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(PHOTO from chrome_redneck)

The book of Job is amazing. To be honest, I had to reread the majority of it. Here is what I learned, so far.

1. Job was not perfect. (Meaning at some point in his life he sinned (I’m assuming). Throughout this trial, he didn’t)

2. God does not always punish sin (Well, all sin is punished by death but all sin is not punished immediately).

3. God does not always reward faithfulness (Immediately.).

4. Job questioned God. (Who wouldn’t in light of Job’s circumstances?)

5. Job never blamed God. (Job just wanted to know, “Whats’up with this God?”)

6. God has ALL control. (We can’t explain, understand it, or describe it. Even though we try.)

I don’t know about you but I loved grasping number 2 and 3. Will I always find comfort in those statements? Probably not. It amazes me how much Christendom is wrapped up in these statements, incorrectly. I ain’t gonna lie and say that I have never wanted somebody who has blatantly sinned, to be punished by God. I’m also lying when I say I have never asked God to bless me because I have been “faithful.”

When will we get that? When will I get that? [That] being the stuff (wants, desires, possessions, dare I say-prayers) we acquire on the earth will never matter. None of it. Want to test your own faith? Ask yourself these two questions.  Will you and I remain faithful when other people’s sin (Any/every sin that affects us directly or indirectly.) is NOT punished? Will we remain faithful when our faithfulness is NOT rewarded (Here on earth.)?

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(PHOTO from Polina Sergeeva)

The book of Job has messed with my mind. Whenever I think about Job, as in the man with the weird name, I think about all the crap he lived through, yet he remained intent to worship God. Job suffered physically. Like with a full body blister. And all because God allowed this to happen. What? Why would God do this? God said this about Job, “There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.” And God said this to Satan. Satan was, I’m assuming, trying prove that He was as powerful as God.

Then Satan replied to God in Dog the Bounter Hunter like fashoin. “Skin on skin. Mano-y-mano.” Well, he didn’t say mano-y-mano but he did say, “Skin for skin! A man will give all he has for his own life.”

So, I’m questioning:

  1. Can I be like Job? 
  2. Can I go “skin on skin” with Satan?

Sin sucks. Sin is nasty. Sin has caused to world to get worse and worse. (I’m no theologian but I don’t see that the world has gotten any better. Yes, Jesus came but He only offered the chance to be pardoned. I don’t think Christ came to make the world a “better” place. Christ came to give mankind an opportunity to have a relationship with God.) Even when this relationship begins, that sucky sin is still prevalent. Sin is always a possibility. It’s always [there]. Sin is always the easy way. It’s usually the more accepted way too.

The answer to sin is death. Death is the only way an individual will stop sinning completely. Until we die, we will be affected by sin, either directly or indirectly. The best I can do  is to attempt to NOT sin. (Attempting to put these thoughts down is scary. Because I want to disagree with what I feel is the truth.) (It’s as if me head and heart agree but my heart is hesitant.) I want to be able to say that I am good. I will never say that I am not a sinner but I’m sure I will let you know when I do something good. But the effing sin is always there. Haunting me. I know God has forgiven me. I know it! People, including myself, don’t want to hear that they are “bad”. All I can say is, try to prove it.

Can I be like Job? I believe so. At least through the power of Christ, I can avoid sinning. Well, for a short period of time anyway (Hopefully it’s easier for you.). When I’m bloody and broken, I can always get back up and go another round.

Can I go “skin on skin” with Satan? I would love to have some Gladiator/Braveheart/John McClain in Die Hard moment with Satan. But the skin on skin encounter Job had with Satan, didn’t include any retaliation from Job. Job didn’t swing a sword, axe, or shoot a 9mm at Satan. Job trusted God. I don’t think you got that. Job trusted God! The most pain inflicting thing Job could have done to Satan was trusting God. So can I go skin on skin with Satan? Yes. Can I trust God? We’ll see. 

(PHOTO from Patrick Hoff)

I hate sin, yet I sin. I don’t want to sin but I eventually do sin. I wonder, if God exposed our sin like He did in the Old Testament, would we sin less? If I wore skirt, which I don’t and never would, (although I would were a kilt if I could throw a telephone pole) and I knew that God would expose my sin by lifting my skirt over my head, would I sin less? I wear pants, I wonder if God revealed sin by “pantsing”, would I sin less? Urban Dictionary defines pantsing as, “The act or practice of pulling someone’s pants down.”

Nahum 3:5 “I am against you,” declares the Lord Almighty. “I will lift your skirts over your face. I will show the nations your nakedness and the kingdoms your shame.

Naturally we want to keep our sin hush hush. We have plenty of excuses for our sins. As a parent I kinda see God’s viewpoint on sin. It’s funny how my daughter doesn’t want me to call her “naughty”. This upsets her to the point where she will start to cry. But if I do not let her know she is doing wrong, what kind of parent would I be?

God, reveal my sin. Pants me if need be. I want to sin less.

I have been to a bar three times in my life. I am not talking the local sports bar or your local Applebees. I mean belly up to an actual bar. Two of those times were with pastors. The other time was at a train station in Chi town. There is a lot of noise about reaching out to those who are in bars, clubs, lounges, and so on.
bar

I am one hundred percent confident that God supports this outreach style. Paul says the feet of those who bring the message of Christ are beautiful. So, if I am on a bar stool indulging a Shiner Bock, are my feet beautiful?

Paul precedes his feet comment with talking about the people he is attempting to reach. He says they are good people. He even says they are zealous about the law (they are Jews). I would likely say the same about my community. Overall, they are good people. They are sinners like me. They do not break the law.

No, even though I am a follower and I am in a bar having beer, my feet are not beautiful. Faith doesn’t jump off of you and onto someone else just because you are close to them. Belief in Christ doesn’t magically happen. To qualify my feet as beautiful, I have to open my mouth. Paul says faith becomes relevant when it is heard. Something must make noise before someone hears that said noise.

So go ahead, buy him that beer but tell him, “my Christ is for you.”

A missionary friend of mine pointed me to THIS.

Hands down, THIS is the most rad faith tool I have ever seen.

The left handed, double edged dagger making, assassin.Ehud was brought before Israel as the answer to their problem. Israel was under the control of a king named Eglon. This wasn’t due to bad luck. This occurred because of their sin. Their sin against God himself actually. You know how you put other things in place of God, the whole nation had done similar by worshipping other Gods. And because God doesn’t take crap from anybody, he allowed His people to be ruled by an ungodly king.

Things were great until their leader Othniel died. Just like students when the teacher leaves the room, they decided to live by their own agendas. A substitute was put in place. You remember how bad it was when you had a mean substitute right? You probably said things like, “Mrs. Smith didn’t make us copy the dictionary.” This substitute king was Eglon. What sucked for the Israelites, was that this substitute had been in the front of the class for 18 years because their leader had died and they couldn’t handle the freedom.

Graciously, God intervenes. This is the cool part. Ehud was trained. Like Jason Bourne, Ehud was trained to kill. Ehud was Israels hope. Like me, he was a south paw. Ehud forges an 18″, double edged dagger. This dagger had a purpose. The length of the dagger had significance. Ehud was from the wrong side of the tracks as well, he was a Benjamite. After strapping the dagger to his right thigh, I picture him wrapping a red cloth around his head in Rambo like fashion. I can hear him telling his control, “It’s time.”

Ehud sends his runners to give Eglon a message inquiring him near Eglons personal idols. The secret was out. Eglon is probably contemplating suicide. He asks to be alone in the sanctuary of his palace. He was to afraid to meet at the rendezvous point. Ehud, ninja like, sneaks into the room of the king. Ehud, in his best Clint Eastwood voice says, “I have a message from God for you.”

The obese man slowly turns to look over his shoulder. Within seconds, 18 inches of sharp metal has penetrated through the fat mans bowels. The ex kings fat swallows the entire dagger.

ehud

Ehud escaped because Eglons men assumed he was on the porcelain throne. Due to the audible stomach issues and probably the smell of spilled intestines, the guards let him finish his business.

When Ehud arrives back to safety with the assurance of the kings death, he blows his trumpet relinquishing the Israel army. The army reaped vengeance on the thousands of Eglon followers.

And you thought the bible was boring. 1. Don’t do that. 2. Never take your eyes off of God. 3. Fear God’s Messenger.

shit-happens

This thought was brought up my life, “why do bad things happen to good people?” Obviously, it happens. The questions is, why does it happen?

I am lucky to be a part of a life group that clicks. We can joke and be serious at the same time. It has been great. My favorite part is that each person isn’t afraid to voice their feelings and that each person comes from a different denominational background. Everyone brings something different to the table.

We have been studying a so called “blessed life.” What does it mean to be blessed? Is it possible to have a blessed life?

I will attempt to answer these questions. Actually, I should probably state that I will not conceive a great answer. I can only speak from my life and the answer may or may not reflect the answers of anyone in my life group.

What does it mean to be blessed? Blessed to me, is acknowledging that God will provide spiritually, emotionally, and physically. It is a state of mind. It is faith. It is hope. It is assurance. I am currently on an adventure looking for scripture that supports this viewpoint. Honestly, my viewpoint has been influenced by C.S. Lewis.

Maybe the easiest way to answer this question would be by looking at the opposite end of the spectrum. Are we not blessed because shit happens? This is were peace settles for me. I find blessing in God’s control. I try to live my life as purely as possible. I try and fail. I have found that if I sync with God the more euphoric I feel. Happy. Peaceful. Thankful. And yes, shit still happens. My only answer for this is that I wasn’t truly synced or God is God. I know, that is a sucky answer. But God is God and God is faithful.

Lately I have been intrigued by the dusty books at the back of the Old Testament. Right now, these are the best scriptures for me to help grasp the rhyme and reason for how and why God does what He does. I think it is absolutely wrong of me to even question God, but I do. However, I find hope in that fact that all these crappy things happened to God’s chosen people. I say again, His chosen people. I must say, nothing was unjustified.

Regardless of what happens, I know God is in control. I am not saying that I live by this. I am not saying that I have never questioned God. I just know that when shit happens, there is a purpose greater than me in the works. Unfortunately, I think I forget that I am a sinner who deserves shit to happen. God has a right to test, judge, and punish me.

As I poorly attempt to express these deep theological questions, I can’t help but think about my Lord Jesus Christ. I think about His life. I think about all the shit He had and has to put up with because of me.

In short, for me to be blessed, I must trust His purpose and live by His principles. There are a lot of principles and to keep up with all of them at the same time is and can be daunting.

I’m done. I will try to answer the second question later. My humanity is embarrassing and doubts have suddenly risen.