Friday, May 18, 2012

#111 Tabula Rasa

Lots of people have attempted to understand human behavior.  Countless hours have been spent studying, observing, cataloging, researching, and writing about human behavior and how to understand one another.

People often come down on opposite sides of behavior-related issues.  One behavior-related issue is in regards to sexuality and whether we are born a particular way or are nurtured to become a certain way.  Of course many proponents of gay or lesbian lifestyles would argue that people are born with those tendencies or orientations and therefore it is no easier to overcome than whether or not you have a big nose.  Personally, I do not agree with that stance.  I feel that we are all born with a relatively blank slate or in Latin terms tabula rasa.  I feel that environment has everything to do with how we turn out.

Yes, we are all born with an inherent tendency to sin and be selfish, but it is through our upbringing that we are programmed to be who we are today.  The Bible supports this position when we read that to spare the rod will spoil the child (Prov. 13:24).  Having three children of my own has taught me that when I get lax in an area it shows up in my children, but when I am consistent in an area that positive result comes to light as well.

Regarding this blank slate theory, we all come to God with a slate already full; full of all the guilt and shame of living a sinful life separated from God.  By the time we come to God many things have transpired, many sins have been committed, and we have need of a clean or blank slate.  We need forgiveness, we need the blood of Christ to wash away our sins, and we need a fresh start.

The Lord has promised us in the Bible that when we receive forgiveness for our sins that they are no longer remembered  by the Lord (Heb 8:12).  It's not that God wipes His own memory clear it's that He chooses not to remember sins in that they are no longer held against us because Jesus' sacrifice covers us.

I can't speak for all of you, but I certainly need my slate to be cleaned every day.  I need Jesus to take away my sins and give me a fresh start each morning because His mercies never fail (Lam 3:23).  How about you today friend?  Is your slate blank or is it filled with the record of your sins that you have yet to give over to the loving Savior who died to set you free?  Why not let now be the time you decide to follow Christ completely?  Why not let Him erase the sins of your life and give you a blank slate fresh with forgiveness?

Dear Father God,
Today, we praise You for being willing to forget our sins as we accept Jesus.  Thank You that we have a refuge where all the sinful events of our past and future can be taken away as we come to Christ.  Please teach us to daily come to You for a fresh commitment.  Please teach us to surrender our entire life to Christ so that no cherished sin comes between us and You.  We praise and thank You in Jesus' name, Amen.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

#110 Hidden Dangers

There are dangers all around us in this world. Some dangers are quite apparent while others are more subtle or hidden all together. We take all sorts of measures to keep ourselves safe and out of harm's way. We wear seat belts and buy cars with airbags to protect us in case of an accident. Construction workers place all sorts of reflective markers around their job sites to highlight potential dangers. Electronics come with warning labels that tell us what not to do. Safety-conscience motorcyclists wear helmets and protective gear for maximum comfort and safety while riding. We place plastic covers over electrical outlets to protect our children. And the list could go on and on, right?

Yes, this world is a dangerous place in which to live and we as inventive, creative human beings have worked hard to make it safe to live in. It's amazing to me that much of what we strive to protect ourselves from are things we as a human race have created. Not too long ago I came home for a short break and decided to check the mail when I arrived. Our mailbox is mounted on the side of the house near the front door. But oddly it is mounted a bit higher than it should be; meaning that to see everything in the mailbox I have to tip up on my toes. No, I am not really tall but 5'7" is a fairly average height, right? So as usual I stepped outside, raised the lid, and proceeded to get the mail, but instead of tilting up on my toes like normal I just stuck my hand in to retrieve our mail.

As my hand went in I begin to feel the mail and then I felt a stinging pain between my fingers. Of course I popped up on my toes peering into the mailbox to check things out. There in the mailbox was a piece of junk mail printed on rigid, thin card stock and I had jammed my hand right down on top of it causing a deep paper cut between my fingers. Ouch! Paper cuts, while not normally deadly, hurt like crazy; especially when they are between your fingers. Ouch again!

Well, as evidenced by my writing this message, I survived the surprise attack by the junk mail bandit. But it made me think about the hidden spiritual dangers that are all around us. If we are not tuned into what the the Bible teaches us we can be sucked into the Devil's traps; we can be misled to away from God's truth. Yes, spiritual dangers are all around us but it takes an eye that is connected to Christ in order to perceive the dangers. Our only true safeguard from these dangers is to not live in a cave segregated from the rest of the world, but rather to live with a daily connection to the Savior. He alone is our Shield and Defender. He alone our Refuge.

Dear Father God,

We thank You for the mighty provisions that You provide for us. No doubt, without You, Lord, we would be lost and destitute. Please teach us to see the hidden dangers of this world. Please teach us to walk daily by Your side. We give You thanks and ask this prayer in Jesus' name, Amen!