Faithful and True

Welcome to Journey 5 – Faithful and True

Continue your Omniallinfinitude™ Journey Here

 

Faithful and True is the fifth of the twelve Omniallinfinitude™ Journeys.  Each Journey is presented through 16 blog posts.  Even though we are now pausing or blogging a different Journey,  we highly recommend completing the journeys in order at your own pace.

Each Journey is made up of Journey Elements  (click for more information).   You can also view or download the PDF version of this Journey by clicking the Faithful and True graphic at the top of the right sidebar.

 

Here’s how to participate:

  1. Read each blog post in the order they were posted.
  2. Complete the Journey Elements contained in each post.  Each Journey covers one attribute group and one spiritual practice.  All of the Elements relate to these in some way.
  3. Return to the Blog Post – we encourage you to comment based on the specific assignment.  Read other’s comments and engage in an online conversation.  These posts and comments are ongoing.
  4. For more information see How Does This Work on the Main Omni page.
  5. Then move on to the next post.  You can access the individual post pages from the top menu bar under Journey Elements,  or by clicking the links below in this post.
  6. When you complete a Journey – move on to the next Journey.  The format and Element structure will be the same in all the Journeys.
  7. Each Journey will also have its own blog,  and each post will have its own page,  in addition to appearing in the complete blog.  This will make it easier to complete the blog at your own speed,  as well as for others who start later.  We will eventually have 12 active blogs with people participating in all of them at the same time.

 

Complete the Blog Posts below in this order:

Click on the links to go to the individual blog posts with their respective comments.  Once you click to the Journal pages,  scroll up to get to the beginning of the blog post.  Each Journal post will also appear on the Journey Element Page that it follows.  For example,  Journal 5.1 will appear on the same page and directly under Remember and Read.

 

Faithful and True: What comes to your mind?

Faithful and True 1: Remember and Read

Faithful and True 2: Journal 5.1 – Starting to Rub Off on Us

Faithful and True 3: Analyze – Chapter Summary

Faithful and True 4: Journal 5.2 – Houston, We Have a Problem

Faithful and True 5: Investigate – Faithful and Trustworthy and 10 Things

Faithful and True 6: Journal 5.3 – Let’s Clean Up Our Act

Faithful and True 7: Practice – Confession and Why?

Faithful and True 8: Journal 5.4 – Promises, Promises

Faithful and True 9: Inventory – How Do You Trust?

Faithful and True 10: Journal 5.5 – The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow, Right?

Faithful and True 11: Adventuring – Grocery Swap

Faithful and True 12: Journal 5.6 – The Most Important Question

Faithful and True 13: More Cool Stuff – The Answerer

Faithful and True 14: Journal 5.7 – Nitty Gritty

Faithful and True 15: Lyrics

Faithful and True 16: Closure

 

While we encourage you to leave Comments,  we totally understand if you want to participate anonymously.  This format also works well for small groups meeting in person.  It’s ok to print out the PDF – just remember to keep a copy on your computer so you can use the links.

Credits for quotes,  music,  lyrics and videos appear in the Credits section in the back of the PDF.  Omniallinfinitude™ material may be reproduced as long as credit is given.  There is no fee for using this material.

 

Enjoy the Journey…..take your time….but take the Journey!

 

Faithful and True – What comes to Mind?

What comes to your mind?

 

 

Your dog at the door,
That old car that always starts,
The phone call from your Mom on your birthday
The money that shows up in your bank account each month.

 

Or maybe it’s the young wife waiting for her husband to return from war, or a business trip
The friend who believes only the best and puts rumors to rest.
The clock that keeps perfect time,  and the light that always shines.

 

Keeping their commitments,  the Faithful are dependable and steadfast
Their Yes is always Yes,  and their No is really No,
What you see is what you get……..loyalty,  honesty,  genuine to the core,  real.

They’re Promise Keepers – True Blue no matter what
In the best of times and the worst of times,
Thru thick and thin,  and in sickness and in health
Thru the laughter and the tears.

 

 

The Faithful
They are there for us….make us feel safe,  hopeful,  and comforted
They walk the extra mile with us
And will be the last ones standing for us.

 

We might even take them for granted,  use them,  even ignore them.
Old Faithful……..so constant we count on them – sometimes to a fault
They are true to form and a dream come true.

Until they aren’t there…..

 

Promises,  Promises…..from doing the dishes to cutting taxes
Like a True/False Test that we continue to fail
Sometimes our True Colors come shining through and they aren’t True Blue,

But often,  Green,  or Red or even Black.
We expect others to be faithful to us – we demand it,  raise our fists
Yet we don’t return it.
We just keep making promises to ourselves,  to others,  to God.

 

 

It’s just the way it is – true to life
We say,  So true! and How true!,  all the while looking for the True Story amongst the True Lies
Whatever happened to all those True Friends?

 

Those Best Friends Forever,  all those promises we made to each other.
Where did our True Love go?  Why do we only appreciate them when they’re gone?

It takes some True Grit to be a True Friend……There is only One who truly can
He is the Promise that came true

The only True Love we will ever need.
Truly Faithful and Faithfully True.

 

COMMENTS:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post)

Before you begin Journey 5,  what comes to your mind as you ponder Faithful and True?

 

Faithful and True 1: Remember and Read

remember

Joshua 1:9

“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified;  do not be discouraged.  For the LORD,  your God,  will be with you wherever you go.”  (NIV)

 

Additional verses to remember :

1 Corinthians 10:13 – No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful;  He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted,  he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (NIV)

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins,  He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (NIV)

Lamentations 3:22-23 – Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,  for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning:  Great is your faithfulness. (NIV)

Psalm 33:4 – For the Word of the Lord is right and true,  He is faithful in all He does. (NIV)

 

We always begin by memorizing the theme verse for each journey (including Book,  Chapter and Verse).  Think of this as the necessary foundation for future excellence – like practicing scales on the piano or doing wind sprints or swimming laps,  or taking your vitamins,  or eating your vegetables.

What is that I hear? – OH NO!  Not memorization….

We actually recall or remember all kinds of things we’ve memorized without really even trying.  Can you think of any?

How about your phone number,  email address,  street address,  zip code,  social security number,  birthday,  names of your family,  how to get to work,  how to drive a car,  that secret recipe….or how to spell or multiply,  song lyrics,  movie scenes,  jokes,  what someone was wearing,  what car they drove,  sports statistics,  what chocolate tastes like, what the ocean smells like,  and on and on.

That’s why we call this element Remember – it’s the remembering that is important.

 

Why do we remember what we remember?

Actually, recollection is just the tip of the memory iceberg.  Within our marvelous and mysterious brain the memory works in collaboration with us and the world – it uses all our senses and emotions.  We associate smells, colors, places,  rituals,  symbols,  landmarks,  even people,  with memories and when we sense the trigger,  we remember.

For now you will just have to take my word for it – there are tremendous spiritual benefits from Remembering Bible verses:

  • Strengthens our faith
  • Shapes how we view the world
  • Makes God’s Word immediately accessible
  • Guards our minds

Here are some hints to help you get started.  We all learn differently – so don’t be afraid to try some of the more unusual methods.  Plus – some of them are just plain fun.  And not only do we need to remember the verse,  we need to remember to work on remembering the verse….double whammy!

  • Write the verse on several post it notes or index cards and put it where you will see it such as the car,  the bathroom mirror,  the kitchen sink,  a bulletin board,  your computer screen saver,  your cell phone,  your Facebook status,  by your bed…..Or use one of the many Scripture Memory APPs now available for phones and tablets.  Scripture Typer is one of our favorites.
  • Make plans to spend five minutes,  twice a day (usually as you get up and before bed) to review.  Review often…..
  • Say it slowly,  15 times in a row,  emphasizing each word.
  • If you have already learned it in another translation,  review that one.  Once you know it in one,  look it up in a couple of others to see what is different.
  • Review it when you are waiting in line,  or on hold on the phone.
  • Sing it – make up a tune to go with it,  or say it with an accent.
  • Rap it,  paint it,  draw it,  doodle it,  or diagram it like in Pictionary
  • For extra credit,  add the verse before and the verse after.

I like to think of this remember process as Texting or Tweeting My Brain and then having my brain Text or Tweet me back.

 

Also, remember there is a downloadable PDF available for this Journey – click on the graphic at the top of the right sidebar.   You can download it and save it on your computer where it will link to the online Bible,  a dictionary, the videos and the songs for this Journey.  You can also type into it and of course you can print it out.  We highly encourage – however you chose to record your discoveries and experiences – everyone to periodically comment online and read each other’s comments.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post)

Don’t forget the REMEMBER verses from Journeys 1,  2,  3 and 4 – What were they?  Keep reviewing them daily.  Try to use them in conversation and to encourage others.

 

read

 Isaiah 53, 55, Luke 23, 24

(You can change translations after you click the blue chapter links to read in other translations)

 

Please read through these four chapters in one sitting,  on three separate days;  once from a modern translation,  once in a modern paraphrase,  and then finally with a pad and pencil by as you record your thoughts and observations.  It is also helpful to read the selections aloud.  As you read, underline words that describe who God is or the names He is called.  The blue Bible Chapter links above will bring up an online Bible and you can change the translation to whatever you want.

This element is about reading what it says – try to put aside any preconceived ideas about what you think it says,  or what you may have concluded based on other studies or classes.  We are not saying those ideas are wrong,  but for this Element,  we just want to read it as if for the first time.  Please read for the storyline – and see if you can then faithfully retell it in your own words.

 

Since you cannot type into this blog – we suggest you record your answers in a journal or download/print the PDF version.

First Reading:  Modern Translation – which one did you use?

Second Reading:  Modern Paraphrase – which one did you use?

Third Reading:  Reading Notes

Isaiah 53:

Isaiah 55:

Luke 23:

Luke 24:

Descriptions of God:

Names used for God:

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post.)

Share with us any names or descriptions of God you discovered.  Also share any personal observations or experiences from just reading to see what it says.

Our next blog post will be Faithful and True 2: Journal 5.1 – Starting to Rub Off on Us.

 

Faithful and True 2: Journal 5.1 – Starting to Rub Off on Us

 

Our journey so far has revealed that the transcendent One and Only God – the God of the Bible – is also infinite,  eternal,  immutable and omnipresent.

 

Or in simpler words,  He exists beyond and outside of time and space,  there are no limits to any of his attributes.  We live in space traveling through time.  He created both and lives beyond them – which allows Him to be everywhere at the same time, in all time.  He never changes because change comes within time.

 

And then things began to get personal as we discovered just how God’s attributes and our lives collide.  We now know He is in charge,  working out His plan because He has all the power,  all the knowledge and the ability to work them together to use the right means to the right ends for the right reasons.  These include turning evil and suffering into ways to work out our Good and His Glory.

 

Moving forward from these great foundational truths,  we see God’s attributes not only impacting our lives,  but rubbing off on who we are at our core.  We are made in His Image….He created us,  and as a result,  a human sized portion of some of his attributes can be seen in us.

 

As He is perfectly Faithful and Trustworthy,  we also show glimpses of these very attributes in our relationships with others.

 

COMMENT:

 (In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post.)

 

What does it mean when we say that someone is “rubbing off” on us?

What usually has to happen for someone to rub off on us,  or for us to rub off on someone else?

List some good and bad ways people rub off on each other.

Our next blog post will be Faithful and True 3: Analyze – Chapter Summary. 

 

 


Faithful and True 3: Analyze – Chapter Summary

analyze

Chapter Summary

 

When the Bible was originally written it had no chapter or verse divisions.  These were added by Bishop Stephen Langdon in 1228 to make it easier to read.  There are 66 books with a total of 1189 chapters in the Bible.  It was written by over 40 authors under the power of the Holy Spirit,  in three languages  (Aramaic,  Hebrew,  and Greek) over a period of about 1600 years.  It has to date been read by more people and translated into more languages than any other book in history.

 

The Chapter Summary method will familiarize you with the content of one chapter in a quick overview.  No other study tools will be needed.

Pick one of the Reading Chapters assigned for this week  (Isaiah 53,  53,  Luke 23,  or 24) and answer the following questions.

  1. Read it again one more time
  1. Give it a short title.
  1. Briefly outline the chapter.
  1. List the main characters.
  1. Pick a main verse and write it out.
  1. Write down key words  (make sure you know what they mean).
  1. Is there something we learn about Jesus in this chapter?
  1. What is the main lesson? 
  1. Did you learn something new?

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post.)

Share with us some of your answers using the above Bible Study method and how it helped you better understand the chapter.

Our next blog post will be Faithful and True 4: Journal 5.2 – Houston,  We have a Problem.

 

Faithful and True 4: Journal 5.2 – Houston, We have a Problem

 

We are very good at cleaning up the outside of our lives.

We look good,  we act good,  we obey the rules,  we’re better than those other people.  But we still have that battle within ourselves,  the battle over how to use our Free Will,  whether to glorify God or glorify ourselves,  seek our own good or the good of others….

 

I mean how good is good enough,  who decides?

 

And what about our motives,  our heart’s deepest desires,
The secret things that nobody else knows…..except for God.
Our intentions are good,
But we drift,  and soon our desires have become the idols we worship instead of God.
We worship created things and they rule us.
What we worship,  we will serve,  and it will rule over us.

 

God has clearly commanded us to worship only Him as the ONE TRUE GOD– and no other gods.   And then He goes on to command us to worship him in Spirit and in Truthas He truly IS,  not as we want Him to be.  When we redefine Him in our image,  we create an idol – and then we try to save ourselves through it.

 

 

Sin is so much more than just doing wrong…..cleaning up the outside will not hide it from God.

Remember God knows everything and sees everything.  He sees into places inside us we can’t even think of going.  It’s pervasive,  the more we try to clean it up,  the more we bring it into the light.

Sooner or later it all comes back to us – our Self.

 

 

Our Self will have to die,  and usually it is a very slow death.

 

Do you see yourself,  as I do,  in any of these questions?

  1. Do you have something within you that rebels at taking orders from anyone?  Do you not like being told what to do?  Do you like to be in control of your own destiny?  That’s Self Will1 Sam. 15:22
  2. Are your feelings always getting hurt?  Do you have a long memory and keep records of wrongs others have done to you?  That’s Self-SensitivenessHeb. 12:15
  3. Do you continually put yourself down?  Do you find it hard to accept compliments or praise?  Do you lack self assurance?  That’s Self–DeprecationPhil. 4:13
  4. Do you blame others or circumstances for your actions?  Do you always seek to justify yourself?  That’s Self-DefensePsalm 62:2
  5. Do you always bring attention to yourself?  Do you seek to continually be the center of attention and bring the conversation back to yourself?  Do you comment about how you look, either good or bad, when you see yourself in a picture?  That’s Self-CenterednessPhil. 2:4
  6. Do you seek power, seek to lord it over those not as fortunate as you, since their situation must reflect who they really are?  That’s Self–ConceitJohn 15:5
  7. Do you always find something to complain about?  If only this, If only that?  Are you more often part of the problem instead of the solution?  That’s Self ComplainingI Thess. 5:18

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post.)

What are some of the justifications we come up with to excuse our sin nature or to deny it even exists?

What are some of the ways we try to wash away our own sins,  deal with our own sin nature,  and save ourselves?

Our next blog post will be Faithful and True 5: Investigate – Faithful and Trustworthy and 10 Things.

 

Faithful and True 5: Investigate – Faithful and Trustworthy and 10 Things

investigate

Faithful and Trustworthy

 

Define:  Please write a brief definition for each word below in your journal or the PDF using a regular dictionary,  not a Bible dictionary.

(Click on any word to link to dictionary.com for the word’s definition)

 

∞     Faithful                                

∞     Dependable                            

∞     True                                     

∞     Reliable                                

∞     Constant                               

∞     Confidence                            

∞     Loyal                                   

∞     Steadfast                               

∞     Trustworthy                           

∞     Responsible                           

∞     Truthful                                

∞     Sure                                     

∞     Genuine                                

∞     Right                                   

∞     Correct                                 

∞     Actuality                               

 

Now write your own definition for Faithful and True.

Share it as a COMMENT. 

  

Review:  The Promises of God 

Because God is faithful and trustworthy He will keep His promises 100% of the time.  Read the following verses and briefly state what God has promised to you.  This is just a partial list as there are hundreds of promises to us who believe.  Click on each verse to read online.

 

Verse

God’s Promise to Me

Genesis 8: 20-22  
Genesis 9: 12-17  
Psalms 103: 12  
Proverbs 3: 5-6  
Isaiah 26: 3  
Isaiah 40: 31  
Jeremiah 29: 11-13  
Matthew 5: 3-10  
Matthew 7: 7-8  
Matthew 7: 11  
Matthew 11: 28  
Matthew 17: 20  
Matthew 21: 22  
John 3: 16  
John 8: 31  
John 10: 27-28  
John 14: 1-3  
John 14: 14  
John 15: 7-8  
John 16: 13-14  
Romans 8: 1  
Romans 8: 28  
I Cor. 10: 13  
Galatians 6: 7-8  
Eph. 2: 8-9  
Phil 4: 7  
Phil. 4: 19  
1 Thess. 5: 23-24  
2 Thess. 3: 3  
Hebrews 4: 15-16  
Hebrews 10: 23  
Hebrews 13: 5  
James 1: 5  
I Peter 5: 7  
II Peter 3: 13  
I John 1: 9  
I John 4: 1-4  
Revelation 3: 20  
 
 

 

Conclude: 

Pick one or two of the promises above that really speak to you at this point in your journey and answer the following questions about them.

Why do you think the Promises you chose are especially important to you right now in your journey?

Have you personally experienced the fulfillment of these Promises?  Describe this.

Which kinds of Promises do you find the hardest to believe in?  Which do you find the easiest to believe in?

 

COMMENT:

(In the PDF,  your journal,  or the Comment section for this post.)

Share your definition for Faithful and True.  Then share some of your answers to the questions in the Conclude section for this post.

 

10  things

Faithful and True

  1. Migweh Yisrael is the name for God that means Hope of Israel.  Because God is trustworthy we have hope that everything will turn out as He has promised no matter what our current circumstances.  Hope is dependent on our belief in His faithfulness as He proves to us over and over that He cares and will care for us,  watches over us,  strengthens us,  and saves us.
  1. A. W. Tozer – “His immutability presupposes His faithfulness.  If He is unchanging,  it follows he could not be unfaithful,  since that would require Him to change.”
  1. Bruce L. Shelley – “When Israel went too far,  and God had to bring judgment upon his people,  even then God was true to his promise.  A remnant of Israel and Judah survived the exiles.  God would not be untrue to himself.  He would fulfill his loving purpose for Israel,  even when Israel itself was the major roadblock to it.”
  1. When someone proves unfaithful to us,  we are quick to judge and ready to punish.
  1. There are no crooked dealings with God.  He always does right.
  1. Jeremiah“But there’s one other thing I remember,  and remembering,  I keep a grip on hope:  GOD’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,  his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.  They’re created new every morning.  How great your faithfulness!  I’m sticking with GOD  (I say it over and over).  He’s all I’ve got left.“  Lam 3:21-24  (from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)
  1. Beth Moore – “God will do what He says He will do”.
  1. Unfaithfulness is the most common sin of our age.
  1. Apostle John“I saw heaven standing open,  and there before me was a white horse,  whose rider is called Faithful and True.  With justice he judges and makes war.”  Rev. 19: 11 NIV
  1. God“I’m putting my rainbow in the clouds,  a sign of the covenant between me and the Earth.  From now on,  when I form a cloud over the Earth and the rainbow appears in the cloud,  I’ll remember my covenant between me and you and everything living, that never again will floodwaters destroy all life.”  Genesis 9: 13-15  (from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)

References for the above quotes can be found in the back of the PDF version of Faithful and True.

 

COMMENT:

(In the PDF,  your journal,  or the Comment section of this post.)

Pick one or two of the above quotes or statements and share any insights or challenges it presents to you.

Continue to review the Remember Verses and make sure you are up to date on all the prior postings.

Our next blog post will be Faithful and True 6:  Journal 5.3 – Let’s Clean Up Our Act.

 

Faithful and True 6: Journal 5.3 – Let’s Clean Up our Act

 

It comes with the territory.
You are not alone.
We are all born with it.
So now – what to do about it?

 

The first step is admitting we are sinful people.

We dealt with this when we talked about Worldviews and saw the different stances on this subject.  Just look around you.  And then look within you.  Even the smallest hints of sin is enough.

Sin is sin – no degrees,  no blaming.

 

Next we need to deal with the impact this has on our life – should we care at all?

Can anything be done about it?

Then we need to decide if something can be done about it,  how do we participate in that?

 

Our journey with God requires a lifetime of confession as He gently reveals to us the ways we fall short.  The best thing to do at that time is confess and move on.  But that is such a battle for us.

 

Confession is a practice of Engagement best combined with Solitude,  Silence and Prayer.  He reveals the sins we need to confess – if we don’t already know them.  As we confess,  He is able to provide the power to help us turn around and go the other way – to not continue in sin.

 

We also need to confess to one another – share our struggles,  ask for prayer and assistance.  This provides depth of relationship and shared battle as we let others know our deepest weaknesses and failures.

The benefit to us becomes depth of faith and transparency in our relationship with God and others.

 

The first step to forgiveness is the realization there is a problem and what we can do about it.  Confession is our part – forgiveness is Jesus’ part

 

COMMENT:

 (In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog, or in the Comment section for this post)

What are some of the roadblocks that keep us from admitting we are sinful?

Author Frances Schaeffer stated that without adherence to an internal,  God given moral code,  people will allow almost anything to occur as long as it does not affect their own personal peace and prosperity…..Based on your own experiences and observations would you agree or disagree…..explain. Is this true for you?

Our next blog post will be Faithful and True 7:  Practice – Confession.

 

Faithful and True 7: Practice – Confession and Why?

practice

Confession

 

The Spiritual Practices put us in a place where we are better able to interact with our environment and God.  God can then reach inside our spirits and transform them.  Just as our body needs to eat,  breathe,  exercise,  drink,  sleep, etc., so our spiritual self needs to make sure it is being sustained,  cared for,  and trained.  The results include spiritual growth,  a life controlled by the Holy Spirit,  evidence of the fruit of the spirit,  and the ultimate goal,  living life like Jesus did.

The Spiritual Practices are not:

  • Meritorious laws that earn favor with God
  • A way to show how spiritually mature we are
  • Unpleasant or difficult

Instead, they are:

  • Intentional
  • Activities we do that when practiced allow us to do activities we cannot now do.
  • Adaptable to work with our temperaments and gifts
  • Adjustable according to the rhythm and seasons of our lives

 

There are two kinds:

Abstinence – when we stop doing something that is perfectly normal to allow ourselves to focus more on God,  His Word,  and growing in godliness.  These also help us resist our tendency toward sins of commission  (when we do something we shouldn’t do).  We withdraw to breathe in all that God can provide to us,  breaking the hold that the world has on our lives.  Practices of Abstinence help ready us and create room for the Practices of Engagement.

Engagement – when we do certain activities that help us grow in Christ and obey his commandments.  The Practices of Abstinence have opened up the time and broken up the preoccupations so we are now free to learn of,  focus on,  and practice those things that God commands us to do.  These assist in keeping us from our tendency toward sins of omission  (not doing the things we should do).  We engage to breathe out all that God commands us.

This Journey Element requires more time than most to complete so break it down into sections.  The three opportunities to Comment provide obvious breaking points.

 

Confession:

Living Transparently

 

Confession has been referred to as keeping short accounts with God.  To confess is to admit or acknowledge that something is true.  It is agreeing with Him that we have offended Him with our disobedience and deserve nothing less than His wrath.  However, because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross,  the penalty for our sins has been paid.  Now all we need to do is to ask for forgiveness,  turn around and go the other way,  run from our sin,  and toward the life God would create for us.

Easier said than done….

 

First We Need to Agree on a Few Things

  1. We cannot hide anything from God.
  2. God does not like our sin,  in fact He hates it and He knows all about it. We need to let go of those secret sins we cherish.  Unconfessed sin is a great obstruction to growing in our spiritual life and He knows that.
  3. We need to get to the place where we agree with Him that whatever it was we did or thought was sin.  We need to identify it for what it is.
  4. We need to be sorry about it,  truly sorry and take responsibility for it.  No excuses.  No blaming.  Not just sorry we got caught.  Some sins we immediately deeply regret,  some we don’t regret but should,  and some are so secret we don’t even recognize them as sin.
  5. Then we can ask for forgiveness and mercy and thank Him for restoring us.
  6. Finally,  we need to turn around and sin no more.  This is what is called repentance,  we are to totally break off from the sin and run the other way.  We are not just doing damage control here,  this is a total reversal.
  7. Then move on in joy,  you’ve been forgiven,  the slate has been wiped clean.  You’ve been given a fresh start. The burden is gone,  healing can begin.  You’re back on the straight and narrow path,  so stay there.  Walk in the light!!

Logical Consequences

Now this doesn’t mean that we won’t have to accept the logical consequences of our sin,  if there are any.  We may need to perform restitution,  make amends,  ask forgiveness,  feel some pain,  pay a fine,  serve some time.

As Far as the East is from the West

Your guilt and shame should be gone,  and the sin should look significantly less attractive,  perhaps even as ugly as it does in the eyes of God.  It no longer holds any power over you.  Sometimes sin is satisfying a legitimate need in an illegitimate way so make sure you understand what the need was/is and the correct way to satisfy it otherwise you’ll continue to frustrate yourself.

 

Who Do We Confess To?

There is private confession just between God and us,  and then there is confession that is part of being in a community of believers.  This should be to a mature,  trustworthy and safe individual.  This would not be the same person you would need to ask forgiveness from,  but someone to guide you,  pray for you,  and support you as you bare your soul.  The result is deeper fellowship and transparency and release of the burden of pretending and hiding.

 

We are all sinners saved by grace.  None of us has it all together.  There is no room for judgment,  ridicule or rejection when one of us is struggling with sin.  We fear no one else would understand,  yet, we would all understand if we were really honest.  Someone has walked in our shoes before us and could be an encouragement to us.

 

What are we confessing?

Adam and Eve started it off in Genesis when they disobeyed God and got kicked out of the Garden of Eden.  Sin, simply put,  is disobeying God.  It disconnects us from his power and His Spirit’s working in our lives.  God has put standards in his Word as well as in our hearts that we are to obey.  There are sins of commission: doing or thinking something we should not, and omission; not doing and thinking things we should.  It is putting ourselves in charge,  seeking to be like God,  ignoring Him,  thinking wrongly about Him,  thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought.

 

The 10 Commandments in Exodus 20 were given by God to Moses and have served as the standard of godly behavior since then.  These would be a good place to start when asking God to work in our lives.  They are paraphrased below.

  1. Have no other Gods but me.
  2. Do not create or worship idols.
  3. Do not misuse the name of God.
  4. Keep the Sabbath Day holy. Use it to rest.
  5. Honor your parents.
  6. Do not murder.
  7. Do not commit adultery.
  8. Do not steal.
  9. Do not lie about your neighbor.
  10. Do not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Idolatry

Human beings were made to worship and serve God and then rule God’s creation.  After Adam and Eve sinned, men began to stop worshiping God and began worshiping His creation instead.  These created things then began to rule over mankind.

Idolatry is simply unbelief – it is breaking one of the first two Commandments:

Worship no other Gods
Worship no Idols

(or God as we want Him to be – something we make in our image)

 

You can’t break the other Commandments without first breaking one of these two.  We create these idols because we want to control our lives.  We create substitutes for the God we were created to worship,  because we need to worship something.  We cannot eliminate God from our lives without creating God substitutes or idols to replace Him.  We try to save ourselves and we fail miserably.

Any time loyalty to something leads us to disobey God,  we are in danger of making it an idol.  When we believe that we must have something to be happy that is more important to our heart than God,  then we have found our idol.

Idols are as diverse as there are people who worship them.  But all can be rooted in heart attitudes that stem from deep fears, anger and worry.  Some signposts for us would be any inordinate desires in the areas of Power and Influence,  Approval and Respect,  Comfort and Quality of Life,  or Control or Accomplishment.  Another way to view these are from the Fear perspective:  Fear of humiliation,  fear of rejection,  fear of stress,  or fear of uncertainty.

Idols never satisfy – they lead us to create a delusion and a false set of definitions of success happiness and worth. We believe in the cause and effect of “If this happens – Then I will be happy”.  The result is always intellectual confusion and frustration……but we never blame the idol – we blame everything else,  including the God we don’t believe in.

The Seven Deadly Sins

These are foundational sins that usually show up in outward actions that might not initially be linked with these underlying attitudes.  This is when we need to go deep and get at the root cause of our sin.  You can see how they reveal the frustration idols cause in our lives.  They all stem from not being in a right relationship,  and looking to ourselves, others, or created things for the peace and satisfaction that can only be found in God.

Pride is excessive belief in one’s own abilities that interferes with the individual’s recognition of the grace of God.  It has been called the sin from which all others arise.  Seeing ourselves as we are and not comparing ourselves to others is humility.  Pride is competitive.  If someone else’s pride really bothers you, you probably have a lot of pride.

Envy is the desire for others’ traits,  status,  abilities,  or situation.  Love actively seeks the good of others for their sake.  Envy resents the good others receive or even might receive.

Gluttony is the strong desire to consume more than one requires. Temperance accepts the natural limits of pleasures and preserves this natural balance.  This does not pertain only to food,  but to entertainment and other legitimate goods,  and even the company of others.

Lust is craving for the pleasures of the body.  Self control prevents pleasure from killing the soul by suffocation.  Lust is the self-destructive drive for pleasure out of proportion to its worth.

Anger shows up in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury.  Kindness means taking the tender approach,  with patience and compassion.  Anger is often our first reaction to the problems of others and stems from our impatience with the faults of others.

Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain,  ignoring the realm of the spiritual.  This is about more than money. Generosity means letting others get the credit or praise.  It is giving without having expectations of the other person. Greed wants to get its “fair share” or a bit more.

Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work.  Zeal is the energetic response of the heart to God’s commands.  The other sins work together to deaden the spiritual senses so we first become slow to respond to God and eventually drift off into complacency.

 

The Bible has many lists of attitudes and actions that result naturally from our sinful selves.  Just be careful though, your sin may not show up on these lists.  Rely on the Holy Spirit to bring it to your mind,  let Him convict you,  then you need to deal with it accordingly.

Proverbs 6: 16-19 has the following list:

“Here are six things the LORD hates,  seven that are detestable to him:

  1. haughty eyes,
  2. a lying tongue,
  3. hands that shed innocent blood,
  4. a heart that devises wicked schemes,
  5. feet that are quick to rush into evil,
  6. a false witness who pours out lies
  7. and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.“  NIV

Galatians 5:19-21 has another list. “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious:

sexual immorality,  impurity and debauchery;  idolatry and witchcraft;  hatred,  discord,  jealousy,  fits of rage,  selfish ambition,  dissensions,  factions  and envy;  drunkenness,  orgies,  and the like.  I warn you,  as I did before,  that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  NIV

And Romans 1: 29-31 has this list. “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness,  evil,  greed and depravity.  They are full of envy,  murder,  strife,  deceit and malice.  They are gossips,  slanderers,  God-haters, insolent,  arrogant and boastful;  they invent ways of doing evil;  they disobey their parents;  they are senseless,  faithless,  heartless,  ruthless.”   NIV

The Greatest Commandment

Up to this point,  it all seems pretty negative.  There sure are a lot of sins to confess,  but then again we are talking about confession.  Most of us figure we’re doing pretty good, we look at our positive qualities,  our good deeds,  and compared to everyone else we are doing ok.

Jesus summed up how we are to live in one Great Commandment:

“Love the Lord,  your God,  with all your heart,  with all your soul,  with all your mind,  and with all your strength.” Mark 12:33

or

Love4

This is where we seek for God’s compassionate heart,  our soul is filled with the wonder of God,  our minds are inspired with holy curiosity about God,  and our passions are flamed with supernatural energy from God.  That’s where we want to live.   Confession frees us to move our focus from our idols,  eventually destroying them altogether,  to the amazing adventure of walking with God.

It appears we have plenty to work on.  So where do we start?

 

Ways to begin to Practice Public and Private Confession

During this Journey Unit we will combine three of our practices:  Solitude,  Prayer and Confession.

  1. Find a quiet place and prepare for 30 minutes of uninterrupted time.
  2. Quiet your heart.
  3. Invite God to show you areas that you need forgiveness in.  Ask Him to be specific.  God will bring them to your remembrance.  (God will not bring all our sins to our remembrance at once.  That would be overwhelming.  He will decide which ones for us to work on first,  if it is not obvious.)
  4. Now you may be surprised and not immediately agree with Him.  Talk to Him about it.  You may already know.
  5. Ask Him to lead you into Godly sorrow and then ask for His forgiveness.
  6. Agree to turn from the sin and run the other way.
  7. Ask Him if there is something else you need to do such as ask forgiveness of someone or make restitution.
  8. Ask Him if you should share this with someone else for spiritual support and prayer.
  9. Then Praise Him,  and move on.

 

Personal Reflections on Confession: 

Generally speaking,  what are some roadblocks to confession?

What are some self-centered motives for good behavior,  or for keeping someone compliant to external rules?  How do others “manage” our behavior?

How do you personally know that you need to confess something?

What are some things,  desires,  attitudes that have the potential of becoming idols in your life?

How are our idols related to our deepest fears?

 

COMMENT:

 (In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post)

Share your answers to the Personal Reflections on Confession questions.  Also share anything you learned from practicing Public or Private Confession.

 

Video: Starving Jesus

Click the above link and watch the Starving Jesus video a couple times.  Then reflect on the questions below.

In what areas of your life are you stuck because nothing sticks?

“We can’t grab on to something new if our hands are already full.”   What kinds of Dirty and Pretty Things are you holding on to?

“What we hold on to defines who we are.”  Reflect on how this is true for you.

How do our full hands starve Jesus?  What does that mean to you?

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post)

Share your answers to the Starving Jesus questions.

 

why?

Confession 

 

“The one counsel concerning sin is to bring it daily to the only One who can take it away — God Himself.  You should learn that one of the greatest privileges of a child of God is — the confession of sin.  It is only the holiness of God that can consume sin;  through confession I must hand over my sin to God,  lay it down in God,  get quit of it to God,  cast it into the fiery oven of God’s holy love which burns against sin like a fire.  God,  yes,  God Himself,  and He alone, takes away sin.” (from New Life, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Dallas Willard – “Confession is a discipline that functions within fellowship.  In it we let trusted others know our deepest weaknesses and failures.  This will nourish our faith in God’s provision for our needs through his people,  our sense of being loved,  and our humility before our brothers and sisters.”

John Ortberg  – “True confession involves entering into the pain of the person we have hurt and entering into God’s pain over sin.”

Augustine of Hippo – “The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works.”

Douglas Steere – “An examination of conscience is the time where the soul comes under the gaze of God and where in His silent and loving Presence this soul is pierced to the quick and becomes conscious of things that must be forgiven and put right before it can continue to love the One whose care has been so constant.”

Richard Foster – “There must be a definite termination point in the self examination process.  Otherwise, we can easily fall into a permanent habit of self condemnation.  Confession begins in sorrow, but it ends in joy.”

Jesus“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery.  They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus,  “Teacher,  this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.  Now what do you say?”  They were using this question as a trap,  in order to have a basis for accusing him.  But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.  When they kept on questioning him,  he straightened up and said to them,  “If any one of you is without sin,  let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.  At this,  those who heard began to go away one at a time,  the older ones first,  until only Jesus was left,  with the woman still standing there.  Jesus straightened up and asked her,  “Woman, where are they?  Has no one condemned you?”  “No one, sir,”  she said.  “Then neither do I condemn you,”  Jesus declared . “Go now and leave your life of sin.”  John 8: 3-11  NIV

References for the above quotes can be found in the back of the PDF version of Faithful and True.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the PDF,  or the Comments section of this post)

Pick one or two of the above quotes or statements and share any insights or challenges it presents to you.

The next post is Faithful and True 8: Journal 5.4 – Promises, Promises.

 

 

Faithful and True 8: Journal 5.4 – Promises, Promises

 

The following list includes qualities and actions of a faithful person:

  • Keep their promises
  • Supportive in good times and bad,  share in your successes and your failures
  • Loyal – believe good things about you
  • Dependable – come through for you – Go the extra mile
  • Give you some slack – forgive you
  • Understand you – know your strengths and weaknesses
  • Come to your defense – protect you
  • Play by the rules

 

And here’s a list of some ways we are unfaithful:

  • Cheat,  improper relationships
  • Push the envelope
  • Make excuses
  • Sneak around and Lie,  spread gossip
  • Neglect our relationships
  • Put personal needs first
  • Ignore others
  • Do not adhere to agreements,  promises,  our word
  • Do not do what we say we will do
  • Refuse to help,  aid,  pray

 

 

Unfaithfulness is said to be the spirit of our current age,  in business,  government,  marriage,  friendship, as well as our devotion to God.   It is so prevalent that it is almost unnoticed.

Faithful people are few and far between.  They are light in the darkness,  a little bit of God shining through.  Some people are impacted directly,  others observe,  and many others hear a good report.  Then maybe faithfulness with start rubbing off.

 

God is always Faithful.   He promises to protect us from evil,  provide us with a hope and a future,  forgiveness and cleansing,  lead us out of temptation,  preserve us from worry,  preserve his own,  discipline his own,  glorify his own – just for starters….

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post)

List some ways unfaithfulness impacts personal relationships.

List some ways unfaithfulness impacts a community or culture.

In what life arenas or relationships are you most challenged to increase your faithfulness?

Our next blog post will be Faithful and True 9: Inventory – Who Do You Trust?