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Confession Promotes Prayer

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16

The act of confession has been on my heart lately, especially confessing one to another.  In his message on James 5:16 Pastor Jon Courson shared that this kind of confession promotes prayer.  He explained that when we think someone is doing ok we are less likely to pray for them.  But, when someone shares their sins with us we are compelled to pray for them.  This is so true!  Not only is there freedom from sin when we speak it out and share our burden with confidence but also comfort when we know that person cares and will pray for us.  We then experience the unconditional love of Jesus, which is bondage breaking.

Also, there is comfort in journeying together because, although we may not all struggle with the same sin, we all struggle.  Perhaps that’s why God wrote Romans 8:1,2 right after Romans 7:25:

  • “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

Recently we started talking about selling our home and I confess that I’m struggling with letting go.  This home has come to represent stability to me and is the container of many wonderful memories. My emotions see-saw from waves of excitement to sadness every five minutes or so.  I know its because I’m not trusting God with our future and I believe he’ll let me down somehow.  I know this because it has been a pattern of unbelief in the past and the feelings are very familiar.  God, however, is rooting out what Satan has planted and asking me to trust Him once again.   Our home is a good gift from the LORD but it is not what defines me as a person and certainly not where my joy is found.  However, the feelings of insecurity and fear knock on the door of my heart because of the chaos of my youth.  Ironically, the process of de-personalizing the house may also be the very thing that enables me to leave it at the altar and trust God with all my heart.

Fortunately, I have learned to speak out my sinful thoughts, feelings and beliefs, sharing them with my husband and friends who lift it all up to God.  After all, we are all one body and all suffer when one suffers (1 Corinthians 12:26). Why then are we tempted to pretend like everything is ok, to wear a mask and keep secret what God says to confess? Self preservation at work in the flesh, the pride of life, and shame are all strong motivators for hiding.  It is also validated by the enemy and anesthetizes (deprives of feeling or awareness) pain.  Who doesn’t want to avoid pain?  Admittedly, some confession can be gut-wrenching.  It requires a level of vulnerability that is uncomfortable.  However, without this kind of confession we are isolated, spiritual loners suffering in silence and look forward to heaven not because Jesus is there but because then we will finally be free from the pain.   I’ve learned that telling someone my deepest fears and struggles frees me from the power of sin.  In contrast, when there is no one to cry out, “Abba, Father!” on my behalf when I’m broken it is easy to slip into utter hopelessness.

Sadly, some might say the burden is too heavy for another person to share but this is another lie from the enemy.  A burden shared is immediately half the weight but when carried to Jesus together, cast onto Him, is actually light! Therefore, I am grateful for the privilege to be able to approach the throne of God with boldness and pour out my heart to the LORD.  I am even more in awe that God uses me, a broken vessel, to be a conduit of His love with my sisters in Christ and that they too are that for me.  Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need… together.

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The Gift of Peace

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John 14:27

Just prior to coming to Christ I was a mess.  It was arguably the most terrifying time of my life.  Without an education or a job I was faced with the possibility of divorce and raising two toddlers on my own.  There was no peace until the Prince of Peace entered my heart and I was changed.  Then there was “Peace like a river in my soul!”   It was momentous and mysterious but palpable and exciting at the same time.

Recently, while reading John 14, I was reminded of this overwhelming peace.  It was important to Jesus that His disciples understand what He was leaving them.  It was a peace that was eternal and came from Him, not from the world. Also, this gift of peace is what Jesus chose to give those He loved most before His death.  Because of this, it must grieve Him deeply when we choose not to unwrap the gift which is available to every one of God’s children.

Let’s imagine what it would have been like and what you and I would have thought while listening to Jesus’ words. Like His disciples, I think we would have been confused and mumbled, “What is He talking about?”  And after Jesus’ arrest the fear would have escalated to sheer panic. Perhaps we would have even cried out, “Where’s God now?” Clinging to Jesus’ love for them and His promise of a Helper, all His disciples, save John, scattered and hid hoping to wait out the trial and somehow, someway be delivered from the nightmare.  The world offered them no peace yet real peace was coming soon in the form of a gift sent from heaven.

The verses below demonstrate the profundity of Jesus’ gift:

  • “Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:32-33
  • “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them,  ‘Peace be with you.’” John 20:19

Even so, no one apart from Christ can experience lasting peace because eternal peace is only found in Christ.  In the disciples defense, they didn’t have the privilege of being in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit, but we do.  Why, then, do we run and scatter when trials come our way?  I can confess that, for me, it’s because I still look for peace in the world and even from other people.  Unlike the time of my conversion when His peace was so palpable because He was all I was clinging to, I am comfortable and at peace with my husband and family and the circumstances of my life.  However, I find myself scattered, anxious and overwhelmed in my spirit with the peace this world has to offer.

Therefore, today I’m choosing to open the gift “by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving and let my requests be made known to God.” In this way I can abide in Him and allow His peace that surpasses understanding to guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7). It is the best post redemptive present available to everyone who knows the Prince of Peace.  What are you waiting for?  Open the gift!

Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-peace-20-great-scripture-quotes/#ixzz3oD4PVCJ4