Justifying Sin Is A Sad Task

Regular readers of the humble ramblings know that I am a recovering legalist. I spent about three decades trying to find the right set of performance tools to become righteous. Guess how that worked out?

I have such mixed feelings about my first church. I am grateful for the Gospel message they preached that led me to trust Jesus as my Savior. I am sad that they lived a joyless life of self-effort, guilt and self condemnation. In this particular theological flavor you could achieve a second stage of sanctification where you would not sin anymore. This was particularly tough for a young cynical teenager who saw “sanctified” people doing things that smelled and looked suspiciously like sin. I watched with frustration and sometimes amazement at the semantic hoops they jumped through to remain sinless.  

Why Aren’t His Arms Reaching?

(Here is this week’s iPod Devotional. A new one is posted every Monday at theFish.com)

I am a huge fan of the group Casting Crowns. So it is no surprise that a song from the Atlanta based group would come up in this series. The lyrics from the song “If We Are The Body” are convicting.

It’s crowded in worship today
As she slips in
Trying to fade into the faces
The girls’ teasing laughter is carrying farther than they know
Farther than they know

But if we are the Body
Why aren’t His arms reaching
Why aren’t His hands healing
Why aren’t His words teaching

Redefining Gossip

There is a little saying that I have heard all of my life.

If you can’t say something nice about them…then don’t say anything.

Had I practiced that very wise advice I would have had many more “quiet times” in my life. I have not always practiced that simple principle even though I have read and nodded solemnly in agreement as I read James and Paul warn of the dangers of gossip and an uncontrolled tongue.  Whether you call it venting or sharing it is always perilously close to gossiping. That is one of those “fine line” challenges. Like Dave Barry’s quote that “there’s a fine line between ‘hobby’ and ‘mental illness’.” I would submit that there is a fine line between venting/sharing and gossip. Gossip is one of the favorite tools that Satan has in his toolbox.