3 Irresistible Reasons to Get Away with Anything

Let’s be honest. I really like to do what I want, when I want, the way I want. I don’t like to be told no. And I certainly don’t like someone to call my choices sinful. So I’ve developed these three irresistible reasons to help me get away with anything. Just read the headings and you’ll get the idea. But don’t stop there.

Read the explanation to discover why there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Irresistible Reason #1 | Don’t Judge Me

You can’t judge me. The Bible says so. “Judge not, that you be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1).

But that’s not all it says, and there’s a reason for it. You can’t live a healthy, happy life without good judgment. The principle being taught isn’t, “don’t judge”. It’s way better than that.

There’s a difference between being judgemental and practicing good judgment. 

For example, when I tell my son not to touch a hot stove because he’ll get burned, I’m teaching him to practice good judgment. When I tell him how stupid and moronic he is for even thinking about touching a hot stove, or when I tell him how much better I am than him because I would never touch a hot stove, that’s being judgmental. One is helpful, constructive, protective and teaches wisdom. The other is condemning, destructive and causes the kind of resentment that leads people to ignore legitimate warning signs.

We all need help learning good judgment. Sometimes others see the danger ahead before we do. No one needs the arrogance of self-righteousness thrown in their face.

Irresistible Reason #2 | Don’t Throw the First Stone

My sin isn’t any worse than yours. The Bible says so. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” (John 8:7).

This is a pretty effective trump card. Someone takes a stand to identify something sinful. Someone else is quick to remind them, “But you sin too. Your sin is no worse than mine.” And then follows the silence.

Like the crowd that condemned the woman caught in adultery, when confronted by the truth of their own sin the crowd is silenced and one-by-one slips off into history. It’s true. We all sin. And your sin is no better than mine. But the principle being taught is so much better than that.

There’s a difference between being condemned for your sin and confronted because of your sin.

This crowd wasn’t confronting sin. They were condemning the woman. Like the difference between being judgmental and practicing good judgment, Jesus confronts their sin. But the crowd didn’t stick around long enough to hear the rest of the story. Instead, they left. They left alone, reminded of their failure, without hope of redemption.

We all sin. It’s true. But there is hope beyond condemnation. It’s a hope we’ll never know until someone confronts our sin.

Irresistible Reason #3 | Jesus Loves Everybody

Jesus loves me and accepts me as I am. You should too. The Bible says so. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 19:19).

Jesus does love you. He taught, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” He went further than that. He said, “Love your enemy.” But what does love do? If we finish the story of the woman caught in adultery we see what love does. After the crowd is silenced and slips off alone Jesus turns to the woman to ask a question, “Who condemns you?” She answers, “No one.” He responds, “Neither do I.”

Love wins.

Jesus, the only one truly worthy of being judgmental and casting condemnation, makes a loving choice. He chooses not to condemn. He gives her the very thing she needs. It’s the same thing the crowd needs. It’s the same thing you and I need.

Jesus forgives.

But it’s so much better than that.

Forgiveness isn’t the end of the thing. It’s the beginning. After forgiving, Jesus lovingly confronts the woman, without being judgmental he encourages her to practice good judgment. He says, “Go and sin no more.” (John 8:11).

The grace Jesus gives to forgive also empowers me to overcome sin.

All of this can be said a bit more plainly.

  • God loves people.
  • Sin hurts people.
  • Jesus died for my sin and rose from the dead.
  • Jesus forgives my sin.
  • The grace Jesus gives to forgive also empowers me to overcome sin.
  • It is my intention, out of gratitude for the sacrifice made for me and the knowledge that sin hurts me, to confess and overcome sin in my life.
  • The love of God compels me to share these truths with others. What truth?
  • God loves people. Sin hurts people. Jesus died for your sin and rose from the dead. Now you can be forgiven and overcome sin.

Next time you need a reason to do something sinful, remember these three, and remember the deeper truth behind them all.

Afraid Not…

There’s a feeling you get in the pit of your stomach. It happens when you step up to the plate when you play baseball. It happens when you step on a stage to say your lines. It happens when someone surprises you and jumps out at you from behind a door. That feeling you get – we call that fear. But what if it’s really something more?

When you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach something happens in you that’s really amazing. When you get that feeling you can run a little faster. You can jump a little higher. You can be a little more clever than you normally are. All because of that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach. It’s almost like that feeling is your superpower. With that feeling, it’s like you become something more than you are on your own.

We call it fear, but fear doesn’t have to make you cowardly or cruel. Fear can make you kind. Without fear, we can’t be courageous. Fear can push you to accomplish something you never imagined you could do on your own. And there’s a reason for it.

What we call fear God calls something else.

II Timothy 1:7 says, “God hasn’t given you a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of sound mind.”

What if that feeling in the pit of your stomach isn’t simply fear? What if that’s what it feels like when God gives you power, love and sound mind?

Sound mind – that’s knowing what to do.
Power – that’s the strength to do it.
Love – that’s caring enough to be afraid, but to choose the right thing anyway. We call that bravery or courage.

That feeling you get in the pit of your stomach is God reminding you, “I am with you. I am for you. And I am giving you the power, love and sound mind you need to be brave enough to do this.” Trusting Him is the key to bravery.

Sometime soon you’ll feel it again. You’ll be at work or school or with friends. You’ll have an opportunity to do the right thing, to speak up for someone who can’t speak for themselves, or to share the gospel with a friend. You’ll have a choice to make. As soon as it happens you’ll feel it again, that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, and you’ll have a choice.

Will I be paralyzed by fear or will I trust God?

This is your moment to be brave. This is what power, love and sound mind feels like. This is what it feels like for God to give you the words to say, the strength to say them and the courage to care about your friend enough to speak the truth in love.

What you call fear I call the power of God in me to make me more than I am on my own.

Valentine’s Day: 4 Expressions of Love

Tomorrow I start Ruth. Four chapters. Four days. Another entire book of the Bible.

Philippians 4


Philippians 4:9, “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” (NKJV)


Happy Valentine’s Day! On a day like this everything I read seems to have a heart-shaped filter. May the ones you love be near you. May you love and be loved. May the things you learn, receive, hear and see in one another bring you joy, establish your faith, strengthen your love and convince you of the inestimable value God sees in you.

It’s clear that Paul loved the people in the church at Philippi. He begins the book by saying, “I thank my God every time I think of you.” He adds, “How greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.” Paul’s love for the Philippians was deep. His desire was for them to know God, to love one another and to share that love with others.

Verse 9 is a natural desire that flows out from this love, “These things you have learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Paul expressed his love through what he:

  • Taught
  • Gave
  • Said
  • Did

Isn’t this how we express our love for God and one another.

  • WE TEACH – what we value, what we believe works, what we think will make a better life for the ones we love.
  • WE GIVE – of ourselves, our time, our stuff, to express our love, to remind someone that they mean something to us.
  • WE SAY – we attempt with feeble syllables and sounds to express the passion of our heart.
  • WE DO – we act, we make a choice that reflects our heart, reinforces our desires and tells the world what and who we value most.


Who do you love? Do they know it? What will you teach, give, say or do today to express your love for your valentine? There’s clearly a context here broader than Valentine’s Day. What does what you teach, give, say or do say about the depths of your love for God?


Heavenly Father,

Happy Valentine’s Day. Thank you for the love you have given me. Thank you that your love for me drove you to move heaven and earth so that we could be together. I pray that my love for you would be as deep and that those in my life you’ve given me to love – my wife, kids, parents, family, friends, church – I pray that they would know my love for you and for them through the things I teach, give, say and do.

I love you, in Jesus name –

Jealous Rage

Nahum 1


Nahum 1:2 “The Lord is a jealous God, filled with vengeance and rage. He takes revenge on all who oppose him and continues to rage against his enemies!” (NLT)


We don’t know much about Nahum. He’s another minor prophet, but like all minor prophets he has a major message. His book sits chronologically in order between the prophecies and events of Micah and Habakkuk. The entire book is a poem about the destruction of the the nation of Assyria and the release of the Jewish people from Assyrian captivity.

The first half of chapter one seems to describe a side of God we don’t like to talk about much in this New Testament age of grace. Verse 2 proclaims that God is jealous, filled with vengeance and rage. That doesn’t sound like the kindly old man people like to think of when they envision God. But it’s true.

Our God is a jealous God.

Jealousy is a word that’s gotten a bad wrap. Mostly because we often confuse jealousy with envy. Envy is wanting what someone else has. Jealousy is wanting what rightfully belongs to you.

My wife can be jealous for my attention and not really cross any boundaries. If I demonstrate that I prefer another woman, person or activity over her jealousy is an appropriate response. We are married. I committed my life to her. In my vows I said, “All that I am, all that I ever will be I give to you.” It’s a covenant relationship and by that covenant I belong to her and she belongs to me. This is the kind of relationship God has with his children. Jealousy is wanting what’s rightfully yours. And in that context jealousy can be an admirable quality.

Envy is another thing all together. Envy is wanting something that doesn’t belong to you. Couples that are dating don’t suffer from jealousy – that may be the word they use to describe it, but what they really mean is envy. The relationship isn’t yet established by covenant. They’re dating. They may want their significant other to be exclusively theirs, but until the covenant is made all they can do is envy the kind of relationship they don’t yet have.

We can envy other people’s things. We can envy their influence, position or power. But as long as it’s not rightfully ours it will never be jealousy. It will always be envy.

Nahum 1 says that God’s people, by covenant, rightfully belong to him and he is jealous for them. His rage and vengeance are fierce. His protection for his people certain.

Again we see prophecies similar to the ones made in the other minor prophets we’ve read so far. Israel will stand. The other nation will fall and be wiped from the map. This is what happened to Assyria. To this day Israel is a nation, yet the people and culture of Assyria are long gone, fit only for the pages of history and the dust of an archeologists foot.

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God.

There’s a friendship and a fear here, an awesome realization that his jealousy for me causes his rage to confront all who intend harm for me or who would stand between me and him. It’s jealousy so strong he is willing to do anything to remove that which separates me from him.

Let’s take this thought further. He has forgiven me of the worst thing I’ve ever done. More than that – he’s forgiven me of the worst thing I will ever do – that thing I’ve not yet even considered. It’s forgiven.

Now consider this – in order to secure that salvation he did the most horrifying and terrible thing one could imagine. He exhausted his rage over me by crushing his only son.

No wonder he is jealous for me.


Are you jealous or envious of other people? What are you doing right now that makes God jealous for you? How can you influence your world so they don’t experience the same fate as the people of Assyria?

Nahum 1:7 says, “The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him.”

With what will you trust him today?


Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your deep love for me. Thanks that your love produces such a strong and passionate reaction in you when I am unfaithful and when others threaten me or my family. Thank you for the words of the David Crowder song, “How He Loves” – they are the cry of my heart today.

He is jealous for me.
Love’s like a hurricane I am a tree.
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory.
And I realize just how beautiful you are and how great your affections are for me.

And we are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking
And heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way…

He loves us, oh
Oh, how He loves us
How He loves all
How He loves

I love you, in Jesus name –

Choosing Love

Today you read and finished 2 John – let’s go to 3 John next. It’s only one chapter also so you can finish the entire book in one day!

2 John 1


2 John 1:6, “Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.” (NLT)


Love means doing what God has commanded.

That’s an interesting idea. Most of the time we think of love as a feeling, a condition, something we stumble into or fall out of, but that’s not what God says. God says love is a choice. God looks to you and says, “I love you.” He chooses you. When he talks about the kind of love he wants in return he’s thinking of a similar choice. He wants you to willfully and deliberately choose him.

He want us to choose each other as well, to choose to show grace and mercy like he has shown us, to show favor that’s underserved and kindness in spite of circumstance.

At the end of this chapter he explains that some people try to love without him. They try to deny the truth that Jesus Christ is real or that they need him at all in order to experience real love. Without Christ we can express and experience something that looks and feels a lot like love, but it will never be the abiding love that comes from the deliberate choice of one empowered with a strength of commitment whose source is everlasting.


Another passage of Scripture says, “Don’t just say you love people, really love them.” Today, I choose love. I choose to demonstrate the grace, mercy and lovingkindness of God to others.


Heavenly Father,

Thank you for loving me with an everlasting love. Thank you for giving me the capacity for real love. Help me love people the way you do.

I love you, in Jesus name –

Let’s Talk about Sex

Today you read and finished Jude – let’s go to 2 John next. It’s only one chapter also so you can finish the entire book in one day!

Jude 1


Jude 1:17-19, “But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ said. They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.” (NLT)


This one’s controversial.

It’s an old fashioned idea, unpopular, perhaps even antiquated. Sex is not love.

Our culture has been thoroughly deceived and promotes the lie it believes. We celebrate physical intimacy as the highest, most fulfilling expression of love. But that’s not the case. Sex is only one expression of love. Sometimes sex isn’t an expression of love at all, but the fulfillment of a selfish desire, the physical intimacy of using someone else for your own satisfaction. When this happens it’s not love at all. It’s something else.

Don’t get me wrong. Sex is good…check that – sex is great! In the right context sex is holy, blessed and encouraged as a gift from God. In the wrong context sex is a fire that slowly sears the conscience and distracts us from ever having a deeply intimate and loving relationship with someone else.

Scripture teaches that God blesses and encourages sex in the context of marriage. He clearly defines marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman. Today we scoff at this idea. We argue that two people who love each other should be able to express that love through physical intimacy, regardless of their commitment to one another, their spouse, or their gender. And certainly we can. But just because we can do a thing doesn’t mean we should do that thing. Just because we enjoy it doesn’t make it right. Just because I want it doesn’t mean I should have it. Scripture calls sex outside of marriage immoral. It’s a line in the sand that says, “On this side of the line sex is beautiful, good, right, holy and blessed by God. On the other side of that line sex is the wrong way to express love. It gets in the way of genuine love.”

Now let’s face the truth. You draw the line too. You may not draw it where Scripture does, but you draw a line.

Few people would deny the strength or significance of a mother’s love for her child, but would be horrified at the suggestion that her love is somehow incomplete without the physical intimacy of sex. This is true regardless of whether or not they are ‘consenting adults’. Most people condemn sex with minors. Those who passionately argue for same sex marriage often argue just as passionately against polygamy or pedophilia.

We all draw the line somewhere.


This is what Jude is talking about. He starts by saying we should defend the faith that has been entrusted to us. He encourages believers to draw the line, not where they think it should go, not where it feels right, not based on convenience or culture, but on conviction. God drew the line. It’s our responsibility to stick to it.

There are some who want to move the line. Certainly we can try to do that, but it doesn’t change the Scriptural standard. In the right context sex is encouraged, blessed and even holy in the eyes of God. It is a remarkable expression of love. Outside that context sex is something else.

We’ve lost something when we limit love by equating love with sex. Men can have significant, masculine and loving relationships with other men without sexual intimacy. Women can have deep, loving friendships with other women without crossing the Scriptural line. Unmarried men and women, and those who are married can have caring, meaningful and loving relationship with others who are not their spouse without sex being an issue.

There are some who would argue that Scripture doesn’t really speak to this. They would suggest this is an antiquated part of Scripture we can choose to ignore, rewrite or reject. But that’s not the case. While culture may have changed, God’s view of sex hasn’t. In the right context it is a beautiful, blessed and holy, expression of love. Outside that context it’s something else.

Jude warns us to be careful where we draw the line. He uses sex as the example, but there are other issues in our lives where lines are drawn. Do you draw lines based on your own opinion or do you let God determine what’s right and wrong?


Heavenly Father,

Help us know where you draw the line. Give us the strength, courage and patience to stand firm on the lines you have drawn. Help us overcome temptation and live according to your will. Thank you for the gift of sex. May we experience that gift in the context you intend. Teach us to have deep, meaningful, significant, intimate and loving relationships with others, regardless of gender and based on your standard of love. I’ll finish my prayer with the last few words of Jude, “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. To God our Savior who alone is wise be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.”

I love you, in Jesus name –

Now for something funny – here’s a video on the topic to make you laugh.

Here’s how this works.

Each day I’ll read and S.O.A.P. one chapter of the Bible. S.O.A.P. is a simple way to focus on what God is speaking to you through what you read. It stands for ScriptureObservationApplication, & Prayer.

Every time I read a chapter God always focuses my heart and mind around a specific part of that chapter. Sometimes it’s just a verse. Sometimes it’s more than that. That verse or group of verses becomes the focus of my devo.

There’s one other practice that helps me know, understand and follow scripture – memorization. Consider memorizing the verse or verses you S.O.A.P.

Love Wins

what-i-knowHere’s how this works.

Each day I’ll read and S.O.A.P. one chapter of Romans. S.O.A.P. is a simple way to focus on what God is speaking to you through what you read. It stands for ScriptureObservationApplication, & Prayer.

Every time I read a chapter God always focuses my heart and mind around a specific part of that chapter. Sometimes it’s just a verse. Sometimes it’s more than that. That verse or group of verses becomes the focus of my devo.

There’s one other practice that helps me know, understand and follow scripture – memorization. Consider memorizing the verse or verses you S.O.A.P.

Romans 8


Romans 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NLT)


What do you know? No really. Stop and think about it. What do you really know…for sure…without question, beyond all reasonable doubt, with no variation or shadow of turning, with unswerving confidence, unshakable faith, undeniable certainty?

There’s so much more to this chapter than one simple reading will uncover. What captured my attention today were three little words.

“…I am persuaded…”

Paul was persuaded and so am I. Nothing can separate us from the love God.

When I was kid I played this game with my friends. Who am I kidding? I still play this game with my own kids. Want to play? In a fight, who would win? Batman or Superman? The Incredible Hulk or Thor? Iron Man or Spiderman? Star Wars or Star Trek? This game doesn’t hold a candle to the truth declared in these few simple verses. In the fight you face today who will win death or the love of God; angels or the love of God; principalities and powers or the love of God; things present, things to come or the love of God; height, width, depth, any other created thing or the love of God?

Paul was persuaded and so am I. Love wins.


Today my application is less about what I do and more about what I know. I am persuaded…for sure. I’ll express what I know using the lyrics to a favorite song.

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Whatever you face today – love wins.


Heavenly Father,

Thank you.

I love you, in Jesus name –

Bring Love Alive

1 Corinthians 13-4-7" src="" alt="" width="259" height="194" srcset=" 259w, 96w, 128w" sizes="(max-width: 259px) 100vw, 259px" />1 Corinthians 13:4-7

I’ve got a song stuck in my head. The line that keeps banging around in the grey matter between my ears, “Bring love alive, bring love alive, bring your love alive in me.”

Love the lyric, the hook’s good too – it’s why the music’s stuck in my head. The annoying problem? I can’t remember the artist, the name of the song or anything else the song says. Can someone help a brother out!? What’s the name of this song!?

It made me think. My problem with this song is similar to the problem many relationships face. We desperately want love to come alive in us. We cry out for it. We’re hooked on the idea and can’t get it out of our heads. But somehow, we’ve forgotten the rest of the song. We approach love like an undiscovered country. With caution and excitement we step into a new relationship to explore what we might find. Once the new wears off and the undiscovered settles into the familiar our hearts and minds begin to wander toward the next new adventure. But that’s not real love.

How would our relationships be different if we remembered the rest of the song? One great line doesn’t make a song worth singing. It takes all the notes and rests, the tempo that speeds up and slows down, the rhythm that moves things forward and the lyric that tells the story. One great line may get stuck in your head, but it’s the rest of the song that makes it worth singing.

The same is true in our relationships. Love is so much deeper than one exciting moment. What can you do today to strengthen your relationships? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 will give you some good ideas. Read it and sing the rest of your song.