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The Sin Virus

virus

Image by twenty_questions via Flickr

Sin dominates, imprisons, and infects souls like a virus. Evil thoughts inside multiply like a virus showing infection symptoms externally after an incubation period. How do we escape sins’ viral trap? Jesus has the cure. Jesus has the anti-virus software. Jesus has the new programming. Jesus has the secure operating system. How? Jesus causes people to be born again in their inner soul as a new creature, with good motives, and a new heart.

Mark 7:20-23 (ESV):

20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

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God’s Revealed Secrets

Seek God’s revealed secrets as you obey and follow the way, being prepared to learn from Jesus, who is God’s light. Ask to know God’s light, and then be ready to shine, wisely speaking and living the truth tactfully and graciously.

Mark 4:21-23 (ESV):

21 And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? 22 For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

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God already knows your sin guilt. Do you? God knows how to help you. Open to help?

Romans 3:19-20 (ESV):

19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

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With faith in Jesus, proper God-seeking trumps self-seeking, securing one’s own eternal self-interest, being exhibited in life’s actions, knowing God judges faith by its’ manifesting good works externally, flowing from precious internal changes.

Romans 2:6-11 (ESV):

6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

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God’s will, from the beginning of sin starting at creation with Adam & Eve, has always been to lead each individual person to repentance. With repentance, a turning away from sins towards God and his righteousness, God has blessings to bestow. A key blessing is forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ. Before Christ’s death on the cross, forgiveness of sins was by credit looking forward to the Passover Lamb, and afterwards by debit, having the Lamb’s payment once and for all who qualify.

Romans 2:1-4 (ESV):

2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

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What can we do with God’s help to grow our faith in his Son Jesus Christ to strengthen our spiritual gifts so significantly, so when fellow followers congregate with us, they become strengthened, encouraged, and blessed with more spiritual gifts due to their visit and our mutual sharing?

Romans 1:8-12 (ESV):

8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.

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When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, major sickness and death entered the world in the sense that they pushed away the God who heals, and for the sake of our eternal souls God had to keep human-kind away from the Tree of Life until a future, much later, proper time reserved for true followers.

Acts 28:7-10 (ESV):

7 Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. 8 It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him. 9 And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. 10 They also honored us greatly, and when we were about to sail, they put on board whatever we needed.

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Mordecai correctly understands God’s plans are sophisticated with layers, intricate details, timing, influence, and position, to account for people’s ability to choose their path. Does Mordecai in this circumstance speak from faith alone, or also from a knowledge of where else this further redemption will arise?

Ester 4:13-16 (ESV):

13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”

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The Apostle Paul actively persuaded the Centurion and soldiers to keep all people on the ship to stay together, since God granted only the lives of all those sailing with Paul.

Acts 27:23-26 (ESV):

23 For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24 and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. 26 But we must run aground on some island.”

Acts 27:30-32 (ESV):

30 And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, and had lowered the ship’s boat into the sea under pretense of laying out anchors from the bow, 31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it go.

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Bless to be Blessed

While Esau’s father Isaac could have pointed out to Esau that to receive a blessing, Esau needed to bless his brother Jacob, likely the sound and correct reasoning would have been found distasteful to Esau.

Genesis 27:38 (ESV):

38 Esau said to his father, “Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.

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It is a reasonable expectation that authorities provide a valid charge to hold a prisoner an extended period of time based upon what the person did, rather than due to their personal views about God, however controversial.

Acts 25:24-27 (ESV):

24 And Festus said, “King Agrippa and all who are present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish people petitioned me, both in Jerusalem and here, shouting that he ought not to live any longer. 25 But I found that he had done nothing deserving death. And as he himself appealed to the emperor, I decided to go ahead and send him. 26 But I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him. Therefore I have brought him before you all, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that, after we have examined him, I may have something to write. 27 For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to indicate the charges against him.”

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Jesus reminds us to be like the wise servant who does what is right whether watched or unwatched at the time, so when the master comes at any time, one is always ready. Likewise, Jesus followers know God watches us all the time, so we are always to be ready before God’s eyes.

Matthew 24:45-47 (ESV):

45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.

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Escape Hypocrisy

To escape hypocrisy, focus to clean your internal heart and soul guided by God’s righteousness rather than self-righteousness per Jesus’s instructions, asking for divine assistance to change your character from the inside out, to address root causes, rather than mere symptoms.

Matthew 23:25-26 (ESV):

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

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Abraham showed courtesy and tact when acquiring land for his wife Sarah’s burial. Even when offered land free of charge, Abraham offered, and then purchased it at its’ full price. When dealing with Israel’s land, are any leaders as effective in securing for Israel the land God promised?

Genesis 23:12-16 (ESV):

12 Then Abraham bowed down before the people of the land. 13 And he said to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, “But if you will, hear me: I give the price of the field. Accept it from me, that I may bury my dead there.” 14 Ephron answered Abraham, 15 “My lord, listen to me: a piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver, what is that between you and me? Bury your dead.” 16 Abraham listened to Ephron, and Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver that he had named in the hearing of the Hittites, four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weights current among the merchants.

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When God in the Angel of the Lord form spoke to Abraham out of heaven, was heaven as in the earthly sky, or was that heaven where the angels reside?

Genesis 22:15-18 (ESV):

15 And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

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Working Benefits

Even if you were granted the ability to perform miracles by the hand of God, like the Apostle Paul, God’s expects you to use your regular Earthly skills to work to be an example and benefit others.

Acts 20:35 (ESV):

35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

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Part of loving our neighbors as ourselves means forgiving our neighbor from our heart and not leading our neighbor into temptation to sin, yet rather being a good role model by mirroring Jesus and the early apostles.

Matthew 18:34-35 (ESV):

34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Matthew 18:7 (ESV):

7 “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!

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When Abraham addressed the three men collective as Lord, were Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all manifesting themselves in human appearance? Did God do that for anyone else? The three men were heavenly beings, that is angels, who appear in the form of men. The Lord shares plans to go down to Sodom and Gomorrah, so the Lord shows up.

Genesis 18:1-3 (ESV):

18:1 And the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. 2 He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth 3 and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant.

Genesis 18:20-21 (ESV):

20 Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”

Genesis 19:1-3 (ESV):

19:1 The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth 2 and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.” 3 But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

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What if the slave girl owners asked Jesus’ followers to make them whole for their future loss of earnings? Would God have shown them a way to earn even more? Surely it would have been worthwhile to ask, since inciting the city against God’s missionaries restored none of their future earnings, and even opposed God.

Acts 16:16-24 (ESV):

16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. 19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20 And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21 They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.” 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

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Did the Spirit of God intend to exclude the Gospel from going to Asia? No. God at times influences the timing and people to maximize the Gospel’s presentation effectiveness.

Acts 16:6-8 (ESV):

6 And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7 And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8 So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.

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The God Who Sees

God is a God who sees, as God made our Universe, and is able to inspect all matter, like electronic tools inspect data transmissions and computer memory. God uses this knowledge combined with analysis and interventions to look after people who revere, seek, and obey him.

Genesis 16:13

13 So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”

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Peter’s protocol to ask the Lord Jesus to command him to walk on water ensures when he got out of the boat that he would not be testing God, but merely obeying Jesus’ command. As for doubting, it’s natural to believe long observed laws of nature more than the power of God, despite the limiting consequences of errant beliefs. As for faith, Peter showed strong belief in God’s power in asking.

Matthew 14:28-31

28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

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What does God’s Word teach about the people having and lacking rights to Jerusalem?

Nehemiah 2:19-20 (ESV):

19 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they jeered at us and despised us and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” 20 Then I replied to them, “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem.”

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Remember to honor and thank both your earthly father and the Heavenly Father on Father’s Day and throughout the year for all the lessons you’ve learned from them, and all they offered and have yet to offer.

Matthew 11:25-28 (ESV):

25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

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Due to people’s sinful nature, God intervened to confuse language, to frustrate future fallen pursuits, and to draw more to find their life’s purpose through God, rather than their own plans and proposals.

Genesis 11:5-8

5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.

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Are you open to receiving God’s message when proofs are provided? What if God leaves the research to you and your intellect?

Acts 9:22 (ESV):

22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.

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Are you a Jesus follower who recognizes your own unworthiness? Jesus is willing to assist and spend time with you anyway. If applicable, Jesus may graciously admire aspects of your character too.

Matthew 8:8-10

8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.

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Are you open to God helping you see your own hypocrisy and tasking God to help you change significantly by his instruction?

Matthew 7:4-5 (ESV):

4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

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God clearly communicates our forgiveness is preconditioned on our forgiving. Jesus modeled this by forgiving the people perpetrators behind his crucifixion. Are you prepared to forgive today, and everyday?

Matthew 6:14-15 (ESV):

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Luke 23:34 (ESV):

34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.

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Broader scriptures’ context is required to properly apply scriptures, as is understanding the Creator, who inspired the Bible’s authorship.

Acts 4:5-6

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

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Pay attention when God gives reasons for which forgiveness will be withheld and condemnation forthcoming, to stay away from those pitfalls. The lesson to remove stubbornness and move one’s heart towards God’s righteousness, parallels the Parable of Wise Man who built his house upon the rock, to be hearers and doers of God’s word to receive forgiveness.

Deuteronomy 29:18-20

18 Beware lest there be among you a man or woman or clan or tribe whose heart is turning away today from the Lord our God to go and serve the gods of those nations. Beware lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit, 19 one who, when he hears the words of this sworn covenant, blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart.’ This will lead to the sweeping away of moist and dry alike. 20 The Lord will not be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the Lord and his jealousy will smoke against that man, and the curses written in this book will settle upon him, and the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven.

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God sent Jesus his servant to his called and chosen people, first. While it is great to be first at times, businesses learned first movers advantages are often missing and fleeting. In many cases later movers gain effective advantages, learning lessons from first movers successes and failures. God’s calls everyone else second and later, owning an abundant storeroom of blessings to bestow. Like in business, carefully leverage second and later movers advantages to full effect, by seeking and following God. Doing this, you’ll be blessed as God’s called, chosen, and faithful people, learning from all the lessons of first and later movers, whether those lessons are successes or failures.

Acts 3:25-26

25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ 26 God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.”

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When people objected to Jesus’ miracles and good works, even performed on Sabbaths, they were really objecting to God the Father performing these miracles to help people at the request of Jesus, the Son of God.

Acts 2:22-24

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

John 14:10-11

10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

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