1 Corinthians 12:31b (NAS)

And I show you a still more excellent way.
1Corinthians 12:31b (NAS)

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Life is a series of cycles; things that happen over and over again.  The best example is, of course, the calendar cycle; a year-long cycle of 365 days with four seasons, various weather patterns, and temperature changes.  Other examples are the water cycle, growing seasons, reproductive cycles, and ocean tides.  Even History is said to repeat itself.  We can find cycles nearly everywhere we look. 

Another cycle that I discovered is the "cycle of disobedience".  The Israelites disobeyed God; He allowed their enemies to overcome them; they cried out for help; He heard their cries and rescued them; but then they would turn from God and sin  again.  In Judges 2 we find an example.
  • Judges 2:11  and the children of Israel did evil in the sight of  the Lord.....
  • Judges 2:14  and the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel and he delivered them into the hands of the spoilers.....
  • Judges 2:15  .....and they were greatly distressed.
  • Judges 2:16  nevertheless the Lord raised up judges which delivered them.....
  • Judges 2:17  and yet they would not harken.....
The "cycle of disobedience" is seen through out the Old Testament: in Judges 4, Judges 6, Judges 10, II Kings 13, and Nehemiah 9. 

I, too, have experienced this "cycle of disobedience" in my own life.  Over and over again, I find my self dealing with a problematic sin, like negative, critical speech.  The words just  pop out of my mouth.  And before I know, I have said hurtful things.   I pray, ask for forgiveness, and for a while I guard my words and hold my tongue.  God is gracious, He hears my prayer and forgives my sin.  But, inevitably, I find that I have to deal with my negative, critical speech again.

Conquering sin is an ongoing process for the believer.  Through this process, God allows me to see myself for who I am and to see that I need a savior.  He is the potter and I am the clay.

So, don't  be discouraged if you find yourself dealing with the same sin over and over again.  Instead, rejoice that God is working in you to conform you to the image of his Son, Jesus.

God's purpose is to make us holy and without blame before him in love. (Ephesians 1:4)  We may not get it right the first time, but we can know that he will continue his work in us, not matter how many times it takes.  In 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, we read these words, "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I  pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful is he that calleth you who also will do it."

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Guilt by Association

Hannah wanted to be a SAIL volunteer, an upperclassmen who mentors incoming Freshmen during orientation.  She would be assigned a group of students and she would show them the ropes, so to speak, of  high school.  She loves her school and she's a great communicator,  so it was a real shock when she was not chosen to participate.  She spoke with her guidance counselor and discovered that she had received the approval of her teachers, but administration had "black-balled" her.  They said that she had been involved in a bullying incident.  She was heartbroken and now she knew first hand the cost of hanging out with the wrong crowd.  The principal called it guilt by association.  Maybe, she had not actually bullied anyone, but she was present when it was going  on. 

The dictionary defines guilt by association as the attribution of guilt (without proof) to individuals because the people they associate with are guilty. 

So, are we responsible for the actions of another person?  Are we guilty because we hang out with those who are guilty?  Wikipedia calls it "association fallacy" or a red herring.

Jesus associated with sinners, but he lived a sinless life.  Yet, even he was deemed guilty by the Pharisees because he ate with tax  collectors and touched those who were unclean. 

The more I ponder this query, the more I have come to realize, we are all guilty by association- our association to humankind.  We are born into a sinful world, with a nature that is bent toward sin.  We are like our father, Adam, who ate of the forbidden fruit and disobeyed God.  We are sinners, all of us.  "As it is written, there is none righteous, no not one:"  Romans 3:10.

So maybe you haven't murdered anyone or robbed a bank, but you are guilty; guilty of not telling the whole truth, guilty of copying some one's work, or guilty of not being completely fair with everyone.

If we continue reading Romans 3, in verse 19, we find, "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."

One day when we stand before God, we will have no excuse, we know in our own heart that we are guilty, that we deserve the just punishment for our sins.  Here, we are all on level ground; everyone is the same.  We have no excuse, all the world is guilty before God. 

Have you come to realize that you are a sinner, helpless and hopeless to save yourself?  If so, then you are at the right place.  The place we all must come to.  The place of forgiveness through Jesus Christ who gave his life as a ransom for all who are guilty by association. .