April 24, 2015
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.” (James 5:16 NLT)
When Alcoholics Anonymous started it was called “The Saint James Fellowship” because it was founded on this verse. The founders later changed the name to include people of all faiths and those with no faith. While millions of secular people in AA apply the truths of this Scripture and experience healing, it is a shame that many believers never make these healing applications.
When you meet with another believer do you keep your sins in the closet? Do you give the impression that you don’t have a problem in the world? Do they do the same? That does not burden you to pray for each other. But if you can trust them and share some of your sins with them they would be burdened to pray for you. They would also more than likely have what I call “reality contact” with you by sharing their sins and that would burden you to pray for them. The result of these mutual prayers would be mutual healing.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who wrote extensively about spiritual community, put it this way: “Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So they remain alone with their sins, living in lies and hypocrisy… He who is alone with his sins is utterly alone.”
A paraphrase of James 5:16 is that honest prayers explode with power! It is a strategy of the evil one to isolate us into self imposed solitary confinement. Never let him isolate you into being a closet sinner; instead, find healing in confessing your sins and praying for one another.
Dick Woodward, 14 April 2013
1 Comment | Uncategorized | Tagged: Alcoholics Anonymous, confessing our sins, confession, faith, intercessory prayer, James 5:16, prayer, spiritual accountability, spiritual community | Permalink
Posted by Dick Woodward
May 1, 2013
“I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it! Shout, you lower parts of the earth; break forth into singing, you mountains…” (Isaiah 44: 22, 23)
When one of the greatest men of God who ever lived committed the sins of adultery and murder, filled with remorse and contrition (which means exceedingly sorry for sin), he prayed a great model prayer for forgiveness. If you have sinned and you don’t know how to confess your sin read Psalm 51. Make it your own prayer and you will do a great job of confessing your sin.
In the original Hebrew David actually asked God to un-sin his sin. Any devout believer who has really sinned will resonate with this prayer petition of David. The spirit of the prayer petition is: “Oh God! If You could only make it as if it had never happened!”
That introduces us to one of the most beautiful words in the Bible: “justified.” This word means “just as if I’d never sinned” and it means “to be declared righteous.” David uses this word in his prayer of repentance.
Sunday school children are taught a song that summarizes these Scripture verses: “God has blotted them out, I’m happy as I can be. God has blotted them out, I’ll turn to Isaiah and see. Chapter forty-four, twenty-two and three. He’s blotted them out and I can just shout! For that means me!”
They may be merely singing words when they’re children but when they grow up and become people who sin they may shout with tears when they read these verses and remember that song.
When you sin can you shout, “That means me?”
3 Comments | Uncategorized | Tagged: christianity, confessing our sins, confession, Faith in God, Forgiveness, Isaiah 44:22-3, justification, King David, Mercy, prayer for forgiveness, prayer of repentance, prayer petition, Psalm 51, theology | Permalink
Posted by Dick Woodward
September 28, 2012
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53: 6)
A police officer on a motorcycle noticed a large enclosed truck driven down Sixth Street in Los Angeles, California. The driver stopped every few blocks, got out, and beat all around the sides of the truck with a large baseball bat. After observing this for some time, the officer flashed his lights and ordered the driver to pull over. The policeman said to the driver, “Mister, as far as I can tell, you’re not breaking the law. But I just gotta’ know, what are you doing?”
The truck driver explained, “Officer, this truck here has a capacity of five thousand pounds. But, you see, I’ve got six thousand pounds of canaries. So, I gotta’ keep a thousand pounds of canaries up in the air all the time!”
Perhaps you are up in the air about what you must believe to know that your sins are forgiven. Isaiah told us in the verse above that if we confess that we are included in the first and last all of his verse then our sins are forgiven.
As a seminar for baseball umpires concluded, an old veteran umpire said, “The way I see it, some are balls and some are strikes, but they ain’t nothin ‘til we call ’em!”
I have just thrown you a strike. I have shown you how to know your sins are forgiven. But like the old umpire said, what I have shown you isn’t anything until you call it something.
What do you call this Good News from Isaiah?
1 Comment | Uncategorized | Tagged: confessing our sins, confession, faith, Forgiveness, Isaiah 53, Jesus Christ, religion, The Good News | Permalink
Posted by Dick Woodward