The area where Christ was crucified was not originally inside the walls of the Old City in Jerusalem. But as the city grew, was attacked, destroyed & rebuilt, the walls expanded. This is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the area identified as the site where Christ was Crucified & buried. The care of the church is handled by 6 denominations: Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Roman Catholic , Coptic, Ethiopian and Syriac Orthodox churches.
But if you are Christian, there is only one Church, and Christ is the Head (Colossians 1:18).
We are many denominations (and non-denominations) because God expresses Himself in a myriad of glorious ways. But, we are one Body: “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.“1 Corinthians 12:5-7
God Bless you all
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Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And You forgave the guilt of my sin. ~ Psalm 32:5
The words above are lyrics to a song or possibly a poem, a psalm, written by David, the King of Israel. Like many songwriters & poets, David communicated his emotions through words and music, pouring out his heartfelt expressions of love, anger, fear & contrition. Psalm 32 falls into the last category.
David committed several egregious sins during his lifetime, yet God forgave him when he confessed those sins…each and every time.
Around the time Psalm 32 was composed, David had been confronted about his sin of adultery with Bathsheba, another man’s wife. Not only did he have sex with her, she became pregnant with his child. In a desperate attempt to hide his sin, he first tried to get the man, named Uriah, to leave the battlefield and spend time with his wife, and by spend time I mean intimate time, which the man refused to do. David then instructed a military leader to ensure that Uriah be placed into battle where he was sure to be killed, which is what happened.
Most people would never consider bringing something this ugly, this heinous to God. But David knew God. He had spent years upon years in intimate fellowship with Him, learning to hear God’s voice and becoming acquainted with God’s character. He knew that God was merciful. He has experienced God’s mercy and grace in His life multiple times.
The beginning of Psalm 32 starts out like this:
Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.
We suffer physically, emotionally & spiritually when we refuse to acknowledge sin. It’s a heavy burden that produces guilt, shame, fear and condemnation. The more we harden our heart to the loving conviction of God, the farther away we drift from His grace, to the point where we cease to sense conviction and end up deceived and spiritually blind. This is a frightening place to be.
The next verse is the one at the top of the post, verse 5, when David finds sweet release & forgiveness:
Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
David was grateful and overjoyed once he came clean before the only One whose opinion mattered – God. And he didn’t leave it there. David wanted others to experience the freedom and joy that comes from owning up to one’s own sin, and the consequences that come if you don’t:
Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment. For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory.
The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord. So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!
I’m going to leave you with a scripture that I never tire of sharing. The truth is powerful, so don’t allow anyone or anything keep you from God’s loving arms of mercy –
Come, let’s talk this over, says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool! ~ Isaiah 1:18 The Living Bible
I’m not referring to baby Christians. I don’t hate someone who is just learning their way in Christ, or people who are finding their way back into fellowship with God.
I’m referring to people who have never progressed in their walk with the Lord. And when I say “I hate”, I am referring to their lack of righteous fruit, not the individual. I am angered by those whose faith is weak and untested. Not untested because the Holy Spirit has not led them into times of testing, but because they did not recognize their current circumstance was a test. And so they fail…repeatedly…to the determent of God’s kingdom, and to those who occupy the same space with them.
Life is always a test, or better yet, a choice. These are people who do not seek God for wisdom. If they do seek Him, they don’t stop long enough to listen. These are Christians who do not seek His truth in the scriptures. If they do look to the word, it’s only for a positive word of scripture…something fluffy that bolsters their emotions. If they happen to run across a word of conviction (translation: are LED to a scripture), one that steps on their toes, they quickly turn the page…or close the book. There is no acknowledgement of ignorance or personal sin. The thought of humbling themselves to ask for mercy and grace is foreign. To respond as Jesus would respond is a fleeting, if never-present, idea.
For these believers, it is always someone else’s fault. They have just drawn a bad hand of cards. Life is stacked against them. Excuse after excuse after excuse. And so, in their ignorance, arrogance and unbelief, they war with human wisdom, in a field of flesh and blood, playing right into the enemy’s hand.
God’s kingdom operates differently than man’s kingdom.
To confront hate, we are to extend love. To counteract slander and persecution, we are to pray and ask our Father to bless the person slandering us. We don’t pay back an evil deed with another evil deed. If God did that with any one of us, we would cease to exist.
It’s time to grow up.
It’s time to face the hard truth about yourself.
If the body of Christ is ever to become the beautiful Bride, the Church that Jesus chose for His very own, then we must face our mirror and truly see what we look like in HIS eyes. Just know that He sees us through His eyes of love. You weren’t chosen because you were the most beautiful, the most handsome, the most AWESOME human who has ever walked this earth. You were picked out and adopted simply because of His great love for you.
Let others see how much God loves them through you.
“…just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:25b-27
Thank God we are never too far gone to receive mercy and forgiveness…a fresh start. The only ones who don’t receive are the ones who don’t ask. Whatever God says He will do, trust Him to do it. He is faithful ❤
Isaiah 1:18 Living Bible (TLB)
18 Come, let’s talk this over, says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool!
If you are a Christian and your foundation is shaken by who sits on a wordly throne, then you’ve built on the wrong foundation.
If you are a Christian and your identity is wrapped up in a wordly government, your political affiliation, your gender, your ethnicity , your social position or your education, then your identity is not in Christ. Raise your standard.
This does not mean you shouldn’t vote or stand up for what is right. Just be sure that your “right” is based upon His righteousness. Joshua found that out as he was about to lead Israel into battle. He was confronted by the pre-incarnate Christ, who made it clear to Joshua who was in charge. God doesn’t line up on our side, we line up on His:
“Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”
“Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell face down to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”
The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.” Joshua 5:13-15