Christian, confession, devotion, I John, Prayer, Presbyterian Church (USA), sin, Uncategorized

Glimpses of Grace Devotion for April 24, 2017

Devotional Reading for the Day: I John 1: 1-10*

Text: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (v. 8)

In our weekly worship service we include a prayer called the Confession of Sin and an Assurance of Pardon or Forgiveness. The Confession of Sin is for the world as well as for ourselves. Like the ancient prophet Isaiah we live amongst a people and in a world with “unclean lips.” (Isaiah 6:5)

From time to time someone say that the “Confession of Sin” is depressing.  It’s something that we should not include in worship. I’ve never found it depressing but, rather an exercise in honesty and humility. And frankly, we could use a little more of each right now.

No one is perfect. If we think we are, those nearest and dearest to us can straighten us out on that count!  All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) We participate in evil intentionally and unintentionally, through neglect as well as well-meaning but misguided attention. We can’t help it. We are broken people living in a broken world. And this brokenness is why Jesus came into the world; to extricate us from brokenness; our separation from one another as well as from God.

Health–spiritual and physical–being begins with honesty.

Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)

Lord, forgive us our debts and our trespasses. Amen.

*I am sorely tempted to write a Glimpse on the Gospel lesson assigned for today in the Common Lectionary and may write an evening entry. But, I John is such a wonderful letter with so many practical teachings. 


Christian, confession, devotion, faith, Lenten Devotion, sin, Temptation, Uncategorized

Glimpses of Grace for the 9th Day of Lent, 2017

Devotional Readings: Hebrews 4: 11-16;  Morning Psalm-22; Evening Psalm–130

Text: For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness that  we may receive mercy for our failures and grace to help in the hour of need. (Hebrews 11:15, 16)

    To be reminded of our mistakes, short-comings, indiscretions or whatever we want to call it, is uncomfortable for most people. Like Adam and Eve trying to hide their nakedness, it seems that our default mode of operation is to deny, lie and cover up. All this does, though, is separate us more and more from God.

Each week, at the church I serve, we join together in a Prayer of Confession of Sin. From time to time someone will tell me that the Confession is depressing. Owning our sin is very counter-cultural. We often enter this part of the service by reminding worshipers of the words of  I John.  “If we say we are without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”(1: 8)  The apostle Paul wrote that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3: 23) Whether we like to hear it or not, we are sinners living in a state of sin. Period.

Today’s reading from Hebrews reminds us that sin does not have the last word, though. Like us, Jesus was tempted in every way but unlike us, Jesus did not fall. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness that  we may receive mercy for our failures and grace to help in the hour of need.  As the Incarnation of God, Jesus knows who we really are and has compassion upon us. With the confidence of a child standing before a loving parent, we can confess our sin and the part that we play in the world’s sin knowing that we will receive mercy and grace.

Lord, with David I can ask for Your forgiveness. It is against You and only You that I have sinned. Give me the courage and the wisdom to mend broken relationships without harming myself. Heal my wounds of the spirit and draw me more and more into the likeness of Christ. Amen.