How? Why? How are the mighty fallen? It was the question I had to ask the park ranger at the entrance to Sunset Crater National Park Our adventure took us from the red rocks of Sedona to Flagstaff. It was early fall and my image of the hot deserts of Arizona did not include snow. […]
When you sin…you ARE guilty! Don’t get the idea that because you’ve done something wrong that you have you carry guilt. God has a much better plan for you. He came to take your sin and your guilt. But, you have a very important role in getting rid of guilt too! Your role! Don’t make […]
Not guilty. Then why do I feel guilty? And when I am guilty, why do I want to hide it? I’ve noticed, that at least kids have the same problem that I do. One of my favorite television shows is America’s Funniest Videos. Sometimes I laugh so hard my face hurts. The clips that amaze […]
This fall has been crazy busy, but again and again I found myself standing on the back porch just drinking in the beauty around me. I want the leaves in all their glory to stay put. I want to say to them, “Don’t fall! You’re so beautiful. Below you’ll see a few pictures from my back porch.
As often as we could, but not nearly often as I would like, Wayne and I hiked trails through the woods. One of my favorite trails is along the Swannanoa River that courses through the park and campus at Montreat College. It’s a noisy hike in the fall. Have you ever noticed how loud dry leaves can sound? The rattle of dry leaves flapping on the ends of thin branches in the gentle breeze call for me to stop and watch. Squirrels and even lizards moving in the leaf piles at the foot of tall trees makes them sound much bigger and more threatening than they are. Or the sound of leaves dancing around in a whirl of dizzying wind, a tiny whirl-wind that blows out as quickly as it comes. And the voice of the water as it tumbles over rock piles, gurgling and laughing as the path twists around and over the rippling stream. The peaceful, wonderful and soothing sounds of fall.
I watch the leaves tumble or float, while others whirl and twirl as they leave the tree where they’ve worked since spring. Sometimes the wind catches the leaves, blowing them off the trees until it looks like it is raining leaves.
But if you are an adult, falling isn’t fun. It’s funny to someone else, but it’s not fun. Just a side note, why is it watching people fall down is so hilarious? And I’m not the only person that laughs when someone falls. America’s Funniest Videos (AFV) celebrated 500 episodes and 22 years of laughing at people fall. Which only proves falling is funny, as long as they don’t get hurt and it’s not you!
But far too often falling isn’t funny and people do get hurt. Ask my friend that broke her wrist from a recent fall. Or my neighbor that was holding a ladder for her husband, when he missed a rung on the ladder, he tumbled down, onto his wife. While it was a soft landing for him, it was a broken leg for her. Falling wasn’t funny to either of them.
So my advice—don’t fall!
Are you thinking, “Yeah? And how am I gonna keep from falling?”
So glad you asked! While carefulness and determination are part of surefootedness, you need more. You can get hurt if you fall physically, but you can hurt your testimony and yourself worse if you fall spiritually. By falling, I mean fall into sin, fall into rebellion or depression or even resentment.
Paul offers some powerful God breathed advice on how not to fall.
2 Peter 1:5-10 nlt So make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life. Then your faith will produce a life of moral excellence. A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better. 6 Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patient endurance, and patient endurance leads to godliness. 7 Godliness leads to love for other Christians, and finally you will grow to have genuine love for everyone. 8 The more you grow like this, the more you will become productive and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But those who fail to develop these virtues are blind or, at least, very shortsighted. They have already forgotten that God has cleansed them from their old life of sin. 10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Doing this, you will never stumble or fall away.
If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything! (Quoted- Source is widely argued.)
Think Missional! Pass this on to someone you think may enjoy it or need it.
Is Your Porch Facing the Right Direction? I’m preaching a revival in Lake Wales. (And wow has God been awesome!) We didn’t really want to get on the treadmill at the hotel, so Wayne found this great park downtown. Southern Hospitality We were greeted by a pair of trumpeting red-headed Florida Sand Cranes. That’s right, […]
Kayden is fourteen months old. Sometimes when I tell him something he doesn’t want to hear, he turns his head and looks away. He get this blank expression on his face, as if to say, “I’m not listening. I’m doing what I want to do. Leave me alone. I don’t have to do what you […]
Beautiful webs. You might not see them unless you take an early morning walk through dew soaked grass. Then they’re impossible to miss. Dew drenched gossamer webs of the finest silk. Clinging to tree limbs. Clutching rocks. Delicate, yet so strong. Beautiful, yet so annoying. Stoop to behold their beauty, but be careful […]
She was home and about to get out of the van, when the young child called out, “Mommy.” It wasn’t the usual chipper, little voice that called from the back seat. It was slower and quieter, “Mommy,” she called again.” The little girl waited to be sure her Mom was listening. When her Mom answered, the quiet voice continued, “I did something really bad.”
She had her Mom’s full attention, so the quiet voice continued, “I didn’t buckle my seat belt and I wanted to tell you what I did.”
Her mom was more than a little relieved, “Thank you for telling me. It’s very dangerous to ride without your seat belt buckled. Next time be sure to buckle it, so you are safe.”
Does it bother you when you break God’s rules?
It will if you have a heart that desires to please God. That feeling of conviction that comes when you know you’ve violated God’s rules is like the pain that comes when you run across hot pavement. It says don’t do this again. That sense of conviction is valuable, because it warns you this action or attitude is outside God’s best for you. This choice is displeasing to God.
But what do you do with conviction?
Can you, do you and should you go running to God with the same simplicity of this little child when you break His rules? And the answer is simply, yes. But do you?
Our tendency is to cover our sins, call them by a softer name like “my little problem” to minimize them, or simply ignore them. What happens when we cover our sin or try to ignore it?
1. It festers and breeds guilt. Guilt is entirely different than conviction. Guilt is never from God.
2. It is left to grow deeper, bigger and more destructive.
3. It desensitizes your ability to discern right from wrong in other areas of your life.
And what does Scripture say about hiding that sin?
Proverbs 28:13 NLT “People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.”
What is your attitude toward sin?
- Do you ignore it?
- Do you think you are above sin?
- Do you think you can get by with sin?
- Do you think you are exempt from God’s laws and spiritual boundaries, that somehow they apply to everyone except you?
Maybe you are like the young pastor that was praying, “God, I hate sin. I hate it!” He felt a still small voice interrupt his prayer.
“That doesn’t impress me.” He was shocked. He stopped to listen. “I want you to hate YOUR sin.”
Do you…do you hate your sin?
Or just the sin you see in someone else. The life of a believer is a life of surrender to His will, His way and His time. Sin shouldn’t be shrugged as insignificant, but avoided like a cancer or a venomous snake.
James 1:14,15 “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.” It is important to realize that sin has consequences.
God isn’t a heavenly kill joy! He’s not out to deliberately ruin your fun, but His laws are NOT optional. Without becoming overwhelmed with a sense of fear and dread, we can come to God, “Father, Forgive me.” Or proactively like David, “Search me, God. Is there something there that I don’t see.” And then “Cleanse me, God.”
1 John 2:1 NLT “My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.”
I love the way that verse starts, “my dear children,” like the child in the back seat suddenly realizes her seat belt wasn’t buckled and responds to a loving parent. God wants to forgive. He wants to enable us to live sin overcoming lives, but when we do sin, we can go running to Him–tell Him what we did, ask for forgiveness and He will forgive! Thank you, Father!
Our young youth pastor was a powerful man of God. His enthusiasm was fueled by a deep passion to serve God and prayer. One day his prayer went something like this, “God, I hate sin.” With added volume and intensity he repeated, “I hate sin.” He heard a small voice in his spirit […]