Friday, January 23, 2015

Confession Yields His Forgiveness

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
 I said, ‘I will confess
my transgressions to the LORD—
 and you forgave the guilt of my sin.’”
                                                  Psalm 32:5 (NIV)               

               David writes to God and tells Him what he felt he did to get out from under the guilt of his sin. I find this a formula of sorts, a plan to follow when we might fall into sin. I prefer to think David used this plan whenever he realized he had done something that displeased God.
               In this verse we find a pathway back to wholeness after we have slipped into sin.

1.) We have to realize that we strayed from God’s plan for our lives. Before we start to venture into new activities, we should seek His guidance for this step.
2.) We have to face the fact we have sinned. I have known people who took the attitude, “I did it; so what, it’s who I am.”
3.) We have to admit our wrongdoing to God. As a part of this admission, we may have to say we know what we did was wrong.

After we do these tasks, God removes the guilt we carry from us. I believe this exercise works whenever> we use it. I found myself practicing this before I realized I found the scripture. I know my being introduced to it was a sign from God.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Confessing Faith


“Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him.
 But because of the Pharisees they would not confess
 their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue,
for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.
John 12:42-43 (NIV)
               John writes of leaders who secretly believed in the Master’s teachings. These men feared being cast out of the Hebrew house of worship. He makes a bold statement about the reason these men were quiet about their thoughts “for they loved praise from men more than from God.”

               Are we in the 21st Century very different from the leaders who believed in Jesus but chose not to share their beliefs with those around them? I think not.

               I remember hearing a story about a young man who found the Lord just prior to going away to college. When he came back to church over a school break, someone asked him how his friends on campus responded to his new faith. He hung his head and said, “They don’t know of my faith.”

               Does everyone who knows us know of our faith? A church friend of mine has a burden for a neighbor who is very seriously ill. As my friend prayed for guidance on how to reach this neighbor and her family, she received a two word answer—‘Live it.”

            This answer applies to each of us. We can say all we want to about Jesus and about God but, unless our neighbors see our faith lived out; we are ‘spinning our wheels’ and getting nowhere.

               When we confess our faith before others, we also do it before God. If we keep our faith to ourselves we impede the growth of God’s kingdom.  In my young adult years, a person who kept his or her status quiet was thought of as fence-sitters—never really taking a stand for the Lord.

Dear Father God:
                              Please give us the strength and the courage to stand for you in this broken world. Teach us to long for Your praise. Guide us to demonstrate Your love for others as we go through our daily walk.

All praise belongs to You. I ask this out of Your grace and love. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. AMEN

Monday, January 19, 2015

Confess His Name

“When your people Israel have been defeated by an enemy
because they have sinned against you and when they turn back
and confess your name, praying and making supplication
before you in this temple, then hear from heaven
and forgive the sin of your people Israel and bring them
 back to the land you gave to them and their fathers.
2 Chronicles 6:24-26 (NIV)

            Solomon built the temple and prayed a dedication prayer over it. He stood on a platform in the center of the outer court and prayed. He commended God for keeping His promise to David to allow a permanent home be built for the arc of the covenant. Solomon also requested God to keep the promise of always having a descendant of David sit on the throne of Israel.(see 2 Chronicles 6:12-16)
            Solomon continued to pray, renewing a covenant between God and the nation Israel. In this prayer, he asks God to hear the nation’s prayers after they have confessed His name, turned back to Him, and repented of their sins.

            Why is this important to Solomon? He knew the nation and its people will sin and fall away from God.  Are we like the people Israel? Yes, we are. We as a nation need to confess our sin to God, repent of our ways, and seek His forgiveness.    

               In our 21st Century world, we are not unlike the people of Israel.  We fall short of God’s expectations of us and we sometimes don’t care. We have “more important” things to do than sit or kneel and tell someone we can’t see that we had done wrong. We might choose not to because we don’t really believe we have. We find other false gods to spend time with.

               The sad thing about how we, as a society spend our lives is that, one day soon, our nation will have to answer for what we have done. We need to be ready.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...