Monday, March 31, 2014

LENT: April 1 - 1 Corinthians 4:10

We are fools for

the sake of Christ

1 Corinthians 4:10

 

Happy April Fool’s Day. I hope you’ve taken time to laugh with friends or family today. My boys favorite trick was always to tape the trigger of the sprayer of the sink down. Turn on the water and … SPLAASSHHH!

 

As you would probably guess, fools and foolishness are not new to our generation! Various versions of the word “fool” occur score (if not hundreds) of times in the Scripture. They occur mostly in the wisdom literature. For example, the Proverbs continually advise us on how to be wise rather than foolish.

 

In our verse for today, Paul uses “fool” in a different way.

 

Fool is obviously a derogative term in his generation; nevertheless, this disciple boldly claims the title!

 

Why? Because our world – with all its big words and high-falutin’ reason – “d[oes] not see fit to acknowledge God” (Rom 1:28) Paul would rather be a faithful fool than a foolish “debater of this age” (1 Cor 1:20). “God [has] made foolish the wisdom of the world,” declares Paul (1 Cor 1:20); therefore, Paul is content, simply, “to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and … shar[e in] his sufferings by becoming like him in his death” (Phil 3:20).

 

“For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved,” says Paul, “it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1:18).

 

In Christ’s Love,

a guy who’s glad to be a fool

(on April 1 … or any

other time for Christ)

 

 

 

 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

LENT: Mar 31 - Revelation 4:1

"After these things I looked, and behold,

a door standing open in heaven.

And the first voice which I heard was

like a trumpet speaking with me, saying,

“Come up here, and I will show you

things which must take place after this."

Revelation 4:1

Revelation begins in chapter 1 with John the Apostle being caught up in a vision on the Lord's day.

In chapters 2-3, Jesus commands John to write seven messages to seven churches in Asia (modern day Turkey).

And then the end begins. (In fact, then the new beginning begins! But first there will be terrors and tribulations, earthly disasters and Satanic oppression.) Revelation is scary to contemplate living through.

Now there are a number of faithful and major interpretations of Revelation (and then scores twists and branches from these major themes), but one faithful system of interpretation suggests that true Christians won't have to endure the Tribulation. We will be "raptured" and those who don't believe will be "left behind" for the next seven harrowing years.

Made famous in recent generations by Pastor Tim LaHaye's "Left Behind" book series, the Rapture is based on two key pieces of scriptural evidence. 

First, Jesus suggests a reaping or rapturing of the faithful when he returns. He says: "(This) is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore, keep watch..." (Mt 24:39-42)

Second, after the Church was the main earthly character in Revelation 1-3, the Church is not mentioned again in Revelation 4-22. How can it possibly be, many ask, that in the most profound era of human history that there is zero mention of the Church and Christ's followers. Many point back to Matthew 24, believing that "what happens after this" is what happens after the believers have disappeared from the earth (and before the horrors unfold).

One plus one seems to equal two ... but the question is: Where does that occur in the book of Revelation?

Today's verse is the one verse transition between those first three chapters which are filled with the Church and the remaining chapters in which the church seems to have disappeared. Hmmm. Re-read today's verse. There is a trumpet. The only believer whose being addressed (John) is invited to come UP to be with Jesus. (Might this represent what will happen to all believers before the trials and tribulations?) What do you think?

My goal today is to not provide answers, but to help you think.

In Christ's Love,

a guy who thinks more and more

that thinking about this might

matter during our lifetimes!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

LENT: Mar 30 - John 14:14

Jesus says,

"If in my name you ask me

for anything, I will do it."

John 14:14

In this passage, Jesus is not promising to be you personal genie!

Yes, he does say, "If ... you ask me for anything, I will do it," but those are three important dots.

The key to getting the answer we want is wanting what God wants. That's what asking "in his name" means. It means giving up our plans and purposes for his higher plans and purposes.

God will always do what he wants! He will always do what he knows is right. Period. Therefore, the secret to answered prayer is becoming one with God and wanting what he wants!

In Christ's Love,

a guy who feels like

his desires are beginning to

head in the right direction

(i.e. I'm learning to want less of me)



Sent from my iPhone

Last Chance BBQ - Open til 6 on Saturday!

Staying open til about 6 on Saturday.

Come buy a sandwich or a pint!

Friday, March 28, 2014

LENT: Mar 29 - Psalm 65:5

By awesome deeds you

answer us in righteousness,

O God of our salvation.

Psalm 65:5

How many of us wish that God would more frequently "answer" with "awesome deeds"?

From time to time, we all do.

A loved one is sick. We cry, "God help." We want to occasionally see the lame walk and have the blind see. Don't we?

But here's what I want to invite you to do:

·       When you're discouraged, read more of the Psalms.

·       Try to understand their timeline and perspective for answered prayer and awesome deeds.

·       They often point back a thousand years and claim those actions, in confidence, like they happened yesterday.

·       They celebrate God's power in creation.

·       A dozen generations later, they about his parting of the Red Sea.

·       They are confident that God absolutely rescues, because he absolutely rescued their long-gone ancestors.

·       Through their remembrances of yesterday, they're strong today!

Yes, I may wish that God would heal my good friend yesterday ... or today ... or tomorrow. But here's the good news: because I know that God is real and caring and active, I can trust that he's aware of my prayers and will deliver absolutely in his time and in his way.

In Christ's Love,

a thankful rememberer

BBQ and BOOK SALE - Come Tonight, Come Tomorrow

 

 

From: Pastor Ed Thomas [mailto:pastored@spiritofjoy.us]
Sent: Friday, March 28, 2014 3:31 PM
Subject: BBQ and BOOK SALE - Come Tonight, Come Tomorrow

 

Our BBQ is always AWESOME.

Friday til 8 and Saturday 10-2ish

But this year we have a Book Sale too.

It’s a book store’s worth of books! And everything’s a Dollar!

 

P.S. NO Dog Wash  Car Wash

Youth and Predicted Lightning don’t mix!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

LENT: Mar 28 - Genesis 3:19

God said to humanity …

By the sweat of your face

you shall eat bread,

till you return to the ground,

for out of it you were taken;

for you are dust, and

to dust you shall return.”

Genesis 3:19

 

Bad news: Life is supposed to be hard.

 

True fact: It’s a consequence of sin. Our sin. We shot ourselves in our own foot.

 

If you want, you can read Genesis 3 as God’s punishment. I don’t! No, it’s natural consequences to ourr own actions.

 

Think about it like this.

 

·         God lives in paradise.

·         And God created for us a paradise (see Genesis 1 and 2).

·         When we’re in paradise, we’re with God. (And vice-versa: When we’re with God, we’re in paradise.)

·         But sin is rebelling against God.

·         Sin is running from God.

·         Therefore, when we run from God, we run away from paradise.

·         And if we run from paradise, “bread” doesn’t grow on trees.

·         Therefore, because we have rebelliously run from God, it will require “the sweat of your face” to “eat bread.”

·         In other words, this is not God’s judgment, but a “natural consequence.”

·         We shoot ourselves in our own foot.

 

The summary of that is this: Life is hard because of us. And it will continue to be hard until … When? “Till you return to the ground.”

 

Sorry. Life is hard. And it will be hard until you die. You will work … or you will go hungry. That’s nature. And just like in the wild – where the weak antelope is the one that the hyenas attack -- the weak and poor and powerless suffer. It’s not judgment. It’s life lived in the wilderness of our sin and our corruption and our lack of generosity.

 

And if you have blessings, be thankful. But don’t think that you’re entitled to them, because you’re part of the problem. You sin. I sin. Even nice people, to one degree or another, make their own hell.

 

Is that depressing enough for you! This is how life is, and it will inevitably be this way “till you return to the ground [as] dust.” But that’s when the hope begins.

 

God so loved the world that he provided a way to conquer our sin and return us to a place where there is no mourning and crying and pain and death will be no more. Through the love and sacrifice of Jesus, we can be cleansed of our sin and return to paradise (heaven).

 

The point of life isn’t happiness or paradise. It’s returning to God. And guess what, we even can do that BEFORE we die. Not 100% … because on this earth we’ll always be entangled in the webs of sin, but we’ll see glimpses of more and more light and hope as soon as we repent (turn away from sin and turn to – run to – God).

 

In Christ’s Love,

a guy who is NOT depressed by this!

(Rather, it explains everything, and

inspires me to daily find the light!)

 

 

 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

LENT: Mar 27 - Leviticus 20:6

The Lord said,

“If a person turns to mediums and

necromancers, whoring after them,

I will set my face against that person and

will cut him off from among his people.”

Leviticus 20:6

 

I love watching college basketball ... especially during NCAA tournament time. 

 

But about this time last week, I was watching THE most frustrating game I ever, ever saw. My NC State Wolfpack, slowly, excruciatingly gave the game away to the St. Louis University Billikens. 

 

I was so frustrated at the end of the game that I had to look up what a Billiken is. (And its identity made me even less happy.)

 

The Billiken is a specific kind of charm doll from the turn of the last century. 


Now the Billiken could have been a totally harmless creation of one particular art teacher from Kansas City in 1908. (After all, I'm an artist
a silly cartoonistand most of my doodles are surely harmless creations.)

 

But when I hear that illustrator Florence Pretz saw this mysterious figure in a dream -- complete with pointed ears, a pointed head, and a mischievous smile -- and that people bought and gifted them as good luck charms, warning bells rang my head. 


As Christians, we don't need good luck charms. In fact, it's idolatrous -- almost blasphemous -- to have them. 


Our hope is in the Lord ... or it's not. 


It's not just silly fun to have a charm or an idol, it's a refusal to fully trust God. 


In the Law, God said he'd "cut off" those who played at charms, idols, and the occult. I don't know about you but I'd rather cut out the cute and silly (and clearly not so harmless superstitions) than be cut off from God. 


In Christ's Love,

a poor Wolfpacker who's

still starting a campaign:

Down with Billikens

 

 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

LENT: Mar 26 - Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through

Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13

Last week Mary Louise and I were at the Outer Banks. (Thanks for being our new pastor, Nate! It's nice to finally get a good vacation.)

I was sitting on the beach with my iPhone, reading news articles, thinking, "Maybe I'll write a devotion." (I know ... but creating is relaxing and rejuvenating for me.) Anyway, flicking on one last article, it covered a court case against a Midwestern governor because he cited the above verse on his social media page.

Curious question: If the courts make him take the quote off his page, is he really able to do ALL things through Christ's strength?!

Hmmm ... what does that passage really mean?

In a world of sin, scripture promises the Christians WILL be persecuted. Not every Christian all the time ... but quit thinking of big persecutions. Throughout the day, every Christian's faith is subtly tested.

That's where the strength of Christ comes in. Along with the Holy Spirit, He's there to guide us, helping us make wise and faithful decisions. He's there to support us with the courage to follow through on our convictions. He's there to encourage us when we come under attack from an unbelieving world -- from our peers in school, to the atheists dragging us to court for Bible verses on Facebook, to the church burnings and executions going on virtually every day in Africa.

·       Sometimes Jesus saves us from the fire.

·       Sometimes he strengthens and encourages us in the midst of the fire.

·       But here's the greatest strength he offers: when we know him, truly know him, the worst that the world can do is send us to heaven one day early!!

Knowing that is the greatest strength of all.

In Christ's Love,

a guy thinks that this is what

the of helmet of salvation really means

(it guards our thoughts and guides our deeds)

Monday, March 24, 2014

LENT: Mar 25 - Acts 15:8-9

Peter said … “And God,

who knows the human heart,

testified to [the Gentiles] by

giving them the Holy Spirit,

just as he did to us; and

in cleansing their hearts by faith

he has made no distinction between

them and us [who are Jews].”

Acts 15:8-9

 

Once the world was divided into two groups – Jews and Gentiles.

 

According to the Old Covenant, God chose the Jews to be his witnesses. Sometimes they succeeded. Often they failed. The Gentiles were 98% of the rest of the world. They’d didn’t know the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (and Jesus), and were, therefore, outside the Covenant.

 

After Christ’s resurrection (Easter) and the coming of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost), the New Covenant, established by Jesus, began to expand in size and scope. Following Jesus’ command, his disciples began to be his “witnesses [starting] in Jerusalem, [expanding to] all Judea and Samaria, and [eventually reaching] to the ends of the earth."

 

But as the Gospel message extended to the Gentiles, the sensibilities of the first believers (who were originally all Jews) was severely challenged. They’d kind of been taught to be suspicious of (if not out-right hate) the heathen Gentiles. Therefore, while maybe they’d be willing to accept a few Gentile believes, these Gentiles had better to convert to doing things “the Jewish-Way” (including submitting to Kosher laws and circumcision).

 

In today’s verse, those early animosities are beginning to dissolve. The Jewish believers are discovering that the measuring stick for faith is no longer doing things “the Jewish-Way.” Indeed, it’s not the old covenant that guides us any more, it’s 1) Jesus’-Way, 2) the New Covenant Way, according to the Gospel, and 3) the Holy Spirit Way, according to the clear movement and activity of the Holy Spirit.

 

Indeed, it’s the presence of the Holy Spirit – given to Gentiles as well as Jews – that Peter says “cleans[es] hearts” and marks a Christian.

 

And that leads to our question for today … What’s the evidence for the Holy Spirit in your life?

 

Now, that’s not designed to be a guilt-producing question … rather, if you’re seeing less than you’d like, it’s an encouragement to start investigating the Holy Spirit more fully!

 

In Christ’s Love,

a guy who wants ALL

that God offers

 

 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

LENT: Mar 24 - 1 John 2:8

The darkness is passing away

and the true light is already shining.

1 John 2:8

 

“God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” (Gen 1:3)

 

In the beginning, God’s first “invention” was light. It conquered the darkness, the chaos, and the formless void that ruled … until God spoke.

 

In Genesis 1, we see God’s original intent. He made all things “good.” In Genesis 3, however, darkness re-asserted itself. We call this darkness “sin.” It is not a physical darkness, but a darkness of the heart. It is internal. It is spiritual. It is man’s rebellion against a God of light.


Therefore, when John the Apostle says that, “The darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining,” he’s not talking about the kind of light that suns and stars and even flashlights make. The darkness that “is passing away” is spiritual. Sin is being defeated. How? A true light is shining. Some sort spiritual power is conquering the darkness of human sin.

 

What is this “true light”? Ultimately, it is Jesus, of course (see John 8:12). But John allows you and me to join heaven’s conquering of the darkness (see Matthew 5:14). In what way? Well, in today’s verse he tells us that the true light is love. (And yes, we get to participate in that.)

 

Indeed, in the verses surrounding today’s verse, he talks about the kingdom’s new and glorious (shining-like-a-light) commandment. Jesus once said, “I give you a new commandment that you love one another” (John 13:34). The apostle in 1 John 2 isn’t as succinct as Jesus; rather, it takes him a paragraph to talk about this “new commandment,” saying, “10 love[ your] brothers and sisters … 15 [and] do not love the world.”

 

But go back and simplify this truth. If we want the darkness of sin to pass away, we have an anti-viral medication: Love! And while God himself is love, we can flashlights.

 

In Christ’s Love,

a guy who wants

an Ever-Ready battery

for his flashlight

Saturday, March 22, 2014

LENT: Mar 23 - Ezekiel 3:10

Mortal, all my words

that I shall speak to you

receive in your heart and

hear with your ears.

Ezekiel 3:10

 

Number one, God speaks.

 

Most times, God speak through his Word.

 

But sometimes he speaks personally. I know a few people who (very) occasionally hear words. I know others who – somewhat regularly – sense, instead, a moving of the Spirit. Now … they’re not “special.” Rather, most of them …

 

1)    have read God’s Word for years until they know God’s purposes and patterns by heart (so that they know instinctively whether something could be of God or not of God)

2)    have cultivated a deep prayer life … and one that involves a lot of listening, and

3)    have, from the beginning, tested what they’ve begun to experience against the clear messages of God’s Word and have tested what they’re experiencing with people of deep faith.

 

But here’s the first point: God does speak … and most often through his Word. Indeed, if you want to hear from God, start reading more and more and more of his Word. Learn his “voice” through the pages of scripture.

 

Second, as God told Ezekiel, “receive … all my words … in your heart.”

 

It’s not enough to just read God’s Word. We have to open our hearts to it. We have to accept “ALL” of it as His Word. We can’t pick and choose.

 

Now, as we’re learning to know God’s Word by heart …

 

·         we may not understand it all. (So … get a Study Bible! Or study it with others! Ask lots of questions!)

 

·         and we may not even like it all. (That was my barrier when I started reading the Word seriously. I argued with it. But keep reading. The more I read, the clearer I saw God as a parent – with both patient love, self-sacrificing love, and disciplining love. We can’t understand the Bible without understanding the horror of sin … and how much it hurts God … and how much he loves us anyway … and what he gave – his only begotten Son – because of that love.)

 

But the more and better that we listen, the clearer God’s voice becomes. Indeed, the more he begins to speak.

 

In Christ’s Love,

a guy who hears God best

through his Word

(which I love)

Friday, March 21, 2014

LENT: Mar 22 - Romans 4:16-17 (3)

the promise [which] rest[s] on grace

[is] guaranteed to all …

who share the faith of Abraham …

in the presence of the God in whom he believed,

who gives life to the dead and

calls into existence the things that do not exist.”

Romans 4:16-17

 

Do you like presents?

 

·         Are you the kind of person who shakes  every package, trying to guess what’s inside?

 

·         Or are you one of the type of person who is deliberate, patient, and careful, not wanting to tear even a corner of the paper?

 

Do you like presents? Or do you like Presence – God’s Presence?

 

God is truly with us.

 

·         That’s the literal meaning of the word “Emmanuel” – “God is with us.”

·         That’s the point of the incarnation, Jesus’ stepping off the throne in heaven to come dwell in human form with you and me.

·         That’s the gift of the Holy Spirit – an indwelling grace, an inescapable and comforting presence.

 

God is not a distant God. He loves you. He comes to you. He dies for you. He walks beside you. He carries you when you’re too weak to walk alone. When you pass through fires, he says, “I will be with you” (Isaiah 43).

 

In Christ’s Love,

a guy who likes presents of

shirts and ties and books and watches,

but like the Presence more!

(It enables me to live!)

 

 

 

  

 

 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

LENT: Mar 21 - Romans 4:16-17 (2)

the promise [which] rest[s] on grace

[is] guaranteed to all …

who share the faith of Abraham …

in the presence of the God in whom he believed,

who gives life to the dead and

calls into existence the things that do not exist.”

Romans 4:16-17

 

I love good animation.

 

In fact, as I was just becoming a (semi-)professional cartoonist, I remember going to the re-release of Disney’s Jungle Book. And I was in awe!

 

But than a good cartoonist’s animation, however, is God’s almighty animation! Scripture tells us that when time began, God animated what was formless, lifeless, and void!

 

Now, animation does not mean cartooning. Animation means bringing to life that which is lifeless. Doodles on paper can move with the right amount of artistic flair. But better than cartooning, God is the master animator, making inert chemicals spring to literal life. As we focused on yesterday, God “calls into existence the things that do not exist.”

 

Today we focus on a second form of divine animation (a second phrase from our verse for today). God “gives life to the dead.” This is re-animation. This is the promise that this life is not the end. This is hope and confidence that the dead in Christ will raise imperishable. This is eternal life. This is heaven.

 

Life and animation are awe-inspiring gifts. Eternal life and re-animation are the gifts that know no end.

 

In Christ’s Love,

a cartoonist who’s glad to know personally

The greatest animator of all time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

LENT: Mar 20 - Romans 4:16-17 (1)

the promise [which] rest[s] on grace

[is] guaranteed to all …

who share the faith of Abraham …

in the presence of the God in whom he believed,

who gives life to the dead and

calls into existence the things that do not exist.”

Romans 4:16-17

 

Yesterday, I said that we would focus -- for the next three days -- on the final three lines of today’s verse. It is one of the Apostle Paul’s “pictures” of …

 

·         the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

·         the God of the Old Testament and of the Jews (of which Paul was well-credentialled member from birth).

·         the God of Jesus, who himself came as a Jew

·         the only true God, the creator who “calls into existence the things that do not exist.”

 

In one poetic phrase, Paul describes God by summarizing Genesis 1.

 

In the beginning, the world was formless and void. “Things” did not exist. “All things” did not exist. There was nothingness. In terms of material substance, everything was a void.

 

And then suddenly – in the whoosh of thirty-one, Genesis 1 verses – everything did exist.

 

How?

 

That’s the question. Did God use hammer and nails? Did he use test-tubes and Bunsen burners? Did he assemble masses of organic material and shock with electricity to bring it to life?

 

No, says Paul. No, says Genesis 1. No, says God, consistently through Scripture. He simply spoke it into being. “Let there be …” As Paul says, he “call[ed it] into existence.” Whoosh!

 

·         The point of today’s glimpse of God should first be awe. God is not only more powerful than we are; he is infinitely more powerful than we are!

 

·         The second point is that the God who calls all things into existence calls you! He’s huge and vast. He’s also gentle and personal. And he as a purpose for you. “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

 

In Christ’s Love,

a guy who wonders how each of us

is being called today!

 

  

 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

LENT: Mar 19 - Romans 4:16a

For this reason it depends on faith,

in order that the promise may rest on grace

Romans 4:16a

 

Romans 4 includes a long discussion on why our justification and salvation depends on

 

1.    faith rather than works, and …

2.    God’s grace rather than our actions.

 

In the verses surrounding Romans 4:16 Abraham is Paul’s example of saving power of God. Even passionate Pharisees who believe that works made us just, should have remembered God’s Word from their own Old Testament scriptures: “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Read that again! “Abraham was right with God because of faith and belief.”

 

·         If this example of Abraham is new to you, read Romans 4 and 5.

·         But here’s the piece I want to focus on …

 

As today’s verse continues, the Apostle Paul talks about what is “16 guaranteed to all … who share the faith of Abraham … 17 in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.”

 

Here’s what I want to focus on today (and really for the next three days) … Look at that Romans 4:17 picture of God! Scripture tells us …

 

·         that God “give life to the dead”

·         that God “calls into existence the things that do not exist”

·         and that God is present … and even more so, we are “in the presence of … God” – indeed, we are “in the presence of the God in whom [Abraham] believed.”

 

I’ll talk about each of these in turn in the next three days. Today, contemplate the nature of our amazing God – praising him, worshipping him, thanking him, delighting in him, bowing before him in awe.

 

In Christ’s Love,

a guy who “depends on faith”

and “rest[s] on grace”

and therefore is very peaceful

 

 

 

  

Monday, March 17, 2014

LENT: Mar 18 - Romans 5:1

since we are justified by faith,

we have peace with God

through our Lord Jesus Christ

Romans 5:1

 

·         You are guilty. You have sinned. So have I.

·         You deserve punishment. So do I.

·         In our offensive state, there is no way that we should ever expect to be able to stand before a holy, perfect, and pure God. Described in Hebrews as a consuming fire, God’s glory should utterly toast us.

·         On our own – as we’re reminded on Ash Wednesday – we are ashes to ashes and dust to dust.

·         Your sins (and mine) deserve the death penalty.

·         That’s our nature. That’s our state from birth. That’s our destiny – the decay of the grave and the fires of hell.

 

So here’s the question … How come a convict like you (and me) is declared “just”?!!!

 

That’s what “justified” means. We who are “dead,” “doomed,” and “sinful” (see Ephesians 2:1), have a “Get Out of Jail Free” card. But instead of this card being Monopoly orange, the color of our freedom is blood red.

 

Our sin creates violence in God’s kingdom. We may think that we’re hurting no one but ourselves, but sin is violence. Insurrection. Even if we’re sinning in secret, we’re stabbing our Father’s heart with every sin. Every transgression nails Christ to the cross again. So how can Paul possibly say that us traitors have peace with God?

 

How? It’s not because of anything that we have done. It’s “through [everything that] our Lord Jesus Christ [has done].”

 

And it’s not because we deserve any of it. It’s because of Jesus’ love, grace, and sacrifice.

 

In Christ’s Love,

a guy in an orange jump suit

that has been washed white

in the blood of the Lamb

 

 

 

LENT: Mar 17 - James 5:16

Therefore

confess your sins to one another,

and pray for one another,

so that you may be healed.

James 5:16

 

Confession is healing. That’s what James tells us. Why? Because confession is a key to freedom.

 

But James takes it a step further. He says it’s healing to confess to one another.

 

Now … most of us resist that. Why? Pride is the first reason. We like to pretend that we’re better than we really are. We don’t want to vulnerable.

 

The first reason leaves us weak and isolated … but the second reason is even more insidious. When we confess our sins to others, we’re accountable. And most of us don’t like to confess because we kind of like our sins.

 

Take, for example, one of the most pervasive sins in American society today – pornography. Sexuality releases endorphins. And we can get addicted to momentary pleasure and tawdry rush. But here’s the problem … If we confess our sins, even to a friend, we might have to stop. And we don’t really want to. And so we isolate ourselves. We keep our sins in secret. And we stay in this prison. It may have momentary pleasures, but make no mistake … it’s prison.

 

James offers a path toward healing. Put away the pride. Entrust yourself to Christian accountability. Draw on the power of God as you “pray for one another.” And watch yourself grow freer and freer and freer!

 

In Christ’s Love,

a guy who’s witnessed

this power and freedom