Saturday, October 17, 2015

Dependence or Independence? That is the Question.


Sitting with the Shepherd


Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. (Proverbs 3:5-7 NKJV)

Consecration is a personal thing, a transaction between two persons, the Lord Jesus Christ and you. Following that, the Holy Spirit will commence a great work in you; for the work of the Lord Jesus Christ for us needs to be followed by the work of the Holy Spirit in us.  JOHN PRITCHARD

Harrison, Nick (2010-12-21). His Victorious Indwelling: Daily Devotions for a Deeper Christian Life (p. 370). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.


The original sin in the Garden of Eden was man's decision to become independent from God. Satan's words to Eve were, "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." When Eve and then her husband Adam chose to partake of it, thus taking control of their lives, the trouble began. And evil has reigned in the lives of human beings ever since. We live in a world that chose to turn its back on its Creator and live independently by their own standards since then. And the end result has been chaos and destruction. We live in a society of people that has gone mad and is even now threatening to self-destruct. We cannot take back control or change the destiny of the world. Only God Himself can do that but He has not chosen to intervene yet. Why?

The simple answer is that He created us with free will and He has chosen not to violate that freedom. Had He not made us with that free will and instead made us like the birds that have no choice as to whether to fly south for the winter, we would have been incapable of choosing to love Him. By choosing to love Him we can enter into a relationship with Him which is what He desires for us to do above all else.

The good news is that we can still choose to do that. God the Father sent His Son Jesus Christ to the earth to pay the penalty for sin so that we can enter the relationship with Him that we were created for. By trusting in the Lord with all of our heart and not leaning on our own understanding, we can depart from the evil of independence from God. We are free to choose to live in harmony with Him as we were created to live. Then the world will cease to be chaotic and paradise will be restored.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  (Revelation 21:1-3 ESV)

Questions for Personal Reflection or Discussion

1. What was original sin in the Garden of Eden and how has it continued until the present time?

2. Why did God create us with free will and why will he not violate it?

3.  How does God desire us to live?

Responsive Prayer

Father God, Your wisdom is higher than the heavens, Your thoughts and Your ways are higher than mine. Help me, I pray to escape the futility of leaning on my own understanding and teach me to trust fully in You. I confess that I have given way to my flesh too often and reaped the consequences of this folly. Thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit to direct my steps and for giving me the opportunity to depart from the evil independence from You. Amen


"Freed In Christ",

Sunday, October 4, 2015

To Forgive or not to Forgive?


Sitting with the Shepherd


"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV)


The Pharisees were concerned with outward appearances, while Jesus Christ was more interested in condition of one's heart. He said that the world would identify His true disciples by their love for one another. The apostle John said, "If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?"(1 John 4:20 NKJV) Satan on the other hand often disrupts the harmony of the church by causing schisms among the brethren, seeking to steal, kill and destroy our Christian fellowship.

Often times our anger against a brother or sister in the Lord is founded on misconceptions or an incomplete understanding of all the facts in a given situation. I have heard it said that to harbor a spirit of bitterness or resentment is likened to "drinking a glass of poison and waiting for the other person to die!" Or there is the old adage that "unforgiveness does much more damage to the vessel in which it is stored than to the object on which it is poured!"

The person who is unable to forgive is the one who doesn't truly grasp the significance of God's forgiveness of themselves. So when we don't understand how much God has forgiven us we don't see the need to forgive one who has offended us. We become easily offended and harbor a superior attitude of pride over our offender. Jesus is saying here that if we aren't convicted of our own sinfulness and need for God's mercy, our heart condition might be indicative of the fact that we ourselves are unregenerate and doomed to suffer the fires of Hell. That is a matter that deserves serious consideration.

For those coming out of a life dominated by sin, bitterness and resentment are open doors that can lead to relapse. We might once again find ourselves captive to the bondage that once held us in slavery. This is a serious enough threat to cause Jesus to say, "This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God." (Matthew 5:23-24 MSG)


Questions for Meditation or Discussion

1.     How is it that our treatment of our brothers and sisters in Christ is a reflection of our love for God?

2.     What do we need to consider in forgiving others for offences committed against us?

3.     Why is harboring resentments against another so dangerous for those coming out of bondage to life dominating sin?


Responsive Prayer

Heavenly Father blessed be Your Holy Name. Thank You for price that You paid for the forgiveness of my sin against You. I know that nothing that another human being does to me could ever compare to that. Grant me the grace to forgive those who have offended me, so that I can continue to walk in fellowship with You. Amen


"Freed In Christ",