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Browsing posts in: Hydrate Devotional Series

HYDRATE — Winning from the inside. (xtra post) Psalm 119:109 “Spiritual Tightrope”

When was the last time you thought about TIGHTROPE performances.

My life constantly hangs in the balance,
but I will not stop obeying your instructions.
Psalm 119:109

I’m breaking the rules of my Hydrate Series where I said each blog post is about a Teaching or Command of Jesus from the New Testament. This segment is from the Old Testament. I will not number this teaching, but feel lead to include it in the series. I hope it challenges you like it does me.

I have seen a few tightrope performances. Some at circus events I’ve attended, and a couple via television as I watched someone cross the Niagara Falls on a tightrope.

Personally, I’ve never seen a person fall from the times I’ve watched any tightrope performances. So, after I decided to use the word tightrope today, curiosity lead me to research the subject. I came across a family of tightrope performers nicknamed “The Flying Wallendas.” (Very popular in the 1940’s) They are known for not using a safety net in their performances. They have fallen multiple times and some have died or been paralyzed, but they still refuse to use a safety net. They have a family slogan; “If we fall, we die.” The leader and founder of the tightrope performance, Karl Wallenda fell to his death at the age of 73 from a 10 story tightrope performance in Puerto Rico in 1978. The winds were blowing 30mph that day. The family still chooses to perform without a safety net. Its incredible.

Isn’t it interesting that of all the tightrope performances that exist, I chose to use this family as our example. I chose to talk about them. Why? Because they do it differently. Their performances take your breath away. If they fall, they die. Crazy? Yes. But when was the last time you ever talked about a tightrope performance? If not for their risk, they would be just an average, invisible, non-interesting and forgettable performing group. But because they have the element of life or death…here we are still talking about them!

THE TIGHTROPE.

You walk it everyday. Its a “fine-line” between holy living like Jesus and giving in to the desires of your flesh and thus living like the rest of the world.

THE TIGHTROPE.

You walk it everyday. Its a fine line between inviting someone to Church and giving them a chance to meet some incredible people and Jesus Christ, or just walking on by and ignoring the opportunity to possibly change their eternal destination.

Maybe it would be a good slogan for our personal lives as spiritual beings/Christians. “If we fall, people die.” You don’t die, if you fall into temptation. You must repent and ask for forgiveness, and Jesus says He will forgive you. But, that is because you have the Holy Spirit living in you, because you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior. SO WHO DIES IF WE FALL?

Other people.

If we fall from the tightrope walk of Loving people who are far from God, therefore not inviting them to be a part of Church…the bride of Jesus…well…these people can’t be forgiven…they don’t have the Holy Spirit living in them. How terrifying to be unforgiven…eternally. How terrifying for us to fall from our tightrope and the consequences of not inviting, or losing our credibility with other other people, influences their eternal death. The Apostle Paul loved people who were far from Jesus so much that he said he would be willing to spend eternity away from Jesus if all others would believe in Jesus as Lord. (See Romans 9:3) Talk about walking a tightrope! Jesus gave up His very life so that others may live in Him. Talk about walking the Tightrope!

You are walking a serious tightrope and Heaven and Hell are in the balance…FOR OTHER PEOPLE! The consequences are life or death…ETERNALLY.

There is no safety net. The stakes are way higher than being paralyzed or death of the physical body. This is spiritual eternity we are dealing with….for others!

Invite.
Worst they can do, is say no.
But then you just invite again, later.
And again.

Spend time with unchurched people. They need you. Please do not let ALL your time be spent with circles of other Christians. I created a new “ROUTINE 2013 booklet, where there are 13 challenges. One of the challenges is to try 13 things you’ve never tried before. If you sign up to learn something new…I challenge you to learn it from a group of non-christians. You’ll develop some friends and it will give you a chance to walk the tightrope of impacting their lives eternally. Please don’t just sit in Christian circles the rest of your life. Please don’t create a bunch of programs at your church where just your Church members get together all the time. Its not wrong to do that, but what does it do? It will cost others their eternal lives.

Walk the Tightrope. There is no safety net. Get in the circles of non-Christians.
Its walking a tightrope!
If we fall, people die.

Love you all.
My family and I are walking the tightrope with you.

Trent


Hydrate — Winning from the inside 34 (Matthew 7:3-5) Judging Part 2

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Matthew 7:3-5:

In my previous post, Hydrate 33, I wrote about how God has commanded us as the church to judge one another. If that sounds surprising to you, then I encourage you to read that entire post #33. Its long, but hopefully very educational for you, thus worth it.

This post is simply a part two of the last one. Please notice in this passage from Jesus that He does not tell us that we should not judge. He simply says that if we are going to judge others, then we must make sure we aren’t being hypocritical.

The Bible tells us, as Christians that we are to be the Light of the world and the Salt of the earth. That means we are to be purifiers. In order to purify we must first be pure. In order to be light we must first rid ourselves of darkness.

That is all Jesus is saying.
Are you in the habit of telling others where their faults are, but you are totally lacking self-awareness of your own faults?
If this is the case for you, you will be fruitless when it comes to influencing other people for the cause of Jesus Christ.

I am listing some Biblically mentioned sins below. Use the list to do a sin check in your life. If you are actively continuing in any of the sins below then please keep your mouth shut to others about how they should live their lives. You’ll only cause more damage to the Cause of Christ than good. First conquer the sins in your life, and then be a purifier for Jesus. Here’s the list.

1 Corinthians 5:11,  “I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer* yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.”

1 Corinthians 6:9-20, “9 Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 12 You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. 13 You say, “Food was made for the stomach, and the stomach for food.” (This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them.) But you can’t say that our bodies were made for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies. 14 And God will raise us from the dead by his power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead.
15 Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! 16 And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, “The two are united into one.”* 17 But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.
18 Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”

If you would like to see what other sins the Bible lists, then the list below is the listing of every Bible verse in the New Testament that lists specific sins that we are to conquer as Christians. (When you see the letters “ff” in the passage reference it simply means, “and following verses.”

2 Corinthians 12:20-21
Romans 1:29ff, 13:9-13
Galatians 5:16-25
1 Peter 4:3
James 3:14
Ephesians 5:3ff
Colossians 3:5ff
2 Peter 2:3-14ff

The BIble is not for the faint of heart! God desires a high standard of living and He asks us as Christians to hold each other accountable and judge one-another in love about how we live our lives. (He never asks us to judge people who are not Christians.)

Make sure you are holy, before you call other people “unholiness” out. And when you are living righteous and you begin to challenge others, please do it with love.

I’ll close this post with 1 Peter 3:15-16, “15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way.* Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. 17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!”

When it comes to helping others conquer their sin, as you conquer your own, use gentleness and respect.
Christianity has lost its sense of judgment. It is killing the Church.
Learn to judge the way Jesus teaches us to.
Its a tough thing to do.
It won’t make your popular, but it will make you like Jesus.


Hydrate — Winning from the inside 33 (Matthew 7:1-2) Judging

Matthew 7:1-2: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

If I am speaking the truth about you, and that truth hurts, am I judging you? It is of my opinion that our world has led people to believe that if you even raise your voice and get intense in speaking your thoughts that you are judging and out of order and you should be reprimanded. I have found that those who hold what I call “positional power”(which isn’t Christ-like influence) get very upset when they are held accountable, called out, confronted, or put in their place. When this happens, those of positional power cry from the rooftops that you are judging, arrogant, unholy or just lying. They do this because there is no other defense as their back is up against the wall and their positional power seat is beginning to collapse under the truth. Do I sound judgmental? I think I do. Here’s where I stir it up. Its okay to judge people. At the first reading of Matthew 7:1-2 it seems to read that it is wrong/evil to judge someone. Jesus doesn’t say that at all. What He is saying is this, “If you don’t want to be judged you should not judge.” Here’s the deal. The Bible never contradicts itself. Turn from this passage in Matthew to the Apostle Paul’s letter in 1 Corinthians 5. Verse 12 says it all. “It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.” Did I read that right? Did the Bible just tell me that its okay, in fact, that I should judge some?

You’ll have to judge for yourself whether or not you think the current condition of the average church around the world is in trouble or unhealthy. I think it is. I love the Church, and I acknowledge that she will never be perfect until Jesus returns. Even in the lack of health and ugliness, I still think the Church is beautiful. I also think that we can improve some of the Church’s ugliness, but not until we acknowledge the reasons behind it. I think, one of the first reasons of the ugliness, is that Church leaders and Christians have fallen prey to false teaching and have fallen prey to atrophy due to political correctness. The second reason is that we have reversed the order of Judging that Jesus exemplified for us.

I recommend that you do a Bible Study through your favorite gospel. In the study, watch how different groups of people responded to Jesus when He taught. From my perspective of such a study, I consistently see Jesus teaching, pretty much, the same principals throughout His 3 year ministry. However, there were two very opposite responses to this narrow message. The unholy were frequently and magnetically attracted to Jesus. The Religious were frequently and repulsively respondent to Jesus.

Am I incorrect in my judgement that in this 21st Century we have reversed this phenomenon? It seems, to me, that the religious today are fanatically attracted with one another and with Jesus and those who are far from Jesus want to get even farther from Him and His followers.

Who Changed? What changed? Jesus didn’t. The Bible is clear about that. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” So what happened?

A majority of Christians changed.

In my opinion, the average Christian has not only ignored Jesus’ teaching on Judging, but has taken it upon themselves to reverse the command in 1 Corinthians 5 and has gone out into the world to judge those who are far from God. Screaming from mega-phones that their evil behavior will send them to eternal damnation, or quietly from their corner offices force feeding biblical verses down the throats of those who think the Bible is a work of fiction. Christians telling unchurched people their behavior is wrong, demonstrating to a lost and confused world that Jesus is argumentative and demands rule following. This slow and steady unintentional reversal of this holy mandate has left the Church, in the eyes of the secular, impotent. In a take off of C.S. Lewis, this tragic flip-flop has castrated the stallion in hopes the gelding fairs well in reproduction.

I think that the average Christian verbally, but mostly non-verbally, demands that people who are far from Jesus Christ must first believe before they can belong. It is also of my opinion that those who do this, fit right into the mold of a Pharisee. Do you believe that people far from God must first believe in Jesus before they can belong to your friendship and love and circle of friends? Too many church people may say one thing, but their life choices and judgmental behavior toward people who are far from Christ, proves otherwise. This must change.

I believe, in large part, that this can only be corrected when those who are biblically mandated to lead, return back…repent…to a Jesus-Like style of leadership and teaching. I love the passage in Ephesians 4:11-16. (HCSB) This passage shows nearly a complete picture of how the church is to function in its leadership style and strategy.

“11 And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. 14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. 15 But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head —Christ. 16 From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.”

Imagine what could happen if those who have been called by God to be Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Pastors and Teachers, began to re-reverse the trend back to the high challenge of holy living and holding ourselves as Christians accountable to it. When was the last time you heard your church leader speak about sin? When was the last time you heard from a pulpit that Christians must stop sinning and live holy lives?

Some of you, at this point in this read, have been so seduced into this non-judgmental, politically correct Church world that you can’t believe that I wrote that Christians should stop sinning. You might be guilty of thinking that the Bible says no such thing, because you heard in your Bible study or in the last 52 sermons that we are all “sinners saved by grace.” Did you know that exact phrase is not in the Bible? Most will quote Romans 3:23, where Paul says, “all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.” Where does that passage say you are a sinner saved by Grace? Most preachers that preach what I call Ultra Grace Theology, use that passage, but they don’t keep reading into the next verse. Verse 24 says, “they need to be made FREE from sin through Jesus Christ.”

1 Corinthians 15:34 says, “Start thinking about what is right and stop sinning.”

Titus 2:11-15 says, “11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. 15 You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them. You have the authority to correct them when necessary, so don’t let anyone disregard what you say.”

Romans 6:14, “14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.” (Grace helps you stop sinning…it doesn’t give you a free ticket to sin.) Forgive me as I say, “Duh!”

What sin must you commit today? (Murder? Envy? Gossip? Theft? Adultery? Drunkenness? Slander?) Which sin is a guarantee for you to commit today?

What sin, when you are tempted by it, is guaranteed to win today? Sin, isn’t the one that is guaranteed to win. Holiness in Jesus Christ is the champion! Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me!” Do you believe that verse? Then keep your eyes on Jesus and venture out into this crazy world and kick sin in the testicles when it tempts you. Nobody is forcing you to sin. No…the ones who preach that you can live however you want, as they say, because you are an imperfect sinner saved by Grace, are the ones who have either corrupt theology or they can’t look themselves in the mirror and thus they have to preach a heavy message of Grace to justify their lifestyle. Is that Judgmental of me to say? I say yes. The judgmental side of 1 Corinthians 5. As Christians we’ve got to begin saying these things to each other and stop saying these things to those who don’t even believe Jesus is Lord yet. Please, Judge Correctly and in a holy Biblical way!

So, if the Bible says that we are to stop sinning then does that mean we can be perfect? The answer is a resounding no! Being imperfect is very different than committing sin under an umbrella of ultra false grace.

Don’t forget that in 1 John 5:17, “All wicked actions are sin, but not every sin leads to death.”

Let’s clarify what that verse means. Imagine an archer trying to hit the bullseye with his bow and arrow. When the archer intentionally aims at the bullseye, fires and misses…literally…that miss used to be called “sin.” Sin means to miss the mark. When a Christian who is living under the free gift of Salvation, through the accepted blood of Jesus Christ, keeps his/her eyes on Jesus (bullseye) and lives intentionally to please Him, but falls in an accidental sin, that is a sin that leads not unto death. Why? Because the person who sinned intentionally aimed at the bullseye and simply missed. Motives matter! Intentions are motives.

Now here’s the big difference. Imagine that same archer, aiming for a few seconds at the bullseye, but before he releases the arrow, intentionally turns 90 degrees and lets the arrow fly away from the bullseye…that is still called a sin…but it has tremendous other results. That kind of “sin” is how people die. Thus, according to 1 John 5:17, this is a sin that leads to death. This is a sin that was intentional, pre-meditated. This is the kind of sin that Hebrews 10:26-27 speak of. “26 Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. 27 There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies.”

This is the kind of sin that Paul tells us to Judge each other about! It saddens me that I have never, in my 42 years of life, ever been in a worship service where the preacher referenced this passage of Hebrews 10:26-27. This is the kind of sin where, after reading the Hebrews passage above, you almost think there is no forgiveness for it. However, we know this is not the case. This kind of sin is where the details of 1 Corinthians chapter 5 kick in. This is where we as Christians, if it’s necessary to make the person realize how eternally dangerous their intentional sin is, we should ask the person to change his/her behavior or kick them out of the church. What? You Scream! If you are struggling with this and think that it is unloving, unchrist-like or absurd…please read 1 Corinthians 5 in its short entirety.

Frankly, I love you too much to let you skirt away through your life without reminding you of the “horrible” passages of Hebrews 10 and 1 Corinthians 5. And, I love you so much, that I will risk you being angry at me and calling me judgmental because I, lovingly, called you out when I noticed you were sinning in a way that Christians should never sin.” I love you so much, that under the right circumstances, I would ask you to leave the church I lead. Is that judgmental? Yes. Is that love? Yes. A true christian is commanded in the Holy Bible to behave this way amongst fellow Christians. (Now I know this sets up a whole other argument as to what sin is and what it is not. I have people, who often get caught up in legalism with one another, take the Gospel/Cultural Test. If you don’t know that is, then we have to meet someday and you can ask me to take you through this wonderful test.) It will clarify very quickly what Christians should and should not judge each other over! …back to point…

I have been accused of judging others as I raised my voice to selfish and sinful action among Christian leaders.
I have been accused of being crazy and arrogant because I called out obvious sin in a group of people who declare they are christian and even more so, christian leaders.

I did it because I love them. Jesus didn’t ask you and me to be popular amongst one another as Christians. He commands us to live holy lives, to lead by example and to hold each other accountable to a high and holy standard. He asked us to do all this in love. But don’t forget that the One who is called Love…Jesus Himself…made a whip one time. Other time called the religious leaders foul names. Was that love? Of course it was!

Jesus is coming back. He paid a huge price so that we no longer have to be controlled by sin.
Those who willingly keep on sinning after declaring that Jesus is Lord and Lord of their lives, must be lovingly judged by the Church. (You are the Church!)

Jesus says, if you don’t want to be judged, then don’t judge.
He never said that it is wrong to judge.
He said whatever measure you use to judge, will be used against you.
That’s a pretty good checks and balances system, if you ask me!

I must be very careful with this issue. The next blog will be about Jesus possibly nailing me because I judged someone’s small sin while had a huge sin in my own life.


HYDRATE – Winning from the Inside 32 (Matthew 6:25-36) Worry


Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-36, 25 (NLT) “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God* above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

Jesus also said in Luke 12:25(NLT)
“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

Jesus spoke a lot about worry in just these two passages. I don’t have much more to say about worry than what Jesus already said. If I had more to say than what Jesus already said, then I would ‘worry’ that I might think I’m smarter than Jesus.

So, let me ask you 3 questions…

Do you worry? Are you worried about something?

How is all the worry working for you?

Stop It!


HYDRATE – Winning From the Inside 31 (Matthew 6:24) Magnify

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”Matthew 6:24 (NIV)

A man named Hippolytus was martyred in Rome in the third century. In the recorded incident it says he was a soldier who participated in the torture execution of St. Lawrence but converted as a result of that martyr’s example. He was then sentenced to be torn apart by horses. I mention this gruesome story for the purpose of trying to brand an image in our brains as to what happens to us (not physically…but every other way) when we try to serve multiple masters.

Have you ever said, “I’m torn between two ideas…I’m not sure what I should do?” Jesus warns us straight up that if you and I have multiple foundational authorities then we will end up hating one and loving the other. Which one do you think we naturally will have a tendency to obey? Its fair to say that if you obey one, that’s the one you love. If you disobey the other, that’s the one you hate. I think we naturally are drawn to love the easy master, the popular master, the master that requires less resistance, less sacrifice. That all sounds good until we think about the other master…the one that requires us to sacrifice, give, work hard, put in the extra effort, pay the price. What’s wrong with taking the easy road? I say, everything! I know you agree with me that the route that requires sacrifice, giving, hard work, extra effort, a price, is the route that is ultimately better for us. It most definitely makes for a better story when its over. But its so natural to want to travel the easy road. When we choose the easy road, who pays the price? The road doesn’t. We do! Why is it that we naturally want to choose the easy, lazy, and damaging path for a short term reward at the cost of a long term lasting reward? Its all crazy! The pull of the two forces is exhausting. We are actually told this in the Bible. The Apostle Paul wrote about it in Galatians 5:17. He said, “The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.” That passage has a heavy feel to it. It paints a picture of a man/woman in a continual wrestling match. A continual wrestling match is exhausting from all perspectives. It leads me to take another look at the picture above of the man being pulled apart.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Paul warns us that the two forces are constantly fighting each other. It doesn’t say that they will constantly being striving to pull you apart, it says they fight each other. This idea gives me hope in that it seems I can train myself to obey the right way every time. Isn’t that a possibility? If I have no hope that I can actually develop the discipline to choose the right path every time, then I am a dejected and hopeless man. Jesus says not to have two masters. Paul says the two masters will continually fight each other. We know that we will be tempted by both masters until we die, but we also know that we get to choose which one wins. This fact comforts me, challenges me, and inspires me to want to win and thus choose the right master/choice every time!

Some might argue and say, “Trent, we are sinners and none of us are perfect, its not possible to choose right every time.”

I would disagree. If I get technical with this argument then I would argue back that a choice is always a choice that can be made in the right way…every time. A mistake, an accident…even when it’s sin, isn’t necessarily a choice…sometimes mistakes/accidents happen so fast, it really wasn’t a choice. It happened. I think these accidental sins are what John references in 1 John 5:16-17. John mentions a sin that doesn’t lead to death and sins that do lead to death. Choosing sin and Falling into sin are very different motives and very different sins. Jesus has compassion for one and despises the other, although both can be forgiven, if the person who sinned confesses and repents as 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

I believe that we can choose the right way every time. Examples?
You can choose not to murder…every time you are tempted.
You can choose not to gossip…every time you are tempted.
You can choose to forgive…every time you are hurt.
You can choose to not to steal…every time theft is an option.
You can choose to only drink a little and not get drunk…every time you have alcohol present.
You can choose to do the right thing every time…even when the wrong thing is easier.

If I really love you, then I will stick to my guns on this thought. You and I can choose right every time! When we don’t choose right, the only person we should blame is ourselves. When we choose wrong, then the reality is that we actually chose wrong twice. When I choose wrong, I chose to commit a sin and also chose to ignore my best master Jesus Christ. Choosing to do this is inexcusable. I think when I make the wrong choice, I can explain it, but it doesn’t excuse it. I must, then, face the truth and admit that I simply chose to ignore what Jesus commanded me to do. When I do this, I can’t think of more dangerous way to live.

The hard truth is this. These choices to sin don’t just happen in one instant. A tough example is the example of when someone has a sexual affair. The people committing the sin didn’t just wake up the next morning wondering what happened. No! The affair more than likely started months earlier. In the case of a man who chose to go to a bar and have a one night stand, he actually started having marriage problems way earlier than just that night. In the case of a couple who had a sexual affair, it actually started at the office when they chose to begin to playfully and “harmlessly” tease one another. Then over the next couple of weeks and months this teasing couple actually look forward to getting to the office a bit early, they put on an extra spray of cologne/perfume before they leave for the office.

When we choose to obey the wrong choice at the cost of obeying Jesus, it actually started with a secret. In option one above, the man who had the one night stand refused to talk to his accountability partner at church and instead chose to keep it a secret that he was struggling in his marriage. In the example of the couple at the office, they both, secretly, put that extra spray on, and left for the office early.

Honoring the wrong master…always…starts with a secret. Whether the master is money…which I haven’t talked about in this post, or any other master that is trying to pull you away from Jesus who paid the price to be your master. Jesus earned the right to be your master. Every other master is simply a selfish bastard that wants to justify its evil by having you as company!

Here’s the way to wrap this post up. A Master is simply a Magnifying Glass. Many times the two masters that are pulling at you, are both good. In fact all sin is usually doing a good thing…out of bounds. Examples? Sex is good thing…only with your spouse. Money is good…love of money is the root of all evil. Alcohol is good…too much alcohol is evil. Ambition is good, selfish ambition is evil. Lust is good, lust for created things is evil.

Which master will you choose? Each choice you make, actually is two choices being made. Love one…Hate the other…two choices. When we choose the master who is not Jesus…we actually are saying with our actions…(actions speak louder than words)…”Jesus…I hate you!”

Masters are simply magnifying glasses that show, in a big way, who we really are. Money is just a magnifying glass that exposes who you really are and thus magnifies how you use the gift of money. Sex is a magnifying glass that exposes (no pun intended) who you are as you choose who you have sex with…do you honor God with your sex or the devil with your sex? (Love one/Hate the other) Jesus Christ is a magnifying glass, that when you choose to live for Him, it magnifies to everybody around you, who you are. The devil is a magnifying glass, that when you choose to live for him, he magnifies to everybody around you, who you are.

It helps me to think of everything as a magnifying glass that when I choose it, the whole world sees who I am, MAGNIFIED. Do I live big for Jesus or for other masters?

You cannot serve two masters…you will hate one at the cost of loving the other.

I choose to love Jesus Christ. I want to Magnify Him and when I do, He magnifies me back…and the world notices!
You will be presented with the opportunity to follow many different masters today.
Which one will you allow to magnify you?