Five hideous truths about sin—and one great truth of hope

Behind sin works a living, personal, spiritual force called Satan. He opposes God and he considers mankind his battlefield. We know little about his origin, but we have learned much about his tactics and objectives. These should be studied carefully.

When we speak of sin, therefore, we are actually speaking of the work of Satan against God’s special creation of mankind.

Sin overpowers

It cannot be controlled. It is the lion crouching just outside the door ready to pounce and kill, Genesis 4.7; 1 Peter 5.8. It is the kudzu that will not stop growing until it has covered every good intent and smothered all good works. There is no dabbling in sin, no setting limits for sin, no negotiating with sin. Continue reading “Five hideous truths about sin—and one great truth of hope”

Isolate the cause

Green peppers are ripe in the garden! Oh, the possibilities — pepper pizza, fajitas, stuffed peppers, and any number of dishes with these tasty green fruits as a flavoring.

I brought in the first two bell peppers from the garden yesterday. One was perfect! The other was a terrible disappointment, after cutting into it and finding brown spots on the inside. I needed to know how to prevent the rest of my pepper crop from succumbing to such an unappetizing problem. Continue reading “Isolate the cause”

Better to have never been born

Job expressed the desire to have never been born, so great was his suffering. In his moral confusion, Solomon considered better than both the living and the dead “the one who has not been born and has not seen the evil things that are done on earth” Ecclesiastes 4.3.

The Lord Jesus used this idea, of better to have never been born, for the one who betrayed him. Continue reading “Better to have never been born”

Cleaning up our acts

Mold, crown rot, and tangles of Bermuda grass was the unwelcome sight I beheld as I got back from a long trip and opened the eight bags of irises dug by a friend’s neighbor. She didn’t want them anymore, but neither did my friend.

It was not the best timing. We were leaving town within hours, but of course I couldn’t bear to let them go in the trash. I suspected that the lack of proper preparation and handling would doom many of the roots to that fate, anyway. My fears were confirmed upon our return. It was a mess! Continue reading “Cleaning up our acts”

Surprising benefits of spiritual darkness

Sin is pure evil and completely antithetical to God and goodness. It corrupted the world by birthing sin and putting Christ on the cross (Romans 5:6-12).

Throughout Scripture, darkness represents sin and light signifies righteousness (Isaiah 9:2; John 8:12; Acts 26:18).

“God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5, NKJV). Continue reading “Surprising benefits of spiritual darkness”

Self-discipline

For if we would judge ourselves we would not be judged” (1 Corinthians 11:31 NKJV).

Is there any traveler who does not get impatient with airport security lines and procedures? Those add extra hours to every trip as well as additional stress and fatigue. I always tell myself (and mean it) that I don’t care what I have to go through as long as it is making me and others safer, but I still get tired and sometimes a little impatient. After all, those lines can be very long and there are often multiple procedures to endure. It adds up quickly.

In a perfect world, such travails would be unnecessary. There would be no terrorists to commit atrocities upon the innocent. Every traveler would be innocent of evil intent and willing to comply with standards of safe and honest conduct. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Of course we know that the world we live in is just not like that. Sin and evil exist. Bad things happen. And we must take precautions and endure some limits to our comfort and freedom because of them. We don’t like it, but it simply is what it is. Continue reading “Self-discipline”

Being a disciple

What does it mean to be a disciple?

Many people think following Jesus means simply accepting him into their hearts. A disciple, however, is a follower and a learner of Jesus, not simply one who accepts him.

Being a disciple of Christ means more than just agreeing with the evidence that Jesus is the son of God. It means doing what Jesus says. In John 8:31, the Lord said, “If you continue in my word, then you are truly disciples of mine” (John 8:31 NASB). The statement he makes is conditional. He says “IF you continue in my word…” We must learn to live and conduct ourselves the way Jesus commands. A true disciple is not just one who agrees with the Master and then says, “I’ll just do part of what he says.” A true disciple is one who surrenders his will to be Master and does what he says. Continue reading “Being a disciple”