Category Archives: Confession

The Firsts – My First…Again

For the “first” time since I began this blog in 2015 and settled into two posts a week I missed my post this Sunday.  Oh, I have a list of reasons but when I ticked them off to myself I didn’t find much justification in any of them.  I just don’t always get it right.  In keeping with my recent theme of “Firsts” I’m reposting an updated version of my very first post.  The reality is I need to remember what inspired me to begin this blog in the “first” place.   Consistency is of great value in a blog but it doesn’t compare to God’s consistency.  “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6

Hello world! – Edited “First” Post from June 5, 2015
I began what I call a timid, limited slog through the Old Testament.  It’s timid because I’m not a scholar, limited because what I read is often far less than a whole chapter and slog because sometimes reading to find faith in my daily life feels like trying to run in a dream.  I wanted to explore the human identity of some of the main characters of the Old Testament that I pretty much skip over to get to Jesus.  They often seem so remote to me but they’ve become heroic examples of what faith looked like in the “good old days;” days that were so much closer to God’s miraculous intervention in the lives of those real people.  

I wanted to look at them as people who didn’t always get it right the first time and see what happened in their lives.  Some stayed faithful and learned from their mistakes and some just let their worry or anger destroy them.  You know, people just like us.   People knowing and believing God but held back from becoming what God created them to be by flaws, or maybe just indifference.  This is exactly where many of us find ourselves.  This word journey is my attempt to see how God moved them, and still can move us, from being satisfied with being not Godless, but not Godly either.

I am absolutely convinced there is a process God has designed for the purpose of revealing himself to those who care to look and listen.  It involves his Word, the Holy Spirit and time.  I read many versions of Scripture online and watch for the mental “stop sign” in those words that says “notice me.”  These are the methods of the digital age.  I copy and paste them into my iPad journal.  Yes, I’m a geek.  I type, I think, I backspace [a lot] and then I think and type some more until there seems to be a completion of the thoughts I believe the Holy Spirit has brought to my mind.  Sometimes I need to be reminded what makes my thoughts important is where they come from and my ability to hear what God is trying to tell me.  That’s where I am today.

It brings a smile to my face to imagine that God might use that oft repeated cell phone phrase of the digital age, “can you hear me now” as an object lesson for me.  I want to listen, I want to hear, but sometimes I just have to quit moving and stay in one place long enough to get good reception.  One thing is absolute though, God is faithfully consistent to ask the question over and over, “can you hear me now?”

Lord,  “yes.”  Amen.

Confess the Truth

Ephesians‬ ‭2:3-5‬ ‭NIV‬‬ All of us also lived among them [our transgressions and sins] at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

I’m fascinated with the uniqueness of the Greek language to distinguish subtleties of words and meanings. In this scripture there is one word [hamartia] translated “sin” and another [paraptoma] the NIV translates as “transgressions.” What makes it interesting is not the way we might differentiate between those two words but how the Greeks did. These are my edited notes from William Barlclay’s study of Ephesians.
•Hamartia (Greek #266) is a shooting word that means to miss the target completely.
•Paraptoma (Greek #3900)…means taking the wrong road when we knew enough to take the right one.

Sin is a loaded word even for those of us who believe we are sinners saved by grace.   The Greek definitions don’t impact the reality of the scripture but they do influence my courage to recognize and confess the truth of it.

What if I read this Scripture as:
I have also lived with missing the target completely and choosing the wrong road at one time, gratifying the cravings of flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like so many, I was by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for me, God, who is rich in mercy, made me alive with Christ when he saw the road I’d chosen was going nowhere—it is by grace I have been saved.

Home Improvement

John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

It’s obvious even among the most devoted believers that there are individual quirks leftover when God deals with the serious business of saving a person. Surely you know someone of deep and true faith that gossips, or lashes out, or lies, or….[you fill in the blank].

It’s easy for me to see those flaws in others and much harder to recognize them in myself. These are the hold-out things that can become the secret weapons of the enemy.  He can’t have our souls back but he can cause a lot of hurt and havoc in our lives with those leftover quirks.

Jesus has saved my soul and now he’s standing ready to save me from myself; to free me from those quirks.  After all these years, and hours of devotion, and true transformation here I am seeing one of those little “quirks” in my own life. It’s awful and it’s wonderful at the same time.  It’s awful to see it…and wonderful to know Jesus has got a plan for me to be free of it.

I’m crawling up on the altar again Lord, to sacrifice one more “last” thing…again…to you. I love you. I love that your purpose is to make me whole and into your likeness, first with redemption and now with renovation. It’s the best kind of Home Improvement.