Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Smart fishers know that havin' and maintaining a clear conscience is important in witnessing of Christ's love.

Thinkin' about Shakespeare.. what did Hamlet mean when he said, "Conscience makes cowards of us all"? Does it have to? No.

I think he meant that the God-given conscience in people.. it can help prevent them from doing wrong sinful things, yes, from having wrong thoughts or doing evil deeds. But to unspiritual on-lookers who lack discernment and wisdom.. to unbelievers ..it might appear to them in their minds ..that we believer who is taking heed is an uber-weak, wimpy, yes full on coward. They miss, but to the righteous person wanting to please the Lord, it simply means that things in that person are working right as the conscience was designed to work. And when a person becomes a new creation in Christ, the conscience in connection with the Holy Spirit will work all the better for Christ's Cause. Let it, and God will use you to impact lives.

God says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 nkjv

"There is only one way to achieve happiness on this terrestrial ball, and that is to have either a clear conscience or none at all." ~ Ogden Nash

Questions: Believer, how many people do you desire to help put on the Journey to Jesus Christ? How many lives do want God to use you with, so that they too can enjoy a clean conscience?   

When people tell you or me that they've always been a Christian ..chances are they are not yet a real Christian. Why? Well, because no one is born the first time regenerated in their human spirit. You know that. It takes repentance and faith not pedigree. 

Yeah, that's why we all need to be born all over again. It might not have looked like that at the time of our Birthday, but we've all been born wrong the first time due to Adam's sin. And when a person turns and trusts Christ.. when they meet Jesus one on one.. guess what.. real changes will indeed take place. The outward may be without the inward (with so called religious people getting moralized - lost), but the inward is never without the outward (with real believers who desire to grow, to walk in victory, and want to maintain a clear conscience). So how do we do that? We confess and forsake sin when we blow it - admit it and quit it. We yield daily to the changing power of the Holy Spirit who both works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure. 

Whenever, any person turns to the Lord in faith, "God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We're free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him." 2 Cor. 3:17-18 msg 

What needs confessing you might ask? What we mess up needs to be confessed. Sins of the heart.. of your thoughts ..need to be confessed to God alone and forsaken. You might at times need to confess a bad attitude to others if you ill-affected some people with that. People of the world are watching us. Timing is also important. 

Not sure if you are married or what you've done or not done. Listen, if the relationship you have is already fragile or crumbling, you might need to confess your sin to somebody else first. God really wants you to have a clear conscience and rebuild the trust.

I would say that private addictions need confession to God first, and then perhaps to a growing Christian as well if God leads. Yes, especially if you've hurt somebody with that (you'll need accountability to stay free). I would say stealing needs to be confessed to God and then to the one who lost what you stole. 

Denial is so prevalent today. Did ya know that 80% of abusers deny that they abused anybody so.. if you've been hurt by an abuser.. don't expect a whole lot from them, I mean if somebody abused you. Hint: A lawbreaker needs to be reported to the police (I know too many believers who only go tell their pastor who informs them that he'll pray for that abuser [only]. Dumb!). 

Repentance with confession is rad-imperative. People can't get saved without true repentance and believers can't enjoy a clear conscience without it. But we want to be good witnesses for Jesus. 

We don't need to go to a mere human priest or pastor in some confessional to find forgiveness from God. That's not biblical. That simply comes from man and his religious traditions (not saying no one has ever heard some good advice in a confessional, though I personally never did). Please don't let dead religious leaders.. even with good intentions (not saying all priests are lost).. twist the meaning or application of the Scriptures for you. God check the entire context of Scripture. And please repent going directly to God for forgiveness first. 

Later on as the Spirit leads.. or when sick.. "confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." James 5:16

But I'd say that public sin calls for public confessions, and private sin often calls for private confession generally (but confession need to be made to God first). Yes, the confession should be as broad as the offense was. God was hurt by your sin. Many sinners don't realize how we've hurt the Lord. In connection with your confession.. when it's appropriate ..others should be present. And the confession should reflect the seriousness of that particular offense committed.

Here are some ways to apologize to another human when saying "I'm sorry" ..just isn't enough: 

You know how "I'm sorry that I spilled coffee on your shoe" kind of apologies will do.. yup, most of the time that's enough for others. But sometimes "Sorry dude" ain't enough. Grasp hold and say I was wrong.. I was SO wrong ("SO" depending on the severity). I am so SO sorry because this was no minor matter. I feel bad inside (if you really do, and you should if you wronged someone). I respect you and understand that merely saying I'm sorry is not enough here, but I take full responsibility for it (and do that). 

Sure, the people harmed by you need to understand that we grasp it.. that we, as the wrong-doer understand the extent of the damage etc that we caused them. You know how sin is never superficial, but when sin-committed is thought of superficially by the one who sinned, that offender tends to address their own sin superficially. That's also wrong. None of us are perfect so this is good to talk about. Ask how can I make this right? 

Remember how Zack got right with God and even restored the possessions that he cheated people out of. Go and do likewise. Making restitution, when the offended person is still alive.. yes, if you still can ..is so important. That's a good witness to the world.  

You remember Zacchaeus in the Bible. He was a chief tax-collector at Jericho, and mentioned only in the Gospel of Luke. He was a descendant of Abraham, and became a good example of Jesus' personal, earthly ministry to seek and to save that which was lost.. yes in bring salvation to the unregenerate people.

Zach received Jesus very joyfully but when other people, "saw it, they all complained, saying, 'He (Jesus) has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.' Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, 'Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.' And Jesus said to him, 'Today salvation has come to this house..'" Lk. 19:1-10 nkjv

A bad conscience has a very good memory and God's is even better. Therefore the aim of our instruction is love from my pure heart.. "Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and [from] sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm. But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.." 1 Timothy 1:5

"Disobedience to conscience is voluntary; bad poetry, on the other hand, is usually not made on purpose." ~ C.S. Lewis

The Bible talks a lot about those with a cauterized or seared conscience inside.. you know a hardened heart or conscience. But there is a Solution for all that ..for us Christ's followers even.. and His Name is Jesus Christ.
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