Tag Archives: sin

Millennials, Full Nests, and Sour Grapes…”Watch Your Example, Mom & Dad, We’re Roomies!”

mom, dad, millennialMother, Father, children, Grandmother, and Grandfather…all used to live in one house. But things changed. Over time, wealth grew, jobs changed, people became more mobile, independent, and isolated. So kids moved out and got their own place. Until now.

According to a recent Pew study, for the first time in 130 years, a higher percentage of those 18-34 (the current millennial generation) are living at home than those who are moving out. In the Depression, a greater number lived at home, but the percentages haven’t exceeded those who move out…until now. And it isn’t just America: 50% of Millennials in Europe and Japan, 40% in Canada, and growing percentages around the world.

In the 60’s, people couldn’t move out and get married fast enough, but this generation is waiting until an average of 29 years old. In fact, Pew’s research suggests that ¼ of Millennials might never choose to marry. So it is goodbye, “empty nest,” and hello, “full house”…for a long time!

But regardless of why kids stay home longer, one thing is for sure – prolonged proximity will impact future generations. And, as parents and 32% of Millennials adjust to life at home together, society will either be benefited or harmed. Looking to the Bible, we can see why.

Sometimes family can be a great influence. Timothy was raised by a godly mother and grandmother who taught him scripture from a very young age (1 Timothy 1:5). Their devotion gave Timothy all the right tools to understand the words of life. And Timothy became a strong servant of God. Many children leave the home and forget the example of godly parents. But if children are in the home longer, perhaps they will receive the benefit of a good example longer.

Sometimes, though, family can have a negative influence. In Ezekiel 16:44, people were negatively saying, “like mother like daughter.” Sometimes the nation required punishment because a corporate representative sinned. And sometimes, families felt the weight of sin to the 3rd and 4th generation because they had adopted the sins of their parents and grandparents. If children stay in these homes longer, the example of the parents’ sins might take hold in their lives as well.

Ultimately we are all responsible for our own behavior. God told His people to stop using the saying, “The fathers eat the sour grapes, but the children’s teeth are set on edge.” He said, “All souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). Those who live righteously will be blessed.

Family can be a powerful influence. But Jesus reminds us that we must put Him above all else, preferring Him to mother, father, children, selfish desires, and even life itself. Houses might get divided. But there is an eternal reward for those who are able to shrug off negative influences and live for God today (Matthew 10:34-42).

Quitting Sin…Cold Turkey?

cold turkeyWhen I was young, I didn’t like taking off Band-Aids. They hurt. So I peeled them back slowly. But, with time, I learned that there was a better way – one quick pull. As we mature, we learn that it is better to face our pain today rather than slowly over time. And, it turns out that science agrees!

According to a recent study on quitting smoking, researchers showed that a group who tried to quit smoking “cold turkey” was more successful than the group who did so over time. Even more telling, was the fact that those in the group who quit “cold turkey” were far more successful at quitting for good. And, with smoking listed as the leading preventable cause of death, according to the CDC, knowing how to quit effectively is important.

Smoking may be the leading preventable cause of death, physically speaking, but sins are, of course, the leading cause of spiritual death. In fact, sin is the only cause of spiritual death. And, unfortunately, the mortality rate is 100%.

Quitting sin is the greatest challenge humanity faces. After all, “all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God” (Roman 3:23), and everyone bears the shame of sin (1 John 1:10).

But, thankfully, there is good news! You can quit “cold turkey!” Jesus expected it: “From now on sin no more” (John 8:11); “do not sin anymore” (John 5:14). Why was that Jesus’ answer to sinners? Because Jesus knew what researchers have discovered…“cold turkey” gives us the greatest chance of success.

You see, the “over time” smoking group was like many Christians are today. They make a decision, but continually long for the old life. They look back like Lot’s wife did with Sodom. They fail, because they fail to sever. Many of us seem to want to quit sin on our schedule rather than God’s. But that method isn’t successful, and God expects more.

So what does “cold turkey” look like, spiritually speaking? Surely, it doesn’t mean never sinning again, does it? No. But an immediate and convicted reaction to sin is the most successful path to righteousness.

When we realize our sins and our condition, we should go before God’s throne like Isaiah did in Isaiah 6. Our realization of sin in our lives and the damage sin inflicts, must cause us to have woeful, repentant hearts. And we should make every effort to sever sin from our lives.

It doesn’t mean we will be perfect. And it doesn’t mean we will be sinless. Quitting “cold turkey” includes putting all my trust in Him to keep me in the fruit of the Spirit…even when I fail. Dying to self is harder when it is done piecemeal, longing for the old life. Living in the love of Christ is a decision that is far more successful when done, “cold turkey.”


That Teddy Bear Stole Your Kid’s Identity! (…and when innocence suffers)

spying teddyTeddy…How Could You? You were a treasured member of the family! You eat, sleep, and play next to the kids all day long. But this time, you’ve gone too far, and you’ve got to go!

Actually, to be fair, Teddy is an inanimate object, incapable of doing harm to others. But, apparently, Teddy was hiding a little secret in all that techno-gizmo and gadgetry. Teddy’s interactive, web-accessible features were hack-able. And hackers did hack, as hackers will do.

The Teddy Bears in question are Fisher-Price’s Smart Toys, enabled with V-Tech chips. And due to a security breach, personal information loaded on the Teddy Bears, like, “names, birthdates, gender, language,” was accessed. Perhaps even more concerning, was the access to:

“alter the customer’s account; create, edit or delete children’s profiles; see if parents were using the toy’s accompanying mobile apps; and read other miscellaneous data, like what purchases the customer made, game scores and other items.”

Yikes! So basically, a toy…perhaps one of the oldest, and most innocuous household children’s toys, was used to infiltrate the home, invade privacy, and potentially wreak havoc on children and their families. Nice.

No one likes being hacked. And we don’t want our privacy invaded. But there is something especially sinister about violating the privacy of a child and using their beloved teddy bear to do it!

Why is it especially sinister? Because we inherently understand and value the innocence of children.

The Bible tells us that we are born pure and innocent:

  • God made man “upright” (Ecclesiastes 7:29) and in His image (Genesis 1:26, 1 Corinthians 11:7, James 3:9).
  • God fashions us in the womb (Job 31:15; Malachi 2:10).
  • God, who is sinless, gives us a perfect soul that will return to Him (Ecclesiastes 12:7).
  • Our goal is to become innocent and pure in faith, like little children (Matthew 18:3, 19:4).
  • We are born blameless until we sin & iniquity is found in us (Ezekiel 28:15).

So when we hear that a child’s toy has been used to steal information that might lead to identity theft, financial problems, and spiritual and emotional pain, we are righteously indignant. But let’s be sure to remember why we have such a visceral reaction. Godliness!

You see, even though sin is in the world, it really isn’t natural. It is an invention of mankind. As Deuteronomy 32:5-6 points out, sin corrupts and causes perverseness in those who choose it. It is utterly against our natural design (Romans 1:20,26,27, Jude 10). But time in this world dulls us to our true nature and many have chosen the perverseness of the world.

Jesus said, “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble” (Luke 17:2).

I suppose, as long as blatant sin against innocent children still horrifies us, there is hope that people will recognize the error of their ways and repent. But there will come a time when sins against little children will be met with total indifference…and perhaps we are almost there.

Jesus tells us that destruction will come as it did in the days of Noah, with people largely unaware of just how sinful their land had become (Luke 17:26). Don’t be caught unaware! Heed the alarm. Renew the fight. Defend the innocent. Live for Him…according to your true nature, in Him, today.

Something Bugging You?

bugsYou’re surrounded. You had no idea. I mean, sure…the occasional bug…you’ve seen it. Maybe you smashed it. Maybe you sprayed it. Maybe you felt like you handled the problem. Think again!

According to a recent study by Matt Bertone, an entomologist at North Carolina State University, nearly 600 kinds of arthropods could be in your home right now. The average home studied had approximately 100, including: spiders, centipedes, mites, lice, beetles, roaches, flies, crickets, etc. Sleep well…and don’t let the bedbugs bite!

Of course, it turns out that this is pretty normal. No “bedbugs” were actually found in any of the homes studied; and only 3 homes had the harmful kind of roaches. For the most part, we co-exist daily, without incident, with hundreds, if not thousands, of bugs living in, under, and around our homes. And while that might send Entomophobes, Acaraphobes, Arachnophobes, and others into cold sweats, for the most part, there is no danger.

Yet, we spend billions of dollars each year on sprays, traps, lures, detection, ejection, and extermination of the little critters. We don’t want the presence of even one to be seen in our houses. We run to smash, spray, and force out of the house, even the smallest of them.

But what about sin, friend? Did you know it is far more harmful and far more prevalent in our houses and lives? Did you know it lurks around every corner and hides in every crevice? It is even “crouching at the door” and “desires to have you” (Genesis 4:4-7)!

What do we do when we see sins in our houses? Run to smash them? Or do we ignore them? Perhaps we casually stroll to handle them when we “get around to it?”

We are called to kill sins (Romans 8:13), not ignore them. The Bible tells us that sin leads to death (Romans 6:23). But if we will bring our sins into the open and confess them, God will forgive and purify them (1 John 1:7-9). Give it some thought…then go smash some sins!