Wrestling w/ scripture

Earlier I posted on Tumblr that I was wrestling with some scripture today.  I was looking at 1 John 5, in particular, verses 13 and following. I was reading and it really raised some “red flags” for me when I read about “sins that lead to death” and “sins that do not lead to death.”  It is pretty upfront about the fact that there are sins that just do not lead to death.
Now I don’t know if it is because I grew up in a Pentacostal type church back ground or just bad teaching (even through a few years ago), but I was always told that sin is sin is sin.  EVERYTHING deserves death!!!!!!!!  If you stub your toe and you curse (not using God’s name in vain, just something like “Hell!”), if you died right then, you would burn in Hell.  Or, as I use so often, if you are a 3 year old and you pick up a MoonPie and walk out of the store (yes, you just stole a MoonPie) then you will rot in the flames of fire.  Of course these are lesser sins when compared to murder or rape or the like.  But the standard was set up in a sort of Hell, Fire & Brimstone kind of way.  It was more like I lived life to escape the sulfuric singe, the firey inferno of Hades.  I don’t think that is the kind of fear that Proverbs talks about…
Now, in no way does this go against Romans 6:23 that “the payment of sin is death.”  Even in the Old Testament, the sacrificial laws were in place and for each type of sin required something to die.  It may have been a couple of doves or something as big as a lamb or bigger, but payment was still required.  I guess the leadership that I sat under focused more on righteous living and then the sins that led to death. 
By no means am I saying that sin is okay.  Even the apostle John in 1 John writes in chapter 5 that “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”  We should live for God not out of obligation but out of the freedom from the bondage of sin..taking comfort that the work of Christ and the love of God has caused those who believe in Him to be set free from the chains of sin.  When I read that today, it really helped me see a little that it is SO important to seek the Truth of the bible for yourself.  So many passages in the Bible are misconstrude or overused to the point of “well, my bible just opened there by itself, almost like God wanted to tell me something from there.” 
So I wonder how many were taught something that now you find is not very biblical?

What are YOUR thoughts?


Do you lack compassion?? Rethink it…

I was sitting in church a few Sundays ago. The pastor was teaching about relationships with others and the correlation between how we treat/respect/honor others and how we honor God. He mentioned (this is my paraphrase by the way) that in most cases that we tend to respect/honor a complete stranger in just being polite (i.e. opening the door for them, “Yes, Ma’am, Yes, Sir,” etc.) more than our own family (i.e. spouse, child, friend, etc.). This is because we see our families and friends more often. We don’t put on much of a show for them because we know them and vice versa. How much easier is it to go off the handle when you child is throwing a fit or telling you “NO” in a disrespectful manner? How much easier is it to blow up at your spouse when something didn’t get done or was done incorrectly? How much more patient and compassionate are we with an old lady we don’t know that is walking about .0005 miles per decade, but you wait…you smile and hold the door open. I find that I am not as compassionate. I get so frustrated at my “inner circle” for no reason.

Case in point…(just to be transparent)

My wife (Lovely) is pregnant with our third child. She didn’t have morning sickness with our first two. This baby is way different. So I was JUST getting out of the shower and my wife comes and knocks on the door to say that she HAS TO get to the toilet RIGHT NOW. And apologizes for my convenience. I run out wet and with a towel barely covering what it needs to and I stand there and get frustrated…instead of having sympathy/empathy for her. I mean, kripes, man, she, your wife, is growing your baby. She is the one that is not sleeping and can barely eat and she is still patient with you.

I have to learn compassion. It know that this will be a tough lesson, but I must learn compassion. My heart rarely feels grieved anymore. This, my friends, is not a good thing. So here is some scripture for me to reflect on and pray that God would sear this into my heart.

Micah 7:18-20 (New King James Version) courtesy of www.biblegateway.com

18 Who is a God like You,
Pardoning iniquity
And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?

He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in mercy.
19 He will again have compassion on us,
And will subdue our iniquities.

You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea.
20 You will give truth to Jacob
And mercy to Abraham,
Which You have sworn to our fathers
From days of old.

We constantly fail God, yet He has compassion. Of course, this isn’t to say that He doesn’t discipline in order to correct, but He still has compassion and is patient with us. If we don’t learn the first time, He guides us along that path again.

Thank you, God for never giving up on me. I know that if I were in Your position I would have given up on me a long time ago. God change my heart and make it pliable…make it full of compassion and forgiveness. Amen.

A Week in the Life of…

So this week has been exceptionally interesting.

The Village has had some changes this week~

  • The second Village house is now open
  • We had 4 more guys come in this week
  • We now have 18 guys in the program
  • We are almost to the point to having to open the next house.

Other things this week~

  • Lovely is now 8 weeks along with our third child (9 weeks on Sunday)
  • I am just a few weeks from going to work full-time at the Village
  • I am just over half way through with my guitar class for this term

Non-sensical things~

  • I have been growing my beard now for 60 days
  • I will turn 30 years old this weekend
  • My white hair to redish-brown hair is increasing on the white side
  • People still ask about the R on my left hand ring finger. “Does that mean Ring??”

A few serious things~

  • My Grandpa (mom’s dad) had quadruple bypass surgery today
  • I lack a since of urgency and importance
  • I find that I’m not as good a husband and father as I thought I was/am
  • I find that I lack discipline in a lot of ways, especially around the house
  • I rely on my heart to lead me spiritually instead of the truth that God has given us (hence the last post)

This year will be a great year. Why? Because I want, with all I am, to submit, surrender, and obey God in everything. I want to stop making excuses to follow God’s call on my life and FREAKIN’ DO IT ALREADY!!! And I won’t stop in 365 days. I want for this to continue for as long as I have breath in my body.

Rain, Rain…

The passed few days the weather here has been rainy and stormy. (Enter the old jazz tune #13, Stormy Weather) Of course with rain comes clouds.

Now, I love me some overcast weather. It is good for sleepin’ in late, homemade waffles with fresh fruit, snugglin’ up to your spouse, and catching a chicky flick. (Yeah, I know what you’re gonna say.) Work seemed to thwart that attempt. That and the “Big Duck” as Little Bear says, that is in the yard prevents Lovely and me from going outside and dancing in the rain. (More on the “Big Duck” named Jo Jo on some other blog entry.)

I have really longed for home this week. Maybe it is something about leaving the family while I go and shuffle papers and loan people money. Maybe it has something to do with saying Bye Bye to my little girl wondering if she is going to walk across the room today. (Last night she stood up for about 2 minutes straight and took about 7-8 steps.) It seems that when I come home Lovely is more beautiful and Lil Bear is an inch taller, saying a few more words, and all in about a nine-plus hour span.

As I was rocking Bear to sleep and praying over her. It seemed just a couple of weeks ago I was rocking her at 1 am and she was barely the length of my arm. Then I look down and she is about the length of my torso or bigger. And she talks. Oh, geez!

She is picking up almost everything we say now. I don’t have a bad mouth, but I amknown to be sarcastic. I need to cut that out. I am teaching my daughter by my actions and my words. I have to be teaching her life-giving words, emotions, and actions. Teaching her the Biblical way for frustration and anger without crossing the line. Showing her what she should look for in a husband and how she is to be treated. I have a lot of stepping up to do.

As for the rain…please don’t come another day. Just stay a while and let me play.