Digging in Deeper: Romans 3:9-10

“What then? Are we any better off? Not at all! For we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin, as it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There is a difference between encouragement and reality. They may point in the same direction, but they are not the same. Given that, which is better? Is it better to offer encouragement that deviates from reality, or to simply drop reality on the table and let it be what it is? I guess the answer to that depends on who’s being asked. Some people would rather wave away reality and find some bright side to their situation even if it isn’t truly real, while other folks just want the unvarnished truth and they’ll figure out how to deal with it later. Why am I thinking about this kind of thing this morning? Because we are entering graduation season. Let’s talk about it.

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Digging in Deeper: Micah 2:6-7

“‘Quit your preaching,’ they preach. ‘They should not preach these things; shame will not overtake us.’ House of Jacob, should it be asked, ‘Is the Spirit of the Lord impatient? Are these the things he does?’ Don’t my words bring good to the one who walks uprightly?”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Nobody likes to hear bad news. Well, we like to hear bad news about somebody else—after all, that’s all they deliver on television and millions of viewers still watch regularly—but we don’t like bad news personally. We don’t like someone telling us what we’re doing is wrong. The most popular preachers are the ones who are best at telling us what we want to hear. This is the case now and it has been the case for a very long time.

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Digging in Deeper: 2 Timothy 2:11-13

“This saying is trustworthy: For if we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the things we find spread throughout the New Testament are creeds. In a day long before the printing press made books something at first relatively and then exceedingly easy for average folks to have, when the most of the Scriptures most churches had access to was perhaps a fragment of one of Paul’s letters, the creeds were how the average Jesus follower learned the deep truths of the faith. Let’s talk about why that matters and why this one is really good.

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Morning Musing: Hosea 4:10

“They will eat but not be satisfied; they will be promiscuous but not multiply. For they have abandoned their devotion to the Lord.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Did you know there is a whole industry dedicated to creating the food you see in television commercials? It’s all fake. Well, most of it is anyway. It’s all plastic and wax. But wow does it look good on the screen! It looks good enough to eat to be sure. If you made your own version, the TV version would look better. But if you ate it, you would find it to be remarkably unsatisfying. In fact, you would find it to be decidedly bad for your health. What Hosea says here is that sin is kind of like that too. 

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Morning Musing: Romans 12:2

“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”
— ‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:2‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter

We’ve talked recently about how to counter bad religion with the help of some things James, Jesus’ brother, wrote. Christians often have a reputation that we’ve unfortunately worked hard to earn that all we are concerned about is policing the behavior of the people around us. If we really put into practice what Paul says here, we will go a long ways toward fixing both the perception of ourselves and of our religion. 

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