The Struggle Against Sin; the Resistance Training of Faith

“[L]et us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely….” (Hebrews 12:1)

In my slow walk through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, I am now in Hebrews. Before I was a believer, Hebrews was a book that had a profound impact on me. When read, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12), I felt the truth of that verse, though I had yet committed myself to the Word, which is Jesus.

Many years later, now, I still labor under the weight of sin that clings so closely. It can be hard reading these words, so many years after making that commitment, having to acknowledge the weight that remains, the sin that still clings so closely.

When I first read those words, and many others like them, I was convicted. I felt the sting of indictment on my life, and attitudes and condition. There was a harsh reality to them, a sharp edge. Reality can be like that.

It’s hard to read, to accept the indictment against me. It’s tempting to turn away, to ignore it. Like the person who fears he has cancer but pushes that nagging thought aside because it’s easier not to dwell on it. Even though we know that we should get a diagnosis, we find it easier, psychologically to ignore it.

But we might as well turn away from truth, from reality – from our very selves.

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Lead Us Not Into Temptation


“And do not lead[i][ii] us into temptation[iii]….” (Matt. 6:13) is one of the things Jesus taught to us to pray to the Father. Does that mean that God might lead us into temptation (if we did not pray for Him not to)? Clearly not!

We must always be careful when reading Scripture to put a verse in context. Every verse should be read in harmony with the rest of Scripture. The Greek word translated “temptation” here can mean either temptations or tests (or trials), and the meaning of it in a particular passage must be derived from the context. It can mean sufferings that test or try or allurements that tempt us into evil. “Of these the former is the dominant meaning in the language of the New Testament, and is that of which we must think here.Continue reading

As We Forgive Those

15636643813_df011ec118_z“… as we[i] also have forgiven[ii] our debtors[iii].” (Mt. 6:12) The forgiveness I may ask for, receive and experience from God is directly related to my forgiveness of those who “owe me” (or who I think owe me). The emphasis in this verse is on us (me)!

Whatever your theology is in regard to the sovereignty of God and grace, it is hard to ignore Scripture when it emphasizes something we must do. We dare not ignore it! This is one place where the emphasis is on us, and, therefore, we really need to pay close attention. Continue reading

Forgive Us Our Debts


“And forgive[i] us our debts[ii]….” (Matt. 6:11[iii])

Jesus taught us to pray along the lines of the Lord’s Prayer After acknowledging God, Our Father who is in heaven, and praying that Gods’s kingdom come, and for God’s will to be done, Jesus instructed us to pray that His will be done on earth as it is heaven. But then, Jesus gets to where we live, instructing to pray that God give us our daily bread, which means more than food, and for forgiveness of our sins.

We need to ask. God promises to forgive us if we ask. (1 Jn. 1:9) It is important to us that ask. When we confess our sins and ask for God’s forgiveness, He is faithful to forgives us.

Our modern world, like never before, has exalted the power of the individual person, individual rights, individual freedoms and individual destiny while downplaying or even rejecting the idea of individual accountability and sin. The moral relativism of the last century has given away to tolerance of nearly anything and everything. Our society has rejected the idea of a Supreme Judge; trading the idea for being our own judges.

The Lord’s Prayer brings us back to the reality that we do not live as we ought. Something isn’t right in our relationship to God, and we need God to make it right. Continue reading

For Freedom We are Set Free

13-22-04 Beth Putting up Flags in the Healing Field

“It was for freedom[i] that Christ set us free[ii]; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” (Gal. 5:1)

In Western society, and especially in the United States, individual freedom is sacrosanct; freedom is also a Siren’s cry. Americans value individual freedom above all things, but freedom is like the proverbial carrot. the reality of which seems always just beyond our grasp. Continue reading

Where God Changes Us

Red Rocks in Arizona

“But from there you will[1] seek[2][3] the LORD your God and you will find[4]him, if you search[5] after[6] him with all your heart and with all your soul[7].” (Deut. 4:29)

The people of Israel were looking across the Jordan to the land God had promised Abraham many generations before. The “Promised Land” was/is both literal and figurative. The people were being warned that, after they had lived there long, if they turn from God to follow idols, they would be scattered from the land God promised.

God knew what was in the heart of man. Even before they entered the Promised Land, God knew they would turn from Him Continue reading