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Thursday December 4, 2014

1 John 1:9 (Photo by Mike Book)
Photo of our church taken by our friend Mike Book

"Conceal Or Confess?"

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"He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy" (Proverbs 28:13). "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:8,9).

Old Sturbridge Village meetinghouse (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)When we lived in New England we often visited the historic Old Sturbridge Village, which is a recreated community of 40 original buildings with costumed staff in keeping with a typical rural New England town of the 1830's. We enjoyed our visits there as a family and one year we attended the Thanksgiving service in the old meetinghouse as pictured to the left. Additionally, the parson preached a sermon that had been written 100 years earlier, but the message was pertinent since it was based upon the timeless words of Scripture.

Brooksyne also took Ester each September when it was Home School Day at Sturbridge. It was in the fall of 2000 when Ester was 11 years old that they witnessed something a little out of the ordinary. Brooksyne recalls the story:

Ester and I had a great day touring the village with other home schooling families and learning more about the lifestyle consistent with the early 1800's. Before we took the long drive home I decided to stop in at a cafeteria style restaurant on the grounds where the food was set out on a buffet and people just took what they wanted as they went through the line. It was late afternoon and the cafeteria was nearly empty except for Ester and me.

Whipped topping
After we sat down to eat our light meal I happened to observe the staff that were beginning some clean-up work around the food. Then, out of the blue, a young worker suddenly stuck his two fingers deep into the over-sized whipped cream bowl, pulled them out and licked the cream from his fingers, kind of like licking an ice cream cone. It was one of those incredulous moments when you scratch your head, squint your eyes and say to yourself, "I didn't just see what I thought I saw, did I!"

He must have been reading my mind. As I was still reeling from the sight I had just witnessed. To make sure that I wasn't just imagining things he repeated the disgusting act while looking straight at me. It was as though he was gloating in his crude behavior. Afterward he vigorously stirred the topping with the dipper, but this time he plunged his fingers into the filled dipper for another round of "finger samplings".

He then took a large serving spoon and gleefully stirred the topping to fill in the cavern he had made with his fingers. The whipped topping was good as new! Perhaps he reasoned that by distributing his germs throughout the entire bowl he was diluting them to the degree they would not be harmful to anyone! His smoothing over the top was evidence that he wanted to cover up what he had done. I wonder how long he had been in charge of the whipped topping bowl. (I was relieved that I hadn't dipped from it.)

It was a literal attempt to conceal his wrongdoing! Isn't that the way many deal with sin? Conceal the offense by trying to smooth over the visible part others might view. Smooth over with the outward appearance but allow the sin to linger within.

Among man's many remedies for the sin problem is the feeble attempt to cover-up. Adam and Eve tried it first but their act was followed by many in Scripture and of course all throughout history. Numbers 32:23 states, "Be sure that your sin will find you out." God's only remedy for sin is Christ and our responsibility is confession and repentance which involves turning away from the sin.

Two days ago we referred to David's cover-up after his sin with Bathsheba. It was a progressive attempt beginning with deceit, misuse of power, forcing others to do wrong such as Joab the Commander, and ending with multiple murders (see 2 Samuel 11:17).

Proverbs 28:13
But God sees. He always sees. We may very well fool our fellow man and get by for a while but we never fool God. We may deceive ourselves and feel the cover-up worked but ultimately a price will be paid. Sin is often wrapped in lovely packaging but it carries a significant price tag to those who make the purchase. 

When David sinned God was watching and "the thing David had done displeased the LORD." It remains a constant on this side of eternity that "he who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy."

This Proverb is mirrored in one of the great New Testament promises. We urge you to receive and practice it today. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Merciful Father, may I never consider my good works or righteous acts to be payment or a cover-up for the hidden sin I harbor in my heart. Instead I want my attitude to be that of the publican in Luke who humbly came before You and cried out, "God be merciful to me a sinner!" If I exalt myself it will  lead to my downfall. But if I humble myself I will exalt You.  So I come to You with a contrite heart,  confess my sins, and ask Your forgiveness through Christ Jesus my Lord and Saviour. Amen.

DonateSpecial Note: We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year. We typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Our ministry (and support) is comprised of half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies (of course, this varies week by week). Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each phase would provide half of our ministry expenses and income. If you would like to make a donation see here for more information or donate directly online here. Thank you!

Note from Brooksyne: I remember very well the very nauseating incident with the young teen who was so brazen in the dipping and licking of his fingers in a public food place. He didn't flinch while he repeated this act the second time as I watched him which was even more shocking than the first sighting of his abuse as food handler. I turned this employee into his supervisor hoping that a severe action would be taken. This act of rebellion reminded me of those who willfully sin as they shake their fists at the Father. There will be judgment day coming for those who are proud in their sin, rather than being humble in their repentance.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"1 John 1:8,9"  Video  From the Integrity Scripture memory series, which we enjoyed in the nineties and learned a lot of Scripture verses through music.

"My Eyes Are Dry"  Video  Keith Green

"Whiter Than The Snow"  Video

"Create In Me A Clean Heart"  Video  Keith Green

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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