All posts tagged sin

A Radiant Hope, Mission’s Meltdown, Day 4

It was our last full day in Honduras. Many gathered together in the sanctuary (of sorts) to organize the leftover gifts and pack for our last trip to a village named Estuman.

There were voodoo influences there. A man who claimed Christ had mysteriously died of poisoning, leaving his pregnant wife and four young children.

I felt better, but wasn’t looking forward to it. My heart was too raw.

This time, we were driven to the village where we met at Dominga’s house. She was the woman who’s husband had died. A few months ago, a group had travelled to her village and built her a cement block home of about 800 square feet. It was the nicest home in the village. There were no decorations, just cinderblock interior with a main room and two smaller rooms.

We set our stuff there and walked through the village, inviting people to our Christmas celebration. It was the same scenario; good-looking chickens and roosters, half-dressed children, shy women. Several men who resembled Juan Valdez–some complete with a donkey. There was the smell of smoke and fresh tortillas and the site of mangy dogs. There were pieces of garbage strewn about against the backdrop of glorious mountains covered with corn and beans.

This time, during the celebration, I participated. First, I painted fingernails. I didn’t have my glasses, so my aim was off. So much so, that a shy teenager who picked a pale yellow color for one hand, switched to a clear color with sparkles for her other hand. I stunk at nail art.

Next, I helped Crystal and Danielle with balloon figures. I didn’t actually make the figures, my job was to blow up the balloons for the others to create cute animals. Trouble was, I couldn’t blow them up fast enough. There were droves of children waiting expectantly for a balloon miracle, and I was holding up the show. I got fired from that, too.

Then I received “Bubble Duty.” My job was to spread bubbles everywhere in order to help gather a crowd and entertain the children. I don’t think I was that good at it, but it was a delight. Big sisters brought little brothers to me. I blew all kinds of bubbles. Some huge, some that just emerged as bubble spit. No matter what, it made them smile. Then it was their turn. I held the bubble wand and they blew. I wouldn’t trade the look on their faces for anything. Pure delight. Simple joy.

God created those children.

And that was good.

Later, we met around a man named Theodoro’s mud and stick hut. Previously, he had decided to make a pact with Satan and kill Mike Schadt. When he attempted to do that, he realized that God was stronger. He repented of his sin and turned to Christ.

He’s in training to be an elder. Joy streamed from his face.

We met at his house.

The chairs were placed on either side facing the mountains. Each chair was filled, so that some stood and others sat on the bare ground. Nursing mothers held infants, men listened with rapt attention as members of our team looked on with joyful awe. The view of God’s creation, both people and mountains were breath-taking.

First, we worshipped. The never-ending Spanish song, led by a smiling woman almost broke Rob Ozburn’s arm as he shook some sort of maracas to the beat. It certainly made him sweat. Next was the prayer. All prayed at once, most on their knees. A cacophony of praise.

I wondered if that is how it sounded to God when people all over the world raised their voices in praise and adoration. Amazing.

Mike Schadt spoke on the test of a believer. First, he described an unbeliever. He asked, “Are any of you involved in immorality?”

Someone raised their hand. It was behind me so I didn’t look, but I was sure curious. I wondered how that would go over in my home church.

Then Mike dealt with three different sin areas and asked specific Honduran elders if they were involved in them. It was a dramatic sight.

At the end of his message, he asked if there was someone who wanted to submit to Jesus as Lord of their lives. The man who’d raised his hand stepped forward.

It was our bus driver, Rene.

Truth began to seep into my brain. There was hopelessness, poverty, injustice, just as there always was and always would be. There was also the gospel. What Scripture describes as a treasure.

Remember how Mike spoke on the porch about how God took us out of our squalor, touched us and said, “Live.”

I knew then that ultimately, the answer to all of my questions revolved around the gospel. The cross of Jesus Christ.

Enough for today.

Investing in Christmas, Day 19-Finally, Good News

 

 

Good news is hard to find these days.

Lots of bad news about human trafficking, the economy, and oppression.

More recently, tragic news about mass killings of children.

So many heartaches. So many brokenhearted.

Is there any good news?

That’s what Christmas is all about—The Good News.

Look one more time into the Old Testament book of Isaiah 61:1:

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,”(NIV)

In Isaiah’s time, there was plenty of heartache. Slavery, even.

In Christ’s time, the same horrors existed.

With a press of a finger on our computers, we see unspeakable evil. Shameful. Horrific.

It could almost lead a person to despair.

Almost.

Scroll over to the New Testament book written by Dr. Luke.

“He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’”

“Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’” Luke 4:16-21(NIV)

Nervy. Astounding.

Good News.

That’s what we celebrate at Christmas.

Good News for this world. Great News for the next.

Christ—both man and God born to be our Savior.

Saved from what?

Sin.

The result of human trafficking, and a failed economy, and mass killings.

Hope.

Don’t leave this world without it.

To invest in Christmas today, listen to this Michael W. Smith song, “All is Well.”

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Who Will Pay?

Children murdered.

In my mind, I see the kindergarten children I taught music. Faces bright. Smiles huge.

“You’re funny, Mrs. Hylton!”

When I think of the massacre our country has witnessed all over the media, I picture my class.

Inconceivable.

I think of all the presents that will remain under an unwanted Christmas tree.

Who will pay? The boy is dead. His mother, too.

How could anyone pay?

We will be in Isaiah 53 one more day.

“Yet the LORD was pleased to crush Him severely. When You make a restitution offering, He will see His seed, He will prolong His days, and by His hand, the LORD’S pleasure will be accomplished. He will see it out of His anguish and He will be satisfied with His knowledge. My righteous Servant will justify many, and He will carry their iniquities. Therefore I will give Him the many as a portion and He will receive the mighty as a spoil, because He submitted Himself to death, and was counted among the rebels; yet He bore the sin of many and interceded for the rebels.” Isaiah 53:10-12

 

Sin. A not-so-popular-word in our country. Sin caused the massacre. Sin causes all our problems, both social and economic.

But someone paid for our sins.

Made restitution.

Justified many.

With His life.

The gift is free.

But we need to receive it.

Simple.

Profound.

More silence. More worship. More wonder.

Listen and worship with Selah. And invest in Christmas. Pray for the families in Newtown.

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Recite Romans 1:24-32

Hey Guys! I’ve been behind in my vlogs, but this should take us through chapter 1 of Romans. It’s rich, isn’t it?

Here is my outline for the last section:

I. God gave them up to impurity. 24,25

Principle—Impurity results in idolatry.

Is there impurity in your life? How will you “kill” that?

II. God gave them up to dishonorable passions. 25, 26

Principle—Dishonorable passions result in perversion.

Are you compromising yourself in your thought life? Your entertainment?

III. God gave them up to debased minds.

Principle—Debased minds result in decadent sins.

Which sins are you most guilty of from this list? How about choosing a verse to combat it?

AIM-Ask the Lord to show you any idolatry in your life.

Subject Sentence-Impurity, dishonorable passions, and a debased mind results in false worship.

WHO OR WHAT ARE YOU WORSHIPING? FEAR GOD. WORSHIP ONLY HIM.