Sin Will Get No Sympathy From God

This has been a week where I’ve really been studying the Bible about sin.  It’s been a topic in the Bible studies I’m working on.  We talked about it at church on Sunday.  It’s something that touches us in some way or another and it made me think about how sin is viewed by God.

We see in Genesis, Noah found favor with God and as a result, he was told to build an ark.  Eight people were allowed on that boat—Noah and his wife along with his three sons and their wives. 

God had seen that the earth had become a cesspool.  It says in Genesis 6:5 “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”  God chose to save Noah and his family and start again.  Not a single other living soul was on that ark when God shut the door.  I can imagine the fear as people who had most likely never seen rain before, saw water gushing down on them and even from below come gushing up (Genesis 7). 

While we will never see God do something like this event again, we do know that God feels exactly the same about sin now as He did then…

Sin will get no sympathy from God.

When the time had come for the door to be closed, He shut it.  And when the water started pouring from every direction, He didn’t open it back up for the people who banged on the door begging to be let in.  I know it appears harsh, but sin and wickedness has its consequences.  God is a just God and reclaimed the world to be renewed.

Today, we see God’s attitude for sin hasn’t changed.  He has no sympathy for it because there is no place for sin in His kingdom.  Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death.  He doesn’t ignore it.  He doesn’t let it slide.  He doesn’t excuse it.  Sin gets you death. 

BUT, He does offer us forgiveness when we come to Him.  1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

He’ll forgive that stain of sin and wipe it clean, bringing us back to right relationship with God.  While He has no sympathy for sin, He graciously has a heart of forgiveness for His children!

As we go through our week, let’s be reminded that sin is sin and there is no room for it as a child of God.  When we do, let’s be quick to confess!


The Tarnished Bracelet

I took apart my Pandora charm bracelet this afternoon.  I hadn’t worn it in quite a while and it was tarnished.  The charms attached were dark and dingy from lack of care and cleaning.  It looked old but I knew I wanted to start wearing it again.  I wished for it to look as fresh and beautiful as the day it was purchased.  Each charm represents a moment or a person in my life.  Parts of my story is laid out in those tiny pieces. 

I began to wipe them down with the cloth.  But it wasn’t just any cloth.  It was a polishing cloth that had some seemingly magical ability to take the tarnish away and make it look as if it was brand new!  It was fascinating.  I don’t know quite how it worked, but following the directions, the dullness was gone!  Before me sat my first charm gleaming as if I’d just procured it.  I quickly finished the others, and the bracelet came to life with a cleanness I hadn’t seen from it in a very long time.  It may not have been perfect-looking, but it was so very close.

Our sins can be taken away in the same fashion.  No, it’s not some magic miracle that makes us clean and whole again.  It’s the gift that God gave us through His Son, Jesus Christ. 

Isaiah 1:18b says “Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall become as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool.”

Our heavenly Father sent His Son to Earth as the spotless Sacrifice on a cross to cover our sins.  His shed blood alone makes us clean again…as white as snow. And thank you, Jesus, for that sacrifice!  He tells us plainly that the wages of our sin is actually death (Romans 6:23), but because of this generous gift of Jesus on the cross, He agreed to pay the penalty so that we wouldn’t have to.  How great is our God?!

Like that polishing cloth cleaned the charms, His blood cleans our sins.  When we accept salvation and ask Him to live in us we, like the charms, are restored.  Yes, we may have wear and tear, the scars from our former life.  But we are made complete in HIS image. 

If you haven’t yet made the decision to ask God to come live in your heart, please reach out to us or someone you know who is a Christ follower.  We’d be happy to share the plan of salvation so that you might receive the best gift you could give yourself…eternity in heaven!


Is Prayer Essential?

My quiet time with God has been a struggle recently.  I’m not sure why accept that satan loves to get under my skin and annoy me.  I start to pray and I get sidetracked.  Or I’ll say at the end of the day, ‘Tomorrow will be different.  I’m going to pray and really spend time talking with God.’  The next day hits, and it’s more distractions and laziness.

Two weeks ago, I was listening to a guest preacher speaking to a small room of people.  What he said caught me so hard that I wrote it down:

A life devoid of prayer is an arrogant one.

Let me say it again for those who find it as powerful as I did 2 weeks ago.

A life devoid of prayer is an arrogant one.

Who am I to think that I’ve got my life handled on my own?  Who am I to not recognize the needs of others?  Who am I to think I don’t need to bend my knees to the Creator of this world in reverence, supplication, and thanksgiving?

Prayer is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible.  There are stories of Israelites praying in the wilderness.  We see Samson crying out to God for his strength during the last moments of his life.  We see David calling out to God for forgiveness. 

We, however, have the ultimate example of someone praying in Jesus Christ.  Directly after Jesus was baptized, Luke 3:21-22 says that “…Jesus was baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.’”

We see Jesus step away from the day of teaching and feeding the 5,000 to go up a mountain by himself and spend time in prayer to God (Matthew 14:23).

Jesus even tells Simon Peter at the Lord’s Supper in Luke 22:32 that He has prayed for him, that his faith would not fail.

If Jesus Himself prays to God the Father, why aren’t I also doing the same?

We are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “pray without ceasing;”  We rejoice in prayer.  We give thanks in prayer.  We come with requests in prayer.  We intercede in prayer.  Prayer is time spent with God.

Let’s remember that living a life without prayer, no matter how big the time gap, is an arrogant one.  I’ve written that quote down along with 1 Thessalonians 5:17 and it sits wherever I am so that I never forget that my life is God’s, not my own.  



Last weekend, Chris and I were lucky enough to spend it at Orange Beach with AHERO at their 5th Annual Warrior Hook-up Event.  AHERO connects veterans and first responders through outdoor activities as a means to heal from physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wounds.  It was a weekend with over 40 veterans getting to know each other, sharing and healing. While neither of us have been in the service, we were fortunate enough to be part of the volunteer staff. 

When the weekend was over and Chris and I were driving home, we were at a loss for words on how to accurately describe what we experienced.  Over and over again, we saw camaraderie and friendships grow.  We saw people bonding over common themes and common service.  More than once, we heard people describe this weekend as spending it with “family.”  It didn’t matter that they weren’t actually related or that they’d only just met; they were joined together because of AHERO and their service to country.  By the end of the weekend, we were fortunate enough to say they were our family, too.

As believers, we are also part of a different family, God’s family.  The Bible gives us clear scripture that tells us who our Father is.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,” –John 1:12

“And I will be a Father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me,” says the Lord Almighty.” –2 Corinthians 6:18

“Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba!  Father!’”—Galatians 4:6

Whether your earthly family is right beside you every step of the way or has abandoned you long ago, when you accept Christ as your Savior and call on His name, you become part of the family of God.  You now have a Father who will never leave you.  You do not have to walk alone. 

Not only do you have a Heavenly Father who is there, you have your Christian brothers and sisters who are connected to you, as well.  As members of that family, we should be displaying God’s love to each other.  These men and women from the weekend’s events showed me what that looks like.  They encouraged, they pushed, they challenged, they supported, and they loved.   

Even though the weekend is now over and everyone is back at their homes around the country, we are still texting back and forth, checking on each other, and getting to know each other better.  I pray that each of you see you have family in the body of Christ.

If you don’t know what it means to have God as your Father, please reach out to me or Emily.  We’d love to talk to you about how you can become a part of the family of God!


5th Annual Warrior Hook-up at Orange Beach AHERO

Temporary Situations

This week, we got some sad news in our house.  Someone we thought was moving only four hours away from us in Pensacola is now going to be 30 hours away from us in San Diego!  That’s a pretty big jump.  All of the future visits over the next year had to be put on hold and new plans now have to be thought out to be able to visit.  It was hard news to hear and even harder to process.  One of the skills we’ve learned recently is to look at the word “temporary.”

Temporary is not permanent.  It is only for a short period of time.  While the situation we’re in might seem daunting and unmanageable, we can look at it as an obstacle that will not be in our way forever. 

That’s a hard concept to put into play!  When we’re struggling with a trial or we’ve just received some bad news, it can feel like it will never end.  We can feel lost and afraid, lonely or scared, maybe even hopeless.  When we’re in a period of waiting, it seems to go on forever.

However, when we shift our thought to the idea that there is an end to it, that it is momentary in the scope of our life, we can recognize the hope in the word temporary!  I can think of three times in the Bible that were temporary situations that give us hope today. 

Jesus died on the cross.  That circumstance was temporary as He rose from the grave three days later.  Jesus left this earth and ascended to heaven, but He will come again for us; this is only for a season.   This world is not our home.  It’s a temporary place until we see our Savior in heaven.

Praise God for temporary situations!  We can look at temporary as a period of growth, maturing, and hopefulness of the future.  We can look forward to what’s at the end and know that it will be beautiful!

I pray that if you are going through something right now, something that seems as if it will last forever, rest in the knowledge of the word “temporary.” While you don’t know how long temporary will be, Jesus is with you and on other side.


Do You Need Proof?

I had on a VERY cheesy movie in the background today.  It was a “Christian-based” film.  It is about a girl who believes in Jesus and the verse in the bible that says if you have faith the grain of a mustard seed, you can move mountains.  Because she believes and prays over people, they start to get healed.  And she starts healing EVERYONE.  People are showing up on the girl’s doorstep with every ailment wanting her to touch them and pray for them.  I’ll be honest…I stopped watching after a while, because it was pretty theologically lacking.  But it got me to thinking about the book of John study that I’m in with Table 8.

We see multiple verses in the Bible that talk about the people who wanted to see Jesus perform the miracles.  In the first 7 chapters, we see Him tell the Samaritan woman about her life without her telling Him, He heals a child that is in a different location than Him, He heals a man that hasn’t walked in 38 years and we also see Him feed a crowd of 5,000 men plus women and children. 

The crowds keep following Him wanting Him to do more signs and miracles.  He tells one of the people in John 5:48, “So Jesus said to him, ‘Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.’”

He’s told them who He is.  To some, He has flat out told them He came from God the Father.  To others, He’s used imagery that they would be familiar with.  But what He says bears no weight on them without the signs and wonders.  On top of it all, no matter how many miracles He performs, many just won’t believe who He says He is without even more “proof.”  But how much proof is needed?

Sometimes, we do the same thing with God even today.  We ask God for things yet continue to question and ask for clarity when it’s already been given.  Maybe it’s not where we really want to go.  Maybe it’s a different outcome than we wanted.  Or maybe it’s exactly what we’ve been hoping for.  However, we keep asking for more, noticing what He’s already done but still wanting more to prove it.

How much does God have to prove who He is?  He is The Beginning and The End (Revelation 21:6, 22:13).  He is the Author and Perfector of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).  He needed only to speak the world into existence (Genesis 1).  We don’t need Him to prove Himself.  He proved Himself when He sent His Son, the perfect Lamb, to the earth to die on a cross and raise from the grave three days later!

I pray that as we week God, we see the proof that has already been given to us and trust Him and what He says!


Who’s the Favorite Child?

I know we’re not the only family on the planet that constantly tries to figure out who the “favorite” child is.   I always tell my mom that it’s my brother.  Rylan and McKenna will tell everyone that Peyton’s the favorite.  Peyton always tells everyone that McKenna’s the favorite.  Today, I was calling Peyton’s dogs “1st Favorite” and “2nd Favorite” instead of their names, and Emily suggested I call them McKenna and Peyton and see what the kids say!

Needless to say, there are no favorite children.  Except my brother…he’s definitely my mom’s favorite.

Imagine how it would look if we pulled this with God.  Whether we care to admit it or not, there may have been times in our lives where we’ve watched other Christians receive answers to prayers or blessings that were needed or desired.  While we have been happy for those people to see God at work, there may have been some kind of jealousy that our requests still go unanswered.  Life just doesn’t seem quite as fair as what the other person “received.”

I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve been there.  It’s a human response to covet what other people have, even answers to prayers, both big and small.  But the Bible tells us that to covet is to sin.  When we covet what our Christian brothers and sisters receive from Christ, it tends to blind us to how God is answering our prayer or working in our own lives.  The focus isn’t just on what they have, but rather what we DON’T have.  When that happens, we miss the forest for the trees. 

God’s answer for you will not be the same answer He gives someone else.  We are all individual children of God, equally loved and specially set apart.  He knows what is best for each of us as any Good Father does and works in our lives to fulfill what we need that will bring glory to Him. 

We don’t have to compete with others to be the apple of God’s eye.  He tells us that when we accept Him as our Savior, we become His son or daughter.  He doesn’t love one of us more than the other.  We all belong to Him!


Chewbacca and Timmy!

An Empty or Full Tank

The other day, I was talking to my daughter.  She had let someone use her car and it had come back on “E.”  She was incredibly frustrated because she had an errand to run and wasn’t sure she’d be able to make it to the location and back.

We all know the rules regarding keeping the gas tank full, especially if you’ve ever lived in a state that has difficult winters.  Full tank is best.  When it gets down to a quarter tank, you fill it back up just in case you’re trapped in a blizzard on the side of the road! It happens!

But do we treat ourselves the same way about God?  Sometimes, we’re faithful in our pursuit of Christ, reading daily and studying scripture.  We meditate on His words, we pray, and we’re ready to face each day head on.  We keep our tanks full!

Then a missed day turns to two turns to 12.  The gauge on our spiritual tank is dipping lower and lower.  We’re functioning but without the daily filling up of the Holy Spirit, we become weak and more susceptible to attacks from Satan.

When we miss the daily and focused times set aside for God, we are not only more vulnerable to sin, we also tend to be ineffective at sharing the gospel with those around us.  We end up using what we have left in our tank just getting through the day. 

One day may not seem like much, but Jesus tells us He is the Bread of Life, and then tells us to take the DAILY bread.  When there is even one missed day, it’s an opportunity for that tank to dip down to E and leave us struggling to get to the next stop in our journey.

I pray this week that our tanks are filled each and every day with the good news of Jesus and that we are so full we have no choice but to pour the love of God out on others!

Share in the comments whether your favorite daily time with God is in the morning, afternoon, or evening!


The Gifts Test

I’m sure most of us have all taken a “Gifts” test at a church we’ve been a part of!  If you haven’t, let me explain it to you; it’s typically a 20-30 item form that gives you statements about your personality.  You  answer them by rating each one on a scale of 1-5 (1 means ‘never’, 5 being ‘always’).  The statements include things like, “Working with my hands is fun for me” or “I pray for the lost daily.”  “Having people over to my house is something I do often” and “I tend to motivate others to get involved” are two others you might see.  Once your test total is figured out, it shows you where your strengths and best areas of services are for you within the church!  This last Monday, the subject of callings, gifts, and ministry was being discussed at our Table 8 Bible Study as we were going through chapter 3 in the book of John.In verses 22-26, we see Jesus and His disciples back in Judea.  John the Baptist and His disciples were also in the same area.   The Baptist’s disciples brought up to John the fact that Jesus and His disciples were baptizing and those people were going to Jesus instead of John.  We pick up at John’s response to them in verses 27-30.  John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.  You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’  He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice.  So this joy of mine has been made full.  He must increase, but I must decrease.”John clearly tells his disciples that no man gets his ministry unless it’s given to him by heaven.  John was there only to be the ‘friend of the bridegroom.’  God gave him the calling and gift of evangelism to prepare the way, not to be THE one.Often we think about what we’re good at in regards to gifts.  After all, that’s the point of the test.  We see that God’s calling on our lives is usually to use our gifts for His glory and that’s typically why He’s allowed us to excel in them. See example of John the Baptist!However, we have to remember that sometimes God’s calling in our lives is not what we expect or want.  Sometimes the calling or the ministry that’s given to you by heaven is scary and overwhelming.  Please don’t say that, Erin!  But I have to…Look at Moses!  He fought with God on His calling.  He asked God multiple times, “But what if they don’t believe me?”  And God showed Him the miracles he could perform and what to say.  Moses then told God he was not eloquent in speech, he wouldn’t be able to do it.  God tells him, “I’ll be with you and teach you what to say.”  STILL, Moses tells him to send someone else!  Ultimately, we see Moses finally obeying and delivering the Israelites out of Egypt as God commanded.How about Gideon who was called to take his army and defeat the Midianites?  He told God his people were the weakest in the area and he was the “least” in his family.  God not only allowed him to defeat the army but he was also a judge for Israel.I know it’s easy to think that what we’re the best at is what God will call us to do.  But I pray we’re all daily asking God what our calling is from Him so that He can use us in whichever way He desires despite what our gifts test says!~Erin

Doers of the Word

I noticed late last night that I had a large bug bite on my cheek.  I didn’t realize it was really there until my loving husband looked over at me and said, “What’s up with the big zit?”!  He’s such a gentle soul.

I went into the bathroom and stared at if for several minutes.  I poked it a little, looking up close and then backing away as if a different perspective could make it disappear.  But what I was trying to do was figure out if it was a bug bite or indeed a “big zit” resting on my cheek so that I knew what I needed to do for treatment.

Believe it or not, staring in the mirror made me think about a passage in James I was reading last week! We were talking about being doers of the word.

“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror, for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he is.  But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.” –James 1:22-25

As hearers of the word, we deceive ourselves.  We don’t take the time to see what the word really tells us or how it can shape and teach us.  For hearers, the mirror is only a reflection of what we’re doing in the moment, forgetting what it means as soon as we look away.

When we are doers of the word, we look in the mirror deliberately, using it as correction.  We look with intention and recognize that daily sanctification is necessary to bring us closer to God.  We focus on following the word so that corrective action (the doing) can be taken in our lives where it needs to be taken.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be much more than a hearer.  I want to soak in the word, understanding the application of it within my life.  My goal is to be a doer, to find the areas that are in need of correction so that I continue to daily die to self and be sanctified.  I want to effectually take the message and tell others the gospel and love of Jesus.

I pray this week that we recognize ourselves as doers of the word!