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Enslaved -Mastered by Sin

Enslaved -Mastered by Sin

 

Slavery is perhaps the most common problem on the planet.  There has been to my knowledge no time in human history in which at least one person has not been enslaved.  (Except perhaps before the fall)  This makes slavery the longest running problem we have yet to solve.

To truly do a discussion of slavery justice we need to define our terms.  There are actually in just about every culture two types of slavery.  Its important to distinguish between these two things because many of us may be fine with and even have experienced one form of slavery.  While the other form has much worse implications.

Indentured Servitude

Indentured servitude is the most accepted form of slavery, and many of us have experienced it at some point in our lives.  The basic idea is that you are a slave in order to pay off a debt.  This has looked different in different cultures but the most relatable version would have to be what happens to middle class children!

No! you did not read that wrong.  Middle class children and teens are the largest segment of our american population that deal with this form of slavery.  You in fact probably experienced a form of it when you were young.

Take yourself back to the young headstrong child you once were and think about that time we all had when we (or more likely our sibling who pinned it on us) got into trouble.  Specifically remember when you broke something or destroyed property.  If you had a family like mine you were marched over to whoever owned said destroyed property and told that you had to pay them back for there “stupid whatever” that you broke that shouldn’t have even been there in the first place.

Now as a child or teen, again if you were like me, you didn’t have a whole lot of money.  What this led to then was the next four weekends of your life mowing grass, doing dishes, and washing clothes all for no pay until finally you have worked off your debt to old lady “what’s her name”.  That in a nutshell is indentured servitude.

Oppressive Servitude

Oppressive servitude is the type of slavery however that most often keeps us up at night.  It is an inhuman act of betrayal and violence that has been practiced for almost all of time.  It is the taking of another person or people from there life, at no fault of there own and forcing them to work in terrible conditions, until they are no longer of use.

This type of slavery has taken many forms from sexual slavery of young girls, to the enslavement of africans as cheep labor.  Each of these is despicable and causes a deep yearning in my soul to seek out and to save those who find themselves captured.

It is in this mindset of yearning that we should consider our spiritual lives and the role Christ plays in this world.

See the Bible makes clear that we enter into this world enslaved to sin. (John 8:33)  Make no mistake if you are reading this you were enslaved to sin. (Rom 6:5-7)  This means that by the very nature of slavery we are oppressed by sin and we do many things at the call of our “dark master” of which we should be ashamed.

Its at this understandable point that we start to compare ourselves to the above descriptions, and because we all think of ourselves as generally good and decent people who have never murdered, cheated, or stolen we put ourselves into the category of the oppressed servitude. In delusion we consider ourselves simply victims of chance.

How could sin have done this to us?  Dragged us out of our comfort and contentment and enslaved us!

However, look again at the descriptions that were given, and search your heart for the truth.  None of us were dragged kicking and screaming into slavery.  Sure we were born bad, but we were created for righteousness.  It is in an examination of the evidence that we are forced to admit, we are not oppressed but simply indebted to our “dark master”.

See we all committed acts that have run up our account.  We owe more than we could ever pay and because of that debt we were turned over from birth to our “dark master”.  We are then starting in a world trying to work off a debt that can never be payed only increased.

It is in this reality that we see the true beauty of God.  Who did not rescue us from random chance. Who did not rescue us from an enemy force.  We see the beauty of a God who rescued us from a debt of our own creation.  Who rescued us from our own pride and self worth and asks nothing of us in return except to trust in Him.

Make no mistake you are enslaved….but you do not have to be.

unchained

 

 

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Posted by on September 28, 2016 in Uncategorized, Unchained

 

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Time and Place

“For everything there is a  season, and a time for every matter under heaven:” Ecc 3:1

It is amazing that God ordained all things to happen inside his timing and will.  He set up the rules and order of this world and set all things in there place.  God has, as Ecclesiastes 3 says, given everything a season and a time.

What does this mean for our lives though?

Has God so controlled our lives and actions that we have no freedom?

No!  Rather God has placed markers and “signs” and given us his word that we might understand that every action, desire, and outcome has a place.  No thing that happens to us is ever out of Gods control, and we need not fear finding ourselves in a situation that He has not planned.

Solomon uses quite a few “this/that” statements to show the control and placement of things in this world.  These few verses are easy to both over and under spiritualize, however they are powerful statements of Gods control and plan for our world and lives.

Born and Die (V.2)

Solomon starts out slow and easy by just letting us know that God has ordained a time for our birth and our death.  No accidents occur in Gods world.  No one has been born or ever will be born that God did not know about first.  Just as know one has been born a surprise to God no one has died as a surprise to God.  We enter and exit this world as a planned creation of God, and he watches out for us throughout it all. (Matt 10:29)

Break Down and Build Up (V.3)

Christ is referred to as the potter (Isa 64:8) and we the clay.  If you ever watch a potter throw a clay pot it is fascinating to watch.  Sometimes after working on a pot and building it up for hours a flaw might be found in the construction.  If there is a fault found a potter doesn’t try to fix that hole or just put clay over it, instead he breaks down the work he has done back into a pile so that he can start fresh.

As the clay, solomon points to the fact that there are God ordained times of building where we might rise as leaders and teachers, however because of our own flawed nature when we get out of sync with God or prideful there is also a God ordained time of breaking down.

Silence and Speech (V.7)

It is ordained through the discernment of the Holy Spirit, and through the reading of the Bible the knowledge of when to speak.  There are times that we are called as Christians to speak up and say what God has taught us. (David and Goliath being a good Old Testament Example) However, there are also times that God has given us the wisdom to stay silent.

Most of us, unfortunately, have a case of the opposites.  When someone is running down our God or God is calling us to share we stay silent.  When someone is asking us about gossip or we have opinions we speak.  God has called us to seek out the times when he has called us to speech and silence.  Pray only that He gives us the wisdom to know the difference.

War and Peace (V.8)

Similare to speech and silence it can be hard to discern which of these God has ordained in a specific situation.  As humans we tend to go to war over little things and keep the peace when barbarians are at the gate.

Understand,  God has given us the call to war as a tool to be used.  There is nothing wrong with standing your ground and holding a position you believe.  We are called however to make sure to only use that tool when it is appropriate.

Romans says it best like this “in as much as it is up to you, live at peace with all men” (Rm 12:18)  This is a call to use discernment.  A call to say that if its not a must issue than choose peace.  However, if it is against the Bible or Gods authority ….prepare for war.

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2016 in Ecclesiastes, Uncategorized

 

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Why, Why, Why?

Why, Why, Why?  The single most annoying question to infect the ears of a parent, teacher, or pastor.  This question is a never-ending circle of cause and effect that if brought to its final conclusion can end up at the creation of the world every time!*

James, however takes this question in three different routes to answer three specific questions as to why we as a people fall into the trap of Worldliness.

Question 1:  Why do we fight among ourselves?

If you have lived in this world longer than a few minutes you already know that arguments and quarrels are something we cannot seem to shake.  Every day seems like another fight and another time when “they” are wrong and “we” are right.

The church is not immune to this problem.  Even in the time of James there was fighting and strife inside the people of God.  As James, with the direction of the spirit of God, attempts to address this issue he uses a culprit that has already appeared in his book as the cause of all our sin….Our Own Fleshly Desires.

In James 1:12-15 he spells out how our base desires are what tempt us into sin and cause us to seek after other things.  By that same note James here in chapter 4 says that it is the fight between our old and new flesh that causes arguments and quarrels.

“You desire and do not have, so you murder.  You covet and cannot obtain so you fight and quarrel.”  James 4:2

James says that we desire things in our life both fleshly and spiritual and we cannot obtain them so we murder, steal, and fight.  However he leaves us with what is the base problem “You do not have, because you do not ask.”

Question 2:  Why are my prayers not answered?

So all of our quarrels can be summed up in that we do not have the things we desire, and we do not have the things we desire because we do not ask!  It seems so simple all we have to do is ask God and he will give it to us!

Again if you have been involved in Christianity for any length of time you have run up against the statement, “God did not answer my prayer”.  Putting aside the fact that “no” is just as much an answer as “yes”,  we encounter the problem that not everything we as Christians have prayed for has come to pass.

James once again has the answer.

“You as and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”     James 4:3

So the reason that we do not see prayers being answered is because like the people of James’ day we are praying wrongly.  We do not see health and wealth pouring from the sky precisely because we are praying for health and wealth.

You may ask then, “How should I pray?”

“Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.'”  Matthew 6:9-13

The Lord’s Prayer, as it has come to be know gives us a great instruction on how we should set up our prayers.

1. Adoration of God The Father

2. Request for the will of The Father

3. Request for what we need to do The Fathers work.

4. Forgiveness for when we have disobeyed The Fathers words.

Question 3:  Why can’t I have it all?

We are by our very nature an adulterous people.  Every good thing that God has done for us and we still try and find ways to sneak the world into our lives.  It is from that lack of commitment that this final question spawns.  “Why can’t I have both the world and God?”

James again in answering these three questions lays out the answer to us beautiful in his letter to the people.

“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?  Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”   James 4:4

Anyone who has been married can tell you that its not as easy as it looks from the outside.  As a man I can attest that the other women do not get uglier just because I am married (like I thought they might) nor do my thoughts get easier to manage.  Rather, I now focus my mind on my wife so that she is my every thought.

This is how James speaks about our relationship with God.  The world and all it offers us does not get less appealing just because we give our lives to Christ.  Rather, we are called to focus on God above all the things of this world.

Just like a marriage, James says that our relationship with God is one of a singular nature.  I cannot expect to flirt with other women and not have my wife be mad at me. Likewise, we as a Church cannot have friendship with the world and still be a bondservant to Christ.  We must be committed wholly to Him.

In answer to the question Why, Why, Why, James simply replys…Love God, Seek His Will, and Ask in His Name.

*(ex.. Why does a grasshopper hop – cause it has legs – why does it have legs – cause God made it that way – Why did God make it that way? – Cause he created the world, now be quiet and go to bed!)

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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