Friday, June 15, 2007

Living in the prison of guilt

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Job 10, 11, 12

Job 11:7-12 (NIV)

[Zophar said,] 7 “Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? 8 They are higher than the heavens – what can you do? They are deeper than the depths of the grave – what can you know? 9 Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea. 10 If he comes along and confines you to prison and convenes a court, who can oppose Him? 11 Surely he recognizes deceitful men; and when He sees evil, does He not take note? 12 But a witless man can no more become wise than a wild donkey’s colt can be born a man.”

Romans 3:21-25 (NIV)

21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came through Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood.

Good morning!

You know your real friends when they stick with you, especially through the tough stuff in life. I have a girl friend that I have known for years. Nancy and I met while working downtown seventeen years ago. One day, I complimented her hair color. She was a redhead, and I admired that color, because I also had auburn hair. I have always believed that redheads have brilliant minds and they tend to be extraordinarily loyal and devoted to their family and friends! That moment of meeting and the commonality we shared through the color of our hair turned into a sisterhood that will never be broken. Nancy is blonde now, and I forgive her for that. I’m still a redheaded wannabe, in spite of all those pesky gray streaks. Still, I know our friendship will last forever. Someday Nancy and I will stand side by side in heaven praising the Lord of life for His grace and mercy. We are blessed to be sisters through Jesus Christ, and He has made us a part of the family of faith.

Zophar’s words were tough for Job to hear. He thought he was doing his best to help a brother out. From all appearances, Zophar came to the conclusion that Job had sinned, and his sins had caught up to him big time. Do you ever feel like you are a walking advertisement - a flashing marquee for sin? Everyone was passing judgment on poor Job. They saw his suffering and pain. They wondered whether his loyalty to the Lord had somehow been compromised and now God was making him pay for his mistakes. Job was beginning to resent the Lord. Somehow, he couldn’t understand how God could let this happen to him. More importantly, Job had become totally disgusted with his friends. Was Zophar was trying to be a true friend to Job, by encouraging him to confess and repent? Or was Zophar’s only motivation to point the finger at his brother, just to take the spotlight off of his own sin and shortcomings?

When we are suffering from the sins eating away at our life, it is always good to hear the truth from someone who loves us, even when it hurts. My friend Nancy is gifted at knowing how to love a sinner, while hating the sin. She always finds a way to speak the truth in love. I listen to her, even when I do not like what I hear. She holds me accountable, and yet, never stops loving me. We could all use a friend like Nancy in our life.

When Jesus Christ made Himself known to the world, He brought all of us a message of great hope. No matter how good we want to be or try to be, every one has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Even Job, who worked tirelessly to please God and honor Him with his life, was not completely without sin. For those of us who are still incarcerated in the prison of guilt, Jesus is the key. He can free you, once and for all, through the power of His cleansing blood. He can cover your sin and shame once and for all. There is just nothing we can do to earn God’s grace or favor. We can try to live good and honest lives, but it will not be enough apart from knowing the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is the Good News of the Gospel we just have to share with a world imprisoned in its many diversities and cultures. None of us will ever be good enough all by ourselves. Dear friends, we are all going down on the same sinking ship. Jesus Christ is the only way, the only truth, and the only life, and He will make a way for you today if you ask Him to save you.

This weekend, I will be standing next to my sister Nancy, along with 15,000 other sisters in the Scott Trade Center in downtown Saint Louis, worshipping Jesus and praising His holy and awesome name. He is the key to unspeakable joy, a never-ending love, and a peace that cannot be explained with human words. If you find yourself locked up in the prison of guilt this morning, ask Jesus to set you free. He will do it! And that’s a promise you can count on!

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Pray for: salvation! Jesus Christ will set you free from the sin and suffering in your life. You can know what it means to be forgiven. There is joy in the journey, even when the road is rough. Be thankful for the people God has placed in your life, who love you enough to tell you about the Lord.

I will be at the Women of Faith Conference this weekend in St. Louis. I hope to see you there! May the Lord bless and keep you, until we meet again online.


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

All rights reserved

Articles may not be printed in any “for profit” publication without further permission by the author. Articles may be freely distributed via e-mail, reprinted in church bulletins or in other non-profit publications without further permission. Please keep this copyright and Web Site information intact with copied articles. Articles are sent originally to subscribers only. You may have received a forwarded or reprinted copy.