Archive for November, 2015

Thanksgiving is a time when the world gets to see just how blessed and how workable the Christian system is. The emphasis is not on giving or buying, but on being thankful and expressing that appreciation to God and to one another.” — John Clayton

I have always been intrigued by a particular snippet from a day in the life of the man called Jesus. Imagine him walking along the road on the outskirts of town when all at once ten lepers see him approaching. The lepers knew that it was unlawful for them to approach Jesus. From a distance, perhaps just across a thoroughfare or maybe a small field, they began to shout, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

A record of this event can be found in the Newer Testament book of Luke:

11-13 In the course of his journey to Jerusalem, Jesus crossed the boundary between Samaria and Galilee, and as he was approaching a village, ten lepers met him. They kept their distance but shouted out, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

14-18 When Jesus saw them, he said, “Go and show yourselves to the priest.” And it happened that as they went on their way they were cured. One of their number, when he saw that he was cured, turned round and praised God at the top of his voice, and then fell on his face before Jesus and thanked him. This man was a Samaritan. And at this Jesus remarked, “Weren’t there ten men healed? Where are the other nine? Is nobody going to turn and praise God for what he has done, except this stranger?”

19 And he said to the man, “Stand up now, and go on your way. It is your faith that has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19)

Word was getting around that Jesus had the power to heal the sick. This Nazarene of no reputation was beginning to gain notoriety. Lepers posed an interesting conundrum. Under the law, they were not allowed to mingle within society. They were considered perpetually unclean and the good people of the community were forbidden to have any physical contact with them. Lepers lived banished lives, dwelling on the fringes of the social order. This is why Jesus never drew near to the lepers nor did he lay his hand upon them as he had so often done before when healing the sick.

Now here is what intrigues me: When Jesus saw them, he said, “Go and show yourselves to the priest.”  Why?  Because under the law, if a leper was healed of this accursed disease, he must “show himself” to a priest for confirmation of the cure and to obtain permission to mingle once again in society.  Any priest in town was qualified to verify the completeness of the restorationJesus very likely gave the lepers a reason to believe they would be healed. Nonetheless, this command which Jesus made before there was any visible indication of a cure was a deliberate test of their faith.  So off went the ten men with horrible contagion, and as they were walking along they began to notice their leprosy was disappearing.

One of the ten was a Samaritan. And, just in case you did not know, the Jews at that time hated the Samaritans. This is why Jesus made note of him. When this particular leper saw that he was cured, he freaked.   In his elation the once diseased Samaritan loudly screamed praises to God. But here’s what I really want you to get: filled with gratitude he turned around and “fell on his face before Jesus and thanked him.”

Where were the other nine? Just the one “stranger” (the Samaritan) returned to give thanks to the Almighty. This did not escape notice. Jesus said, “Weren’t there ten men healed? Where are the other nine? Is nobody going to turn and praise God for what he has done, except this stranger?”

Imagine. An obvious miracle, a God of saving grace and power, but only one who stopped to give thanks with a grateful heart.  By the way, did you notice that Jesus credited the leper’s faith with his cure?  He said, “Stand up now, and go on your way. It is your faith that has made you well.”  Hmm.

So, ten men took a walk for the cure but only one came back to say thanks. Leper number ten had the attitude of gratitude. If I were a gambling man, I’d wager he never forgot the man called Jesus who literally saved his life that day.

Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgiving. Turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” — William Arthur Ward

Paul Harvey, the much beloved American radio broadcaster and writer, passed away in February of 2009. It is estimated that at one time his various programs reached 24 million people each week on over 1,200 radio stations, 400 Armed Forces Network stations and 300 newspapers. In a 1977 broadcast of his widely popular “The Rest of the Story, Paul Harvey shared this story,

“It is gratitude that prompted an old man to visit an old broken pier on the eastern seacoast of Florida. Every Friday night, until his death in 1973, he would return, walking slowly and slightly stooped with a large bucket of shrimp. The sea gulls would flock to this old man, and he would feed them from his bucket. Many years before, in October, 1942, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker was on a mission in a B-17 to deliver an important message to General Douglas MacArthur in New Guinea. But there was an unexpected detour which would hurl Captain Eddie into the most harrowing adventure of his life.

Somewhere over the South Pacific the Flying Fortress became lost beyond the reach of radio. Fuel ran dangerously low, so the men ditched their plane in the ocean…For nearly a month Captain Eddie and his companions would fight the water, and the weather, and the scorching sun. They spent many sleepless nights recoiling as giant sharks rammed their rafts. The largest raft was nine by five. The biggest shark…ten feet long.

But of all their enemies at sea, one proved most formidable: starvation. Eight days out, their rations were long gone or destroyed by the salt water. It would take a miracle to sustain them. And a miracle occurred. In Captain Eddie’s own words, “Cherry,” that was the B- 17 pilot, Captain William Cherry, “read the service that afternoon, and we finished with a prayer for deliverance and a hymn of praise. There was some talk, but it tapered off in the oppressive heat. With my hat pulled down over my eyes to keep out some of the glare, I dozed off.”

Now this is still Captain Rickenbacker talking…”Something landed on my head. I knew that it was a sea gull. I don’t know how I knew, I just knew. Everyone else knew too. No one said a word, but peering out from under my hat brim without moving my head, I could see the expression on their faces. They were staring at that gull. The gull meant food…if I could catch it.”

And the rest, as they say, is history. Captain Eddie caught the gull. Its flesh was eaten. Its intestines were used for bait to catch fish. The survivors were sustained and their hopes renewed because a lone sea gull, uncharacteristically hundreds of miles from land, offered itself as a sacrifice.

So, now you know that Captain Eddie Rickenbacker made it. And now you also know…that he never forgot. Because every Friday evening, about sunset…on a lonely stretch along the eastern Florida seacoast…you could see an old man walking…white-haired, bushy eye browed, and slightly bent. His bucket filled with shrimp was to feed the gulls…to remember that one which, on a day long past, gave itself without a struggle…like manna in the wilderness.”***

What does a grateful Samaritan leper, an old war hero who could never forget that God saved him through a seagull, and a grateful sinner like me, who was also once redeemed by God’s Amazing Grace, have in common?  The attitude of gratitude.

Maybe you have something to thank God for today. I hope you will take the time to tell him. He adores you no matter what, but he sure loves to hear those two powerful words – THANK YOU – fall from your lips.

Thanksgiving.  Celebrate it.  Pass it on….

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is an author, broadcaster, and a popular Bible teacher.
© 2015 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.  For more information write to:
InsightToday, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, FL 34656

***Paul Aurandt, “The Old Man and the Gulls”, Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story, 1977, quoted in Heaven Bound Living, Knofel Stanton, Standard, 1989, p. 79-80.

“And you tell me over and over and over again my friend, ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction… no, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction” – P.F. Sloan –

 Confidence in a Crisis

If you harbor dreams of a world filled with peace, harmony and goodwill toward men, your chances of finding such a Shangri-La here on spaceship earth are slim to none.  Sometimes it can appear like the whole planet is a combat zone. Is the world teetering on the eve of destruction? Let’s see, racial unrest, economic chaos, proliferating global terrorism, widespread natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, etc., and, well…, is it any wonder that many believe things are only going to get worse from here? Let’s just say that I wouldn’t look to the daily news for confidence building.

The ancient scriptures predict the eventual demise of mankind here on spaceship earth. We do not know exactly when that will happen. Even the Liberator Jesus on his visit to this planet said that he did not know the precise moment:  But about that actual day and time no one knows—not even the angels of Heaven, nor the Son, only the Father. (Matthew 24:36) There are a few clues scattered among the words of the prophets, but only the Ancient of Days (God, the father of all spirits) knows for sure. In the interim, we only have this one life to live, so let’s enjoy it as best we can and make the most of our time.

Have you ever considered that God may allow all of this bedlam for a reason? Through crisis, we often learn to have confidence in Him and not in human resourcefulness alone.  In the face of situations that seem hopeless, I find this quote from the Newer Testament scriptures to be a persuasive reminder:

18 “So we do not look at what we can see right now, the troubles all around us, but we look forward to the joys… which we have not yet seen. The troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)

On earth, we live a transitory life. The visible things happening all around us are only temporary. The invisible realm that exists beyond the laughter and tears of this momentary existence is everlasting. As a Christian, I am always learning to look beyond what I can touch and see. It is from within that eternal dimension – the dwelling place of our unseen Creator – that I draw my confidence and my strength every day.

Paul, knew this better than most.  A great leader of the early New Testament era, he traveled extensively sowing the seeds of “The Way” that would eventually be called Christianity.  His journeys traversing the ancient world are nothing short of extraordinary.  More than once he faced the possibility of imminent death.  In a letter to the Christian community at ancient Corinth (a city-state located about midway between Athens and Sparta), he wrote:

8-10 “We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. 10 And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.”  2 Corinthians 1:8-10 – New Living Translation –

Looking back on the difficulties that his missionary team faced, Paul concedes that at one point they all expected to die.  Out of options and overwhelmed by extreme anxiety, he told the Corinthian Christians “…we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God…”  Paul believed that the extreme adversity they endured served to demonstrate that our trust must always be in God.  “We have placed our confidence in him”, he said, “and he will continue to rescue us.”

In times of crisis, people reach for meaning. Meaning is strength. Our survival may depend on our seeking and finding it.” Dawna Markova

The Liberator Jesus – God within You

Think about this, the Divine Spirit (God) is both above all things and at the same time living within all things.  When the Liberator Jesus came to the earth, he was called Emanuel (which means God-with-us). God with us is now God within us. Paul told the ancient Galatian Christians,

20As far as religion is concerned; I may consider that I died on the cross with Christ. And my present life is not that of the old “I”, but the living Christ within me. The bodily life I now live, I live believing in the Son of God, who loved me and sacrificed himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20

The scriptures teach us that Jesus himself was the payment for the recovery of the human race – he swapped his life for our lives. Paul told the Galatians that he was vicariously put to death on that Roman cross “with Christ”. In theological terms, it is known as the substitutionary death. Every true believer (genuine Christian) goes through this same process. Our metaphorical death triggers an internal makeover (also known as being Born Again).  We then inherit the nature and the power of the Divine Spirit who comes to live within our human spirit.   Yea, I know, all of this can sounds pretty wild. But not too long ago, so did space travel.

Paul put it this way when he wrote to the Christians at ancient Colossae,

27For I am a minister of the Church by divine commission, a commission granted to me for your benefit and for a special purpose: that I might fully declare God’s word—that sacred mystery which up to now has been hidden in every age and every generation, but which is now as clear as daylight to those who love God. They are those to whom God has planned to give a vision of the full wonder and splendor of his secret plan for the sons of men. And the secret is simply this: Jesus Christ in you! Yes, Christ in you bringing with him the hope of all glorious things to come.” Colossians 1:27 – J. B. Philips –

It’s no longer a secret: the Creator of the universe actually lives in us!  Thus, his indwelling Divine Spirit provides the confidence we need to move forward assertively in life. Sure, we will face some obstacles and threatening circumstances.  But, like Paul, we can boldly declare, “God will continue to rescue us”.  Our creator wants us to learn to operate in the faith that Jesus demonstrated when He visited this planet. If His Spirit and power are truly in us, His confidence is also in us. It all comes back to TRUST. Do YOU trust God?  In hopelessness, helplessness or extreme anxiety – absolute trust in the Almighty (God) is essential. As the creator and sustainer of the Universe, He is NOT worried about anything!

Faith without work is dead and work without Faith is dead. For those who aren’t familiar with Faith, it’s simply to have absolute confidence in God.” —Author Unknown

Confidence in God has Benefits

Confidence in God makes things possible.  It relieves us of worry and mental torment and it brings healing into our lives.  It enables us to move in the spiritual gifts, to hear the voice of God and to fulfill our calling. Confidence in God opens the door for all of His promises to be made clear and visible.  The benefits of confidence in the divine, supernatural, unseen Almighty One are incalculable.

But first, you must trust in the completed mission of Jesus for the cleansing of all your past failures. Through the substitutionary atonement, God legally exchanged your imperfect record for the perfect blamelessness of Jesus. It’s a gift you receive by placing your confidence in the one “who by his power within us is able to do far more than we ever dare to ask or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:20 – J. B. Phillips)

The Creator of all things can and does speak to his creation in our day. You must learn to listen for His voice and to be obedient when He speaks to you.  Your confidence will grow as you see how God works in and through your life.

The next time you are overcome by worry, fear and doubt, try this; take a walk outside on a cloudless night and gaze at the splendor of the visible universe above.  Now, consider the wisdom, understanding and omnipotent power of the architect of it all. Could that magnificent and unequaled master builder possibly look after your every need? Could He work supernatural power in your life to fulfill the purposes He has given to you? Could He make you a conduit of the gifts and power of His Holy Spirit?

I believe that He can. Indeed, I do.

May we pray?

God, it is easy to feel overwhelmed living in this dangerous world of darkness. Sometimes we feel trapped. Helplessly hopeless. When we forget who really is in control, remind us to put our absolute trust in you. And if we should have to face the gales of life head on, we are confident that you will either calm the storm or calm your child – but you will always be there to rescue us. In the name of the Liberator Jesus we pray. Amen.

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is an author, broadcaster, and a popular Bible teacher.
© 2015 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.  For more information write to:
InsightToday, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, FL 34656

 

The secret of making dreams come true can be summarized in four C’s.  They are Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Constancy; and the greatest of these is Confidence.” Walt Disney —

How important is Confidence?

The year was 1987. I was in the Florida Keys aboard a dive boat leaving the canal on Old Highway, MM 90.5 in Tavernier. My stomach was churning.  Seated to my right was a 747 commercial airline pilot. To my left (oddly enough) was his girlfriend, an attractive stewardess. Having just completed scuba training school, we were heading out to the reef for our final check out dives. It was January and the water was quite choppy. The tiny ship was tossed. So were my cookies – thankfully over the side. There I was; grasping the starboard rail (like the horns of the ancient alter) and watching the “professional” airline pilot joining me in the mal de mar (seasickness). I prayed, “Oh God, have mercy on me and please never let me be aboard one of this pilots flights when the plane hits heavy turbulence.”

So, (aside from the nausea) how did I really feel that day? I was definitely enthusiastic about the dive. But, I was also full of doubt, fear, hesitation and uncertainty. After all, I had never done this before.

Did I have the basic skill-set necessary to function as a scuba diver? Yes. Was I ready to move from the theoretical to the practical? Again, yes. So, why the agita? (Italian-American slang derived from the Italian “agitare” meaning “to agitate.”) Because, I was suffering from a lack of confidence.

Have you ever felt that a lack of confidence was holding you back from living up to your true potential? Are you afraid to take a “step of faith” because you don’t believe that you have “what it takes”?

Welcome aboard wayfarer. You are not alone.

Okay, in the scuba example, my lack of confidence could be blamed on a want of experience. But it seems to me that from the cradle to the grave, we are taught to embrace external sources for validation. As a result, we often hang our self-worth on the approval of other people. The resulting “confidence crisis” can stifle our true potential.

There once was a child who did not speak until he was four years old and he did not read until he was seven. His teachers were convinced that he was mentally handicapped, and anti-social (he had extraordinary temper tantrums.) In the end, he was expelled from school. When he took the entrance examination for a polytechnic school in Zurich, Switzerland, he flunked everything but the math. He did eventually win admittance to the University only to graduate and not get a teaching position because no professor would recommend him. In fact, the only job he was able to get after graduation was an entry-level position with the government. (Uh, no comment.)

Who was this poor child and whatever become of him? His name was Albert Einstein. Need I say more? It seems that no one recognized all the potential within him. Einstein could have given up, but thankfully he had the confidence necessary to persevere.

People who live without confidence will always fall short of their potential. When you do not believe that something is possible, you will seldom take the steps required to attain it. For example, you may dream of being a great musician one day.  But, if you don’t believe it is possible, you will never be willing to pay the price (lessons and endless hours of practice) to master an instrument.  Or, you may desire to succeed in your own business.  If you don’t believe in that possibility, you will never take the steps (and suffer the many sacrifices) required to build a prosperous enterprise.

People who go thru life without a healthy dose of confidence are often discouraged, perhaps a bit cynical and definitely unmotivated. Confidence affects our outlook on life and the way that we approach our work.  When we suffer from an acute lack of confidence, we often need someone else to encourage us.  The “encourager” may even need to prod, push and, ultimately show us the way past our fears into success.

Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.”  Martin Luther —

How does this apply to my Christian life?

Spiritual growth and fruitful Christianity develops as we gain confidence in the wisdom of the Liberator Jesus for our strength.  In the process, his indwelling Spirit shows us the way to overcome our fears and doubts as we grow toward spiritual boldness.

You may desire to live a life that is acceptable to our creator, but if you have no confidence in his ability to help you “live holy as He is holy” (1 Peter 1:16), you won’t press on toward that goal. Remember this: Your (spiritual) state of affairs is always limited by what you truly believe.  Put another way, you will only do what you believe (are confident) you can do.

God wants us to place absolute trust in Him for a reason.  Trust builds our confidence in Him.  When we have a strong faith in God, we have an assurance that enables us to move outside of our comfort zones.  Our faith relationship with God helps to clarify what He wants from us (also known as being led by the Spirit).

We are learning to walk with God.  Think about that.  If we are walking with God, that means He also walks with us – every day of our lives.  He is our “ever present help in time of need.” (Psalm 46:1)  And, by the power of His Holy Spirit, God also wants to work through us as we walk together – especially when we are quick to respond to His instructions.

Oh, how great peace and quietness would he possess who should cut off all vain anxiety and place all his confidence in God….” — Thomas Kempis —

Confidence Rightly Placed

Secular culture credits a life of success to an abundance of self-confidence. The gurus of secularism say, You can do it if you believe you can”. There is some limited truth to this, but it is not gospel truth, and sometimes that view point fails. Granted, humanity can and does achieve many amazing things here on spaceship earth aided by self-confidence and a positive self-image.  The Bible however, does not tell us to simply believe in ourselves. It teaches us to believe in Almighty God and the Liberator Jesus – the one he sent to the earth. His Divine Spirit is our source of life itself. Look at this statement that Jesus made to his pupils,

“You must go on growing in me and I will grow in you. For just as the branch cannot bear any fruit unless it shares the life of the vine, so you can produce nothing unless you go on growing in me. I am the vine itself, you are the branches. It is the man who shares my life and whose life I share who proves fruitful. For the plain fact is that apart from me you can do nothing at all.” (John 15:4-5 – J.B. Phillips New Testament).

Christians believe this to be the absolute truth.  According to the sacred texts of scripture, the incarnate one (Jesus) was, is, and ever shall be the sustainer of all things by the Word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). Remember: Apart from an intimate relationship with the Liberator Jesus, where you draw on His life force, you can do nothing of TRUE (eternal) value with your allotted life time.

What good is it if, armed with a positive self-image and great self-confidence, you achieve some measure of worldly success but MISS the purpose for which you were born into this temporary existence? Neither achieving great riches nor living in deep poverty has any bearing upon your eternal destiny. What will matter is how obedient you were to the otherworldly calling on your life. No one is going to come to the end of time as we know it, stand before the Almighty Creator and regret that he is calling them “a good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21) – No one.

When it comes to following Jesus, self-confidence alone will ultimately fail us. Peter was so self-assured of his loyalty to Jesus that he said on the night our Redeemer was betrayed:

“Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not!” and “If I have to die with You, I will not deny you!” (Mark 14:29, 31).

Peter spoke with great confidence – in himself that is – perhaps even boasting just a bit.   When push came to shove, and Jesus was put on trial, Peter denied (with profanity) THREE TIMES that he even knew him at all. When the cock crowed, Peter went out and wept bitterly, utterly ashamed of his failure.  His self-confident boasting vanished in the mists of fear and self-preservation.

Self-confidence alone will always fail us where it counts most – in the integrity of our walk with God. Verily, God will allow things to come up in your life which will shatter your self-confidence so that you will learn to put your absolute trust (confidence) in HIM first and never in yourself alone.

(TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK)

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is an author, broadcaster, and a popular Bible teacher.
© 2015 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.  For more information write to:
InsightToday, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, FL 34656
To all my non-believing, sort-of-believing, and used-to-be-believing friends: I feel like I should begin with a confession. I am sorry that so often for you the biggest obstacle to God has been Christians.” — Shane Claiborne —

Twice each year, Florida is invaded. Not by hordes of tourists or love struck newlyweds enjoying the carefree bliss of our white sandy beaches. Neither by the flocks of “snow birds” who journey here each winter to enjoy our idyllic weather, clog our restaurants and drive painfully slow in the left lanes of our busy streets.

I refer to the semi-annual appearance of the dreadful lovebug; a small fly that spends most of its brief life in a harmless larval state buried in the soil. Lovebugs do not bite, sting, or damage plants. In fact they live above ground just long enough to mate, deposit eggs and die – on average four to seven days.   That is when they make life miserable for most Floridians. This is why we hate them.

You see, lovebugs are a colossal nuisance. Emerging from their subterranean world in the multiplied tens of thousands, the mating swarms become so abundant that driving a vehicle even short distances through the biological cloud will literally cover a windshield in gooey dead lovebug bodies. Talk about impaired driving. In extreme cases, lovebugs can plug a radiator enough to disrupt the engine’s airflow, and cause the car to overheat. But lovebugs could care less. They feel no remorse and offer no declaration of guilt for the inconvenience (and expense) which they perpetrate upon us. Oh you evil little fly.

Silly? Of course it is. Lovebugs cannot feel the pangs of conscience. They have no sense of right and wrong. Charges of wickedness and depravity cannot be leveled against them. And that my dear friend is what separates people from the lovebug (and most other living creatures).

Human beings intuitively know when they have done wrong. Divine law is not something foreign, and thus imposed upon mankind. It is woven into the very fabric of our DNA. There is something deep within us that resonates to right and wrong (Romans 2:14-16). Only a human can be aware of and confess a fault.

Why is this important? Because we need another genuine revival in our world – a new great awakening. Revival can only occur where people are humble, contrite, broken, and forgiven. Revival begins with confession.

Sacrifice, discipline and prayer are essential. We gain strength through God’s word… And when we fumble due to sin – and it’s gonna happen – confession puts us back on the field.” Lou Holtz

Have you heard the saying, “Confession is good for the soul?” Most of us have. It apparently comes from an old Scottish proverb. I am told that the original saying actually reads, “Open confession is good for the soul.”

When was the last time you experienced an open confession? In deference to all my dear Catholic friends, I’m not talking about a one on one “face time” with the parish priest as an alternative to the traditional booth in the back of the sanctuary. I refer to a time of transparency before our Creator; a time of honesty with yourself and authenticity within the household of faith.  Here is a wonderful verse from the Newer Testament writer James,

16”Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].”  (James 5:16 AMP)

Nothing revives a man or woman like candid acknowledgment of shortcomings and failures (aka: sins). Such declarations put us in touch with the true condition of our inner most being (human spirit). I am not suggesting that we should tell anyone and everyone our deepest, darkest secrets. And, these confessions are not meant to inform God of all the depravity lurking inside of us.   Does anyone really think Almighty God doesn’t know the true state of our existence already? Of course He does.

Some may be wondering, “If God already knows my badness, why is open confession even necessary?” Glad you asked. Open confession enables accurate self-assessment of our human condition. Knowing who I am spiritually is important for sure, but I also need to know who I am as a Christian human being in this world every day. Don’t get mad at me for saying this, but some of you need to set aside a bit of your pseudo religious piety and self-importance in order to see the real you. To put it bluntly, you just might discover the person that the rest of the world actually sees. Ouch.

I’m talking about a personal “reality check”. Knowing ourselves is what helps to keep us genuine. Open confession enables us to accept personal responsibility for our mistakes. It swings wide the windows of our soul allowing the winds of the spirit to blow refreshing restoration (revival) into our lives. We all need a personal revival.

The story of Christian reformation, revival, and renaissance underscores that the darkest hour is often just before the dawn, so we should always be people of hope and prayer, not gloom and defeatism. God the Holy Spirit can turn the situation around in five minutes.” – Os Guinness

The Older Testament writer Jeremiah said,

9“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

Who really knows?  Our Creator.  He knows how deceitful and wicked we really are. That’s why he sent the Liberator Jesus to the earth on a salvage mission. As a recipient of His amazing grace and enduring mercy, my wild, wandering, shameless heart has now been broken. In authentic humility, with a repentant attitude, I have acknowledged my need for reclamation.  I look to Jesus because I believe that he was sent to this planet to “seek and save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10 KJV) My existence as a spiritual zombie (dead inside) is over. The liberator Jesus gave me a new life. I have been revived! How about you?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, our English word re·vive means: “To make (someone or something) strong, healthy, or active again.”  Get it? Our Creator wants His people strong, healthy and active again. Just think of what God could do with a people who were burning with a strong, healthy and active passion for His purpose and for whom the word “defeat” is not an option!

Confession leads to revival. Are you ready to be revived?  Let these words from Psalm 32:5-7 speak to your heart:

I told my sin to you. I did not hide my wrong-doing. I said, “I will tell my sins to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. So let all who are God-like pray to you while you may be found, because in the floods of much water, they will not touch him. You are my hiding place. You keep me safe from trouble. All around me are your songs of being made free.” (Psalm 32:5-7 NLV)

I feel a change comin’ on…  TRUTH is freedom and life!

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is an author, broadcaster, and a popular Bible teacher.
© 2015 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.  For more information write to:
InsightToday, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, FL 34656