August 20

2 Chronicles 25-27, Psalm 78

Though we differ in gender, race, religion, nationality, etc, the one thing that all humans have in common, except Jesus, is that we are all sinners. Sin is never innocent and phrases like, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas", lead many to think that they can get away with sin and that it really won't hurt anyone. I recall this story that our pastor, Lloyd Pulley once said about when he was younger and liked to play with fire. He knew it was wrong but kept playing this game where he would light a fire in the woods to see how big he could let it get before putting it out. The game worked in that it kept getting a little bigger and out of control but he was able to move fast enough and get it out. Until one day, when he couldn't. It spread out of control and it took drastic measures to get it out which covered him with burns on his body. That is how sin works, it starts out small and we feel we are in control until we are no longer in control. No one smoking marijuana plans on allowing it to lead to a heroin addiction and robbery, for some it will not, but for others this common and seemingly innocent sinful habit evolves into places they would never have dreamed it would. Serial murderer, Ted Bundy, never would have thought that his hidden sin of pornography would evolve into the murdering of at least 30 people and possibly as many as 100.

We read of King Amaziah in 2 Chronicles 25:2, "And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a loyal heart." We see his life take a serious downturn after a major military victory in 25:14, "Now it was so, after Amaziah came from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the people of Seir, set them up to be his gods, and bowed before them and burned incense to them." This sin seemed innocent enough to him, but God speaking to him through a prophet warned Amaziah that his sin was indeed not hidden and that God would destroy him if he did not stop, to which he essentially silenced the prophet choosing to disregard his words. Notice the result of his disobedience unfold as God allowed him to suffer the consequences of following other gods (25:20), in 25:23-24, "Then Joash the king of Israel captured Amaziah king of Judah,...; and he brought him to Jerusalem, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem from the Gate of Ephraim to the Corner Gate-four hundred cubits. And he took all the gold and silver, all the articles that were found in the house of God..., and hostages, and returned to Samaria. Notice his sin and defeat first weakened his defenses as the walls were broken down. He then lost his treasures which were used to worship the Lord. He himself was captured in bondage and then the people were taken captive.

We read in James 1:14-15, "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death." Like Amaziah our sins may seem innocent enough at first, whether pornography, sex, drugs, greed, gambling, etc. They seem innocent until just like the walls of Judah, our defenses begin to fall down. When we continue in these same sins with our defenses weakened, our resistance is now further compromised and our ability and desire to spend time with God is now compromised which will place us in bondage to that sin. Lastly, like the hostages in this case, our sin will spill over into the lives of those around us including our family, friends and co-workers. Jesus said in Matthew 10:26, "...For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known." Sin is not innocent, and if we want to experience freedom, we simply need to repent and experience God's mercy and freedom. Though we all know the song, "I Surrender All", for most of us if we were honest, the words are more honestly, "I Surrender Some". In God's mercy, though He never overlooks sin, He is patient with us and allows us time to come to Him in repentance. We never get away with sin and if we mistakenly believe we can, as Samson did as he fell time and time again in the area of sexual temptation, he eventually without realizing it noticed in Judges 16:20, "...So he awoke from his sleep, and said, "I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!" But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him." May we all come clean before our Holy Father and confess and repent of our secret and overt sins and experience the freedom which only exists by the grace and mercy of God.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster