It’s Halloween!!

What a sore day for some. For so long, many Christians have decided to try Halloween “alternatives”. Not this believer!!! I am going trick-or-treating with a good friend of mine, my daughter, and his daughter. There will be some who will ask how we can honor the prince of darkness like this?

Here is my answer. On what other day of the year will my neighbors come knocking on my door? Furthermore, on what day of the year will I go knocking on my neighbor’s doors?

What an opportunity to get to know them!! We can visit fifty houses, and introduce ourselves to each other. There may be one or two whom we will actually get to know better, maybe more! Without Halloween day, those meetings would never happen.

I don’t care about Satan’s day, or the word Halloween. I am going trick-or-treating, and I am going to meet my neighbors, again!!

I can’t wait!! Good hope to you all, and to all your neighbors.



Feeling guilty? Did you do it….AGAIN?

And did you try to ask God to forgive you right after you did it?. But somehow, you STILL feel guilty? Do you imagine God as being just one more time away from giving up on you, from saying, “You’ve had enough chances”?

When you think of God, do you find yourself ashamed? Do you crawl to Him sheepishly? Do you approach him on egg shells?

Is God angry with you today, just as He must have been yesterday, and the day before that? In fact, isn’t He angry with you all of the time? After all, how could He not be, with all of the sin in your life?

If you have felt like this today, or any day, I want to encourage you. The view of God drawn above is false. He is not angry with you. He is not GLARING at you. He is not ignoring you.

When I feel guilty, I go to God with it. Sometimes I have to go three or four times, before I finally understand that I’m forgiven. I don’t know why I don’t understand it the first time. Maybe it is my innate sense of justice. Maybe it is my unbelief. Maybe it is a demon, whispering to me a big fat LIE.

Whatever the reason, this is the way I am, and I am thinking there are a lot more people like that out there. Somehow, I feel as though this is a common problem. But the truth is, we don’t have to be afraid. We are no longer dealing with an angry God. There is now, therefore, no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. (Romans) Absolutely none.

For just a while tonight, if you are willing, think about what it means to feel no condemnation. Think about what it means to carry no guilt or shame. Think about what it would mean to offer that to everyone you see, instead of the guilt and shame we think defines us.

Yep, Bruce had it right a short while back. Guilt and shame is one of the top reasons why we don’t share the gospel with everyone we meet. God has changed that. Do you believe it?



The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26.

That passage is rapidly becoming my favorite passage in all of Scripture. It is something I wanted to say to you all. If nothing else, remember, this is God’s heart for us.

Furthermore, this passage does not tell us what our part is, other than invoking the name of the Lord in the verse that follows this passage. The words spoken above are all about God, and all done FOR us

Can you imagine what it physically feels like to have God’s face shine upon you? I consider the sunshine, and I think, as warm and as bright, as shining as it is, God’s face must be even far more so. Whenever I think of God’s face shining on me, I think of God as smiling.

I just want to encourage you all tonight, that’s all. Please try and remember these words when life is hard, which for many, is every day. Even to remember that God’s face is shining upon you can be enough. You don’t have to remember the verse number, or the book. Heck, I don’t. You’d be amazed at how much more I remember simply because my mind is not filled up with a bunch of useless numbers.



I am working on a project for an elderly care / nursing home. There is some renovation, as well as an addition we are building. That’s not what I want to talk about, though.

Every so often, I get to be in the area where the residents of this elder care home are milling about. Whenever I see one of the residents, I can’t help but smile at them, and say hi. The smile feels so genuine and warm, and I truly feel released when I get to see them.

The trouble is, the smile, and the hello is all I get to give them. I am working when I see them, and it would not be proper to do what I long to do. I want to continue that smile, and that hello, and walk to them, and talk with them. I want to get to know them, and hear the stories of their lives. Somehow, I am feeling like I never will.

I love children, and teens, people my age, and elders. But I have an especial heart for the ancient. I see them, and I want to hug them. I want to tell them I care, and “can I do anything for you?” I want to visit with them, and give them something they don’t get often, a simple visitor whose every attention is on them.

Will you pray for me, that I will get to do this? I know it seems selfish, because I like them so much. But the looks on their faces when I smile, and the smile they give back is worth the world to me. There is not much hope in elder care homes. Can I share at least some of my hope with them? Even if it’s not in word. How wonderful it would be just to sit with them.

I remember my grandfather from my mom’s side. I loved him so dearly. He took walks with me, told me stories, he even let me puff his pipe. The smell of that pipe I remember as if he has just lit it up in my office as I type this.

I recall studying his hands. He was a farmer, and his hands were course, and full of popping veins. I would push those veins in, and they would sponge back. As a child, my grandfather was the only relative I had on whose knee I would sit. No one else could hold me, but he could. I don’t know why.

Maybe it was the gentle, yet firm way he held me, leaving me free to go when I wanted, but safe from falling too far, lest I hurt myself. Maybe it was his quiet way, that we could spend hours walking on the old farm while hardly saying a word. I learned to think from him. He was not what people would have assumed was an intelligent man, but as I look back now, he was a genius, because he was wise. You can have intelligence, give me wisdom any day, for the intelligence I have is useless without someone around to impress with it. But wisdom doesn’t need an ear, or an audience. I like wisdom best.

I miss my grandfather from time to time, and I think of him every so often in memories that seem to be fading. Maybe these ancients remind me of him, as he was ancient when I was a child. Whatever it is, a tear of joy falls now as I remember him, and wonder when I’ll get to visit the residents of the elder care home again.



Well, I’ve done it. I have managed to spend too much time, and now I don’t have enough left for tonight. What am I going to do?

Can I borrow some of yours? Is that possible?

Here is a thought. How much time do we spend on a daily basis? Wouldn’t you like to know the answer to that question?

It is simple really. We could say that we spend time doing this or that, but that’s not the answer. The answer is, we spend all of the time we have, every day.

However, what we spend our time on can make a great deal of difference on whether we have enough time left to be available. I am not available tonight. No one is going to meet the Jesus in me anymore today. I simply don’t have enough time. I have to be home, with my daughter, and making a late supper, because I didn’t have time to eat earlier.

Should that cause me some guilt? Never! I simply cannot be all places at once, doing all things at once. There are many people I met today, and I hope they met the Jesus in me, each one of them. I suspect, however, that not all of them did. I made a mistake, and wore a watch today, and it dictated to a certain extent where I had to be, when, doing what.

If I have one purpose from God, and I am busy doing it, it is simple to see that I cannot be doing something else at the same time, unless it is something which allows me to do two things at once. If I am telling a person how to frame out a doorway, I can not at the same time tell him about Jesus. However, there is hope. I can, in my manner towards him, tell him about Jesus in a different way. The question is, will I FEEL like I have enough time?

Ahhh, I bet you thought the third reason we don’t share the gospel with everyone we meet was time. May it never be!!

The third reason is our “feelings”, or emotions. If I feel I cannot act a certain way because it would take too much time, that feeling is dictating to me what I can, and cannot do. So, how do we combat that? Any of you have ideas? This is the time to share them. The floor is open.



It is things like this which piss me off. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6305799/ Check this link out, to read the latest on Mrs. Hassan, an Iraqi citizen kidnapped by terrorists, to make a statement.

How long, O Lord, How long?


Please bear with me tonight. I sent a Phillips head driver bit through my left index finger today, so typing is definitely an ”effing” adventure. J Other than that, it was a great day!!

I am warming up for this post series about why we do not share the gospel with everyone we meet. Tonight, I’d like to talk about designated hitters. Yeah, I know, what does baseball have to do with the gospel? Only this, I still can’t think of the word I wanted to use, so designated hitter will have to do for now.

When we love our neighbor as our self, what are we doing exactly? Great, more questions, right? I know, I LOVE asking questions.

Well, what are we doing? Love thy neighbor as thyself has always translated for me into loving my neighbor as if he is me, or more specifically, loving him as if I am him. Here is where the designated hitter part becomes a reality. Instead of seeing him, I see me in his place. And, instead of him seeing me, hopefully, he sees himself in my place. Hold on to that for a moment.

Man! Can five Ibuprofen really make you this ditsy? J

Now look at the cross. Jesus is our designated hitter, taking the wrath of God for our sins, for us. He is a stand-in, a scape goat, if you will, to use a word coined in the Old Testament somewhere. (Too looped-up to bother looking that one up. Ask me tomorrow, and I will)

So, we have Jesus, the author of our faith, thus of the gospel, being our designated hitter. To KNOW that well, would mean for us to live it well. Thus, we must become designated hitters for everyone, even the neighbor we never liked. How do we do this? WE don’t.
ow do we do this

Instead of us being in the way in our relationships, and daily interactions, we have another designated hitter, the Holy Spirit, who helps us live this truth of the gospel, and thus share the gospel with people we meet.

I sure do hope this is making sense. I seriously cannot tell.

Now, that raises a good question. In baseball, why does the designated hitter exist? The answer is simple, and I know it all too well. I sure could pitch, but I couldn’t hit to save my life. Most pitchers can’t. How does this tie in with anything?

The reason we have designated hitters, or spiritual scape goats, is because we cannot do with our flesh what we want to do, which is to share the gospel. We can’t know it, we can’t live it, and we can’t share it. It’s not our role, it is the role of Jesus in us to take our place in our lives, literally to live through us, and us through Him, to do anything lasting.

The Holy Spirit is the driving force behind evangelism today, whether it be speaking, doing, or praying, He is the hand that moves the wall. We are the wall. Much of the time we refuse to, or can’t share the gospel, are the times we are instead projecting our flesh onto our neighbor. That isn’t going to draw anyone to Christ.

So reason number two is; our flesh gets in the way. We are all pitchers who think we can also hit sometimes. But the beauty of loving our neighbor is that in order for us to do so, we can’t be there, someone else has to be. If it is us, we will project our flesh, we will project our desires, our wants, ourselves, onto whomever we are with.
We need a designated hitter in order to fulfill the entire Law. That designated hitter is Jesus Christ, one with the Sprit, and now one with us.



Okay. I will do this in small parts, this talking about why we don't share the gospel with everyone we meet. This is going to be a very short post, and I sort of want to know how you feel about this very first reason. Here goes.

1. We don't share the gospel with everyone we meet because we don't know what the gospel really is all that well.

That's just one reason, remember, not THE reason. There is One inside us Who can teach us. Are we willing?

In different ways, Jesus shared the gospel with just about everyone He met. (It may actually have been EVERYONE, but I don't have time tonight to prove that). Of course Jesus knew the gospel perfectly. But it is so much more than words.

For now, I'd like you to ponder the word "certainty". What does it mean? What would it be like to know and live the gospel with "certainty"?



Today was a much better day, and I give a warm thank you to all who prayed for me.

I am going to be working on a post regarding the reasons we don’t “evangelize” with everyone we meet. However, that won’t be tonight. Instead I'd like to post about something that one finds at any normal construction site. Here goes.

It appears that all adjectives and adverbs have been replaced in the English language, at least the language found at a construction site. We used to use the word big to describe something that was large. When we wanted to measure something, we would describe it as long, or short, high, or low. In the cases of color, we had striking colors, plain colors, hot colors, and cold colors.

If we happened to have a good time doing something the night before, we would say that we had REALLY had a blast. And, if we had to go get a certain tool, we would grab the HAMMER drill, or the MITER saw.

Do we need any of these adjectives or adverbs anymore? I like to think we do. However, I am at a jobsite where all of them have been replaced with one word. Can you guess what that word is? Do I have to type it? Alright, we’ll use a replacement. Let’s call the word “effing”. So, from here on out in this post, when you see the word “effing”, you will know what I am referring to. If you do not know what word I am really referring to, email me, and I’ll tell you.

I was setting some framing this morning, enjoying the basics of my job, when I heard this “conversation” taking place right next to me.

Bob: Hey! You got the effing drill?
Sam: I effing thought you effing had it!
Bob: I aint effing seen it! What the eff did you effing do with it?
Sam: Eff if I know. Ask effing Bill, he effing had the effing drill last. Eff it all!
Bob: That mother effer. Where the eff is he?
Sam: How the eff should I know? Hey. You effing wanna help me with this effing hole. I can’t hold the effing saw, and see where the eff I’m effing cutting half the effing time.
Bob: Did you effing measure it first? Here, use my effing tape measure. It’s effing accurate as all effing hell.
Sam: You got one of these mother effers? Holy effing excrement, Batman! These are effing nice!
Bob: I effing know. It only effing cost me…effing twenty-five effing bucks. What a effing deal!
Sam: Ummm, it’s effing twenty-three….and three effing eighths….can ya effing hold the effing saw while I effing try to keep this cord from effing us all up? (Hey!! That was a verb!!)

By this time, I was just laughing! I honestly didn’t know what else to do. I’m not going to say, “Um, gentlemen. I never knew the word eff was an adjective. Thanks!”

What does one say? Usually, I am on the jobsite near the very end, where the trades speak in a more civilized tone (never can tell when the owners might show up, after all, wouldn’t want them hearing the eff word now, would we?) But, on this one, I’m doing framing, too, and that means I get to be there for all the fun.

So, I have decided not to say anything. Yes, I also hear God’s name taken, and Jesus Christ has somehow picked up a middle name with the word eff right in it. That one hurts. But, here is my plan. I am going to affect the little area I am in every day, by talking the way I always talk, using good English, and being polite. I will treat them all with respect, and I will utter nary a word about their “effing” language. Think they’ll notice?

I hope they do. I pray they see such a difference in me that they’ll ask. I pray the light I shine will bring the Son into the darkness. It is very dark here, in this not even half finished building. The light is very low, and the darkness has had its way for far too long. It’s time to pray, and to change that by the hand of God, if He is willing. I want them all to remember this project for the rest of their lives. I am already so fond of them all, regardless of whatever adjectives or adverbs they use. These are the tradesmen who build the buildings you go to work in. They will be the salt of the earth, because I’m going to spread a little salt myself. Have a blessed evening.



I am not going to post tonight about my views on why we don’t introduce the gospel to everyone we meet. I am much too crabby to do it justice.

Yes, instead of that, I am going to post about being crabby. I was so very crabby today. It was one of those days where everything I put my hand to turned bad. I did not react well, and I am ashamed to even admit it.

But, that shame isn’t going to stop me from posting about it. Here is where I shamelessly ask you to pray for me, if you are willing. What can you pray about?

Here is my list:

1. I was crabby
2. I was as impatient as a two year old, and threw many mental temper tantrums. Since I can’t confine myself to a corner for a “timeout”, something else has to happen.
3. I felt like I was being tested, and now I only feel like I failed.
4. I prayed about this all day long, and still found very little peace throughout my day.
5. As things piled up, it got worse for me “mood” wise. Seldom do circumstances affect my emotions, but today they did for some reason.
6. I didn’t take it out on anyone, so we can all thank God for the restraint He gave me.
7. Several times, I used four letter words as adjectives, inside of my mind. To me, it’s the same as saying it out loud.
8. What happened to my self-control?

Ever have days like this? I don’t have them very often. Not “crabby” days. Not days when I am so bucky that nothing seems to change this foul mood I am in. Did I just say “foul”? Yes, I believe I have found the proper adjective for my mood. Unfortunately, Unkymoods doesn’t have a cartoon for “foul”.

I am begging for your prayers, just for peace above all. If I have that, circumstances are nothing. Thanks, and I have already prayed for most of you today, and will more. God’s good hope to you.

PS: Blogger is super slow tonight. Oh no!!! Agghhhh!!!!!! :(



My boy’s club met last night, and it was a night when my protégé led. He did a wonderful job, and I have no doubt he’ll continue doing well in the ministry after I am gone. I will be taking on a much smaller, more intimate group, that I like to call "intensive community building". We are going to take the boy’s club several steps further, be more deeply involved in each other’s lives, and I am excited.

A question was asked last night, and I’d like to continue the discussion here. Why don’t we introduce Jesus to everyone we meet?

That’s the question. We covered a lot of reasons, but I’d like to know a few of yours. Then, we can discuss how we can change that, IF we can change it. What does it take, and what would it look like to introduce everyone we meet to the Jesus in us? That’s where this is going, but for now, why don’t we already? Thank you all.



Well, alright then. I’ve decided to do it.

What have I decided?

I am going to go out, and purchase a copy of the Koran, the Muslim Bible. I have been struggling recently with feelings of exasperation against Muslims, all because of what a few are doing in nations like Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, the Sudan, and other African and Indian countries. More like I have been fed up with it.

Several times I have almost decided to post something on this blog that definitely would not have been of the Spirit. Rather, it would have been an uninformed rant against something I don’t understand at all, done in the flesh.

I thank my God for holding me steady, for keeping me from doing that, but the thoughts I have had are almost worse in my mind. Sin is an attitude, and my attitude in this area has ranged from frustration to anger, to outrage at what is done to Christians in the name of Allah. No more.

I am led to read the Koran, not to learn their ways, or be indoctrinated in any way, but to gain an understanding in perspective. I have felt led to take a trip to the Middle East, to encourage the persecuted brothers and sisters of our Way. Yet I would be foolish to take such a trip without a better understanding of the people who live there. I have been condemning what I don’t know.

Maybe by understanding what they believe, I will be moved from a position of condemnation to true love for the lost. There is no excuse for me to love an American who doesn’t know Jesus more than a Muslim who also doesn’t.

If you know where I could pick up an inexpensive copy, I would appreciate it if you would let me know. Also, if you are willing, I would thank you for your prayers for me and my daughter, for protection, and guidance. I truly am thankful for all of you who read this blog. You are far more than I deserve, and maybe someday the quality of this blog will match the quality of the people who read it. Take care in Christ, good hope to you all, and may Christ come quickly again.



I am too tired to write much tonight. I only have so little to say, anyway.

I just wanted to say that my God is indescribably wonderful. He moves, and I react. He plans, and I work. He gives, and I receive. He leads, and I follow. Thank you God.

And thank you, all.



The Bible has this to say about freedom. Read this passage very slowly. There is a lot said here, and many of these verses have been taken out of context over time to prove one point at a time. Look at this passage in full, and think about what Paul is telling the believers in Rome.

Now accept the one who is weak in faith, {but} not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.

The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, "AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD." So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.

Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this--not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way. I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.

Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or {to do anything} by which your brother stumbles.

The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.
Romans Chapter Fourteen NASB

Did you notice that the word “freedom” isn’t mentioned even once? Instead, Paul chooses to drive home his point with the word “faith”, in the very last paragraph. Verse 14 states, “I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.” How does verse fourteen tie in with the last paragraph?

Is it possible that our freedom is limited only by faith? That is just a thought, not a statement I am making about this entire passage. But, so long as the question is asked, what do you think about it?
I find the statement “To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” to be simply amazing, in that it tells us truly that the Lord is able to MAKE us stand. I wonder what that means? Does it mean forgiveness? Does it mean sinlessness? Does it mean no action we undertake is wrong? What really does it mean? What do you think? Read the last seven words of chapter fourteen again.



I took a walk this afternoon for about forty-five minutes, into my State Forest, the one just down the road from me. It is amazing to me that I only find time to walk there once every two weeks.

The colors I saw today were simply breathtaking, and this isn’t even the height of fall colors, yet. That won’t take place until another week at least. I must remind myself to take another walk in my forest next Sunday.

As I was walking today, I was talking with God. Abruptly, I stopped in the middle of the path, looked up, and saw a stately maple tree. I stopped talking, and engaged in the deepest worship experience I have felt in a long time. I just stood there, my eyes glued to this tree, and I praised God silently, first with my eyes, then with my mind, and finally, into my heart. I melted at the beauty of God, painting His ever changing tapestry before my very eyes.

I was still for probably five minutes, taking in as much of this singular tree as I could. Its leaves at the very top were bright orange and red. The foliage had thinned somewhat at the top, and I could make out the individual branches desperately hanging on to their covering. The lower branches were more full with leaves, of the most golden and yellow hues I have ever observed. The tree looked royal as it gently swayed in the breeze.

I saw the trunk, the texture of the bark, and many more details too numerous to write about. I saw life.

This is God’s forest, and He will decorate it as He pleases. The leaves will shrivel, and die. Slowly, and then more rapidly, they will fall to the ground, to be trampled by forest animals of all sorts, and finally, decompose.

All of this crosses my mind now. As I was staring at this tree, however, I could only breathe. There were no words in my mind that I remember, no upraised arms, no voice or song to break the silent awe. There was merely observation, and worship, pure and in the Spirit. I lost track of where I was for a moment, and simply remembered whose I am.

I am going to walk next Sunday, and the one after that. I am going to observe God at work. If there is one thing I have not done recently, it has been to austerely witness the beauty God has painted for any length of time. I always seem to be in too much of a hurry to just look.

I don’t mean look the way I do when I drive my car, seeing everything at once. I mean to look at one thing, and really SEE it. How often have I passed that tree, and not noticed it even once? Thirty times? One hundred times? One thousand? (sigh)

Where have I been that I haven’t looked? I do not know, and I do not care. I want to SEE, and I am going to, by God. I am going to look, and I am going to remember. This is a witness, too, and I will drink it in, savoring it just as I did today.

How often do we look at something, or someone, but never really see it, or them?



Great comments made by all on my questions about freedom. Here is where I give my opinion on freedom, and you all (or many) will call me backslidden, and on my way to a great big fall.

Freedom isn’t what we have so often thought of it to be. It is not “living in a free country”, or being free to choose. Freedom has for me just one meaning. It means that regardless of whatever I do from this point on, I am righteous before God.

There are two natures at war within my body. My sin nature, and the Spirit. They are at war with each other constantly. When I walk by the flesh, every single thing I do is sin. When I walk by the Spirit, everything I do is righteous, I always do what pleases the Father.

Let me say this now, and build upon it. Sin isn’t about a thing we do. It’s a nature, an attitude. The deed is only the result of living out that nature. If in my sin nature I do anything, count on it to be sin, it can be no other way.

If I am in the Spirit, it cannot be sin, ever. Yet, here is where people get confused. “Wait a minute, Tom, you can’t just do whatever you want. You are still ACCOUNTABLE. “ Here is where I say, it is no longer about being accountable. It is only about what nature I am following. The lines have already been drawn. If I walk in my sin nature, I have already decided to sin, it’s just a matter of what, and when.

If, however, I find a way to live in the Spirit, I will never sin, and thus, can do what I desire. Here is how it works. The Spirit desires that which is of God’s will, which we know to be good and perfect. By the Spirit, I live within God’s will, perfectly. How is it possible for God to sin? Since it isn’t possible, whatever I do in the Spirit will never, ever be sin. Total freedom!

We have this freedom from our sin nature. We do not have this freedom IN our sin nature. Do you see the difference? But is it really that simple?

Yes, it is. Let me give an example. If I am in the Spirit when I see an elderly woman needing help with getting her groceries into her car, I am free to do so without fear of sin. Of course, you might say this is never sin, helping others. I would say you are mistaken if you believe that. Helping others can be sin, because remember, sin isn’t necessarily the action, but the attitude, the nature of the deed instead. While we were lost in our sin, even helping that elderly lady would have been sin. The physical reasons behind it are thus: I glorified myself, not God. I believed the idea came from my initiative, not God’s. That’s just the beginning, but isn’t that enough?

Anything that does not glorify God is a sin attitude, a deed being carried out in response to the sin nature. Even if it is a deed the world would call good, God would not call it so. This is the difference between perfect God, and vastly imperfect man.

How deeply are we entrenched in sin before we know Christ? So deeply, that Christ must choose us first. A man whose total nature is sin cannot choose good, he is not free to do so. And what more good can there be than to choose Jesus? Do you see the dilemma we face in our sin nature? He is called savior because when He throws out the lifeline, we aren’t even free to grab it. He must tie it around us, and drag us to shore. That is a hard thing to believe, but if you take just one look at what you do in your sin nature still, even after all this time in Christ, you must be able to see the truth of it.

Freedom means we can do good. Only in the Spirit can we do this good, and it is predestined that we will be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29) If we walk by the flesh, there is no freedom, for the flesh can only do what the flesh desires, which is only and always sin.

I think much of the problem people find with the freedom I enjoy is the entrapment of comparison. We like to compare everything. We compare cars, houses, incomes, and oh yes, sins.

I spoke with a man tonight who was so worried that he wasn’t a good Christian because he had recurring sins in his life, that he was wondering about his salvation. This kind of confusion can only come from a gospel of works, because the gospel of grace is not at all anymore about what we do. It is only about what Jesus does. Since He has chosen to deposit the Spirit in us, we are free from Adam, that sinful nature that lives in us. The only thing lacking in us is faith to believe it.

This poor man was walking around beating himself, because he thought as a Christian, that was what he was supposed to be doing. Freedom is not about the ability to punish ourselves. He was comparing his walk with other’s walks, including mine. Imagine his surprise when I asked him if he thought I sinned less than he. He answered yes. He believed that I looked like someone who was obeying God almost fully. I waited just a moment, and then told him to throw that opinion of me away. I did not tell him if I was sinning more, because the fact is, it’s not about how much I sin anymore. There is no comparison.

All have sinned, and all fall short of the glory of God. That is what I call the physical reason we need a savior. Murderer, rapist, thief, and liar all alike, we all need Jesus. There is no comparison. We were all in the same condition. However, once set free by Jesus, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Again, no comparison. How can two who are equal be compared? Mustn’t there be differences in order to necessitate the need of comparison? We are all alike in our freedom, not one has more than another.

But, one has greater grasp of it than another. This is where faith comes in, and we know not to judge our own faith, when we understand that our faith is a gift to us from God. We can neither increase it ourselves, nor decrease it. This is so that no man may boast. Total freedom.

We are being conformed to the image of Christ. Nothing we do will stop, or slow down that process. This isn’t something left up to human will. If it were, God would not have told us it was predestined. Being conformed is God’s baby, not ours. Total freedom.

Now is when many would say, “living under that belief is going to cause you to fall. You don’t think you have to try to be good.” If in the flesh, all my effort is sin, why would I try to be good in my flesh? In the Spirit, I don’t have to try, all is righteousness, because all is according to what pleases God. All is according to the Spirit, not according to me. Total freedom.

Yes, there is this flesh that is being dealt with. Yes, I hate it when I sin. No, I do not want to sin. But I believe that God is conforming me to the image of Christ, and the more I believe that, the more I see it happen, despite my flesh. If you see me sin, and you will, you can rest that I know I am wrong even as I do it. Oh, we can deny that we don’t know what is right and what is wrong, but the tree of the knowledge of good and evil makes liars of us all if we say that. We ate of it, because Adam ate of it. We know.

There is now only one thing left, SURRENDER. Know that if you are trying to be good, you are in the flesh, for in the Spirit, there is no such thing as trying, there is only perfection. This is a hard truth, every bit as hard as Jesus telling the Jews that the work of the Father was not theirs, but the Fathers, and He worked salvation, FOR them. This slap in the face to their efforts at obedience was both truthful, and painful. We all know that effort does not produce righteousness. Then we should more readily understand that neither does effort conform us to the image of Christ. Effort is flesh. Perfection is Spirit. Which will you believe in?

I do not have a license to sin. I have flesh that sins. I also have freedom not to sin. Before I knew Christ, I had no such possibility. What greater hope can there be, than to know Christ? So no matter what I do, the nature of the deed will show the nature I was walking in. Faith resolves the conflict between the two natures. For the one, the sin nature, there is only death, and it is occurring already. For the other, the Spirit, there is only perfection, and since that occurs through Jesus, it occurs already. Total freedom.

Please feel free to comment. This is not an exhaustive study on freedom, only my opinion. There may be flaws, and I am willing to listen to reason.



Freedom. What is it? How do we come to possess it? I am full of questions tonight, and I don’t want to provide the answers to these questions. I know they are tough questions, but if you are willing, I would really appreciate you giving your view on the freedom we have in Christ.

Are we free? Some would have us believe we have been freed from one Law, and set as prisoners into a whole new set of rules and regulations, sort of do’s and don’ts. My questions here have to do with what true freedom really is. Does anyone know? Is it elusive? Does it play tricks on us, telling us one moment we can do this, but don’t do that the next moment?

Just what is this freedom? How does it fit into your life? Or, do you fit into freedom? If you have an opinion, I’d like to read it, if you are willing. Thank you.



As I have been browsing many weblogs recently, one thing has hit me square in the jaw. The need for a better understanding of grace is very, very high. I find myself needing to understand how God’s grace changes my life every moment. It is no surprise that I am not alone in this. How I wish it were different.

Why can’t we remember grace? Why do we pepper nearly everything in our lives with graceless attitudes and ideas? I wish I knew the answer to that. Then I would be truly rich in Kingdom currency.

So, back to Proverbs I go. I bet you are wondering why I just said that. Here’s why:

The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:
To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding,
To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice and equity;
To give prudence to the naive, To the youth knowledge and discretion,
A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,
To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:1-7

Did you catch it? Read it again, slowly.

The very first part of the book of Proverbs tells us why it was written. These seven verses explain the reason the book exists.

What is the book of Proverbs good for? To know wisdom and instruction. What more wise thing in this world is there than grace?

To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice and equity. Isn’t that what we are really looking for? Righteousness comes not by our own hand, nor understanding, but through the blood of Christ.

The book of Proverbs gives both the young, and the old and wise instruction in wise counsel, knowledge, and discretion. I am seriously lacking in all these things.

To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles. Hmm, ever read a parable Jesus spoke and wonder what it really meant? Maybe the answer isn’t in the parable, maybe the answer is in wisdom, and where are we going to find wisdom? Certainly not in me, so where will we go?

Read the last line. Fools despise wisdom and instruction. We are not fools, though, we who have been washed by the blood of Christ. We are full of grace, and the words of Proverbs will have their way with us, whether we realize it or not. I have read the book of Proverbs too many times to count, and each time I do, I learn far more than I can remember that I learned. Did that statement make sense? It means I learn more than I know I learned.

Some things that I have learned will show up immediately, others only when I need it. One thing is true; do not read the book of Proverbs and expect instantaneous results. We may receive some wisdom immediately, but the book is too deep for our waking minds to grasp in one take. That is why I revisit it often. That, and the promise made in the first seven verses,

There is a book called Purpose Driven Life which makes a promise that if you read it, it will change your life. That book broke its promise to me. That’s okay, it was a misguided statement, and I probably had no business holding a book to its word. The book of Proverbs , though, has fulfilled its promise, and continues to do so. You will understand the sayings of the wise, you will gain discretion, and you will see how wisdom is not knowledge, but rather everyday experience in living the right way, the way of the Lord, which is also the way of grace.

I need grace like rain every moment. Proverbs helps me remember how little I know, but how much I have been given, not just when I read Proverbs, but when I read every other book in the Bible, and when I live. It may do the same for you. Try it, and see what happens.



Today my favorite football team traded away one of its best players, because he was “unhappy” playing for the paltry three million dollars a year they were paying him. Hmm.

I am not certain what all occurred to make this gentleman unhappy, but one thing is clear; with two years left on a contract he signed in good faith, he suddenly decided the contract didn’t pay him enough. Maybe he is right. Maybe he is one of the better players at his position, and compared to the others at his position, should be paid more. But it seems to me, and it occurs more and more in professional sports, that sports contracts are a lot like Hollywood marriages, made to be broken.

Is it all a matter of comparison, though? If it is, then shouldn’t everything be a matter of comparison? After all, although he is very good at what he does, he isn’t as good at what he does as I am at what I do, which leads to my next question. If I am better at what I do than he is at what he does, and this is all a matter of comparison, shouldn’t I get paid far more than him? In fact, maybe I should walk off the job tomorrow, tear up the contract, and tell my client I won’t be back until he pays me better than what everyone else is making. In the end, wouldn’t that be fair?

The truth is, fair walked out the door when Jesus died for me. If I wanted fair, I should burn in hell, it is, after all, what I deserve.. And thank God my life is found in His kingdom, where all such comparison is dead. I can’t say for certain why this young man feels he is worth so much. I can’t imagine the pain that causes this sort of egotism. I can’t even relate anymore, and I am thankful for it. But, I can hope that this young man will one day meet my Savior. Then he, as we all have, will realize that comparison is futility.

It is a chasing after the wind, with an ever-climbing performance bar, one that just as you think you are about to clear it, raises itself again. Brothers and sisters, we are not to compare ourselves with anything, or anyone, for who or what can compare with the Beloved of God? Can mountains? Can birds? Can the most beautiful ocean compare? Can an eagle soaring at its wondrous height compare to the beloved of God? Nothing compares to the love of God, which He has freely bestowed upon us. We are His children, and we are above all comparison.

This young man who demanded to be traded was traded to the wrong team. He belongs with God, so he can have a hope that doesn’t require a constant comparison between him and his peers. When we abandon men and women just like him to continue playing that comparison game, we leave them in despair. Sure, it seems a lot easier to share the love of Christ with the poor and downtrodden. But in this young man, I see poorness, and I see a downtrodden spirit. How else can one explain the necessity to prove just how good one is by how much one is paid. How poor a life this will be, unless we tell him about our savior, Jesus Christ. Men and women who are wealthy are every bit as downtrodden and poor as the dirt poor are. For some reason, these wealthy men and women hardly ever hear the gospel anymore. I wonder if we are still playing the comparison game?



How does a man who lives under the grace of God love his neighbor? We have seen that the only true way to do this is to forget about ourselves, and be our neighbor. When Jesus said, "Love thy neighbor as thyself”, He told the parable of a Samaritan, a heretic, who stopped everything to help a Jew. (Luke 10:30-37) Yet two men who came before him went out of their way to avoid this situation. These two men were religious, image driven and opinion conscious leaders of Judaism. One was a priest, the other a Levite. Their concern wasn’t necessarily what others would think of them. Rather, their concern was for their own privilege.

A Jewish leader recognized that to defile oneself with the blood of a man would mean he wouldn’t be able to partake of the Jewish festivities for that evening. Instead, he would have to be purified, and purification took time. I realize this is a simplistic way of stating the reasons for these two men avoiding the desperately injured, but I really do believe that it boiled down simply to that. The amazing act the Samaritan performed was accomplished exactly because he was a heretic, in the eyes of a Jew. He wasn’t bound by tradition and festivities to avoid making himself “unclean”. In the eyes of the Jews, he was already unclean, simply because he was a Samaritan.

The Samaritan had an unfair advantage over the religious men. He was free, not bound by religion or laws that would force him to miss the privilege of serving God. Isn’t that interesting? Religion causes us to miss the privilege of serving God. It gets in the way of loving our neighbor.

What is the moral of the good Samaritan parable? Is it that we should help people we see lying on the road, beaten to within an inch of their lives? Of course we should, but that is not the thrust of what Jesus was saying. It is simply Jesus’ way of declaring that religion refused the two Jews the opportunity to love his neighbor, while the Samaritan, a heretic, had the freedom to help a man who was considered an enemy. “Love your enemies, and do good to those who hate you. (Luke 6:27) How many other words of Christ can we tie into this one story? See if you can find any, and comment back with them. I think the story of the good Samaritan holds much of the teachings of the Messiah within it.

It is certain that the Samaritan was persecuted; he was a heretic, not because of his character, but because of his lineage. Yet in the end, this Samaritan was more free than the religious men who came before him. What is most amazing is that, in that freedom he chose to help an enemy, he went far out of his way to do so, and at great cost to himself. By the time the Jews crucified Jesus, He too was considered a heretic (“Do we not say rightly that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” John 8:48) Jesus also, at great cost to Himself, took up the cross to save us who were lying upon the road, beaten within an inch of our lives. He paid the price for our healing, and if there should be further cost, He would pay that as well upon His return. Just like the Samaritan Heretic.

If we love our neighbor, then let’s do it with grace, and without religion. Let’s act out the freedom we have to love everyone we see. Let’s lose the idea that we have to be proper first, or perfect first. “Who is my neighbor” is the question asked of Jesus, just before He told us the story of the good Samaritan. Everyone is our neighbor, and thus everyone is someone we can love.

And what love shall we give them? The kind of love that forgets who we are, and focuses on who they are. This sort of love forgets our agenda, appointments, and time. This kind of love drove Jesus to the cross. How fast He made certain He arrived there. How fast will we travel to get to the cross? You see, our cross is not suffering per se. Rather, our cross is to love our neighbor as if he is us. This happens wherever we are, because wherever we are is right where Jesus is. Our cross is not a burden, but a joy, the same joy that Jesus saw before Him as He went to the cross. (Hebrews 12:2) If we ask the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us eyes to see, we will certainly see many of our neighbors in need of our love.