Topic | Man, Sin & Salvation

Posts Categorized: Man, Sin & Salvation

No One Wins at Whack-a-Sin

By in Highlands Blog on

Lessons from Whack-a-Mole Those clever little electronic moles! Just when you prepare to whack the one in front, he disappears and the rascal in the back pops up. You prepare to smite him and now he’s gone too. Look, over there! That’s the mole you should focus on now! Wait, no, that one! Mostly you just pound empty holes. The moles try to survive by alternating and distracting you, blurring your vision and confusing your aim. As a carnival game, it’s great fun. But when a sinful world adopts the same strategy and convinces you to play along, no one. . .
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Don’t Give Evil a High-Five

By in Highlands Blog on

Avoiding Approval of Evil Evil demands your approval and it does not rest until it finds your level of complacency. It utterly ignores your disavowals of members of the evil genus and continues to press for approval at the species level. Evil doesn’t mind your hatred of categories as long as you make allowances for instances; “I know you’re against abortion, but surely not in cases of rape, right?” Evil loves to empty words of their meaning. Evil keeps changing the subject. Evil constantly blurs the lines. Evil will quickly stoop to deception, as long as it can get you. . .
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Did You Have a Blue Christmas?

By in Highlands Blog on

Christmas Bright & Christmas Blue For our Christmas morning breakfast we had waffles, eggs, link sausage, coffee, tea, eggnog, and lots of conversation. A playlist of Christmas hymns and songs played in the background as we ate, talked, and laughed. Later in the day we joined another family for more of the same but this time we were slicing into prime rib and pouring wine. Now all my Yuletides have not been nearly as full. Some late Decembers I went hungry and was mostly alone. I worked on December 25 several times and there was no one to come home. . .
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Independence Day

By in Highlands Blog on

Living in Shackles The grill is heating up, the drinks are cooling down, and temperatures are on the rise. It must be the fourth of July−Independence Day. A day when we Americans celebrate unshackling ourselves from the heavy yoke of Mother England. In hindsight we yoked ourselves much worse than she ever was of a mind to. We are burdened with regulations and taxes and thousands of laws and we have done it to ourselves. Because we failed to throw off all the shackles that imprisoned us. The motivation for any man under the thumb of his oppressor is freedom.. . .
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God is Scary Beautiful

By in Highlands Blog on

God is Scary Beautiful

When God’s Beauty Seems Ugly The problem with God’s beauty is that it often seems so ugly. Not the nice Bible verses, of course. The beauty of holiness—that has an attractive ring to it. We’d like God’s beauty to establish the works of our hands. “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord” (Psalm 27:4). Yes, yes, let’s cross-stitch this (plus lambs and flowers) and frame it. Wait. There’s more. Mountains and men. . .
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Forever Secure with My Father in Heaven

By in Highlands Blog on

My Angry Father It brings tears to my eyes when I think of my father. J.L. Barnes—Joseph Lavelle, if you are curious. Born dirt poor as the only child to a mentally ill mother, he surely loved his father, but his father died at age forty-two, when my dad was only thirteen. At that time in Mississippi, the only thing you could do was to drop out of school and work. And so he did, in the dusty fields, picking cotton, hauling wood; anything to support his mother. A child doesn’t know how to care for himself, and a young. . .
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Redemption for the Ruined

By in Highlands Blog on

The Scars of the Redeemed Harsh and difficult providences can leave very real scars, both physical and emotional. While none of us are completely free from these marks, some scars are deep. For some, it could be the result of a difficult or abusive childhood, or some sort of trauma related to the sins of their parents. Others might have had a period of rebellion, and still carry baggage from those times. Some might be carrying the pain of rejection from a former spouse who has abandoned their marriage vows. Possibly, you are carrying guilt and remorse because you were. . .
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I Am a Miracle

By in Highlands Blog on

Man looking at the sky. (I am a miracle)

The Miracle of Change Not so much like a sea parting or an ax head floating but the same force that acted upon that water and that iron also changed my natural dynamics and the course of my life, and now I am acting differently than I or anyone else ever expected. My previous nature was to sin and to enjoy sin. I also languished as a young occultist and later as an atheist. My parents constantly fought (loudly) in our home and often threatened to divorce each other. Going to school was a type of hell in itself on. . .
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Plant the Gospel in the Lives of Your Children

By in Highlands Blog on

Children planting a tree. (Child rearing)

A Child Rearing Garden Child rearing has often been described using the metaphor of tending or growing a garden. However, it seems that we don’t always think fully about all the applications of gardening principles to the child raising enterprise. In fact, it’s entirely possible that if you implemented your actual child discipleship practice to your gardens, you would probably starve. In my own family, I know that most of the energy and effort (particularly in the early years) was heavily tilted in the direction of building fences. We were very concerned with implementing borders and protective measures from external. . .
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The Age of Accountability & the Faith of Your Children

By in Highlands Blog on

Age of Accountability

Real Life Brings Questions of the Age of Accountability Serving as a pastor for five years I had to counsel grieving parents at the loss of a child while yet in the womb. I have Christian friends who have had young children die and a precious friend with a child who (it appears to our finite minds) is unable to understand much of what is said to her. I am a father of eleven covenant blessings in our home, but two of our children never made it to our home. One died after about sixteen weeks in the womb, the. . .
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Be Grateful for the Doctrine of Election

By in Highlands Blog on

Be Grateful for the Doctrine of Election

Uncomfortable with the Doctrine of Election That the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls. — Romans 9:11 Before us we have a verse from a passage of Scripture (Romans 9) that gives more than a few people an uneasy feeling. What is written about a pagan king is difficult enough for some, but it’s just too much for many when God declares His choosing Isaac not Ishmael and that while He loved Jacob, He hated Esau. I suppose there are people who struggle with this chapter, in part at least,. . .
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The Lord’s Supper — Feast for Sinners

By in Highlands Fellow on

The Lord's Supper — Feast for Sinners

Sundays are for Sinners I love Sundays. My children love Sundays. In fact, they love them so much I’m sure they learned the days of the week so they could know when the next Sunday was coming. “What day is it daddy,” they’d ask. “What day comes next.” Then they would keep asking until they knew just how many days there were until Sunday. I might be stretching it a bit, but they may have learned to count for the same reason. Each week our anticipation rises as we make ready our home for the covenant families who will share. . .
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Plumb

By in Highlands Fellow on

  When Rob Bell commented recently that “I have gay friends who are serious followers of Jesus,” I wasn’t surprised at all. Bell, who masquerades as a Christian pastor, has always pushed the envelope when it comes to Truth, challenging orthodox Christianity on just about every important point. But his choice of words is very telling: “followers of Jesus.” I hate that term; I really do. But “Christ-follower” has gained lots of traction in the past few years, mainly among the thirty-something set. And, for a large part, these are actually genuine converts who say this. (Set aside for a moment today’s. . .
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Babies Are Murdered Here

By in Highlands Fellow on

The spectacle of the Kermit Gosnell trial has captured the attention of quite a lot of Americans these past few weeks. At first the major news outlets refused to air the story but eventually they were shamed into talking about this sordid case. We have been dragged (shall we say) kicking and screaming through the gates of Hades to gawk at the horrors now laid bare. There we discovered again the masterful, beguiling language of the ultimate Evil Genius being worked toward its usual destructive ends. We found that “suctioning pieces” meant pulling off arms and legs of an unborn. . .
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Mass Shootings and the Terror Culture

By in Highlands Fellow on

This week’s mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut instantly became the talk across America. Everyone wondered how anyone could so callously murder twenty little kids, and six adults, with seemingly no remorse. It is an ugly day, a tragic era, when these kinds of things are brought before our faces. It is disconcerting to me though, how our responses and expectations have changed over the past few decades. I am thinking about our emotional response to this event, and how different it is from a similar one 46 years ago. It was in August of 1966 that Charles Whitman, a college. . .
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The Ten Amendments

By in Highlands Fellow on

It is hard to convince your average American citizen that they live in a tyranny. If you look at the sheer quantity of laws, the take of government as a percentage of the Gross National Product, and the abrogation of the bill of rights, this country is far more tyrannical than it was for George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, and William Jennings Bryan. Our tyranny is unique in that it is still reasonably comfortable. Nobody is walking around in leg irons. Nobody is missing any meals and no big fat guy in a black mask is whacking on the. . .
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