Who are We Kidding?

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8

Very few people in life claim to be perfect. We may joke about it being “hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way,” but we know ourselves. We know our faults better than anybody. But often, we hide our sin. God sees it all but we tend to hide it from others. Nobody wants to air our own personal dirty laundry! We think that if others see what we’re really like, they won’t accept us. The truth is, though, that we’re all like that in that way…to varying degrees obviously.

But our main concern should be to reveal ourselves and our sins to God. It seems like overkill because, well, God already knows us and what we’ve done, so what’s the point? The point is that God wants us to admit it because deep down we think even He won’t accept us if He knew! We smile at that but we know it to be true even a little. Like Adam, we hide.

Are you in doubt about whether God will accept us if we pour out our heart to him?

But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

The Blood of Jesus

But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

The blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin. That's essentially the Gospel message in a concise sentence. Men, women, and children all over the world have died horrible deaths because of that one sentence. They have risked everything to proclaim that simple message.

The upside to that is that many lives have been radically changed because of the words in that solitary sentence. Marriages have been rebuilt, addictions have been conquered, rivers full of tears have been shed, and thick chains have been loosened because of that sentence.

Without the reality of those words, all bets are off for mankind's continued existence.

But thankfully – thankfully – those words are real.

The Journey Home

If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:6-7

Have you ever been in a room or area outside at night where it was pitch black with absolutely no light? Even after your eyes have “adjusted” to the darkness, you can’t see a thing. Nothing. You hope you don’t run into anything and your arms are searching for something-anything-familiar.

God has given us a way out of this spiritual darkness that we’ve been in, through his Son Jesus. Even as Christians there are times when we fumble through the darkness in rebellion or sheer pride, and yet we’re still going through the motions day after day, week after week. We’re living a lie and we know it. But we don’t have to live in the darkness. We can walk into God’s light and accept the forgiveness that God offers.

It’s never too late to repent; it’s never too late to turn back. The journey home is not as far as it seems. He’s waiting for you.

The Light of God

God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5

God is light but He is much more than that. In fact if you were to combine all of the attributes that we equate God (love, omnipotent, omniscient, wise, etc), He would still be more than all of that. But light is one of those characteristics that helps to reveal who we are as his Creation.

When you shine pure light anywhere, there is no place to hide. The bigger and brighter the light source, the fewer places there are to shield ourselves. And yet, that’s the whole point. There are times, though, that even God was reluctant to reveal his light. When Moses asked to see the Glory of the Lord, God commanded Moses to hide so that he couldn’t see directly into His brilliance as He passed by (Exodus 33:12-23). It was a bold request but the Lord honored a portion of it.

We also have a reminder of this “light” in Hebrews 4:13: “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

As Good as a Handshake

A man lacking in judgment strikes hands in pledge and puts up security for his neighbor. Proverbs 17:18

I miss the day when I could shake somebody’s hand, and the handshake alone bound the person to whatever was agreed upon. Sadly, trusting your fellow man to do the right thing is a thing of the past. Now we must draw up 50 page contracts promising that we’ll have the garbage ready for the garbage man at precisely 8:00 a.m., or the trash won’t be picked up that week.

Samuel Goldwyn summarized our new attitude the best: A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

Let your yes be yes and let your no be no,” Matthew 5:37 advises us.

Unfortunately, in an era when lawsuits far outnumber honest men, it’s necessary to draw up contracts for large ticket items. Do that if you need to, but if you say you’re going to do something (in a contract or otherwise), do it. It applies to every walk of life. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to turn something down when you’re in the “decision” stage if you know you won’t have the time or priority to accomplish it.

Our word should be as good as a handshake.

Reckless Words and Healing Tongues

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18

A woman called her husband and told him she was in an auto accident.

“What’s the damage to the car,” the husband asked.
”I don’t know. They towed it away.”
“So where are you calling from?” he asked.
“The hospital.”

Have you ever wanted to take back something you said immediately after it came out of your mouth? We have all done it. Careless words. Unkind words. Thoughtless words. If we catch ourselves, we try to salvage the situation. Most of the time, though, like the wife in the story the damage is done. Her welfare should have been his first concern, and not a flimsy car. A scar remains.

But on the other hand, Scripture tells us often that wise and thoughtful words can heal and soothe. Knowing the right and wisest words to use in any situation takes a deliberate effort for many. It's something that we must all work on.

I find it also to be true with correspondence (email). Even though the recipient can’t physically see you, your personality comes out in an email. I have a tendency to be sarcastic in my emails, but I also strive for clarity. If there's a chance I'll be misunderstood, I'll erase the offensive parts of what I wrote and remove it completely from the email.

Encourage someone today. Send a card or a handwritten note. Be careful what you say and how you say it. Words mean things and sometimes they hurt.

Words also heal.

A Little Good News

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come. Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen. Revelation 22:20-21

In 1983 Anne Murray’s song “Little Good News” was #1 on the country chart.

There's a local paper rolled up in a rubber band
One more sad story's one more than I can stand
Just once how I'd like to see the headline say
"Not much to print today, can't find nothin' bad to say", because

Nobody robbed a liquor store on the lower part of town
Nobody OD'ed, nobody burned a single buildin' down
Nobody fired a shot in anger, nobody had to die in vain
We sure could use a little good news today.

Well, the last two verses of the Holy Bible give us that good news!

Jesus is coming soon.

Others more knowledgeable about the Bible will certainly set me straight about eschatology and End Times events and all that's to come. Will 'soon' be tomorrow? Next year? A thousand years from now? I don't know. Actually, no one knows, though we do know we're one day closer than we were yesterday. But I do know this, on that day “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Jesus is coming soon!

That’s the kind of good news I like to hear.

Let’s Be Careful Out There!

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Many who are old enough will remember the TV series Hill Street Blues. I didn't watch it much but I do remember one line that was repeated often (and probably I every episode). Immediately before sending the men into the streets, Sergeant Phil Esterhaus would say, “And hey! Hey, let's be careful out there, okay?” It was a daily reminder that even though the men and women carried badges and guns, there were dangerous people in the streets.

Peter tells us that our enemy the devil is on the prowl as well, waiting and encouraging us to slip up. A sharp tongue. A gossip tongue. The little white lie. The bold-faced lie. The dark humor. The anger within. The selfishness. The lust of the eyes. The greed. The list never ends.

Scripture also admonishes us to “resist him, standing firm in the faith.” I can draw comfort from that because we have a way out when we recognize that “sin is crouching at our door.”

“So, hey, hey! Let's be careful out there today.”

Timely Words

A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25

The potential for negative news during a day is astounding. Newscasts, project problems, family, friends, car problems, they all can weigh heavily on you. If this negativity weighs heavily on you, think about your co-worker or family member. Chances are good that they're experiencing similar problems. The day drags on and you need a little “pick me up.” You need, as Proverbs says, to be refreshed.

Everyone – everyone – needs encouragement. The general principle in this verse is this: refresh someone; be refreshed. The act of encouraging or recharging someone’s emotional batteries is enough to give yourself a boost. It doesn't have to be grandiose or the most eloquent words ever spoken. A simple, timely compliment could be the difference between a headache-filled day and one that turned out well despite all the obstacles.

Don't underestimate the power of a few timely words of encouragement.