If We Confess Our Sins . . .

Good morning. It is Wednesday, January 28, 2015. Hump Day. 68 days until Opening Day. 23 days until pitchers and catchers report.

Today’s Word of the Day is odditorium. No, I am NOT making that up. And just as you might think, and odditorium is, “A shop or venue for the display or sale of oddities or oddments.” The first usage of the word seems to have appeared in 1914, in Shackleton’s Four on Tour. “We happened upon an ‘odditorium’, a delightful name adopted by a very shabby shop in a very narrow lane [in Kingston-upon-Thames] where we found some very attractive bits of old silver and china.”

Today is Blueberry Pancake Day. Great. Now I’m hungry. Just don’t let the handle of your fork fall in the syrup. I hate when that happens.

We had a nice Huddle last night. There were three people out, so we only had five guys. I guess we could have made burgers and fries. What? You don’t get it? Anyway, we talked about the experiences we’ve had during the past week, which really helps in the “discuss” portion of the learning circle. At the end, Rob introduced the next shape that we will be talking about, the triangle.
Triangle
Just as you might think, the “Up” point is our relationship with God, the “In” point is our relationship with the Church, and the “Out” point is our relationship with the world. The thought is that Up feeds In, which feeds Out, the idea being that there should be a pretty good balance between all three. Our homework for this week is to rate all three of those aspects of our lives during the coming week.

Christi is making chili this morning, to take to work. It seems they are having a chili cook-off at work today. My work never does anything fun like that. They only yell at us when we make mistakes. How fun is that?

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man,
to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.

Psalm 14:2

Today’s reading from Solid Joys is “How to Repent.”

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9

“A vague, bad feeling that you are a crummy person is not the same as conviction for sin. Feeling rotten is not the same as repentance.”

So begins this reading that reflects on a very popular verse about forgiveness. As I pray to God, the creator of the universe, I sometimes feel unworthy to be speaking to him. What do I do about it after acknowledging that feeling?

I must get specific. What have I done that is making me feel this way? Or what have I failed to do? (Please don’t misunderstand . . . this is not a reading designed to induce guilt.) These vague feelings can be good if they lead to conviction over specific sins.

What are some commands that I frequently fail to obey?

–“Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Not 95%, but 100%” (Matthew 22:37)
–“Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Be as eager for things to go well for him as you are for things to go well for you.” (Matthew 22:39)
–“Do all things without grumbling. No grumbling—inside or outside.” (Philippians 2:14)
–“Cast all your anxieties on him—so you are not being weighed down by it anymore.” (1 Peter 5:7)
–“Only say things that give grace to others—especially those closest to you.” (Ephesians 4:29)
–“Redeem the time. Don’t fritter or dawdle.” (Ephesians 5:16)

Wow. “So much for any pretensions to great holiness! I’m undone.”

But guess what! Now, I look these things in the eye. I don’t whine about feeling bad about them. I talk to Jesus about not being obedient. “I’m broken and I’m angry at my sin. I want to kill it, not me. And this is where the promise in 1 John 1:9 comes into play. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

“Peace rises.

“Prayer feels possible and right and powerful again.”

Father, thank you for forgiveness! I praise you that, when I feel the conviction of not being obedience to your commands in Christ, I can come to you, confess them specifically, gain freedom, and move on to powerful prayer. I praise you for the truth of 1 John 1:9, and for the unalterable fact that you are faithful! Me? I’m not so faithful. But I realize it, acknowledge it, and we move on. Together. I revel in the truth that I will never be alone in this battle. You will never leave me or forsake me. Thank you, Father! Thank you, Jesus! Thank you Holy Spirit!

I pray for this day. May our trip to work be safe and smooth today. I pray for the work day. I pray for Christi’s chili to win. I don’t know if it’s a true contest or not, but at least let it be well-received. I confess I wish I was going to be there to taste all the delicious chili. I pray for my job to go smoothly today, and help me to stay sharp and focused on the job at hand. I pray for Stephanie to be drawn to the center of your great love and grace today.

Teach us your way, that we may walk in your truth. May your Kingdom come and your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

May you feel the great freedom that true repentance brings. We will not be perfectly obedient. But our God will not leave us alone, either.

Grace and peace, friends.

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