What sin do you struggle with? All of us have one or two or three that we struggle with more than others. One person may struggle with pride while another person struggle with laziness. One person may struggle with their mouth while another person struggle with judging others.
I struggle with my thought life. It is a constant battle. Someone reading this is saying, “Yes, I struggle with my thought life as well.” Recently, I had somewhat of a battle in that area. It bothered me that a certain thought was in my mind. I mean, it BOTHERED me. But then, the Holy Spirit impressed me that I am human and I struggle with thoughts because, well… I am human. I know I’m a Pastor but, I’m still human.
Because I am a sinner, I John 1:9 is a special verse to me. It reads, “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” To “confess” means “to say the same thing as..” It means to acknowledge that we have sinned. To see our sin as God sees our sin. Sometimes, we are reluctant to do that… possibly because we aren’t sure we can be forgiven. But we can.
Today… this week… if there is some sin in your life that you think maybe, can’t be forgiven.. you are wrong. The Bible says if we will confess our sin.. we can be forgiven. Even the sin that bothers you the most. Accept God’s forgiveness today.
Adversity is tough. Going through hard times is not fun. But, everyone faces them.
But for some reason, Christians can think we are immune to hard times. Not so! Everyone faces adversity.
In the book of Daniel, we find the story of young Daniel being put in the lion’s den. Daniel spent a night there but God closed the mouths of the lions. Notice, that God didn’t save Daniel FROM the lions den but, He saved Daniel IN the lions den. That verse reminds us that we will face adversity. We will go through trials. But, God saves us in the trials.
Maybe you are going through a tough time. You may even be questioning why God would put you, a Christian, in a trial to begin with. As I said earlier, the fact that you are a Christian does not mean you won’t face trials. But God promises to walk with us through the trials.
At times, there is a person whom we know that is living an immoral or unethical life. You try to talk to them but it does no good. Either they won’t admit they have a problem or they are in so deep, it seems all hope is lost. In these type of situations, we may be talking with another person about the individual you tried to help and you tell this person,”I could see the writing on the wall.”
That phrase comes from a story in the book of Daniel. In the fifth chapter, Belshazzar is giving a feast. The wine is flowing and everyone is partying and Belshazzar drinks from a cup that was taken from the temple. At that time, a hand appears and writes on the wall. Daniel was brought into Belshazzar’s presence to interpret the writing on the wall.
The writing on the wall was: “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin.” Those words meant, in summary.. that Belshazzar’s days were numbered and, the Bible says he died that night. That same truth is applicable in our lives and in our nation.
If a person is living an immoral life, they can be warned but if they don’t turn away from their sin, the handwriting can be on the wall. The same can happen in our nation. But let’s not focus on those things… let’s focus on our lives.
Is the “handwriting on the wall” in our lives? Is there something we have been warned about but we haven’t changed anything? The “handwriting on the wall” was a message to Belshazzar that he had gone too far. He drank from the cups that were dedicated to the temple.
Yesterday, Holli and I walked the 5k untimed race of the Gobblejog in Marietta. The Gobblejog is an annual race that is a fund-raiser for MUST ministries in Marietta. I had never done any kind of race before so this was all new to me.
Holli and I walked the race and for the most part did well. There were three hills on the route and one of those, especially, was a bit of challenge. But, we made it through and hit the final stretch. The race wasn’t but three miles long but… I was a little tired.
About this time, two of our kids, Will and Sarah, join us. We didn’t have far too walk… we could see the finish line… but, when they joined us, it gave us a little extra push for finish the race. As they joined us, I thought of Hebrews 12:1 which says, “…since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles… and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
Someone you know is running the race of the Christian life. For the most part they have done ok but, they are struggling a little. Maybe something hit them out of the blue and they are struggling some. Maybe you need to join them and walk with them for a little while to give them some strength. All of us, periodically, need some help in the race called “the Christian life.” Help someone today.
I Am Thankful For…
- The Lord Jesus… who, 2000 years ago, took my sin upon His body and died on the cross for me and all others. Without Christ, there is no hope.
- My wife… Holli Alice and I have been married thirty-one years. She has been EXTREMELY patient with me as I grew up. Holli Alice, I love you. You are a beautiful woman, inside and out.
- My kids… This year, Robert married Lauren Devore. I am proud of each of our kids and my new daughter-in-law. And, Will and Sarah are dating Kendall Winship and Landon Turner. We love both of them like our own.
- My health… I am thankful for being in good health… I just need to lose some weight.
- My church… At FBC Emerson, we are all just regular folks trying to live for Christ. None of us are perfect, but we except one another.
- My extended family.. We do not get see our extended family as often as we would like but I am thankful for them.
- Kids who are College Graduates….This December, Lord willing, I will have three kids who are college graduates as Sarah graduates from KSU.
- Jobs… I am thankful to be able to Pastor FBC Emerson and Holli has a great job at North Paulding High School.
- Living in north Georgia…. My roots are Louisiana and I love home… but north Georgia is a beautiful area to live in… especially in the fall.
- Friends… Holli and I know lots of people but, like everyone else, we have a few close friends. I am thankful for them.
Are you thankful this Thanksgiving? If not, maybe it’s because you are focusing on what you don’t have. Maybe your neighbor seems to be doing better and you are a little jealous.
If you are having trouble being thankful, maybe the lyrics of this old song will help you realize how blessed you are.
Count Your Blessings
When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done
Count your blessings, name them one by one:
Count your blessings, See what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, See what God hath done.”
Today, count your blessings and be thankful for what God has given us.
When we mess up, we have a tendency to clam up. We know we have messed up and we don’t want to tell anyone because we are afraid they will be mad at us or not like us. And, that may be true of people but, it’s not true of God. When we sin, the Bible tells us, if we will confess our sin, Jesus will forgive us.
Proverbs 28:13 says, “People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.” The verse clearly says if we confess… and turn from our sin. To confess means to admit… and that is a big step for some people. Some want to blame their sin on someone else. Some want to blame their home life or a friend or their circumstances.
But if we will confess… and turn.. we can be forgiven. Maybe you have done something and you are very ashamed or, you are afraid to talk about it.. You may be embarrassed by it. Ok… actually, that’s a good thing. Embarrassment means you know you were wrong.
Today, confess your sin and determine not to do it again and you can be forgiven by the merciful God of heaven.
One of my favorite quotes is, “You can’t go back and make a new beginning, but you can start from here and make a new ending.” Let that new ending start today