My Fault

2 Chronicles 28:19
“For the Lord brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had encouraged moral decline in Judah and had been continually unfaithful to the Lord.”

It seems to me that men are addicted to titles. We give nicknames to our friends and relatives, the moment a catastrophe happens people are racing to give it a catchy name and every era is classified by some behavior associated with it. We have been introduced to the hippies, the yuppies, genX and the Millennials. I think if we were to honestly evaluate the age we live in today we might call it the “blame someone elsers.”

The moment something bad happens we begin to look for someone to blame. Just recently my son was rear-ended by another driver. Within seconds of the accident the person claimed he backed into them. They were on a flat surface, waiting at a stop light and the woman was looking down at her phone, yet the accident was clearly someone else’s fault. This problem has become an epidemic and has spread throughout our land. If we don’t want this to continue and destroy us, it is time we start looking for a cure.

If we will look into the Bible and allow it to look into us we will find that we are taught to take responsibility for our own actions and that personal sin will result in being brought low. When something bad happens, instead of hunting for someone else to blame we should immediately look within to see what we have done wrong and look up to God seeking His forgiveness and remedy to the problem.

Jim

 

Who’s To Blame?

Amos 6:14
“But, behold, I will raise up a nation against you, O house of Israel,” Says the Lord God of hosts; “And they will afflict you from the entrance of Hamath to the Valley of the Arabah.”

Israel was facing calamity; their economy was in the tank and the nations around them were becoming an increasing threat. Soon they would be overthrown and taken captive by Assyria. These difficulties, although natural, had a spiritual cause and remedy. They were not being defeated because their armies were weak and untrained, or because their numbers were too small to defend themselves. They were simply facing the consequences of turning away from God. Drought, famine, pestilence, barrenness, defeat and other calamities were some of the consequences Israel faced because they turned their backs on the Lord. With divine guidance, the prophets heralded a message that the difficulties they faced were nothing short of the judgment of God.

It is difficult today to directly associate every calamity the nations face as divine judgment. We cannot know for sure if an earthquake or other natural or manmade disaster has anything to do with divine retribution, or if it is simply the consequences of living in a fallen world, surrounded by sinful men. But one thing is sure, these types of events should grab our attention, and turn it upward. Jesus explained that the times leading to His return would be marked by wars, famines and natural disasters. Instead of summits on climate change, we should be seeing gatherings of people determined to seek the Lord on behalf of the nations. What the world needs, today, is people who are willing to stand in the gap and intercede on behalf of those who have not yet come to faith in Christ.

Pastor Jim

 

The Blame Game 

Ezekiel 18:14
“If, however, he begets a son who sees all the sins which his father has done, and considers but does not do likewise, he shall surely live.”

It seems we have become a generation who blames our faults on others. No one wants to take responsibility for their own actions. Attitudes of the heart, as well as sinful behavior, are often blamed on our upbringing or our genetics. As much as this may seem like a modern problem, Ezekiel reveals this is actually a human nature problem. 2600 years ago this attitude was so commonplace it was captured in a proverb; the people could be heard saying,

“‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
And the children’s teeth are set on edge”

Ezekiel’s message is twofold. First, he begins by making it clear, in the eyes of God, each individual is responsible for his own actions. While our genetics and our upbringing may make it easier to fall into certain sins, these things do not excuse improper behavior. Each one will stand individually before God for his actions. Second, Ezekiel also makes it clear that we can turn from our past actions and live pleasing to the Lord.

Many people seem to repeat the same mistakes their parents and grandparents made. If a person was mistreated or neglected by their parents, they have a greater tendancy to treat their children the same way. If a person grew up with parents who abused alcohol or drugs, it is common for the children to follow the same path. One of the great promises of Ezekiel is that you can get out of that cycle. If we choose to surrender to Christ, allow His Word to direct us, and His Spirit to empower us, we can be freed from the tyranny of the cycle that has ruled our familes for generations.

Whatever your past may have been, now is the time to turn to the Lord and live.

Pastor Jim

 

The Innocent 

Job 4:7
“Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright ever cut off?”

While Job was suffering the physical and emotion pain brought on from his trials, three friends arrived to offer their condolences, and seek to bring him answers. Eliphaz was first to speak. It seems he could not comprehend a situation where people did not deserve the suffering they were experiencing. This causes him to ask a very important question, has anyone ever died who was truly innocent?

The Bible teaches that there are none who are completely righteous, each and every person is a sinner and has practiced sin. It is humorous how some people take offense to that. They become upset when they are told they are sinners, even though all the evidence supports the Bible’s claim. A few years ago I was in West Africa on a short term mission trip. I, and another man, began to witness to a group of young men. When the conversation turned to talk about their need for a Savior, one of the young men declared that he was not a sinner. Surprised a bit by his statement, I paused to think about how to respond, while the gentlemen with me simply turned to one of his friends and asked if they thought their friend was a sinner. They all broke out in laughter. Apparently, in their minds he was the biggest sinner of them all.

The reality is, no one is innocent. We are born sinners, and we prove it everyday of our lives by the way we treat others, and ignore the ways of God. Because of our sinful nature, we find ourselves under the judgment of God, facing eternity apart from Him. It is here, where Eliphaz’ question finds its answer. There is One who perished being innocent. That One, is the sinless Son of God, who died on behalf of the guilty. Jesus lived a life without sin, in order to die a death that would pay the price for sin. At His death, even His accusers admitted He had done nothing wrong. His death was in our place, the innocent for the guilty, that He may offer us eternal life.
The solution to our sin problem is found in receiving Jesus Christ. If you want your sins forgiven, and the free gift of eternal life, then invite Jesus to forgive you of sin, to become your Savior and Lord. Take a moment to pray:

“Jesus, I confess that I am a sinner, I ask you to forgive me of my sin, and become my Lord. I pray you would help me leave my old ways behind, and follow after You.”

If you prayed that prayer, let us know so we can help you follow Jesus.

Pastor Jim