All posts tagged: sin

How Resolved Are You?

-written by Matt Clotfelter The dictionary defines the word resolution as “​a firm decision to do or not to do something.” Some of the synonyms of the word resolution include aim, resolve, single-mindedness, will power, and decision. In other words, when resolved, we have decided our course, and we are doing what it takes to achieve that end. Resolution is also defined as “the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.” This word is what we think of in legal action. People go to mitigation to achieve resolution to a dispute. As I think of resolutions, I think of one of the most famous resolutions, which became something so much different. The Richard Henry Lee Resolution became something that changed our world. It was his resolution, submitted to the Second Continental Congress, which led to the creation of the Declaration of Independence. It was the line drawn in the sand to declare the “colonies” as an independent nation called the United States. Throughout history, God has had a plan of resolution. As modern …

What Are You Trying to Hide From God?

My dog’s name is Roam. Roam is almost a year old Australian Shepherd. Australian Shepherds are actually one of the smartest breeds of dogs, making Roam too smart for his own good. One of Roam’s favorite things to do is to sneak socks and hide them under our coffee table. We usually catch him pretty early because we can hear him chewing on something other than his toy. When we look underneath the coffee table, we see Roam with a sock right next to his head and him on his back. He knows he is in trouble. He rolls on his back because he doesn’t want to face the punishment of his disobedience. Roam knows what he is doing is disobedient, he knows he is in trouble, but still he continues to sneak off with socks and chew them. He then has to face his punishment as we send him to “his room.” I think a lot of times as people, we act the same way with sin. We talk a lot about the grace …

Are You Arming Yourself with Worthless Spitballs?

I remember being a college student and sitting in front of the TV listening to the Georgia Governor Zell Miller speak at the Republican National Convention in 2004. He was talking about how Senator Kerry, then presidential candidate, was opposed to expansion of military forces. Governor Miller said, “This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces, US forces armed with what? Spitballs?” The crowd erupted in a standing ovation. Agree or disagree, I have never been able to forget, “Armed with what? Spitballs?” I think this often what we arm ourselves with when it comes to sin: spitballs. Sin is deadly, and it is not Satan who sends us to Hell, it is our sin. Sin has ended the lives of millions of people, and has led people to end their life as well. Sin has caused countless health issues, depression, loneliness, fear, anxiety, and secluded life styles. Sin has led to division in families, and churches, business. It has started wars and psychotic mass casualties. …

New Patches For Old Mistakes or New Creations?

Legacy: consequence, effect, by-product, result, repercussion There are a lot of men who creep Into the world to eat and sleep, And know no reason why they’re born Save only to consume the corn, Devour the cattle, bread and fish, And leave behind an empty dish; And if their tombstones, when they die, Were not to flatter or to lie, There’s nothing better can be said Than that they’ve eaten up their bread, Drunk up their drink, and gone to bed. -Author Unknown What will be the by-product of your life? What ripples will you make in the pond? When you leave this world, what will the record say about the 1.75 cubic feet of space you used up every day for 25, 50, 75 years or more? What will be the repercussion of your life? No matter what stage of life you are living out, now is the time to make mid-course corrections. Jesus, in response to the Pharisees’ criticism about not practicing religion the proper way, said, “…who would patch old clothing with …

Are You Focused on What Really Matters?

There aren’t many things that stress me out. I mean, I sit right next to Keith for eight hours almost everyday and even that doesn’t matter all that much to me. It doesn’t matter what I have for dinner as long as a I have food. It doesn’t matter when I workout as long as I do get to workout. It doesn’t matter how loud Keith is as long as I get my message done, I’m good The specific logistics don’t matter as long as I get done what I am supposed get done. I believe Jesus had that same mentality. Jesus’ ministry was about sharing the Gospel with people who desperately needed Him. Looking at John 4 and the conversations Jesus had with the woman at the well and then with His disciples, we can see to Jesus religion, rules, tradition, and prejudices really don’t matter. The message He was preaching was counter cultural. It was new, it was against tradition, it offended people, but what He was preaching and living out was still …

The Gospel has the Power to Drive Out Shame

Sin is ugly. Rarely does sin have only one consequence. More often, sin has a web of consequences. In John 4, we can see a few of those consequences playing out in the life of the Samaritan woman. First, the Samaritan woman came to draw water at the sixth hour, that is, about noon (v6-7). Why would anyone come to draw water at noon? The context seems to point to the fact that no one else was there during that time, except for Jesus. It’s speculated that the Samaritan woman came to the well at this time intentionally. She wasn’t coming to the well because she knew Jesus would be there, but likely to avoid shame she would feel in the presence of other people. There’s one consequence of sin—shame. Perhaps the shame she already feels is what led her to the well—all alone—at this hour. Sin also tends to separate us from other people. Whether we withdraw from community, or the community withdraws from us, sin can be found at the heart of this division. …

Would You Like to Get Well from Your Sickness?

In John 5 we find the story of Jesus healing a sick man. We learn a lot about who Jesus is through this story. Jesus shows us He understands people when He saw him and “knew he had been ill for a long time” (v.6). Jesus demonstrates He heals us when He wants to because He wants to, not because we did something to earn it. Jesus shows that He is God in human flesh by speaking with authority to the man (v.8, 14). Jesus speaks with such a tone and with such assurance that the man instantly obeys. No objection, no disbelief, no self-doubt, just pure obedience to a believable authority. We learn some about human kind in the story as well. We see a man who sort of wants to get healed; “I can’t, sir” (v.7). Aren’t we often like this, too? “I need healing, but I’m going to sit here in my self-pity, not asking for help, just complaining about my situation.” Jesus asks an incredibly deep question, “Would you like to …

Can You See Clearly Enough to Help?

God is constantly teaching me through my role as a parent. I know, I know… My last blog was about parenting. Bear with me. Kelli and I make a great team and being a parent is a lot more difficult without my wife/baby-mama. Monday through Thursday, Kelli leaves the house at 5:00 AM for work. Which means I have to get our two boys up, ready, and to school all by myself. It was tough for the first few weeks until I applied what I call the “Wooden Plank Principle.” In Matthew 7:5, Jesus says, “Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” Some versions use the word “beam” or “plank.” Simply put, the Wooden Plank Principle is being sure to take care of yourself first. You may ask, “Isn’t that being selfish?” Actually, I believe it’s the opposite. I believe there are many areas in our lives where we can focus on our self first and thus be enabled to serve …

Are You Ready for Something New?

-written by Betsie Richards Here’s the deal… when I go to the nail salon, the decision of which color to choose seems like national security, level 9, life or death. I will stand there like a goober and ponder for a good ten minutes over which color to chose, talking out loud to myself about if this color will match this outfit or if it will last longer than another color. Heavens to Betsie (pun intended)… does this really matter?? I’m just going to pick the same red color that I pick 9 our of 10 times anyway. Why do we have a tendency to return to the same old thing? The same nail color, the same meal, the same sin? Is it comfort? Fear of change? Fear of being ridiculed by our friends and family? Sometimes, I think it’s because we truly don’t understand there is something better out there, something new. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those …

The Fence of Grace In Life

Wes Seeliger writes in One Inch from the Fence about an old alligator at the Houston Zoo. He nicknamed it “Scarface” because a fellow reptile had chewed a hunk out of his snout. The wound was covered with a grotesque mass of scar tissue that made this 18-foot long gator one of the ugliest most vicious-looking creatures he had ever seen. He tells about the day he and his son fed marshmallows to Scarface. Wire mesh was the only thing that separated them from jaws that could snap a horse’s leg like a twig. And the whole time his hand was just one inch from becoming Seeliger-burger! But there was a fence! And that made all the difference in the world. I love the title of our series on the book of James: the Gospel on the ground. And that’s where life is lived—on the ground; terra firma. But the terra is not always firma! Several times a week, if not every day, we feel the tremors of this adventure called life. Frustration with the kids’ schedules. …