Pillow Talk

Tonight as we did devotion and prayed, I asked my kids if they confess their sins and ask God for forgiveness when they pray. As I reminded them of what sin is, I offered to give them both an example of how I ask for forgiveness when I pray. Although I reminded them both that my way doesn’t have to be there way, what I wanted them to know is that this is an important part of being a disciple of Jesus.

The Scripture tells us: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NIV) As I explained to my children, we don’t have to come to God begging and pleading for forgiveness, it has been paid for by the blood of Jesus. This also shouldn’t be a mechanical ritual where we try to “wipe the slate clean” each night before bed.

Confessing my sin tonight as a father, I pray that my children know that even daddy needs God’s grace (especially daddy – 1 Timothy 1:15). As I told my them both, we don’t ask for forgiveness with the intention of continuing to do the same things. Inevitability when I do what I don’t want to do (Romans 7:15-20), I realize God isn’t done with me yet (Philippians 1:6) and I praise Him and thank Him for His loving kindness and patience.

To summarize, God already knows your sins… but you need to acknowledge them before Him. This is the first step in the healing process and a continual part of growing as a disciple. Although I fail Him a million times, His grace is sufficient for me. If you’ve never placed your faith in Jesus, you can know this forgiveness and freedom, visit http://www.myemanuel.com/i-am-ready for more details.

I leave you with this poem that simply captures what I hope my children always remember from tonight’s devotion:

“He came to my desk with a quivering lip,
The lesson was done.
‘Have you a new sheet for me, dear teacher?
I’ve spoiled this one.’
I took his sheet, all soiled and blotted,
And gave him a new one all unspotted,
And to his tired heart I cried.
‘Do better now, my child.’
I went to the throne with a troubled heart,
The day was done.
‘Have a new day for me, dear Master?
I’ve spoiled this one.’
He took my day, all soiled and blotted,
And gave a new one all unspotted.
And to my tired heart He cried,
‘Do better now, my child.'”


The Storms of Life

Often I think we forget that the “super heroes” of our faith (i.e. David, Peter, Paul, etc.) were just normal men that an extraordinary God transformed and used to change nations and the world. Sometimes I read Scripture and begin to compare myself to the men I read about there. Peter is one person I can relate to as he and I both share the special art of inserting our foot squarely in to our own mouths.

In the Scripture we see the disciples out on the Sea of Galilee crossing to the other side. The men in the boat, with several expert fishermen who spent their lives on this body of water, fighting and struggling against the wind and waves. During this struggle, the disciples are alarmed as they see what they think is a ghost walking on the water. The ghost turns out not be a ghost at all, it’s Jesus!

In the midst of the wind and waves, as the disciples were filled with fear at the unknown, Jesus calls out to them “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27) As Peter so often does, he makes a bold deceleration: “Lord, if it is you… tell me to come out on the water.” As Jesus often does, He tells Peter: “come”.

What happens next is miraculous. Peter (outside of Jesus) becomes the only man in history to walk on water. Imagine his heart beating intensely as he steps out of the boat on to the water. Imagine the exhilaration as he begins to walk towards Jesus. It is in the midst of the winds, waves, and fear that Jesus calls to Peter, and Peter comes. Sometimes I am quick to judge Peter because what happens next: But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me! (Matthew 14:30 NIV).

For just a moment in this incredible moment, Peter fails in his fear. It could have all ended here for Peter. He could have drown, he could have felt unsure of himself for the rest of his life, he could have tried to turn around and get back to the boat. But it is in this moment, as he desperately cries out “save me” that we see Jesus remain faithful. Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31).

Here is the application in my own life: there are times where the winds, waves, and fear will come. In those moments I hear and see Jesus calling me through the storm. Sometimes I get distracted by the storm so much so that for a brief moment I take my eyes of Jesus and begin to sink in hopeless despair. Time and time again I cry out “Jesus, save me!” and the most amazing thing happens… He does.

Today I don’t know what storm you are facing, don’t give up hope. The same Peter who sank because of his fear for the wind and waves is the same Peter the Holy Spirit empowered to take the Gospel throughout the Roman empire. Today if you are “sinking”, cry out to Jesus… “Lord, save me!” and know that He alone truly can.

Taking Jesus at His Word

Tonight my oldest son and I were reading through the Book of John for devotion time. During tonight’s devotion as we read through chapter 4, a statement caught my attention: …The man took Jesus at his word and departed (John 4:50). Scripture has so much to say about faith.

In my mind, faith in the simplest terms is trusting God to do what He says He is going to do even when it seems impossible. There are several times throughout both the Old and New Testament where this type of trust has changed the course of lives (even nations). From moments like when Abraham believed that God would give him decedents as numerous as the stars and it was credited to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6) to this moment where a desperate dad believed that Jesus would heal his son, and Jesus did.

I won’t spend time quoting Scripture after Scripture that talks about the importance of trusting that God will do what He says He will do. Tonight I want to focus on one key, life changing reminder: nothing is impossible with God (Matthew 19:26).

No life is too far gone. No marriage is too broken to restore. No situation is too hopeless. No heart is too broken. No one is beyond God’s power to save, restore, and redeem: only take Jesus at His Word.