Sin browsing by tag


June 7

Wednesday, June 7th, 2023

Warning signals are designed for a purpose-a warning that something big is coming.

Our community has tornado sirens. When heeded they save lives or at least lets us know something is coming. When the tornado made its way through our neck of the woods a couple of months ago-and landed in some areas- the only casualties were those who failed to hear or heed the warning.

When the tsunami hit Indonesia in 2010 (has it been that long ago?) over 400 people lost their lives. It didn’t have to be.  They had a warning system of buoys that had become detached and drifted away. My question would be whether it happened because of the tsunami or from neglect or forgetfulness to check them. In any case, it was a tragedy which could have been avoided.

We have fire and smoke detectors in our houses. If heeded they save lives. What good would it do if we heard them go off and say, “Oh, that’s just the fire alarm. I’m going back to sleep”?  said no wise person ever.

We have a warning system “built in” to each one of us. It is called the conscience. For the most part, that is enough. We have been given the ability to discern right from wrong.

For some-and I am referring to Christ followers-our system has another mainspring: the Holy Spirit. We all know our consciences can be hardened-seared it is called-where what is right and what is wrong is skewed. Oftentimes it is unreadable. The Holy Spirit (who is Christ in you) helps us to know right and wrong.

If you are a follower of Christ, stay sensitive to the leading of the Spirit. Stay open to those nudges, those gentle tugs on your spirit, that say yes or no.  I’ve noticed those tugs are good warning signs when they need to be, and good lights to light my path.

But you must listen!

June 1

Thursday, June 1st, 2023

“Worldview matters.” So says John Stonestreet in his introduction to Faithfully Different by Natasha Crain. He goes on to say, “A worldview makes a big difference in how we think, how we make decisions, and how we relate with others.” (p.9)

My thoughts were turned to his quotes for two reasons: 1) I’m reading her book; and 2) I read 2 passages of Scripture today that spurred my  thinking.

The first is the whole chapter of Psalm 1. (Please take a moment to read its 6 verses). It is a chapter of opposites, of comparisons. It compares the godly person to the wicked (ungodly). {Note: the psalmist uses the word “wicked” but that has such a sharp connotation in today’s language so I use the word ungodly instead. Same species. Different fish} Verses 1-3 describe the one who walks with God, while verses 4-6 describe the one who doesn’t.

The second Scripture is Proverbs 1:7- “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (ESV). The goal of the righteous person is to seek the knowledge of God (His Word, His way, etc.), but it begins with a healthy fear (awe) of God. Wisdom is despised by the fool.

I think the word that comes into play here is the word “discernment.” Going back to the quote at the beginning about worldview, we are constantly being bombarded with and by a secular worldview-a worldview described in Psalm 1:4-6.

One can either have a biblical worldview or a secular worldview. Like it sounds, a biblical worldview is based on God’s Word to man. A secular worldview is based on man’s word to man. They are diametrically opposed to each other.

The world needs to conform to God’s Word (biblical worldview) rather than trying to conform God’s Word to the culture (secular worldview). For that to happen the follower of Christ must become discerning. That comes from putting Psalm 1:1-3 into play.

Choose your worldview but choose wisely. It matters.

May 10

Wednesday, May 10th, 2023

“Game Night!” There is a lady and family in the church I pastor who love to play games. They will get together on a pretty regular basis just to play games. Exotic games. Me? I’m more into Backgammon, but I also know people who are into long games of Monopoly or Risk, or other games. They will play for hours!

There is actually a common game we all play. I wish it was new. I wish I had thought it up and marketed it. Every time it is used I would get a “piece” of the action. I would have made millions. We all play it and often without giving it a second thought.


I read of a city employee in Lodi, CA who sued the city to the tune of $3600 because he backed a dump truck into his personal vehicle. This 51 year old man argued “the city’s vehicle damaged my private vehicle.”  I’d say he not only has a screw or two loose, but I’d even go out on a limb and say he was looking for a new job!

Whatever happened to taking responsibility? I had three brothers and when something would happen mom would get us all together and ask which one of us did it. “Not me” was all she got. Then she had this uncanny ability to discern which one of my brothers did it and say, “Okay Rob/Garry/Curt (notice who’s name is missing?) 🙂 , why did you do it? We were good at blaming; not good at lying and taking responsibility.

The Blame Game is not new. It started in the Garden with Adam and Eve. After their sin and God confronted them, they blamed another. “It was the woman you gave me.” “The serpent deceived me.” From the very moment sin entered the world, blame came with it.

We are good at it. Let’s be honest. It is so much easier blaming someone else for our mess up, than to take responsibility. Here is a challenge: take note of how often in a day you hear or use the Blame Game.

Let’s stop playing this game. Let’s start playing the “I Did It” game or the “Point my Finger at Myself and Take the Blame” game.

April 27

Thursday, April 27th, 2023

I cut my grass yesterday. I also used the weed-eater. Each time I do, I find myself getting irritated. Please stay with me.

I’ve always tried to keep my lawn trimmed and cut. Not obsessively. After all, I have better things to do! Like ride my bike. Work out at the Y. Spend time with Jo. Twiddle my thumbs. Watching grass grow or paint dry almost seems more exciting.

Why? Actually, there are two minor reasons and one huge reason.

The Minors:

It always grows back. It’s not a one-and-done thing, so that means about every week I have to find the time to cut my grass.

Weeds! Need I say more? I know little children find those yellow things lovely and will pick them to give to their mom, but I find them annoying. Cut them down and they grow back. Quicker than the grass. And you gotta get them before they go to seed.

The Major:

One word: MOLES. I know it may be wrong for me to say it…and I know I probably shouldn’t talk about God’s creatures like this, but….I. H.A.T.E. M.O.L.E.S!!!!!! I tire of watching them taking my yard and making it their own little playground where they can frolic underground. I tire of stepping into holes or soft ground and turning my ankle or stumbling. I tire of having to push extra hard to get the mower through the runs that want to cause the mower to “hang up.” I groan when I see the bare spots from the raised ground where the mower zipped it off.

You might say, “Well, Bill, treat your lawn with grub killer, their favorite meal. ” I have and I do. But you have to be a weatherman to use that! I’m not wasting money to water my lawn, so I need it to rain within 24 hours. And to quote a line from Back to the Future: “Since when can the weatherman predict the weather?” Then I need to use it when the lawn is damp so the granules stick to the grass until it rains within the 24 hours. And…the wind needs to be not blowing. I don’t have a meteorology degree!

All in all, taking care of a lawn reminds me of my life. I need to care for it. Get rid of the weeds which keep cropping up. Eliminate pests (not people, although some are toxic). Practice the 4:8 Principle. That is Philippians 4:8-“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable…think on these things.”

Take care of your lawn. More importantly, take care of that which needs cared for most of all: your heart.

April 19

Wednesday, April 19th, 2023

I read a story about a flock of wild geese flying south for the winter when one goose looked down and noticed a group of domestic geese by a little pond on a farm.  He noticed they had plenty of grain to eat. Life seemed nice. So he flew down and hung around with the geese and enjoyed the food that was there. Come spring he heard the geese flying overhead so he decided to join them. He didn’t realize he’d grown a little plump over the winter. Flying was difficult, so he decided to join the geese in the fall and fly south with the flock on the next migration. When they flew south, the goose flapped his wings a bit, then went back to eating the grain. So much for adventure!

The goose lost interest. Sure, that a fanciful tale. Who know what really goes through the mind of a goose? 🙂

But it is also a true-to-life story. There was a slow and gradual chipping away at what once was. A gradual erosion if you will.

It has been my experience that is the way of many.

  • No one wakes up one morning and decides to become an alcoholic.
  • No one take that first hit or joint or snort and says, “I’m going to do this so I can become a junkie and lose everything.”
  • No one places that first bet and says, “I want to become addicted to gambling.”
  • No one takes that first look at porn and decides they want to become a porn addict.

You get the picture. The slide into addiction, to the gutter, to ruining one’s life was never planned, expected, or wanted. The subtle tumble into that world was just that…subtle. It happened over time.

When something tempts us, our best approach is to say no. The road to ruin is a gradual erosion and we often don’t realize the depth to which we have sunk until it’s either too late or digging out is a monstrous and painful task.

Don’t start is the best policy. Beware of the gradual pull and slide as your values, morals, and foundation erode.

March 16

Thursday, March 16th, 2023

“God is a cosmic killjoy and His Book is the consummate rule book.”  So say some people.

The argument goes something like this:

  • God is like a father towering over his children;
  • He delights in spanking and meting out judgment;
  • Therefore, He is a killjoy bent on taking the fun out of life.

Another argument goes like this:

  • I want to have fun;
  • The Bible says some things are wrong;
  • Therefore, the Bible is a rule book designed to stop or inhibit my fun.

None of that is true. It IS true that God is like a father. He is one. Jesus called Him that. But standing over us with a divine “ruler” to whack us? No.

And it IS true that the Bible says some things are wrong. It also says some things are right. But to be cracked open as a divine rule book of “Do this or don’t do that or else”? No.

God is a Father. His Word is Law. But see it as His standards-not to legislate or restrict us-but to free us. To give us some boundaries so we might truly enjoy life to the fullest. See them as protection, designed not to keep us in, but to keep our enemy out.

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (ESV)  That is not restrictive, involving punishment for wrong doing. That is liberation! Those are boundaries for our mind and heart to know freedom. James calls it the “perfect law of liberty.” (1:25)

See God as a Liberator. See His Word as a protective fence. He loves you too much to stifle you, but He also loves you too much to want to see you suffer the consequences of your sin and bad choices.


March 14

Tuesday, March 14th, 2023
  1. May I make a confession to you? You are saying, “Yes, of course. Let’s have the dirt.”

Sorry. You are going to hear dirt, but nothing that you haven’t heard from thousands of others. Here it is:


Not that you will ever see it. No siree. You’re crazy if you think I’m going to show it. But trust me: I’m a mess.

And so are you.

Now you are probably thinking, “Speak for yourself bub.” But, please, hear me out.

There is a story I suspect many of you have heard or read.  It is the story of a tapestry-a beautiful, fine-looking piece of art. Every piece in place. Every stitch, every strand of yarn is right where it needs to be. Now…turn it over. What do you see?  A mess. Yarn, string, fabric going everywhere in one big, tangled mess.

Now, turn it back over. Chaos to sublime. Chaos to order. Ugly to beauty.

So yes, I am a mess. Inside me is chaos, a real jumble of wires. It is called and made worse by sin. I know this verse is overused, sometimes misused, and sometimes nothing more than a picture on a wall or some “Jesus junk” (as Keith Green used to call it), but the words ring true: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” To get the real strength of that verse you MUST read the ones which follow. “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”  (Jer.29:11-13) (ESV)

The real truth is that God does bring order out of chaos. He does take messed up, tangled lives and makes them something beautiful. A song from years ago said, “He makes beauty from ashes.”

Let Him take your mess and your chaos and replace it with order and beauty.

January 19

Thursday, January 19th, 2023

The past few days I have been reading a book called The Roar Within by Brent Henderson. It is sort of a cross between Wild at Heart by John Eldredge and Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins. 🙂 Brent’s ministry is really devoted to men and he loves to big game hunt, so references to that passion are many. Granted, it is a book for men-about men recognizing what trips them up and stepping up to be a man…God’s man.

He says that there are 5 dangerous sins which trip men up and he uses dangerous animals in an African safari to illustrate his point. Those animals are the rhinoceros, lion, cape buffalo, elephant, and leopard.  They are called man killers because of the difficulty in hunting them. But Brent compares the sins that take a man down to those five animals. It is not my purpose here to get into those sins or animals.

Instead, I have a question to pose to you: if someone asked you what animal would describe you-from all the animal kingdom-what one would you choose?

A lion? An eagle? A workhorse? A thoroughbred? A mole? A rabbit? A dolphin or a whale?

How about a sheep? No way you say. Sheep are dumb. They are easily scared. They are like the blind leading the blind (one goes off a cliff chances are good the rest will follow).  They are easily disoriented. They are defenseless. (What are they going to do? B-a-a-a-a at a threat?) You get the point.

And yet, what did Jesus compare us to? You guessed it…sheep.

“My sheep hear my voice and follow.”

“My sheep know my voice.”

“All we like sheep have gone astray.” (Is. 53:6)

We are like sheep.  They may not be the brightest light bulb or sharpest tool in the shed, but they know their Master’s voice. They stay close to the Shepherd and find Him to be all they need.

It’s not a putdown to be called a sheep. In fact, that just might be the best animal to be.

November 30

Wednesday, November 30th, 2022

Isaiah 59:19 says, “So they will fear the name of the Lord from the west and His glory from the rising of the sun, for He will come like a rushing stream which the wind of the Lord drives.” (NASB2020)

I rather like the simplicity of the NLT in this verse: “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”

As followers of Jesus, we are-or should be-keenly aware of our enemy’s tactics. His desire is to control us, or at least to compromise us so much that the effectiveness of our testimony is gone.

I was reading just this morning from I Cor. 10. After writing about the Israelites and their sin, Paul says some very poignant words to his readers (us). Please take a moment and read verses 11-13 right now.

We can choose to be a pawn in Satan’s grip or to be a vessel under control of the Master Commander. We can choose to give in to the temptation or we can choose to trust and rely on the One who changes lives.

In Mark 5 we read the story of a man who was under the control of the master deceiver. Uncontrollable. Unchained by people but chained to a cruel slave master. Then he met Jesus who righted the wrong and broke the chains that enslaved that man’s heart and life. I like what it says about him when the townspeople came out to see what happened: “He was sitting down, clothed and in his right mind.” (5:15)

I heard someone once say, “It is true God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. It is also true that Satan hates you and has a horrible plan for your life.”

Jesus can transform any life. I know. I’m one.

November 14

Monday, November 14th, 2022

Christianity is a religion of the past, present, and future. Truthfully, I don’t like that word “religion” at all. It sounds so cold and formal. I guess I could say that Christianity is a “faith” but I’m not sure that effectively captures what I want to say either.

But that is a moot point.

My point is that life in Christ has a past, a present, and a future. Let’s break that down for a moment.

Life in Christ has a present. It is a life knowing we are living in the presence and the power of Christ.  It is a John 15:5 life: “I am the vine…”

It is also a life in the future. The Christ-follower has the promise of eternal life. We have the promise that no one can pluck us out of the Father’s hand. We have the assurance of a home in heaven.

I left off the past on purpose. Many Christ-followers live too much in their past. Or maybe it would be more correct to say they live chained too much to their past. They can’t forgive themselves or forget past indiscretions so they have an issue believing God can do what we can’t. All I need to do at this point is to draw your attention to I Cor. 6:9-11. {Please take a moment to read it}. Notice the words at the beginning of verse 11: “And such were some of you.” Key thought. Then it is followed by a key word: “but.”

That verse makes it very clear something has taken place. You see, the proof of Christianity is in its power to change lives. Such is the strength of those words: “Such were some of you.” Every time you look at a Christ-follower, you are seeing evidence of the fact God changes lives. Mine. Yours. Others. Perfect? Not by a long shot. But made new. Shame? Gone. Sin? Gone. Regret? Gone. In God’s mind.  Now to mine.

Christianity is a “religion” of the past, present, and future. Saved from the past; living in the present; looking forward the hope of an eternal future in heaven.  Remember: “such were some of you.”