James 4:17 – Sinning

Read James 4:17

This will be your shortest reading ever! But it was a verse that packed a powerful punch, and it didn’t seem to fit with what came before or after. I chose to reflect on this single verse on its own. Here it is again from the NLT translation:

“Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do
and then not do it.”

James’ audience would know about sin. Those Jewish believers would even have flashbacks to following the law of Moses and all the sacrifices they now didn’t make. But what James is talking about here is not being sinful by breaking a law you should know better than to break, but to not do good when doing good is the right answer. Does that make sense?

Continue reading “James 4:17 – Sinning”

Jeremiah 4:19-22 – Bitter Tears

Read Jeremiah 4:19-22

tears streaming down face of statute

Poor Jeremiah! His prophetic vision of what is coming has left him devastated. I can’t imagine what it would be like for my heart to “writhe in pain.” Looking back on my life, there have been plenty of bumps, but living through something like what Jeremiah envisions would be totally new for me. For most of us!

There are plenty of atrocities happening around the world rousting people out of their homes, exiling them to foreign lands as refugees. But the one Jeremiah describes is being orchestrated by God because of the people’s bad choices. The magnitude of seeing God’s predictions come true, being homeless and left behind. Terrifying!

Continue reading “Jeremiah 4:19-22 – Bitter Tears”

Jeremiah 2:14-22 – Consequence of Sin

Read Jeremiah 2:14-22

sin chasm separating us from God

The Lord’s rage continues as Jeremiah tells us what will happen because of the sinfulness. It’s not a pretty picture. Did the people not think about the consequences to their actions? It’s hard to know what motivated the people to choose idols, mere images of foreign gods, over the one true God. We can look at people making similar choices today and wonder why, for instance, they chose to sleep in versus getting up for church.

That’s a simplistic example. I used to feel extremely guilty when I found myself too busy to spend quality time with God. I’m not sure I thought about what the consequences might be. Would God stop loving me? Would he let bad things happen to me? Would he stop fighting my battles?

Continue reading “Jeremiah 2:14-22 – Consequence of Sin”

2 Kings 17:1-23 – What is Your Pagan Shrine?

Read 2 Kings 17:1-23


We all have them. Our pagan shrines aren’t necessarily physical places where we worship though. The pagan shrines I’m imagining are those “little” sins we overlook every day. When we look the other way long enough, we stop seeing them. That’s what I’d like to think happened to these kings of Judah. They were supposedly “good” kings who pleased God, but how could they be truly “good” if they left the pagan shrines standing?

In church on Sunday, we try to look all brushed off and “perfect,” even though we know we’re far from that. We can all “clean up” pretty good, on the outside. But God’s interested on what’s on the inside. Our inner thoughts are not a secret from God.

Continue reading “2 Kings 17:1-23 – What is Your Pagan Shrine?”

Song of Solomon 3:1-5 – Does Distance Make the Heart Grow Fonder?

Read Song of Solomon 3:1-5

Was she dreaming or awake? Apparently, there is something about the text that has led scholars to believe Shulamith was dreaming of missing her man. Whether dreaming or awake, her intense love for Solomon is sure. She was missing him something fierce. Have you ever been separated from the one you love?

Our daughter was separated for nearly two years from the man she was dating when she lived in Africa and he was in California going to seminary. I am sure she had some nights laying in bed dreaming of the day when they would be back together again. Long distance relationships can be hard. Shulamith would likely endure many nights after their wedding when the king would be away on “kingly” business.

Continue reading “Song of Solomon 3:1-5 – Does Distance Make the Heart Grow Fonder?”

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)