Dealing with Sin

“Forgive us our debts” (Matt. 6:12).
Christians struggle with sin. That surely comes as no surprise to you. As you mature in Christ, the frequency of your sinning decreases, but your sensitivity to it increases. That doesn’t mean you are more easily tempted, but that you are more aware of the subtleties of sin and how it dishonors God.

Some people think you should never confess your sins or seek forgiveness, but the Lord instructed us to do so when He said for us to pray, “Forgive us our debts” (Matt. 6:12). That’s the believer’s prayer for the Father’s forgiveness.

John said, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:8-10). That passage doesn’t tell us how to get saved, as many have taught. It tells us how to distinguish believers from unbelievers: believers confess their sins; unbelievers don’t.

The phrase “forgive us” in Matthew 6:12 implies the need for forgiveness. “Debts” translates a Greek word that was used to speak of a moral or monetary debt. In Matthew 6:12 it refers to sins. When you sin, you owe to God a consequence or a debt because you have violated His holiness.

When you sin as a believer, you don’t lose your salvation but you will face God’s chastening if you don’t repent. Hebrews 12 says, “Those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives . . . . He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness” (vv. 6, 10).

If you are harboring sin, confess it now and allow God to cleanse you and use you today for His glory.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Write down why God’s forgiveness is important to you, then express those thoughts to Him in praise.

For Further Study:

Read Psalm 38.

What physical and emotional ailments did David experience as a result of his sin?
What was his attitude toward God as he confessed his sin?

(From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, http://www.crossway.com.)

Pastor’s Corner

Pastors Corner 3-25-2012

As we go through life we look forward to one milestone after another. Some of the big events in our lives are; being able to go to school, graduating from school, turning 18 or 21, first job, getting married, having children, owning first car or home, getting baptized, retirement, etc. By now you get the point that people look forward to the next great event in their lives and it does not seem to make a difference if we are young or old. Whether or not the events I mentioned above are truly great is up for debate. I do not know what the next event in your life will be because they are different for everyone, but there is an event that we all will experience together and I am going to call it the next great event. That event is the returning of Christ, where we shall meet him in the air during the resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:17). At that time, Gods people will experience the power of God and that words cannot describe jubilation that we will experience when we see Jesus.

Pastor Danny

All in the Family

All in the Family
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Acts 23:11-22

Not one assassin but forty of them! Forty determined terrorists, operating under cover of secrecy. All of them vowing, “We will not eat or drink until we’ve killed him.” The plan was treacherous and set in motion by those who wanted him dead. What they hadn’t counted on was an unlikely ally for Paul. His nephew had overheard everything and made tracks to warn his uncle.

Remarkably, Paul’s nephew plays a major role in his survival. He is not mentioned by name, and we never hear of him again. Then how did he know about the ambush? Only God knows.

Meanwhile, the Roman commander was feeling relieved, proud of his wise handling of the situation. His musings were interrupted by a reluctant knock at the door. The news couldn’t be good. One of his centurions reports that the young man with him has some important information about a conspiracy to kill Paul. The Roman commander wasn’t about to let some scrappy band of fanatics spoil his plan to bring Paul safely to Rome. So he pulled out all the stops.

Uniformed, armed, and trained soldiers. Four hundred and seventy-two to forty rag-tag conspirators. Nice odds. Talk about overkill. The guy would not be outdone. He made sure no one could get to Paul. Remember God’s promise? “You must witness at Rome.” This is just part of that divine plan. It was as if God said, “I know what I am doing. I will escort you down to Caesarea by the Sea with full protection. You are in My hand.” A massive official escort—that would work just fine.

What a comforting story. Despite the odds stacked against him, Paul was never removed from God’s protective hand. And neither are you.

Are you feeling alone, mistreated, misunderstood, forsaken? Remember this true account. God is at work. He’s there, working behind the scenes. He’ll work it out. He has a plan. Just when you’re convinced the bottom is about to drop out from under you, He steps in and lifts you to safety. For Paul, he used an unlikely and virtually anonymous ally, a nameless nephew who comes out of the shadows at precisely the right time. God’s timing is always perfectly synchronized with His will. Remember that. And be comforted.

(Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Pastor’s Corner

Pastors Corner 3-18-2012

Have you ever been outside on a clear winter night and the stars were so clear that it looked like there were more stars than normal and you were taken back by their beauty. Have you wondered how many there were and as a child even tried to count them. Have you wondered why some of the stars are different colors or how vast is the universe. Did it give you the feeling of awe? Well, if you have you are not alone. In Psalms 8, David talks about the greatness of God and in verse 3 he declares that the heavens, including the moon and stars, were but the work of Gods finger. Genesis chapter 1, verses 14-18 tells us that God created everything that we see in the sky, both day and night. Knowing this, it is no wonder we feel small when we look at Gods creation. Romans 1:20 tells us that creation itself testifies of Gods existence, leaving mankind without excuse for not accepting Jesus Christ as the savior of the world.

Pastor Danny

Don’t give up

From the Life Application Daily Devotional, which you can subscribe to at YouVersion:

“What problems David faced! He was scoffed at, mocked, insulted, humiliated, and made the object of citywide gossip. But still he prayed. When we are completely beaten down, we are tempted to turn from God, give up, and quit trusting him. When your situation seems hopeless, determine that no matter how bad things become you will continue to pray. God will hear your prayer, and he will rescue you. When others reject us, we need God most. Don’t turn from your most faithful friend.”

But I keep praying to you, Lord ,
hoping this time you will show me favor.
In your unfailing love, O God,
answer my prayer with your sure salvation. (Psalm 69:13 NLT)

Garbage In…

I was thinking about a couple of projects I did last fall, compared to a couple I’ve done recently, and the results I obtained from them. Last fall I had s couple of small side tables to refinish. I used what I had on hand, as far as paint and things go, and put a fair amount of time into both of them. But the results were, well, less than stellar. This past week I refurbished a couple of old metal utility carts. For these projects I got new paint, a specific type and color for each one, and used new and different primer on them both. I also used a different technique and products for the preparation phase. And you know what? They results were a whole lot better, at least in my opinion, with these carts than I got from the tables. I think the difference was in the products I used: what I had on hand verses getting the specific item that I needed for the projects. I guess this would be kind of an example of “garbage in, garbage out”, as the old saying goes.

This principle is equally true with what we fill ourselves with: if we fill our mind with garbage our attitudes will reflect that. The Bible says

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

. If we feast upon godly things we will produce good fruit in all areas of our lives, fruit that is pleasing to God and useful to His purposes. But if we indulge in the worldly, godless things the product will be far from fruitful; it will be useless garbage.

Arthur Says …

The weather today, in my neck of the woods, was just beautiful. It was in the low 70s, sunny, with only a few of those little “wispy” clouds to just break up the blue sky. In fact, this evening, even now at nearly 10:30, has been just great. Yet the last several hours my old friend Arthur has been informing me that rain is on the way.

I have arthritis in a couple of my joints but the last several months my wrist has bothered me more than it ever has and more than any other place I have it. A few years ago I slipped on the ice on our back deck and fractured my left wrist: that hurt. The pain that it has caused me lately has been, it seems, much worse than the injury though.

Knowing how much the original injury hurt and how much the after effects hurt, I just can’t imagine how much pain our Savior suffered having spikes driven through His wrists and ankles. I’d never have volunteered to break my wrist or ankle; He willing allowed to be nailed to a rough cut timber cross, for you and for me. And that is only a very small part of what He suffered in our stead.

When was the last time you considered, I mean really pondered upon, just those last hours of His life and all He suffered? If you are like me, probably not often enough or long enough. Just think, while we were still enemies to God, Christ Jesus loved us to death, literally. As the old hymn says “O! What a Savior!”.

Where is Petey?

Late last summer we found a lost dog: he was a Shih Tzu pup, maybe four months or less old. To make a long story short, we ended up rescuing him and he’s now a part of the family.

Today Petey, the name we gave him partly because our grandson says is so cutely, escaped (again) from our fenced in yard. Overall he’s a great dog, other than this need to escape and roam. But I digress … Petey belongs to Connor; just ask him and he will tell you “Petey my dog”. Today’s escape came at a bad time: I was watching Connor alone and couldn’t go after the spunky, quick, and agile pup. And Connor worried his little self (he’s almost three) half to death over Petey being gone. He looked out the door, the window and yelled “Pete! Come here!” more times than I can count. His distress pushed his nap time back by about two hours, and I thought he was going to cry himself off to sleep over worrying over that dog! Thankfully Connor finally drifted off to sleep with minimal shedding of tears.

About five minutes after he fell asleep I hear Pete-dini at the front door; the UPS man across the street had inadvertently scared the little critter home. Connor and Petey are both still napping now but I look for a happy reunion in an hour or so.

This all got me thinking about the lost folks in our lives. What if we were so concerned over their relationship, or lack thereof, with Jesus that we could do nothing but fret and worry, shed tears and and cry out for them? I am made to believe we would see many would made restless by the Spirit and convicted of their sins. And that we would see lost sheep seeking desperately after the Savior.

God’s Word teaches we need to have child like faith. Maybe we need to seek after some child like zeal and angst for those we love and know are lost, too.

Washing Dishes

I was speaking with a friend the other day when she mentioned that she likes to wash dishes. She said that it gave her sort of a sense of satisfaction seeing what she had accomplished with her hands. Now, I’ll tell you right up front: I don’t enjoy in any shape or form washing dishes. But I do understand what she means. When I make things out of leather, I get a great sense of accomplishment out of the entire process, seeing a raw piece of leather worked into a, some times, beautiful and useful item is very gratifying. As is the restoration work I some times do to furniture, even though that is more mess and less creative, I love to see the beauty and functionality brought back through the work of my hands.

I imagine that there must be some thing similar that goes on in Heaven with every soul that is saved: even the angels rejoice, I believe the Bible says. And as the Holy Spirit works in us to transform and grow us I have to think that the Master Potter is pleased to see His hands at work in us, too.

My leather and furniture have no choice to submit to what I decide to do to or make them into though. Each person has the option of accepting Jesus or rejecting Him, following the Spirit or quenching Him. What will youyou do today?

Pastor’s Corner

Pastors Corner 3-5-2012

Last week I gave you some clues to what I thought was the most important thing going on in Heaven. If you followed my clues you should have come up with Jesus setting at the right hand of God making intersession for mankind. The definition of intercessor is one who intercedes on the behalf of another and the bible tells us that Jesus is continually making intercession (Romans 8:34). Now we know that the sacrifice Christ made for us on the cross was for the sins of the whole world (1 Corinthians 15:3) and that another sacrifice will never be needed again (Hebrew 9:27). Some may ask, since Jesus died for our sins, why is it necessary for Christ to continually make intercession for Christians? I think it is because of our infirmities, frailties, and shortcomings that result from us still having fleshy bodies. When God, in his infinite wisdom predestinated the church, he knew that Christians would need someone to intercede on their behalf. I may not understand exactly the extent of the intercession, but I am glad that Christ is there for Christians.

Pastor