Showing posts with the label Confession

Ready to 'join up'

Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world. (Psalm 46:10) I have a hard time being 'still'. It is as though there has to be some 'activity' going on, even if it is thought. I spend a good deal of time thinking on things, then I usually take action after learning what I can from thinking on the subject. I think about what is for dinner, plan a menu in my head, and then execute the preparation of the meal. I think on my next woodworking project, plan the tools I will use, bits and blades needed, any finishes I will utilize, and the types of woods I will incorporate into it. Then I execute the steps to see what I envisioned created. It is never wrong to just 'be still' - for in the stillness, we often 'hear' much clearer and 'plan' much better than we do without all that thought! To 'be still', one might imagine we need to cease all movement, but there can be movement in stilln

Confess, but repent

Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. (Isaiah 1:16-17) I remember undertaking the task of repainting a dock on an empty pond at a Girl Scout camp in Southern California. You have to scrape the old paint before you put on the new, but you also have to use a very thick, oil-based paint to redo the dock. Why? It helps preserve it from rotting. As my friend and I undertook the task, the weather got warmer as the day progressed, the task was less than interesting at some point, and we got a little mischievous at some point. We were at the point of applying the paint when all of a sudden, an all-out 'let's paint each other' rebellious attitude overtook us. There we were, swiping oil-based blue marine paint across each other's faces, arms, legs, and even our painting clothes. We were a mess by the end, but we had a fe

Driven by guilt

Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. (Psalm 51:1-4) How is it that we don't always make a beeline to God when we sin? There are excuses uttered - thinking we can somehow justify our offense as though it were impossible for us to have resisted the temptation. We find ourselves turning this way or that, in hopes of not encountering God over the issue, but find ourselves feeling the guilt 'prick' at us like thorns on a rosebush. I don't think we intended to give into the temptation, and we don't really think the excuses or 'running' will keep us away from dealing with the sin, but we respond this way for some inexplicable reason. Guilt is that 'pin prick' in our conscience that

It is dark in here

Imagine being surrounded on all sides, enemy forces about to tromp on you, fear mounting, despair permeating every fiber of your being. You may not realize how 'dire' the circumstances really are, but you know something has happened to change the course of 'good times' in your life. We all get there on occasion - sometimes by our own doing. We choose to compromise our lives with some 'little sin' that really isn't 'all that big'. Then we wonder why we find ourselves with mounting pressures and attacks. Truth be told, that 'little sin' let in a dump truck load of other temptations you might not have wanted to entertain, but now they are there. In those times when the pressures seem to be closing in, keep in mind one very important fact - God has not forgotten how much you need light in your life! The Lord will bring me into the light, and I will see his righteousness. (Micah 7:9) Sin has a way of creating 'dark places' in our spirit, a

I messed up

Thomas Jefferson lived by one principle: "Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching." While it isn't a direct quote from the Bible, the principle sure is! All the world watches to see how the children of God will respond in times of need, crisis, and even peaceful repose. Why? They want to know if you will handle life differently because Jesus dwells within you. Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge. (Proverbs 18:15) Robert Half reminds us, "When one teaches, two learn." For me to teach anything, share any of the truths God has revealed to me, I have to learn them first. Do I learn them all fully before I share them? No, but when truth becomes alive to me, you bet I am going to share it! Be ready to learn, no matter the day or the hour. This is how I operate - when God speaks, I want to be ready to listen. How about you? Do some of God's teachings come at a time when I am busy with other stuff? Y

Great things happen when...

When a believing person prays, great things happen. (James 5:16b) There should be no doubt in the power of prayer - God delights in hearing from his kids, even though he may not hear from us as often as he'd desire! Great things happen in those times of conversation with him. Just in case you haven't noticed, he brings seed thoughts that we can think upon the rest of the day. There is no substitute for spending time just sharing our heart with him. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so God can heal you. (James 5:16a) This is the other part of this verse - something we also should not overlook as we consider spending time with God in conversation. There is power in confession - it is the beginning of our healing - emotionally, physically, spiritually, and relationally. The more we open up to him, the greater the opportunities for him to begin to bring order to our confusing life. When we are uncertain what to pray, just pray for God's wisdom. Did you for

Reckon with this...

Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. (James 5:16) Make this your COMMON practice. I called that out because I didn't want us to miss it this morning - it is to be our 'common' practice to confess our sins and pray for each other. Why? Not because we need a human to confess our sins to - like a priest in a confessional - but because there is power in declaring we need others to pray with us (agree with us). Confession is coupled with prayer for each other - it doesn't stand alone. We are to share with those who will be able to help us by both praying for us, but also who are placed in our lives so that we 'do life' together. In other words, they help to not only lift us up before the throne of God, but they help us stay on course moving forward - some call this accountability. T

Truth or Dare?

Did you ever play that game as a child referred to as "Truth or Dare"? If you were brave enough to trust the one asking the question, you'd maybe choose 'truth', all the while hoping the individual wouldn't ask you anything all that revealing. If you didn't trust them to 'stay out of your business', you'd select 'dare' and take your chances that you'd be able to endure drinking a cup of pickle juice, putting your tongue on a frozen light pole, or the like. Sometimes I think we approach God like we are playing a game of "Truth or Dare" with him. We might just fear he will dig a little too deeply, so we opt for 'skirting the issue' - diverting attention to another topic in our prayer time. All the while, we need the 'truth moment', but we opt for the 'daring moment' when we veer from what we really needed all along - confession! If we claim that we're free of sin, we're only fooling ourselves.


But if we confess our sins to him, he can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. And it is perfectly proper for God to do this for us because Christ died to wash away our sins. (I John 1:9 TLB) Depended upon - that means our part is to rely upon him. If you depend upon your vehicle to start when you turn over the ignition, you are relying on the battery to have held a charge, the alternator to do the work of assisting in providing all the amperage needed to support all those other electrical components in the vehicle, and the engine's components to all 'turnover' in response to your having hit that ignition switch. For us, the 'ignition switch' is our confession. The power ignited in response to that confession is to be relied upon - without failure, or need of calling 'roadside service' because it may 'fail' one day! Have you ever hit the ignition more than one time, only to hear the grinding effect of the engine trying t

The big reveal...

People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy. Blessed are those who fear to do wrong, but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble. (Proverbs 28:13-14 NLT) You might have heard it said that confession is good for the soul - it is also good for everything else! I am not talking about the kind of confession where you tell a man in a small wooden box your sins while you are kneeling in a small wooden box next to him. I am talking about the willingness to be transparent when you do something wrong, to take responsibility, and to seek forgiveness from those you have hurt in the process (God first, then others, and even yourself). Concealment involves keeping something under cover. I liken it to the covering over of an object with twigs and leaves to have it "blend in unnoticed" in the forest. The idea of concealing anything is that you don't want it noticed - you don't want it to catch the attent

Admit were wrong

Have you ever been so wrong you were ashamed to admit it?  I know this has happened to me on some occasions and all I want to do is "save face" as much as possible because my "wrong-ness" was pretty "out there" for everyone to see!  What I said or did was just so off-the-mark that it was pretty apparent to anyone who was there knew I was "wrong".  It is human nature to make mistakes.  It is also human nature to want to hide them or cover them up!  The only problem with that response to the mistake is that it then has a chance to go uncorrected.  A mistake is really an aberration from what should have occurred - it is a misstep.  Missteps sometimes lead to "missed steps" in our lives - one of which is the power and privilege of confession!   A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance. (Proverbs 28:12 TLB) When we acknowledge a mistake, there is

Signs of Indulgence

I remember an occasion as a child when mom had gone to the store for a few hours and left me home with my elderly grandmother.  She napped away while I just hung around doing the things kids did in those days.  I played a little with my favorite toys, read a book, and then I got hungry.  Isn't that just like a kid - they could have a totally "full tank" when the parents left home, but within just a matter of a couple of hours the "need to feed" is back!  So, being a kid and liking my sweets just as much as the next person, I went on the look for something to satisfy that sweet-tooth.  Maybe this wasn't such a big deal to you, but there was this one drawer in the china hutch were grandma kept her candies.  She and mom pretty much were the only ones to get any of the "stash" kept there because they were usually the ones they liked the best.  Mom didn't indulge me with much candy as a child, so it wasn't like we had a drawer marked "regu

Confessional is open

I don't know about you, but "telling on myself" was never one of my strongest attributes.  If I were to be entirely honest with you here, I'd have to admit I made up my share of untruths to actually cover up some of my misdeeds rather than have mom or dad know the truth.  Why?  We kind of "fear" being found out, don't we?  We don't want to admit to the misdeed because we just plain knew it was wrong.  I was raised Catholic (although I don't follow in that faith any longer), so I remember those times of marching into the confessional as a child, telling the local parish priest my "sins" so I could receive "absolution" and then do my "penance".  The "penance" was usually some form of a series of prayers he would instruct me to utter.  It should come as no surprise to you that I immediately went out, uttered the prayers, but had absolutely no clue in the world what I was really asking for help to rid my life

Got a wall in the middle?

Who would ever connect confession and prayer to being able to live together with others whole and healed?  Well, scripture tells us the man or woman who lives this way becomes a "power" to be reckoned with.  Some of us think when people continue to cause strife in relationships this is when they become a "power" to be reckoned with, but scripture proclaims just the opposite to be true.  Too many times we determine we cannot go any further because someone or something just stands in our way.  Sin has a way of putting up some pretty great walls - better than the walls which have divided countries! Instead of causing communication to occur, it shuts down the pathways of communication and causes us to draw inward. We neglect communicating what we struggle with the most.  Maybe this is why James tells us to make confession and prayer "our common practice" - since our common practice needs a little more than a slight overhaul! Make this your common practice: C

Sermon Lessons: Confession

23-24 "This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.     25-26 "Or say you're out on the street and an old enemy accosts you. Don't lose a minute. Make the first move; make things right with him. After all, if you leave the first move to him, knowing his track record, you're likely to end up in court, maybe even jail. If that happens, you won't get out without a stiff fine. (Matthew 5:23-26) Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. (James 5:16-17) There is much to be said for being able to own up to yo

An acrostic to consider

8-10 If we claim that we're free of sin, we're only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won't let us down; he'll be true to himself. He'll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. If we claim that we've never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God—make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God. (I John 1:8-10) This morning, please consider this acrostic: C onsideration O f N eeded F orgiveness E ffectively S ubmitting S elflessly E verything N ow Kinda corny, I know, but it came to me this morning as I opened my eyes to my wake up call from the worship music playing on the clock radio.  One of the first things I do in the morning is to ask God where he wants me to focus my study that day - this is what he gave me.  Confession is often a poorly understood concept - partly because it is hard for so many people to admit their n