Tag: sin

Jesus Says Don’t, Just Don’t

Jesus Says Don’t, Just Don’t

Encouragment, Jesus Says
Our next Jesus Says command causes much confusion and discomfort. Surely Jesus doesn’t mean for us to cut off our hands or poke out an eye?  In a physical sense, of course not. Jesus is making an over the top statement to drive home a point. So often we think that a certain sin is so much a part of us that if we remove it, we will cease to be who we are. Jesus made this point about adultery and lust filled thoughts, but it really applies to everything. Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, t
Walking Through 2nd Peter, #5, God’s Word not Ours

Walking Through 2nd Peter, #5, God’s Word not Ours

Encouragment
I begin this step in our Walk Through 2nd Peter knowing that it’s going to make almost everyone angry, upset, or conflicted.  The words themselves seem innocuous, a harmless reminder that writers moved by the Holy Spirit conveyed God’s words. That truth is understood and accepted by those following Jesus. But when we consider Peter’s warning it challenges all of our assumptions, presumptions, prejudices, traditions, and preferences. Looking closely at what Peter meant sets off a nuclear explosion of life-altering proportions. Peter writes, “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is
Of Charlottesville and Barcelona

Of Charlottesville and Barcelona

Encouragment
This has been a hard week. It began with the protests and ultimate violence in Charlottesville Virgina. Continued with the raw meat of President Trump’s comments which sparked a feeding frenzy of angst and anger in the media. And closed with the fatal attacks in Spain from a radicalized Islamic terror cell. I keep my nose out of current events and politics on the pages of Lambchow. But as I listened to the news, argued with the reactions, and sought God about these events a truth emerged.   Charlottesville The events in Charlottesville began when several groups that share the evil belief of white supremacy lawfully gathered. The stated goal was to protest the removal of a statue honoring a Confederate General. General Robert E. Lee led the Confederate army during America’s Civil
Whose Tool are You?

Whose Tool are You?

Encouragment
Ever consider the vast variety of tools available at your local hardware store?  From the simplest scrapper to the powerfully complex hammer drill and everything in between. There are levels to check slope. Hammers to pound and pull. Screwdrivers and wrenches from the very small to the “do they really make a bolt that big?”.  I like the multi-tools, those lightweight contraptions with anywhere from 9 to 25 different tools in one easy to carry unit. I almost always have one with me. But have you ever considered the complex multi-tool of the human form? Think about it for a moment, if the human body was marketed as a multi-tool how many tools could we list? 30? 60? Over a hundred? Just think of all the different things our hands can do from writing to hoisting a sail to gently bathing a b
Walking Through 1st Peter: Suffering Sin

Walking Through 1st Peter: Suffering Sin

Encouragment
We, as followers of Jesus, can be carried away by our convictions. It is good that we’re sensitive to the Holy Spirit and desire to live a life that pleases God. The problem comes when we lay those burdens on others who haven’t yet decided to follow Jesus or been pricked with conviction from the Holy Spirit. I cringe when that happens. The words may be well and true, but the soil isn’t ready for them yet. Especially so when accompanied with condemnation. The result is often a wounded heart that is less receptive to God’s good news. I know because I’ve done it. Our next step through 1st Peter touches on that topic but centers on something else we don’t like to think about. Welcome to our 18th step in our walk through Peter’s first letter to the believers of Asia Minor. Don’t worry if
When God Seems Asleep

When God Seems Asleep

Encouragment
You’ve got to love the Psalms. They weren’t just syrupy feel-good songs which ignored the realities of life, sin, and death. Take Psalms 44 for instance. It begins by recounting God’s hand in the Israelite’s victories. “They did not conquer the land with their swords; it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory. It was your right hand and strong arm and the blinding light from your face that helped them, for you loved them.” (Psalm 44:3, NLT) But things weren’t so rosy when this Psalm was written. Later in Psalm 44 the account shifts from what God had done in the past to what He seems to be failing at for them at that moment. “Yet You have rejected us and brought us to dishonor, And do not go out with our armies. You cause us to turn back from the adversary; And those who hat
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
Dirty Windows

Dirty Windows

Encouragment
Ever notice that a window can look perfectly clean until the sun shines in? I’m looking out a window now. I would give it high marks for cleanliness. It doesn’t appear to be smeared or spotted.  The vista it displays seems crisp, beautiful in fact.  But just a few hours ago a sunbeam shined directly through the window.  Suddenly all of the smears, spots, and imperfections were visible.  Not just a little bit visible but startlingly and unmistakably visible. Ever notice that a soul can look perfectly clean until the Son of God shines on it? I think of the Pharisees to whom Jesus pointed out the cleanliness of their exterior and rottenness of their hearts. I think of the serial killers who seemed to lead a normal life but had a deadly secret. I think of all of the times when a pastor
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 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
Three Stories, Three Sins

Three Stories, Three Sins

Series, Three Stories
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 limit she was going. Once stopped on the shoulder the officer, a State Trooper, walks up and taps on the window. “I’m sorry officer I wasn’t meaning to speed. Could you let me go with a warning?” She pleads.   Bob stared at the Facebook post in horror. The post showed two shirtless men, one of them with his face, raising glasses of beer behind a sign that read, “Coming Out Party.” The poster of the apparently altered photo was Carl, a classmate in the same dorm.  Bob ran to Carl’s room and pounded on the door. “You idiot, take down that