Tag Archives: sin

Victim of the Wringer

It was a bit of a rough night sleep wise, Father, but regardless You have lovingly encouraged me to come be with You. May our time together be rich and sweet. Amen.

Matthew 5:31-32 (<<click the green)

For whatever reason, we often have this faulty mindset in place that things are so different today than they have ever been. Yes, technology has advanced greatly but the core of who we are as human beings has not. Solomon said it almost 3000 years ago and it’s still true today,

“History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.” Ecclesiastes 1:9

When You spoke, Lord Jesus, You identified a mindset that is still as prominent today as it was then. When man and wife are united in marriage, the intent is for a lifetime commitment. But many of us have a problem with commitment. Some desire to be unfaithful. Some merely are tired of the old model and are looking for a new one. Our whole society leans that way. “Tired of your current car? Get a new one!” “Fed up with the job you have? Get a new one!” “Is your spouse not meeting your needs? Find someone who will!” “It’s not that hard just do it!”

It may be easy to do but that doesn’t mean it’s not difficult. Buying a new car frequently can cause financial difficulties but ending relationships impacts so many other people. And it’s not just a short-term inconvenience – for many, it’s a lifelong open wound.

Lord, divorce is not just some sin that You cherry-picked to rank as one of the top infractions on Your list. Sin is sin. But it is one where sometimes one party and sometimes both parties are so often completely void of love. Lord, I have friends and family both who have dealt with divorce as a part of their life history. Sometimes the division is amicable but most often someone is hurt and the other party is glad that it is so.

We are called to love as You have loved us, Lord. Right now I pray for those I know who have gone through this wringer of divorce. Though they may have suffered greatly, and some continue to do so, may they find a peace and a love in You that surpasses any they have ever known. Help me to listen and love from my end as well. Amen.

Nov13th, Mon, 6:52 am

You Cannot Do It

Oh my goodness, Father, my eyes are having a hard time staying open this morning! Help me to see what You have for me today. “Make me a blessing to someone today.”

Matthew 1:20-25 (<<click the green)

From a very early age, most of us don’t like being told that we cannot do something. It gets us into all kinds of trouble either doing (or trying to do) it anyway or throwing a fit because we can’t. For that matter that’s what got Adam and Eve into trouble at the outset of time. They were told they could eat from every tree…except one. And of course which tree did they eat from? The one from which they were forbidden, bringing condemnation on the entirety of humanity for the rest of time.

Yet today we fight against being told we can’t do certain things. We continue to be ravaged by sin – it is a constant battle for us all. But one thing we can’t do? We cannot save ourselves from the onslaught of sin and its repercussions.

Romans 6:23 tells us that, the wages of sin is death…” We cannot save ourselves from the ramifications of sin. We are condemned to death. We, in and of ourselves, can do absolutely nothing about it. We can try all sorts of things to conquer sin but all of them fail. We are doomed.

But…that is where God steps in. In our passage today the angle of the Lord explains to Joseph all that is going on with Mary. The son she carried “was conceived by the Holy Spirit” and Joseph was to “name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” The name Jesus means, “The Lord saves”.

Romans 6:23 begins with, “For the wages of sin is death…” but the last portion of the verse exclaims “but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I love the phrase in my study Bible* that says, “Jesus didn’t come to help people save themselves; he came to be their Savior from the power and penalty of sin.” (emphasis mine)

Thank You, Lord, for the salvation You freely extend to us all. We may not like to hear it but we cannot save ourselves. As the meaning of Your name proclaims “The Lord saves.” I am so grateful that You do, for I surely cannot.

*Life Application Study Bible New Living Translation

Sept 12th, Tues, 6:44 am

Blackjacket!

Father, this day can go many different directions. I pray that Your hand will be upon us regardless of the direction it takes. Use us for Your glory even in the midst of the mundane. Amen.

OK…I am not a fan of stinging insects. (I’m sure those who are are few and far between!) Anyway, this past week I have been working to clean up around where we stack our wood. Now I haven’t been stung (thankfully!) and I haven’t even seen a nest but as I was working I saw, what I would classify as, a hornet! I guess technically they are a part of the yellowjacket wasp family – it is commonly known as the bald-faced hornet but one of its names is the Blackjacket. Regardless, I jumped back and scrutinized my surroundings. I saw none but the one on the wood but from then on I kept my eyes peeled for any others. I sure didn’t want to give them any reason to sting me!

Lord, why don’t we respond to sin that way? You would think that once we are “stung” by sin, we would want to avoid it. But no, we go back again and again regardless of the pain and misery that is inflicted. It would be different if it only stung us once, but like the Blackjacket, sin can sting over and over again.

I also read that they can squirt venom from the stinger into the eyes of nest intruders. The venom causes immediate watering of the eyes and temporary blindness. Doesn’t sin do the same? Its venom blinds us – it may be temporary but eventually we sin so repeatedly that our blindness no longer fades.

Lord, I may have been the fool but I am so grateful that, no matter how many stings and squirts I’ve taken, that Your grace overrides them all.

Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
T’was blind but now I see

Aug 31st, Thurs, 7:13 am

At the Door

Father, You have brought me so far! I could not have done it without You. You deserve all the praise! You are surely a great and awesome God worthy of all of our praise! May this day and the life I live be a blessing to You! Amen!

Revelation 3:20 (<<click the green)

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”

This verse reminds me of an artist’s rendering. The artist is Warner Sallman and the picture is fairly well known, at least in Christian circles.

In doing a little researching I found some interesting details about the painting and its allegory. The barely concealed heart produced by the luminance of Christ and the frame of the doorway convey Christ’s call to the soul ensnared in thistles of sin and the darkness of ignorance and willfulness. Yet… “all is not hopeless, for there is an opening of grillwork in the door ‘revealing the darkness within,’ so that the individual may see who is at the door, and see that He is good and kind.” It is also noteworthy “because the absence of any outside knob or latch on the door indicates that one must open one’s heart to Christ from within — He will not force His way inside.” (from the Warner Sallman Collection)

So much imagery conveyed by Sallman and it is all inspired by truth – the truth from God’s word.

Lord, you wait patiently for our response –not one person is excluded. I am grateful that I answered that persistent knocking on my heart’s door. I am grateful that You have come into my life. I am grateful for Your companionship and direction. Lord, You have brought me so far! I could not have done it without You!

Aug 4th, Thurs, 6:08 am

Down the Front

Father, it is a joy to be with You this morning. May I be attentive as I see what You have for me. Draw me close to Your side. Give me a heart that wants to be like You more than anything else. Amen.

Revelation 3:4-6 (<<click the green)

One of my biggest challenges in life is keeping food off the front of my shirt. Inevitably something of vibrant color will do so, especially when I am out in public.

It happened a couple of Sundays ago. We decided to run into town after church and grab a quick bite at a well know Mexican food place. I kept my burrito in the wrapper for extra protection, leaned over the tray in a precautionary move…but to no avail! One bite and a chunk of tomato covered in meat sauce fell to my thumb, rolled down my hand and tumbled over the front of my shirt! So for the rest of the afternoon, I walked Napoleon-style with my hand over my shirt trying to cover the stain! And of course, we ran into people we knew…no surprise there!

Verse 4 here speaks of the few in Sardis who had not soiled their clothes with evil.” Sin leaves a mark, stains are unavoidable. Trying to cover them up is futile. Lord, You see it all. You witness the act and You are keenly aware of the aftermath. The older I get the more I realize that I, in and of myself…I, in my own strength and power…I simply cannot stand against sin. Inevitably I will take a bite out of something I shouldn’t be biting and it will roll down the front of my shirt and my clothes are soiled. Only in You, Lord, can I be victorious! Only in You can I avoid the temptations. Only in You can I stand strong against the evil that wants to entrap me.

Lord, may I be faithful to You. May I be victorious so that I too may “walk with [You] in white” for only because of You will I be found worthy. Amen.

July 21st, Fri, 6:49 am