‘SINtense!


Verb TenseKnowledge of the tense of a verb can sometimes be critical for accurate interpretation of the Bible. For example, consider the following verse:

“No one who is born of God practices sin, because his (God’s) seed abides in him and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” ~ 1 John 3:9

Look at the verb sin. At first glance, the verse seems to imply that one who is “born of God” can never commit a sin, and yet Scripture teaches us this is not a reality:

1 John 1:8 – “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
2 Chronicles 6:36a – “…for there is no one who does not sin…”
Ecclesiastes 7:20 – “There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.”
James 3:2 – “We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.”

When we understand that the verb sin is in the present tense, it becomes clear that John is saying that one who is born of God cannot habitually commit sins as their general pattern of life. The verb “practices” is also present tense and conveys the same thought. All believers commit sins, but not habitually or as their lifestyle. (Note the importance of a Biblical definition of sin, which not only includes intentional disobedience, but also “missing the mark,” and the “sins of omission” – knowing the right thing to do but neglecting/refusing to do it. The “sin” highlighted in 1 John 3.9 is the sin of “omission or commission, in thought and feeling or in speech and action.”)

Application: If our lifestyle is a lifestyle of continual sinning with no desire for holiness: Hebrews 12:14 – “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord,” we must examine whether we are genuinely new creatures in Christ: 2 Corinthians 5:17 – “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” and born from above: John 3:3 – “Jesus declared, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again’” and 2 Corinthians 13:5 – “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?”

Armed with this knowledge, we can understand that a proper understanding of 1 John 3:9 requires a proper understanding of the verb tense.

May the Author enlighten our minds to receive the truth of his Word, and may we walk in the Light and by the power of the Holy Spirit!

(adapted from preceptaustin.org)

A Call for Your Heart ~ (Part 2)


imagesCAV88UL8The voice we once heard…His voice…is now a distant cry. And yet it’s there…that voice calling out…longing for our return! “Come out…come out and resist.”

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” ~ James 4:7

So how in the world do we begin to resist when everything around us tells us to ignore the call? Our flesh is weak; the cravings for instant gratification are strong.
The Word of God is clear. It is a bold statement, a present imperative – a calling for decisive, effective, definite obedience. An imperative leaves no room for options. It’s a God-given command.

If you have breath in your body, and have the ability to read what I’ve written, then please pay attention for a moment!

Jesus endured an unimaginable death! With a cat of nine tails embedded with chards of glass and metal, the Roman soldiers ripped the flesh from His body with 40 lashes, until His body was spent and disfigured. In mockery, a crown of thorns was driven into the flesh on His head. He then picked up His cross and drug and carried it through the streets of Jerusalem, up the hill to the place called Golgotha. There His body was thrown on the cross, and nine inch nails were driven through His feet and hands…he was lifted up…His disfigured and bloody body put on display. The crowds cheered and mocked Him as His mother and disciples anguished for the Son of God….Mary’s precious son, the disciples’ Master and friend…God’s gift to mankind.

There on Calvary’s cross our Savior in this final hour looked up to the heavens and said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!” Mercy and grace on display for all the world to see! He didn’t have to endure this death! He could have wiped mankind from the face of this planet and rescued Himself (and the few who believed). Instead He endured the Cross so that you and I could experience His redemptive power of mercy and grace! Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price! He CHOSE to pay the price for US!

I love the Message version of Romans 5:6-11: “Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!”

Jesus’ words, “Forgive them for they know not what they do”…they resonate so loudly! Do you hear His voice? Do you hear Him calling your name? He died for you; He longs to have relationship with you! He chose you…He chose me!

He tells us in John 15:16, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other”.

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” ~ Hebrews 10:19-24

“Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and will not faint!” ~ Isaiah 40:28-31

“So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” ~ Hebrews 10:35-36

“Papa God, I pray for those that hear Your voice today. Ignite a fiery passion in our hearts! Place Your favor in our lives as You have promised. Give us courage and strength to surrender our baggage and carry on in our journey with You! Purify our thoughts, purify our hearts and help us day by day to persevere and grow stronger in our relationship with You! Help us understand that our source of power is in Your Holy Word! Help us to treasure it and take it in every single day! In JESUS’ name I ask these things, amen.”

His voice…His calling. Your heart…His heart…choose to obey and persevere! ~ In His Strong Love ~ rose

A Call for Your Heart ~ (Part 1)


imagesCAV88UL8“Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive her plagues.” ~ Revelation 18:4

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” ~ James 4:7

A clear warning: We are living in the second Babylon where sin has become so alluring, so enticing, and so prevalent. It has gained momentum and has invaded, saturated and infiltrated everything our senses can see, hear and touch. Sin: A constant temptation that awakens our desires for self-gratification. We want what we don’t have, we lust for what isn’t ours. The “apple” is rotten to the core with deadly poison; masked with a delicious outer covering. Just as Eve did then, we do now…..we crave what we see with our eyes and hear with our ears. We allow the sensations that rush through our bodies to infiltrate our minds. It’s those sensations that eventually deaden our heart’s desire for relationship with God. We fall asleep and no longer crave His Holy Word…His Truth…His Will.

The angst God placed in our souls at the moment of our creation becomes obscure, hidden away from our first True Love. Hedonistic pleasures sedate us with a false sense of happiness. We become addicted to the momentary “highs” this world culture so readily offers through television, dark music, the internet, drugs, liquor, porn, magazines, window displays at the mall, near naked bodies at the beach, in nightclubs, and sometimes even in our church buildings! No matter where we turn, temptations to our carnal nature are there to awaken our sinful senses. No longer is the filth of insidious rhetoric and sexual sin reserved for ‘prime time’ – when our kids are supposed to be in bed. It runs all day…all night. It’s out there…no longer under wraps or “in the closet.”

From the moment Adam and Eve took the first bite, the deterioration of humankind began. The invisible fallen angel, Satan, the Prince of the power of the air took residence in the Garden of Eden. He along with his minions began the destructive plan to steal, kill and destroy the very creation that God himself created in His image. His jealousy, pride and hatred were the driving force of his determination. A spiritual battle of unprecedented proportions ensued!

The Word of God is clear: “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” ~ Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)

And yet Papa God commands us, “Come out of her.” “Resist the devil.” Come out of this world. How can we when all hell is pitted against us?! How can we when we have allowed our carnal nature to overide all that we know to be good. We give in to the cravings and fall deeper and deeper into a pit filled with the filth and trash of this world. It becomes the baggage we carry along our journey…so heavy…so stinky…so deadly. The voice we once heard…His voice…is now but a mere distant cry. And yet…it is there…that voice…calling out…longing for our return! “Come out…come out and resist.” (Part 2 continued tomorrow…)

IN HIS STRONG LOVE ~ rose

Making Friends with Your Shadow


ShadowWhen we deny our “shadow” in order to maintain the appearance of holiness, we put ourselves at risk of being swept away by the evil we deny.

In his book Make Friends with Your Shadow, Dr. Miller makes a provocative claim:
“Movement towards the achievement of wholeness or completeness (or “perfection” in the sense of Jesus’ use of the Greek word telios) is accomplished not only through the continued infusion of goodness, righteousness, and morality, but also through the “owning” and conscious incorporation of one’s dark and shadowy side into one’s self. I am not a complete person until I incorporate into my conscious self that dark side of my person which is every bit a part of me as is that bright self which I parade before the world.”

This type of activity goes against the grain of our desire to “look good” to the world around us. How much energy do we expend trying to conceal the undesirable part of who we are? We somehow got it in our head that an authentic Christian should appear to be unblemished—should create the illusion of perfection in the sense of appearing to be flawlessness.

Could it be that perfection has more to do with authenticity—being “real”—than it does with pretending to be something we’re not?

There are times when we’re surprised to hear how “one of our own” has been swept away into a sinful scenario. And then we remember we have been swept away too, maybe not in a public way, but swept away just the same. It’s happened to me. Looking back on those times, I can see how I set myself up to fall by allowing my pride to get in the way of being real. I pretended everything was good when it wasn’t. I denied the truth about my shadow.

And we all have a shadow. It’s an area of vulnerability within us. It might be a tendency to twist the truth, or possibly it’s an evil imagination, or a secret prejudice. It could be a secret craving for an illicit pleasure. Or maybe it’s a bitter tongue. Or laziness.

I realize it seems terribly risky, but when we are committed to living life in the flow of God’s Spirit, we must become transparent. We must acknowledge the “dark” side of our thought life, and the ungodliness of our inclinations. It is imperative we embrace the truth of who we are, and be willing to take the risk of letting someone we trust walk with us as we make friends with our shadow.

Prayer….Access to the Source of Power!


prayer time“Therefore confess your sins to each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective – My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” ~ James 5:16, 19-20

There is power in prayer! It is not that prayer itself is powerful, but it’s the ACCESS we have to the ONE who has the power! When Christ sacrificed His life on Calvary’s cross, the veil of the Temple was torn from top to bottom, symbolizing that we now have direct access to God…in Jesus’ name. That is why Jesus said: “At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and He will grant your request because you use My name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using My name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.” ~ John 16:23-24 NLT

Did we get that? It is in Jesus’ name that we must present our prayers to our Heavenly Father! What a privilege and a gift HE has given us! He sacrificed His very life so that we can have ACCESS to our CREATOR! He overcame the world so that we might experience a joyfully abundant life!

But first, before we take our requests before Papa God we must put into practice the act of forgiveness. We must harbor no hatred in our hearts towards anyone. This is not an option; it is a command from the One who forgave our very own sins unconditionally. How can we do less! In Mark 11:25 we’re told, “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in Heaven will forgive your sins too.” And in 1 John 1:9 we read, “But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” When we exercise genuine forgiveness, God is receptive to our prayers! We must let go of the past. We must forgive in order for His Spirit to flow freely within us, and to be in-step with our Savior Jesus Christ!

In John 15:23, Jesus gives the command: “Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” What a privilege to be called the Master’s friend! Let’s not waste a minute of His time. Let it be a time to treasure.

Secondly, when we pray we must be mindful of our motives. God knows our heart’s intentions. In Proverbs 16:2 we read, “People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives.” And in Proverbs 20:27 we read, “The Lord’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive.” Again in Jeremiah 17:10: “But I the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards according to what their actions deserve.”

There are two verses in Scripture that speak volumes to me each time I read them. The first is in Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” This is my heart’s desire…to have Papa God right smack in the middle of my business! I want Him to search me…to test me…and to purge any foul and unholy thing that is displeasing to Him. I want integrity to be the word God uses when He describes my character…as in 1 Chronicles 29:17, “I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there. You know I have done all this with good motives, and I watched your people offer their gifts willingly and joyously.” I know I’m not perfect, but my heart’s desire is to be the woman that God originally designed me to be! I will falter and stumble from time to time, but I know that I have a patient and merciful Father. His grace is my sufficiency.

Lastly….remember that prayer is a SACRED action! It blows my mind to think of all the prayers that must be going up to Him at once. His omnipresence…His Holy presence everywhere all the time…is unfathomable!

So with all this being said, the next time you and I spend time with Papa God, let us value it like priceless treasure. Let’s not fill it with mindless, selfish chatter. Instead, let us come before Him with a humble, reverent spirit. Remember…He isn’t interested in our eloquence; He is interested in the sincerity of our heart.

“Papa God, and so it is that I ask not just for me, but also for my family and friends…please search our hearts and remove any foul thing that may be impeding our communion with you. Help us to forgive those who have sinned against us and help us to ask forgiveness of those that we may have offended. Above all else Papa, whatever the requests or the praises we are presenting…in all things we ask that your perfect will be done, in JESUS’ name I pray – Amen!”

Surrender your will for His….IN HIS STRONG LOVE ~ rose

Satan Goofed


joseph coat of colorsSatan made a mistake. If he had been thinking more clearly, he would have enlisted Judas to protect Jesus so the prospective Savior could live to be a ripe old age. If Satan could have somehow averted the crucifixion, and the subsequent resurrection, there would be no redemption. But the Enemy used Judas to fulfill prophecy, playing into God’s plan to rescue us from the wages of our sinful disobedience. Satan’s diabolical plan to kill Jesus was a necessary part of the plan of salvation—our salvation.*

Satan makes the same mistake every time he tries to trip us up along our journey. Every time he throws something into our path to destroy us – to take us out of the game – he is unwittingly playing into God’s plan. Our trust in God does not increase during the comfortable times in our life. (We do have comfortable times, don’t we) Out trust in God’s sovereignty grows only during the times when we are compelled to cling to him for dear life.

There’s a story in the book of Genesis about a plan to take a guy out, but the plan backfired. Joseph was a bright-eyed youngster who experienced harsh complications in his life as a result of the jealous schemes of his older brothers. (I think there is a special place in heaven for younger brothers who have had to endure the evil plots of elder brothers.) Young Joey was a menace to his brothers, so they sold him to slave traders.

Those who are familiar with the story know that God eventually used Joe to save the lives of the brothers who had tried to kill him. In fact, God used Joe to save an entire nation. Here’s the thing: Joe would not have been in a position to rescue a nation if his brothers had not done what they did.

The more we learn to trust our heavenly Father, the more alert we become in the midst of “bad things.” We become more alert because we have learned that an out-of-the-ordinary thing in our life might very well be the event God will use to accomplish something really good. Sounds strange, but some of us actually get a little excited—in a trembling kind of way—when we realize God is entrusting something to us that is beyond our capacity to handle…on our own. We know he’s about to do something that will ultimately bring him glory. And we are invited to play a part in the plan.

The Enemy wants to entangle us in doubt and fear. Since the beginning, he has always been trying to thwart the plan of God. But every attempt he makes to destroy us is another opportunity in God’s hands to accomplish his plan in our life. Every time.

Possibly something comes to your mind that illustrates this powerful truth in your own life. Perhaps there was a time in your life when you felt as though you were “going under.” But you didn’t go under. Instead, God used the difficult time to accomplish something good. Maybe you will have an opportunity to share your story with someone who needs to be reminded of God’s faithfulness this week. We serve an all-powerful God who always has—and always will—use everything the Enemy throws our way to accomplish his ultimate purpose.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” ~Genesis 50.20

*The idea that Satan, or anyone for that matter, could have derailed even the slightest detail of the execution of God’s eternal plan of salvation is preposterous. Yea God!

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