Friday, July 3

Apostles' Creed Focus

“He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried, he descended to hell.”


Reflection Verse

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me, Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.” - Psalm 51:1-4


Reflection

As a parent, I spend a lot of time treating stains. Whether it’s a popsicle on the carpet or grass stains on shorts, I spend a lot of time washing and re-washing stains. When I’ve exhausted all my stain solutions on a piece of clothing, I do what anyone would do. I dress my kids in those clothes and send them to my mom’s house. Unlike me, my mom is a stain master. She can magically make anything looking brand new. 

Obviously, laundry isn’t the point of this devotion. But it’s easy to see my life as clothing in need of a stain master. My selfishness, my pride, the things I say and think that are so far off the mark -these are like inky, black stains on a once pristine garment. No matter how hard I try to remove the sin in my life, I don’t have the power. 

We can’t take God’s forgiveness seriously until we take our sin seriously. It’s easy to minimize or make excuses for our behavior, but we are sinning against a holy God. That’s a big deal! We can’t expect perfection, but it should grieve us when we sin. And God’s forgiveness should make us want to follow him more closely so we won’t be so apt to sin against Him not to earn his forgiveness but because we’ve been forgiven. 

Let’s not wait until we’ve exhausted all our solutions to turn to Jesus. He’s the only one who can blot out our stains and the sooner we turn to Him to cleanse us, the sooner we can be forgiven and right with Him.


Prayer

Jesus, I know I can’t remove the stain of sin in my life, but you can. You gave your life so that I can be forgiven. So that I can be cleansed. So that I can be in perfect communion with you. Thank you for being our stain master. Amen.


Verses for Further Reflection

1 John 3:4-6, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 John 1:7-9


Family Focus

Sin and guilt can weigh us down, but God forgives us when we confess our sins.

Go for a long walk in the heat of the day. Give each child a backpack to carry that has a reasonable weight in it for their age and stamina (snacks and water work well). Walk for as long as you can without taking a break. It shouldn’t be too long before your kids are asking for a rest. Find a place to sit down in the shade and read Psalm 32:4-5. Use the discussion questions to talk about how concealing sin is as tiring as walking in the summer sun.

Questions for Discussion

  • What happens to your strength when you are out in the hot summer sun?
  • Why did we get tired of walking today?
  • How do you feel if you have done something wrong and no one knows?
  • How would you describe the way you feel when you are guilty?
  • What happened to David when he sinned against God?
  • What did David do then?
  • Read Proverbs 28:13. What does God offer us when we confess our sins?

If we sin but keep it a secret, we begin to feel just awful. We feel even worse than when we had to carry the weighty backpack for such a long time. Guilt is the heavy feeling we have when we hide our sins from God. Just knowing that we have done something wrong weighs heavy on our minds. In Psalm 32, David described his feelings of guilt. He said he felt as though his bones were wasting away and that God’s hand was heavy on him – sapping his strength as in the heat of summer (Psalm 32:3-4). At the end of Psalm 32, David spoke of the wonderful feeling of being forgiven (Psalm 32:11). We can experience God’s forgiveness and mercy too. When we confess our sins, God forgives us. He lifts the heavy load of guilt off of us and we feel light-hearted and full of joy.