Category Archives: Sin and Temptation.

Sticks and Stones, and Words Can Certainly Harm You

Nearing the end of the wandering in the desert Moses was inbetween another rock and a hard place, literally. The first incidence Moses was told to strike the rock once at the beginning of the years out in the desert yet this time the Lord's instructions were different,

(Numbers 20:8-13) “Take the staff and assemble the community. You and your brother Aaron are to speak to the rock while they watch, and it will yield its water. You will bring out water for them from the rock and provide drink for the community and their livestock.” So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence just as He had commanded him. Moses and Aaron summoned the assembly in front of the rock, and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels! Must we bring water out of this rock for you?” Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with his staff, so that a great amount of water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust Me to show My holiness in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this assembly into the land I have given them.” These are the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with the Lord, and He showed His holiness to them.

It is assumable that Moses got angry and in a moment of distrust and failure to represent God to the people well he blew it badly. As a result the consequences were irreversable. The Israelites did the same early on by refusing to do as God commanded and take out the giants in Caanen, they distrusted God would give them victory and focused more on the size of their giagantic problems then the power of God, and here Moses lapses and distrusts God by what appears to be flat out disobedience as well as a possible outburst of anger.

There is another story like this in the Storytellers divine play, he scripts another scene with His own Son out in the desert/wilderness where the devil tempts him to use his power as the Son of God to step out of God's will to do what he wanted, namely "turn these stones into bread"

(Matthew 4:1-4) Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. After He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, He was hungry. Then the tempter approached Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” But He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Do to the way scripture gives an account of this, we can assume this temptation took place toward the end of the fast, and Jesus had the power yet refused to use it in a way to dishonor the Father, by eating on his fast. Satan seems to come to tempt Christ nearing the end of the fast so Jesus would be weak and hungry. The devil is opportunistic and will often wait till there is a worn down person of faith trying to finish the last leg of a season of testing and from my experience in my own trials, they get especially hard near the very end.

Like Moses, he was tired and had been in the wilderness a long while and unlike Moses, Christ got straight A's all the way.
What can we learn here?

1.) Jesus did not buy into the temptation, Satan tried to remind Jesus he had the power to make it happen and Jesus quoted back by "it is written"

A.) In the other temptations Satan does use scripture itself as a weapon against Jesus yet Jesus swings back with "The Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God"

So the devil knew scripture but used it wrongly, Jesus requoted truth of God's Word in right context and interpretation.

2.) Sometimes the toughest part of a trial and test is at the end of the class of a season of suffering, and there may be a final. Jesus passes all three tests in the wilderness and did not fail like Moses did unfortunately. See how the Lord said to Moses, "You will not lead these people into the land I swore to give them" yet since Christ passed the temptation he has become qualified to lead us into eternal life!

(Hebrews 4:14-16) Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to the confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.

In order for Jesus to be pur sin offering he could not have ever sinned once, and he did not.

The Lord's final test was on the cross and that is where he makes victory over our tests possible!

The Real Enemy Of A Christian. 

The greatest enemy of a child of God and a born again Christian are not those things and people from without that provoke and tempt, no, they are the things that plague every human heart.

When people provoke from without, impatience provokes from with in. When the eyes are drawn to lust after a woman does not the heart follow first? And when someone frustrates our plans does not pride in our hearts scream, “my way!”
People are not our enemies, no for it is our own hearts ablaze with a magnetic charge toward sin. The only difference between those with and without the Spirit of Christ is we who have the Spirit can and should choose to crucify our sinful natures daily.

Galatians 5:16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Mark 7:20-23 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

A Different Spin on The Gay Marriage Debate.

Hear me out, not here to attack or the make people feel bad about themselves, however, if I can paint a better illustration I will try.

Suppose you got a new car with a diesel engine. And suppose the owners manual said, “This car does not drive on regular ethanol gasoline.” Would you be angry at the dealership that sold you the car and say they were being hateful? Probably not.

Or suppose you got some electronic device and it said, “Do not leave out in extreme temperatures and do not expose to moisture.”

We see warning labels all the time such as, “Surgeon General Warning, This product can cause cancer”- Are you going to call up the Surgeon General and say he is a tobaccophobe? No.

The Bible is God’s guide to life and godliness so why do we get angry when God puts warnings in there? Is it not in our sin nature to try to challenge him? Yet all the instructions in that book are for our ultimate good and there is a way the world was programmed to work and when we go against the laws of nature and Scripture we will get hurt.

Just like driving the wrong direction on a highway will cause a catastrophic wreck. All sin is just that whether homosexuality or not. Lying, gluttony, uncontrolled anger, sexual sin, and whatever else would harm us.

I will be the first to say I am not sinless, when I got out of control with my spending and over drew my account a few years back I got myself into a huge mess and it was not fun. So I would like to just state this is no personal attack on any of my friends who struggle with temptation of homosexual or bisexual nature.
We are all born with a sin nature, a set of sinful tendencies and inclinations we may never have asked for but just were born with. I’m not saying that that makes them any less sin but I for one can understand the plight of fallen man since I too am one. If I may be real, even at the age of just three I struggled with many temptations that most three year olds never would even contemplate. I also was a short tempered kid so I would lose my temper a lot of the time. Part of that was aggravated by mild Autism but I was also born sinful.

Psalm 51:5-6 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

What does it mean to be born “sinful”- well we are all by nature bent on rebelling. We are stubborn and defiant. Try telling a toddler how to do this or that and he will give you a run for your money. Where on earth do children learn such things? Their inherited sin nature. Parents in the room, did you take your kids to pre k lessons to teach them how to lie or be selfish? Probably not, and if you did your a crappy parent! Ha!
The greatest news ever though is even though we are all born twisted and bent, God loves us and wants to save us from the penalty of sin and give us power to live in victory over it. He does not say, “Well, I hate you, you jacked up piece of…”

No, “For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son that whosoever shall believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

We are all born going down the wrong lane of the highway straight for destruction, everyone of us whether rich or poor, black or white or asian or hispanic, both male and female.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

(Romans 6:23) For the wages of sin is death,

Thats the bad news. It’s inescapable, but wait, don’t change that dial.

but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 Continued)
Wages we earn, yet a gift is ours free of charge and what we must do is receive it.

God is not unfair in the sense he would just say, “Em, your doomed and going to hell, feel sorry for you buddy”
No! He pays our debt and then gives us His righteousness as a GIFT. You cannot be good enough to receive God’s love but will you be wise enough to thankfully receive it and then let the Lord enable you to live differently?

Being tempted itself is not sin. But when you act on it or mull over it with delight in your mind then the temptation is not just an obnoxious sales man at the door but rather a guest you invited in for tea and crumpets- that is if he were an English sales man, Ha!

But but what if the temptations are still there? Fair question. When I became a born again Christian temptation did not just totally fly out the window. Yeah I still get tempted but the thing that has changed is I have a new power to resist temptation and I have the desire to please God. Remove those two things and I’d be stuck still trying to hook up with girls left and right and fooling around with all sorts of sins and foolishness. I would not want to live different, and even if I did I could not bring myself to resist the inward driving force that pushed me farther and farther into the mud.

Human Combustibles/ How To Defuse Our Hidden Rage.

Some people are like explosives that all it will take is touching just the wrong wire to cause them explode and send fiery debris all over the place.

And some people have a constant undercurrent of anger that’s not stirred until something or someone stirs up the rage inside them. The residue that has settled in at the bottom of their hearts only needs slight wave to churn up the toxic mire sits just beneath the surface.

It is also like an unstoppable chemical reaction that once the catalyst triggers the process it is very hard to stop. Some people know exactly what is going on and what they are going to end up doing but find it nearly impossible to stop, like a a man beginning the transformation into a wild beast like that of a werewolf.

I used to always have underlying anger and I felt like a walking explosive or a sleeping volcano just ready to explode or erupt and spew volcanic ash on those who made me mad. I tried to contain it and felt terrible after, but like Jekel and Hyde I felt like once the anger was kindled I had as easy of a time controlling the beast of anger as I would trying to wrestle an enrage bull into submission. “Crap! Its coming on and I am going to make a very bad mess of things.” I could feel my posture stiffen like a corpse and my teeth gnashing in rage and my face contort and glare like a rabid animal.
Often in my attempts to control my anger I had to escape into an isolated place where no one could see the terrifying and unbecoming mess that I was. However there were times I could not get away and when I tried to hide it I could not do so. I threw a blanket over the metaphorical fire only for the flames to make their way through the fabric and unleash clouds of smoke into a room.

I was volunteering a few years ago at Camp Barnabas, a Christian summer camp for kids and adults with special needs. While there it was difficult since I was always around people and in a mindless moment I could not go off on people or express all the bottled emotions I felt without making a fool of myself so I crunched down into my arm.

The Lord has brought me into a better place or emotional stability but it took a lot of painful introspection and addressing past events that left festering infected sores on my heart. The blisters I had exploded angry puss and infection. It was a slow process and took around 2 years to really scrape out all the necrotic memories and hurts but praise the Lord! I feel like a healthy whole person, not perfect but I feel the Lord has brought me stability.

A few tips or essentials that helped me:

1.) Learn to forgive-

The people who wrong us in life probably do not deserve forgiveness but forgiveness releases us and allows us to heal. Scraping dead tissue out of a wound is painful but the wounds do not heal with the nasty dead tissue there. When we let the past go and the past offenses go we release the dead tissue in our hearts that keep causing infection to reoccur.

2.) Remove yourself as much as possible from people or triggers that you know will cause you problems. Not that we can do this with every difficult individual or situation but when we can avoid the the triggers that bring out the sinful tendencies in us as often as we can we do ourselves a huge favor, as well as those who care about us. It does no good to repeat poor choices that keep us stuck. Picking scabs and reliving past hurts will keep the pain fresh and alive.

3.) Be honest and transparent with God. He is safe to vent our pain and frustration too. He can handle it, he wont love us less to see us undone. He already knows we are all messes, and thats why He sent Christ to die for all of us. God is not surprised or shocked by us when we are as nasty as we find ourselves. A parent is not shocked when a baby or child that is sick craps all on themselves and is smelly and messy. Good parents do not love their kids less when they are messy but they do intend to clean them up. Bring God your mess and muck and submit to his cleansing. We cannot fix ourselves but we can allow him to fix us. The question is not, “Am I broken beyond repair” but rather, “Am I willing to let him repair me?”

We must admit we need God’s help. Jesus Christ came to save us and bind us up and bring us spiritual healing. We cannot let our pride keep us from admitting we have a problem. The Bible says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you. 

Evil Twins

Yes you do indeed have an evil twin,

DOPPEL GANGER

ˈdäpəlˌɡaNGər/

noun

1. an apparition or double of a living person.”he has a doppelgänger named Donald, his invented twin brother”

Yes, when we received Jesus Christ as Lord he gave us a new nature. However, even though the dominion of sin has been crushed we still have to contend with our dethroned old master, self. In the old video game Legend of Zelda, Link the protagonist had to fight his own shadow and in the same sense, we must make a choice to fight our old patterns of living, our old ways of thinking, past tendencies and present shortcomings. It is indeed like fighting your own shadow.

However, Christ has given us victory and the Holy Spirit to help us, his Word to Guide us, and His promises to strengthen us!

Dying to self is not fun alot of the times, but it has tremendous rewards. The world needs less people consumed with themselves and more consumed with Christ and in addition those who have humility to think of others above themselves. Something I by no means am an expert at, but through your prayers I hope to grow to be so consumed with Christ that I no longer have any room for me.

Galatians 2:19-20 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

1 Peter 2:11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.

Romans 7:18-20 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

Is Anger Always Sin?

Is anger always sin? I’d say no.
I do not think so, I think anger has great potential for good or evil. If we never got angry over certain things such as injustice or things like human trafficking, or child abuse or blood chilling crimes, then we would be pretty cold and heartless.

Ephesians 4 tells us, “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26-27

I am thinking that it can be sin at times if it is rooted only in our wants or desires or our selfish desires. However, the honest truth is at some time we all get angry, whether it’s something minor or a serious harm done us. We can conclude from this that unresolved anger can lead to problems. If we let anger go un address it can lead to bitterness. Bitterness is like a nasty spider bite, certain spider bites left untreated will eat deep into tissue and rot flesh, bitterness likewise can seep into every area of our lives. It can affect the way we treat others in the present even if the pain we have felt is past history.

For me, there was a period in life where I had been hurt by certain people and that unresolved anger affected my view of women. Even if I was not being wronged at the present I thought they all were the same, shallow and incapable of anything but causing heartache, rejecting me, or inflicting serious injury. I saw them all the same and began to think there was no such thing as a decent woman. Fortunately I was wrong but in the moment, if you experience a string of incidents from a person or people group then it becomes easy for us to think that every person in that circle is just the same.

This can lead to a pessimistic attitude. It can poison our view of reality. As the old saying goes, “A few bad apples spoils the whole batch.”

The Bible addresses this issue in great depth. God knows how weak we all are and he has provided every believer the resources to fight back, the Holy Spirit and His Word. Ephesians goes on in the same chapter to say,

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. ” Ephesians 4:31-32

“Their vine comes from the vine of Sodom and from the fields of Gomorrah.Their grapes are filled with poison,and their clusters with bitterness.” Deuteronomy 32:32

As you know sour and bitter fruit has an origin.

“See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. ” Hebrews 12:15

A bitter root, produces bitter fruit. When I was a captive to this I found myself enjoying the idea of getting even, I wanted to see those who wronged me suffer and know why they were. I was seemingly always acting out of suspicion of ill in people, playing the game pin the tail on the rotten person”

Praise God he worked with me and helped me to forgive every person who had wronged me! I was given the idea from a James McDonald sermon on Bot Radio Network, to write down every person who wronged me and their offense and pray over them and the situation

This helped me resolve a lot of my anger. It was a process that was worth working through.

The Sin Parasite

If you have learned anything about me you will no I love biology, especially when it pertains to parasitic organisms. The thought that some alien life form can hijack our bodies is not just erie but fascinating. Parasitic worms especially have captured my interest from a very young age.

There is a lot of truth in science, and I believe God has given us natural facts to grasp supernatural truths, so men and women might possible reach out and find Him.

Romans 1:20 says “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” 

I see object lessons all the time in science. I cannot help but draw many comparisons.

Sin is a lot like a virus or as Augustine profoundly said himself was likened to a “parasite”

Augustine said once, ‘There can be no evil where there is no good… Nothing evil exists in itself, but only as an evil aspect of some actual entity… Evils therefore, have their source in the good and unless they are parasitic on something good, they are not anything at all.’ (Augustine, Enchiridi

Parasites give no benefit to the host really, on the contrary, some destroy their hosts.

There are many types of parasitic organisms but they all have this in common. The feed off of a host, they can live either as external parasites like leeches or ticks, but in other cases they can live inside their victims completely undetected robbing the life from the unfortunate soul.

In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans he describes sin in this way. He describe how the Law, or often referred to as the Law of Moses, was not sinful in itself but through the law sin was introduced.

“What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.” Romans 7:7-12 

What does this mean though? God laid out his standard as to how his chosen people out to live, so he gave them more or less a legal code of conduct. However, the problem that occurred was even though the law was “holy, righteous and good” it also created an opportunity to violate those principles. With the introduction of a command come an opportunity to break it.

Lets use an illustration from US law. Suppose there were no laws legislated for a particular matter, lets call it action Y. It would for that reason be not considered criminal in our legal system to do action Y if there is no law forbidding it. However, as soon as a law is passed in regards to action Y it also creates another opportunity for a criminal offense.

Sin has always existed but as Paul also said “For apart from the law, sin was dead.”- This is very much like our friend the parasite. A parasite is bad no matter what but as soon as it finds a host it can thrive. When the host dies, so does the parasite.

The law was sin’s initial host, and I guess you can say we became the secondary host for sin.

It’s very much like a parasite known by the Latin name, Dermatobia Hominus. Dermatobia Hominus is a what we know the “human bot fly.” An adult bot fly will lay an egg on a mosquito when both are traveling through the air and then when the mosquito bites a person, the bot egg falls off and the maggot burrows deep into the flesh of it’s secondary host, a human vector.

When God’s law came it also carried with it a capacity to say “yes” and obey, or “no” by disobeying and doing wrong. So we are the problem at the end of the day. How often do we know what is right and fail to do it? We know we shouldn’t lose our tempers but we feel that powerful inclination rise up and make us fall, time and time again. We are like the child or teen who’s parents tell them not to do this or that but for some reason that only fuels our desire to do it more. Many women say the idea of having something they know the cannot is irresistable. Women are complicated needless to say but that principle is at work in all our hearts, we want that thing we shouldn’t or are told not to.

Paul says, “sin seizing the opportunity afforded by the command deceived me, and produced every covetous desire in me” When a parasite attacks a human body it can create physical cravings due to the fact the body is telling us it needs nutrition, and in the same way sin in the soul produces the unclean craving we all have had. Paul concludes by stating
“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” Romans 7:21-24 

But thank goodness he does not conclude there but says, ” Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”- Romans 7:25

In essence, no we can never be totally free of this parasite as long as we have a human body in this world. However, we are not left without the antidote. Biologically, a person can eradicate most of a parasite and live a normal life even though a few rogue renegades remain, but unlike before they are not infested or overrun by the parasite. Likewise, a Christian is not sinless after he or she trusts Christ, however, the reign of terror that sin caused has been nailed to the cross. The dominion has been abolished even if on occasion a Christian sins. “for if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come” 2 Corinthians 5:17

We have heard all sorts of lingo come out of peoples mouth, and one phrase people like to say is, “My body, my choice.” Yet for a Christian this really cannot be said.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 

We were bought and forgiven with the blood of Jesus if we are truly his, so we no longer have the freedom to just do whatever we want with our body. God does not want to spoil our fun though but so many people see God’s commands as unnecessary restrictions that cramp their style. But the contrary is true, his laws are for our good and not our harm and there are laws to this universe and when they get broken people hurt themselves and others. If you jump out of a plane without a parachute you die, when you mess with fire carelessly you get burned. These are physical consequences to breaking the laws of the natural world. how can we think we will escape the pain of breaking spiritual laws? If your greedy and use people, you will end up with very little friends. If you cheat and steal you will eventually be found out. If you lie then people will eventually not trust what you say. 

These are the consequences of breaking God’s commands. 

God has made us a certain way and for a certain purpose, and his word is like an operating manual for a piece of machinery, or like the owners manual for a car. Don’t expect your car to last long if you never change the engine oil, and don’t expect it to drive if it has no gas. Things operate a certain way and so do we. We must trust God to know what is truly most beneficial for our lives.

God’s Grace For Any Temptations

         In our society, same sex attraction is a very touchy subject these days between believers an nonbelievers alike. We are all born with a sinful nature, and what tempts one to sin in one way may vary from person to person to person. However, we must remind ourselves of 1 Corinthians 10:13 “13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

         There are many different types of sins and snares, but at the finale point we must ask ourselves, “Is Jesus Lord?” and we must also be willing to let him release us from every snare and pitfall known to man. I used to struggle myself with many of these temptations earlier on in life but praise God, I am proof that he can set a person free from any bond or chain that can hold a person back from truly serving him and loving him, whether drugs, alcohol, greed, sexual sin, and yes homosexuality. Paul addressed in his first letter to the church in Corinth a reminder that they were not who they used to be. He described a variety of pagan lifestyles that used to rule them, and then he reminded them of who they are after faith in Christ!

(1 Corinthians 6:9) Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Indeed, Christ can make us new, no matter what your present struggles ar or past sins have been. Believe me, I have had quite the past, and even as a new soul, I am by no means a sinless man and have skeletons I wish I could bury and never look at again, but the good news is God can deal with your, our, and anyones guilt and shame if they turn in repentance to him and surrender themselves to his loving grace!