repent

Yes, Words Matter!

  The latest buzz among the celebrity world is Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s “Ban Bossy” Campaign. The goal is to eliminate using the word ‘bossy’ for women. Celebrities Beyonce, Jane Lynch, Jennifer Garner, Diane von Furstenberg, Condoleezza Rice, Jimmie Johnson, and the CEO of the Girl Scouts are all on the bandwagon marketing this campaign.  The campaign is predicated on the belief that changing the word will change the way people perceive women who are bossy: pushy, stubborn, assertive, outspoken, determined women.  During the video clip promoting the campaign, it accurately states, “words matter.”

Yes, our words do matter!  Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” Jesus, ‘The Living Word’, says in Matthew 12: 36-37, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Satan also knows that the words we use matter. That’s why since time began his goal has been to twist, change, and eliminate God’s Word. The word Satan would most love to ban is the word ‘Jesus’, because there is life-giving power in that Name! (See our blog “What’s In a Name? Everything!”). Another word that Satan seeks to ban because it is inextricably linked with Jesus is the word ‘sin’. As Christian author Basilea Schlink writes, “the Savior and the sinner are inseparable”*. Sin literally means ‘to miss the mark’ (of God’s commands) or ‘to wander from the path of righteousness’, ‘to wander from the law of God’. Sin, therefore, necessarily means the acknowledgement of God— something that Satan definitely does not want us to do.

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Satan has been the instigator behind trying to remove the word ‘sin’ from our public arena, and even from seminaries and the pulpits of many churches.  Rather than calling those things that violate God’s commands ‘sin’, we now commonly use euphemisms for sin that are far more benign, such as: an ‘indiscretion’; ‘human nature’; alternative lifestyle; addiction; disorder; predisposition; bad habit; character flaw; or even one’s ‘choice’.

So does it really matter what we call something?  Yes! It can be the difference between freedom and bondage; between life and death!

Envision this scenario:  You have cancer and go to your physician who tells you that you merely have a bad cold, so he gives you a prescription for cold medicine.  Does it make a difference if he calls it cancer or a cold?  You bet it does! The severity of cancer and the treatment for it is markedly different than the severity and treatment for a cold.  Similarly, if we do not call sin what it is, people will be deceived and either ignore their incurable condition or spend time, energy and their very lives looking for a remedy that can’t cure them. And sin always leads to death…unless a person receives the only ‘cure’… faith in the atoning work of Jesus’ blood that was shed on the cross to pay the penalty for their sin.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Satan, the author of death, desires that you and I ‘misdiagnose’ our  ‘sin condition’ so that we won’t seek after Jesus, the Great Physician and the Only One Who has the cure for sin. Only Jesus can set us free from the penalty of sin! Only Jesus can set us free from the power of sin!

Ignoring our sin or calling it something other than sin does not change the reality that it is sin; sin ignored, and sin ‘by any other name’ that we choose to call it, still leads to death.

The only cure for your sinful, fateful condition is found in believing that Jesus, the Son of God, died on the cross and took on your sin and also the penalty that your sin deserved. It means humbling yourself and confessing that you are indeed a sinner, recognizing that you have violated the law of God and therefore deserve the penalty for doing so, which is death.  To be set free from the power of sin in your life requires repenting of your sin, or in other words—turning away from it— and choosing to live for the glory and purposes of God.

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We are promised:

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

“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning [to Me] and resting [in Me] you shall be saved; in quietness and in [trusting] confidence shall be your strength … “Isaiah 30:15 Amplified

"Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you…” Acts 3:19-20

When we call sin for what it is and repent of it, we will be freed from the bondage of our sin, saved, and able to experience joy and rest in the arms of Jesus, Who gave up His life so that we could have abundant and eternal life in Him.

Ask the Holy Spirit to convict you of any sin in your life that you may be ignoring or calling by another name. Ask Him to forgive you of your sin and to give you the strength to turn from it. Jesus longs for you to experience the freedom and joy that comes from confessing and repenting of your sin!

*From I Found the Key to the Heart of God by Basilea Schlink

Written by Julie Van Gorp

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Fleas and Sin: Both Leave a Bite so Rid them From Your Life!

Recently I went out of town and I was catching up with my husband about what had happened on the home front during my absence. He mentioned that he’d noticed fleas on our dog while he was giving the dog a haircut. I asked him what he’d done to treat the fleas; to my despair he said he’d thought they would just ‘go away’ by cutting his hair so he’d done nothing else.  Although we have two cats and a dog, we’ve thankfully been ‘flea free’ for more than a decade but I remembered all too well what an enormous hassle it is to get rid of fleas.

I spent literally all of the next day and night thoroughly vacuuming my house and spraying every square inch for fleas; I bathed my dog; and sprayed a treatment on my two cats. As I did so it occurred to me how much fleas are like sin.  If you’ve never had fleas, then count your blessings! But I’m sure you’ve dealt with sin, so hopefully this will be a reminder of how to deal with it.

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·      We easily can be deceived into thinking that one or two sins—just like one or two fleas—are no big deal.  But if left ‘untreated’, both sin and fleas will ‘bite you’, multiply, and lead to devastating consequences not only for you but also for others in your household. “The truth sets you free” (John 8:32). Walking in the truth means realizing you must deal with your sin and not falsely assume—like my husband did with the fleas— that it will just ‘go away’. Proverbs 28:13 states: “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper,but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”

·      Fleas come into a house on a human or animal ‘host’. Once inside, fleas seek out other warm-blooded bodies in the household on which to feed. Similarly, if we ‘carry’ sin in our lives it will not just affect us, but it also will negatively impact the lives of others, most often those in our ‘household’ who are closest to us.

·      Fleas lie in wait for a host—a mammal they can feed off of because they live on blood. Sin also is always lurking; seeking to ‘devour us’ and we must be vigilant or it will rule over us.  “But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:7

·      The earlier you realize you have a flea problem and address it, the easier it is to get rid of the fleas before they infest your whole house.  Likewise, the sooner you deal with your sin before it becomes a habitual sin (or strong-hold), the easier it will be for you to be free from it and the less damage you will cause other household members.

·      Just like with fleas where you must remove every vestige of them by bathing all of your pets; vacuuming each room; spraying every carpet and piece of upholstery; and spraying the outside of your house; you must eliminate the besetting sinentirely or you can be sure it will find its way back into your life.

·      The best way to handle fleas and sin is the preventative approach. The number one way to keep fleas away is to faithfully apply a monthly treatment to your cat or dog. Similarly, the best way to keep sin out of your life is by faithfully reading your Bible; regularly confessing your sins; and daily calling upon the Holy Spirit to empower you to live in obedience to God’s commands.

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

Can you ever get rid of fleas?  It’s not easy, but with a lot of work and determination you can do it! There are many suggested methods for ridding your home and pets of fleas. However, there is only one remedy for removing sin from your life. Amazingly, the major work required for ridding your life of sin has already been done by Someone Else! The only work for you to do is to put your faith in Jesus’ finished, redemptive work on the cross on your behalf. When you believe in what Jesus did for you (John 6:29), you can be sure that your sins are forgiven and that you are free from both the power and penalty of sin.

Psalms 103:12: As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Are you denying that there is sin in your life and just ‘hoping it will go away’? Or are you faithfully going to and trusting in Jesus, the Only One who has the power to take away your sin now and to remove it from you forever?

Written by Julie Van Gorp

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How To Experience Spiritual Revival

The foundations of our nation are crumbling: we are experiencing moral collapse everywhere we look.Many are crying out for revival—or healing—in our land. How can we create revival? 

There can be no revival without true repentance.

Repentance cannot come until we humble ourselves and see our sin in light of a Holy and Just God who created us and made us for His pleasure and for His purposes (Isaiah 43:7-9). If we wish to see revival in America it must begin with admitting:

  • - I am a sinner in need of Jesus as my Savior
  • -Confession of my own sin

When was the last time that you spent time considering God and asking Him to convict you of your sin?If you desire change in our land, have you considered that the change that brings revival must first begin in you?

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Years ago I used to wonder why God did not change the problems in my life, in our nation, and in the world. As I came to know Him better through spending time in His Word, I realized that God has given us the prescription for change.

It can be found in 2nd Chronicles 7:14, “If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. “ Amplified version

This is an admonition to “My people”—to God’s people, not to the world in general.It assumes that God’s people—those who claim to know Him and choose to be aligned with Him—have gone astray.It is imperative that we as the Church:

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  • Quit looking to others to change in order for revival to come upon our land
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  • Open up our eyes, humble ourselves, and realize that we are the ones who have turned from God

After meditating on that verse, I have made it a daily practice to ask God to reveal my sins so I may repent. I have also asked Him to show me the sins of the Church that I might “stand in the gap” and pray for the Body of Christ to repent as well.

It is foolish to think that we will not reap the punishment that a Holy God and Our Creator has decreed for those who turn away from His just and good commands and embrace evil.

“The Harbinger” by Jonathan Cahn is a New York bestseller that hypothesizes that America, like Israel before her, is under judgment. He states that a series of judgments are forthcoming unless we repent.

Any honest appraisal of America’s history will see that we are a nation that was founded upon biblical precepts by God-fearing men.However, we have rebelled against God, the Source of all of this nation’s blessings. God’s Word is very clear that there will be blessings for obedience to His commands and curses for disobedience—for both individuals and nations.

So, is there hope for our nation? Can there be revival in the land? The key question to be asked first is, “Are you willing to repent of your own sin so that God can bring revival in you?”

Written by Julie Van Gorp

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