People used to say things like, "the devil made me do it," or "I can't help it, I was born this way!" Even in the Garden of Eden, Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. The facts remain clear: our own desire lures us into sin.
I've seen many signs in front of church buildings that read, "Come as you are," and often wondered what message they hoped to convey. I know that regardless of "how" I show up to services, God knows whether my heart is focused on Him or caught up in self. I may come impeccably dressed while my heart is in shambles. I wear threadbare clothes while possessing a heart receptive to God's discipline. Our attire, whether stainless or shabby, might be able to create a certain impression on people, but it will not conceal from God the state of our hearts or our minds.
Praise the Lord with me, my friends—a new life has begun! Late last night, our middle daughter came to us and said she wanted to be baptized. Her heart has pondered this decision for quite some time. She has done lots of bible reading on her own and asked us to explain sin, baptism, and… Continue reading A New Life Has Begun!
It's easy to talk about love when there is no conflict. It's easy to stand in a brightly lit hall, surrounded by a hundred smiling faces and listen to the preacher tell you how "love is patient and kind," but as offenses mount, love, patience, and kindness are no longer easy to swallow.
Last spring, we decided to remove the bushes and rocks from our front planter bed and add a better variety of plants. Once the bed was clear of roots and rocks, we laid a strong weed barrier over every inch of dirt. We laid out our plants, cut small holes in the weed barrier, and… Continue reading Why You Can’t Keep Delaying Forgiveness
This is part 3 of the series "Why are you making excuses?" To read the previous post, click here. This is a tale of two kings---two very real kings---from ancient Israel. Both kings made a choice to sin. Both received punishment for their sins. Both made apologies to God. Only one chose repentance. Our first King… Continue reading Does God Need Us to Make Excuses for our Sin?
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. - Hebrews 12.14, ESV Peace is an elusive, hard-won, state of affairs. One party may feel at peace while another is ramping up efforts to overturn it. World leaders made flowery overtures about how they longed for lasting… Continue reading How do I Achieve Peace AND Be Holy?
How do we heal from those wounds for which no restitution can be made? How do we extend true forgiveness when we don't feel like forgiving? How do we ease that burning in our hearts for justice? Forgiveness is not merely an action, it is an attitude we must develop and nurture until we return to dust.
Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven." ~ Matthew 18.21-22, NKJV Can't you just see the apostles doing the math? (Obviously they didn't… Continue reading The Flawed Forgiveness Question
Have you ever had your heart crushed by someone who was supposed to be a friend? Enemies can attack and leave some bruising, but nothing is as devastating as being hurt, neglected, ignored or betrayed by a loved one. Enemy attacks are like surface wounds; friend's attacks cut to the bone. When you feel this way, where do you take your pain? To whom do you relay your frustration?