About Me

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Saginaw, Michigan, United States
A sinner who may come before God because of Christ

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Review of the book: Choosing Forgiveness by June Hunt

Forgiveness has been a major challenge in my life as a Christian.  While commanded to ‘forgive as God forgives’ (Eph 4:32), how is this done?  What is forgiveness and what does it mean when I say, “I forgive you”? How can I forgive when I have been terribly wronged by someone?

I was recently offered a free copy of the book (in exchange for my views): “Choosing Forgiveness” by June Hunt from Hope for the Heart Ministries. I was hopeful that there would be answers to these questions.  However, I was concerned that the information would be more “pop psychology” than solid theology.  That concern was unwarranted as the aspects of forgiveness are explored from a strong Biblical perspective.

Using the story of Corrie Ten Boom, World War II concentration camp survivor and a chance meeting after the war with one of the camp’s abusive guards who asks her forgiveness, the book takes the reader on an exploratory journey through the meaning and application of biblical forgiveness.  The material is an easy read yet causes one to contemplate how God wants us to respond to the challenge to forgive.

Those struggling with forgiveness will find this book useful, but it is also beneficial for obtaining a deeper understanding of the love and mercy and forgiveness offered by God, and how this can impact our daily life. The structure of the book seems like it would work well for both individual or group study on the subject.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

5 Years of Learning.

Five years ago was my last posting on this blog because it was not going in a direction that I had wanted and because time was needed for more urgent matters in my life.

I believe the Lord has shown me much in these last five years and has grown me in wisdom and love and the desire to truly express His grace to this world.  How we respond to that grace is more important than how we respond to the ideas of the world.  To Him we are to give our utmost attention, not to the daily issues of life.

In those five years perhaps the most important thing that the Lord has taught me is that I am not here to impose Him onto others.  This means that I should be more surprised when sinners don't sin then when they do.  I should expect sin.  I should expect people to be unloving, unkind, selfish, and centered on what is best for them.  I should expect people to act out of that selfishness even in doing good.  It goes to motivation.  It goes to doing based on feeling rather than on obedience or command.

My motivation is the love and grace of Christ.  At least that is what I hope is my motivation.  The great definition of God's love in 1 Corinthians 13 describes the ultimate attributes of what it means to be loving.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)
4  Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5  or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 
7  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 

As CS Lewis so aptly stated:   Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.

In other words, the truly loving act is doing that which is best for another, and it is motivated by one's desire for the other person to have that which is best for them.  

My hope for the remaining years of my life is to show that love to others as best as I am able. 

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Rotting Fish Syndrome

One of the more interesting parts of the end of the year is the “lists” that come out that are compilations of subjects. These include the list of those who died in the last year, the most important news stories, the best weddings, etc.

I came across one on the Fox News website that listed “crazy diseases”. These are illnesses that have some odd or strange symptoms. Most are not really funny or “crazy” and those afflicted with them suffer in one way or another.

Most I had never heard about before, but one I did because, when I was a social worker, I actually had a client who suffered with this condition. It is Trimethylaminuria, fish malodor syndrome. The client always smelled of terrible body odor no matter how much deodorant or showers he would take.

The poor guy was “banned” from many public areas such as the local library and a number of stores and restaurants. He lived in a group home but would spend most of his time alone in his room or walk around the neighborhood, even in the coldest weather, for most of the day.

Despite having a mental illness and was mildly developmentally disabled, he was keenly aware of his problem so he would spend most of his time alone, embarrassed by his problem. It was very sad because he was a very likeable guy.

This article, and remembering this client, made me think about how our sin must make us smell to God. We, like someone suffering from this malady, seeping the odor of sin from our very breath. (Rom 3:13 NLT)

And it is a stench in the nostrils of God, so offensive that we cannot be in His presence.

The problem is that we get used to our sin like we do with an odor. The client never smelled himself. I worked in a blast furnace and after a short while the pungent odor of sulfur and brine disappears and we don’t notice the smell anymore. We get used to our sin and it no longer seems a problem.

If you believe that Christ is Lord and Savior, though, and are saved from the results of your sin (eternal separation), the odor returns and we are pungently aware of our sin and know that only Christ can wash us clean before God. He removes the odor so that, through Him, we are no longer have the stench but instead are a pleasing aroma to God.

Repent and smell better to God.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2010/06/30/crazy-diseases/#ixzz19swVzs9u

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Health Care

Well, for the time being, the US has reformed health care. It remains to be seen whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depending on your politics, tax bracket, and ideology/philosophy.

As one who is trying to view life through the lens of Scripture, I struggled a bit on this one. On the one hand we are to help those who are less fortunate, but on the other is it fair to require someone else to involuntarily pay for it?

I have read numerous articles on this subject and a "Biblical" case can be made for both sides. At times in the Old Testament there was required dispersing of property and goods, such as the tithe. In th New Testament Christ turns the focus from law to grace, so pretty much giving becomes an example of conscience.

The more I think about it, this issue could have been avoided had the church been doing part of its calling and helping others. Instead we have relegated this to government to care for the widows, orphans, and poor.

Getting back to what should be our response to the health care debate is to give more of the gifts from God to others, as we rely on the Lord more than relying on government, employers, family, friends or even ourselves.

Monday, March 15, 2010


“Never let us be discouraged with ourselves; it is not when we are conscious of our faults that we are the most wicked: on the contrary, we are less so. We see by a brighter light. And let us remember, for our consolation, that we never perceive our sins till He begin to cure them.” Francois Fenelon (1651-1715)

We are not a race of people happy to have our faults shown to us. It seems to be one of the primary elements of our sin nature. We don't enjoy being wrong. We don't enjoy having faults and I know of very few people who enjoy having someone else point this out.

It was this way from the start. In the first recorded conversation between God and Adam in Genesis 3:8-12, Adam's reaction to God's question if he had about what he had done (eaten from the forbidden tree) was to blame Even and even imply it was God's fault (this woman you gave me).

This is what is often called a "natural" reaction to being confronted with doing wrong. When my kids were little I often wondered when we had adopted those two orphan children named "Aidunno" and "Knotme" were the ones responsible for any broken toy, marks on the walls, dirt on the rug or mess not cleaned up.

But this Christian life calls for us to fess up. Part of our salvation experience is predicated on our open awareness and admission of our sinfulness to the point we could not save ourselves. This is not just a "well no one is perfect" attitude, but one of acute awareness that we are an eternity away from coming even close to meeting the standard that is Christ. If we could, we would not need a Savior.

A Christian Response to a sin being pointed out is not one of blame-shifting or argument or even avoidance, but one of humble acknowledgement, repentance, and asking God, relying upon God, to help you turn from this sin.

Our sins should not be a source of discouragement but one of encouragement because we are see the work of the Father in our lives. This is a source of joy, knowing that our Father, through Christ, is molding us back into that image of Him he originally created us to be.

Friday, January 22, 2010

January 22 - a tough day for me

This is a difficult day for me.

It is the anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling giving the right of a mother to kill her child in her womb without cause.

It is difficult because I have experienced abortion in my life and have to face the reality that I was a passive participant in the murder of a child by standing idly by while their mother allowed a physician to go in and remove their baby.

This is much to my shame and remorse and every year on January 22 I remember my lost children and weep for them.

Even though this happened a number of years ago before I received Christ as Lord and Savior and experienced His forgiveness for my sins, it does not excuse nor justify the doing of this.

The circumstances were not desparation but inconvenience, and in one instance involved deceit, but I have to face the fact that I was still a coward for these children. I was unwilling to stand up for an innocent child who happened to come along at a "bad time" to be born (bad time based on our own selfish desires).

I wrote a song about this right after recieving Christ as Lord and Savior. On this day, I honor them who should have been, with these words:


This is for you, the one not at home,

Taken from life before you were known

And I won’t see you, out on the playground

And I won’t see you, going down the big slide

And I won’t see you, to push on the high swing

Or to simply kiss you good night

This is for you, the one far away

Who never will feel the warmth of the day

And I won’t see you, laughing and smiling

And I won’t see you, with tears in your eyes

And I won’t see you, caught in a deep thought

Or to simply kiss you good night

This is for you, the one with no choice

In the name of convenience I silenced your voice

And I won’t see you, as you’re held in my arms

And I won’t see you, to show you the way

And I won’t see you, to tell fo the Father

Or to simply kiss you good night

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The log and the splinter

Perhaps one of the most mis-used verses in the Bible is found in Matthew 7. It is primarily brought up when a Christian says something that is critical or (allegedly) judgmental about a person's action, word or deeds. The conversation goes something like this: Christian: you did this action and I think it was a wrong thing to do Person: you don't have a right to tell me what to do! Doesn't the Bible say to take the log out of your own eye before taking the splinter out of mine? You hypocrite. What is really happening is that the Person is not trying to help the Christian see the error of their way, which is the Christian's purpose, but the Person is trying to defer from having to deal with the rightness or wrongness of their own action. If they really read the verse and understood the context they would not use this verse as a defense. Here it is in full context: Matthew 7:1-5 (ESV) 1 "Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. In verse 1, "Judge" here means to assess the state of a person based on an action, not to point out an error (that is a rebuke). This does not mean we cannot assess the right or wrong, properness or improperness of a behavior. It means we should not find a person as worthless because of an action they did. That is why, in verse 2, the warning is that if you judge others, you will be judged by by God with the same standard you judged others. The reality is that most people are hypocrites. They do violate their own standards at some point in their lives. Verse 3 & 4, probably the most popular, seems to indicate that we should not ever say anything to anyone until we are perfect. The "log" concept is often thrown out there in response to a criticism. But look closely at the context and it just a reinforcement of verse 2. If we are going to rebuke, we need to be very careful about how we do this. We need to examine ourselves as well. I recently come to the understanding that what Christ is saying here is that when we see others sin, our first response should be to look at the sin in our own lives. Here is the part that is most ignored - the "splinter". Christ does not tell us to ignore the splinter. A splinter left in can be a constant irritant, it can become infected and kill the person. It is not something to just let go, so regardless of the size of our log, the splinter that remains in the eye of the other person needs to be removed. But think about this, how is a splinter removed, especially from such a vulnerable areas as the eye? We don't go for the pliers but go for the tweezers. We don't first go for a knife, but use a needle. We don't yank and jerk at it, but try to slowly retract it. Our effort is to ease the pain not create worse suffering. We want to remove a splinter with the least amount of damage to the area.

This is how we should rebuke. To point out an error in such a way that we do the least amount of damage to the other person. This means we need to think about our tone, the words we use, our motives. Our goal, as Christians, is not to hurt but to help because we are no better than the other person. We are called to do this in love, with the other person's best interest in mind.

When a person does wrong, they often know it already. Our rebuke should be to help them turn from their sin. If they don't know it is wrong, then how we tell them will help them realize it. Never should our intent be to bring about more sin.

There is great risk in a rebuke. Most people don't like their sins to be shown and go to great lengths to hide or justify them. They look for loopholes and ways to divert the heat from their own searing conscience. But an unrepentant sinner is a doomed individual. We would try and stop someone from walking into the path of an on-coming semi, so why wouldn't we want to help someone whose actions are condemning them?

So, while we need to look for our "logs" and be aware of them, let us not be deterred from helping others with their "splinters", and do that not as one in authority, but one in the same station.