Facing Problems Part 2

II

The need of personal confession

We suffer needlessly if we do not confess our sin-notice what David said in Psalms 3:23 "When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long."  David experienced an ever deepening sense of unrest in his mind and spirit as he sought to hid the guilt of his transgression.  If we are living with unconfessed sin that we too are seeking to hide, it causes us to feel the conviction of sin and the feelings of unrest and spiritual emptiness.  Of those who are living in this experience Isaiah 57:20 tells us, "But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud."  If a unrepentant person continues to go in that direction their burden will become so heavy it continues to press them down until they turn back to God in true repentance.  Their experience is expressed in Revelation 14:11 (NKJV) "...they have no rest day or night..." In Psalms 32:5 (GW)  we read, "I made my sins known to you, and I did not cover up my guilt.  I decided to confess them to you, O LORD.  Then you forgave all my sins.  Selah"

When the Holy Spirit brings the awareness of transgressions and sin, we are able through the confession of sin to experience the joy and blessings of sins forgiven.  In Psalms 78:38 (NKJV) we read, "But He (God), being full of compassion forgave their iniquity, and did not destroy them.  Yes many a time He turned His anger away, and did not stir up His wrath."

As we experience the joy of the confession of sin, we find we now have the ability to witness and share this experience with others--

III

That they too may experience His grace--

Psalms 32:6-7 (NRSV) "Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you; at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them.  7 You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance. Selah"

In God salvation is found, Jesus Christ is the payment for sin---Holy Spirit brings forth both the conviction of sin and the comfort of grace.  In Christ's salvation we find our hiding place and in grace and mercy he is our redemption.  In Christ alone we find the grace and strength we need, for His grace frees us to experience the wonder and blessing of God.  The sacrifice of Jesus through His death and resurrections restores the broken fellowship which sin brings.  As the Holy Spirit moves upon the heart and mind of men bringing the conviction of sin, they are able once more to hear---

IV

The Voice of God

Psalms 32:8 (GW) "The Lord says, I will instruct you.  I will teach you the way that you should go.  I will advise you as my eyes watch over you."

Do you hear the comforting voice of God the Father?  "I will instruct you...I will teach you...I will advise you..."  This allows us to cry out "Abba, Father" as we carried our unconfessed sin in our hearts and minds, the voice of God was a fearful voice--but because of Jesus Christ we need no longer fear the voice of God.  Through repenctance rather we rejoice at the voice of God.  For now it is the voice of our loving heavenly Father whos speaks to us.

Conclusion

While there are times when we feel the pressure of facing problems, Jesus has told us He would never forsake us.  We will never be comfortless.  While we may feel as if there are times when God cannot lift the darkness from us,  we should trust Him.  At times God will appear like an unkind friend, but He is not.  He will appear like an unnatural father, but he is not.  He will appear like an unjust judge, but He is not.  Keep the thought that the mind of God is behind all things strong and growing.  Not even the smallest detail of life happens unless God's will is behind it.  Therefore,  you can rest in perfect confidence in Him.  Prayer is not only asking, but it is an attitude of the mind which produces the atmosphere in which asking is perfectly natural.  "Ask, and it will be given to you..." (Matthew 7:7). 

Major Thomas E. Riggs

Commanding Officer of the Sioux Falls, SD Salvation Army

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Facing Problems Part 1

Psalms 32: 1,3 and 5 (NKJV)

1 A Psalm of David.  A Comtemplation.  Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered.  3 When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long.  5 I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden.  I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD," And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Just as we have problems in our physical lives, we also experience problems in our spiritual lives as well.  David understood this and he learned how to conquer those difficulties as well.  Facing and conquering difficulties causes us to grow and be strengthened, whether those problems are physical or spiritual. 

We are remined in the study notes from the New Open Bible NASB: "The believer should never condone or attempt to excuse his sin."  By saying things like "I'm only human" is an attempt to remove our personal responsibility and accountability for the choices we have made.  We saw this truth demonstrated in Genesis as Adam sought to pass the guilt of his transaction onto Eve, and Eve sought to pass the guilt onto the serpent.  When we are confronted with our actions and responsibilities we cry out, "Am I my brother's keeper?"  On the other hand, those who do face the reality of their sin and their sin nature, find hope in the blessedness of sin forgiven through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. 

One of the very first things we need to know is the joy and wonder of the

1.  Pardoned Sin

2.  The need of Personal Confession

and

3.  They too may experience His Grace

1. Pardoned Sin

(Psalms 32:1)  "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered."

The devil our adversary constantly seeks to keep us questioning if our sins are indeed forgiven.  Satan continues to point at each of us seeking to provoke questioning and doubt in our hearts and minds, causing us to question God as he did with Eve in Genesis 3:1 (NIV) "Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made.  He said to the woman, 'Did God really say, You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" That is the seed of doubt.  As read the scriptures we find time after time when Satan sought to put doubt into the minds of God's people, as he brings up our past.  He even sought to put doubt into the mind of Jesus himself during his time of temptation in Matthew 4:1-11.  Now I know I don't need to tell you of this, for I know full well, for the devil continues to bring doubt to us as well.

In the song "Voice of Truth" by Casting Crowns we hear this promise.

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves

To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He's holding out His hand

But the waves are calling out my name
And they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. "Boy, you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"

[Chorus]
But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, "Do not be afraid!"
The voice of truth says, "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant
With just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand

But the giant's calling out my name
And he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again. "Boy you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"

But the stone was just the right size
To put the giant on the ground
And the waves they don't seem so high
From on top of them lookin' down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over me

I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

Songwriters
HALL, JOHN MARK / CHAPMAN, STEVEN CURTIS

Published by
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

We need to remember the promises of 1 John 1:9, that the confession of sin brings the forgiveness of sin.  It is because of this reason David was able to say in Psalms 32:1 (NIV) "Blessed is he whose trangressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered."  Covered; not with the blood of an animal, but by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, the very Son of God.

An issue that we need to deal with time to time is the problem of self-will, this is a most serious problem for this sin led to the fall of Lucifer, and it can be said to be the root of Adam's transgression.  It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that the child of God renounce it and embrace God's perfect will, through this we gain the victory over doubt-it it accomplished as we understand-

Visit our page next week for read part 2 of Facing Problems by Major Thomas Riggs

 

A Living Sacrifice

Romans 12:1-8

Paul writes to the Church at Rome this message, Romans 12:1 (NIV)"...offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship."  We are to live in such ways as to live a life which is effectively bringing about this action, an action which produces in others a desire to also experience a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as the Lord of their lives.

There are three things I see regarding ourselves, we need to be...

Christ's Broken Bread

In the Master's Hands

Sharing that Grace

Christ's Broken Bread

Paul's writing to believer's in Rome, a city which was full of idolatry and sin, a city that took pride in the liberty of free unrestrained thinking, like many of the cities in the United States today take pride in their free thinking, and in the process have cast off restraint, this is addressed in Romans 12:1 (NIV) "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened." 

God has called us to experience by faith the wonder and glory of His love and grace, we've been invited to enjoy intimacy with him, we have opportunity to know him and cherish him.  As we continue to grow and develop in our spiritual experiences we will find more and more opportunities for sacrifical service as Christ's Broken Bread.

In the Master's Hands

Romans 12:2 (NIV)  "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."

As we yield ourselves to the Master's Hands, we come to understand we are governed by the word of God, the Bible and our lives are to be an example which reflects Christ.  Because of this, we as Christians are to conform not to the worlds standards but to the standards which are God's.  We are to live in ways which are different from those which prevail in the world.  We're living in a time that requires us to remain firm in the grip of our Master's Hands.

Share the Grace from God

Roman's 12:3 (NIV)  "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordances with the measure of faith God has given you."

Paul was a man who could have bragged about his hertiage, Phillippians 3:4-7 (GW)

4  although I could have confidence in my physical qualifications.  If anyone else thinks that he can trust in something physical, I can claim even more.

5  I was circumcised on the eighth day.  I'm a descendant of Israel.  I'm from the tribe of Benjamin.  I'm a pure-blooded Hebrew.  When it comes to living up to standards, I was a Pharisee.

6  When it comes to being enthusiastic, I was a persecutor of the church.  When it comes to winning God's approval by keeping Jewish laws, I was perfect.

7  These things that I once considered value, I now consider worthless for Christ.

Are you allowing the invisible Christ to be visible through you?  Does your life share the grace of God with those around?  Are you fully surrendered and yielded so that you can be used in the Master's Hands?  Is your life a reflection of Christ's Broken Bread?  Are people able to come to you and be fed?

Major Thomas Riggs

The Salvation Army, Sioux Falls, SD

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The Burden of a Father's Heart

Job 1:5b (NIV)

"...Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, 'Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts' This was Job's custom.

In Lamentations 2:19 (NIV) we hear a second cry from a fathers heart before God on behalf of his children, and others in need: "Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord.  Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint from hunger at the head of every street."

As we read in our Bibles we need to remember that the Bible presents accounts of them that are all too human.

In the movie Star Trek II-The Wrath of Khan after the first inspection Lt Saavik is talking with Spock in Vulcan wondering why Kirk always surprises her expectations.  "What did you expect?" Spock asks.  "He's so....Human," she says.  "Nobody's perfect," Spock answers. 

That is the picture we need to keep in our minds regarding those placed in our Bibles for us to understand, we are all too human, and as Spock points out "Nobody is perfect".  Today we look at aspects of being a father and from Job we see that he was not sinless, for nobody can claim that distinction, but he was complete and mature in character and "straight" in conduct.  The word translated "perfect" is related to "integrity", another important word in Job (2:3, 9; 27:5; 31:6).  People with integrity are whole persons, without hypocrisy or duplicity.  In the face of his friends' accusations and God's silence, Job maintained his integrity, and the Lord utlimately vindicated him. 

Major Thomas Riggs

Salvation Army Commanding Officer Sioux Falls, SD

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