Tag Archives: confession

Listening to Your Moral Meter

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.                                                                               – Philippians 4:8

The world can be full of juicy gossip. Sometimes our everyday lives can become so routine that our mouth almost waters at the sound of a scandalous story.

For lent I have given up all but one hour of television a weeknight, a task I thought I would find difficult, but have found rest and relaxation as well as purpose in other things. Most nights I don’t even turn on the TV. The one show I do watch is Nashville. I know it is not the most wholesome show to watch, but I just love the juiciness of it after a day in my seemingly mundane life. As the clock approaches 10 p.m. I start thinking, ‘Who will break up with who this week? Will Scarlet finally go too far with her prescription drug addiction?’ I become almost in a trance while watching. In considering whether I should give up this show I tried to justify keeping it as my one guilty pleasure. ‘I deserve it. After all, I’ve given up so much already.’ In fact, just last night I turned on the TV to realize it was a rerun. I tell you, I almost went into the shaky withdrawals. I started texting my boyfriend, “How can this be? Nashville is a rerun! What will I do with my time?!?”

What seemed like a harmless TV show has turned me into a monster on the hunt for juicy gossip. My ears perk up each time I see that there might be some coming my way. Recently I was tempted to encourage some gossip, and I did. Later I was caught in the act of encouraging gossip. It did not feel good! My mind was consumed with guilt and fear of what that person might have thought about me now. Was it that person’s judgment that was causing me to fret? No, it was my own guilty conscious. I not only had to go to God in repentance with my tail figuratively between my legs, but I had to go back to the person who caught me and apologize to them and let them know I knew what I did was wrong and would correct my actions. Fortunately the person was very gracious and forgiving, but perhaps that won’t be the case next time. I must also go back to the person who I gossiped with and let them know it was wrong and apologize for playing a part in it.

When we have to justify our actions we should recognize the prompting of the Holy Spirit that we are trying to talk our way out of repentance. If you are feeling uncomfortable with something you have done you might want to examine whether it is in alignment with God’s Word. If not, turn from that sin, admit it was wrong to God and those effected by your sin. Once you have done this you shouldn’t feel guilt or continue to fret because Jesus’ blood has already washed you clean.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

                                   -Matthew 6:9-13

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Cultivation of a Memory

I’ve been going through the book Discipleship Essentials by Greg Ogden for the past five weeks with a small group at my church. Lesson 5 is on prayer. Frankly it was a difficult lesson for me. Many questions arose regarding supplication, however what I want to discuss tonight is the T in the ACTS format of prayer. ACTS is an acronym for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. In short, adoration is thanking God for who He is. Confession is, of course, admitting to God the sins we have committed, asking for forgiveness, and repenting (turning away from that sin). Thanksgiving, I’ll get into in a minute. Supplication is interceding for ourselves and others to ask for God’s will to be done.

In his book Ogden describes the reasoning behind why we should give thanks to God for not only WHO He is but for WHAT He has DONE. He says that by recalling those things God has given us or done for us we cultivate a memory. The definition of cultivation is to try to acquire or develop. Like putting together a photo album we are repeating, sometimes aloud, all the good things God has done. And like a photo the memory sticks a little better when you reflect on it. Several years ago my family, primarily my mom, interviewed my grandparents so that we could put their story down on paper. As they recalled fond memories you could see the expressions of joy, hear the laughter, and get a true sense of the emotion behind the story. When we reflect on the good God gives us we not only cultivate a memory, but we prolong the joy and the gratitude.

There is a reason why we thank God before we intercede for ourselves and others. As one of my small group members said today the ACT in ACTS helps us shift our focus to God’s perspective. By the time we get to Supplication our perspective is changed and our prayer is more in line with God’s will. So I will end by asking, what are you thankful for today? Tell God and see what memories you can cultivate.