“TELL YOUR PARENTS . . . “

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’ And you forgave the guilt of my sin.”  Psalm 32:5 NIV

Read:  Psalm 32: 1-7

As you grew up, there were lots of things you just did not tell your parents, knowing your life as you knew it would end…or at least you thought so.  Maybe, it was how that window was really broken or how that dent appeared in back bumper of the family’s car mysteriously after you had driven it.

It’s never too late to ‘come clean’.  The best time was then.  The next best time is now.  Right now!   Later may be too late.  Get rid of the guilt and honor your parents.   No matter how young or old you are, today is the best time to tell your parents; “I am sorry!”

 

The same applies to GOD.   Remorse is a good thing.  The word remorse comes from an old French word meaning to bite back.   Isn’t that what your conscious does?   It bites back…sometimes years or decades later to remind us.

You can get rid of those old memories that are biting back. Tell GOD of all those things you have hidden away.   HE knows all of them just waiting for you to ask for forgiveness.   You are not telling HIM something new.

Like you have heard; confession is good for the soul.   Ask GOD to forgive you.   HE will if you ask.   After you talk with GOD, go ahead and call your mom or dad and ask them to forgive you for when you…….

Today’s prayer:  “MY FORGIVING LORD, Thank YOU for hearing my remorseful prayer.  Thank YOU for allowing me to clear my conscious and forgiving all my sinful errors.   Amen.”

“ARE YOU A CRACKERJACK?”

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”  2Timothy2:14-19 NIV
Read:  2Timothy 2:14-19

Some things just stick in our minds and stay with us.  I recently bought a box of Cracker Jacks.  I thought the brand had disappeared long ago.   No matter your age, you probably remember Cracker Jacks as a kid since they have been around since the late 1800s.   Originally, they were popcorn and peanuts in a molasses coating.  After several corporate owners, the sugar coating seems to have changed.

The name Cracker Jacks came from an early customer who exclaimed ‘that’s a real

crackerjack’ when tasting the concoction.  The term has not been popular in decades.

Did you know the word cracker came from England?   It referred to an expert in a given field.   The best doctor, baker or golfer might have been referred to as a ‘cracker’.  As time evolved, the public changed it to ‘crackerjack’.

Are you a real ‘crackerjack’?  We all should be.   GOD gave us all unique talents.   There is something you do or could do better than most.   You don’t have to be the best doctor, salesman, mother or actress.   All you have to be is really good at what GOD has equipped you to be.

You can be a great Bible teacher, greeter, choir member or deacon.   Doing our best is GOD’S desire of us.  Are you a ‘crackerjack’ for GOD?
Today’s prayer:   “LORD, Thank YOU for creating me the way YOU did.   I want to use the talents and abilities YOU gave me to honor YOU.   Help me today to grow and be the real ‘crackerjack’ as you want of me.  Amen.”

 

“TO BE OR NOT TO BE?”

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”   John 3:36  NIV

Read:  John 3:31-36

 

After four hundred years, there is still debate over this line in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.   Hamlet seems to be concerned with his father’s murder and is considering the choice of life or death for himself while questioning that death may be worse than life.

We have hundreds of millions of people asking a similar question.   They are looking at their lives in a time of trouble, the loss of a loved one or lack of faith and attempting to understand  if death could be better or worse than the life they now have.

That is a choice we should never make.  But, there is a choice we can make.  GOD has a plan.  The plan is GOD’S, not ours.   Our choice is to choose GOD or reject GOD.
Have you accepted GOD’S plan for your life?  Is your salvation ‘to be or not to be’?   Have you decided to spend eternity in Heaven or Hell?  If to be or not to be is the question, what is your answer?

If you want to go to Heaven, are you sure you will go there?   The only way to know for sure is to accept JESUS as your LORD and SAVIOUR.

Just as HE gave Adam and Eve free will, GOD gave you the same free will as well.  You have a choice.   Is Heaven to be or not to be?

Today’s prayer:  “JESUS, Thank YOU for coming to this earth and dying for me.  Thank YOU for taking on my sins so that I may spend eternity with YOU.   I reject Satan and all his evil things and I accept YOU as my LORD and my SAVIOUR today.   Amen.”

 

“FAMILY PAINS?”

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”  Galatians 6:10 NIV

 

Read:  Galatians 6:1-10

We all have them.    Maybe a brother, sister, son, daughter or a second cousin.  It seems in every family, there is someone with an evil side, a dark secret that no one talks about, is too opinionated or who just does not seem to fit in.

Some we kid about, while others we may dread to interact with.   Family gatherings can be worse than a toothache if we allow them to be.  Some are serious situations; as a brother-in-law who arrives intoxicated, aggressive and foul mouthed.  Then, other times it is funny Uncle Bob whose toupee keeps sliding off.

It is not as much as the situation as how we deal with it.  Our attitude can make a situation much worse or much better.  We can often find the ‘family pain’ is not as bad when we are prepared to turn it over to GOD and not allow it to control us.

 

There is another type of family pain.   Some of us let our faith divide us.   We are children of GOD.   Not some of us.   All of us are GOD’S children.   Of those who have accepted JESUS, the opinions and faith doctrines can differ greatly.

While we can agree on the TRINITY OF GOD, some will debate too strongly on the meaning of scripture.   When we disagree are we being like the Sadducees and Pharisees?   Are we ignoring the HOLY SPIRIT’S guidance and creating false doctrine?

Let’s honor GOD and find common faith in HIS scriptures and HIS children instead of being plagued by family pains.

Today’s prayer:   “HOLY SPIRIT,  Thank YOU for YOUR guidance and direction.   Help us to understand our differences.   Help us to be righteous in accepting YOUR truths and compassionate in teaching others YOUR word.  Amen.”

 

“BEHOLDIN’ TO YOU!”

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And always be thankful.”  Colossians 3:15 NIV

Read:   Colossians 3:1-17

American English slang…you have to love it!   The color of our speech enables us to communicate on a whole different level.   I remember, as a boy, visiting relatives in north east Texas.  It seemed like another world but with a real comfort.  Yet, they sure talked funny at times.  Both of my parents ancestors had migrated two generations earlier from Tennessee and the deep south.

 

When someone was asking a favor, it was common to hear:   “I’d be real beholdin’ to you if…”   When acknowledging a favor, it was equally heard:  “I’m beholdin’ to you.”  Both were sincere and in deep appreciation, assuring the hearer a commitment of indebtedness.

 

Are you interested in only what you can get out of life without any appreciation of what others have done or are willing to do for you?   Or, are you truly beholdin’ to those who have helped you along the way?

Who are you beholdin’ to?  Tell others how beholdin’ you are to them.   They would love to hear a few kind words from you.

Who else are you beholdin’ to?   How about GOD in Heaven, JESUS who died on that old wooden cross and the HOLY SPIRIT who resides in you every minute of every day.   When was the last time you told every member of the TRINITY how beholdin’ you are?   Like the man said….”That’s been too long.”

Today’s prayer:   BLESSED TRINITY, Thank YOU for loving me and always being with me.   I am in appreciation for all YOU have done and are doing for me.  I am ‘real beholdin’ to YOU.  Amen.”

 

“JUST FORGET IT!”

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  1John 1:9 NIV

 

Read:  1John 1:1-10

Have you ever been so frustrated with a situation or another person that you blurted out “Just forget it!”?    Maybe you have waited patiently for someone to complete a task or fulfill a promise.   Instead of doing as you expect, they seem to ignore the priority you have set.  Life has a way of taking us to our limits at times.

 

There is another time of “Just forget it!”.  It is the time we hear it from our SAVIOUR.

This  time  the  words  are not  said  in  frustration or  anger, but in a  comforting  love.

When JESUS tells us to “Just forget it!”, we can be relieved.    He has taken on all of our problems, removed the guilt we have been carrying or given us a new strength to renew us.

JESUS promised to forgive all our sins, not some of our sins…all of them.   No matter how big or unforgivable you think your sins are, they are not too big for JESUS.  Lay them at the foot of the cross and leave them there.

What do you have to do to have all your sins forgiven?   First, accept JESUS as your LORD and SAVIOUR.   Then tell him how sorry you are for those things done wrong.   Once you have remorse in your heart, ask HIM to forgive you.   As difficult as it may seem, it is really that easy.

Oh, yes!   There is an added benefit.   Not only do you no longer have to live with the guilt, once you leave this earth, you will be able to spend eternity in Heaven. Isn’t our LORD great!?

Today’s prayer:   “LORD JESUS, Thank YOU for YOUR mercy and grace upon me.  As unworthy as I am, it is YOUR forgiveness that restores me and allows me to be worthy.   Help me to live my life daily as YOU would have me.  Amen.”

“AN UNDO BUTTON FOR LIFE!”

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”  1Peter 5:10 NIV

Read: 1Peter 5:6-11

I am somewhat illiterate when it comes to computers and tech things.   My office assistant taught me about the ‘undo’ button when writing and editing.   Wow!   What a blessing!  I make a mistake and it removes the error and restores my work all at once.

As we discussed it, we talked about an ‘undo button’ for life and how this could make a good subject for a devotional.   You see, we do have an ‘undo button’ for life.  It is called ‘on bended knee’.

 

When we make a mistake, we have forgiveness.   GOD will forgive all our errors.    Our undo button is a simple, 4 step process.

All we have to do is:
1) Acknowledge we made the mistake
2) Repent, being truly sorry for our error
3) Ask GOD to forgive us
4) Accept HIS forgiveness

Too many carry the burden of sins when all they have to do is take the problems, lay them at JESUS’ feet and leave them there.   The problems and sins you don’t want, JESUS does!

Do you have a sin you are dealing with that seems like a ball and chain dragging you down?   Get rid of it.  It is easier than clicking on an undo button.  Just ask JESUS to take it from you.   HE will.

Today’s prayer:  “JESUS, MY SALVATION, Thank YOU for taking on my each and every sin and forgiving me of all my errors.   By YOUR grace, help me to live my restored life as YOU would have me do.  Amen.

 

“NOT LOST, JUST NOT THERE YET!”

“Remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”   James 5:20 NIV

Read:  James 5:19-20

“Not all who wander are lost.” is from Tolkien’s poem.   Notice the words.  It reads; ‘not all’.   Some wander as they have no roots.  Some are wandering to get to an unknown place, while others are running away from something.   Tolkien’s line is that of a dreamer.

What about you?   Have you ever been lost?   Strange roads, in a new city or where north seems to be east. It can all be disorienting.   Men are sometimes accused of refusing to ask directions, but that seems to be a personality quirk of men and women equally.

 

Some are lost in their walk with life; floating from job to job, city to city and even spouse to spouse.   Nothing ever seems to fit.   They are always looking for the right fit or something better.
The problem with ‘not lost, just not there yet’ is it becomes a permanent situation…never getting to where ‘there’ really is.

Are you a wanderer when it comes to your faith?   Are you ‘just not there yet’ ?   GOD has not  gone  anywhere. HE is exactly where HE has always been.   Could you be wandering and looking in the wrong place?

GOD has a plan for you.   HE wants you to be HIS loving servant.   If you are not there yet, then you really are lost.   Find your home in JESUS.  Do it today.

Today’s prayer:   “Thank YOU LORD for guiding me along the path YOU have selected for me.   Help me to understand;  YOUR way is an easier path so that I am never lost.  I want my eternal life with YOU to be secure.  Amen.”

 

“WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?”

“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

1Peter 3:12  NIV

 

Read:   1Peter 3:8-14

 

Besides being questionable grammar, we usually hear ‘What are you looking at?’ in a questioning and rude response to someone’s stare.  We could choose less offensive and more gentile words.

Have you been on the receiving end of that intent stare of another or have you been the one staring?  I like the old two second rule…”Any look over two seconds is either lust or judging.”  Both should be reasons to control our gazing.

We should not sit in judgment of others.   We should not stare at those who are exceptionally overweight, physically challenged, of ethnicity or race of different to us.   If you look or stare at another, are you not passing judgment upon them?

There is only ONE to pass judgment or condemn.    GOD, our CREATOR, knows all for HE sees all and hears all.  Our verse of the day really says it all.

Today’s prayer:   “GOD IN HEAVEN, Thank YOU for YOUR eyes upon me when I am righteous and YOUR ears to hear my prayers.  Help me to look upon others with the love and grace as YOU do.  Amen.”