Taking responsibility

“Nathan then said to David, ‘You are the man!’” (2 Samuel 12:7 NASB).

I suspect that I am not alone in my distaste for the blame game being played between various countries and even the different political parties within our own nation for the existence, spread, and extent of the Corona Virus pandemic. Perhaps never has there been greater need for cooperation in battling this new disease for which there is at present neither preventative vaccine nor proven cure. Countries and agencies around the world are competing for vital medicines and equipment which is in dangerously short supply. Yet many seem to be more interested in blaming others than in working for a common cause. Continue reading “Taking responsibility”

May every soul say, ‘My Lord and my God’

In this world there is little peace for humankind and little hope for it in the future. Jesus offers an eternal peace, of the heart, free from the vicissitudes of life and politics. While Christians pray for governing authorities, they place no hope in them. Confidence, only in Christ. He came from God and returned to God. He knew why he came to earth and fulfilled that purpose. During his time on earth, he loved, and he loved to the end. He was sure of his place before the Father, having received from him all power to bring divine love to its proper conclusion. He exercised this power with wisdom and knowledge.

Jesus calls his people to imitate his example. While his love took turns that were specific to his role in the eternal plan, its serving nature, with no holds barred, must take firm hold in his people. God is not impressed with rituals, done repeatedly for points, in the human mind, or to satisfy some random demand of heaven, as man sees it. He does command some specific actions, and through those he does bring his life and Spirit, but God looks behind the acts to the motivations and yearnings of the heart. He wants to see those and the practice of love — genuine, sincere, honest, profound. Continue reading “May every soul say, ‘My Lord and my God’”

Who was Jesus?

It is hard for us, living in the age of technology, to relate to those in the past who did not have access to the instant information that we have. What would it have been like if it had taken weeks or even months to learn about 9/11? What if presidential results weren’t known for weeks and as far as listening to and analyzing the candidates debates, that would only be possible if you happened to be in town for the debate. Continue reading “Who was Jesus?”

When someone comes forward

I think there are times when someone comes forward after a sermon that we think: “Oh he must be a sinner, he must have done something bad.”

Let me remind you that there are sinners who go forward … and there are sinners (that would be the rest of us) who do not.

In reality, who responds to the Gospel call? The spiritually sensitive, the soft- hearted, the ones who deeply desire to serve God better. Who does not come forward? Often the proud, the ones who fail to look in their own hearts, the ones who think they never make mistakes. Continue reading “When someone comes forward”

Confession is good for the soul

“Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

It was the early years of the 1500s, and his name was Balthazar Hubmaier. He was German-Swiss, and part of a fellowship that preferred to call themselves Brüder (Brethren), although many called them “Anabaptists” because they baptized people “again” (from “ana,” again, and “baptist,” to baptize). First, their detractors declared, we baptize people as infants, then you Anabaptists baptize them again as adults!

Things became so serious in those days that many religious leaders joked about the three baptisms: First there was infant baptism, then the Anabaptists baptized adults “again,” finally they drowned Anabaptists in the cold Rhine River. Continue reading “Confession is good for the soul”

Putting Romans 10:9-10 Into Perspective

by Barry Newton During a winter school break many years ago while visiting a college friend, I learned that a secret meeting for adults was scheduled for later that night in his family’s furnished attic. I had stumbled upon a cell of adults who had evaded paying their taxes by attempting to exploit what they perceived to be a tax loophole. They had no problem putting a postage stamp on a letter, nor putting a letter in their mailbox to be picked up. They did not mind holding a pen to write a check. They did believe, however, that the government … Continue reading Putting Romans 10:9-10 Into Perspective

What Confession Means

by J. Randal Matheny
“The one who covers his transgressions will not prosper, but whoever confesses them and forsakes them will find mercy.”
Proverbs 28:13 NET
Confession means I declare that I’m a sinner and that I now repudiate my sin. It recognizes and acknowledges that God is right and I am wrong.
Confession is uncovering the hideousness of what I have done. It is the opposite of covering up.
Why do I not confess my sins? Fear, basically. Fear of the consequences, of what others will think. I see the immediate negative results in human terms, rather than the immediate restoration to God’s mercy and the eternal life with him.
Confession and repentance are twins. Confession implies forsaking transgression. Refusal to forsake sin chokes confession as a valid step in the process of finding mercy.
Confession means I won’t leave things as they are.
Confession means I turn away from whatever sin is present in my life and cease doing it.
Zacchaeus knew the meaning of confession, when Jesus came to his house. Luke tells us stood up to make his pronouncement; standing gave it solemnity, called attention to its importance.
“And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold'” (Luke 19:8 ESV).
Confession is no mumbling mutter with downcast eyes, but the steely determination that, starting now, things are going to change.
Zacchaeus’s “if” inserted no maybes or who-knows. He confessed fraud. He invited those who had been cheated to line up for restitution.
Covering transgression means keeping it and losing God. Confessing it means dealing with it, abandoning it and finding mercy.
Which do you prefer?

Continue reading “What Confession Means”