Thoughtful Thursday: Whose Fault Is It?

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Proverbs 11:5-6

“The righteousness of the blameless will make straight their way, but the wicked person will fall by his own wickedness.  The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but the faithless will be captured by their own desires.”

Proverbs 12:12, 21

“The wicked person desires a stronghold, but the righteous root endures.  21 The righteous do not encounter any harm, but the wicked are filled with calamity.”

Genesis 4:7

“Is it not true that if you do what is right, you will be fine? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. It desires to dominate you, but you must subdue it.”

Romans 6:12-13

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its desires, and do not present your members to sin as instruments to be used for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead and your members to God as instruments to be used for righteousness.”

James 1:15

“Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death.”

Jeremiah 19:5

“They have built places here for worship of the god Baal so that they could sacrifice their children as burnt offerings to him in the fire. Such sacrifices are something I never commanded them to make! They are something I never told them to do! Indeed, such a thing never even entered my mind!”

Proverbs 19:3

“A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the LORD.”


Daily we bear the sins of one another as well as our own.  In vanity we scramble to attempt to cover our shortcomings, but underneath is the same intent and heart.  In all the stress of our messy lives, a sinless Lamb covered all of the sins of the world and yet our hearts somehow still can blame Him.

Every day sin captivates mankind and every day the consequences of those sins are born and the blame is cast.  Sin ravages our souls and is often permitted to do so by the very ones whose lives it wreaks havoc upon.

A sane mind would not seek to suffer purposely, yet that is exactly what we do when we give in to sin’s deception.  God’s laws still stand whether or not we pay heed to them.  Like gravity, our decisions will affect the course of our life and the weight of sin will be felt, much like the joy experienced from the fruit of obedience.

God hates sin.  He hates what it does to us.  Our flesh hates the rules and boundaries set, thinking we are being deprived. All the while God wants to spare us from the spreading cancer which threatens to steal our joy and imprison us.

Time and time again throughout history God’s people are lured away by sin’s promises deceitfully dressed up in an attractive array.  There is nothing new underneath the sun.  How is it we cannot recognize the same strategies of the enemy and refrain from indulging our flesh?  Especially when we have seen in history the effects of sin on this weary world?

Deception.  Lust of the flesh.  Distrust.  Rebellion.  Self-reliance.  If in the moment of temptation we cry out to God, He will provide the grace and strength we need to overcome.  But all too often we don’t.  He makes a way out and we rationalize that our way seems better.  Or maybe we doubt God’s goodness or His ways and choose to be our own God.

While the prevalence of sin in our culture can be discouraging, there is still hope.  We can stop blaming others or God and put no confidence in our flesh.  We can turn away from sin and ask God to help us recognize it for what it is.  We are left without an excuse, but God forgives us anyway.  What kind of grace would choose to bear our blame?  Selfless, Holy grace – from the Only One Who can grant it.

Lord, help us to recognize sin in our lives and to turn away from it, the enemy of our souls.  Thank You for Your gracious covering and for setting us free!

Worship Wednesday: Paying Attention In an Inattentive World

Photo Credits: mindful listening

Photo Credits:
mindful listening

Psalm 49: 1-4

1 “Listen to this, all you nations!  Pay attention, all you inhabitants of the world! 2 Pay attention, all you people, both rich and poor! 3 I will declare a wise saying; I will share my profound thoughts. 4 I will learn a song that imparts wisdom; I will then sing my insightful song to the accompaniment of a harp.

As a singer/songwriter, this verse is precious to me.  When I write songs of worship to God, I am caught up in how awesome He is and how to reveal Him to whoever listens to my music.  In everything I do, I want to convey God’s amazing grace, truth and love; to express His word in a way that can reach someone to understand God more.  It is this hunger that drives me on: to know Him more and make Him known.

Music has a way of grabbing our attention more than mere words.  Singing new songs also helps us to worship when we have grown accustomed to listening to the same worship songs.  We can also listen inattentively and not recognize the impact music is having upon us.  It has been said by some that they do not listen to the lyrics, just the music.  But we are more complex creations than that.  We are able to retain a lot of information and might not even be aware of it.  What we listen to matters.

When I was in college studying music, I wrote a research paper on the profound effect music has on plant life.  I was astounded that even plants wilted when hard rock music was played.  (Smile).  Humans are likewise affected by music, yet in even deeper ways.

The company we keep in media is either corrupting us or discipling us in our walks with God.  There are so many distractions today, so many things beckoning for our attention.  Which entertainment will we choose?  Music that helps us to understand and worship God more, or music that numbs us to His existence?  Movies or television that inspires us to be more like Christ, or awakens our flesh to become more carnally minded?

He has entrusted the secrets of His kingdom to us and we must prove faithful.  Even in seemingly small decisions, He is LORD over it all.   May we pay attention to what surrounds us and choose to place in our path songs, words and media that cause us to walk in purity and joy in the LORD.  Like the Psalmist, may we seek to go deeper with God so we can share with those around us more of the depth of the riches we have in Christ.

Lord, in all I do, I want to glorify You.  Help us to honor You and to never grow weary us seeking You diligently in every area of our lives.

The Devil’s in the Details

Judges 8:22-27

22 The men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us – you, your son, and your grandson. For you have delivered us from Midian’s power.” 23 Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.” 24 Gideon continued, “I would like to make one request. Each of you give me an earring from the plunder you have taken.” (The Midianites had gold earrings because they were Ishmaelites.) 25 They said, “We are happy to give you earrings.” So they spread out a garment, and each one threw an earring from his plunder onto it.26 The total weight of the gold earrings he requested came to seventeen hundred gold shekels. This was in addition to the crescent-shaped ornaments, jewelry, purple clothing worn by the Midianite kings, and the necklaces on the camels. 27 Gideon used all this to make an ephod, which he put in his hometown of Ophrah. All the Israelites prostituted themselves to it by worshiping it there. It became a snare to Gideon and his family.

When presented with people wanting to hail him as their king and leader, Gideon did not crave power – instead, he wanted God alone to rule His people.  God had led Gideon successfully to defeat the Midianites (Ishmael’s descendants).  15,000 Midianite men against 300 Israelites, armed with trumpets, clay pots and torches.  A God like that was the only One Gideon wanted to lead His people.  He rightly knew that he was not the one who led God’s people – God was.  Gideon followed God and was blessed for this obedience.

I love the humility of Gideon here, and yet, directly after he professed so beautifully that God alone was the true King, he stumbled.  Right after seeing an amazing deliverance where God told him ahead of time about His deliverance and fulfilled it, Gideon got sidetracked.  A little decision to make a simple relic destroyed his pure devotion and the devotion of ALL the Israelites to their living, One true God.  How sad.

An ephod was not necessarily sinful; in fact, historically it was part of the high priest’s garment, which had a breastpiece overlaid, containing the Urim and the Thummim, used for obtaining oracles from the LORD.  This ephod designed by Gideon, however, was not made in the same manner or with the same elements.  It was not used as a priestly garment, but was instead used as an item of worship, kept in Gideon’s own home.  Gideon had been insecure about whether or not God would use him in the past.  I wonder if Gideon considered seeking divination from a relic instead?

Even more striking to consider is the crescent-shaped ornaments that Gideon was enamored by.  These ornaments are a foreshadowing of modern-day Islamic iconic symbols, reminding us of Sarah and Abraham’s choice to take matters into their own hands, when they tried to bring about God’s promise through Ishmael. That one decision, made in a sea of right decisions, is the very source of the catastrophic attacks on God’s people today, played out on the world stage.  Think about that.

God help us to consider not just the vast decisions that lay before us, but the small ones, too.  The failure of a saint does not always have to be a big glaring sin.  It is often in the subtle, hidden places where our enemy lurks to see if we are paying attention.  May we care about motives and diligently seek God to walk blamelessly before Him.  Those who follow behind us will be impacted, too.  Will we surrender over every aspect of our lives to obedience to God, or hold back a portion that seems insignificant?

Lord, thank you for revealing our sins, that we might confess them to You!  Thank You for your mighty deliverance.  Help us to not take Your salvation for granted and to be aware of the enemy’s tactics, seeking You in all things.