Friday, June 27, 2014


Well here's a verse to mull over today.

1 Corinthians 1:10 "Brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, I urge all of you to be in agreement and not to have divisions among you, so that you may be perfectly united in your understanding and opinions."

"Mind and thought"
"Thought and purpose"
"Mind and judgement"

These were the ways other versions phrased the last part of this verse. Either way, in the name of Jesus we are all urged to be of one mind and opinion and to be in agreement with one another. WOW!

I'm looking at how things are in society today and thinking, "How can this be?" I mean, seriously, does ANYONE yield to his neighbor these days? It seems more likely that most would diss their friends, brothers and neighbors rather than "agree" with them or "be of one mind and opinion". It's just the calloused way the world is.

"You don't judge me and I won't judge you", right? "Live and let live", that's the closest we get to living in agreement. We agree to disagree. But what of this verse, where it says, we are to "be perfectly united in our understanding and opinions"?

I think the key is in the Name by which we are urged.  It's all about JESUS.  Some things in life are made delightfully simple just by dwelling on His name and will.  When He is exalted and we are bowed low, no longer do selfish ambitions rule our thoughts and actions.  Our pride no longer plays a role in our interactions with each other.  Our pride no longer acts as a filter through which we hear each other. Instead, Jesus becomes the focus and purpose of every heart and response.  May God forgive us for ever behaving any other way.  

Friday, June 20, 2014

No Condemnation

Knowing how many mothers frequently deal with guilt and feelings of inadequacy, I can't help but wonder about Eve and what kinds of feelings she possibly dealt with regarding her own children and grand children. After all, if she had made a different choice that day, her children would never have suffered or struggled as I'm sure they did. The lamentation of "If only I had..." was more than likely a frequent cry in her heart.

Can you imagine?

Many women also can relate to another choice Eve made. That was the choice to deliberately tempt a man to sin by presenting to him something that was forbidden.

The mixture of feelings of power and disgust over his weakness to resist her, coupled with tramendous guilt for having used her God given beauty and Adam's love and trust in her, to do something so devastating must have consumed her at times.

I'm pretty sure she loathed herself and was filled with regret and self hatred. Like many woman today who misuse their beauty and wiles to cause men to stumble, I'm sure she found that the "prize" was not worth the consequence of having her world destroyed, losing everything. And I'm sure she daily wished she could turn back the clock and erase her moment of failure.

Such sorrow and guilt could only be aleviated by the promise of the God who had created the perfect world she'd lost. The tears that she thought she'd drown in could only be dried by the hand of He who promised to make it right again. But that promise, though it may have given her hope, did not change the fact that daily she faced the evidences of her failure... her lust...her rebellion. And were it not for that promise, she, like any of us, would have been consumed by the cold hard truth that she was the reason for her circumstances.

When we sin, and must live with the consequences of our sin, there is only one way, one remedy given, to overcome the crushing guilt and regret that would consume us. We must go to the God, who made us, and seek Him. We must own our guilt, carrying it close to our hearts long enough to be able to bring it to the foot of the cross personally, where we can lay it down at the feet of Jesus. We can not toss it aside or blame someone else for our situation as both Adam and Eve tried to do.  No, we must carry it to the cross personally.  And there, at the Cross of Christ we'll find that, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1)  At the same time, we'll find strength to press on in the power and promise that Jesus has redeemed us and enables us to overcome sin.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Whom He Will Devour

Imagine you are camping...alone.  As you are snuggled into your cozy sleeping bag and the peacefulness of the night surrounds you. Suddenly you hear the sounds of something menacing and vicious just outside your tent! You even catch a whiff of it's foul scent. How scary would that be? The only thing separating you from the dark, evil, blood thirsty predator is a thin tent. I wonder how many of us would be content to snooze a little at this moment. I wonder if any of us would care that it's a little bit chilly out or that the ground is a little hard beneath the sleeping bag. I wonder if any of us would be craving s'mores as we listened to the sounds of the unknown stalker just outside the tent.
Wait! He's not alone! Whatever it is, it came with an entourage of evil, menacing minions, and they're out for blood...YOUR blood.
Just close your eyes and put yourself in this fictitious moment for a bit. Try to tap into the emotions this kind of situation would stir. Can you taste the fear? Can you feel your heart pounding? Can you imagine how vulnerable you'd feel?

Now think about this verse;

1 Peter 5:8-9 "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings."

Do you catch my intent in painting this picture? It isn't a fictitious senario.

YOUR enemy IS prowling! He IS seeking to devour YOU! How sober are you about this? How alert are you? And how are you resisting him? Are you resisting him? Are you allowing yourself to become distracted by meaningless things while your life, your soul, is in peril?

Your enemy knows no mercy. He doesn't care about your comfort. He doesn't care about your image. He doesn't care about your career, your dreams, your goals, your hobbies or the wounds you still nurse that have made you weak. You know what I'm talking about; the wounds that are still festering because you refuse to forgive. He doesn't care about them. All he wants to do is devour you. And once he's done so, he'll lick his lips and forget about you and then, move on to his next victim. How sober are you about that?

Another thought; Do you love your neighbor enough to warn him about this predator? Are you more inclined to "unfriend" someone as opposed to praying for them? Are you in self-preservation mode? Keeping your faith to yourself, so you can avoid conflict or offending someone?

These are thoughts that have come to mind as I read these verses. So here's my exhortation to you tonight.

Be alert.
Be sober.
Live by the code; "Love your neighbor as yourself".

Friday, June 6, 2014

More on the Gossip

For many, gossip is the passive aggressive way of seeking revenge. But God has said, "Vengeance is mine". It is a very serious and damaging sin. It destroys the unity of believers and calls into question the testimony of others, even discrediting their witness to those who otherwise may have had a powerful effect on the lives of those who have been or would be redeemed. Though gossip is intended to destroy a person's reputation, the greater effect it has is that it destroys the unity of the body of Christ

Consider for a moment the times when your anger and resentment toward someone burned the most, or you became distrusting or condemning of someone you didn't even know. Was there anyone with you at the time "stirring up conflict"?

Proverbs 16:28 "A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends."

Proverbs 26:20 "Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down."

Proverbs 15:18 "A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel."

There are so many verses that speak about the evil of those who would stir up dissension. God has much to say about gossips and liars. He has much to say about the unity of Believers too. But there is one who works against that unity. He is the father of lies who would lead each of us down the path of haughtiness and strife toward one another, because his plan is to divide and conquer, stealing God's glory. If we are separated from one another by hatred, jealousy, anger, malice or distrust we are no longer pleasing God. Instead we are pleasing the flesh.

Proverbs 6:16-19 "There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him,

haughty eyes
a lying tongue
hands that shed innocent blood
a heart that devises wicked plans
feet that make haste to run to evil
a false witness who breathes out lies
one who sows discord among brothers."

When we work toward discord we become an abomination to God!

If you find that you "know things" about people you don't even are a gossip.
If you find that you have feelings of hostility toward people you've rarely interacted with because of what you've been are a gossip.
If you are distrusting of someone because of another person's chattering lips about something they "heard" regarding him/ have allowed gossip to cause discord.
If you repeat in any way something you've "heard" about another person, you are a gossip, and you have sown discord among the brethren.

When we find that we are guilty of this we must repent and turn from this sin completely. There may even be cause to separate yourself, for a time, from someone who continually leads you into divisive conversations, until you can become disciplined enough in your own habits to resist gossiping. And if you find that you are guilty of undermining someone's witness, do not justify it. Make it right again with confession and repentance. Admit you spread things you did not witness and ask for forgiveness so that unity can be restored.

And for those who have been sinned against,
"Forgive as The Lord forgave you." It isn't easy, but it is mandatory.