Thursday, August 27, 2009

Breaking the Cycle of Sin

The story of Hamartia

One day a scruffy, graying, ruddy man was sitting at a table. At noon he looked up and saw a dusy bottle of Hamartia sitting across from him. The man looked back at his paper & pretended to read. However, inside the craving for this drink started to overwhelm him. At first it was just a thought, but by three o'clock the man could no longer resist the overwhelming craving for a drink. He forcefully threw down his paper & grabbed the bottle by the throat, threw off the cap & all at once began to drink deeply of the Hamartia.
The feelings that the man had were overwhelming. The taste was sweet upon his tongue & went down smoothly. His insides warmed from the amber flow of the drink.
Soon the bottle was emptied & the one who placed the drink there now placed on the man a heavy weight. The weight was heavy upon the man & made his chest tight. On the weight was written one word, which was chisled into the weight, "regret".
Convicted of what the man had done, he struggled to move the weight from his body, ran from the table & fell on his knees; angry, broken & heavy with guilt. He agreed with God that it was wrong & that he would strive to never sip from that bottle again.
Months past & several times he saw other bottle of Hamartia. However, he never even gave them a second glance as he remembered his resolve.
Then one day he found himself at his familiar place again, reading the morning paper, when he heard the sound of a sliding bottle, roughly moving across the table...

How can this man keep from sipping this drink again?
1. Temptations come, the bottles will always be around.
2. He shouldn't go to places that serve that drink, just as we should set up boundaries so that we don't get into tempting situations.
3. Radical amputation. If there is some kind of temptation that easily overwhelms you, you may need to remove any source from your life.
4. Run to God & Walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16).
5. Don't allow the decision to reach a boiling point. Before the heat of temptation turns up, make a decision to break the cycle & flee. Kill temptation while it is still in it's infancy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Peace of Christ in Dealing With Difficult People

Colossians 3:15 "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts."
1. The context of this verse is in relationships with the body (Church), particularly your local body.
2. Rule- act as arbiter, the decision maker. Literally let the peace of Christ be the deciding factor in your heart.

What does this mean?
1. We decide what to do based on what would bring peace with Christ.
2. We decide what to do based on what would promote peace with Christ.
3. We strive to live at peace with all people.
4. We deal with necessary conflict in a way that would promote peace & harmony.
5. We make decisions that promote a feeling of peace between you and God.

What this doesn't necessarily mean-
That we sweep necessary conflict under the rug.

So in dealing with difficult people, we ask ourselves, "Would this action, attitude, word bring the peace of Christ to this situation or would it bring conflict, strife, division, death?" Then we chose whether we will let this peace rule in us.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


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