What Happens When A Christian Sins?

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23-24

The simple truth is even as Christians we are still sinners.

Our salvation does not make us immune to the sinful schemes of Satan and the sinful temptations that are embedded in our hearts.

Therefore what happens when a Christian sins?

First when a Christian sins:

We Are Separated From God

“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.”  Isaiah 59:2

When we sin we are separated from God.

While God has not gone anywhere we because of our sins have moved away from Him.

Therefore, as a Christian:

We Must Ask Forgiveness

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”   1 John 1:9

When we sin God desperately wants us back in his good graces.

God sent Jesus to earth to die for our sins giving us the opportunity to ask forgiveness.

So as a Christian we are forgiven:

We Are Restored

When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” “I’ll turn things around for you.   Jeremiah 29:11-19 The Message

The sins we commit have lasting effects.

The people we hurt, the reputation we have lost, the resources we have squandered.

God wants us back on track:

  • He wants us back using our talents for good
  • He wants us back doing His will
  • He wants us back to receive the full force of His love

Therefore when we sin God will not only forgive us but He will restore us giving us a hope and power for our future.

A future where sin can be avoided if:

 We Follow The Light

“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”   John 8:12

God’s expectation for Christians after we sin is to “sin no more”.

While avoidance of sin is impossible for the weak creatures that we are.

We have no opportunity to overcome sin without walking in the light of Christ.

“For I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.”  Philippians 4:13

What Happens When A Christian Sins?

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” John 2:1

With Jesus Christ as our advocate when we sin:

  • We have hope for a reunion
  • We have hope for forgiveness
  • We have hope for restoration
  • We have hope for God’s guiding light

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23-24

 

Moving Beyond Pink

October has been spent in the splendor of pink.  The color and the month has been the backdrop to both increase awareness of Breast Cancer and to tell the stories of the courageous men and women who have the disease.

But now that October is down to a precious few days, the brightness of pink is about to fade.  So the question is this: What happens to our awareness, our money and our compassion when the clock strikes November 1st?

Yes, many of us will be moving beyond pink when Breast Cancer awareness month ends in November.  However, in November those with Breast Cancer will not be moving on from the ravages of the disease.

God’s Word in Jeremiah 29 provides clear guidance and hope for those who live every day with Breast Cancer.

God tells the captive Israelites in Babylon to do one thing during the challenges of bondage: “Prosper”

Despite their dire situation, God commanded His people to prosper.  God specifically told them to prosper by:

  • Building homes
  • Planting gardens
  • Having children

Despite the dire conditions of exile, God commands His children to prosper.

Despite battling the devastations of Breast Cancer, God commands His children with the disease to also prosper.

Therefore, in these days beyond the pink hue of October. God wants Breast Cancer patients, survivors and their families to:

  • Prosper by: Going out and living our lives not as an exile but as a glorious open disciple for the Lord.
  • Prosper by: Returning to work with renewed excellence at your chosen profession. Not as a victim of Breast Cancer but as a victorious child of God.
  • Prosper with: A renewed faith that God’s promises will be met. And just like the Babylonians, we will be delivered, renewed and restored from Breast Cancer.  If not in this life, the restoration will occur in the life to come.

As we move beyond a pink October of awareness, listen to Jeremiah 29:11 and let’s embrace God’s plans and command of prosperity for all of His children especially those combatting difficulties.

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 

Live long and prosper Breast Cancer patients and survivors

…. Live long and prosper as we all move beyond the pink.

God’s Plan For You In 2016

As I write this post we are 74 days away from New Year’s Day 2016.    While it is hard to believe that 2015 is almost over, our thoughts must now turn to how to make 2016 a success.

God has plans for us in 2016

God makes it clear in Jeremiah 29:11-13 that He has plans for us:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

What is God’s plan for us in 2016?

Psalms 1 outlines three powerful objectives that God has planned for us.  Achieving them will ensure our success in  2016.

  • Stay Away From Wickedness

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers.  Psalms 1:1

God wants us to stay away from all forms of wickedness.  Including the wickedness we can find and produce for ourselves online via the internet.  From the websites we visit to the content we post, to the pictures we put up our thoughts and interests can be influenced in positive and negative ways by the internet.

Let us pledge in 2016 to use the wonders of the instant connection and worldwide reach of the internet, not run with the wicked, or to become wicked but to be in all things, a credit to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” Provers 23:7

  • Meditate On God’s Word

…but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.  Psalms 1:2

Often biblical meditation is confused with bible reading. While reading the Word is vital and important.  The objective of biblical meditation is to make the conceptual nature of the Word of God a reality our lives.

The Hebrew word for meditate is “hagah” which means to ponder, mourn, mutter, roar, speak, study, talk, or utter”.

Therefore, our goal in 2016 should be to meditate on God’s Word, thinking about it over and over, filling our minds and hearts so much with it that we meet the third and final goal God has for us in 2016.

  • Become Strong And Fruitful

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,     which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither whatever they do prospers.  Psalms 1:3

Clearly God wants us to prosper. However, considering what God has told us in Isaiah 55:8-9  “My thoughts are not your thoughts, and My ways are not your ways”

We must believe that God intends that our prosperity is far more that the earthly trappings of houses, status and money.

Rather my goal for 2016 is to continually seek and do God’s Will.  For it is only in God’s Will that I will achieve the prosperity that God has promised.

74 Days of Glory

While we are less than 74 days away from the start of a new year.   We can start our new life with God directing our plans today.

Because serving God is not a New Year’s resolution that is not a one day wonder that we make up today day and hope to keep tomorrow.  Rather serving God is an everyday commitment to allow God to direct the plans for our lives.

For God has declared: “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

It is my prayer that you will let God direct your plans now. Making the 74 days leading to 2016 more meaningful than ever leading all of us to a most successful 2016.

An Excellent Shepherd For The Flock

With nearly a year until the presidential election the candidates are in full force vying for position.  Debates, speeches, charges, and counter charges, along with massive amounts of money are being raised and spent.  All to choose the next President of the United States.  — The shepherd for our national flock.

However, before we get too caught up in the hoopla of election year politics let us remember one thing.  That “the Lord is our shepherd.”

His love, mercy, grace, goodness and protection are far more that any candidate can promise, and much more than any president can deliver.

Ezekiel 34:8-29 highlights how God the excellent shepherd tends to us His flock.

  • He brings the scattered sheep back into the fold

God is ready willing and able to take us back into His arms regardless of the sin that we have committed.

All we have to do is ask: In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. Ephesians 1:7

  • He binds up the injured and strengthens the weak

Life is a contact sport in addition to the physical injuries, our souls can be hurt by the very people that we often give our deepest love and trust to.

God is all about healing our hurts both physical and mental.   He is there to restore, renew and revive our mind, body and soul.  Because earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.  Thomas Moore, Come, Ye Disconsolate  

  • He judges between the sheep, goats and rams

God is not blind to the right and wrong doings of this world. He is the ultimate and in fact the only real judge of our behavior on this earth.  And despite what some may see as a lost and sinful world…God’s Will, will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Matthew 6:10

As our excellent shepherd God will remove shepherds who do not care for his flock.  In Ezekiel he removed the wicked shepherds and replaced them first with his chosen one David, and then His only son Jesus.

God our excellent shepherd gave us Jesus to restore the broken covenant with his sheep. Giving us the opportunity for everlasting life with our Lord.

Meanwhile, as we await the glorious return of Jesus to govern us again on earth.   The Lord has given us the free will to govern ourselves.

And as we evaluate the candidates for the presidency and other offices. It would be wise for us to use the yardstick of care established by God, the excellent shepherd of the flock.

 

 

Shirley Black: A Tribute To A Breast Cancer Survivor

Shirley Black is one of the most open and giving people I have ever met.

Each year when writing my annual blog for breast cancer awareness month, she has always been open about her experiences with cancer and her commitment to help others on a similar journey.

Two years ago when I asked Shirley if she ever wondered why she was the one stricken.  Her response while startling to me, was not surprising to those who know and love her.  She simply said: “Why not me?”

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 231,840 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in American women in 2015.

While less than 1% of new breast cancer diagnoses occur among men, it is possible for men to develop the disease.

The American Cancer Society predicts of the approximate 40,420 deaths from breast cancer this year, an estimated 450 of them will be men.  African American men have a higher mortality rate compared to other races.

Some additional facts as we observe October Breast Cancer Awareness month:

  • The biggest risk factors for breast cancer are being a woman and growing older. The average age of diagnosis is 61.
  • The mortality rate from breast cancer is higher for African American women than for white women and women of other races. The survival rate in African American women is also shorter.
  • Breast Cancer is the 2nd highest killer of African American women, 1st is lung cancer.
  • Mammography is not prevention. Getting regular mammograms does not prevent you from getting breast cancer, but it does help with early detection which can be the key to survival
  • Cancer survival starts with maintaining a healthy weight as overweight and obese women and men tend to be diagnosed with cancer.
  • As with other illnesses, it starts with healthy eating to include 4 – 5 servings of fruits and vegetables.
  • Most women who find their own breast cancer do so as part of normal routines (showering, getting dressed, etc.) not during systematic monthly breast self-exams.

For over 30 years, breast cancer survivor Shirley Black has been on the forefront of awareness campaigns that have helped move the disease from behind closed doors to an open conversation.  Her efforts along with those of many others, have saved countless lives.

On February 11, 2015, Shirley died not of breast cancer but from another form of cancer.  While many may say that she lost her battle with cancer, I and others who admired and loved her would disagree.

For Shirley lived her life with cancer as Paul commanded us in Romans 5:3-4
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope”

With a strong character led by her faith, Shirley used her cancer as a platform to help others to not only to endure but to survive breast cancer.

Therefore, as we start this month of breast cancer awareness our thoughts turn to the courage of Shirley Black and others who instead of saying “why me?” said “why not me?”

With that attitude, Shirley and others like her emerged from the dark days of sickness to the sunny days of wellness. Devoting their renewed lives to encouraging, assisting and loving others who had also been stricken with breast cancer.

Today, like every day during her life, Shirley Black is raising awareness of breast cancer, its prevention, its treatment and its cure.

And in doing so Shirley’s life echoed Isaiah’s commission from the Lord when Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”

Responding to the Lord, Isaiah said: “Here I am! Send me.”  (Isaiah 6:8)

Shirley Black in saying “why not me?” answered the Lord’s call for ministry to those with breast cancer and greater awareness of the disease.

We can make no better tribute to Shirley’s memory and her wonderful spirit than to answer the call to raise awareness about breast cancer. Not only during the month of October, but every day and every month of the year.

Because for this call, we must answer as Shirley Black did “why not me?”