My second year in college I enrolled in a Greek class. It met at 7:00 in the morning. Now, I don’t think English well before 8:00 a.m., much less Greek! Nevertheless, it was a required course and one for which I am now truly grateful.
There are many technical things about Greek that I do not remember, but I will never forget the first “word study” I was assigned. It came from a most familiar verse, 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
What a verse! What a principle and a promise! I have had to obey it and claim it thousands of times through the years. Even believers are still sinners in need of forgiveness and cleansing. Relationship is settled; fellowship must be maintained.
But that word…confess. I thought I knew what it meant.
To ____. You fill in the blank with your preconceived idea! We all have them.
In fact, it means none of those things.
Confess means to “say the same thing.” It simply means to agree with God. To say the same thing about my sin that He says. “Lord, you are right. I am wrong. This is wrong.” That is confession.
And the moment a man sincerely confesses, the moment he comes into agreement with God, the moment he steps into the light of God’s truth – God says he is forgiven and made clean! You do not have to convince God to restore; He is waiting to do so! There are not enough tears or promises or pleadings to gain God’s mercy. The mercy and grace of God are freely available, if we meet the condition.
A few days ago I began this new series of posts on the daily necessities of the Christian life. We began with daily worship. (Read the first article here.) Over the last few days I have been reminded in my own life and in dealing with others of the desperate need for daily confession. Apart from addressing sin every day we can never address a holy God. Confession and worship are always connected.
Those who desire to walk with God soon realize that as long as we are in sin cursed bodies and a sin cursed world, we have to deal with sin. Our sin. And the only way to deal with sin completely is to repent of it – to come clean with God.
Repentance is not an event; it is a way of life. Repentance is for every lost man, and it is for every saved man. It was the message of the prophets. It was the subject of the first sermon Jesus ever preached (Matt. 4:17). It was at the heart of the gospel message (Acts 20:21).
But it is more than just the message of salvation; it is the means God has provided for us to walk in light. Search the Scriptures. The vast majority of times that the word repent is used it is in reference to God’s people! It is the necessity of believers! I need to repent…and so do you.
It was D.L. Moody who famously said, “Keep short accounts with God.” In that one statement is the secret to daily victory and spiritual power. Sin piles up so quickly. Unconfessed and unforsaken sin is the cause of broken fellowship with God and brokenness in so many areas of our lives. It is a cancer.
Remember that the Old Testament sacrifices were offered every day. Praise God our perfect Sacrifice, the Lord Jesus Christ, was enough! But, why was there a need for daily offerings? Daily intercession of the priest? Daily observance? Because man needs daily cleansing from his sin. That truth has not changed though the ages. I need the mercy of God every day! His mercy is available through the sacrifice of Christ and accessed when I confess my sin to God.
David understood the need for daily confession of sin and daily mercy. He wrote, “Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily” (Psalm 86:3). David did not just need mercy when he had committed adultery and murder. His confession was not limited to Psalm 51. He sought to stay close to God every day. And so must we.
Confession must be done every day! “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath” (Eph. 4:26). Make things right before the day is done. Even better, do not wait until the end of the day to confess your sins. The moment the Holy Spirit arrests your attention and convicts you that something does not please Him, stop and confess that sin to God. Daily confession is best done many times through the day.
At every moment of confession there is cleansing.
There are certain things without which life could not be lived every day. Water. Food. Rest. This principle holds true in the spiritual realm. The life of Christ cannot be lived through us apart from daily confession and cleansing of sin.
Daily Challenge: For the next week set aside a specific time every day to get alone in a quiet place. Ask the Lord to search your heart and reveal to you the sin in you. Read His Word and allow Him to show you by His Spirit where you have failed Him. Then call each sin by name. Call your sin what God calls it and claim the promise of 1 John 1:9. Daily confession brings daily cleansing.
Tomorrow we will finish our first month of full-time evangelistic work. The Lord has been so wonderful to us. We are truly grateful for many friends who have expressed interest in the work God has called us to do. I am increasingly aware of the need for intercessory prayer and want to thank you for praying for us.
I am convinced that there is no problem in our nation that the gospel of Jesus Christ could not fix, and there is no need in our churches that a Heaven sent revival would not meet. These are exciting days to serve the Lord. We are laboring on the edge of eternity and time is short.
In the opening weeks of 2016 we have had the joy to see several people come to faith in Christ. There has been a spirit of revival and a stirring among believers in so many places where we have been privileged to serve. Please help us pray for the open doors where we will minister during the coming month:
Wednesday, February 3 – Faith Baptist Church, Kannapolis, NC, Pastor James Pauley
Friday evening and Saturday morning, February 5-6 – Spiritual Avalanche Youth Conference, Gateway Baptist Church, Blacksburg, VA, Pastor Scott Souther
Saturday evening, February 6 – Couples’ Summit, Lewisburg Baptist Church, Lewisburg, WV, Pastor Jonathan Comer
Sunday morning and evening, February 7 – Lewisburg Baptist Church, Lewisburg, WV, Pastor Jonathan Comer
Saturday evening, February 13 – Couples’ Banquet, Tabernacle Baptist Church, Hickory, NC, Pastor Scott Hooks
Sunday morning, February 14 – Tabernacle Baptist Church, Hickory, NC, Pastor Scott Hooks
Monday – Wednesday, February 15-17 – Revival, Harvest Baptist Church, Acworth, GA, Pastor Dan Reed
Friday evening and Saturday morning, February 19-20 – Couples’ Retreat, Pigeon Forge, TN, Pastor Justin Pratt
Sunday morning and evening, February 21 – Trinity Baptist Church, Asheville, NC, Pastor Ralph Sexton
Wednesday evening, February 24 – Paradise Baptist Church, Rockwood, TN, Pastor Jonathan Barker
Sunday – Tuesday, February 28-March 1 – Revival, Boiling Springs Baptist Church, Fletcher, NC, Pastor Cody Sturgill
For information on any of these services please contact the host church. If you are within driving distance it would be a joy to see you.
Tammy and I will also be attending the Faith for the Family Couples’ Retreat with Pastor and Mrs. Sexton in Gatlinburg, February 25-27. This is one of our favorite times of the year and always a wonderful time to see friends. You may register here.
We would love to hear from you. Our mailing address is 604 Whitesburg Drive, Knoxville, TN, 37918 or you may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you again for praying for Tammy, Morgan, Lauren, and Grant. We are all excited about the days ahead and deeply appreciate the kind support of our friends.
(Note: Our new website, scottpauley.org, will launch this Monday, February 1. Let us know what you think!)
In just three days we will launch the new website for the evangelistic work God has called us to do. Scottpauley.org will be available beginning Monday, February 1, 2016. I am excited about the resources that we will be able to provide on this new platform.
- Get better acquainted with our family and the burden God has given us for revival. Pictures and regular updates will be posted to the site.
- Share a special gospel presentation with friends through your social media. A brief video and written gospel message will be available for you to view and share with others.
- Follow our itinerary for the coming months. Our family would love to see you at one of the meetings very soon.
- Listen to Bible preaching. A video sermon archive will be available. Additional audio and video messages will be added over time.
- Read my blog, Enjoying the Journey, in a new easy to use format. A full archive of over 180 posts will be available. Articles cover current issues, church ministry, evangelism, books, personal growth, prayer, the devotional life, preaching, and much more. New weekly posts are coming!
- Find ways to partner with us in the work of evangelism and revival. It is our hope that a host of friends will sign up to join our prayer team. We need your prayers!
There are several special features and ways for us to stay connected. Tammy and I look forward to hearing what you think of the new site.
Thank you for continuing to pray for us. Please visit scottpauley.org on Monday to see more.
Some things must be done every day to sustain life. This is as true in the spiritual realm as it is in the physical. The Christian life cannot be lived on Sunday alone any more than the body could feed or rest only one day a week. It must be daily.
Over the next few weeks I plan to share a series of articles on the daily disciplines of the Christian life. (Read the introductory post here.) I begin this new series of posts with one of the daily truths that God has deeply impressed on me in recent days – the necessity of Daily Worship.
Worship is a most misunderstood thing in our world. Perhaps it has always been. Man defines such words far different from divine definitions. In our society worship has become something that is done during a designated hour each week. It is a public matter. A group sport.
I am grateful for the opportunity that God’s people have to gather together. In Scripture there is evidence of corporate worship. Yet we must always remember that worship is not for spectators. Worship is the individual heart attitude toward God! It is the awe of a single soul at the glory of God. It is the giving of praise and honor to the only One who is worthy of it. Corporate worship is only accomplished when many people are each giving true, individual worship to God.
Now for a shocker: I don’t go to church meetings primarily to worship. I go to be exhorted and to exhort others (Hebrews 10:25).
A man once said to me, “I don’t go to church. I like to worship God out in the woods and in the mountains.” While I imagine that his idea of worship and mine are different, I responded, “Me too! I love to worship God walking through the woods. I don’t go to church for that reason either.” (The man needed to attend church as much as we all do. The reality is that most people don’t even know why they go to church.)
It is wonderful when worship takes place while we are assembled together, but the reality is that worship can take place anywhere! Believers cannot exhort one another when they are alone, but worship can be offered when no one else is around. In fact, that is the most wonderful place to worship! You and the Lord alone.
I would like to suggest to you that God wants daily worship. He deserves daily worship. And daily worship is the most wonderful privilege of the Christian life!
Psalm 95: 6-7 declares, “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice…”
God always intended worship to be a daily practice. Worship today.
No longer do we have to make a journey to a specified location. It is not the location of your body but the preparation of your heart that is essential (John 4:20-24). No priest must be present – our Great High Priest is ever present! You may come into His presence where you are.
You do not rush in to worship, and once there you will not want to rush out. It takes time to prepare your soul and to center your thoughts on God alone. But when you enter His presence there is no joy in this world like it!
“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple” (Ps. 27:4).
The last book of the Bible leaves us with this powerful admonition: “Worship God” (Rev. 22:9). We will worship Him continually throughout eternity. Wouldn’t it be good if we were in that practice now every day?
Daily Challenge: For the next week set aside some time each day for personal, private worship. Make it a daily matter…and start today.
(Don’t miss the next article in this series. Sign up to follow “Enjoying the Journey” to receive email notifications of each post. Thanks for taking time to read. I would love to hear from you about the daily work God is doing in your own life!)
The Christian life is not lived one day a week. It is lived every day. Walking with Jesus is not an event; it is a way of life.
Far too much Christianity is reserved for the church house. Christ is relegated to “His day.” We must always remember that Sunday is the Lord’s day, but every day is a Lord’s day.
And every day we are to follow Him.
Scripture reveals a host of “daily” truths for the child of God. These are principles and promises which must be considered every day if we are to please the Lord. In the coming blog series I plan to share one of these each week.
Here are 3 ways to get the most out of each post:
- Subscribe to this blog to receive an email notification each time one of the posts is published. Click the “follow” button in the right column to sign up now!
- Take the one “daily” truth found in each post as your challenge for the week. Seek to memorize the Scripture verse and apply the principle to your own daily walk with Christ. Habits are formed over time. Concentration is key. One truth each week. One truth a day. “This one thing I do…“
- Pass it along. Encourage another friend or family member to read the article and join with you in putting the truth into practice.
The first “daily truth” will be published soon! I am excited to share them with you and hope you will join me in applying each of them to your walk with Christ every day.
Has your devotional life become dry? As far as you know there is no unconfessed sin. You are reading the Bible and going through the mechanics of prayer, but it seems like mere motion. We have all been there!
People often think that preachers must jump out of bed in the morning, always excited about their quiet time with God. Nothing could be further from the truth! We all battle with flesh. Even on our best days there is a struggle to keep the devotional life fresh.
Permit me to share a few practical suggestions that have been of help to me…
- Sometimes it is good to “switch things up.” All of us can get in a rut – our souls can get so accustomed to the routine of a devotional life that we are missing the point. Take a break from your schedule. Don’t feel guilty about it. That does not mean take a break from the Bible and prayer! Introduce some variety. Read a good devotional book. The writings of F.B. Meyer have been a great help to me recently. Oswald Chambers is another favorite. Meditate on a great hymn. Write out prayers and praises in a journal. Change your pattern and it will help to keep your soul fresh.
- Don’t put undue pressure on yourself. We put expectations on ourselves that even the Lord does not put on us! Years ago I read a book by James E. Duncan, Jr. entitled Relax and Let God. It helped me to realize that I don’t have to perform for Him or work something up. Accept that every day is different. There are moments when God seems to hide His face. According to Scripture, this is so that we will seek Him in faith and fervency. Faith rests in the sufficiency of God.
- Major on Jesus. Far too often our devotional life becomes so much about learning some new spiritual truth and not enough about the person of Christ. Return to “the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3). Meditating on the cross brings a tender heart. The love of God melts coldness like nothing else will. It is not enough to read longer, pray harder, or try more. Begin saying to the Lord throughout the day, “Jesus, I love you.” That’s all. Express your love to Him and think about His love for you.
- Keep on. When the famine comes, don’t quit. Usually those times come just before the blessing. God is about to show you something special or take you to a new level in your walk with Him.
This season will pass. Refuse to allow the enemy to convince you that it is not worth the effort. Draw nigh to God and He promises to draw nigh to you!
About five months ago I did something I have never done – I started running. I should have started years ago. While physically it has helped me, I am amazed at how much clarity and quiet it provides to think and pray.
But this is not a blog about running. It is about life. Many times in the last few months I have realized the similarities between running and the daily disciplines of life.
The Apostle Paul spoke frequently of this parallel…
“…that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).
“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain…I therefore so run, not as uncertainly” (1 Cor. 9:24, 26a)
“Ye did run well; who did hinder you that you should not obey the truth?” (Gal. 5:7)
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).
And at the end of his race these parting words: “I have finished my course” (2 Tim. 4:7).
Paul was a runner. I am a runner. And so are you.
We may be terribly out of shape or off course! But every one of us has a race to run. And we are the only ones who can run it.
One day as I ran my regular course I saw a woman running off in the distance. Like most ignorant men I made it my goal to pass this fellow runner. I picked up the pace, determined that no runner would be out in front of me.
It was a terrible mistake! By the time I caught up with my competitor it was clear that she was running a much faster pace than I. Still, I pushed on. Out of breath, with barely enough energy to finish my run, I succeeded. I had won!
Or had I? Nearly 2 miles from home, it made for a long run back.
I learned a valuable lesson: run my race. Not hers. Not someone else’s. Mine.
The writer of Hebrews 12:1 said it best, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”
- Each of us has a race set before us. We do not choose it for ourselves; it is chosen for us by the One who knows the end from the beginning. This is why the very next verse declares, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). The direction is His to set. We merely follow His course.
- The race is before us. You cannot make forward progress always looking behind you. Trying to stay ahead of someone else or bothered by some thing long ago passed is unhelpful. Move on. Get past your past. Run your race.
- Finally, we must understand that the race is set before us – it is personal. Every man has his own race to run. The race is run for Christ – not for someone else.
There is far too much comparison Christianity today. We are warned in Scripture that those who compare themselves by themselves are not wise (2 Cor. 10:12). Our race is not run because we have kept up or surpassed another runner along the way.
The only competition we have in this race is against our own opportunity and our own ability. The only strength we have in this race is the divine enabling that comes through grace, and that grace is only given as we run our race.
Solomon learned on his run that “the race is not to the swift” (Eccl. 9:11). Isaiah learned on his run that only the Lord can give strength so that we may “run and not be weary” (Isa. 40:31).
There is much to learn from a good run. Get out and start today! Run YOUR race, the race “set before you.”