Covering the Sin We Encounter

“The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”

1 Peter 4:7-8, ESV

 “The time is near when all things will end. So think clearly and control yourselves so you will be able to pray. 8 Most importantly, love each other deeply, because love will cause people to forgive each other for many sins.”

1 Peter 4:7-8, NLT

Same verse, but two translations. There is a need for urgency, an intense decisiveness that needs to be woven into our lives.  Peter understands this.  He engages the church with a deep pressing.  He carries a cruciality and a demand due to the imminence of the return of Jesus.  Clear thinking and self-control are our basic responses to His arrival. Buttressing and enhancing our faith with these will reward us profoundly.

The Bible clearly teaches us of the sudden and imminent return of Jesus Christ.  And yet, in spite of this solid reality, we repeatedly struggle, and short-circuit the work of the Holy Spirit in our souls. We might be just sabotaging the Kingdom unintentionally. If we keep looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along,” couldn’t the opposite be  just as true? (2 Peter 3:12.) Might we ‘delay’ His return by our disobedience? (Just thinking out-loud here folks.)

Biblical prophecy provides some of the greatest encouragement and hope available to us today. Just as the Old Testament is saturated with prophecies concerning Christ’s first coming, so both testaments are filled with references to the second coming of Christ. One scholar has estimated that there are 1,845 references to Christ’s second coming in the Old Testament, where 17 books give it prominence. In the 260 chapters of the New Testament, there are 318 references to the second advent of Christ – an amazing 1 out of every 30 verses. Twenty-three of the 27 New Testament books refer to this great event. For every prophecy in the Bible concerning Christ’s first advent (Christmas), there are eight which look forward to His second coming!

As we try to wrap our minds and hearts around this blazing reality, we must also deal with our personal disobedience.  Often there is a ‘co-morbidity’ to deal within our own sin.  What I mean is that sin and rebellion develop in our hearts in “layers.”  Seldom do you just deal with one issue.  It’s more like a “gang” tackle, followed with a “monkey pile.” Sin isn’t just an act– it is a jumble– a way of living.

The two keys to really understand this passage– energetic prayer, and a covering love.

This new intensity and clarity in our thinking affects our “prayer life.”  We see things differently, and we pray for things alertly.  We start “reading between the lines.”  We examine everything, looking for clues.  We are to grow “sleuthy,” observant detectives watching everything.  A widening of the pupils, inflections of the voice, someone’s posture, a way they use/choose their words– we are being trained to see, inside.

There is a form of love called “agape.”  It is to define us, and we operate out it.  This agape is amazing.  It is a love that is destined to suffer, and die for the one being loved.  It covers, and protects.  When it is present, it will choose to cover the sin that it encounters.  Agape is the way God treats us.  It is now how we grow up and to treat others. Incidentally, it has very little to do with emotion– maybe in a secondary way.

This idea of “love as a covering” is pretty amazing.  Implementing it will alter all that it touches.  And seeing alertly will bring an exceptional discernment to all we touch. We each have two needs.

The first is for forgiveness.

The second is to be changed for the better.

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Kings in Chains

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“He who masters his passions is a king even if he is in chains.  He who is ruled by his passions is a slave even while sitting on a throne.”

-Richard Wurmbrand

Sometimes, I absolutely need a spiritual ‘wake-up call.’  The last few days for me have been taking on the general theme of freedom.  It’s very easy for me to accept being a slave.  The bait that’s used is very desirable and attractive.  It’s hard to let such wonderful morsel go by without a taste. I will sin– and repent later. But hidden deep inside me there is something very small, but very potent. It is a desire to be free from sin. God has placed that within.

Freedom, or that characteristic of walking unencumbered, doesn’t seem incredibly important, at times.  But it is a question of identity.

As a Christian believer, am I really a child of the King, a prince in a spiritual world?

Royal blood was spilled to set me free.  Is choosing to sin really in my calling?

There are many things that ‘trigger’ my Bipolar depression.  Triggers are those things which set off symptoms, ‘kindling’ a sequence of events that leads to total catastrophe.  All it takes is one–a lie perhaps, or a delusion that gets ‘airplay.’ I just slide right into the ‘paranoid’ trap set just for me. I essentially experence a total collapse of mood and emotion.  Life will crash in all around me. I am left sitting in ashes, in a heap. I have become a ‘king in chains.’

My hospitalizations all have come as a result of giving myself over to ‘twisted thinking.’  My suicidal tendencies are intensified, in part due to becoming enslaved.  I become chained and held captive  to these dark forces.  Meds and ‘talk therapy’ can really help.  They are limited though to what they can do to push back the inky darkness.  But when I use these things, and add to them:

  1. prayer,
  2. reading the Word,
  3. and fellowship,

I have a ‘recipe’ for freedom. But, I must initate a believer ‘s response to the enemy.

Whoever you are–it’s time to get free. Really free.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

Galatians 5:1, ESV

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Paranoia & Delusions

Didn’t really sleep last night but an interesting day.  Hope it continues to develop in that direction.  I really need a good day to come along right now.

Been thinking about paranoia.  It comes loaded up with delusions.  They are separate words, but when they make that toxic combination it gets strange.  Are people out to get me?  Probably not.  People are by far and away more apt to dismiss me then to plot against me.

Paranoia is the belief in a hidden order behind the visible.

I don’t know why this is such a hard concept to hold on.  Paranoia is intensely self-absorbed and egocentric.  Everything is conspiring to destroy me is a very foolish way to live.  In a culture already overheated by egomania, to offend me becomes a declaration of war.  My paranoia makes you a mortal enemy.  But to act from that destroys me.  I only take it deeper and make it easier to slide into the next time.

Paranoia is not rational.  You can not reason with it.  (You certainly have my permission.)  For me, I win the battle by “displacement”, pushing it out by adding in the presence of Jesus.  When I make Him to be the good shepherd, He watches over my thoughts like sheep.  He protects me from paranoia’s snares and thorns.

There are times I hear the voices, and see monstrous faces out of the wallpaper. But more often I concoct delusions about people who I feel have slighted me. Paranoia provides plenty of grist for me to grind. I’m learning how to recognize the lies, and the liar who speaks them to me.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”

2 Timothy 1:7, AMP

Often I hear what seems like a telegraph, a varying ‘dot-dash-dot.’ It is very loud and obtrusive, but I know now it’s not real. I read a cool quote, that made me laugh, “I was walking home one night and a guy hammering on a roof called me a paranoid little weirdo. In morse code.”  -Emo Phillips

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Was Jesus Mentally Disturbed?


“When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

Mark 3:21, NIV

Even our Lord’s own family did not believe Him.  I can see them gathering out of concern, not only for concern for Jesus, but for the family name– perhaps they felt a need even to protect themselves?  They talked at length, and decided on an intervention, to take custodial care– as families must do at times.

Jesus had been saying things, disturbing things.  He had resolutely confronted the present religious system, and had rebuked King Herod and the civil government.  He was living on an edge, and the sense that His family had was that He had become mentally unhinged.  He had been cavorting with decidedly irreligious and wicked people.  He lived in constant bedlam, with people mobbing Him for healing.

His teaching seemed extremely radical, almost absurd. His “parables” contained bizarre ideas. And the massive crowds actually would chase Him, trying to anticipate His next move. He was essentially a celebrity –  a “rock star.” I suppose we have no idea, of His appeal to the masses.

Is Jesus Christ a Legend, Lunatic, Liar, or Lord and GOD? In his famous book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis makes this statement,

“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic–on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg–or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.”

The accusation has often been the case for His followers. Some of Paul’s friends thought he was crazy when he went blazing over land and sea to carry the gospel to every city. But his answer was, “No, I am not crazy; the love of Christ controls me.”  This was a good kind of crazy.  He was being used by Jesus to continue the ministry that Jesus had started– the establishment of the Kingdom of God. 

I believe it is a far deeper insanity, that seals up the truth and the light and keeps it away from unbelievers.  It is crazy to know total forgiveness and unconditional love, and then to avoid opportunities to share that same love. Now, that is crazy! Our fear of being ostracized and mocked, is an intense experience. Peer pressure is not just something our teens go through. We are always in danger of being molded into the World’s image.

Who are we?  Our Lord and Master was vilified, He was falsely accused of insanity.  But perhaps, it is the other way around.  Perhaps it is this world, and its bondages and sicknesses that is ill.  We must decide.

bry-signat (1)Please see this link: “Who is Jesus? http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/english/claims.htm

 

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