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“God, how I thank You that I am not on the same level as other people—rooks, cheaters, the sexually immoral”— “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” Luke 18:11;13

Truth be told I have had both of these thoughts in my heart…

On one hand applauding my goodness, judging others, on the other being painfully aware that I am in need of God’s mercy, that I deserve punishment, and death..

David wrote these words in Psalm 31

“I will gladly rejoice because of Your gracious love
because You recognized the sadness of my affliction.
You felt deep compassion when You saw the pains of my soul.
You did not hand me over to the enemy,
but instead, You liberated me
and made me secure in a good and spacious land”.

We forget that the grace, compassion, liberation, security, is because of God’s goodness not because we deserve it. In our sin God extended mercy. When we rush to point out the sins of others God reminds us to look first at our own house.

Jeremiah Johnson writes about this in Charisma magazine

“The Fathers heart is that the church must change her position on sexual immorality. For example in the area of homosexuality the church has protested against their agenda, but God says: “Has not your laziness and blindness on the issue of sexual immorality within the church given the homosexual agenda its true power? Has not your careless disregard for the sanctity of marriage caused you to use sexual pleasure as an end to itself, disregarding the precious little ones and in your selfishness denying their right to live? The main issue is not the homosexual agenda or the abortion agenda. The main issue is with the church, with you, and with the power you have given to your enemies by failing to preach holiness and purity in the church, failing to live holy and pure lives.

I have not called you to persecute anyone or look down on their sin; I have called you to repent before me for your wickedness and sin. I will deal with all who fail to turn from sin; but you must confront and deal with your own sin. Your doctrine is inaccurate and inadequate, your motives are impure. Before you pluck the speck out of their eyes, you have plenty in your own to remove.”

I believe Mr. Johnson has it right.

We must first recognize the presence of deception and sin in our lives, the immorality we have embraced, and our conspicuous absence from the world we are called to influence, each one of us must confront our sin, allow our hearts to be broken over it, ask forgiveness and turn away from sin.

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The prophet Isaiah had this experience. In the presence of the glory and majesty, of the LORD high and lifted up, Isaiah came face to face with his sinfulness and cried out:

““Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Isaiah 6:5

It was after this cleansing took place in the presence of God that this man, friend to a king, and prophet of Israel was able to say “Here am I, send me”

May it be so with us.

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“Now at last they were beginning chapter One of the great story no one on earth has read: which goes on forever”. I love this line at the end of the Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. Everyone has a story to tell and ultimately we are all part of a greater story that someday will be revealed in full. “ For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things”. ( 1 Corinthians 13:12). My story is not remarkable, although the events I have had the privilege in my life to witness have been. I grew up in the south “the land of cotton” and the old times there were definitely not forgotten. I remember where I was and what I was doing when JFK and Martin Luther King were murdered in Dallas and in Memphis. I remember the Civil Rights movement, a time of great unrest and change. I remember the dawning of the “Age of Aquarius” in the late 1960’s. It was also the dawning of my love for playing music, a love that has stayed with me throughout my life. If my life were chapters in a book one would tell of my precious bride of 20+ years who endured so much and stood beside me through the good and the bad. One would describe the blessings of being a father and a grandfather. One would tell about how despite being “the wretch” the song sings about God was able to change me, and use me to make a difference in others lives, make me a servant in His church, and surround me with friends all because of His goodness. All part of a story that has had many twists and turns. I think of the words Jimmy Buffet wrote in one of my favorite songs "As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin’ man I have chalked up many a mile Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks And I learned much from both of their styles" And so it is true for me. But in all of my travels and all I have read and experienced nothing compares to where I am headed. The place where my story here ends and the story that goes on forever begins! "" I am confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on until completion until the day He returns". Philippians 1:6 My hope is that as we all run our race that in some small way my words will encourage and speak to you, as your story is being written. And draw you ever closer to the One who loves you. Further up and further in!
This entry was posted in A CLICK A BLESSING TODAY, CHRISTIAN LIFE AND THE WORD, CHRISTIAN TAGALOG BLOGS, CHRISTIAN TEENS BLOGS, SHARING STRUGGLES , Shaping Spiritual Solutions! and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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