The Opposite of Sin

Last week I talked about the fact that we are sinners.  If that was the end of the story, life would be endlessly depressing.  Thankfully God has the opposite of sin – righteousness.  It is simple – faith in Jesus Christ.  Then we can have the righteousness of God. 

I fear that our society doesn’t understand the beauty of righteousness in God.  Maybe Christians don’t understand that enough.  What is the remedy?  As Christians we need to band together to live the righteousness of God to show others how wonderful God’s righteousness is.

Dear Heavenly Father, please help us to live Your righteousness.  Thank you that it is available to all who place their faith in Jesus Christ.  Please forgive our sins and help us to live the righteousness that You have given.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

The Truth About Sin

My plan this year was to talk about the gospel.  I haven’t done that as much as I originally planned.  I’d like to change that today.  Today’s verses talk about the basis of the gospel, the fact that all of us are sinners.  This is not a popular concept in our world today.  We have such an inflated view of our self-importance that we don’t want to think of the fact that we do wrong things.  Sadly, this thinking has worked its way into the church.  While many in churches have placed their trust in Christ, I fear that we sometimes forget the sin nature is still hard at work.  We are more likely to pass the responsibility on to someone else instead of taking responsibility for our wrongs.  As Christians we need to daily show proper responsibility for our sins.

If this was all we had, life would be very depressing.  However, we have hope because Jesus died on the cross to save us from the power of sin.  We just need to call on Him and give Him our sins.  He will help us day by day to live life fueled by the gospel.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus to die for our sins.  Thank you for reminding us that we need to address sin in our lives.  Please help us to address sin to be a good example to the world that Jesus is worthy and worth it.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Worthy

I have talked about this before.  We live in a society that fuels self-importance.  However, none of us has done what God has.  God created the world and set everything in motion.  He still sustains everything.  All good gifts come from Him (James 1:17).  God is worthy of glory. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the many wonderful things You have given to us.  Thank You for the beauty of the fall leaves.  Thank You for all You have done for us.  I praise and honor Your name.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Rejoice and be Reasonable

I think we need a lot more of these verses.  I know when life gets tough, I don’t do enough rejoicing.  In the midst of trials, I’m not sure how reasonable our thinking is.  This is a hard command to follow.  We are dealing with a lot of unreasonable commentary, behavior, etc.  However, as a child of God, I need to obey what God tells me to do in His word.  God only commands what is good and right. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for giving commands to direct us to right behavior.  Please help us when it gets difficult to rejoice and be reasonable. 

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Focusing on God’s Goodness

I know it can be so easy to fall into the pattern of looking at the difficult things we face in life.  When we focus on the negative, we forget God’s goodness.  I think we know God is good, but we need to remember and think about the ways God is good.

God sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to save us from our sins.  God provides for our needs and often wants.  God only gives good gifts (James 1:17).  So, the next time the weight of trials threatens, take refuge in God.  You can “taste and see” that God is good.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the good gifts You give.  Thank You that I can take refuge in You.  Thank you for the opportunity to “taste and see” that You are good!

I praise this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Less of Me, More of Jesus

We live in a terrible world.  We are watching so many battles fought in front of us.  I often wish I could be a part of the solution – be an influencer to help change the world.  One of the issues I find is that my heart wants to make a difference to feel good about myself.  I am praying that God would continue to direct my heart to make a difference for the sake of Jesus.  There is no greater goal. 

In order to make a difference for Jesus Christ, I need to have less of me.  I must allow God to rule in every area of my life.  As God takes over, my life will be more usable.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your patience as I let go of my wishes.  Please take over my life and give me courage and strength for whatever You allow to come my way.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

9/11 Never Forget

I still remember and can tell what happened on 9/11/2001 as though it was yesterday.  That was a shocking and horrible day for all of us.  At first, I was mixed on the concept of “Never Forget”.  We tend to hold grudges and I know that is not a good thing.  However, we are losing so much of history that I know we need to keep the memory and the facts of what happened. I watched a few minutes of the memorial in Pennsylvania today.  A couple of people reminded us of the unity we had at the time.  They also suggested that we could have unity again.  Right now, that unity is not even close. 

Many are struggling with what has happened over the last couple of years.  I understand.  I have struggled with all that I have seen.  There is so much fear, anger, arguing – many negatives on all sides of the arguments.  If we don’t address those things, we will never unify.  The problem is that we can’t have rational conversation about most things these days.  Sounds depressing.  I still think we need to go back to the basics. 

On this blog, my goal is to talk about God. The basics in this case, start with the gospel.  The Bible says that we are all sinners (“As it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one;’” Romans 3:10).  There is a penalty for sin (“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23).  The only way to be saved is the grace of God (“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9).

Friends, even for those of us who  have already trusted in the gospel of Jesus Christ, we need the reminder of the gospel every day.  None of us is perfect.

Dear Heavenly Father, we see so many bad things in our world.  We are fighting each other over our opinions and emotions instead of looking for truth.  We need to start with Your truth from the gospel.  Please help us to seek You and to share You with others.  We need Your help.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Overcoming Evil

I think this Bible verse is a difficult one to follow.  When evil happens (and it happens a lot), it is too easy to feel overcome.  However, God not only gives the first command, but also tells us to overcome evil with good.  I think both aspects of that command are difficult.  We are more likely to want to repay evil with evil.  I’m not convinced that we believe it is possible to overcome evil with good.  I do know that God would not tell us to do something without providing the means to do it.  Since God gives us this command, I simply need to follow it.

Dear Heavenly Father, please help us to follow this command regarding evil.  We struggle feeling overcome by evil and we don’t want to do good in the face of evil.  Please give us the goodness that can only come from You.  Thank You that with Your help we can overcome evil with good.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Being Renewed While Wasting Away

Today was the funeral of my uncle who passed away about a week ago.  His life was one of physical difficulty.  I heard from his pastor that my uncle had recently shared Psalm 119:71, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.”  My uncle suffered from the physical problems.  However, he rejoiced that God taught him Biblical truth.  He passed that truth on to his children.  I am watching my cousins working on passing on that truth to their children. What a beautiful legacy.

I do not want to diminish the harsh reality of physical suffering.  I can assure you; I struggle counting my own trials joy.  However, I have seen God use various difficulties to help His people grow.  Growing spiritually is a worthwhile pursuit.

Dear Heavenly Father, please comfort my family as they grieve.  I ask that You wrap Your loving arms around them to remind how much You love them.  Thank You for the spiritual growth You send through trials. Please help us to cling to You.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Tough Days

This week has been hard on my dad’s side of the family.  Yesterday morning, God chose to take one of my uncles home to glory.  This uncle had many health issues so while the family is grieving, we are thankful that he is no longer suffering.

The Bible tells us we will have difficulties in this life.  Each of us will suffer in different ways.  While I still struggle with the suffering piece of life, I can take comfort in the fact that Jesus has overcome the world.  When Jesus came to earth, His whole purpose was to die on a cross for us.  He came to pay the penalty for our sins.  Jesus overcame death and dying.  Those of us who place our trust in Jesus have hope for an eternal future.  I know that my uncle is rejoicing and whole. 

As you face the tough days in your life, know that you can have hope if you place your trust in Jesus.  He has overcome the world.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus’ overcame the world.  Please help me to share the hope that only comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.