Sep 27, 2011

My Lawn Wants to Eat Me

        I could almost hear my lawn licking its lips as I walked though it last night. Long blades of grass grasped for my ankles. Getting back inside did not come quick enough. It is official: My lawn wants to eat me. It has rained here in North Carolina on every possible mowing day for the last few weeks. 

        Generally I try to keep my lawn at bay. You know, just so everyone knows who is really in charge. It is different now. There is mutiny brewing. The once tame fescue I called my friends has teamed up with the wire grass and kudzu to put an end to me. This may be my last post.

        An unkempt lawn is no different than an unkempt relationship with God. If we do not confess our sin to God as it comes, we can easily be fertilizing the sinful nature within us that Jesus died to defeat. Before you know it we may be only feet from the house but it is completely out of sight. Be sensitive to the Spirit's conviction. God wants to do regular maintenance on our lives so that we do not become a weeded tangled mess. 

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Sep 12, 2011

French Toast Gone Wrong

        I have always loved breakfast foods. Any meal, any time. Among my favorites are pancakes and french toast. I even enjoy making them and add my own "special" ingredients.

        A few days ago I was making french toast for my family and had just used up my last egg in the mix. I reached into the spice cabinet and grabbed what I thought was cinnamon. It was the same color bottle, and I  saw the 'C' at the beginning of the word as I reached for the bottle that was half way turned around. 

       I shook in just the right amount, mixed it, and began dipping my bread. As I breathed in to smell the familiar smell of french toast on the griddle, I was greeted by another scent. A familiar one. I grabbed the bottle to discover that I had used chilli powder on nearly all of the bread. There were no eggs left and very little bread. We actually ate the french toast anyway (although I do NOT recommend this recipe). 

        We all make mistakes, but I am reminded of what an older carpenter I know used to say. "Measure twice, cut once." What is done is done and although I could have gone back to the store or made something else, I chose to live with my mistake.

        The next time you are tempted to share something about someone else, measure twice and maybe you will not cut at all. James tells us "...the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark" (James 3:5).

Sep 7, 2011

Should We Offend People?

        In 1 Corinthians 10:32 Paul says, "Don't give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God". We tend to run with verses like this in churches today. We have become an ulta-tolerant society. 

        Often we assume that we already know what the Bible means when it says words like offend. However, we should first ask what Paul meant by offense. Before we do that let's ask what 'we' mean today by offend. The definition of offend is: to Cause to feel upset, annoyed, or resentful. It can also mean: to transgress the moral or divine law. 

        When we say we are offended it means that someone did something we did not like or that we do not think they should do. Occasionally we may use it to talk about how someone morally or ethically wronged us. When the Bible talks about us offending God it is talking about transgressing a moral law. We literally commit offenses against Him.

        However, when the Bible talks about us offending each other it means something entirely different. In the King James Bible we read, "But whoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea" (Matthew 18:6). The New International Version captures the meaning of the word better for today. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea (Matthew 18:6). 

        Why does the NIV have to capture the meaning rather than say offend? It is because what we mean by offend has changed drastically over the years. Webster's Dictionary still shows an old definition for the word but has the word obsolete beside of it. That definition is to cause to sin or fall. This is usually not the case when we "offend" someone today.

        Jesus told us not to judge if we had a plank in our eye, but to first remove it so that we can help our brother. This means that we ARE to confront other believers who are falling into the trap of sin as long as we are not involved in the same things. It is our Christian duty to offend (in todays meaning of the word). And we all probably know some Christians who need to be "offended".