No one ever told me that my heart would feel this way.
Even the strongest Christians have their weak moments, but the sins of a friend can be depressing. Indeed, many times, a friend’s sin weighs even more than our own sin. We see evil from an outside perspective, and in small measure, we experience how God must feel.
It feels like heavy snow upon the heart. You watch as a friend delights in the world and buries their life in sin. You hope they will stop, come around, and realize what they are doing. You wonder what will happen next. You wonder if they know God at all. You pray that God will have mercy on another soul.
But rather than casting the sin out of our minds, acting as if it never happened, it is good to have heavy hearts. Scripture tells us to restore sinners in a “spirit of gentleness,” as if we were surgeons operating on our own child. When it comes to sin, we are dealing with something far more serious than we realize.
Furthermore, we can be susceptible to the same sins, so Scripture warns us to “keep watch on yourself” (Galatians 6:1). When we are apathetic or brash towards other people’s sin, we disregard Scripture and endanger ourselves, so God reminds us to feel the weight and tread lightly.
As you think of a friend or a relative who has made some poor decisions, take a moment to intercede for them and pray for your own strength
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20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us).
- Matthew 1:20-23
These are some of the most amazing verses in the Bible. In a few short sentences, we learn some amazing things about God’s love for the world:
* Through the power of Almighty God, a virgin will give birth to a son.
* This miraculous child will save his people from their sins.
* God will dwell with humanity through the birth of a child.
This is shocking because no other God has the power to cause a virgin birth. No other God has made the “first move” to save people from their sin. And no other God has loved humanity like our God.
In response to Jesus’ birth, we should be inspired to worship. We haven’t created our own salvation or found a way to stop sinning, so Christmas should remind us about how small we really are. All we can do is receive the amazing grace that God offers to us through Jesus Christ. God alone deserves the glory! None of our efforts can contribute anything more to what God has already done through Christ.
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for making us Your people and for saving us from our sins. We are amazed that You came to rescue us. Even your name reminds us of your forgiveness. We can never fully express our gratitude for what You have done for us, and we ask that You will continue to save us from the evil that surrounds us.
The book of Leviticus can seem daunting, irrelevant, boring, and downright frightening. Honestly, I have avoided the book from time to time, as have many others. It is easy to overlook the book because the “rituals” no longer apply to us, and it can be difficult to discern what those rituals teach us.
After reading just the first few chapters, though, here are a few reasons that we can be thankful for its message:
* God has a plan for His people.
* God gives answers, so we don’t need to figure out problems on our own.
* God sets standards intended for people to follow.
* God knows we sin, but still wants to communicate with us.
* God provides a way for us to get rid of our guilt.
* God enjoys our offerings, as simple as they may be.
* God has decided to forgive us!
Those are just a few reasons. Read the first few chapters of Leviticus and see if you can add some more to add to the list.