Showing posts from June, 2016

freedom of "sin" and freedom of the spirit

Galatians 5:1, 13-25

I heard a quote from Sitting Bull, who was a Lakhota leader in the 19th century. He said, “Inside of me there are two dogs. One is mean and evil and the other is good and they fight each other all the time. When asked which one wins I answer, the one I feed the most.”

This isn’t too far off from what Paul says. Paul says that there are two natures at war within us. One is the spiritual nature, the other is the sinful nature. The spiritual nature is both God’s Spirit within us transforming us into who God had created us to be, and the part of us that is transformed and desires God. The spiritual nature is the part of us that has been renewed. The sinful nature is that part of us that resists God. Paul uses the Greek word “sarx” to refer to this sinful nature. You can translate the word literally as “flesh”, but Paul isn’t just talking about the body here as if the body itself was an evil thing. He is talking about a deeper reality. It is that part of us that conti…

1 Kings 21- Justice and Power

1 Kings 21:1-21
What would you do if you knew you would get away with it? Would you slash someone’s tires? Would you rob a bank? Make counterfeit money? Would you cheat on your spouse? What if you knew no one would ever know? …. Well, for those of us who believe in God there is always someone watching. There is always someone available to call for justice.     This is sometimes called the difference between ‘subjective morality’ and ‘objective morality’. Subjective morality means that I basically decide what is right and wrong. Or more accurately, ‘we’ as a society get to decide about what is right and wrong. We get to decide how people should be treated. If women should be treated equally as men that’s up to us. If women should be treated unequally, then that is up to us. If we should allow slavery or not allow slavery, that is up to us. Each society gets to define morality. That’s subjective morality. The people involved get to figure it out, but there really isn’t anyone else to say …

Elijah and the widow

1 Kings 17:8-16
A couple of years ago when we were living in Edmonton, Crystal saw a few crows in our back yard playing with some pink paper. When the crows flew away she went to look at what they brought into our backyard. To her surprise it was a 50 dollar bill!

I always think of the prophet Elijah when I think of that moment. As you might remember, when Elijah was hiding from King Ahab and Queen Jezebel Ravens brought him food in the wilderness. It’s one of those stories that seems to have the ring of legend and can cause you to doubt its historical reality, but I believe it wholeheartedly now.

Elijah was hiding in the wilderness because God had sent him to deliver a message to King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. They had started a quite aggressive and violent program to introduce the worship of a different god- Baal- a god from the queen’s homeland. This particular god was believed to be a storm god that controlled the rain, among other things. So when Elijah declared God’s message that n…