Warning! Don’t Let Your Sin and it’s Consequence be Passed to Those You Love

Gracie, Ryan, Rodney, Andy and Ashley

Scripture: And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.  Exodus 34: 6-7 NIV

Observation: The Lord has a gigantic heart of forgiveness yet we must pay the consequences for our sin.  Sadly those consequences a lot of the time are seen in our children and grandchildren.

Application: My children have paid the price over an over again for my sin.  They are still paying today and so am I because of our damaged relationship.  I was involved in a sinful lifestyle for over twenty years.  Somehow I just didn’t get how important it was to live according to my Savior’s values.  I was a believer but I was unchurched most of that time.  I really had no idea what it meant to be a believer.  I gave my children all the things, according to the secular world, that were important, nice home, bed time stories, sports and activities along with lots of hugs, kisses and “I love yous.”  I love my children yet I failed them because sin got in the way.  Today my children are struggling in their own relationships.  They are saved but they don’t seek him and their lives suffer.  My relationship with them suffers as well because they can’t trust my counsel; they  look back and see so much sinfulness in my life.  Now that my life is totally dedicated to Christ they have difficulty trusting me and don’t understand that the Holy Spirit lives in me.

Prayer: Lord, I praise you that even a sinner like me can find forgiveness through your Son.  I thank you for giving me an opportunity to give my love to Doug, Ashley and Andrew.  Lord,  please help me live a life full of integrity, living out my days serving you.   Over time, may my older children see and believe that living for you is like the icing on the cake that they already possess. Lord, let this devotion speak to the hearts of others to break the generational cycle of sin. Amen

Laurie

Withstand

Scripture: While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”  Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.  Acts 7:59,60 NIV

Observation: Stephen is killed for his faith in Christ.

Application: Stephen dies in the same way that Christ died, by asking forgiveness for his killers.  Once again we see a repeating of an action or truth restated in the bible. I believe that God intends for us to forgive our persecutors. The fact that this truth keeps recurring as I read daily may mean that the time is drawing close when persecution of Christians will increase. I believe that may be why God keeps reminding me to be a man of forgiveness. I can’t be that man without the strength provided by the Holy Spirit. I must trust the Spirit to supply that strength.

Prayer: Father, thank you for giving me a means to endure hardship when it occurs. I pray that I am able to lovingly withstand persecution no matter how great or how slight. Amen

Doug

Stand Firm

Scripture: “But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name…But not a hair of your head will perish.  By standing firm you will gain life.”  Luke 21:12,18,19 NIV

Observation: Christians will be persecuted because of Jesus.

Application: This is not exactly a biblical truth or promise that I am excited about. However, we have but to look at today’s society to see that it is a fact. True, we haven’t had any Christians fed to lions, crucified, or used as torches for street lights, but the attack is real. In every corner of society we see Christians being quieted, offended, mocked, threatened, and mistreated. We can’t speak this; we aren’t allowed to think that.  We Christians are truly being persecuted and it will probably get more severe. Jesus said it was going to happen. We have but to stand firm and we gain eternal life. We can smile as we are being mistreated and abused because of who we follow.

Prayer: Father, give us strength to endure the unfair treatment that is forced on us. Amen

Doug

Love My Creation

Scripture: What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?  You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.  You made him ruler over the works of your hands;  Psalm 8:4-6 NIV

Observation: God created and we are to care for his creation.

Application: God created all things and by him all thing were created. He made us, man, a little lower than the angels. We are to care for all of His creation. Not just the trees, not just the unborn babies, not just my car, your house, or my friends–ALL things, even our enemies.  This is especially hard for me. Jesus had enemies. He had people that tried to twist his words so that they could accuse him. He had people that lied to him and about him, stole from him, and set him up. He had people that chose a murder and thief instead of him to be spared from crucifiction. He had the people that flogged him and killed him.  Yet, he still loved them and cared for them. Even with his last breaths, he asks God to forgive them. How much more of an example of caring, loving, stewardship do we need?  There are many groups of people that want nothing more than to belittle, dismiss, and harm Christians just to silence us. God created them too and we are charged with caring for and loving them just like we love helpless unborn babies.

Prayer: God, give me the strength to care for and love your creation as you expect me to do. Amen

Doug

God the Forgiver

Scripture: Now Joseph gave these instructions to the steward of his house: “Fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they can carry, and put each man’s silver in the mouth of his sack.  Then put my cup, the silver one, in the mouth of the youngest one’s sack, along with the silver for his grain.” And he did as Joseph said.  As morning dawned, the men were sent on their way with their donkeys.  They had not gone far from the city when Joseph said to his steward, “Go after those men at once, and when you catch up with them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid good with evil?  Isn’t this the cup my master drinks from and also uses for divination? This is a wicked thing you have done.’ ”  Genesis 44:1-5 NIV

Observation: Joseph, number two to Pharaoh in Egypt, set up his brothers to appear to be thieves and get a little pay-back  before he acted as an agent of God to create the nation of Israel.

Application: Joseph was Pharaoh’s second in command in Egypt. He was tasked with ensuring that all of Egypt would survive a world-wide famine.  He was put in that position, by God, through his brother’s deceit, to give guidance to Pharaoh and to save Egypt from the famine.  Ultimately, his place in Egypt set in motion the creation of the nation of Israel.  Joseph knew that God had a plan for his life but knowing that truth didn’t stop him from putting his brothers through fear and dread before he revealed himself to them.  He was a dictator. While he saved Egypt, his family, and surely countless others, he was a man, with a memory, and he made his brothers suffer before he provided for their needs.

This is where my thoughts would not come together.  Mom and I talked and she finished this devotional for me.

Dad ask me to put together some feelings about today’s reading.  He was having trouble putting into words what he felt the Lord had to say.
The real issue with Joseph is that he was unable to truly live out forgivenss as Christ does with us.  Let me give an example, someone hurts you deeply and as a Christian you forgive them, you even go to them and tell them they are forgiven.  Your relationship is repaired.  Time passes and that person has a hardship. Down deep inside you think that they have gotten what they deserve.  The joy you feel in their suffering doesn’t feel right to you, hopefully.  We need to strive to forgive as Christ does, when he forgives, he forgives forever.  He sees us pay consequences for sin or be hurt…and He never thinks for a nano moment it’s what we deserve–instead he weeps.  We as humans lack this ability, if we say it’s not true we’re lying to ourselves.  We have Christ on our side.  We need to give these feelings, one by one, to him and let him help us truly forgive!

Prayer: Heavenly Father with all my heart help me to learn your way of forgiveness.  I acknowledge it will take me my earthly lifetime to get a handle on these feelings and release them to you. Amen

Doug and Laurie

Missed Opportunities

Scripture: “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’  Luke 16:25,26 NIV

Observation: The rich ruler was in hell and he was begging Abraham through Lazarus for relief from his agony.

Application: It could be misunderstood from this passage that because he had a good earthly life the rich man was being punished with eternal damnation. Likewise, because Lazarus had a bad earthly life he was being rewarded with heaven. Wealth and/or the lack of wealth is not the issue. The issue is what each did with the gifts that God gave them. What do we do with the gifts God gives us?  What do we do with our salvation? Do we keep it to ourselves or do we let others in on the secret? What do we do with our wealth?  Do we hoard it or do we share it?  The ruler implied two things in his agony. First, he was all about himself which was most likely the way he lived his life. Secondly, he implied the Lazarus was a giver. It can be deduced that Lazarus thought of others before himself during his life. That’s why the ruler asked Father Abraham to please let Lazarus dip his finger into water to quench his thirst. The rich ruler squandered his opportunities in life to be a blessing to others–Lazarus apparently did not.  What will you do today to be a blessing to someone else? Don’t squander your opportunities in this life.

Prayer: Father, thank you for loving me and allowing me to bless others. I don’t ever want to look back on my life and regret missed opportunities. Amen

Doug

Share the Word

Scripture: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”  Luke 13:34 NIV

Observation: The Lord is admonishing those around him for not heeding the words of the prophets to their own detriment.

Application: We in this country today are very good at “shooting the messenger.” In many areas of life, social, community, politically, and especially faith the messenger is laughed at, mocked, and ignored. In Jesus’ time they literally “shot” or killed men sent of God. While Jesus wasn’t just a man sent of God, he was God, he was killed for his message. True, that was God’s plan to redeem the world, but the plan worked because men are evil and we would rather “kill the messenger” than accept the message and repent.  Our task for today is to embrace the message that Jesus died to bring to us.  We must be bold in our faith and willing to share Jesus–even if it means our message might be “shot.”

Prayer: Father, help us to bold in the face of opposition. Amen

Doug

Sin Starts Deep Inside

Scripture: In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds,search your hearts and be silent.  Psalm 4:4 NIV
Scripture: Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.  You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?  Luke 11:39,40 NIV

Observation: Sin starts deep inside.  How easy it is to hide our sin from others and even from ourselves if our outside looks good.

Application: It’s my responsibilty to look within myself and ask the lord to reveal sin hidden in my mind and my heart.  This time must be taken in his presence away from the world and it’s distractions.

Prayer: Father, search me deep within and show me the sin I hide behind “my Christian disguise.”  Help me lord make my inside full of you…then the beauty others will see will not be mine but yours.   Amen

Laurie

God Knows

Scripture: For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.  Luke 8:17 NIV

Observation: God knows and sees all.  He knows before you even admit. He’s the ultimate lawyer–without the lying!

Application: Wow, how many times do I grumble, lust, act hatefully, or just plain hate, and then think “Oh how clever am I?, I can sin and get away with it. All I have to do is repent?”  God will not be mocked and my sin/repent, sin/repent act can wear a little thin.  God deserves better from me than a little worldliness here, a little God there.  This is difficult for me to write because that scripture convicts me.  I struggle with much sin in my life and always seem to sin knowing God will forgive–that’s dangerous!  I (we) must intentionally put God’s desire for my (our) life ahead of my (our) own worldly urges. James 4:7, “submit to God, RESIST the devil, and he will flee from you.”. That scripture must become part of my (our) being, my (our) character.  I (we) owe it to God and to myself (ourselves).

Prayer: Father, help me to put James 4:7 into my heart and help me to make it part of who I am. Forgive me for the sorry Christian that I truly am.  Amen

Doug