Monday, October 26, 2009

SIN: A Before and After Picture

By Darrell Powell

The following are some thought-provoking characteristics of sin, before and after it has been committed.

Before sin: I hear temptation whispering in my ears, gently beckoning me to give in (James 1:14).

After sin: Shame haunts me day and night. There is no rest from my guilt (James 1:15).

Before sin: I cannot put a price on the joy that sin would bring me (Luke 12:19).

After sin: No price would be too high to regain my innocence (Matthew 16:26).

Before sin: I cannot live without it! (Matthew 26:15).

After sin: I cannot live with myself (Matthew 27:5).

Before sin: No one will know (Joshua 7:21).

After sin: I know...and God knows (Genesis 39:9).

Before sin: No one will get hurt (2 Samuel 12:1-19).

After sin: Sin has devastated my life and the lives of others (Exodus 20:5).

Before sin: God loves me (Romans 8:39).

After sin: God loves me still, and awaits my return (Romans 5:28).

Before sin: All have sinned! (Romans 3:23)

After sin: Hear (Romans 10:17), believe (John 8:24), repent (Acts 17:30), confess (Acts 8:37), be baptized (Mark 16:16), and live in accordance to God’s will until death (2 Timothy 4:7-8). Or, simply seek God’s forgiveness if you already are a Christian (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9).

Oh, the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13)! May we all look deep below the surface to see it for what it really is. Don’t let sin become your death trap. Rather, live for God and inherit eternal life (Galatians 2:20; Hebrews 6:11-12).

- Darrell Powell (adapted); via the weekly bulletin of the Harrisburg church of Christ in Harrisburg, IL. You may visit their website at

Monday, October 19, 2009


By Mike Benson

IT ALL BEGAN with the desire, the deep-seated longing for something that he knew was wrong...
But he could not help it, he allowed himself to be enticed and allured by the seduction. It wasn't long before the seduction had conceived, and his sin had led to a birth.

Well, yes. Sounds like a pulpy novel (or Prime Time TV?), doesn't it? You can almost envision the seductive eyelashes, the dark meaningful looks, and the couple indulging in the pleasures of the forbidden.

But this is no R-rated movie. It is the ancient book of James, describing the compelling, seductive power of sin. Listen to the scripture again:
"Each (person) is tempted, when by his own evil desire he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire is conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown leads to death" (James 1:14,15).

It would be a mistake, of course, to limit the application of this verse to "sexual" sins. We can as easily be seduced by the pleasures of anger. "Boy did I let him have it! I told her where to go!" Or the pleasures of gossip. "Wow what juicy information! I can't wait to tell Gertrude and Jerry!"

James knew the power of sin's pull. He portrayed it in terms of an alluring seduction. Sin is seductive. And pleasurable. And fatal. It "leads to death." That is the part that the pulp fiction fails to mention. The tragedy and sorrow that sin inevitably brings, well, that happens after the movie ends. That's part of the seduction, I suppose, to omit the hard facts of sin's consequences. After the momentary joys, there follows the heartbreak and shame.

Another Biblical writer put it this way: "The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life" (Romans 6:23). So the next time sin flashes a sparkling eye at you, remember the novel's sordid ending. Don't be seduced! (Stan Mitchell)
KneEmail: "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death" (Jas. 1:14-15).

Bible reading for 11.20.07: Romans 4 - 7

- Mike Benson edits an on-line devotional entitled KneEmail. To subscribe, send ANY message to: Mike may be contacted

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Internet

The following timely remarks were penned by Gerald Cowan in response to this question: "I've heard the internet is responsible for the spread of pornography. Would that mean a Christian shouldn't take part in it?

The so-called Internet, is an information exchange system to which one is connected electronically. One's computer is connected to various sites by a telephone line, wireless phone or satellite system. Being online describes the act of being connected or interconnected electronic-ally to a "World Wide Web" of information, etc. Once connected to the network, one can alternate quickly between various sources of information, entertainment, and commerce. One can buy and sell information and goods. One can send and receive electronic mail (email) instantly and with no additional charges There are 'chat rooms' where you one 'talk' to other persons about anything of interest. Movies, music, and sporting events are available. Browsing through various offerings, sometimes called 'surfing the net' is somewhat like channel hopping on the TV. What could be "evil" about such an efficient and inexpensive way to share information?

Actually the Internet is like a library combined with a museum, a supermarket, a concert hall, a theater, a porno peep show, a bulletin board, and who knows what else? Information is arranged by category, and one can go from one collection site to another as long as he wants to, and can pay for his connection service and all associated fees. The internet or electronic information system itself is not evil. It is no more wicked in and of itself than the library, book store, movie theater or video rental store, or magazine section in the grocery or department store. All of those places have material available that is good and wholesome, but they all have things that are not good or wholesome. It is what people do with the materials that are available that causes so much trouble. We can't just close down the library or outlaw TV, movies, and videos (all these things have been tried). We need to be properly instructed in how to use the good things to which we have access and stay away from the things that are not good.

There is a subtle danger in the easy access to electronic information media. It can be done, and is done mostly, in the privacy of one's home. It isn't quite like being caught in the wrong section of the bookstore or video rental shop. Most people will never know what kind of programs the net surfers are watching and downloading for future watching. The ability to sin anonymously is a great temptation, and the internet certainly makes it easier for people to burn their brains with salacious smut. I hope some way can be devised and enforced to keep people honest and honorable in their use of electronic information and entertainment media. Those who want complete freedom of expression will resist to the death any effort to censor the internet or to mark those who use it improperly.

But to answer the question: the internet has certainly spread such evils as pornography, making it more easily and widely accessible, with less fear of personal exposure. But that does not mean the internet is responsible for the spread of pornography. There is a tremendous amount of false religious information on the internet, but the internet is not responsible for the spread and proliferation of smut and error. The internet is a tool that can be easily misused by purveyors of evil. But is also an effective tool for propagation of the truth. The devil encourages people to abuse or misuse even good things - some do not need much encouragement. Most things, even good things or things that have a good purpose, can be used in a sinful way. We must learn to make appropriate use and avoid any abuse or misuse.

- Gerald Cowan preaches for the Dongola church of Christ in Dongola, IL. He may be contacted at

Monday, October 5, 2009

Thirty-Five Things Satan Wants from You and Me

By Tim Childs

Satan wants you and me to think he is merely a mythical character conjured up in the deranged mind of a right-wing religious zealot.
Satan wants you and me to think God’s warnings about just how dangerous he is have been greatly exaggerated.
Satan wants you and me to forget there is a line of demarcation between good and evil.
Satan wants you and me to feel comfortable in crossing over and passing freely back and forth over what he might term “a neutral zone”.
Satan wants you and me over time to become comfortable with that which is sinful, evil, and abhorrent.
Satan wants you and me to become desensitized by our frequent exposure to that which is corrupt, evil and vile.
Satan wants you and me to experiment…to tamper with sin.
Satan wants you and me to believe there are degrees of wickedness…that some forms of sin are harmless.
Satan wants you and me to become accepting of at least some manifestations of evil…to approve the behavior and those who practice the immoral, unethical, ungodly things of darkness.
Satan wants you and me not to shun them, but rather to become a joint participant in league with those who’re evil doers.
Satan wants you and me to drown our feelings of guilt, shame, or embarrassment when we fail to keep God’s moral standard.
Satan wants you and me, if we must feel shame, to have just enough (plus blended with a measure of pride) to discourage us from confessing our faults to one another.
Satan wants you and me to doubt God’s ability to forgive our failures.
Satan wants you and me to feel lonely in our Christian walk…to feel we are even isolated and alienated from our own brethren.
Satan wants you and me to become unfaithful to our Creator and Savior.
Satan wants you and me to turn our backs, permanently forsaking the living God.
Satan wants you and me to break the covenant we entered into with God on the day we, having received his grace, vowed to be faithful unto death.
Satan wants you and me to harden our hearts, dull our conscience, and dull our ears to his message.
Satan wants you and me to wear a cloak of darkness over our eyes so we can’t see the mercy, grace and love of God.
Satan wants you and me to shut tight the windows and doors of our hearts so Jesus and the word of the Lord can’t enter.
Satan wants you and me to turn our heads while he steals away any semblance of the word that may yet reside in our hearts.
Satan wants you and me to show God we really don’t love him, we don’t truly reverence him, that we couldn’t care any less than we do today about his Word.
Satan wants you and me to find excuses for staying away from God’s house of worship.
Satan wants you and me to believe he has power over our lives, including our destiny.
Satan wants you and me to think he still has the power to inflict pain and suffering upon us just as he did with God’s servant Job.
Satan wants you and me to think that if we’ll compromise, throw up our white flag of surrender, he won’t allow anything too bad to happen in our lives.
Satan wants you and me to think he is the only one who can give us the good life.
Satan wants you and me to reject the gospel plan of salvation.
Satan wants you and me to reject the idea of life made possible through the death of a carpenter’s son nearly 2,000 years ago.
Satan wants you and me to reject the command of Jesus Christ to be baptized in water to be buried into his death and be cleansed by his blood.
Satan wants you and me to reject the notion there is any association between faith and obedience of the form of doctrine presented in the gospel of Christ.
Satan wants you and me to lose our focus on Jesus, his cross, and the crown of life he yearns to bestow upon us.
Satan wants you and me to trade/surrender our souls and the souls of our family members to him.
Satan wants you and me to make him our god, to be his fateful companions presently, and throughout eternity.
Satan wants you and me to willingly give him what he wants. Will we?

- Tim Childs preaches for the Hillcrest church of Christ in Baldwyn, MS. He may be contacted at, or through the congregation’s website: