Tag Archives: sin


I've been debating what I'll wear Sunday to church. Dresses aren't my thing, but Christmas and Easter are typically the two Sundays I try to break my comfort rule, opting for something  more presentable. I enjoy seeing girls with a little more swing in their step wearing new Easter dresses and sandals.  I love seeing boys with button up shirts, and ties accomplished with the help of grownup hands. I always admire the few ladies that still wear a fancy hat. I've never been able to wear a hat. The hair that's left out is too poofy and my forehead gets itchy, but let's get back to what we're going to wear. You're going, aren't you? 

I've actually been thinking a great deal about clothes the past couple of days, just not clothing these days. Since last Sunday, Palm Sunday, I've been on a hunt to find out everything I can about the cloaks and clothing worn way before, and around, the time that Jesus walked the earth.  

We started out naked. Adam and Eve didnt need to wear anything, until they thought they needed something. After eating the forbidden fruit they sewed clothes for themselves out of fig leaves to hide their shame. Along with the curse that came from sin, God provided them with animal skins that covered them better.  

Later, clothes including cloaks, became important, even if not for the same reasons clothes (styles and brands) are important today. A cloak back then provided protection from the elements. 

A person's cloak hid their nakedness. The thin and simple cloth they wore underneath was more akin to underwear and, many times, wasn't sufficient to wear alone. A cloak could be taken off for a few reasons. The outer cloak could be taken off while laboring. With the destitute, it could also be taken off and given as a pledge for a loan. But even then, the creditor had to return the cloak to its owner before sundown because a poor man's cloak was all he had and it was determined it would not be taken from him.  

Cloaks were also used in the presence of kings. When it was announced that Jehu would be king, his army officers removed their cloaks and placed them on the bare steps underneath him. 

We don't hear of nakedness so much again until we see Job stripped of all his comforts and happiness. Dejected and alone he prayed,

Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.  Job 1:21

Thankfully we know that Job's life was restored with him having twice the riches he had before and he was was given seven sons and three daughters. Though I can't imagine his loss, he was given a greater inheritance. 

When we read about Palm Sunday we see the removing of cloaks again. When the disciples go and get the donkey on which Jesus will ride into Jerusalem, they take off the cloaks and put them on the donkey so that Jesus may sit on them. We read how the people in the crowd take off their cloaks and lay them on the road shouting Hosanna (God save us!). 

But the most touching, and relatable instance I found of cloak losing is found in Mark 10 when Jesus and the disciples were in Jericho. After being with a large crowd they were leaving the city. A blind man named Bartimaeus, who had heard it was Jesus, began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"  Many attempted to shush him, but he continued to call out. 

Jesus tells the disciples to call him. And so they do.

Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you. Mark 10:49

But before even getting on his feet you can guess what he did. He threw his cloak aside! He cast off his most important possession. This is incredible for several reasons. 

  1. His cloak was probably his only protection from the elements. He was a beggar. 
  2. He put aside his security. He probably didn't own much, if anything. As he sat on the side of the road, his cloak was likely used as a catching place for coins that were tossed from those that passed by. 
  3. He was in the midst of a king. 

Jesus tells him Your faith has healed you. Bartimaeus then follows Jesus. Having been spiritually blind and destitute myself, what a beautiful image Bartimaeus gives, of casting off our worldly goods. 

So what will you be wearing on Sunday? 

More important, what won't you be wearing? What is God asking you to cast off? What's your cloak?

  •  Earthly comfort, the kind that keeps you from wholeheartedly serving him?
  • Your ambition? Control? 
  • Your busyness?
  • Worry?

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22

Or is God calling you to give Him your shame, or your pride? 

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness... Isaiah 61:10

I'm not sure what I'll be wearing Sunday, but praise God for his son Jesus,  I know what I don't have to wear. 

Sweating is gross.  I don't do that.

-Words from Rylie when getting the kids from school Wednesday

 .  I wish it were that simple.  If only I could banish certain experiences and attitudes by deciding they were gross or undesirable.  I love her thinking.

Some things are just going to happen.  I'm going to sweat.  I'm going to have my occasional fails with my supper experiments.  I'm going to have bad hair days and the sinus infections will come and go.  No amount of determination and experience will rid me of these parts of life; I guess I can live with that.

Then there are those things I do-I choose to do, that I just can't seem to stop; that's a different story.  For instance, I choose to be grumpy.  Being sarcastic with my kids and Jason is a choice, I don't have to do that.  Watching unwholesome movies and shows on TV is a conscious decision, unlike sweating.  With each of these undesired behaviors I know, if not before, right when I'm doing it, that I shouldn't be doing it.  Why can't I stop?  Why do I even start?  I'm encouraged that Paul had the same problem.  Listen to him in Romans 7>

18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c]   For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 

 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

We MUST come to a place daily, where we recognize that there is no good in us apart from God.  Try as we may, we are a resevoir and conduit of sin.  When we continue to try and free ourself from the clutches of sin we find our effort fruitless and frustrated. The- "If at first you don't succeed -try, try again" mentality is like banging your head against a brick wall (nothing is accomplished and you're left feeling damaged).

I think the problem may be that we focus too much on what WE can and can't do on our own effort.

We have a sinful nature, and we're going to, for the remainder of our time on this side of eternity.  Our hope, and any good that we can do comes only from Jesus.  His death on the cross was enough.  He said "it is finished".  He meant it. It's obviously good to try and refrain from wrongdoing. There is merit in trying to do good. But REMEMBER, trying to do good apart from a relationship with God is in vain.


Our effort must dissolve into a passion to know Christ more fully.  His grace covers our failures.  His goodness flows through our veins. 

 If we make Him our true focus, we have nothing to sweat.


   Track season is just finishing up.  Track was not my favorite sport back in my school days, but in a small school everyone is encouraged to participate.  As an eighty-something pound seventh grader I was signed up to throw shot put and discus. The only logic I can see in my coach placing me in those events was that I couldn't jump. That left shot and disc and coaches like to make sure that all the name blanks are filled on event entry sheets.   I guess the coach always had the hope that my competition might get a sudden virus or that I might drop the shot-put on their toe rendering them unable to compete.

I also ran the two-mile, the mile, and the half mile. I can still feel the butterflies that took flight in my stomach as I positioned myself on the track. I can still hear the gun being fired signaling time for take off.    I. was. not.fast.   BUT, I had endurance.  I might have been called the Energizer Bunny if he had existed then.   I did pretty well considering how much I disliked it.  I guess I was running away from running.

I remember in practice, my coach gave me Velcro-bags to strap around my ankles. Maybe it was just on one occasion, but I thought getting to use the weight bags was the coolest.  The bags were full of pennies.  It provided weight around my ankles.  I was to run around the track once with the weight.  Then I was to take off the weight and run.  I remember running after taking off the weight.  It was amazing; almost difficult to keep my feet on the ground.  I was so light.  It felt like running had been made a thousand times easier.

I can’t imagine why coach let me use the ankle weight bags just that time or two.  I’m thankful though, as it provided the perfect example of the effect sin has.  It also showed the remedy. The lap I ran with the bags was treaterous.  About ten yards into my run, I was hurting and exhausted.  The weight not only pulled at my ankles, but my whole body wanted to dissolve into a puddle much like the witch in Oz who was doused with water.  Similarly, sin weighs us down.  I tend to lose things fairly often, but I keep an excellent record of my sin.  My own sin, combined with the sin around me is just too much to bear.  I told Hallie I would make her lunch, but I forgot.  I was sarcastic with Hayden again.  Where was my patience with Rylie?  I am so discouraged by injustice in the world; sin.  Heavily weighted by sin in my own heart, and sin all around me-  I don’t know if I’m being consumed from the inside-out or the outside-in.

Thankfully, Paul has a pertintent word.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perserverance the race marked out for us.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…..-Hebrews 12:1,2

Being weighed down in sin is actually a blessingI never felt so light, so able to run the race set before me until the weight was unbearable and then removed.  The weight of sin was bore on calvary.  We can add as much weight as we want to our running bags, trying to do life on our own strength.  And we can run much more than a lap if we so desire. But it is when we throw off the weight, casting it to the cross, that we are able to really run the race.  Running with perserverance means that we have to be persistent, steadfast.  We must constantly “cast off”.

Daily life is both practice and the real race.  We have cheering fans in the stand, the men and women mentioned in Hebrews and Christian brothers and sisters with us now.  They are urging us to run unburdened and unhindered.  Weightless, by faith that Jesus has endured it all, let us run.  Let us run before those cheering witnesses with our eyes on Jesus, who is both with us and waiting for us at the finish line.


I don’t clean my windows often.  Ok that’s an understatement.  Not counting yesterday the last time I cleaned them may have been right around Christmas.  Upon cleaning I start out right.  I have my paper towels and I have my Windex.  I clean the inside first and then move to the outside.  Only the same problem occurs every time I clean windows.  After I’ve cleaned the outside I notice that I missed smudges on the inside so I go back in and try once again.  Before my windows are smudge-free I’ve went in and out a few times.

I have made it my goal to get into the habit of seeing God in all situations.  Even window cleaning shows us about Him and his precepts and how they relate to any and everything we experience.  While I was cleaning I wondered to myself why I don’t clean the inside of the window really well in the first place thus making cleaning the outside easier.  You see when I really don’t do a thorough job cleaning inside I go back and forth searching for the location of the stubborn smudge.  Is it inside or out?  Jesus had something to say to the Pharisees about their useless clean- up act.

I believe the Pharisees thought they were in the clean-up business.  They felt it their obligation to reveal sin-smudged lives. With their tassels, dressed to draw attention they vocally identified your every imperfection while boasting that their law abiding way was the way to pure living.  In modern day I can imagine that in place of the tassels, they would be wearing a t-shirt with a logo or driving a mini-van with a self-promoting advertisement.   They would have to have an infomercial too. Have you ever noticed on infomercials they have the one item you need but it’s followed by……and that’s not all several times over?  Before you know it, it’s not one item but a whole line of products that will make your life better.  In chapter 23 it says “They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger.”  Just as many products sold on infomercials are ineffective, the way to right living is not solved by subscribing to products or following a twelve page pamphlet. Often there is more concern with the profit one might receive in selling than the blissful effect a product will have on one's life.  Moreover the Pharisees, according to Jesus, loved having somewhat of a celebrity status; being in the seat of honor for their works.

The Pharisees, though seemingly conceited and completely lacking compassion, still play a beautiful part in the unfolding of God’s marvelous plan.  You see their job wasn’t to clean up sinful lives.  But just like the law given back in the time of Moses, the Pharisees revealed how imperfect we all truly are.  In fact, they became the shining example of imperfection.  They revealed that no matter your fervor in practicing and teaching the law, we still lack in following it perfectly.

Jesus refers to the Pharisees as “blind fools”.  In verse 26 of Matthew Ch. 23 Jesus says, “First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside will be clean”.  Inside cleansing requires the work of a professional and there’s only one.  Perfect Jesus, at our prompting removes every smudge and stain.  Upon his death on the cross he cried out “it is finished”.  Our eternal penalty and record of sin is gone. What remains are bad habits and wrong choices stemming from a lack of Jesus dwelling inside us.  Don’t get me wrong, He never lacks.  It’s just that we take little time making room for more of him inside us.  We often want to curb behaviors and quit bad habits in our own strength and by our own prescription. We even listen to other so- called authorities out there telling us" how to stop smoking in a week” or “how to get your children to mind in ten days”.  Clean out your cabinets.  God has made it simple.  He has said, “First clean the inside……and then the outside will also be clean”.  If only cleaning windows was so simple.


Side Note:  I tried to take a picture of smudges on my windows to go with this devotion, but there were none 🙂


 Well, yesterday I went to the dentist.  Even the word dentist makes me nervous.  I’m not exactly sure why I have such a dislike for going to the dentist because it usually ends up not being as bad as I imagined.  In fact, most visits I’ve made were pretty much pain-free.  The dentist who checked my teeth and the lady who cleaned my teeth were super friendly.  I thought they could tell I was one of those patients that needed some calm reassurance.  I’ve wondered before if the folder they have with my name and dental record has a brightly colored sticker on front warning- “special (hard to work with) patient”!  Am I the only one who feels this way?

     I brushed my teeth twice as long and flossed extra good in the morning.  I wanted to make sure my teeth looked dazzling.  I also wanted to ensure that there wasn’t much work that they would have to do.  I ‘m a pretty good girl.  I brush and floss daily though I doubt I’d get an “A+” on my teeth care report card.  Truth be known, I don’t brush after every meal.  And even though I make sure and brush the front and back, down low and every gum line, it doesn’t make up for the times that I don’t brush.  I should also mention that I didn’t go to the dentist for six years.   So, in some ways I’m doing great, in other ways-UTTER FAILURE!

      While I was lying back in the dentist chair I tried to distract myself.  I could see the giant metal hook scraping my teeth moving back and forth.  (It’s easy to notice when it’s right between your eyes!).  So I tried closing my eyes, but the sound has got to be just as bad.  It equals nails scratching a chalkboard.  I had decided at this time I should try and think about how even this moment was in God’s hands.  And immediately I began to think about sin.  Yes, sin.  You see plaque, the sticky film that forms on our teeth naturally, is bad for our teeth.  It can harden and cause tooth decay and gum disease.  While we can brush and floss, it is necessary to go the dentist regularly to have it removed.  And like sin, plaque can be hidden in places where we don’t see it.  It often takes a professional to see the “plaque” and remove it.  Though my mouth is often tender after having my teeth cleaned, I know that my hygienist is preventing bigger problems in the future.  Likewise, when God is helping us rid ourselves of some sin in our life it may be uncomfortable.  I can think of a particular time growing up I was caught in a lie.  My cousin and I were cleaning my aunt’s living room with a friend.  While vacuuming I stepped on a lamp cord and my aunt’s beautiful glass lamp hit the floor shattering into pieces.  My friend saw what happened, but blamed my cousin.  That lie worked in my favor so I went along with the story that it was my cousin’s fault.  My aunt knew we were lying and sent us home.  That was so embarrassing!  Looking back, I know that it was a good thing that I was caught in that lie. It hurt my aunt and my cousin and maybe even my friend who knew I was a Christian. Would I have even thought twice about that lie had my aunt not revealed it?   Even more sad are the hidden sins I’ve committed; sins I’ve held onto with an exhausting grip.  Like plaque that hides beneath the surface, sin quietly grows and eats away at our peace.  God wants us to have peace. And though sometimes the process is uncomfortable he offers to clean up our “sticky” situations.

  Even as a child you know the rules.  Don’t lie.  Be kind.  Don’t be jealous.  And most of the time I bet you follow the rules pretty well.  Does it seem like the one time you break a rule there is an adult there to catch you?  You heard me say catch right?  When you’ve done something wrong it’s easy to feel like an animal caught in a net with nowhere to run.  I want you to picture getting caught differently.  Picture someone falling from a height with nowhere to go but down.  That person wants to be caught.  God has put our parents and other adults in our life as our safety net.  They are in our life and in our business to help us rid ourselves of what isn’t good for us.  You’re fighting with your sister and your parents get on to you?  Just maybe they’re thinking of what’s best for you. (Thank you mom and dad!). Next time I go to the dentist and they’re in my face and in my space I intend to grin and bear it.  And when I have a beautiful smile to show for it, I will remember the ones who patiently worked with me and be thankful. 

1.Can you remember a time when you were caught doing wrong?

How did it make you feel?  Angry?  Guilty?  Sad?  Disappointed?  Mistreated?


2. Who are some people God has placed in your life to guide you and correct you?


Listen to this prayer and say amen if you agree.


Dear God,

We know that we are not perfect.  And we know that there is no perfect adult.  But we know that you have placed adults in our lives to guide us.  Help our moms and dads, grandparents and teachers, coaches and other adults to listen and trust you so they will be able to lead us to you.  Even when adults seem unfair, help us to be obedient.  Help us to know that you will bless our faithfulness to obey.  And help us to always remember that you want every part of us; good and bad.  There is nothing that we should hide from our parents.  And there is nothing we could hide from you.  Most of all, help us remember that by knowing you “neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of (you) God”

 (Romans 8:39)