Tuesday, June 29, 2010

“Paul Writes to Rome”

About 22 years ago our friend, Donn LaTour, invited my husband Todd and me to attend
a study on the book of Romans in the Evans Hall Amphitheater at Loma Linda
University. We hadn't heard of Pastor Jack Sequeira before, but Donn assured us that this
was a seminar we didn't want to miss. Todd and decided to go for a couple of hours.
As we settled into our seats that Sunday morning, we were blessed by the powerful
message from the book of Romans. Pastor Jack expounded its truths verse by verse. We
were not flitting from one proof text to another. The preacher mined the Word deeply,
bringing forth treasures of truth that made our hearts burn within us. By the time we
reached Romans 5, I was overwhelmed with the beauty of this gospel.

"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord
Jesus Christ . . . . For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the
ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man
someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that
while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been
justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him . . . Therefore, as
through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so
through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of
life" (verses 1, 6-9, 18).

At our lunch break that day, we decided our Sunday afternoon projects could wait. We
stayed for the whole seminar. The powerful truth that came to me that day was two-fold:
First, I saw that my need for a Savior was greater than I had imagined. I saw how lost I
was--along with the entire human race--through Adam's choice as well as my own.
Second, I saw that what Christ had gained for me was much greater than what Adam had
lost. I was hopelessly lost in Adam, but Christ did something much more for the whole
human race, and for me personally and unconditionally. I recognized that if I am lost at
last, it will be because my unrelenting, stubborn will resisted the greatest motivation in
the universe--the agape love of Christ. I recognized the dynamic power of the gospel as
revealed in the cross of Christ. This truth had emboldened Pastor Jack to preach the
gospel fearlessly in Africa, even when his life was threatened. Shipwreck, imprisonment,
torture--nothing could keep the apostle Paul from sharing the story of the. I wanted that
kind of faith and that kind of assurance--not from man--but in Christ!

Almost 122 years ago, two young men startled the attendees at the 1888 General
Conference Session, convened in Minneapolis by expounding the gospel in the books of
Romans and Galatians in a manner similar to how Pastor Jack preached the word to us in
Loma Linda. It made some people squirm back then, and it makes some people squirm
today. This message lays the glory of man in the dust. The gospel isn't Christ plus me.
The gospel is "Not I, but Christ." It hurts for our sinful nature to die, and the gospel
demands that self must die--every day!

This quarter you have the privilege to discover first-hand the power of the gospel of Jesus
Christ. Romans was Paul's masterpiece treatise on the gospel. It was written to people
living in the capitol of the most powerful nation on earth--Rome. Americans today share
much in common with our early Roman church brothers and sisters. Like us, they lived in
a country ruled by a republican government. Wealth abounded, a vast network of roads
all "leading to Rome" made travel much more convenient, and the society of that day
delighted in the dramatic presentations of the theater and sports.

More than any preceding generation, ours is saturated by the media--music, movies,
internet, and print--which spews forth a knowledge of sin and evil at a rate that dwarfs
the magnitude of the oil gushing from the Gulf ocean floor.

Praise God, there is another fountain flowing from our Savior's side, a crimson stream
that cleanses our hearts from the defilement of sin. There is no human solution to our sin
problem, but "there is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel's veins, and
sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains."

This quarter's lessons on Romans begin as yet another General Conference session of the
worldwide Seventh-day Adventist church convenes. In His mercy God is giving us
another chance. Please join me in praying that the precious light of the gospel of Jesus
Christ will shine abundantly on the attendees at that session, as well as believers around
the world. This message is needed to prepare a people for translation, and strengthen
them to endure the trying times before us. Praise God for the gospel of Jesus Christ!
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for
everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness
of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'The just shall live by faith.' "
Romans 1:16, 17.

--Patti Guthrie

E.J. Waggoner wrote a verse by verse commentary on the book of Romans. His treatise, Waggoner on Romans is now available in book form and will prove a valuable study aid for teachers and students alike.
You may access the complete book at: http://www.1888mpm.org/book/waggoner-romans-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Waggoner on Romans

For Jack Sequeira sermons on Romans click here: MP3; Windows Media; Real Audio

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

“Social Support: The Tie That Binds”

The first line of the book Desire of Ages is taken from Matthew 1:23 “His name shall be called Immanuel….God with us.” This is fitting for One who would be the Desire of all nations, for in those words, we find the greatest of all social support. It has its basis in self-sacrificing love – agape. But before we look at God’s interaction with us, we will briefly consider the relationship between God and Jesus in Heaven before Jesus became Immanuel, God with us.

Proverbs 8:22-31 describes the relationship between God and the preincarnate Jesus. Verse 30 is particularly insightful. Beholding His Father, Jesus says, “Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him.” God and Jesus did not have a sterile, robotic co-existence in Heaven, each in some divine trance looking out into space.
No, they were relating to each other with delight and rejoicing. They were friends. This we see clearly in Zechariah 13:17 when, on the cusp of Their ultimate sacrifice for you and me, God says of Jesus “Awake, O sword against My Shepherd, against the man who is My Companion.” 
Other translations render the last phrase variously; “against the Man who is close to Me” (NIV), “that is My fellow” (KJV), “that is My partner” (NLT). In actuality, “My fellow” is “the Man of My fellowship.” God and Jesus were great friends with an incredible bond of love between them. However, they agreed to share that love with us (Zech 6:13) and so He became Immanuel, God with us. In coming to dwell with us, Jesus came to reveal what true social support looked like.

“Through Christ, the circuit of beneficence is complete, representing the character of the great Giver, the law of life” (Ellen White, Desire of Ages page 21). An example of this beneficence is seen in the Old Testament when God said to Moses, “Let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8). In John 1:14, we read “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us…” He who became one of us was not ashamed to call us brethren. “Since Jesus came to dwell with us, we know that God is acquainted with our trials, and sympathizes with our griefs. Every son and daughter of Adam may understand that our Creator is the friend of sinners…” (Ellen White, Desire of Ages page 24). In every aspect of the Saviour’s life on Earth, we see “God with us.” We have a High Priest who can sympathize with our weakness. Our greatest social support is the One who became one of us in all points.

In Christ’s healing ministry, we see the power of social support. The book of Luke tells of a woman with an issue of blood for twelve long years. She came to Jesus for healing (Luke 8:43-
48). This woman “had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any.”
This was a huge problem because according to the Levitical laws (Leviticus 15:19-33). She was considered unclean, and thus banned from any social interaction.

This sick woman heard about Jesus, but she was so beaten down that she could not even face Him to ask for healing. She touched the hem of His garment and immediately her flow of blood stopped. Jesus asked, “Who touched Me?” The disciples thought this was a foolish question for there was a multitude around Christ. He insisted that someone touched Him, for He perceived power going out from Him. The poor, insecure, frightened woman fell at His feet and admitted that it was she who touched Him. Jesus says to her in verse 48, “Daughter, be of good cheer…”
Daughter! Wow! She was family! She was back in society; back in fellowship. One of the reasons that Jesus insisted on asking who touched Him was to make sure that everyone knew that she was wholly healed so that she could be accepted back into society.

Jesus Himself had friends on Earth. He who had a powerful friendship with His Father needed friends, as well. Mary, Martha and Lazarus were some of His very close friends. One day,
Lazarus died. Jesus did not go to them immediately but waited four days. When he arrived, He saw Mary and the others weeping, “He groaned in spirit and was troubled” (John 11:33). Then, when He saw where Lazarus was laid, He wept (verse 35). These were obviously friends who meant a great deal to Him and so He wept with those who wept.

Jesus in His hour of greatest need, facing that supreme sacrifice for you and me, needed the support of His friends, the disciples. Particularly He needed His closest friends, Peter, James, and John. Knowing that His trial would be great, He took His friends to a place named Gethsemane to “sit” while He prayed (Mk 14:32). That’s all – just “sit here while I pray.” He then went off with His three closest friends, Peter, James, and John. As He was walking deeper into the garden, He confided in them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch” (Mk 14:34). Even the Son of Man needed support because, the text says, “He was troubled and deeply distressed” (Mk 14:33). His need was so great that He returned to them three times to see if they were, in fact, watching and praying for Him.

We cannot conclude our discussion of God’s system of social support without considering a story recorded in John’s gospel. Jesus, hanging on the cross, looked down and saw His beloved John, standing with Mary, Jesus’ mother, and two other Marys. Instead of being concerned for
Himself, He thought of his mother being left all alone. He said to her, “Behold your son.” To
John He said, “Behold your mother.” “And,” the scripture says, “from that hour that disciple took her to his own home” (John 19:25-27). Even in His hour of total darkness as He faces the second death, Jesus forgets Himself and ministers to the heart broken pair. Agape does not seek its own comfort. John takes his cue from his Master and selflessly takes her as his own mother.
What can we learn from the relationships between God and Jesus, and that of God/Jesus with us?
First, all social interaction and support is other-centered, self-sacrificing – agape. Second, we were made in the image of God and as such we were made with a deep capacity for love – love which must be shared. This is why He was called Immanuel, God with us. Third, we do not have to face our trials alone; Jesus, our example, had friends and called upon them in His trials.  Last and most important, we have a friend in God/Jesus who has welcomed us into His family.  “Son, daughter, be of good cheer.”

--Andi Hunsaker

The Desire of Ages 

Monday, June 14, 2010

“Nutrition in the Bible”

On Valentines Day, 2008 I began to discover the importance of following our Lord’s wise nutritional counsel given to man at creation (see Genesis 1:29). I enjoyed the evening with my lovely wife, Doloris. She was arranging the Valentine bouquet I bought her to celebrate almost fifty years of wedded bliss when a sharp pain stabbed my right eye socket. Hoping to relieve the pain, I lay down on the floor. “I think I’m passing out,” I mumbled.
When I awoke, an EMT informed me that I had suffered a mild stroke. After four days in the hospital, with multiple hi-tech tests, I went home with the deep conviction that God really did know what He was talking about when he gave our first parents a totally plant based diet.
We had been on a “mostly” vegan diet for a few years, but many, many years of poor diet and insufficient exercise had taken their toll. My parents owned a Jersey cow. The family’s high fat milk, cottage cheese, and ice cream diet was one I continued as an adult. It is sad that professed
Bible believing Christians often ignore the lessons of Scripture, and the prophetic counsel. Often we are moved to action only when disease strikes.
Health is our own responsibility – not the doctor’s. We can live by the principles of God’s word, or we can choose to let our taste buds drag us into the toxic American diet which diminishes our brain function, weakens our bodies, and ends up sending us to the doctor. At each step in this process, our Lord is grieved and our effectiveness in His service is diminished.
Barbara Starfield, MD, one of the most well regarded voices in medicine, stated that physician error, medication error, and adverse events from drugs or surgery kill 225,400 people a year.
This means our health care system is the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind only heart disease and cancer (see Journal of the American Medical Association, 284 2000). If we educate ourselves about our bodies, and do all we can to keep them in health, the doctor may be an important (and occasional) ally in our search for optimum health. But if we make the doctor responsible for making us healthy, we are unwise.
The China Study, a book based on the research of T. Colin Campbell of Cornell University , is the most comprehensive study in nutrition ever conducted. Dr. Campbell states, “One of the most fortunate findings from the mountain of nutritional research I’ve encountered is that good food and good health is simple…The recommendations coming from the published literature are so simple that I can state them in one sentence: eat a whole foods, plant based diet, while minimizing the consumption of refined foods, added salt and added fats” (page 242). His research reveals that animal protein is implicated in the initiation and growth of cancer. In experimental animals cancer was initiated by animal protein and turned off by switching to plant based protein (see the chapter “Turning off Cancer” on page 43 of the China Study).
The Eden Diet was fruits, grains, seeds, nuts, and later, vegetables. After sin entered, more challenging exercise was added to preserve man’s health. Note that the pre-flood giants lived nearly nine hundred years (see Genesis, chapter 5). The post-flood lack of vegetation led God to give mankind permission to eat the flesh of the clean animals that were preserved in the ark, but they were instructed not to eat the blood (see Genesis 9:3, 4). Genesis 11 and Acts 15:19, 20 chronicle the post-flood decrease in life-span. Our sedentary life style, our high sugar, high fat, and refined foods diets have led to a host of health problems. The young feel invincible, but with age we reap what we have sown.
Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., MD, formerly a thoracic surgeon at the famed Cleveland Clinic, in his book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, tells us how we can, by diet alone, prevent and reverse America ’s number one killer, heart disease. His plan is simple.
Avoid the following: 1) Anything with a face or a mother. 2) Dairy products. 3) Oils.
4) Refined grains and sugars. 5) Nuts (for those with heart disease).
Recommended foods: 1) Vegetables. 2) Legumes. 3) Whole grains. 4) Fruits. 5) Water. 6) If needed, a few supplements such as Vitamin B12.
The latest research shows that 70% of Americans have low levels of vitamin D because of our indoor lifestyle. Low levels are implicated in various lifestyle diseases.
Jesus sympathizes with us in our suffering, He spent more time in ministering to the sick and oppressed than in preaching or teaching. God is the creator of the whole person and He desires us to excel in all areas of our lives and service. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free…If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8: 32, 36).
This speaks to every area of our lives: physical, mental, social and spiritual freedom.
God through Paul tells us to study to “show ourselves approved unto God” (2 Timothy 2:15).
The laws of health are as much God’s laws as the Ten Commandments. Poor health interferes with the communication of the Holy Spirit to us through the nerves of our brains. This in turn inhibits our witness and service for God. “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2).
Daniel and his friends placed their lives on the line by insisting on vegan fare over the delicacies of the kings table (see Daniel 1). God added his abundant blessing to this Eden fare. Their faithfulness to Him, in everything, including such a “small” issue, elevated them to the highest positions of authority and influence in the “super-power” of Babylon .
“Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God’s ideal for His children. Godliness – Godlikeness – is the goal to be reached. Before the student there is opened a path of continual progress. He has an object to achieve, a standard to attain, that includes everything good, and pure, and noble. He will advance as far as possible in every branch of true knowledge” (Ellen White, Education page 18). --Lloyd Knecht
For a full transcript of the article from which this Insights was excerpted, email jhthomasal@gmail.com

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

“Optimism: Happiness, and Healing”

Medical science has long recognized the link between the mind and the body. Over two decades ago,
my college class discussed psychosomatic illnesses. Some doctors believe more than 90% of all
illnesses have a psychosomatic link. Multitudes are sick because of negative thought patterns.

Eating drinking and other habits involving intemperance have a powerful effect upon the body. The
mind is no less powerful. This is one of the reasons the Bible encourages us to praise the Lord
continually, and to keep our minds focused upon the promises of the Word. The Bible even says:
“Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). If we keep in mind the
Love of God and rejoice in His saving grace, we will be lifted out of depression and despondency.

Those who understand the gospel, have a reason to rejoice. They will face trials, difficulties and
discouragements like all other inhabitants of this fallen planet, yet their hope ultimately lies beyond
this world, in something which cannot be taken away. “Who shall separate us from the love of
Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
(Romans 8:35)

Ultimately sin is the cause of all unhappiness and despair. Without sin, there would never have been
sorrow. This knowledge the enemy uses against us. We are tempted, like Job’s miserable
comforters, to believe that trouble means that there must be some sin in our lives for which we are
being punished. If the difficulty continues long enough, we are tempted to believe that God is really
angry with us and we may fear that our case is hopeless. One who understands the good news of the
gospel knows that this is the enemy’s reasoning, and thus can avoid complete despair.

Standing in the light which streams from the cross, we know and are certain that our sins, no matter
how terrible they may be, are all forgiven. Jesus has paid it all. Friday’s lesson reminds us of this
truth: “Without the cross, man could have no union with the Father. On it depends our every hope.
From it shines the light of the Saviour’s love; and when at the foot of the cross the sinner looks up to
the One who died to save him, he may rejoice with fullness of joy; for his sins are pardoned.
Kneeling in faith at the cross, he has reached the highest place to which man can attain” (Ellen G.
White, The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 209 -120).

The cross guarantees that our sins are forgiven! Knowing this, who can despair? Who can become
so discouraged or anxious that it robs him of peace or sleep or health? The cross is the revelation of
God’s forgiveness of all of our sins.

Many do not understand the meaning of the cross. This point is illustrated by an historical event.
On December 6, 1829 two men, George Wilson and James Porter robbed a mail carrier in
Pennsylvania and were apprehended, convicted and sentenced to death by hanging. Friends of
George Wilson appealed to President Andrew Jackson, who issued a Presidential pardon. However,
the US Supreme Court ruled that the pardon had to be presented to the court in order for the sentence
to be abated. As amazing as it may seem to the outside observer, Wilson refused to do this. He
actually rejected the pardon. And therefore Mr. Wilson was hanged.

This story has been repeatedly compared to the redemption which Christ ratified at Calvary. The
reasoning suggests that if we do not avail ourselves of what Christ has done by repenting and
confessing our sins, then we have no pardon. It has even been suggested that Christ’s death does us
no good. It is said the pardon becomes null and void and we die for the sins for which Jesus has
“provisionally” already shed His blood.

Many do not realize that there is another type of pardon that can be issued and received by a convict.
It is called a Parliamentary pardon. If the Parliament or the US Congress issues a pardon it does not
have to be accepted or presented to a court to result in abatement of a penalty. A Parliamentary
pardon is considered a “public law” and binds the court to stay the execution or penalty regardless of
whether or not the person who is pardoned presents such documentation to the court.
Is God’s pardon merely a “Presidential pardon” or is it like a “Parliamentary pardon”? When “Christ
died for our sins” (1 Cor. 15:3) was that something that was privately presented to the convict or is it
a matter of public record?

“Christ . . . has abolished death and brought life…” (2 Tim. 1:10) Thus it would appear that God’s
pardon is more like a “Parliamentary pardon” than a “Presidential pardon.” It is a matter of public
record. This is perhaps one of the reasons that when Christ fell to the ground “dying” in the Garden
of Gethsemane an angel was sent to strengthen Him (see ST 8/14/79). His death had to be a public
event in order to justify God’s decision allowing mankind to live in spite of their guilt.

It is true that an individual who ultimately and finally refuses to believe in Jesus Christ as his Savior,
and surrender to His leadership will be condemned a second time. This condemnation Jesus never
did and never will atone for. The second death of the sinner in the lake of fire is the punishment for
this willful, persistent rebellion.

But the good news is that “the condemnation brought upon the race in Adam has been fully reversed.
All are under probationary grace. All have been redeemed from the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13) and
justified unto probationary life (Rom. 5:18). This justification unto life is a probationary grace
period granted to the world so that all may accept Jesus Christ and be justified unto eternal life” (K.
M. Duncan and E. D. Peters, In Search of the GUT p. 27).

Therefore, the one who understands the gospel properly, as it is explained in the Bible rather than as
it is explained according to Armenian philosophy, understands that his sins have all already been
pardoned. The death sentence has been “abolished,” and time has been granted in which he may
learn to let Christ be his Lord as well as his Substitute. Salvation is so full, so free, and so complete
that every man may rejoice in Hope which cannot be extinguished and joy which is unquenchable. It
therefore makes sense to “rejoice in the Lord always.” We have every reason to have happiness and
optimism that leads to health. --Mark Duncan

Tuesday, June 01, 2010



When I was seven or eight years old, my parents took me to Sabbath School each week at Sligo Church in
Silver Spring, Maryland. My dad was teaching at CUC at the time, and Sligo was the closest church to our
home on Carroll Avenue. I don't remember a whole lot about my primary Sabbath School class, except that it
was big, and I got to wear fishnet stockings and black patent leather shoes to church.
After the Sabbath School program, we were sent to smaller classes of six or seven students for lesson study.
We sat around the table, and before starting the lesson, my teacher opened her record book and asked each one of us in turn, "Did you study your Sabbath School lesson every day this week?"

"Yes," I replied. The peer pressure was terrible. I always raised my hand affirming that I had studied my
lesson, and every Sabbath after church I carried home my Primary Treasure and a load of guilt. I didn't want to
lie, but it was more important to impress the teacher and the other students than to admit failure. No, I really
hadn't studied my lesson every day that week. I carried the load of this (and other sins) for years. I felt that in
order to be forgiven I must confess. But to whom? In the meantime we had moved away, and I couldn't
remember the name of my teacher. How could I ever make it right?

Seventh-day Adventists hold themselves to a high standard. When I was growing up, words like "perfection",
"overcoming sin", "repentance", and the "remnant" were part of the SDA vocabulary. I was born into a family
that had chosen to be a part of God's commandment-keeping people. That's what we claimed to be. But in my
heart I knew I wasn't living a life of integrity. Maybe I could fool my parents or teachers some of the time, but
inside I felt rotten to the core.
Integrity is a matter of the heart. It's more than doing the right thing when someone is looking or when we
want to make a good impression. A life of integrity is the awareness that all our actions, motives, and thoughts
are open to the God of the universe. We can fool ourselves, other church members, maybe even our spouse
(that's harder to do!), or our neighbors into thinking we're pretty good, but we can't fool God. He sees us as we are--"wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked" (Rev. 3:17).

Paul expressed this condition eloquently in Romans chapter 7: "For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but
the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that
dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the
law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my
mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am!
Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (vss. 19-24)
That's the question we all want answered, isn't it? It's not that we don't want to live lives of integrity, it's just
that we're trapped in bodies that don't want to cooperate. If Paul had ended his treatise right there, we would be without hope. But praise God, there's more! Paul says, "I thank God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin" vs. 25.

How do we serve the law of God with our minds instead of the law of sin with our flesh?

This is where the beauty of the gospel message as presented in 1888 and thereafter has been a source of great comfort and encouragement to me. It's nothing complicated--it's just the precious message of Jesus and what He did for each of us personally to rescue us from these bodies of death.

What did He do?

Brother Paul explains further in Romans chapter 8: "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made
me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh,
God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: he condemned sin in the
flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh
but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh,
but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be
spiritually minded is life and peace" (vss. 2-6).

It seems to me that Paul is telling us that Christ has dealt with the sin problem that inhabits our very natures by
taking it upon Himself, then crucifying it every day. Not once did He yield to the sick cravings of our sinful
nature. He kept it under subjection to the mind as directed by the Holy Spirit.
The only way to live a life of true integrity: crucify the flesh with its desires and to live with the mind of
Christ. We must ask God to give us honest hearts. I haven't lived a life of integrity, have you? Do we just hide
that fact, ask God to forgive us, and hope no one finds out how bad we really are?

Years later, as best I can recall, I wrote a letter to the Sligo Church Primary Sabbath School department leader. I didn't know whose name to put, but I did confess what I had done. I knew God forgave me, but I wanted someone there to know what I had done.

If you, like me, have struggled to live a life of integrity and failed, what does the Bible say to do? The Bible
has an answer for everything. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is
not in us" (1 John 1:9). "Confess your [sins] trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16).

And to whom should we confess? Those who are affected by our wrong. Some sins are private and known
only to God, but many more affect those around us. When we realize what we have done, do we try and keep it a secret to preserve our reputation? No, we "confess our sins to one another."

For family worship each evening we've spent the last three months or so reading The Adventist Home. Now
that my children are in their teens or older, I read these pages with new eyes. I see myself in ways I hadn't seen before. Did you know that when a parent is fretful, impatient, and scolding, she is wounding the heart of her child and weaning their affections from her? I guess I forgot.

I've read this book before, but this time these words hit me between the eyes. When our children were small, I was often a fretful, impatient, scolding mother, and now my opportunity to re-do my parenting during the
younger years is gone. I can never retrieve the words harshly spoken. I cried for three days when the enormity of my sin hit me. To whom do I confess? To God? Certainly. But my words hurt more than Him. They injured my children and my husband, too. They too deserve my confession without excuse.
Where do we go when we are overwhelmed by our sin? To the cross of Christ. Will you join me there?

There's room for all of us. When we see what our sins have done to our Savior--and to our friends and family--let us confess them freely--even if it be with tears--and pray that God will give us the courage and honesty to live transparent lives in the sunshine that streams from Calvary.

"And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and
supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for
his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn" (Zech. 12:10).

--Patti Guthrie