Tag: forgiveness

The Bridge

The Bridge

Encouragment, Short Stories
In a land far from here,  in a time long forgotten, there were two villages separated by a deep chasm. On the east side of the wide rocky gorge was Becket’s Corner, to the west lay Paradise. For a time when the elder’s grandfathers were young, a wobbly suspension bridge provided passage, commerce, and sharing between the two villages. Over time the villages grew apart, each community blaming something the other had done. Then, one night, the bridge was gone. Both sides condemned the other for the destruction with pointed fingers, but neither could prove anything. While a few mourned the loss of the bridge most didn’t seem to care. They were content, even happy, to be on their own. One day in a far-off city, many many years after the bridge fell, Jason from Becket’s corner met F
Chasing Sunsets

Chasing Sunsets

Encouragment, Short Stories
It was a late spring day and the garden needed some fence wire to tame an over-exuberant blackberry vine. The wire happened to be in the barn. I don’t go out to the old barn very often.  The animals are all gone now and cousin Ronnie is farming our ground. My wife Dot and I still live on the home place but probably not for much longer. I was born on this plot of ground in the middle of Illinois and my children were raised here. Our barn is close to 100 years old and it’s one of my favorite places. The ground level livestock area has given shelter to every kind of farm animal you can think of. The stalls are all cleaned out now, the only residents being a few cats and some stubborn mice. Upstairs is the hayloft. Nothing smells like summer more than drying hay. It’s hard to descri
God is Turning Up the Heat

God is Turning Up the Heat

Encouragment
In the nearly three years of Lambchow’s existence I have rarely touched on current events, never touched on politics, and strictly avoided hot-button issues. This was intentional and purposeful. Our desire is to encourage folks to walk deeper with Jesus regardless of where they are at on that adventure. Yet, here we are. With tensions, divisions, conflicts, and darkness impacting our lives. There is tension between the races that, in some quarters, seems unresolvable. Our choice for President this November is between two deeply flawed candidates. Few seem to respectfully listen to views that are different than their own. Faith is mocked in the vilest of ways. Yet, there is hope. Could it be that God is turning up the heat to reveal the dross? The wise writer of Proverbs said, “Take
New Salt

New Salt

Encouragment
Just when you think you’ve got it covered you learn something new. For instance, I can’t tell you how many sermons and teachings I’ve heard about being the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13). I’ve even given a few myself. A few Sunday’s ago I learned something about salt that opened up a new way of thinking about how I interact with the world around me. To give credit where credit is due, my thanks goes to Kyle Benefield for bringing out this truth.   We know the verses which use salt as a metaphor. Jesus taught, “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.” (Matthew 5:13, NLT)  And,  “Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it sal
A Pig No More

A Pig No More

Encouragment
Scientists have figured out why pigs wallow in the mud. Basic biology tells us that pigs don’t sweat, so taking a mud bath is a fantastic way for them to keep cool. But there’s more to it than that because pigs will wallow even when it’s not hot out. The startling conclusion of a recent study on pig wallowing (who pays for these things?) is that pigs wallow because they like it. For them, laying in a shallow spot caked with muck and mud is the good life. Sin is like that. Nearly all sin is something we like, prefer, or choose. It scratches our itch. Sin makes us feel good, satisfied, wanted, cool (as in with it), accepted, protected, and important for at least a little while. We wallow in sin for the same reasons that pigs wallow in mud -- we like it. You could say that we are addicted
An “Iffy” Proposition

An “Iffy” Proposition

Encouragment
Why is it that some of the most powerful words in the English language are also the shortest ones?  Consider the weight of consequence carried on the minuscule frame of “if”.  If you do something or don’t do something, then something will or won’t happen. All because of “if”.  We use “if” to set conditions, expectations, and their consequences. It feels like “if” should be more massive to carry all that weight. But it’s not. “If” is small and powerful but sometimes a little shy; overshadowed by the words around it. Consider for instance 1 John 1:5-10. John writes, “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not pr
More: Reconciliation and Forgiveness

More: Reconciliation and Forgiveness

Encouragment
Murder is final. Unlike other crimes there is no possibility of restitution or restoration. Recently a young man walked into a church in Charleston South Carolina. A Bible Study was in progress. He listened for some time before taking out a pistol and killing nine of the people who were there. Long before he pulled the trigger his heart was seeded with hate. Like Cain who killed Abel, he had a choice. He could have walked back out of that Bible Study. He could have seen the inherent value in each living soul. He could have found forgiveness for the sin buried in his heart. But he didn’t. And we all agree that what he did was wrong, a sin against God and man of the highest order. For those of us who love and follow Christ, Jesus declares a more stringent standard. “You have heard tha
Trail Mix Prayer: Forgive Them

Trail Mix Prayer: Forgive Them

Archive
The joke’s on us. When we refuse to forgive others because of the hurt they have caused us, when we throw them into a virtual prison, when we can recount every offense and sin they have committed against us – the joke is on us. We are the ones who are really in jail; dressed in the prison garb of hate, shackled by unforgiveness, and locked behind impenetrable walls of bitterness. Irony of ironies, we hold the key that removes the shackles and unlocks the door. In the Lord’s Prayer and in the brief explanation that follows Jesus emphasizes the need to not only receive God’s forgiveness but forgive others as well. Jesus instructed us to pray, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12, NASB95) And He taught, “For if you forgive others for their tra
They Shall Receive Mercy

They Shall Receive Mercy

Beatitudes, Series
There is a delicious paradox in Jesus’ fifth beatitude - “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7, NASB95)  Unlike the other beatitudes, this one as the quality of reaping what is sown.  The basic law of nature is if you plant a pumpkin seed you will get more pumpkins. The Apostle Paul extends this law to spiritual matters -  “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7–8, NASB95)  Whatever we sow in life tends to come back to us, whether we like it or not. Ever notice how smiles and laughter are contagious?  Or how an angry and bitter attitude can d
They Shall Be Comforted – Part 2

They Shall Be Comforted – Part 2

Beatitudes, Series
To unfold the rest of Jesus’ second beatitude - “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4, NASB95) - I’d like to paint you a picture.  Consider a boy in a baseball uniform. He’s returning to the dugout after his turn at bat. The bat is no longer poised and ready to strike but is being drug through the dirt in defeat. His head is down and his shoulders slumped forward. He sees nothing but that last failed swing, he hears nothing but the thud of the ball against the catcher’s mitt. Tears roll down his cheeks as he plods back to the bench, his mind frozen by the umpire’s last call. To understand the boy’s emotions we must look into his heart. For the boy’s tears are not from feelings of injustice, rejection, or the sting of personal failure. It’s not because he
Three Stories: I Didn’t Know

Three Stories: I Didn’t Know

Series, Three Stories
Of the three defenses examined in this series this last one is perhaps the easiest to excuse. While “I didn’t mean it” says I know what I did wrong but I wasn’t paying attention. And, while “I was only joking” knows they are stepping over the line and sees no problem with it. This last excuse of “I didn’t know” is the most understandable and justifiable of the three. Consider: Joey had just moved to Springdale, a small town on the edge of the prairie. One warm summer night he was skateboarding around the small downtown area. While practicing moves in the parking lot between McPherson’s Drugs and a defunct five and dime a police car drove by. Joey didn’t think much about it until the car pulled into the parking lot and a young officer stepped out. Joey rode up to him and said, “Hi, I’m J
Three Stories: I Didn’t Mean To

Three Stories: I Didn’t Mean To

Series, Three Stories
The first defense often deployed when we realize we’ve made a mistake, done something wrong, or committed a sin is “I didn’t mean to…” Common law recognizes that there is a difference between 1st degree murder, when someone plans and shows intent to kill someone, and lesser forms of murder and manslaughter where intent is not clear. However, guilt and punishment is attached to all. Saying “I didn’t mean to…” does not change the consequences of our actions. Instead it supplies a way to escape or blunt the guilt we feel. For example. Marie was minding her own business when she noticed the red and blue lights in her rearview mirror. Instinctively she lifted her foot from the gas pedal and glanced at the speedometer. “Oh dear,” she said to herself as she realized how far over the speed limi