Is confession really good for the soul?

Pr. 28:13:  “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”

I witnessed a beautiful example of this a few months ago.  Someone that I know was caught in an act of sin.  Ashamed and determined to regain trust, this person then decided that immediate confession was imperative.  I was present as they confessed their sin to their spouse.

I watched the range of emotions that came with that confession.  Satan tries to convince us that sin only affects us, and that everything is fine, but sin hurts, and no one is immune.

Had this person covered their sin, it would have eaten away at their soul, and caused their sin to grow and lead to other sinful habits.  Not only that, but their loved one may have found out so late and after so many lies, that trust could not have been rebuilt.

Fortunately, God’s Word is true.  Even with the pain that this confession brought, the fact that the truth was told gave their spouse a chance to choose to offer forgiveness, mercy, and grace.  I heard this person’s spouse say, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Ro. 3:23.

We all sin.  None of us want to admit it, but the fact remains.  I was very much in awe of this person who chose to confess and be held accountable.  What an admirable example for us all.

And what an amazing example I saw in their spouse as well.  If a broken, sinful spouse can forgive and offer mercy, how much more does our Father in Heaven offer to us.

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life one’s friends.  God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Eph. 2:4-5 says, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…”

We may not all receive mercy from others while on this earth, but Christ died to offer us mercy ahead of time.  He has already paid the price for our sins, and His mercy and forgiveness are available to us all.  That is worth a confession.

Inspired,

jamie

Scripture references John 15:13, Ro. 3:23, Ro. 5:8

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Should we run or stand by?

Pr. 28:18:  “Whoever walks blamelessly will be saved, but he who is perverse in his ways will suddenly fall.”

I saw a remarkable sight a few weeks ago while we were on vacation in the mountains.  While sitting on the porch eating dinner one evening, I noticed a deer eating at an apple tree across the way.  My family and I watched the doe as she ate.  It was a nice, quiet evening, and she seemed to be as relaxed as us.

A cousin of mine was spending that same week up there mowing grass, and as we watched the deer eating under his apple tree, we could hear his tractor coming up the rocky road toward his house.  I watched to see how quickly the doe ran away, but as I watched, I saw an illustration instead.

As my cousin’s tractor got near to his house, the doe simply watched him and kept chewing.  He and his tractor were less than 50 ft. from her.  She was slightly more alert, but was certainly not sprinting away.  He stopped, left his tractor running, went inside and grabbed a jacket, and drove off to do more mowing.  All the while, the doe simply watched.

Later that evening, I told him how amazed I was that this happened.  He said it happens all the time.  As he mows, he sees all kinds of wildlife.  They have become so used to him that as long as his tractor is running, they don’t move, but if he turns the tractor off they bolt.

This made me think of how easily we can become so used to dangers around us that in their presence we continue to feel safe.  My cousin, if he were so inclined, could easily take a rifle with him and shoot himself a deer while he’s on the tractor, knowing they wouldn’t run.

The same could happen to us.  Just because most movies and television shows have inappropriate sexual scenes in them, and we can become used to them, doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous to us spiritually.  Finding ourselves becoming comfortable in company that is putting pleasure first may not seem very dangerous, but without a doubt we will find ourselves putting pleasure first after a while.  Decorating our homes with trinkets from other religions just because they’re pretty, might seem harmless, but they invite the enemy to become comfortable in our homes.

There are so many examples I could use.  The point is that we cannot allow ourselves to become so used to sin and danger around us that we simply stand by and watch it become the norm in our lives.  We must remember that sin is dangerous and when it comes driving up that rocky road toward us, we must bolt.

Just being used to sin doesn’t make it safe.  At some point, we will fall.  At any time, the enemy can take out his rifle and fire a shot that proves it’s too late to run.

We must be on guard, and even in the presence of dangerous things that seem unthreatening, we must continue to flee and walk blamelessly on our way.

Standing ready to bolt,

jamie

Justice according to God…not us

Pr. 28:5:  “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand all.”

In John 7:24, after Jesus was confronted by people complaining against Him, He said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

It can be so easy for us to judge people and circumstances by what we see on the outside.  However, when we are seekers of the Lord, and are consistently gaining more understanding of Him and His will, we find that judgment does not come quite so easily.

The wisdom from the Lord helps us to understand justice according to God’s will and not our own.

We want revenge, but God says vengeance is His.  We want to strike back, but God says turn the other cheek.  We want to be found more faithful, but God says humble yourself and do not think more highly of yourself than you ought.  We believe in choice, but the Lord says to plead the cause of those unable to speak for themselves.

Justice, according to us, is self-seeking and certainly fickle.  One day we’re in a kind, peaceful, forgiving mood.  The next day we might find ourselves mad at the world.  If we seek justice according to our thoughts, emotions, feelings, and personal beliefs, disaster will certainly ensue.  How many wars, divorces, and divisions could have been avoided if personal justice wasn’t sought?

When we become more like Jesus, seeking the will of the Father, then we understand justice according to the One who is true.  God’s ways are not our ways, but plans are for good, and He has proven Himself through the ages to be faithful and sovereign.

If we are to understand justice, we should seek to understand justice from the viewpoint of our Father in heaven.  We can dig through His word and understand what true justice is.  When we seek the Lord we can understand all.

Looking inward,

jamie

Don’t let the commercials distract you

Pr. 28:6:  “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich.”

Not having cable, I rarely see commercials.  Yesterday I watched, in amazement, a commercial about fingernail polish.  It started with flirting and ended with 2 people in bed together.  For some fingernail polish.  Really!?

I am not trying to write a bitter diatribe about our society, but it saddens me when I see things like this.  Sin has a mighty grip on our world.  Sin would have us believe that life is all about ourselves, popularity, status, fame, success, sex, and sexiness.

Millions of dollars are spent daily on indulgences, advertisements, and commercials telling us how our lives should be.  Meanwhile, there are people dying every second from hunger.  Christians are dying and being persecuted for the Word of God.  Young girls are enslaved in human trafficking.  Babies are being killed.  People are dying from the lack of the simplest of the medical care.  There are still some who do not know the Lord as their Savior.

There is a work for us to do here on this earth, and I can assure you that it has nothing to do with wearing the sexiest fingernail polish or clothes, having the sexiest body, having the most impressive position at a company, having the most partners or experiences in bed, or having the most socially acceptable friends.

Integrity, a servant’s heart, modesty, humility, contentedness, purity, generosity, and honesty are still better.  God created us for a purpose.  I don’t care what this sin-cursed, sexy-fingernail-polish-wearing world says, God’s will and plans are still what are most important.

We still have work to do.  We don’t have time to allow the commercials and distractions of sin, temptation, or possessions to keep us from that work.  We must choose God, choose integrity, and choose to stay focused on the work for which we were created.  We may not be able to save the entire world in 1 day, but we can start with 1 person in 1 moment, and change a life.

We have to regain our focus on what is truly important.  That starving child does NOT care what kind of lipstick, suit, or shoes we are wearing.  The young girl enslaved in sexual trafficking is not worried about your fingernail polish.  The lady dying from a curable parasite is not interested in which Christmas dishes or tablet you’re picking out.  Those things are distractions and they do not matter.

There are people trapped in sin and others who have never even heard of the Lord.  We must reach out and show the love of Jesus and share about His sacrifice and forgiveness now.  It doesn’t matter what our position or status in society, God can use us to save people’s souls.

We must come to our senses.  We have a job to do, and people are counting on us!

Thank you for indulging me,

jamie

 

He speaks

Pr. 28:14:  “Happy is the man who is fears the Lord always, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.”

This morning I read Mt. 13:1, “On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea.  And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.”

Multitudes traveled countless miles and gathered to hear Jesus speak.  They stood in the crowd to glean wisdom from Him, possibly to receive healing from Him, or maybe just out of curiosity.  The point is that they so wanted to see or hear Jesus that they came to find Him.

Ps. 117:2 tells us, “And the truth of the Lord endures forever.”

Like the multitudes, we need to seek Jesus.  We need to find Him so that we may hear the enduring truth that He and the Father speak.

In order to fear the Lord, keeping ourselves to His will and His precepts, we must know what He has said to us.

Had the multitudes not gathered that day, they would not have head the parables of Jesus.  They would not have heard about the kingdom of heaven.  The judgment would not have been revealed to them.

In order to keep our hearts from hardening in sin and against the Lord, we must find Him and hear Him.  Lest we fall into calamity, we must remain close to His teachings.  Having heard Him, we can then turn our lives fully over to Him and His will.

When we know the true God, we do not desire to turn our backs on Him, but to walk with Him and keep ourselves holy unto Him.  This fear of the Lord makes us happy.

Find Jesus today.  Seek Him out.  Do whatever you must to hear His words of truth which endures forever.  I pray that in your hearing, you also understand.  True happiness and joy await.

Smiling for you,

jamie

 

The heart’s journey…from lust to murder

Pr. 28:26:  “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.”

I recall some decisions that David, the king of Israel, made in the spring season when kings would go out to battle.  He chose to stay home that spring, sending his servants and soldiers on without him.  One night, with nothing better to do, he strolled up onto the roof of his house.  2 Sam. 11:2 says, “And he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold.”

This is the moment when David had a decision to make.  Do I listen to and act upon the feelings and desires of my heart or do I use wisdom?  We know that David trusted in his heart this time.  He could have turned away and walked back inside.  If that didn’t completely satisfy, he could have prayed and gotten his mind on the Lord.  He could have even decided to prepare to go meet his army in order to keep busy.  Instead he inquired about her, sent for her, and the rest is history.  Trusting in his heart not only led to lust, but also to adultery.

Instead of repenting and asking for God’s wisdom, after being informed that Bathsheba had become pregnant that night, David continued to follow his heart and act foolishly.

David, the one that God referred to as a man after His own heart, proved the truth in Jer. 17:9:  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”  No matter how much we love the Lord and how much we walk with Him, the moments when we decide to be led by our hearts instead of His wisdom, we are being led astray by a deceitful and desperately wicked thing.

David isn’t the only one in history to sin.  It can be easy to look back on someone else’s mistakes and pridefully wonder why they’d make such poor decisions; however, we all fall prey to sin.  The best thing we can do is take notes to remind ourselves not to make the same mistakes.  Let’s learn from David’s mistakes and trust that when we walk in God’s wisdom we will be delivered.

How can we believe that would happen?  Because the Bible tells us so.  It is impossible for God to lie.  If He said it, He will do it.  If David had cried out to the Lord at any point during his journey from lust to murder, God would have given him wisdom and help.  How do I know?  He had done it countless times before.  God had already delivered David from lions, giants, and other kings.  If He did it once, He could do it again.

How many times has God delivered you?  Next time you’re faced with temptation, don’t follow your heart.  Recall the times you’ve been delivered through His power and faithfulness, and then call upon Him.  He is the same God, and He will not leave you now.

Calling on Him,

jamie

Want your inheritance to be good?

Pr. 28:10:  “Whoever causes the upright to go astray in an evil way, he himself will fall into his own pit; but the blameless will inherit good.”

As Christians, we have been commissioned by Jesus Christ to go into all the world making disciples.  That requires some effort, some commitment, some loyalty to the Lord.  Making disciples requires that we ourselves must be disciples.  If our life doesn’t point to Christ, it is pointing somewhere.

Too often, we think that our actions are isolated to ourselves.  It’s just not true.  We are being watched at all times.  There is someone in each of our lives over which our example holds some sway.  When we choose to walk away from the Lord, others are affected by our choices.  Sometimes we unintentionally steer someone down a path of sin and evil just by our example.  Other times; however, we fall so far from the Lord that we intentionally bring others with us.

The Bible says that if we cause the upright to go astray in an evil way, we ourselves will fall into our own pit.  Not only are others counting on us, but the Lord is counting on us to be the one that brings others to Him.

The Lord rewards those who do His will.  We will inherit good.  Eternal life is waiting on us if we have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Let’s focus on the part where we ourselves are disciples.

How will our life point to Christ, so that we can inherit this good?  Reading, studying, and praying over the Word of God keeps His will and His heart at the forefront of our minds.  Praying and spending time in stillness with the Lord, allows us to get in submission to His will and allows Him to speak to our hearts and minds.  Worshiping and praising the Lord will cause our hearts to fill with awe of Him and cause our mouths to pour forth truth and goodness.

When our relationship with God is vibrant and active, our lives will naturally point others to Him.  Simply abiding in God, and allowing Him bear the fruit in our lives, could be the exact thing that brings salvation to another.

Abiding in Him,

jamie