In Christ Alone

God exists. Or as a hard-bitten atheist might admit, at least something that transcends space and time. But how do we approach Him? Not through good works, fortune, fame, or power, but through Christ alone. 

By Mark D, Harris

How can man approach God?[1] People from the Aztecs to the Zulus have asked this since the dawn of humanity, and man has imagined thousands of answers.[2] These answers boil down to three possibilities.

  1. Man cannot do anything to approach God, and therefore can never approach Him.
  2. Man does something, or a group of things, to earn the right to approach God.
  3. Man cannot do anything to approach God, but God in His grace brings man to Him.

These possibilities are exclusive, as each includes a world view that is inconsistent with the others. It is logically impossible to select 1 and 3, for example, or some other combination.

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Equation of Sin

Sin can be illustrated by an equation, and that can help us understand it and reduce it.

By Mark D, Harris

Our Sunday School class is studying the New Testament book of James, written to the Jewish Christians of the diaspora by James the brother of Jesus in the late 40s AD. James was the pastor of the church in Jerusalem, and He provides powerful, practical advice for successfully living the Christian life. The first eight verses of chapter 1 discuss the Christian’s need for wisdom and God’s promise that He will provide it, so long as the believer asks in faith. Verses 9 to 11 mention the transitory nature of life, and the consequent even more transitory nature of riches.

James 1:12-18 takes a different track, discussing the nature of temptation and sin, and explaining that God cannot tempt or be tempted, but instead creates His people and provides every good thing for them. One could summarize these verses with the following equation:

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Rotten Wood in our Lives

How to eliminate rotten wood – the thoughts, word, and actions that drag you down, whether they seem big or small – in your life.

By Mark D. Harris

The wooden plank on the deck gave a soft “squish” as I stepped down. I pushed a little harder with my heel and the wood collapsed, leaving a hole in the deck, and exposing the dirt several feet below. “Ugh” I thought, and began to check the rest of the deck for rotten spots. In total, only five boards needed to be replaced, all touching each other in the same part of the deck. I looked up. There was a leak in the gutter above the rotten spots, and I recalled seeing a nearly continuous stream of water hitting this part of the deck during several rainstorms over the past several months. While working on the deck, and lying in bed thinking about it, I recognized many parallels between rotten wood and sin in our lives.

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Deep Roots

We need deep roots in faith, family, and friends, to allow us to weather the storms of life. Otherwise, we will fall. 

By Mark D. Harris

On Thursday, November 15, a ferocious ice storm hit southern West Virginia, downing trees, knocking out power, and causing major property damage across several counties. Our family lost power for over 30 hours, and six large trees came down in our yard. The children were cross, sitting in a cold, dark house and unable to get on the internet. More importantly, they were unsettled. To them, electrical power is a fundamental fact of life. It is always there – you flip a switch and…shazam! When you need power, it is suddenly there. They could not imagine living like my grandmother, raised in rural southern Arkansas, whose only power was fire in candles, oil lamps, and stoves… or sunlight.

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