Are You Caught in a Cycle of Sin?

blogthorns-52766__340The Book of Judges tells a sad tale of a people without knowledge of their God, a people allowing a seed of sin to take root and grow into a bramble of briars picking away at their strength.

“And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old…And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers… and there arose another generation after them which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:8,10.

I wonder, in all the warring and conquering of lands, did the past generation fail in declaring the One who gave them victories? Did they leave the future generation vulnerable to captivity instead of conquest?

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“Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst. Therefore hell hath enlarged herself and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.” Isa. 5:13,14.

Have we done the same with our younger generation?  Are they seeing us as those in the days of the judges,

“In those days there was no king in Israel:

every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25.

Father, forgive us where we have failed to declare you as our King and live like kingdom children.

It has been said,

“Sin will take you farther than you ever wanted to go.”

If we could see where sin will take us, would we still go?

I’m afraid the answer is, “Yes”. For God in His word has shown us. And, yet, many still choose it.

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13,14.

For the few who enter the strait gate:

The cycle of sin is broken.

It reigns no longer unless we allow it.

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God…But now being made free from sin and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom. 6:12-13,22-23.

In Judges the people had more good years than bad. But they missed the best because they failed to drive out the Canaanites. Chapter one lists those failures. Chapter two relates the results.

“And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the lands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies…Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. And yet, they would not hearken unto their judges…they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.”

Their lives became one test after another:

“That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.”

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courtesy of Pixabay free images

Life did not have to be this way. Moses warned them and Joshua warned them. But the word failed to be spoken to succeeding generations and the cycle of sin ensued along with its enslavement.

We have the full counsel of God’s word. We have the promises and the warnings.

“The thief cometh not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10.

What’s your choice? And are you passing the word along?

 

 

Do You Have Fleas?

The angels came to Lot with a dire warning. Get out or be destroyed with the wicked of Sodom and Gomorrah. “…whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: For we will destroy this place…and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it…Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city…Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.” ( Taken from Gen. 19:12-15).

Paul warned the Corinthians with similar words when he said, “And what concord hath 

Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; And I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty…dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (Taken from 2Cor. 6:15-7:1).

Another heavenly voice, years later, echoed the first angels’ and Paul’s warning when he spoke to God’s people in Revelation 18 concerning the fall of Babylon the great. “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”

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And a wise man, in his own colorful language, repeated the message. He said, “If you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas.”

There is a day of reckoning coming, a day God unleashes the wrath He poured out on His Son falls on those who refuse Him. Don’t think because it hasn’t happened yet that it won’t happen. Peter tells us, “…beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise…but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” (2Pet. 3:8-10).

Knowing these things…Do you? Do you believe this day is coming?  Whether you believe it or not, does not change the truth. It will happen. You have God’s word on it. So, knowing these things are going to happen how should we live? “…be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” 2Pet. 3:14.

Let’s begin by following Moses’ example found in Hebrews 11:24-26. “By faith Moses…refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.”

God has called His children to live by His standard of righteousness and holiness, not the world’s. “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1Pet. 1:16.

We, as believers, stand in Christ’s holiness. Each day we are to grow in the practice of it, separating us from the sin of this world.

So, how are you doing? Do you need some anti-itch cream, or are you running the race with patience, looking for the joy that waits?

Praying, for my brothers and sisters in Christ to know the joy that comes from living in Him now, as we look to the eternal joy that waits. May we live holy unto the Lord.

Following the Leader?

blogrubber-duck-1401225__340Follow the Leader, a game played in childhood, follows us into adulthood. But who or what are we following?

“And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion.” Rev. 13:2 Okay, no one in his right mind would follow such a creature, right? Read on.

“And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; and they worshiped the dragon…and the beast, saying, ‘”Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?”‘ Rev. 13:2-4

Revelation 12:9 reveals the identity of the dragon as Satan and this is who the people are following and falling in love with. We find their choice is the same choice mankind has faced from the dawn of creation until now, and yes, even in the future.

In Genesis Eve followed Satan’s lies, Adam followed his wife and mankind has followed all three to where we are today. God reveals the identity of Satan and His own identity to the world, giving  a clear choice of whom to follow.

Proceeding through Revelation 13 we are told Satan is an arrogant liar and is under the authority of another stronger than he. He leads to captivity and death. Elsewhere we are told he is a murderer, a thief, and seeks only to destroy. His broken promises lead to a moment of pleasure and an eternity of death. He is a fallen angel, created by God. Is this really the one to follow? Only one other choice remains.

Through the gospels Jesus invites those who will believe to follow Him. Why is He the better choice? He is truth. He is the One stronger than Satan.  Those who choose to follow Jesus are told, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” 1John 4:4. Satan can do no more than God allows him. Jesus gives life, abundant life. The only thing He takes from us is the sentence of death. His promises lead to eternal life. Jesus is God the Son who made all things.

When Christ hung on the cross, two thieves hung one on either side of Him. One followed the crowd who followed Satan. He died following Satan. The other pleaded for mercy as he followed Christ into paradise.

Follow, as used in the Bible, expresses union or likeness. (Vines Exp. Dict.)

For modern examples of those choosing to follow Christ check out https://www.cru.org for their real-life stories.

Praying today your choice is to follow Christ in all that means. If you have comments or questions, I would love to hear from you.