Satan’s Greatest Lie is That Sin Keeps Christians From God

What is the barrier between us and anything of value?  THE PRICE. I see an expensive, designer made, sparkley, super hot shirt hanging in the mall, what keeps it from being mine?  PAYING THE PRICE.  My girl drools over the newest Build A Bear addition, why can’t she just walk away with it?  THE PRICE MUST BE PAID. A brand new house stands on a ten acre lot, upgrades throughout, marble entry, fountain into the pool, detached five car garage. Sitting there waiting, just waiting for someone to move in and make it a home. Everyone wants it, everyone loves it. What will it take?  PAYING THE PRICE. 

One beautiful summer day, I changed my girl into her swim suit, packed some essentials and we headed to a local water spot. The city designed a long flight of stairs in the middle of the city with water flowing over them. On a hot day in July, hundreds of children gather and splash and play. Slip on sunglasses, lather sunscreen, playing commences. After the initial energy is used up, I spread a towel for Madison to sit beside me. I pull out two lunches and we have a little picnic. And then for the grand finale, a Tootsie Pop appears. Shouts of glee and happiness follow. This is her version of the perfect moment. The lollipop is popped into her mouth. But then, all of the sudden, from the throng of children, a face appears.  “I want a sucker.”  The voice demands.  I understand childhood plees and respond, “Oh sorry sweetheart. That is the only one.”  I am a bit shocked with the tantrum and stamped feet that march away complaining. Now, without going too far with my imperfect analogy, there are two things that I want to point out. One, the treat belonged to this certain child because she was my child. I did not scan the audience for the best behaved child. I did not look for the hungriest child. I handed it to MY child. I had prepared that surprise in advance for MY child. Secondly, the Bible tells us to be like children. CHILDREN ACCEPT. When Madison saw me pull out that tootsie pop, it was her’s. She did not say, “Mom, let me first earn this.  Watch me be kind to all the children here and then you can give it to me.”  She did not say, “Wait. I can pay for this. Let’s go home and get the money out of my piggy bank.”  NO!  She took it and enjoyed it as a gift.  

Now. I love my girl. I love my daughter no matter what. Why do I love her?  Because she is mine!  She can make perfect grades, be a sweet friend, give her all in sports, and sleep in on Saturdays and I will love her. She can struggle and flop out of school, be selfish, unkind, lack ambition, wake me up at 4 am, and spill my coffee and SHE WILL STILL BE MY DAUGHTER AND I WILL STILL LOVE HER!

THE PRICE IS PAID!  Christians, we are God’s children. If we sin, it hurts us in the here and now but as far as God is concerned, IT IS IRRELEVANT TO HIS LOVE FOR US AND HIS FATHERHOOD. WE ARE HIS CHILDREN. NO SIN CAN SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF OUR FATHER!

The world knows “Christians” by people who don’t cuss, don’t drink, does not wear certain clothes, and judges everyone else who does. 

NO!  Believers in Christ screw up just as much as everyone else!  THE AMOUNT OF SINNING IS IRRELEVANT TO BEING A CHILD OF GOD!  Can I say that again so the non-believers will say, “Say what?!” And so that the believers can breathe a sigh of relief, THE AMOUNT OF SINNING IS IRRELEVANT TO BEING A CHILD OF GOD. The only difference in a Christian is that they realize they sin and that they need Jesus. In fact, Christians can be the biggest sinners there are!  Look at the people that followed Jesus!  They were sinners, big ones, like prostitutes and swindlers!  

Christian, THE PRICE IS PAID!  YOU ARE FREE!  THE DEBT IS PAID!  THE TOOTSIE POP IS YOURS!  All you have to do is ENJOY it!

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Voices Sing Out in Unison. I Walk Down to the River.

(sung low and quiet, sitting on the floor)  Slave in bondage, chains around my heart. Gathered around, humanity cries out in unison.  Laboring, toiling for the idols of our hearts.  Step, Step, march in rhythm.  It is dark and cold, we are hungry and tired.  Slap goes the whip.  Return to our work.  Do not step out of line.  Through the night we toil, through the night we ache, serving those idols that control us.  Slaves in bondage, chains around our hearts.

(sung low and slightly louder, squatting looking out)  But something peaks over the horizon.  A new sun sings of a new day.  We raise our heads.  Slaves in the office, slaves in the fields, slaves in the beauty shop, slaves to the idols of this modern world.  The sun breaks through our windows, hope finds its way.  It calls with a new song, offering a new day.

(sung low and slightly louder, line of people.  arms connected at the elbows)  So, down to the river I’ll go.  Wash me in the muddy water, it will make me clean.  We all walk down together, we hum along the way, low but loud with determination of a destination, shedding the chains of bondage.  Hands open and by our sides.  Walking, walking, down to the river.  Let that cold water splash over me.  I give up this heavy heart.  I release a life of no peace.  I want no more of this suffering.  In unison, arms to our sides, a hum loud and deafening, but no lips moving.  Our hearts cry out, our hearts battle for passage.

(sung low and loud, arms up to the sky)  That peaceful water splashes like a waterfall.  I let the cold water cover me.  I step out hands lifted up.  No more world!  No more Satan.  I am alone, it is my personal heart.  And yet, I see I am surrounded.  We walk out of the water, an army marching on.  We’ve been down to the river, we’ve been washed clean in his mercy.  No more chains.  Of this world, I’ve been set free.  Step, step, march in rhythm.  It is bright and warm, we are loved and we are free.  Hands high, we’ve been to the river.  No more slaves, HE HAS THE VICTORY!

 

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Don’t Tell Anyone. Everybody Already Knows.

Florida. One word pops into your head: SUN. Yes, Sunny Florida. Well, I had the privilege of living in Sunny Florida for five years. I had a little ranch style home and a little tropical yard. I was young and loved our little place I made into home.

I vacuumed every day. The laundry basket was always empty (almost always. That stuff breeds!) Eggs were displayed in a bowl in the fridge. You could always find fresh baked goods. I couldn’t be happier to be my own little version of Martha Stewart.

Like a good wife, one day I headed to the grocery store to stock our home with tempting, yet healthy foods. I had a grocery budget but I loved to squeeze it in the food area and have a little extra money left over to buy something extra for our home. I was on a gardening kick so: a new flower pot for in front of my front door. The decision was made and I had in my head what I wanted.

I made my grocery run. Kept tabs on my total, I had a full cart and a little left over to indulge myself. I strutted to the other side of the store and to the outside garden section. You know the garden centers that have the mesh covering so the rain can reach the plants? Yes, I was in that kind of area.

My eyes scanned the pots. No. No. No. Ummmm. No. No. YES! I found it. It was huge. That was what I wanted. Only one problem, it was on the top shelf. The tip top shelf. But, no worries, I am tall. I stretched up. I could barely reach the pot with my finger tips. Sweet. Here was my plan: Inch the pot forward so that it falls off, then I catch it.

I started inching. It was going according to plan. It slowly inched forward. Then it tipped forward. I reached my arms out, ready to catch my prize.

It was like a rude prank! The pot was full of water! Remember the mesh ceiling? I was soaked with rain water! I mean, down my hair and face and clothes! And remember Sunny Florida? Well, it was about 100 degrees outside and I didn’t remember when it had rained last, but it wasn’t now!

Well, remember my cart full of groceries? I needed those! So, I squeaked and sloshed back through the store, all eyes on me.

Oh bless me. I would like to say there was a lesson to my story. But all you get out of some things is a good laugh.