West End Assembly of God
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Daily Devotional Guide
DAILY DEVOTIONS – July 27-August 1, 2015
ENGAGE NOW In Spiritual Practices: Confession
MONDAY, July 27 – James 5:16 (NIV) – Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
In the comings and goings of life we become bruised. We respond in pain. We lash out and say or do things that hurt others. It is a rough world in which we live and even the closest of Christians can say and do things that inflict pain on one another. Christ has shown us how to process life’s pain in a way that brings healing and wholeness. He points us to the spiritual practice of confession. Through it we open our hearts to one another in a transparent acknowledgement of our wrongdoing and with a sincere desire to repair the breach that it has caused. When confession is integrated into our relationships with one another—husband to wife, parent to child, friend to friend—we become people who manifest the presence of God. How quickly do you acknowledge your sins and ask forgiveness, not only from God but also from persons you have offended?
TUESDAY, July 28 – Philippians 2:12b – ...continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling…
Our salvation is grounded in a redemptive process built on confession and forgiveness. The great mystery of the Cross is embodied in the work of Jesus Christ: who reconnected broken mankind to God, who made the greatest personal sacrifice necessary to make it so, and who gave up His own rights in order to bring salvation to others. These are profound realities. Yet every day we come face to face with them in some small way. Will we forgive our brother? Will we give up our right to be right? Will we speak the truth in love? Will we choose to hold a grudge? Will we incubate bitterness? Will we speak evil of someone? Will we choose to demean and dishonor? Jesus faced these same choices day after day. The woman caught in adultery was thrown at His feet and He engaged questions of confession and forgiveness. Ever the mediator, He hung on the cross and interceded for the people who had nailed Him there. Confession and forgiveness. The Spirit gives us daily opportunities? Whom do you need to forgive? What sin do you need to confess?
WEDNESDAY, July 29 – 2 Cor. 5:18– God…gave us the ministry of reconciliation…
Confession and forgiveness are transformational. “When others are opening their griefs to us we (must) discipline ourselves to be quiet,” and not disrupt the sacredness of the moment through offhanded comments, nor pry out more details than are necessary. We must listen with discernment and embody the love and forgiving grace of God. We become “ministers of reconciliation” (II Cor. 5:18), not information brokers. Who are you connecting to the grace of God?
THURSDAY, July 30 – I 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.
For a good confession an examination of conscience is necessary. We invite the gaze of God and pray, “see me, know me, try me and see if there is any wicked way in me” (Ps. 139:23). We want the kind of healing that comes from a specific focus, not a generalized confession. Avoid over-analyzing by letting the Holy Spirit point out the source of inner turmoil. There are no quick fixes and easy answers here. It can take days, weeks, even months or years to work through issues of the soul depending on the nature of the brokenness. A good Christian therapist can help. Let the Holy Spirit define it and explain it and guide you in healing and renewal. He forgives and purifies us. “The spiritual practice of confession brings an end to pretense. Honesty leads to confession, and confession leads to change.” How has the Holy Spirit guided you through the processes of confession?
FRIDAY, July 31 – II Kings 20:5- I have seen thy tears; I will heal thee.
For a good confession sorrow is necessary. “Sorrow as it relates to confession is not primarily an emotion, though emotions may be involved. It is abhorrence at having committed the sin, a deep regret at having offended the heart of the Father. Sorrow is an issue of the will before it is an issue of the emotions. In fact, being sorrowful in the emotions without a godly sorrow in the will destroys the confession. Sorrow is a way of taking the confession seriously.” Tears of repentance are holy things that reap eternal benefits. “Confession begins in sorrow, but it ends in joy. There is celebration in the forgiveness of sins because it results in a genuinely changed life.” Allow Godly sorrow to do its purifying work in your heart. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death (II Cor. 7:10).
SATURDAY, August 1 – Prov. 14:16- The wise watch their steps and avoid evil…
A good confession includes a determination to avoid sin. We ask God “to give us a yearning for holy living, a hatred for unholy living.” We ask God to change our wills. “We must desire to be conquered and ruled by God, or if we do not desire it, to desire to desire it. Such a desire is a gracious gift from God.” Jesus told the woman, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). He told the healed invalid, “sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee” (John 5:14). God has given us free will; life is filled with choices and each one adjusts our trajectory. Be wise. Avoid evil.
Foster, Richard J. 1988. Celebration of Discipline Revised Edition. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco.
Devotions compiled and/or written by Pastor Marlyn DeFoggi