Tag Archives: confession

Deuteronomy 33,34; Psalm 119:145-176; Isaiah 60; Matthew 8

To the Leper: Without discrimination or hesitation: “Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed,’” (Matthew 8:3). What are my biases, my prejudices? How many times have I withheld my hands from reaching out to strangers, the homeless, those who are needy? Where did I rationalize caution when obedience would have best mirrored Christ?

To the Centurion:  Without hesitation or stipulation: “And Jesus said to him, ‘I will come and heal him,’” (Matthew 8:7). How have routine and self-imposed obligations built a wall of separation from the immediacy outside of my world? How often have I held back from offering a hand and depended on the prompt responses of others to do what I would not?

To King David: Without fear of rejection and with assurance of God’s covenantal love and His just nature, David calls out: “Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness; O Lord, revive me according to Your justice,” (Psalm 119:149). When was the last time that I praised God for His lovingkindness and supported His acts of justice? How often do I seek Him with confidence that He has loving thoughts toward me?

To Moses: Without complaint or argument: “So Moses the servant of the Lord died there…by the mouth of Hashem,” (Deut 34:5, 6). The mouth of Hashem has been interpreted as the Divine Kiss. How is it that I continue to wrestle with the sting of death instead of the joy of my salvation? Do I long to see Christ face to face only to ask about earthly matters?

After a self-examination, I am tempted to sink to the ground in despair. I still know what it feels like to sin. I have heard it said God looks down at me and sees me dipped in the cleansing blood of Christ. However, in my human nature, I do not feel perfect or holy. Yet, I will be perfect in holiness one day – not because I finally get it right or because I have stored up enough good deeds to outweigh the sins that will burn before my eyes (and the Lord’s eyes!). Rather, I will be changed from this woman struggling to fight the good fight into the beloved bride of Christ by the same resurrection power that raised Christ from the dead.

To Me/to all His beloved: “Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you,” (Isaiah 60:1). Without doubt and with a contented sigh, take a deep breath: Deut 33:26, 27 says, “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to help you, And in His excellency on the clouds. The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms…”

I confess that I need God to be the Divine Warrior who is always ready to be my protector, even though I may start the fight. I need Him to be a place where I can run when my poor decisions or unintentional mistakes cause chaos and distress to chase after me. I need the assurance of God’s strong arm that delivers me with love and with power when I am least able to defend myself. Nothing can compare to the way God shows Himself to His beloved.

Janet (jansuwilkinson)

All Scripture quoted from The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, Trinity Fellowship Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, 2002.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

Numbers 31, Psalms 75 & 76, Isaiah 23, 1 John 1

One of my favorite songs circa 1995 starts off with some hard to swallow truth. “I keep trying to find a life, on my own, apart from you.” Independence instead of dependence. Pride instead of humility. John begins the chapter  sharing the importance of fellowship with the One True God. From the beginning, it’s always been about relationship with Him and yet our human nature so frequently wants independence.

We focus on ourselves. Day in and day out we deceive ourselves. Our minds and hearts are put to ease when we compare to ourselves others and think, “I’m doing better at ________ than _________”. I have read the following passage probably one hundred times in my life but there are always new little pieces that stick out with each reading.

Deception. Selfishness. Pride. Forgiveness. Redemption.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. John 1

 

Simply put, this passage reminds me of my incredible need for a Savior! As much as a I want to walk in the light at all times, there moments, days or even seasons when the lights are dim. As I was sitting here this morning reflecting on this passage, the Holy Spirit brought a few questions to my mind.

  1. Is there any area where I am walking in darkness opposite from fellowship with the Lord?
  2. In what ways am I lying to or deceiving myself and not practicing truth?
  3. Are there areas of deception that I need to confess to the Lord?

Confession of sins not only leads to restoration of fellowship with the Lord but also one another. It’s Jesus’ blood that cleanses us from our sin and wanderings in the dark. Each and every day I must ask the  Holy Spirit to reveal those areas of sin that are not acceptable and spend time in self reflection and repentance. Naturally, on my own, I may not see my sin but the Spirit will reveal it.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for creating us with a desire for relationship. Thank your for making a way through Jesus Christ to be in fellowship with you forever. Holy Spirit, would you reveal to me those areas where I may be walking in darkness and help me to turn and run to your light! Amen. 

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Ezra 3-4; Psalm 92; I John 1

I John 1:5 says, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” Wish I could say that about myself. Instead, I regularly confess shades of sin to God and to others whom I have wronged so that God, who “is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” will send His grace and mercy to this repentant heart. (John 1:9). Blatant sin such as thefts, murders, and adultery may not be on my conscious, but the Holy Spirit is quick to convict me of blaming others, acting self-righteous or lacking faith. But what about defenses buried in sin that are unrecognizable until after they bite?

I came home from work the other day, glad for another blessed Friday. My elevated mood sparked my interest in making a real meal, not just the casual, lazy, Friday night fare of pizza and hot wings. Hubby heard me singing along with the radio, and I knew he was smiling before he poked his head around the corner to tell me hello. He let our small dog out of the cozy room among the laundry appliances and linen soaps. Seeing that smash-nosed, bow-legged, 16 pounds of lion-hearted loyalty, added to the promise of peace and harmony for the weekend. Yet when I reached down to kiss his silky head, our family pet violently, and without warning, bit me on the face. The shock of teeth penetrating skin was nothing compared to the painful reality that my 11 year-old friend had turned on me. The rest of the evening was a shambles caring for my wounded cheek and rationalizing the unexpected attack. Was he in physical pain? Is his advancing age a factor? What is the risk of repeated dog biting behavior? My husband and I talked about our fear that the dog would do the same or worse to our grandchild or other visiting family and friends.

Upon awakening the next morning, and after a sickening dream of giving poison to a guinea pig (go figure), the emotional jet lag felt defeating, and I sought consolation through the Word of God. As I meditated, the smog of confusion cleared and I felt convicted of sin – the sin of neglect.

Vignettes of a dog’s life played in my head. Especially over the last three months, I had not spent quantity or quality time with my canine friend. I rarely walked him. He was not allowed to be in the living room with us in our new house. I had developed a low tolerance for frustration which caused me to shoo the little guy out of the kitchen regularly so that he wouldn’t be under my feet or be a nuisance at the table. The story of neglect continued to play. Where once my dog would find a corner to curl up wherever I was, he now chose to stay in his own room. Instead of lying beside me feet, he preferred to be near my husband. He stopped asking for the treats that rarely came from me. I believe that God showed me that the sin of neglect was a contributing factor of my dog, old and blind in one eye, perhaps not knowing me at the moment he literally snapped.

“O Lord, how great are your works! Your thoughts are very deep. A senseless man does not know, nor does a fool understand this. When the wicked spring up like grass and when all the workers of iniquity flourish, it is that they may be destroyed forever,” (Psalm 92:5-7).  Lord, I can see how the sin of neglect sprang up and is a microcosm of relationships in my life that have long-since dissipated or relatives who no longer expect more than a hastily signed Christmas card once a year. I pray that the sin of neglect is destroyed once and for all by revelation, correction, and restoration. Through Jesus Christ, I pray, Amen!

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Filed under 1 John, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ezra, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

Proverbs 26-28; 1 Thessalonians 3

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

Before I was a believer, I thought that if I kept my ‘junk’ – my insecurities, envy, jealousy, anger, and the other sins of my heart – hidden from people that it would be as if it didn’t exist. I could put on a good face, a mask of innocence, and convince people that I was doing okay.

I came to a realization that no matter how well I kept it all hidden from my family and my friends (and I was probably deluding myself about how well I was keeping things secret anyway), I wasn’t keeping anything hidden from God.

He has full access to my heart, mind, and soul. He knows when sin has entered my heart, regardless of whether or not it shows to people. He knows when I am being stubborn and He knows when I am truly repentant.

Now that I follow Christ, I strive to walk in the freedom offered through salvation which Jesus granted to me through His finished work on the cross. I do my best to avoid what people consider the ‘big sins’, but in my humanness I still often commit sins of wrong attitudes.

I believe that God understands that I am going to sin, as much as He hopes that I wouldn’t; and, because of that awareness, He gives me second, thirds, fourth, etc. chances. Because He loves me so much, He extends His gift of grace to me each time I bring my failures to Him and lay them down at His feet.

When I confess my sins to Him, He forgives me and offers me mercy, allowing my past to no longer dictate what my future will look like. He heals my heart, gives me wisdom, and alleviates the trouble that may have been stirred up by my bad choices and He helps my destiny flourish. He gives me a testimony of His goodness and made me an overcomer.

Yesappa, Thank You for Your mercy and Your love. Thank You for Your forgiveness, and for helping me be transparent and vulnerable before You. Please, check my spirit when I sin in my heart so that I am more aware of my need to confess.And, grant me continuing grace as I journey through life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Isaiah 62-64; 1 Thessalonians 5

Yesterday my friend shared her story with me; it was one of darkness and shame, abandonment and addiction. Once abused, she came the abuser. Tears fell down her face as she confessed to the horrible moment that she discovered she had become the monster her parents had been. She sought help. To this day, she begs forgiveness from her adult children and has difficulty sleeping at night. Nightmares take her back to horrible times and waking is a relief.

Honestly, I was stunned by her confession.  I had always considered child abusers to be subhuman, far different from me. Not true. In fact, I think that my friend’s honesty is admirable. It took great strength and humility to tell me what she did. She fights hard for healing; it is a work in progress. I pray that one day, the Holy Spirit will bring her to the place where she will receive the forgiveness and peace Jesus longs to cover her with.

This morning I was on the phone with my sister. Before I knew it, snarky, judgmental words about some people who had done me no harm came from my lips. After I hung up, conviction came knocking. Maybe I hadn’t flung someone across the room, but in reality I had done malice to someone who couldn’t defend themselves. My sin felt like a ball and chain. The truth is, my friend and I stand before a holy God, and sin is sin. There’s no gradation.

Isaiah understood this:

All of us have become like one who is unclean,

all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;

we shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away…

Yet, O Lord you are our Father.

We are the clay, you are the potter;

we are the work of your hand.

Do not be angry beyond measure, O Lord: do not remember our sins forever. 

Oh look upon us, we pray for we are all your people.

Isaiah 64:6-9

Try as we may, on our own, we can never be good enough. The good news for all of us is that we can know forgiveness, peace and healing when we confess our sins, repent and grab hold of the grace that Jesus offers us. Our past doesn’t have to own us. Jesus takes our shame and replaces it with gratitude and celebration.

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  He died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.

1 Thessalonians 5:9-10

Lord, forgive me when I fall short. It happens so easily. Thank you that through your Son, I grab hold of your grace and come home to you. Thank you for my friend and her honesty and trust in me. Please open her heart to your healing and grace so that she is fully restored to you and knows your peace. Amen.

klueh

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Nehemiah 9-11; Acts 4:1-22

I’ve been thinking of my mom lately. She’s been dead half my life, and I barely knew her outside of her being a mother. I couldn’t tell you what her favorite ice cream was, her favorite book, or what the perfect day would be for her. I didn’t know what things she struggled with, what were her hopes or fears. Half a life later, I have moved on, becoming a wife and mother myself. I don’t even remember the sound of her voice. She is a mystery and a stranger aside from childhood memories.

The book had been on my shelf at least half a year. I’d had lots of intentions to read it, and recently my schedule opened up to a now-or-never opportunity. It changed everything. It happened in chapter two: daring to confess. Because of a few well-worded questions, I began to see a remarkable parallel between my mother and me. I began to see so many components of sin and wounding passed down through generations. I had inherited more than her hearty laugh.

In Nehemiah 9, the subhead reads: the people confess their sins. In their praise and worship of God, they go back through the generations and account for sins and God’s merciful response to them as a people.

16 “But our ancestors were proud and stubborn, and they paid no attention to your commands. 17 They refused to obey and did not remember the miracles you had done for them. Instead, they became stubborn and appointed a leader to take them back to their slavery in Egypt! But you are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and rich in unfailing love. You did not abandon them …” Nehemiah 9:16-17, NLT.

This reminder seemed so timely, and full of hope. How much closer I become to the Lord when I lay it all before him, ugly and honest. He already knows anyway.

No matter how long I’ve carried it, nothing is impossible for God.

For everyone was praising God 22 for this miraculous sign—the healing of a man who had been lame for more than forty years. Acts 4:21b-22, NLT.

Father God, I’m thankful for your gentle revealing of the hidden places of my heart. Thank you for bringing to light issues and attitudes I wasn’t aware I kept alive. Thank you that you are gracious and merciful, slow to become angry and rich in unfailing love. You won’t abandon me either. You continue your work in me, to fashion me into the image of your son. For me to accomplish this on my own? Likely impossible. But nothing is impossible for you.

Courtney (66books365)

(I purchased Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers by Leslie Leyland Fields and Dr. Jill Hubbard. This blurb acts to satisfy some FTC rules about book reviews/mentions. I wasn’t compensated to read or recommend this book. The link provided is not an affiliate link and I will not receive credit of any sort through it.)

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Joshua 9-10 & Luke 3

There is a scene in The 13th Warrior, (a movie loosely based on the epic, Beowulf), where actor Antonio Banderas’s Arabian character looks anxiously to the heavens and says, “Are you listening, God?” The question makes me smile every time because I relate so well.  There is no doubt in my mind that God is all-powerful, all-seeing, and all-knowing.  I even believe in miracles such as recorded in Joshua 10:12 where we are told that God answered Joshua’s prayer for the sun to stand still and the moon to stop for an entire day to allow him to finish the battle with his enemies.

What I sometimes doubt is that I’ve done everything necessary to get my prayers answered.  I totally believe that God is a personal God who cares about us, and that Jesus Christ our Savior even intercedes for us.  I acknowledge the work of the Holy Spirit to change me from the inside out and to make deep, silent prayers on my behalf.  I enjoy meaningful communion with God when I go to my knees in prayer.  It’s just that sometimes when I get up, having left my burden at the Cross, I still have no clue what to expect next.

Was my prayer aligned with God’s will? Did I do everything right to get His attention? Believe me, I’ve looked into this to see if there is a formula that works every time.  I’ve search through books, listened to learned pastors, sought teachings, and participated in conferences on answered prayer. I’ve learned that Scripture does give guidance on getting our prayers answered.

For instance, we cannot have unforgiveness toward others.  Make apologies. We must confess our sins and accept Christ’s redeeming blood.  Nightly confessions. We should always pray and sometimes even fast in approaching God.  No Little Debbie’s for a week and keep praying. We are told to go to God boldly, but remember to remain humble. Cry out and beat my chest. And above all, enter the spiritual realm though praise and thanksgiving to God. Make a gratitude list.

When all is done and I begin to wait expectantly, some well-meaning soul will say something like, ‘In this world we all will have trouble.’ Deflate.

Oh, to be like Jesus! When He came up from the baptismal water, He prayed and God answered immediately, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased!” (Luke 3:22)

To be honest, this declaration by God to the world gives me more hope and comfort than all the instruction on answered prayer. For in John 17:20-26, Jesus demonstrates God’s intent to love and accept us just the same as He loves Jesus. His prayer is “that they are one just as We are one…I in them, and You in Me…that [You] have loved them as You have loved Me…that the love with which You loved Me may be in them.”

This knowledge restores my wavering faith and stops these runaway fears. God listens to and answers my prayers, not because I am following a formula but because I am His daughter, and He is my Father who loves me.

Janet

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, John, Joshua, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament