• Devotional

    The Original Plan

    Saturday. The day between Christ’s death and, for all the disciples knew, merely the next day. Still not understanding all that Jesus had prophesied about His resurrection, His earliest followers no doubt felt a measure of great despair on that Saturday. We can conclude this from the actions of the women, who hurried to the tomb early the next morning to properly prepare Christ’s body: When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him. Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. They…

  • Devotional

    Christmas Sorrow Is Overcome by the Man of Sorrows

    The memory plays in my mind with brilliant clarity. It’s too vivid, really, and I’d much prefer the scene to be a bit more muddled, but I am powerless to change that. December 21, 2002. Fifteen years ago. Sixteen Christmases ago. Has it been that long? I was home from college for Christmas break. It was early afternoon and my mother had just stepped into my room to tell me that my grandfather had come out of his surgery just fine. He and my grandmother would be staying in Wisconsin for Christmas, due to the fact that Grandpa just had another stent placed. Thrilled to hear he was doing well,…

  • Devotional

    The Cure for ‘Acceptable’ Sins

     Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at a host of so-called “acceptable,” or even “respectable” sins, and we’ve seen that, much to our fallen nature’s dismay, there is nothing acceptable about them at all. All sin is sin against a pure and holy God. All sin separates us from our God. All sin is an abomination before God. We’ve also seen that not one of us is exempt from committing these sins. We are all guilty, even those who have been graciously saved and redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. That reality—our sinfulness—is what brings us to the cure for these not-so-acceptable sins. For while we were still…

  • Devotional

    Acceptable Sins Not Excepted: Pride

    We are proud of our children, proud of our friends, proud of our homes, proud of…ourselves. We are proud of our accomplishments, proud of how we have averted disaster, proud of our successes. We are a proud people. Yet even as Christians we often forget that every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17). What has come to us, whether joyful or trying, has been handpicked and hand designed by God. While it may not be sinful to feel satisfaction in performing good works (Galatians 6:4), there is a pride that God hates (Proverbs 8:13). God hates anyone or anything that would set self above Him in order…

  • Devotional

    Acceptable Sins Not Excepted: Worldliness

    Most Christians understand that worldliness is not something we are called to as children of the living God. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4) …You shall be holy as I am holy. (1 Peter 1:15) After all, we cannot be living a life of holiness if we are celebrating the sins of the world. This is why there is such a strong outcry from the church today on grievous social issues like abortion. Yet, is this the extent of worldliness? Does it stop…

  • Devotional

    Thankful for Christ

    Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting. (Psalm 118:1)   Today and everyday, I am thankful for many things. I am thankful for a warm house that is also truly a home. I am thankful for a church that is faithful to the exposition of God’s Word, and for the family of brothers and sisters that I have found in that church. I am thankful for God’s providence in leading me to that family of believers even though it is a distance away. I am thankful for my blood family, for the memories we have made and the memories that are still to…

  • Devotional

    Acceptable Sins Not Excepted: Selfishness

    One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28–31) “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” For a group of fallen sinners, this is not an easy commandment to keep.…

  • Devotional

    Acceptable Sins Not Excepted: Anger

    You shall not murder. (Exodus 20:13) Well, that’s easy enough. After all, it’s one thing to be angry, annoyed, or irritated by someone, but it would have to be a really depraved person who would actually murder another human being. You and I, in all of our sinfulness, just wouldn’t dream of doing that, would we? This commandment is a simple one for most Christians to keep. Isn’t it? You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the…

  • Devotional

    Acceptable Sins Not Excepted: Worry

     Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6) Christians know they are not to worry and that anxiety should not overwhelm or consume them. After all, God is sovereign; that is why we make our requests known to Him! And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7) Indeed, God, in His faithfulness, offers peace, comfort, and even joy in the midst of even our most trying circumstances. So it is simple, isn’t it? Just trust God, pray a few prayers, and everything…

  • Devotional

    Acceptable Sins Not Excepted: Envy

     We have all had our moments of being “green with envy.” Whether we desired that fun, new purse our friend carried to church, or the latest smart phone or tablet; whether we grumbled over our coworker receiving a promotion instead of us, or silently griped over our friend who always seems to have more free time, or a cleaner house, or a less stressful life than we do, we have all been on the wrong side of envy. And that’s okay…isn’t it? I have seen that every labor and every skill which is done is the result of rivalry between a man and his neighbor. This too is vanity and…