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Want to Overcome Sin? Start with this…

20170124_103703Devotional Thought of the Day:
1 [By David.] With all my heart I praise the LORD, and with all that I am I praise his holy name! 2 With all my heart I praise the LORD! I will never forget how kind he has been. Psalm 103:1–2 (CEV)

We were told in the Second Commandment, “You shall not take God’s name in vain.” Thereby we are required to praise the holy name and pray or call upon it in every need. For to call upon it is nothing else than to pray.

It is just as true to say that every snowflake is a gift of God as it is true to say that every cent in a father’s inheritance is a gift to his children. It is just as true to say that every leaf on every tree is a work of art made by the divine Artist with the intention that we see it, know it, love it, and rejoice in it, as it is true to say that every word in a lover’s letter to his beloved is meant to be seen, known, loved, and enjoyed.

33 What are you so proud of?—Every impulse that moves you comes from Him. Act accordingly.

Sin is a huge issue in our lives.

We can not deny it. We can’t really hide it either.

It leaves us broken and shattered.

It leaves us avoiding people, some because we resent them because of some sin they committed against us. Some people we want to avoid because we feel so guilty, so ashamed, and being in their presence brings those feelings crashing down upon us.

As we look at the commands, there is one that sticks out to me, one that can be quickly dealt with, and as it is, we find the grace to deal with the others.

Luther talks about it, the commandment to not use God’s name in vain. Luther points out that means we sin when we should use it when we should cry out to Him for help,  and do not use it. When our vanity causes the Lord’s name to be misused.

Imagine not eating because you don’t want to spend the money you have in the bank. I imagine going barefoot on a hike in the mountains because you don’t want to scuff up your new boots. There is a logic that simply doesn’t make sense to these imaginations, that still doesn’t make sense when God pleads with us to call upon Him, to cast our burdens upon Him, to let Him heal us.

You want to stop living in the dark shadows of sin?  Cry out to God, call upon Him, don’t leave His name unused, for that is as wrong as using it wrongly.

What happens then, as you begin to converse with God, is that you realize how much He is doing, you start to look for how He encourages you! You see it in the care he takes with the color of a leaf, or the smile of a child, you being to see His artistry in everything, and realize that this artistry is at work in your life as well.  As St. Josemaria describes we begin to understand the good things in our lives are there because the Holy Spirit is guiding and empowering us in them, providing the impulse that drives our work

That beauty, that wonder is what leads the Psalmist to praise God, to exclaim in wonder at God’s kindness, at His mercy and love.  Our praise is always generated from seeing God at work in our lives.  Even in the hard times, even when we have to confess our sin, or lay some burden down at His feet.

This is what happens when we stop using His name in a way that it shouldn’t be used… but call out to Him, even if that cry is as simple and profound as,

Lord have mercy one me a sinner…

He hears, and He answers… and we begin to dwell in peace.

Theodore G. Tappert, ed., The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press, 1959), 420.

Peter Kreeft, The God Who Loves You (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004), 20.

Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge . Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Evangelism and “not taking God’s Name in Vain”

Discussion/Devotional thought of the Day.

7 “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vainExodus 20:7 (ESV) 

When the above commandment is mentioned, most people think of someone who hit his hand with a hammer, or gets cut off in traffic, and with a exclamation utters the name by which all are saved, Jesus Christ.  Or perhaps they use God’s name to condemn (damn) something.  That is what pastors call a “sin of commission”.  We actually violated the command by doing exactly what it says we shouldn’t.  To misuse God’s name, to blaspheme, to denigrate the name of the Lord who died on the cross because He loves us.

But we don’t talk about sin only as sins of commission, but sins of omission as well.  That is – we take GOd’s name in vain, not only when use it to curse or swear or to impress or intimidate others, but also when we fail to use it when we should.  Luther spoke of it this way:

We must fear and love God, so that we will not use His name to curse, swear, cast a spell, lie or deceive, but will use it to call upon Him, pray to Him, praise Him and thank Him in all times of trouble.

I was thinking the other day, regarding the proper use of the Lord’s name, and verses came to mind about the Lord and His name and the people that bear His name, or will be given it.  Then one in particular came to mind…

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.Matthew 28:18-19 (NLT) 

If we are to use God’s name rightly, in marking people as His, in making disciples who bear His name, then indeed, when we fail to be about that, or disdain the sharing of the word of God, and the work of the Holy Spirit in using God’s word to bring people to life in Christ, then we have another place where we have failed to use His name, indeed, in lacking we have used it vainly.  For His word will not return void, it will not return in vain.  It is His to be used as we praise Him for His wonderful work in our midst, to pray and give Him the very burdens that distract us.

So use His word, use His name as we ought, loving people enough to share with them the very words of life, and see them marked in the name about all names, as God cleanses them.



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