Month: May 2014
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
Every Sunday as part of our regular worship we take time to corporately and silently confess our sins before God.
Of all the things we do in worship, the highlight for me is always the Assurance of Pardon. I love that I show up to church as a sinner in need of grace and forgiveness and every time God offers mercy and forgiveness and makes me new.
Each week when I hear, “In Christ, you are forgiven!” I want to shout a shout “Woo hoo! Forgiven!!!”
But here’s the thing. Why do we even bother with the whole confessing thing?
I mean God already knows everything, right?
If God knows everything, if God already knows what’s on our hearts, if God already knows everything that’s been done and been left undone, if God already truly knows everything, what’s the point of confession?
Why confess stuff that God already knows? It kind of seems pointless.
One of the reasons why we confess our sins is to renew and heal our broken relationship with God. Confession is not only about acknowledging a bunch of stuff that we did or that we left undone. The main purpose is restoration. It’s about renewal. It’s about healthy relationships.
You see, sin always breaks relationships. Sin is always a violation of trust.
One of the things all healthy organizations and healthy relationships have in common is that they are able to recognize when a “foul” has occurred. It’s because folks can recognize that a foul has occurred that the offending party can ask for forgiveness and the offended party can offer forgiveness.
Without that mutual recognition, neither asking for nor receiving forgiveness is possible. Without that mutual recognition, all you are left with is the pain of broken relationships, hurt feelings, and offended souls.
One of the worst things that can happen in an organization or a relationship is when fouls are regularly committed and that foul is never recognized. When that happens, it kills relationships. It destroys trust.
The reason why we confess our sins corporately and silently is so that we can all acknowledge that a “foul” has occurred. That we were the offending party and that we are the ones who need grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
Prayers of Confession…Assurance of Pardon…It’s a beautiful thing!
Thank God for grace!
Thank God for mercy!
Thank God for forgiveness!
Woo hoo! We are forgiven!!!
If God of the universe is worthy of our trust with our eternal souls, how could we not trust him for whatever this day holds?
God is with you.
You are never where God has not already been.
Love triumphs over darkness.
Death has already lost.
God loves you.
You are not alone.
God will bring you through whatever it is you are going through.
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow who kept coming to him with the plea,’Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even thought I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!'”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
It is an absurd parable…a widow who goes to someone who doesn’t care, someone who is unjust, someone who doesn’t give a rip to pesters him day and night. It makes no sense. It’s crazy. It’s nonsense.
Which is crazier?
A widow who goes to an unjust judge? Or Christians who have been promised a God who infinitely cares and a God who loves to answer prayers, and they don’t?
As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country. But it, too, seemed immovable.
As I grew in my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me. But, alas, they would have none of it.
And now as I lie in my deathbed, I suddenly realized: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have change my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed my world.
– Written on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop buried in the crypts of Westminster Abbey