Tag Archives: sin

Brace for crash landing!

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Don’t be naive.  There are difficult times ahead.  As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money hungry, self promoting, boastful, proud, abusive, profane, contemptuous of parents, ungrateful, unholy, impulsively wild, ruthless, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, addicted to lust, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure instead of lovers of God.  They will make a show of religion, but live like a heathen behind the scenes.  Hypocrites.  Stay away from people like this.  (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Don’t go along with the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They have refused so long to deal with God that they have lost touch not only with God but with reality itself!  They can’t think straight anymore.  Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.  (Ephesians 4:17-19)

The way it all fell apart was like this:  Even though people knew God perfectly well, they neither worshiped him as God nor gave thanks to him.  Their thinking became dumb and pointless because sin makes people stupid.  They had neither sense nor direction in their lives.  They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life.  They traded the glory of God who holds the whole universe in his hands for cheap figurines that you can buy at any roadside stand.

So God said, in effect, “If that’s what you want, then that’s what you get.”  It wasn’t long before they were living in a pigpen, smeared with filth, filthy inside and out.  All this because they traded the true God for a fake god- they made an idol of their passions- they worshiped the god they made inside of themselves instead of worshiping the God who made them!  What a mess.  (Romans 1:21-25) 

A Prize for the Best Bad Guy

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But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust, wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over the truth.  Open your eyes and there it is!  By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see…  So nobody has a good excuse.

What happened was this:  People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives.  They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life.  They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.

So God said, in effect, “If that’s what you want, that’s what you get.”  It wasn’t long before they were living in a pigpen, smeared with filth, filthy inside and out.  And all this because they traded the true God for a fake god, and worshipped the god they made instead of the God who made them…

Worse followed.  Refusing to know God, they soon didn’t know how to be human either- women didn’t know how to be women, men didn’t know how to be men.  Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men- full of lust.  And they paid for it, oh how they paid for it- emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretches.

Since they didn’t bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose.  And then all hell broke loose:  rampant evil, grabbing and grasping, vicious backstabbing.  They made life hell on earth with their envy, wanton killing, bickering, and cheating.  Look at them:  mean-spirited, venomous, fork-tongued God-haters, bullies, swaggerers, insufferable windbags!  They keep inventing new ways of wrecking lives…   And it’s not as if they don’t know any better.  They know perfectly well they’re spitting in God’s face.  And they don’t care- worse, they hand out prizes to those who do the worst things best!

Sound familiar?  If Romans 1:18-32 doesn’t describe our modern era, then I don’t know what does.  We applaud those who behave the worst.  We turn our world upside down to accommodate deviance and perversion.  We shame and scold traditional values.  We tolerate what God has called intolerable.  And we are surprised when all hell breaks loose.

We need to repent as a nation and come back to God.  Only through repentance will we ever find satisfaction with this life.  This is why we needed a Savior.  We needed to be saved from our own wretched, filth.  We needed to be saved from the bad choices we made.  It is because we CHOSE SIN that we are destined for hell.  And Jesus died to rescue us from that horrible consequence.  

Thank you Jesus for dying for our sins.  We are astonished at our own sinfulness.  We are astonished that you would still love us.  We honor you as God and put you in your rightful place above all.  We crown you with thanks and worship!  Good Friday is indeed good… for us.  

Those who despise grace…

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Friday is the day for our weekly spelling test in my 5th grade class.  When the test is over, the kids exchange papers and we grade them together as a class.  Those kids are so hard on each other.  Every week someone complains that their friend’s “O”s look like “C”s or their “A”s look like “U”s.  They demand that every “T” be crossed and every “I” be dotted.  I’m sure some of them have a future in some government office.

I am constantly trying to teach them about grace.  My 5th graders are hard on each other and don’t give each other much grace because they don’t recognize their own need for grace.  They have very short and selective memories.  They remind me a lot of some Christians.

When Christians are hard on each other, demanding perfection of each other, it is because they do not see their own need for grace.  Pride has blinded them to their own faults, and they undervalue God’s power to forgive.

Jesus talked about this.  He said, “He who has been forgiven of much, loves much.”  The woman weeping at his feet was a prostitute.  The host, who forgot to give him water to wash his dusty feet when he arrived at the house, was a Religious Leader.  Who loved Jesus more?  The one who had been forgiven of more sins.

Those who do not recognize their own need for grace will always be hard on the people around them, like my 5th graders who are tyrants with a correcting pen.  Once a person sees their own trashiness, smells their own filth, and understands all that God has had to put up with in cleaning them up, then that person is tender and sensitive to the cleaning up process in his neighbor.  He says, “There but by the Grace of God would I go.”  If it were not for God’s Grace towards me, you and I would be in identical straits.

Has Pride blinded you to your own need for grace?  Are you hard on people?  Ask God for the brokenness that comes with understanding your own pathetic state before a pure and holy God.  Tenderness comes through brokenness.  Compassion is born of humility.

What if I stumble, What if I fall?

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Last week I opened one of my teaching manuals and found a sticky note left on a random page.  It simply said, “What if I stumble, what if I fall?”  I shivered.  The teacher that used this book last year wrote that and left it in the book.  I confess that I have thought those very words many times.  They are lyrics from a D.C. Talk song.  The chorus says,

What if I stumble, what if I fall?

What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?

Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl?

What if I stumble, and what if I fall?

This thought has kept me on the straight and narrow more than once.  I lead by example.  Those young eyes watching me, following me, have haunted me long enough to keep me from destroying my own reputation with a rash decision.  If I fall, I take others down with me.  It’s a sobering thought and it scares the living daylights out of me.

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today
Is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips
Then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle.
That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

Is this one for the people? Is this one for the Lord?
Or do I simply serenade for things I must afford?
You can jumble them together, my conflict still remains
Holiness is calling, in the midst of courting fame
Cause I see the trust in their eyes
Though the sky is falling
They need Your love in their lives
Compromise is calling

What if I stumble, what if I fall?
What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?
Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl?
What if I stumble, and what if I fall?

What if I stumble, what if I fall?
You never turn in the heat of it all
What if I stumble, what if I fall?

Father please forgive me for I can not compose
The fear that lives within me
Or the rate at which it grows
If struggle has a purpose on the narrow road you’ve carved
Why do I dread my trespasses will leave a deadly scar
Do they see the fear in my eyes? Are they so revealing?
This time I cannot disguise all the doubt I’m feeling

What if I stumble, what if I fall?
What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?
Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl?
What if I stumble, and what if I fall?

What if I stumble?
Everyone’s got to crawl when you know that
You’re up against a wall, it’s about to fall
Everyone’s got to crawl when you know that

I hear You whispering my name [You say]
“My love for You will never change” [never change]

What if I stumble, what if I fall?
What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?
Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl?
What if I stumble, and what if I fall?

What if I stumble, what if I fall?
You never turn in the heat of it all
What if I stumble, what if I fall?
You are my comfort, and my God

Is this one for the people, is this one for the Lord?

Where do Babies come from?

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We were just having an ordinary lunch at home when my 5-year-old asked a random question.  Out of the blue she says, “So, when you’re married, does God sneak up on you and put the baby in you?”

Fork suspended in mid-air between my plate and my mouth, I had to force myself to look at her with a straight face.  “Why yes, my dear, that’s exactly how it happens.”  I’m a good mom, and I didn’t want to traumatize her with more information than I thought she could handle at age 5.  After all, we still don’t use the anatomically correct names of the body parts in our household.  Imagine explaining the Birds and the Bees with vocabulary that includes “nibbies, yoo-hoo, and cheeky monkey”.  I don’t think so.

But the Apostle James wasn’t so concerned about the tender innocence of his readers when he wrote his description of how a “sin baby” is born.  In James 1:14-15 he wrote:

“The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us.  We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lusts.  Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby:  sin!  Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.” (The Message Version)

Other versions say when we are dragged off and enticed by our own evil desires, then sin is conceived.  God does not tempt us.  Satan has been around long enough, watching the human race, that he’s an expert at where to find our weaknesses.  With a little depth sounding and poking around, he quickly finds your pressure points.  That’s when he attacks… not head on, but from the side, all sly and sexy, easy and secretive.  “Did God really say you couldn’t eat of ANY fruit in the garden?”  That meanie, old God.  He doesn’t want you to have ANY fun.  Bait and hook, you’re caught.  Then he can drag you away and rape your spirit.

When, because of your lusts and desires for more, you open your mouth and swallow that hook, you are impregnated.  As a zygote turns into a baby, so a tiny lust grows into sin.

God told Cain, brother of Abel and first-born of Adam and Eve, “Sin is crouching at your door waiting to pounce on you, but you must master it!”  In Abel’s case, a bad attitude led to jealousy and hatred of his brother which led to murder.  When sin becomes an adult, it becomes a real killer.  It may kill others, but it will always kill you.

You can’t hide that Sin Baby behind your little fig leaf.  God sees all.  God knows your thoughts even before you do!  No, the only way to kill the Sin Baby is to expose it.  Throw it out from the shelter of your warm embrace.  Repentance is the only thing that can stop this deadly spiritual cycle.  “Repentance” is not a popular word, but it is the only cure for the hook you swallowed.  Tell Father God what you’ve done.  Tell him you’re sorry and ask him to forgive you.  God draws near to the broken and contrite heart.  A bruised reed he won’t break off.  Repent and He will forgive you and heal you.