when I have to struggle to do anything at all. One of those days when I have to rely upon the things I believe rather than feel them because at times like this I’m just numb.
Worked on my bike a bit yesterday. Had to tension and lube the chain, top off the fluids, tire pressure, etc. Took it for a spin and the chain tensioning did wonders.
Found an excellent blog for church guitar players. Guy named Graham Choo and his brother Daniel take songs and break them down for you. Good stuff. Printed out a couple of tabs and practiced them on the Taylor DN3, which plays very well now that Mick has it set up correctly.
Once again, I was unable to come up with a cohesive outline for my class today. The guys have to be getting tired of me just following the official plan; they can do that in their own time. Of course, the majority don’t. And if class gets any smaller, I’ll be the majority.
At least it’s the end of this six week study. Hopefully, it was the material and the way it was presented that has given me such a hard time from the teaching end. Perhaps the material hit too close to home for comfort. Whatever the reason, I didn’t connect with it until this week.
Titled “Safe in His Embrace”, the material covered the difficulty in a believer that has fallen must overcome as he or she comes back to the cross. There are two basic things to overcome, primarily forgiving yourself and secondarily but not to be dismissed is the way other believers block the path home.
Forgiveness is easy when it’s the other guy that you have to forgive. But when you have to look at the man in the mirror everyday and recall your own transgressions, it can be seemingly impossible. One section of the lesson is called “Cleaning Our Conscience” and offers five aspects of the conscience that must be dealt with based upon Scripture.
- People with a guilty past can still enjoy a clear conscience. Paul is used as an example of a person with a horrid past that was given a pure conscience by God.
- Good deeds cannot accomplish a clear conscience. We must accept that nothing we can do will cleanse us. We must accept that Christ has already done the work, we must accept grace.
- The Holy Spirit works with the believer’s conscience. As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 7:9-10, distress that returns you to God is good. Those that allow their distress to turn them from God end up on the deathbed of regrets.
- The conscience is an indicator, not a transformer. Only the Holy Spirit can transform. The only thing the conscience can do apart from God is condemn and mislead.
- The conscience can be seared. If you continue to sin and do not feel remorse, something is wrong. This lesson series is about believers, not unbelievers. If you feel no guilt, you must ask yourself if you are a believer and if you are, find out what you have allowed to so char your conscience that you will not allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life, remove it and repent.
Fine and good, but what steps can you take to overcome your past sins and the guilt associated with it. Note that I’m only referring to the guilty conscience, not the consequences of our sin. There are times when the consequences will be with us forever, depending upon the situation. It could be an out of wedlock pregnancy, a divorce, a crime, etc. But there are steps we can take to remove the guilt.
- Believe what God has already done for you. It is either true or not. You must make a choice.
- Take your heavy conscience directly to Jesus. Hebrews 4:16 tells us to approach the throne of grace confidently.
- Approach Jesus with absolute sincerity and repentance. Psalm 62:8 tells us that God is our shelter. Use it.
- Ask God to cleanse your conscience just as His Word says. Hebrews 10:22 says to draw near to God in full assurance that He will cleanse your guilty conscience.
- Where possible and appropriate, make amends or restitution. Just be careful not to unload your guilt upon an unsuspecting person.
The lesson ended with the story of the prodigal son; a better title would be the story of the compassionate father. Jesus went to extremes in this parable to drive his point home to his listeners, in a manner that they would understand. The young Jewish man ended up caring for pigs under the control of a Gentile and even then was without provision. Nothing could have shocked Jesus’ listeners more.
I’m not certain what example He would use today. Would it be a son of a border watcher having to report to an illegal alien supervisor in a slaughterhouse? The daughter of a prominent politician working as a prostitute for a pimp?
No matter, the point is that the Father ran with open arms to his lost son. A son that was too embarrassed to think he could come back as a full family member, who just wanted to be a servant. The Father said no, you are my son and I will rejoice in your homecoming.
His brother wasn’t happy about the whole thing. He acted much like many Christians I know, including myself. He wanted to see his brother grovel, hang his head in shame, slump his shoulders, have to go through a 12 step program, anything but be welcomed home. That is a tall order to face when you want to come home â€“ it keeps many fallen believers from darkening the door of a church, leaving them to pray, study their Bibles and worship in secret. Why do we do this?
What does God want? What does it take to have Him throw a party at our return? Quoting from our lesson material:
Unabashed, unhindered, completely abandoned repentance! No faking. No blaming. No excuses.
If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He indeed bore your transgressions upon the cross, don’t come home expecting anything less than a banquet. To do that is to minimize His suffering.
So. Now I get an outline, after class. Sucks to be me. Anyways, class was class, it was over before I knew it and no matter how poorly I communicate it, when I read the Word, God uses it for His purposes.
The service was about angels today, a subject that confuses me much. I listened but in my darkened mood, I didn’t hear. Perhaps it will settle in later.
Didn’t make it to lunch with Pop today, again, my darkened mood affected me. Pray for me.