Choose this day…

Affirming and celebrating a sin that is in someone’s life is not showing them love. Pointing them to Jesus, who can rescue and redeem them from that sin, is showing love. That means telling the truth about sin.

So many people want to stay comfortable in their sin. They are so bent on staying comfortable that they will worship any “god” that allows them to stay in that comfort. I have seen statements come across my news feed that say things like “Yes, this is sin but I know God will accept me with open arms at the end of my life.” Or “Yes, this is sin but I am going to show love by celebrating the sin and letting God sort that out in their lives later. I don’t want them to feel uncomfortable.”

These statements are proof that the person making them does not have any faith or trust in the power of God or His sovereignty over the sin in our lives. When it comes to something like homosexuality or any sexual sin, then the consesus is ” a loving God wouldn’t put this desire in someone and expect them to wrestle with it for the rest of their lives, being miserable, just so they can be right with Him.” This is a true statement. A loving God wouldn’t do that and He didn’t. He didn’t put that desire there. The father of lies did. And that father of lies will use a “Christian” to affirm this sin in someone’s life.

God, the Father of Truth, has given us an escape from sin. Not just to escape hell and make it into heaven but to escape it even in our lives here on earth. To those that are affirming sin, you are taking away the hope that God can heal, restore, and redeem them! Yes, He can! I don’t care if this sin hit you at 5 or 55. Let me tell you, the father of lies does not discriminate by age, gender, or race. The father of lies is all inclusive on who he attacks.

The Father of Truth is all inclusive on who He rescues. He does not discriminate in age, gender, or race either.

Your identity does not have to be a long list of adjectives and pronouns that are describing what kind of sex you prefer to have. God can and will turn your identity into one simple statement; “I am a beloved and rescued child of God.”

Abortion is another highly celebrated sin. When abortion is affirmed and celebrated it takes away the trust someone can have that God will fulfill a purpose through the preganancy no matter how it happened. It takes away hope! When someone affirms that women have a choice to abort their babies then that person is showing their lack of faith in the power of God and His sovereignty over us!

When someone chooses to walk in celebration and affirmation of these sins, they are walking hand in hand with the father of lies. They are following that father of lies to the pit. Listening to his flute of comfort and dancing all the way to mourning.

When someone chooses to repent of these sins and leave the comfort of them, then they are walking hand in hand with the Father of Truth. They are following Him all the way to the gates of heaven. Delighting in His truth, leaving their mourning behind and finding true and everlasting joy!

God accepts us just as we are and He loves us enough to change us to be more like Him. HE changes us from our very hearts that we have invited Him into to change! He changes us with His love when we invite Him to do it!

That is the truth. That is God’s Holy Word.

“Well, Monica, easy for you to say since you have never suffered those sins.”

Don’t assume you know my life or my sin. I have, in fact, suffered both of those sins. That is why I confidently come to tell you the truth. To testify to you the power of our almighty God! He has redeemed me! He rescued me! A full rescue! What I once desired, I no longer desire! God did that for me! He pulled me from the pit! He revealed to me the lies! He rescued me and gave me new desires that match His! Praise be His Holy Name!!

He offers this rescue to all people and all sin! Isn’t that great news?! We don’t have to affirm sin because we have a God who conquors sin! Completely! I am a living, breathing testimony to that and there are thousands upon thousands of testimonies that say the same!

There is hope! We have hope! YOU have HOPE!! REJOICE!!

Don’t fall into the pit with the father of lies. Be rescued! Choose this day whom you will serve. The father of lies or the Father of Truth. (Joshua 24:14-15)

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
Matthew 7:21

New Blood

“My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you peace and prosperity.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.”
Proverbs 3:1-3

In our youth group last night we spoke about what happens when something dies. We were going over the story of Lazarus and why Martha would say “surely by know he stinks.” If you don’t know the story, it is in John 11. Go give it a read, and I pray God brings you closer to knowing Him through it.

Anyway, we talked about how a dead body stiffens up. Most of us have seen road kill a time or two and can know how a body goes through rigormortis, where the body gets stiff. God started speaking a word over me in that moment. I didn’t get a chance to share it in youth but He has continued to speak it over me this morning so I would like to share it here.

We can say that the body can’t live without oxygen or food or water, but ultimately the body can’t live without blood pumping through it. I am not a medical professional but it makes sense to me that the body’s main goal is to keep pumping blood so that we can breathe and our brains can function and our muscles stay alive and active. The Bible speaks a lot about blood.

In fact, in the Old Testament, blood was highly respected. Why? Because blood is life. When the Bible speaks on forgiveness of sins it is met with the pouring of blood. In the Old Testament that pouring of blood comes from unblemished lambs. In the New Testament the pouring of blood comes from our perfect, unblemished Jesus and He is the final blood that ever has to be poured for our forgiveness of sins.

The wages of sin is death. (Roman 6:23) Sin brings death. Without sin there would be no death. In Jesus, we find eternal life. How? “What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” He washes away our sins because He paid the wages of it once and for all with the pouring of His blood that brought His death. He also resurrected out of death and into eternal life and through Him, someday, we all will ressurect into eternal life if we believe in Him and His work on the cross.

But did you know He even resurrects the living? (Romans 6:5) How? Go back up and read Proverbs 3:1-3. If blood gives life and scripture tells us to write God’s word on the tablet of our heart, knowing that our heart pumps our blood, then that means our hearts will be pumping His word through our veins. Our very character changes through the sanctification that happens by the Spirit testifying to our hearts the truth of His word that we are writing on the tablets of our hearts. It is in our blood! It gives us new, resurrected life!

Ephesians 1:5 tells us that He predestined (decided beforehand) that He would adopt us as His children through Christ. This isn’t a “signing His name on a legal document” kind of adoption. This is a “giving of the blood” adoption. A full adoption. We have been born again through His ressurection. (1 Peter 1:3) It is now His blood that flows through our veins like a stream that will never run dry but will bring eternal life. (John 4:14)

Along with that new blood comes a new heart with new desires. (Ezekile 36:26-27) It is a desire to write His words on our hearts so, now, this new blood is pumping His truth through our veins. Not only have we been saved by His blood but we are being sanctified by it.

This blood gives us new life. New breath. He becomes the daily bread and the living water that we need to keep that blood flowing and giving us that new life. We desire it!

We change not because of our blood but because of His! We are saved not by our works but by His work on the cross and His sanctifying work in us. It is all Him. It has to be Him. Where else would we go? He is the only One with the words of eternal life. (John 6:68)

“The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:

‘This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.’

Then he adds:

‘Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.’

And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
Hebrews 10:16-23

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Romans 5:5

A prayer

I just want to thank You. I don’t have to understand why You made us. I don’t have to understand it to be grateful that You did. That every person has been chosen to exist by You. That You chose even me! And then You gave us a chance to choose You. I thank You for that.

I thank You for the mighty Three in One that You are. I am so grateful on how each of You plays Their role so effectively. Thoroughly. I thank You for Your grace and mercy that shows up in each of the Three. Oh Lord, I thank You for being so gracious and merciful!

I thank You for the work of Jesus! For so long I never understood why He had to be tortured the way He was tortured before He went to the cross as the final and complete sacrifice for sin. But Lord, as I lay here now I see it. To look upon Jesus’ battered and bloodied body, so beaten and ripped apart, He is barely recognizable as a man. That is how ugly our sin looks against perfection. That is how grotesque our sin is. That is the damage sin does to a human. Our sin may not always show up in our outter core but our inner being looks just like Jesus’ body on the cross. Battered , beaten, torn apart, and barely recognizable as a human.

Thank You God that the story doesn’t stop there! The Spirit directs us to look at the cross as Jesus tells us; “This is where your sin goes. Hang it on this cross with Me. See its ugliness. Crucify it! See it die like I did.”

“But now, come with Me to the tomb. It is dark and it is lonely but this is where you heal. Here, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up! Do you not perceive it?”

“Now, rise little lamb. Resurrect with Me! You are made new! Yes, there are scars from the sin, I have them, too! But look how you have healed! Run your fingers over the scars. Remember what I have done and live! Leave that sin on the cross and look up to El Roi! To the God who sees you! May His countenance shine upon you and give you peace!”

“Now, take my Spirit within you and walk with Me for the rest of your days. I have prepared a place for you. I am coming back. Your eternity with Me is sealed, my child. Live, and live abundantly. Love each other and go tell the world about Me.”

Oh Lord, I thank You for this conversation that we are all invited to have with You! The conversation that saves our lives! Thank You for this faith that sets us free! Thank You God for being the God You are! The God that dwells with us and sanctifies us. The God that consecrates us setting us apart from the world. The most Holy, Gracious, Merciful, Perfect, Just, Patient, Gentle, and Kind Father! Thank You that You know our names. You know every hair on our heads! You knit us together in the womb and called us to You even then! You knew us by name even before then! Thank You God for caring about every detail of who we are. Your creation! Thank You God!

I pray for all to see You for who You are now! Lord, You have said someday every knee will bow. May every knee bow to You now with great love and reverence and not later in regret and loss with an eternity void of You. Lord I pray for every hardened heart. May they soften in Your name, repent and be made new.

Thank You, Lord. I love You.

In Christ name I pray, Amen

Is gluttony really a sin?

As we draw closer to the New Year and we all start making our “New Year, new you” resolutions, I want to share what God has been working out in me.

Many of our resolutions will be to lose weight. That is usually coming after a huge holiday binge fest, right? Eat all we want now because we are going to deny ourselves later. That right there is a sign of the wrong motivation. Anytime we say that we are going to change the way we eat but we are going to start on Monday and binge out til then, we are setting ourselves up for failure because we have the wrong motivation.

Maybe our motivation is a vanity reason. We want to look better. Want to be able to wear our clothes better. Want to be a smaller size. Want people to notice the weight we have lost. This is like chasing the wind. We can certainly do things that make us “look better” but if we don’t like how we look now I can tell you from experience you won’t like what you look like when you lose weight either. There will still be more weight to lose, more muscle to tone, and then having to work so hard to keep a certain “look” that you find approving. These bodies will grow older and never look the same anyway. These bodies are temporary, and we are not to strive for what is temporary, right?

2 Corinthians 4:18
“while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Maybe our motivation is to be healthy. We want to have good health to carry us into our elder years. That seems like a good goal! And it isn’t all bad. We should want to take good care of our bodies because they are the temple of the Holy Spirit. But even our health is fleeting. This still isn’t enough to keep us on track.

So, what then? What is it that can keep us on track? First thing is knowing the truth about overeating.

Proverbs 23:19-21
19 Listen, my son, and be wise,
and set your heart on the right path:
20 Do not join those who drink too much wine
or gorge themselves on meat,
21 for drunkards and gluttons become poor,
and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

It is obvious that getting drunk is a sin. Well, seems obvious to most anyway and for obvious reasons. I dare say, not a single good decision was made while drunk. But did you know that gluttony ranked right up there with drunkards in the Bible? In church, we wouldn’t laugh at someone getting drunk at an event. No, we would intervene and try to help that person. But we laugh about over indulging in food, don’t we? This sin may be overlooked by most churches but it certainly isn’t overlooked by God.

The good news is, it wasn’t overlooked by Jesus either. He died for that sin. His blood washes it away. He sent the Spirit to abide in us to give us strength to repent that sin and have a heart change over it. That is some pretty strong motivation there, isn’t it?

I had a particularly rough day yesterday. It was really more than one thing but one particular thing was rather tough. I wanted to eat my feelings away and the enemy was saying to me “is it even really a sin anyway?” So, I went to God with that question and guess what book and chapter came to me in my email this morning? Proverbs 23. Those verses I posted earlier are what I read this morning and it is by no coincidence. That was God making it perfectly clear that yes, this is sin.

That is good news, too! Jesus has defeated sin, and since Jesus is a friend of ours and our Savior from sin then we can start walking today in victory over it.

Not on Monday. Not on January 1st. But we can choose today who we will serve; our fleshly desire for overindulgence and the idol of food or Jesus. As for me and my body, we will serve the Lord! (Joshua 24:15)

Complaining vs. Prayer

Complaining brings sin. Prayer brings grace and change.

I don’t need someone to stand in agreement with me that someone did me wrong. I need people to stand in prayer with me over the person that did me wrong.

I don’t need people to stand in agreement with me over political views and decisions. I need people to stand in prayer with me over the leaders of this country.

I don’t need people to stand in agreement with me that life may be knocking me some blows. I need people to stand in prayer with me for endurance and hope.

This is the difference in complaining and taking it to God. Complaining just dumps your worry, stress, anger and bad attitude on others and makes them worry, stress, be angry and have a bad attitude. Asking for prayer says “Let’s take this worry, stress, anger and bad attitude to the One that can fix it and bring us hope and contentment in the midst of it.”

Complaining about someone says “I want you to not like this person, too. Be angry with me!” Praying for someone says “I want us to show love to this person and let go of the anger.”

Complaining brings sin. Prayer brings grace and change.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” Matthew 5:43-47

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11

“See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;” Hebrews 12:15

“Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:23-26

Shame repeats itself

I read something in my Bible study today that hit home:

What you have shame over you will repeat.

Wow. So true! I have never thought of it that way, but when I think about sins that have been overcome and ones that still hang around I can certainly see the difference.

For example, getting drunk is not a struggle for me anymore. I have little to no desire to drink anymore, much more get drunk. I dont like my past behavior from that sin but I dont hold on to any shame over it. I never held any shame over it honestly. I never hid away to drink on my own. I was always pretty public about it. But then I started feeling conviction over it, I repented, that was that. I was done with drinking.

An example for the flip side, overeatting is still the struggle. I hold tons of shame on that one. For as long as I can remember my weight and how I ate held all my value. I have always eaten in secret. I would not dare have a binge session in front of someone unless they was binging with me. Even still, I would be ashamed and throughly convinced that I binged worse than they did. I would hide food wrappers and go buy more cookies to replace the cookies I ate.

I have lost weight a few times but that shame has never left so guess what would happen? Yep, what I held shame over was bound to return. Actually, it never left. I had just caged it like a wild animal while holding the gate closed til I was too wore out to hold it anymore. The last time I lost weight I swore that was it! Never again would I gain! Then week after week i watched the scale creep back up in horror. I felt like Job when he said “For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, And what I dreaded has happened to me.” (Job 3:25) I drowned in my shame and did all I could to hide the weight gain. And hide my sin.

Now, I can put blame in all sorts of places on why I assigned weight and eating so much value but that does no good. All that matters is seeing the lie in it and releasing the shame so I can be healed and move on. It may seem counterintuitive to say that overeating being revealed as sin has helped release the shame. But it has. I know what to do with sin and I know sin requires a heart change that can only come from God. I know holding it in the light of God’s love and glory will keep it out of the dark. I know accepting even this as a forgiven sin will drive away the shame.

Realizing just how much shame I have been holding onto amazes me. It amazes me that I was not able to see that before today. I am so thankful for the wisdom God reveals to us when we seek it. This is what we use as our weapon. God’s truth against the lies that come to kill and destroy. His word is our rod of correction that saves us and changes us!

I have many other examples I could give but I think you see the point. Shame keeps sin in the darkness. It keeps us from going to the cross to be washed clean. It makes us say what Peter said to Jesus when He went to wash His feet. “No, Jesus, my feet are too dirty. You will never wash my feet.” That wasnt being humble that was being full of shame. Jesus replied to him that if he doesnt let Him wash his feet then He will not be part of Him. That made Peter drop that pride filled shame and exclaim “Then wash all of me!” (John 13:1-17)

You see how shame was going to keep Peter from being washed by Jesus? Do you see how shame is actually a form of pride?

Shame says “I havent done anything to deserve to be washed clean of this. I havent worked hard enough or behaved well enough. So i need to work harder and behave better then I will be worthy! I can make myself worthy and if I dont then I need to be ashamed of myself!” Well hello shame filled pride!

Jesus tells us that no one has or ever will be able to work their way to forgiveness. We will never earn our way to be called His friend. And if we dont come to the cross believing in what He did for us and humbly accept a washing we dont deserve then He will never know us as friend.

He did the work. It is finished. There is a path directly to the heart of the Father and Jesus is the only way. He is our freedom from shame. From pride. From sin. Wont you be washed today?

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

This is love

It breaks my heart to see a world that feels like standing up for someone means not believing God can heal them and telling them it is ok to stay willfully in sin.

We all struggle with sin. If your sin bothers you then that is good! It means the Spirit has come to abide in you and change your heart. That same Spirit is also there to help you grow all the fruits of the Spirit while you are changing. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.(Galatians 5:22-23)

The world will try to tell us that some sins can not be overcome. Some are not worth the struggle. Seems like this sin is just natural and it should just be accepted. Nope, cant trust God with this one. This sin is even too big for Him.

Let me tell you, I will never think that about someone! Why? Because God said He formed us all. He knew us before we were even knit in our mother’s womb. He promised us all an escape! He never said we wouldnt struggle but He promised to never forsake us once we choose Him and come into agreement with all His word says.

We can all conquor sin! Will we always sin even still? Yep! Bet your bottom dollar! How do I know? Cause His word says that, too! Sin doesnt send us to hell. Rejecting Him sends us to hell! Our good works dont send us to heaven. Accepting Him sends us to heaven. But let me tell you something else that is in His word: our good works and our view point on sin are all indicators of our salvation. Once we are saved then our hearts start to change. As we mature in our faith it becomes evident in our works and our attitude towards sin. Towards sin! Not the sinner! Our top two
commandments that cover all commandments are:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it:Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

So, how do we love someone? What is truly showing someone love? Convincing them that they no longer have to struggle in their sin and just live in acceptance of it so their life can seem easier? Or leading them to a God that destroys sin and heals the sinner and into a life of joy amidst the struggle? Which one of those fulfills both commandments?

I am so thankful for the ones God put in my life that led me to Him so He could reveal to me my sin that seemed so natural to me. It felt like it was just a part of me. But He put that to death and resurrected me in Christ. Changing my heart forever. Hallelujah! What He has done for me He can do for you!

Do you feel in your heart of heart that something just doesnt sit right about your life anymore? Oh how the love of Christ is reaching out to you! He isnt mad. He isnt ashamed of you. He loves you! No matter what sins you have been living in. He just wants you to choose Him and love Him back! To learn His ways and have a relationship with Him. Once you do that then He will take care of the rest. Jesus is calling. How blessed are you?!

Matthew 6:33
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Matthew 11:28-29
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Romans 10:9
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved

What does it mean?

What does Jesus’ finished work at the cross mean for me?

It means that I have a constant fellowship with God because of the work of Christ. Because Christ experienced the wrath of God then I will never have to. God loves me so much that He saved me right in the middle of me dancing in my sins. He also loves me so much that He didnt leave me there. He brought sorrow to my sins so now I dance with Him in righteousness! I still sin but my heart is not for sin. It is for Him. And because my heart is for Him then my sin is washed away by the blood of Christ who saved me and took that wrath! So that I may have an unbroken relationship with my Father and I will NEVER be plucked from His hand!

Are you dancing in your sin today but feeling that pull for something different? Christ is calling.

Take one step in His direction. Let that current of His love sweep you away to a better life in an understanding of what He has done, who He is, and what He is still doing today.

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 Peter 2:24-2
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Proverbs 29:25
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.

God is good

👉God didn’t create death. Sin did.

Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

👉God didn’t create sin. Satan did.

1 John 3:8 – The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.

👉God, in His infinite wisdom and love for us, created a way out of death.

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

👉God didn’t force Jesus, who is fully God in the flesh, to come to earth and die for us. Jesus chose to and it was always part of the plan.

John 10:18 – No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.

👉Let the Spirit wash over you on how good God is instead of believing that God is hateful and mean. The only thing God hates is sin. Why? Because it hurts what He loves the most. YOU!!!

John 5:24 – Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.