Archive for October, 2008

Now, here is what I did not say, “are you getting too close to God?”  That would not be possible.  We could never get too close to God in terms of our relationship with Him through Christ.  In fact, we could never be close enough with Him.  What I mean to say is, are you getting a little too comfortable with God?  Too comfortable in the sense that you no longer fear his holiness, his greatness, his value and worth.  It is semi-common today to say like the praise song “I am a friend of God.”  Yes indeed we are made friends of God through Christ the Lord (James 2:23).  But we must be very careful not to apply all aspects of friendship that we share with other mortals, to our relationship with God.  As I heard pastor John Piper once say in a sermon, “God is not our pier, we don’t hob nob with God.”  I also like the think of the relationship I had with my earthly father growing up.  Was my dad my closest friend, yes, but he was still my dad, and I feared him even when we were playing ball outside.  I knew my dad loved me, and I could let him rock me to sleep when I was small, I could ask him any question I had, I could confide in him with anything, and I could count on him to always have time to spend with me.  However, my dad was still my dad, and in spite of all the things that made us friends, there were even more things that made him my father, and I his son.  I was wise to never forget that my dad was the man who brought discipline and pain in my life when I needed it most.  Pain in the form of punishment , whether that be of taking something from me I dearly loved, or wearing my little rear end out when the situation called for it.  My dad was a friend to me, but even more he was a dad, and his position demanded my fear and respect.  My dad was a model for God in my life.  He taught me to both fear and love a God who loved me.  Like my eartly father father, God has disciplined me many times (and continues to do so), but after his perfect discipline, I want to come back to his loving arms, much in the same way I sought my earthly father’s approval and Love as a boy.  We would all do well to remember that God, in all his wonder and majesty is to be feared.  His ways are high and above our own.  His own wisdom and strength are prefect, and if we get to comfortable with Him, He will be quick to remind us He is God the Father, and we are His children. We are indeed friends of God through Jesus, but we are not His equal. He has no equal and no one is worthy apart from Christ to stand in His glorious presence.  It is true God loves us and He has made that clear for all those who see Him (John 3:16).  God is also to be feared, and He has made that clear throughout scripture, and will make it apparent in lives as often as He feels necessary.      

 Psalm 86:11 Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.


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The Wisdom of Barak Obama vs. the Wisdom of Jesus Christ 

               Barack Speaks out on Homosexuality and the Bible


1 Corinthians 1:24-25 (New American Standard Bible)

 24but to those who are (A)the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ (B)the power of God and (C)the wisdom of God.

 25Because the (D)foolishness of God is wiser than men, and (E)the weakness of God is stronger than men.



         Whether are not he wants to admit it or even knows it, Barack Obama is a theologian, just not a very good one.  The truth is every single person on the earth is a theologian.  Every one of us walking this planet has an opinion concerning God.  Recently, Obama shared his opinion on God and in particular His Holy Word.  I am not here to talk chiefly about the politics of one Barack Obama, but rather to speak to his view of civil unions as it pertains to the Word of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

A while back, Obama crossed a line in my opinion.  No, it was not his view on abortion (pro choice) nor his vote against a bill that would provide care for late term abortion infants.  It is not even primarily his support of civil unions.  Rather, it was what he called a passage found in the book of Romans, and the misuse of another passage in Matthew -7.  He said of the passage in Romans 1:18-32 written by the apostle Paul dealing with the perverse nature of sin and in particular homosexuality, was “obscure”.  I take offense to anyone’s view that does not support the sanctity of human life in the form of unborn babies or allows same sex partners the same rights as God ordained families.  Those lines however, have been crossed many times.  Barak did not cross a line there; instead I believe he chose a side.  His comments concerning the Word of God found in the book of Romans were in my opinion, a “draw a line in the sand” type of moment.  He didn’t just cross a line; he jumped head first into deep, murky, and dangerous waters.  What waters are these? The same waters that many liberal theologians have dared to jump in before. And like them if he does not return, is in danger of sinking forever into heresy and condemnation. 

Barack, speaking to the issue of civil unions, their rights, and the Bible states the following,:  NELSONVILLE, Ohio (BP)–Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama defended his belief in same-sex civil unions March 2 by referencing Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and then implicitly criticizing those who view Romans as a binding teaching on homosexuality.

Obama made the comments during a question-and-answer session with voters in Nelsonville, Ohio. A local pastor asked Obama how he plans to win the votes of evangelical voters when they disagree with him on moral issues.

“I believe in civil unions that allow a same-sex couple to visit each other in a hospital or transfer property to each other,” he said, referring to unions that grant all the legal benefits of marriage, minus the name. “I don’t think it should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state. If people find that controversial, then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans. That’s my view. But we can have a respectful disagreement on that.”

The Sermon on the Mount is found in Matthew 5-7, the passage in Romans is found in chapter 1, verses 26-32. 

 Note: I obtained the following information from the Baptist Press website.  The Baptist press serves as news, source with Christian theological conviction to the Southern Baptist Convention and its members.  I copied and pasted the Obama quote from the website. 


Yes friends you read that correctly, Barack Obama uses Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as scriptural basis for his support of civil unions.  Then, to top it off he calls Paul’s God inspired writings to the Romans in chapter 1, “obscure”.  I have two prayers at this point. Firstly, that Barack come to know and understand the Truth of Jesus Christ and scripture, and secondly I don’t break my keyboard with passion as I set the record straight on Obama’s poor exegesis and low view of scripture.  May God be with us both! 

To be quite honest with you I have been working on this weekly word for weeks.  From the moment I read his comments my heart was beating widely with passion as my mind was racing with thoughts.  After weeks of careful consideration, here is what I know. 

Barak Obama has a very poor command of God’s word.  To attempt to justify or substantiate his view of civil unions by using the Bible particularly “The Sermon on the Mount” is well, foolish.  This great sermon by Jesus is found in Matthew chapters 5-7.  Found within this sermon, are the beatitudes (a lesson in godly character) expressing how true followers of Himself should live through relationships, caring for the poor and needy, fasting, storing up treasures in heaven and not on earth, words against worry and anxiety, as well as judging others, prayer and other issues.  I have read these chapters, taught from them in the past, and never have I been tempted to say, “And finally the Sermon on the Mount is the foundational passage for biblical support of homosexuality and sin!”

I can not even tell you in good reason that I don’t understand what Obama is talking about.  I will take it a step further and say that Barack Obama has no idea what he is talking about here in Matthew. 

Now I realize one of the main arguments so called “homosexual believers” and those that support their misguided view is that Jesus never spoke against homosexuality in the gospels. True, but He also never spoke against pedophilia or bestiality either, but I’d be willing to say with all certainty that Jesus opposes those as well.  I believe Jesus would say to someone who poses the question, “Jesus do you believe homosexuality is a sin?”  A very focused Jesus would say, “Is that a serious question?  Furthermore, have you read the letter I inspired to the Romans, or any other scripture for that matter?  And do you really believe I died on the cross for your sins?”  This brings me to my next point, Barak calling the passage found in Romans chapter 1 obscure.

The book of Romans is many things, but obscure is not one of them.  Perhaps better descriptions of Paul’s letter to the Romans would be, Holy Spirit inspired, passionate, written with conviction, clear, stepped in doctrine and theology, dripping in blood, Christ centered, God glorifying, authoritative, able to save, able to condemn, simply the greatest letter ever written.  You see the book of Romans is not very hard to understand if you read it, it is after all a letter that condemns sin, celebrates Jesus atoning work on the cross and life found there within, and guides believers in godly Christian living.  It is a book written in truth, and the Truth is Jesus Christ died for our ungodliness, so that we could know God through Him (Romans 5:8).  Not to mention very likely the most gospel saturated passage found anywhere in scripture, Romans 3:23-26.

23for all (A)have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

 24being justified as a gift (B)by His grace through (C)the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

 25whom God displayed publicly as (D)a propitiation (E)in His blood through faith This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the (F)forbearance of God He (G)passed over the sins previously committed;

 26for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. NASB

            There may be obscure things in Barack Obama’s life, but the book of Romans, the passage he is referring to, and God’s view of sin and homosexuality is not one of them.  And how do I know this, because Paul says so.  Paul writing in Romans chapter 1under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,   


18For (AJ)the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who (AK)suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

 19because (AL)that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

 20For (AM)since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, (AN)being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

 21For even though they knew God, they did not [c]honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became (AO)futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

 22(AP)Professing to be wise, they became fools,

 23and (AQ)exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and [d]crawling creatures.

 24Therefore (AR)God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be (AS)dishonored among them.

 25For they exchanged the truth of God for a (AT)lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, (AU)who is blessed forever. Amen.

 26For this reason (AV)God gave them over to (AW)degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,

 27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, (AX)men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.   

 28And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, (AY)God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,

 29being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are (AZ)gossips,

 30slanderers, (BA)haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, (BB)disobedient to parents,

 31without understanding, untrustworthy, (BC)unloving, unmerciful;

 32and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of (BD)death, they not only do the same, but also (BE)give hearty approval to those who practice them. NASB with emphasis added.


            Paul is saying here that through general revelation (that is revelation to all people, at all places, at all times.  Man is without excuse when it comes to having knowledge of God because he can observe the world and cosmos, as well as the created order, and within his very being is written God’s natural laws of morality and standard that every person, people group, and tribe adhere too) man knows there is a God.  A man who does not acknowledge God as creator and sustainer, is not searching for more evidence, but rather refusing to bend the knee to that God in submission and worship.  Man who does not acknowledge God is simply suppressing the truth as Paul says in these verses.  Not only that, but Paul says these things are clearly seen (verses 19-20).  This is not an “obscure” passage found here in Romans; in fact it is clear and simple.  As for Paul’s argument against homosexuality, he says it is wrong and man knows it is wrong because it is an unnatural act (verses 25-27).  If God had wanted men and women to be homosexuals don’t you think he would have created for them a way to procreate?  This is what Paul is saying.  Homosexuality is not natural.  This is not a tricky or even contested issue according to Paul.  For Paul it is an issue any man regardless of nationality, education, or worldview can easily see is wrong.  Barack Obama himself knows this, he just doesn’t like.

            The matter of  Obama calling the Romans 1 passage “obscure” is in every sense a biblical authority issue.  He believes the words of Jesus found there in the gospel of Matthew are much higher and greater than any thing dumb old Paul could write.  Is not all scripture God breathed, Barack (I Timothy 3:16)?  Are not the words of dear Paul the very words inspired by the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth, and points us always to the Lord Jesus Christ?  The book of Romans is just as authoritative, and inspired as the book of Matthew.  As Dr Russell D. Moore, dean of the school of theology at Southern Seminary once said in a class lecture, “The entire Bible should be red lettered, because it all points to Christ.”  Senator Obama’s view of the book of Romans is not only poor, but ignorant as well.  He would do very well for himself to speak to issues he knows more about, but then again that might require him to actually read and study Paul’s letter to the Romans, instead of calling part of it “obscure”.  But in his defense Peter himself did say many of Paul’s writings were difficult to understand (II Peter 3:16) which people who are ignorant to the truth of God’s Word will distort.  

            Yes I know the question, why does this bother me so?  Well because Barak made a statement that attacked the authority and integrity of the Word of God.  Worse though, he attempted to twist scripture in Matthew 5-7 to fit his worldview and agenda, much like a certain serpent in the garden.  There are only a few hills in this world I would be willing to die on, and the Truth of the Word of God is one of them.  I truly believe Paul himself would have given his very life to ensure that the Romans received his letter concerning Jesus.  It was this same gospel that cost him his life in the end (II Timothy chapter 4). I think of the great reformer Martin Luther, who was said to have come to knowledge of saving faith in Jesus Christ while reading the “obscure” letter Paul wrote to the Romans.  Wonder if Martin would take offense to Barack’s comments?  It is also very clear that Obama has a very poor command of scripture.  Anyone who thinks the Sermon on the Mount promotes homosexuality in any way is the poorest exegete of scripture.  This much is clear, Barack Obama is a theologian, and a misguided one at that. 

What now?  I believe we need to pray for Obama, pray for his family (wouldn’t you love it if your dad, the spiritual leader of your family said parts of the Bible were obscure), and those that would put their faith in him to lead our great nation.  We need to pray that he would stop his “Oprah Winfrey Worldview” ways (that is she picks and chooses which things are right and wrong in her eyes.  I.e. she is against spousal abuse, but pro choice).  Pray that he would submit his life under the complete and full authority the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word.  Bending the knee to Jesus Christ is not just merely receiving Him as savior and Lord, but accepting His teachings whether they are found in Matthew, Exodus, Revelation, Proverbs, or Romans.  The Bible is chiefly and foundationally about one man, Jesus of Nazareth.  At the end of the day I am the judge of no man’s soul, only God can rightfully do that.  But as a Christian, based on his misuse of scripture in Matthew and demeaning comments concerning the letter to the Roman’s,  I can not in good conscience consider him a brother in the fight of faith.  Senator Obama wants “Change” for this country, let us all pray for change in hiss life(II Corinthians 5:17), the kind of change that comes from knowing the Lord Jesus Christ as savior and Lord, and cherishing His Word above all others, especially our own, even when they appear to be in contradiction with our own thoughts and seem “obscure”.  The truth is it is our own thoughts and views that are misguided and need to come into conformity with God’s word. The wisdom of Jesus Christ is the entire word of God.  The wisdom of Barack Obama is one man’s foolish attempt to justify his position on homosexuality. I leave you now with a quote from a pastor fried of mines seminary professor.  The quote is directed toward those who don’t have a very high view of scripture, and like Obama, think Paul and others are wrong concerning certain issues.  “We don’t criticize the Word of God, it criticizes us!”                                                   

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October is wonderful.  Pumpkin carvings, fall festivals, hay rides, football season, cool weather, and fall foliage.  I could live in a perpetutal October-Novenber-December.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner.  But before we get ahead of ourselves, let us not neglect these final few days of October.  Here in the South the leaves are beginning to catch fire with all the beautiful colors autumn brings.  The cool breezy days are perfect for taking a walk, a hike, or even a run and observe and worship the God of the universe who for a few days displays a glimpse of his glory through the trees of His creation.  So, I encourage you, in spite of all of the busyness of your life and mine, may we not miss the great opportunity that is before us these next few days, and worship Him because of who he is, and praise Him for all He has done, as we admire and thank God for the beauty of His creation.  And to think as beautiful as fall is, it doesen’t even compare to the beauty and majesty of His SON.

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 1Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any (A)fellowship of the Spirit, if any (B)affection and compassion,

 2(C)make my joy complete by (D)being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.

 3Do nothing from (E)selfishness or (F)empty conceit, but with humility of mind (G)regard one another as more important than yourselves;

 4(H)do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

 5(I)Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in (J)Christ Jesus,

 6who, although He (K)existed in the (L)form of God, (M)did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,

 7but [a](N)emptied Himself, taking the form of a (O)bond-servant, and (P)being made in the likeness of men.

 8Being found in appearance as a man, (Q)He humbled Himself by becoming (R)obedient to the point of death, even (S)death on a cross.

 9(T)For this reason also, God (U)highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him (V)the name which is above every name,

 10so that at the name of Jesus (W)EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of (X)those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

 11and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is (Y)Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:1-11


The most divisive issue facing many of our churches today has nothing do with doctrine, or theology, but rather music.  Well to be more specific musical preference as it pertains to style.  I have observed, conversed, and read much about the role of music in the setting of the local church.  Here is what I have gathered, music today (and specifically musical style) has garnered too much attention and undo emphasis in the life of the local church.  When people speak of worship they most often refer to music, and a specific style of music, the one they prefer.

Which do you prefer, traditional or contemporary?  Do you like hymns or praise songs?  And almost before I finish answering the question, I am told by the questioner which they prefer and why they can’t worship well with the other music.  This is just an example of what I would call a typical conversation on the topic of music in worship.  .  The truth is music, while one way to express our affections toward God is in reality only a small part of what worship actually is.

Why do people disagree so much about musical style?  Well because unfortunately it seems every one has an opinion when it comes to musical preference, and worse they believe everyone else should know just what that preference is.  Is it wrong to have an opinion about music?  No, absolutely not!  It is wrong when you feel your opinion is the only one that deserves to be heard. I enjoy the fact that we have so many different genres of music; it represents the greatness of a God who creates individuals wonderfully and uniquely.  Thank God we have so many cool, creative people out there who make great music in many different forms.  So which one should we use in worship?

Well if I believe the Bible is God’s authoritative word, then yours of course.  And how should you answer the question, yours for sure.   Philippians 2:3-4 should be our wisdom in what too say in regard to whose music style should be used in worship. 3Do nothing from (E)selfishness or (F)empty conceit, but with humility of mind (G)regard one another as more important than yourselves;  4(H)do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.  So often in the local church meeting, people (Christians) will fight to the bitter end to ensure that their musical style is the one used in the worship service on Sunday.  That unfortunately is the norm, but it’s not biblical.  Jesus told us in the gospel of Matthew that we are to “love our neighbor as our self” (Matt.22:39).  The Bible has made it clear that we are to consider others, and love them and their preferences just as our own. 

So why in most churches are members fighting hard to make sure their style of music is the one being played?  Sin!  Sin is the problem, and in particular pride which manifests itself in the form of selfishness.  It is a selfish notion for anyone to think their style of music is more important and better than someone else’s (unless of course you listen to country, because everyone knows country is not good music JK).  The issue here is not actually music at all; rather it’s the sin and selfishness of those who try so hard to protect their own interests.  If only it were about the music, pride is a much deeper and dangerous issue.

Many like a pastor friend of mine I discussed this issue with, believe the answer is to have multiple services where those who like traditional can go to one service, those who like the contemporary can go to the other.  Most Churches who separate services even advertise their services like this, “Traditional @ 8:30, Contemporary @ 10:45”.  I would love for a church to advertise this on their sign out front and in their distributed literature, “We preach the Word of God @ all our services, and we don’t argue over musical style.” There are hills to die on in the local church, music style is usually not one of them, and the Word of God being preached accurately and with conviction is.  But how many churches are arguing about that today?  Most are satisfied with the man centered, humor filled, highly applicable lessons they receive each week.  As Pastor John Piper has written in his book The Supremacy of God in Preaching “most people wouldn’t know good preaching if they heard it.”  True Biblical preaching starts with the scriptures, grips your entire being, and ends with exalting Christ and pointing others towards Him, not man.  Forgive my rabbit chasing but I felt that needed to be said.   

I understand some churches like my pastor friend have multiple services because of the number of attendees on Sunday morning.  I have no problem with that.  The problem I have with the multiple services is when people go to one service or another based on the music they like.  You might say well, are you not making every one happy and civil.  Why yes you are, but the church does not exist to make people happy.  The church exists to glorify Christ and advance His kingdom.  Imagine all the people you don’t meet because you like traditional and they like contemporary.  What most often happens is the older folks go to the 8:30 traditional service and the younger folks to the 10:45 contemporary (there are exceptions).  This to me is sad because older people need younger people, and younger people need older people.  We benefit from each other.  The older folks bring years of wisdom and godly love.  The younger folks bring excitement and passion.  Oh how we need each other.  If only we could find a way to come together.

We can come together and it’s called humility.  I long to see a day when I hear of a church in a great dispute over music, and it goes like this, the older members of our church are not satisfied with the music anymore.  They believe we are not playing enough songs that the young adults and youth enjoy.  And since we live in a community with many young families they believe this would be a good way to reach the young couples and invite them to church.  Then the young adults stand up and say, wait just a minute.  We are not going to just throw out those hymns you all cherish so dearly.  So many of you have invested so much in our lives we could never imagine being that selfish.  We will fight for your right to sing the great hymns of old.  This friends would be a good problem for any local church to have, members fighting for the music of others and not their own.

Unfortunately most people go to church for themselves.  They go to the church where people look like them, act like them, talk like them, and agree that traditional/contemporary music is the best.  If the music was great in their eyes they say “what a great service couldn’t you just feel the Spirit moving!”  And if the music is not to their liking, “The Worship was ok; I just didn’t feel the Spirit of God in that place.”  What is happening in both cases is not that they are that sensitive to the Spirit of God, but rather they either did or did not like the music,

Truthfully, I like all kinds of music.  And I like the fact that other people have different tastes in music as well.  I can worship just the same trough cotemporary songs as hymns.  As long as the song is theologically sound and God centered I am all for it.  I admit I like some songs better than others, but that doesn’t increase my worship experience if one is played, it just means I’ll sing a bit louder.  The ultimate truth about worship is it’s not about me; it’s about the object of my affection, Jesus Christ.  And when I came to Christ I laid down all my rights and demands before Him, as I submitted myself to His Lordship.  Music is great and we can all praise God through it, but worship is more than just music or an experience.  Worship as I have heard others say “is every act of the heart, mind, body, and soul which intentionally expresses the infinite worth of God.”  Worship is about our lives, every last detail of them.  Worship is ultimately about God and not what style of music makes our experience more enjoyable.  Too bad many worship a style of music, and not the one for whom the songs were written for.   

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This time of year in an election year we get a lot of “spinning” from the world of politics.  After a debate like the one recently seen between Sen. Joe Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin, the political camps as well as certain news and media outlets give us their take on who they believe won that particular debate.  People talk in such a way that if there is no clear cut winner they attempt to create one.  This is used in other areas of politics, business, and government as well as individuals and groups tend to ignore the facts that and focus on their own agendas in order to accomplish their goals.  How can we as Christians identify and relate to this type of behavior; behavior that often ignores the facts even about ourselves?  It is simple.  We do it everday in the form of sin.  All sin is premeditated.  We sin because we want to.  It is wilful acts of disobedience on our behalf against a righteous and Holy God.  When does the spinning come in?  When we attempt to justify our sins to ourselves and to God.  When we are tempted to sin and decide to give in, we often will whisper things to ourselves like; no one will ever know, I’m not hurting anyone else, I’m not that bad after all, it will only be this once, I don’t have a problem, or it’s not really that bad.  It is important for all of us to remember that the all seeing eye of God observes and records all actions of his creation, Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).  Our sin does hurt others around us. The Bible is full of instances where one man’s sin affects his family, his friends, a nation, and the cosmos.  Ultimately, our “little” sins put God to death through His only son, Jesus Christ.  “God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (II Corinthians 5:21).  When it comes to the spin, the people of this country might believe whatever they see and hear on TV, but God is not into listening to our spin when it comes to sin.  He is right.  We are wrong.  Those are just the facts.

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