Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Over and Over and Over...

I have learned something very valuable from a young man I am talking to about Jesus.  He has a certain sin that he continues to commit over and over and over.  After we talk and he asks God for forgiveness, he seems to feel much better and stronger.  But within a day or two, he "relapses" and commits the same sin over again.  This has been going on for the entire summer.  It seems like every time I check my Email, I am going to have one from him saying, "I did it again.  What should I do now?"  I am not a counselor and have suggested that he may want to seek a professional.  But he insists on continuing to ask me for help.  What should I tell him?  All I know to do is to keep encouraging him to pray and ask God to forgive him and to give him strength to continue his personal battle.  To be honest, I am getting a little tired of trying to help him because it just doesn't seem to be working.  Then it hit me!

God might be using me to help my friend, but I now realize that he is definitely using my friend to help me.  You see, I also have an habitual sin; perhaps we all do. What should we do about it?  The same thing I suggested that he do about it:  don't ever give-up asking for God's help.  When we continue to pray for help, we demonstrate that we still have faith in God to actually help us.  But if we give-up and stop asking God for help, what does that say about our faith?  There is no guarantee that our family, best friend, or even pastor will never give-up on us when we continue to commit the same sin over and over.  They may get tired of trying to help us, but God won't!  God loves us so much that no matter how many times we sin, even if it is the same sin, He will never give-up on us.  We should always trust in the Lord.  And what better advice is there to give to others?

Romans 8:38-39 says, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

Father, thank-you for reminding me that you are still in charge and for never giving up on us.  Teach us to also never give-up on others.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Why Me?

I sometimes ask myself why I write devotions.  Is it to help me or is it to help others?  Who says I am even qualified to write devotions about God?  I sin.  I ask for forgiveness.  I sin even more.  Why would anybody want to read my devotions, especially the people who know me and know how broken I am?  I can't tell you how many times someone will respond to me after I do something stupid with, "and you write Christian devotions?"  How can I even gaze upon this computer screen and hope the words come to my typing fingers?  You know what?  It helps me to combat these obstacle questions with a clear and simple, "why not me?"

If we broken sinners didn't write about Jesus, then who will?  Who amoung us is qualified?  When I read through the characters in the Bible, I realize, although different in many ways, there is one thing that most have in common:  They were broken sinners.  I can honestly say that I write devotions to help me stay focused on Jesus.  If what I write is also helping somebody else, that is great!  But it is totally God's business and for me not to worry about.  I can't worry about how it is affecting others, nor can I let others derail me from writing simply because I may feel that it is not effective.  My only true enemy is me; my only true friend is Jesus.  So, broken or not, I will continue to write about God.  Have you thought about maybe writing some kind of devotions for God?  You may come-up with a thousand excuses not to, but never feel like you are not qualified or that you sin "too much"  Don't we all sin too much?  Let's stand-up convincingly for Jesus, not because we are perfect, but because we are broken sinners.

Romans 3:23 says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"  

Father, please forgive me of my sins.  Help us to remember that you can use us to help others no matter how broken we may be.  In Jesus name, Amen.