible for the 21st century population to avoid them completely)
  3. I frequently use His name falsely
  4. I don’t remember the last time that I purposely rested in Him (especially for a whole day!)
  5. T here were many times in my life I did NOT honor my mother and father
  6. I have been angry
  7. There has been adultery
  8. Things were taken
  9. I have spun stories and the way I say things
  10. I covet (a lot to be honest)

Praise Yahweh for His son and the crazy awesome way He has set us free from the chains and bondage that we were in.

People back then couldn’t keep law perfectly.  We can’t keep law perfectly and anyone who says they do is a liar and we should be wary of them.

You saw that I wrote how is it possible in the 21st century to avoid it completely?  It isn’t, it wasn’t then, and it isn’t now!

I won’t pretend I understand the law perfectly, let’s be real – even very well! I also don’t want to just say, grace, grace, grace and do what I want.  I want Him to search me and know my heart, to try me and know my ways and see if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way of everlasting life.

I want to remove every worldly, brainwashed, influenced thought from my mind and trust in Him with all my heart, lean not on my own understanding, and in all my ways the best I know how, acknowledge Him, and He will direct my paths.

I am so thankful that He completes the works He starts and does not leave us or forsake us.

I am so confident that He knows my heart and mind better than I know it for He fashioned them and gives them life no matter what they are fed.

Just some mumblings of my spiritual life lately… 😉  thanks for reading.

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Galatians 1:3-5

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Definition of Marriage.

Disclaimer: I am not writing this post to argue with anyone, so please save your energy for another blog if you do not have the same beliefs and that is your desire at the end of this post.

I use this blog as a platform of my faith and as a journal for my family.  That is what you are reading if you visit here.

I believe in the truth of scripture.  I believe that all of it is profitable. (2 Tim 3:16-17)

I believe you have to read it very carefully and have direction from the Holy Spirit to understand it fully.

I believe that marriage is as serious a covenant as can be- almost as serious as the one God made with His children (I said almost, after all, it is just a picture of it).

I believe that marriage is a God-ordained covenant that God defined and uses to refine and sanctify us.

I believe in God as creator and sustainer of the entire universe and all things in it, including and especially people.

I believe that God gave the first definition of marriage. (Genesis 2:18-25)

Thus, I cannot bring myself to believe we have the right to give marriage a new definition. “A definition of marriage that was established on Day Six of Creation and has been the benchmark of civilization for 6,000 years.” – Doug Phillips

Taken from John Piper’s blog (which I encourage people to read, which is in no way hateful, but very factual, according to Piper’s and most conservative Christian’s beliefs):

“God ordained marriage with the words: “A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).  It is one thing to tolerate sin. It is another to build society on it.”

I do not believe in hating on people for their sin.  I would despise being hated on for my sin.

I do believe in loving people.  I do believe pointing people towards Him is the most loving thing we can do.

I will always think its interesting/unfortunate we talk about “certain” sins more than we do others.

What about pride, selfishness, covetousness, etc.  How come we don’t get in fueds and uproars about those things?

I do not believe in judging unbelieving, unrepentant people by God’s standards.

However with all of that said –

Just as public laws wouldn’t get changed or made if people didn’t speak out, God’s laws wouldn’t be remembered if people did not continue to tell them.

I have a responsibility to teach my son about God and call to remembrance the things God has done and said.

He is not going to grow up in a world where they are the most popular (obviously).

And so, with all this talk/fighting on the internet.  This is my very small way of standing up for what I believe God meant when He made marriage and why I will not vote otherwise.  Even if I get hated on by the people that tell me to stop judging/hating/etc (John 15:18–19)

I hope I have honored Him and His word like He commands 1 Peter 3:15

15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect

Godly Home.

by Micah.

Just over a year into marriage the truth of my needing of Jesus and the Spirit’s grace to make me more like God’s Son has only become more obvious. God’s Word shows us our faults and shortcomings in such a gracious way. It’s such a blessing to see where I’m selfish, for example, and then realize that that’s irrelevant concerning the status of my relationship with the Lord because God has already adopted me into His family and as His child because of His love for me… in spite of my selfishness.

Implementing this grace and forgiveness into marriage is quite the more difficult task because I am not love as God is (1 John 4:8), I do not forgive perfectly as my Father does (Matthew 18:21-31), and quite frankly sometimes if I stop and reflect on all the thoughts that have gone through my head and the words out of my mouth I feel like Paul when he wrote to Timothy saying that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15).

After listening to countless sermons while driving or working over a year ago as I attempted to learn from the Lord and others while preparing for marriage, reading recommended books, and have innumerable conversations with people I look up to and admire, I really think that I thought I was going to be a great husband. Sarah and I had barely even had a disagreement. Life was easy.

A year later I’m only more thankful for my beautiful wife to wear as a crown, but I realize more and more that marriage is also a tool that our good Lord uses to show us our faults, and even more so to display God’s grace, faithfulness, trustworthiness, and forgiveness, and forgiveness, and forgiveness. Last week we were blessed to have Brandon and Ann Kiracofe stay with us. In the midst of conversation they mentioned the great principal that a successful marriage has nothing to do with how much we sin. We are going to sin consistently. Instead it has to do with how much we forgive. Marriage is provided to display the Gospel. Part of the Gospel reveals that regardless of the amount of a person’s sin, Jesus will save those who make him Lord and trust in His righteousness on their behalf, not their own. Likewise, a biblical marriage has nothing to do with our sin toward each other, but how much we hold to our promise and commitment to each other “til death do us part” as we live a marriage of grace and mercy expressed by forgiveness. Thank you Sarah for modeling this for me over and over again so that I can learn by your example. As mom told us last week when she described us, Iron (Sarah) sharpens iron (me!).

All this to say that I fall short and need the Lord’s guidance. I was ignorant of what it means to be a husband. I need help! Sarah got me a book called “The Godly Home” by Richard Baxter. I’ll make some posts attempting to relay the many points that the Lord’s servant provides. In the introduction, J.I. Packer prefaces the book by saying that Baxter has the intention of each family being a miniature church, with its male head (husband/father) as the pastor (spiritual leader/provider). 

One of the things I hope to better understand and act upon is the fact that Jesus alone changes Sarah. I just glanced through this great article (http://theresurgence.com/2011/06/20/an-excellent) that describes a wife who is excellent is “forged not found.” The Lord is in the work of sanctification (making people more like Jesus and Holy). But it’s his task. I just have a responsibility to be used for the joyful task of doing his pleasurable work. As Brodie and Jenn’s pastor mentioned at their marriage ceremony a month ago, I’m to “scrub her down with grace” (Ephesians 5:26).

Casey Anthony, OJ, and others.

We are included in that title, yep, you and me.

Psalm 139:7-16

God has perfect knowledge of us, and all our thoughts and actions are open before him. It is more profitable to meditate on Divine truths, applying them to our own cases, and with hearts lifted to God in prayer, than with a curious or disputing frame of mind. That God knows all things, is omniscient; that he is every where, is omnipresent; are truths acknowledged by all, yet they are seldom rightly believed in by mankind. God takes strict notice of every step we take, every right step and every by step. He knows what rule we walk by, what end we walk toward, what company we walk with. When I am withdrawn from all company, thou knowest what I have in my heart. There is not a vain word, not a good word, but thou knowest from what thought it came, and with what design it was uttered. Wherever we are, we are under the eye and hand of God. We cannot by searching find how God searches us out; nor do we know how we are known. Such thoughts should restrain us from sin.

You  know, I didnt think Casey Anthony would get off completely, I mean how did OJ?  So much evidence, so many lies!   But with the way it goes, the American people are innocent until PROVEN guilty.  If the evidence cant prove it 100% we might get acquitted of charges, here on earth…

If we lie, if we have an affair, if we arent responsible with what God has given us, if we steal, if we are drunkards, if we deny Him, the list goes on and on.  We might “get away”  with sin, right now, and we all sin dont we? (Romans 3:23)

There will come a day though.

The ruler of the universe knows everything about all of us, whether you claim to believe in Him or not, He created us.  We have all sinned against Him in some way shape or form, even if we havent murdered anyone.  Sin = Sin (James 2:10-13).

If we do not have His son, we will be judged guilty of sin, and the penalty for sin in God’s eyes, is death (Romans 6:23).  Except, if His son intercedes for us (Romans 3:24). 

When He comes back, no one will be without excuse (Romans 1:20).

When will your court date be?  While you still have breath to call upon His name or will it be face to face with Him,  when you die?  Have you already been set free?!  Do we remember the price that someone else paid for us?

So, we can say all we want about what their verdict should be, but we are all sinners needing and undeserving of the same mercy and grace (Romans 2:1). 

{So thankful for the freedom from a guilty verdict of sin today through Christ}

Romans 5:15-21

15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! 18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

By the Book.

I received a devotion the other day about how we often treat the bible like a manual, you know… only read it when we or something in our life is broken.

Then last night sitting around the pool (with grilled hobo meals and corn on the cob, banana pudding ok anway) we were asking about what has been the most transformative  or what has been our favorite book.

I’ve read a lot of good books in all types of genres.  I had to give the christian cliche answer though, the Bible.

Although many books Ive read have been practical, eye-opening, gripping, made me cry, laugh, or made me stay up all night under the covers with a booklight, not get in the ocean cause I cant put it down, ignore my phone type of reading, one book has rocked my self, my senses, my emotions, my mind, my soul, it says even my marrow. 

that book is the Bible, those 66 books (well 65 cause I still havent read all of Revelation).

I would read it every now and then when I was younger, I would always ask my dad to read the stories that had babies in them.  Just cause I liked babies.

I would read it every now and then as an adolescent, I had a teen study bible and it had interesting topic inserts on money, dating, sex, feelings, etc.  The inserts are really what I read.

I read it my junior year of college because I was broken.  I treated it like a dusty old manual I thought might give me some insight on life. But I read it. (The Macarthur commentary one came later…)

Reading the Bible did more for me than any Bible study, any mentor, any evangelist, any trac, anything or anyone. 

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

God showed me in His word:

  • who I was without Him
  • who He was making me to be
  • most importantly, who He was and has always been 

From those three lessons came a ton of subtopic lessons which brought  a complete heart, mind, and life change and they change still as His word continues to teach and reveal new things to me.   

His sacrifice saves me.  His kindness leads me to repentence.  His grace frees me from guilt and condemnation.  His promises are what I hold onto in good times and bad. 

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God  may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Dont wait like I did, go read it now.  Seriously, what’s the worst that can happen?  What’s the best?  You’ll have to read consistently for a bit to find out! 🙂

Mayday.

“A Mayday situation is one in which a vessel, aircraft, vehicle, or person is in grave and imminent danger and requires immediate assistance.” – Wikipedia (I know… as a graduate student I should not quote Wikipedia)

The word “Mayday” comes from the French word m’aider. “Venez m’aider” means “come help me.”

The word “help” occurs 156 times in the ESV bible.  For lots of instances, when help didn’t seem near, commands to help others, being helped, and more.

The past four or five weeks have been intense, to say the least.  Just crazy busy, in my mind, with work, in the evenings, on the weekends, etc!   

All throughout Scripture, one can find example after example of God rescuing His people.  Time and time again, He is bringing someone from darkness to light, pulling someone out of a pit, showing forgiveness and mercy where none is deserved and cannot be earned, comforting and healing, answering prayers, humbling, even feeding people, and so much more.

Help can look different depending on the situation and person.  My Creator is in the business of rescuing and restoring.  We can use all the theological and doctrinal words we want, but when it comes down to simplicity- we ALL need His help, in all things. 

Sometimes, pleading for help can be the most honest heart cry, ever.  “Abba, please help me” “Help me find a job.” “Help me do well at my job.” “Help me serve my church.” “Help my marriage.” “Help my heart, I miss him/her.” “Help me be a better ________.” “Help me with self-control with ___________.”  “Help me stop sinning in this area.” “Help me understand scripture.” “Help me be a good helper and respect my husband.” “Help me lead my wife and love her well.” “Help me love, discipline, and teach my children well every minute today.” And the pleas go on and on.

I won’t pretend I knew what I was asking for when I first cried out for help from God.  To be honest, in retrospect, I almost was “trying Him out”, to see what “He could do for me”. 

I was at a point in my life where I just needed a lot of help, with everything- eating disorder, school, friendships, relationships with guys, drinking, perspective, etc.  I just wasn’t doing a very good job with living life, and I knew it.  I believed in a God even though I didn’t know much about Him.  I cried out for help one night my junior year of college on my living room floor (with the help of Lauren and Liz).  Oh boy did He answer, and now the tables are turned; I try to ask “God, what can I do for you?” 

I wouldn’t recommend, “trying God out”.  I must confess my intentions weren’t the best.  However, being His merciful self and I suppose longsuffering with my ignorance for the time being, He did help me. 

I used to tell my testimony in such a way that made it look like a checklist,  “and then I stopped doing this, this, and this”.  Ugh… I wish I could retell it to people, not because you couldn’t see the joy of Christ in my heart and eyes, no, that was there…but because what He helped me stopped doing is great, but it isn’t the main point.

He sent His son to save the lost and make a people for Himself to glorify and be satisfied in Him forever, that is the main point.  We are all sinners.  Everyone is in need of His help, and without it, will perish someday.  He did send help, a long time ago- He sent it through His son.  Believing and trusting in Him who saved me, is the only way to the Father who rules the earth and all eternity.

The simple truth is this, when I gave my life to Christ (the help plan since over 2000 years ago), He helped me. 

He continues to help me in every moment of every day.  He can help you too. 

When I’m prone to a million different things, He helps me.  I have His Spirit living inside of me, a constant reminder and ever present living help.

Don’t be ashamed to ask for help.  Cry out to Him.  “God, please help me”.  Whether it’s the first time, or for patience at work or home, or to get a task done, or to forgive someone that has wronged you, or to be a good parent, to love and serve sacrificially, to believe, etc.

Admit if you and your life are in a bit of a mayday and ask Him for help.

Psalm 121:2 My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

Reminders.

I was pretty bummed that I wasnt able to make it to the Aletheia women’s retreat this year.  Their topic was humility and pride.

I’ve been thinking about those two things for months, because anytime I am sinning it stems from pride.

—————–

This morning, Abba was sweet to remind me in church of what a lowly state I came from.  He didnt do this to make me feel guilty or condemned (Romans 8:1).  I believe He had me remember to remind me of His saving grace, just how great and Holy He really is.  

You see there is probably one person who knows some of my deepest past sins beside Christ.  I only told her to “get it out if you will”… I had already repented and confessed it to Christ, my precious mediator, but I wanted to bring it out of the darkness of my heart and mind verbally and let His light, love, and mercy heal that hurt, that shame, and the pain that it brought.   

Those”secret sins” were brought out over four years ago, and I used to pray I would forget, forget a lot of my sin so that Satan couldnt haunt me with it.  God is gracious to allow me to forget most of the time and not dwell on things of the past, because His word has prevailed in my life and changed me from the inside out.  I have been healed and made whole by the one who cleansed lepers, spoke the world into motion, came through a virgin birth, is seated on the throne, etc!  He didnt save me so that I could have my best life now… He freed me to glorify Him, live for Him, and be satisfied in Him!  Not to live for myself, for Micah, for work, for family, or anything else but Him.  How do I forget that sometimes in the “big” or “little” moments?  I am not the main character of my life drama, He is.

I was given a sweet reminder about the grace that has covered my darkness, that has made me right with my Father and brought me into His family.  I am thankful, even when the reminders hurt.  They are for my good.  They put everything in perspective. They tear down my pride and remind me that it is only by His grace that I have been saved (Ephesians 2:8-9) and that every good thing and person in my life is because of Him, not me or because of anything I did or deserve.

I dont write these things to make you wonder what I did, or to try and be super “spritual” but to make you wonder about the God that saves, redeems, and restores, and to remind you He is real, and still at work.  There is no sin too great, no burden too heavy, no heart too hard that He cannot change. 

Without Love, i am nothing.

I love our new church here in Newport News.  We are learning so much.  The book of Acts is being preached right now, verse by verse (just the way we like it). 🙂  We leave there often times silent, just thinking… our pastor does a tremendous job at asking questions that really help you think deep about the text that lead to a thousand other questions once you really start thinking.

On Sunday, we talked about the demon processed slave girl that kept following Paul and party around screaming.  When he finally tells the spirit in the name of Christ to come out, it does.  The owners lose money because she can’t be there psychic anymore.

I won’t go into everything that was taught but there is a part that mentions how her owners were ticked that they weren’t going to make a profit off of her anymore.  So we talked a little about relationships.

In our relationships, do we look for how we can benefit? How we can be “blessed”?

Maybe they have a talent, money, cool car, big house, fun things, are good cooks… etc

Maybe it is more hidden than that though and innocently enough… maybe they make us feel good because they are like us, maybe they make us laugh, they are easy to talk to, we have a lot of things in common…etc

Do you see what I saw in myself?

It is easy for me to love on someone when the friendship organically grew because of things we had in common, or comfort, etc.

Where is the true love in that though?  It is no sacrifice of my time, money, heart, energy, and more to love those people.  It doesn’t mean I don’t truly love them but I definitely wouldn’t consider it a sacrifice on my part.

What about the people it is hard to converse with, have nothing, maybe they are awkward, and maybe they like different things than me, maybe they are people that are deemed “weird” by others, maybe they don’t have a friend in the world, or maybe they have two, maybe their “personality type” makes it hard to be around them… 

You know what I realized though… Christ’s love is bigger than personality types, than awkwardness, etc.

 He died for us (the ultimate example of sacrificial love) while we were sinners and hated Him.    

If we don’t sacrificially love people- who will? What kind of example is it if we stick to our clichés? After all, we don’t have a lot of time for others anyway…It’s hard enough to keep up with our “real” friends.

In the words of Byrd: “Nope”.   I’m not having that attitude anymore, and when I do I will recognize it for the ugly prideful monster that it is. 

Fortunately, my husband is a good example of someone who sacrificially loves, to him it comes easily (or at least it seems to).  Or maybe he is just obedient… hmm.  Either way he is a great person to look to for guidance in this area.

I’m praying about how to change this… it is starting with just asking for a love for people.  That I would see people the way their Creator sees them.  After all, we were all made in His image and likeness.

I’ll finish this post with these thoughts. 

I think it is fitting that I am reading 1 Corinthians right now.  Just this morning I was reading about spiritual gifts and the way they are used to minister.  At the end Paul mentions that we can have whatever gift, and think that it is however beneficial, but if we do try and minister without love- it is nothing.  The he goes right into 1 Corinthians 13 which is interestingly always read at weddings (even though Paul is not necessarily speaking to husbands and wives, he is talking to the church in Corinth).

Here is the passage to refresh your memory or maybe you are reading it for the first time-

 “4Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

I remember when I read Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  He said in every where that passage says “love” replace it with your name.  If you are a Christian and we are supposed to be examples of Christ’s love…

Is Sarah patient and kind? Does she envy and never boast? Is she arrogant or rude? Does she insist on her own way? Is she irritable or resentful? Does she rejoice at the right things? And so on and so forth.

And is this with everyone and in all things?

Sadly not- I need to love more, and that will happen naturally when I have a better love and appreciation for my Savior.  He puts all things in perspective.

Ok, I was super honest with you guys. Writing and being transparent comes pretty easy to me, most of the time… but most of the time I write about past sin (in hopes that it will help someone), writing about sin I am struggling with now is a tad bit harder (hopefully it still helps someone)  😉

So, what about yall?

Is it easy for you to love everyone?   If it is, has it always been?  What are your thoughts?   You can send me an email if you don’t want to leave a public comment.  schneisk@gmail.com