Blog, Devotionals, Life, Family, Encouragement

Born This Way

What if I told you we are NOT born naturally good? In fact, that is EXACTLY what I am saying. We are born wicked and it is only through Christ alone that we can produce good fruits.

What?! How could you?

I think I am a pretty good person…

I would then have to ask you– measuring by what standards are you counting yourself as a good person?

At this point in time most people go on about how they help people, feel like they are a good friend/parent/etc., and say things like I mean I haven’t killed anyone.

Well, yes that is good and I am certainly glad to hear murder isn’t on the table. (insert chuckle)

However, if we measure by the ultimate judge on weather we are good or wicked, I think you may come up with a different conclusion.

I now ask you to be completely honest with me, yourself, and God. Answer the following questions.

  • Have you ever told a lie? Even a little white lie?
  • Have you ever taken something that was not yours or that you didn’t pay for? Think hard, because it happens on accident a lot! (a pen, something you carried home from work, something you found at a public location)
  • Have you ever said something about another person out of anger, hurt, etc.?
  • Have you ever talked about someone else to a third party, when it was not your place to tell?
  • Have you ever looked at another person in a lustful way?

If everyone is being honest, the answer should be ‘yes’ to all of the above questions. It is common for mankind (men and women) to naturally do these things because we are NOT naturally good. So, if we measure by God’s standard, which He has the ultimate say, then we are liars, thief’s, unforgiving, gossiping, adulterers.

YIKES! When you put it that way… we are not naturally good.

Which is precisely why the Bible tells us in John 3:3-7 that we need to be born-again.

John 3:3-7

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

Why are we born this way?

God created mankind (Adam and Eve) and called it all very good. He gave mankind freewill and CLEAR instructions, in this case they could eat from any tree in the garden except NOT from the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Adam and Eve were tempted by the serpent and disobeyed God’s instruction and ate the forbidden fruit. If you read the whole story of the creation and fall of mankind in Genesis 1-3, God tells us that the land and mankind is cursed from the time we are born until we die because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience.

From here the Bible is full of stories about the wickedness of mankind’s hearts. Stories of murder, stealing, betrayal, adultery, and so much more. (Doesn’t sound much different from what we hear today on the news and in social media.

As the story goes on you will read about periods of time that mankind used animal sacrifices in attempt to atone for our sins. However, nothing was good enough to cover the disobedient wicked ways of our sinful nature. None of these sacrifices were able to bridge the gap of separation between God and mankind (us).

This is where Jesus comes in and radically changes EVERYTHING from that point forward!

John 3:16
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Jesus came and fulfilled many prophesies spoken. He is fully God and fully man, which is how he lived the perfect life during His time walking the Earth. Jesus’ purpose was to be the ultimate example for us to follow and to ultimately be crucified on the cross as an atonement for our sins.

Jesus conquered sin and conquered death. He was buried in a tomb and rose from the dead on the third day. He is alive today and will return for His people. Those who are born again– that repent of our sins, ask for forgiveness, and confess Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior

Just as John 3:3-7 says born again is by spirit and water. This is our new birth or re-birth. This is not just a stated prayer. It should be followed by devout study of God’s Word. It should be a life changing radical moment in a person life.

Being born again doesn’t mean we are instantly perfect and will never sin again, it means we are forgiven by the blood of Jesus.

Born again also doesn’t mean we are free to sin when and how we please or that we should continue down the same paths, making the same choices, it means the old has passed a way, we are free from the bondage of sin and we are a new creation in Him.

A born again Christian who has had true repentance and a life changing renewal spiritually will want to seek God’s direction and to know Him more. They will be intentional when it comes to prayer time and reading the Bible.

Reading the Bible and prayer is our way of communication with God, to learn His instruction and renew our minds and soul. An internal noticeable change.

There is a common misconception that ‘most people are naturally good. have your best interests at heart’. This is just NOT the case, the Bible tells us so and not in a ‘because I said so’ type of way. The Bible clearly explains why the evil and wickedness is in the hearts of mankind from birth. It goes all the way back to the original sin of disobedience to God’s Word.

What is the root of disobedience to God’s Word or disobedience in general? Pride, thinking we know better then God or someone else who has given clear instruction for our safety, health, and well being.

Proverbs 11:2

When pride comes, then comes shame;
But with the humble is wisdom.

Proverbs 16:18

18 Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall.

This is why in Luke 9:23 we are to to deny ourselves daily, and take up the cross to follow Him. Our ways are wicked and will lead only to destruction and death (an eternal separation from God).

23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

A born again believer is a new man, a new creation, and you should see changes in their life as evidence of that.

Ephesians 4:17-24

17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

2 Corinthians 5:17

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Matthew 7:15-16

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?

Galatians 5:22-26

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 
23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Fruits of the spirit are NOT produced by our flesh naturally. We are not naturally born with these traits. They are produced by and through the Holy Spirit from a relationship with Jesus Christ. Just as the Bible tells us we must be born again through water and spirit to see the kingdom of God.

Devotionals, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

God’s Design for Sexuality- Adam and Eve

Genesis 2:18-25

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

23 The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
    for she was taken out of man.”

24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

The Bible makes it clear that our sexuality is built into our original design by God. God created man, woman, and all things and called it all ‘very good’! God invented sex, which is meant to be the glue that holds the relationship between man and woman together.

The Bible is clear that marriage and sex go hand in hand, two becoming one flesh; one cannot thrive and create a healthy relationship without the other. Man and woman, originally Adam and Eve, were created by God as a relationship unit.

God created male and female in His image. He used a rib from Adam to create Eve, neither were meant to be valued above the other. He created each of them with their own purpose that was complimentary to the other. Gender and opposite sexes were what produced the intimate concepts of marriage and family.

Adam and Eve were the first lovers and each were incomplete without the other.

Sex cannot do its work without the vital component of marriage as God intended it for. This is why when we are sexually active outside of God’s design of marriage between a man and a woman, we experience sexual brokenness resulting in a loss of sexual integrity.

Sex is not just about an action or about gender. It is a foundational part of who we are, what our original design was, and how we can relate to God and others intimately.

Sex is a gift from God intended to be experienced between a man and woman after marriage. The sexual union has a very specific intended design to help people express spiritual intimacy, emotional bonding, passionate excitement, and genuine nurturing.

Sex is meant to bond you and help you grow in intimacy, forming a life long ‘soul mate’ partner.

The Bible also spells out what God says about other aspects of marriage. (besides sex)

Genesis 2:24-25 explains we are to leave our other significant relationships and join together becoming one flesh. The process of marriage is designed to result in complete and total disclosure to one another, leaving us feeling ‘naked’ and ‘unashamed’.

Due to Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God in the Garden of Eden, they are the only two who ever experienced marriage in its original design as God intended. Their disobedience brought in an invasion of sin that complicated every area of life, including marriage and sex.

Society is filled with sexual immorality, temptation, sin, and misinformation on sex, marriage, and God. We need to be aware and set boundaries in our own thoughts and life that will help us to maintain our sexual integrity.

2 Corinthians 10:5

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Sexual sin has devastating consequences to our emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical well-being; it can also have devastating effects on others involved.

Marriage alone cannot heal sexual brokenness. It is Christ alone who can redeem your sexuality and heal your brokenness. In Him you can have the redemption you need to have disciplined, mature, healthy boundaries and marital faithfulness.

If we commit our lives to God and live as a married couple under God’s guidelines of marriage and His direction, we can expect to experience that marriage and marital sex can be ‘very good’ as God intended it.

Bible Study Tools, Blog, Devotionals, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

Devotional- Adam’s Guilt and Shame

Genesis 3

God gave Adam very specific instructions when he had his undivided attention in the Garden of Eden. Before God created woman– God was giving Adam the chance to live in full freedom through his obedience.

God saw that it was not good for man to be alone; He decided to create woman from one of man’s ribs to give man a partner or helper. Eve was what they called her. God blessed them for their perfect life together.

It was Adam’s responsibility to help Eve to understand God’s very specific direction’s regarding the Garden of Eden. (Do NOT eat from the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil.) However, Eve was left susceptible and an easy target for the serpent to deceive– this is why ultimately Adam was held responsible for the sin that infected the human race.

Before Adam was confronted by God he already felt the inner feeling of awareness of wrongdoing. Adam was feeling guilty for having sinned and had a fear of his sin being exposed which made him feel shame.

These two key internal awareness’s were given to us by God as an internal corrective.

Some call this the still small voice inside telling you to do something or not to do something.

Instead of repenting and confessing his sin immediately Adam tried to cope with the feelings of guilt and shame on his own through denial (blaming Eve, who blamed the serpent) and avoidance (he tried to hide from God).

When we refuse to admit to our own wrong doing’s and confess our sins to God; we become bound by our sin–leading to excessive feelings of guilt and shame. The refusal to confess cuts us off from God’s redemptive healing and freedom.

Reflection

What do you feel God is speaking to you through the example of Adam’s guilt and shame?

Do you have a tendency to refuse to admit your wrong doing and take accountability for your actions?

What, if any, changes do you feel God is calling you to make?

Call to Action

Today is the day we stop avoiding and stop passing blame. Confess and own your sine to God and He is faithful and just to forgive! (1 John 1:9)

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord that you are a just and forgiving God. One who does not wish any of His children be bound by sin and stuck in their guilt and shame. Lord I confess that it is hard to confess and own up to the things we have done wrong, especially those things that have hurt others, but Lord through You I know I am forgiven. I pray that You would send Your Holy Spirit to fill our hearts and give us the courage to move forward towards healing, redemption, and true freedom. I pray Your guiding hand over each of us and ask that you expose any harbored feelings of guilt or shame, help us to lay each down at Your feet and move forward in victory.

I pray each person would seek to know Your truth, love, and forgiveness. I pray that each would rise above their sin and own their actions so that You may release the chains that bind them. I pray that each person who reads this will have open hearts, ears, and eyes for Your truth in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

Blog, Devotionals, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

Daily Devo- The Problem with Pride

There is a fine line between the balance of confidence and being prideful of oneself. Confidence is on the positive side- you need confidence to be successful. However, on the other hand, pride falls on the negative side- often leading to self-destruction.

We want to be confident in what God tells us to do and who He says we are- we should have a healthy and positive self-image. But we have to be careful not to get a ‘big head’ about it and become prideful.

Pride motivates people to do what is best for themselves- even at the expense of others. Pride tells people they deserve to be rewarded, promoted, or acknowledged in some way. Pride stops people from admitting their weakness and reaching out for help. Pride is the greatest factor that stops one from seeking counseling, because they do not think that they need anyone else’s help to fix their problem.

Some people are so prideful they refuse to consult God with anything in their lives- instead they prefer to trust their own abilities and instincts.

Some people will have a healthy balance of confidence that leads them to success and then become prideful. They begin behaving in a way as to say that no one else could ever do what they do- giving themselves an exaggerated sense of importance and becoming prideful.

Pride is the root expression of our sinful nature. Pride is so full of itself that it can not listen to any other voice that is contrary to its’ opinion.

Pride is used in a negative sense in both the Old Testament and New Testament. Pride was the reason Adam and Eve violated God’s command- and choose to eat from the tree of knowledge. (Genesis 3:4-6) It was also the cause that motivated Lucifer to rebel against God- known as the fall of Satan. (Isaiah 14:12-15) Pride is what motivated Lucifer- a powerful angel of God- to set his will against God’s- he is said to be the culprit of sin. (Ezekiel 28:11-19)

In the New Testament Paul warns against several different expressions of pride. Pride can be dangerous to non-Christians and new Christians alike- when seeking salvation. Salvation must be a work of God and can not be earned through our own works. Reliance on our self to accomplish salvation distorts the message all together.

Salvation is a gift from God. It is because of His works alone- through faith in Jesus Christ- that we can be saved. There is no room for self-achievement within it- so that no one can take pride or boast.

Paul said it like this in Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Humility overcomes Pride

Pride tells people that you do not need anyone’s help. Humility tells people that they can not do anything without God. Humility is always looking for someone to help and listen to, not for someone to talk to. Humility is near to those who are hurting, focusing on the need.

Humility reminds people that God is the source of all gifts and abilities- that God can equip those that He calls. Pride is the arrogant refusal to allow God to be God. Pride tells people I am something without God- Humility says I am something because of God and nothing without Him.

How do you trade your pride in for humility?

Most importantly you will need a healthy view of God. Understanding who He is and who we are with and without Him. Spending time in His word- praying- and worshipping Him through all seasons of life.

Stop focusing so much on your own needs and wants and start praying and asking God how you can serve someone else’s needs. Be on guard- keep your eyes and ears open to situations around you through-out the day- purposely SEEK to bless and lift up others.

Give God thanks in ALL things- big or small- He has blessed you with them all!


Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for your many gifts and blessings. Thank you for being a patient Father who is quick to forgive. Forgive us for having prideful attitudes and for relying on our own ways and our own abilities. God I pray You fill us up with Your Holy Spirit- we want to be confident in You and not prideful in our own ways. I pray that You would help each of us to be humble and look to help others. I pray You use us to lead others to Your love. God I pray for each person that does not know you personally- that they would seek You and find You. I pray for our nation as a whole remove the pride in us all and replace it with humility and confidence in You. It is in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

Blog, Life, Family, Encouragement

Where is God in this world full of evil?

A popular misconception in the world today is that God can’t be real. Many think God can’t be real because of all the hatred and evil happening in the world around us. This is just untrue, in fact if you truly research God, read the Bible, and seek to know and understand the truth about Him and His character the evidence is overwhelmingly present that God is very real and alive today.

It dates all the way back to Genesis, when God created all of the universe–the heavens, the Earth, stars, animals, mankind– everything! God created Adam and Eve and put them in the garden of Eden, to care for the land and it was all good. He gave them permission to eat of any tree in the garden EXCEPT the tree of knowledge (good and evil). He told them if they did they would die. God gave us a gift of FREE WILL and CHOICE and also told them the consequences for disobeying.

Adam and Eve had the choice to follow the rules God put before them or follow their own rules. They choose to follow their own rules. Read the full story of Adam and Eve in Genesis chapters 2 and 3.

Every creation has the same free will of choice in the fallen world we live in– we can choose to live by Gods commandments and will for our life or we can live selfishly for ourselves. God’s commandments are not there to control us or “take away the fun” in life; they are there to guide us to live the most joyful and fulfilling life possible.

Imagine for a moment God removed every evil in the world, each time a person went to sin or step outside His will, He stopped them. Made it physically impossible to do anything against His wishes. We would all be slaves and there would be no real “choices” in life.

God is a God of love and gives us the gift of free will to choose. He wants us to CHOOSE to love Him and CHOOSE to follow Him. After all He knows what is best because He created it all, including us.

Since God gives us the freedom of choice, not everyone chooses to follow the right path and seek to please God. Which is where all the evil in the world today is coming from– selfish choices.

I find it very evident that when you really look at what has changed, from even just the time our grandparents or great-grandparents were growing up, you can see that the further the world gets from God and our founding principles the uglier the world is getting.

We live in a world today that God is mocked and not taken seriously. Where children are being encouraged to stand against God, instead of looking up to Him, especially in times of trouble. Where evil is emphasized and God is minimized. Where parents are opening the doors to confusion and misguidance by allowing the world to define their children and their morals instead of God, the one who created them. We live in a society that has bended, twisted, and obscured what the TRUTH really is and pumps everyone full of lies, deception, and filth through media outlets, internet, and well let’s be honest— its EVERYWHERE we turn.

With so much evil in the world today and so many misguided teachings it’s an easy misconception to fall into, that God can’t be real because He certainly wouldn’t allow all the evil. God is not pleased by all the evil in the world and the choices people have been making and continue to make, but its NEVER too late to change the choices we are making.

God is real and alive today, He wants to help each and every one of us to live our best life. We do not have to live a life in bondage, God can free us through His word and help us to completely renew our minds– we simply have to ask Him.

God gives us the free will of choice…. What will you choose today?

Bible Stories

Adam, Eve and the Garden of Eden

God created man on the sixth day. (Genesis 1:26-31)  God then planted a garden east of Eden and placed the man he formed in it. God then made every tree grow in the garden including the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:8-9) God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. (Genesis 2:15) God instructed the man the he may eat freely from all trees in the garden except for the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God commanded the man not to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge or he would surely die.  (Genesis 2:16-17) God seen that the man needed a companion so that he would not be alone. (Gen 2:18) God created every living creature and brought it to Adam and whatever Adam called it, became its name. Adam named every animal/creature but did not find a helper comparable to himself. (Genesis 2:19-20) God then caused Adam to go into a deep rest and removed one of his ribs. God closed the wound on Adam and used his rib to created woman and then brought the woman to Adam. (Genesis 2:21-23) Both man and woman were naked and neither were ashamed. (Genesis 2:25)

The serpent was the sliest of all beasts on the land. He asked woman (Eve) of what trees she was aloud to eat. Woman told the serpent she could eat from all trees except for the one in the midst of the garden. She told the serpent that she could not eat from nor touch the tree or God said she would die. The serpent convinced Eve that God did not want her to know that the fruit from the tree would make her wise like Him, opening her eyes to knowing good and evil and that eating the fruit would not make her die. Even then saw the tree as good fruit that would make her wise and ate it. This is how the knowledge of good and evil and sin entered the world. She then gave the fruit to her husband and he ate it. Once they had eaten the fruit they knew they were naked and sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. (Genesis 3)

The Lord entered the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve hid among the trees from the presence of God. God called out to Adam asking him “Where are you?” Adam told God he was hiding as he was afraid because he was naked. God wanted to know how Adam knew he was naked and asked if he had eaten from the tree of knowledge that he commanded him not to eat from. Adam explained that his wife gave him the fruit. God asked the woman what she had done and the woman explained. She explained she had been deceived by the serpent into eating the fruit. (Genesis 3)

God cursed the serpent more than every other beast in the field. To the woman God said he would greatly multiply her sorrow and conception. To Adam God said the land is cursed for his sake because he did not listen to God when he commanded him not to eat the fruit. God then made clothes from tunics of skin to cloth the man and his wife. The Lord then said now man is like Him to know good and evil and now man MUST reach out to the tree of life and eat to live forever.  (Genesis 3)