Psalm 51: 11

Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

This prayer from David seems the picture of a dichotomy. On the one hand, it sounds like a desperate prayer offered as a last hope from one at the end of his rope. On the other hand, it sounds like an everyday prayer.

I was thinking just this morning about Jesus saying he could do nothing apart from the Father. I still find that an astounding statement, but how much more true is it of me? If the Father should take His Spirit from me, I would be able to do nothing. NOTHING! The thought is alarming. His presence with us daily is life.

This is my definition of hell, to be out of the presence of God, void of His Spirit. So, this prayer amounts to, “Save me from hell!” David’s guilt tormented him so that he began to understand the torment of hell. I pray, “Save us from even one moment outside your grace. Please do not take your Spirit away.”

The “One” Sin

Romans 5: 20      TPT

So then, the law was introduced into God’s plan to bring the reality of human sinfulness out of hiding. And yet, wherever sin increased, there was more than enough of God’s grace to triumph all the more!

I hear comments, and I know you do too, about how the world, and even our own cities, are falling into greater and greater sin. Some speculate that God is not as active because sin has become greater, or more prevalent. One day when I heard someone speaking in these terms it made me wonder what sin we are engaged in these days that is causing the breakdown of societies. There really is nothing new under the sun. You can read the Bible and see that. The Israelites created idols while God was leading them to the Promised Land. How much more blatant a sin can there be? What is it that is going on today that is any different than in previous times? What is the sin which is destroying us?

As I pondered this question, I sought the one with all the answers, and do you know what, He answered me. He showed me two points: first, the one great sin which is our problem and second, that conventional sin isn’t really the issue. Where sin has increased, God’s grace has increased more. No matter how great a sin problem we have, if we understand today’s scripture then we know that God’s grace expands to even greater volumes. So, there is a sin problem, but then again there isn’t because God’s grace is greater than any sin committed by man.

So, what is the problem? The way the Lord said this to me was, “There really is only one sin, one great sin and though this is not what people refer to when they speak of the increase in sin, it actually is the root problem from which all other sin is derived.” Does this surprise you? Are you anxious to know what the “One” sin is? I was. The problem we have, the one which is destroying the fabric of society is the sin of attrition. Spiritual Attrition is the slow wearing down of our Christian faith, but it is more than that. The core issue is that fewer and fewer of us seek God. The Lord showed me that the real problem is separation from Him. He has grace for the sin, but He does not have a remedy for people who choose not to partner with Him.

The great sin of the world is separation from God! And you can quote me. If you think about it, that is the same problem God constantly addressed in the Old Testament. The people kept turning away from Him. Once they took their eyes off Him, then they fell into all sorts of sins, even to serving foreign Gods. When Israel sought God, they flourished. When they fell away from Him, they suffered lack and hardship. Their sin grew too but sin isn’t the problem. When a people serve God, when they spend time in His presence, they have no desire for the “sins” that we often sculpt into lists. Unbelief and abstinence from prayer and seeking are the problems that undermine society. God can deal with sin when people believe in Him but when the nation turns its face from God, there is no one to pray, no one to intercede. Who heals the land of a nation that does not believe in nor seek God?

Even as Christians, we are forced into some important questions, questions that I had to face in this conversation with God. In what ways or in what areas am I separated from God? Is there a part of my life which I keep separate from Him? Do I go to work everyday without Him or even thoughts of Him? Where is He on Monday? Tuesday? Am I seeking Him in all aspects of my life or have I divorced Him from part of my life? We probably all have little spaces in our lives where we have yet to intertwine with the Lord Jesus. If we have little separations, little areas where a vacuum exists, then who shall lead the uninitiated.

We don’t have a sin problem.  Jesus and Father took care of the sin problem.  Here, world, is the real problem. We have separated ourselves from God and not only is this the one truly big sin, but it is also hell. To the degree we do not involve Yahweh in our lives, we are living in sin and experiencing hell. God would give you encouragement though, because now that we know what the actual problem is, we can individually and collectively take measures to correct it. Ya wanna talk about hell? Or pontificate about sin? They both exist right outside our front door. The good news is that we also have the power to free the world from both. Seek the Lord, your God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul – then teach others to do the same. This is how we save the earth!

Heaven or Hell?

Matthew 3: 2

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

No, this isn’t the typical “Are you going to heaven or hell” speech we hear so frequently. I really want to pose a question. Do you want to go to heaven or do you simply want to avoid hell? What motivates you, heaven or hell? You see, I think some people just want to avoid hell, and well, that is a good motivation. Hell is not a place any person will enjoy. In fact, we should avoid it at all costs. Selah.

Some of us gave our lives to Christ because we wished to avoid the horror of eternity in hell. Somewhere along the line, though, hell became less of an issue, less of a point of focus, and heaven became the target. Avoiding hell is good but it certainly is not the prize. Heaven is the prize. What is heaven anyway? At some level we think of it as a place, but the real draw is that it is the residence of Jesus and the Father. In other words, wherever they are, is heaven, at least to me. Heaven is spending eternity in the direct company of Jesus, Yahweh and the Holy Spirit (I wish he would tell me his name).

Imagine a scenario where there is hell, a neutral place and heaven. At this point we have removed our names from the register in hell but to be forever in the neutrality without God would not satisfy. Of course, that would be hell, but the point is that the neutral space would no longer satisfy us. Our longing is to be with the Father. Our energy is focused on knowing Him. Getting into heaven is good but the heart’s desire is far beyond just getting in the gate. Don’t we long to sit at the Father’s feet and listen to His stories? Perhaps you just want to put your eyes upon Him. There is nothing so great as being in the presence of the Holy Trinity.

Repent means to change your direction, change your way of thinking. So, we continuously readjust our sights and compasses so that we are pointed straight towards the Father of heaven. We seek His presence here, true, but we are also seeking His presence in eternity.

One last thought about today’s verse, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” As we reread it and think about it, thoughts about saving lost souls may surface. Additionally, it may even call into question our approach to evangelism. The first thing I noticed is that there is no mention of hell here. Jesus did not preach about the kingdom of hell. He preached the good news, the Kingdom of Heaven. He called people up to God. He did not come condemning them, or us, as sinners. Our sin was fact, but not the message. The message is heaven. The message is the greatness of a Father who loves us. Just a thought to ponder. Selah.