Tag Archives: trust

Confession Time


If I were to ask you to tell of your sins, how would you respond? I would assume you would balk at the question and do everything in your power either to change the subject or physically leave my presence.

Confession is a lost art in Christianity today, and its absence is keeping us in bondage.

When we have sin that isn’t confessed, it eats away at us.  It keeps us from truly finding healthy intimacy in marriage and even friendship relationships. And it keeps us from finding healing from that sin since we aren’t willing to ask for help.

Confession brings freedom.

I know the excuses. I know you’re scared to let someone know the things that are ugly about you for fear they might use that knowledge to abuse you. You’ve experienced it before. Hurt people hurt people, and you don’t feel you can trust someone enough to confess your sins to them.

These are valid. Trust is easily broken and much harder to build.

However, if a sin you’re struggling with becomes public knowledge, it may hurt at first, but there is freedom from having to hide it once it is revealed. Then you’re free to work on that issue without restraint or secrecy.

We treat confession like it is optional. We confess when we feel like it to whom we feel like it, and sometimes (often times) we don’t confess at all. The scriptures are pretty clear about confession.

James 5:16
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Proverbs 28:13
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

Psalms 32:5
I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.

Confession is essential to the growing godliness of the believer. Through confession we invite the accountability needed to actually stop sinning. It is possible to stop that sin you’re struggling with.

Confession is given first to God – not because he doesn’t know, but because you need to admit your problem.

Confession is given next to your brother or sister in Christ. If you’re married, start with your spouse. Beyond that, confession is better done with someone of the same gender. The purpose for this type of confession is to invite them into your struggle to pray with you, check on you, and walk with you as you grow beyond this temptation.

People in recovery programs understand the need for this kind of healing process. We shouldn’t think that because our sin doesn’t involve alcohol or drugs we don’t need the same process to overcome our sins.

If you’re struggling to confess, start small…confess the little things. Then you will see how they react and help. If you’re looking for someone to confess to, look to your minister and his wife or your elders and their wives. They would be honored to join with you in this journey of healing.

Remember, the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Therefore, my sin stinks just like yours, so I have no right to look down on your struggle when I have my own.  If we all understood and behaved according to this fact, we would be much more eager to confess to one another.

May you find healing through confession, and by this, may the church become strong in unity and love.

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Better Never Than Late

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I’d like to take some time and tell you a little about my parents. They have been married for 37 years and are still going strong. I’m very proud of them for that, but it’s really not something special for them. You see, they have a bit of a different perspective on life.

They aren’t quitters. Actually, I think it’s deeper than that they aren’t quitters. They do everything to the best of their ability. It’s a part of who they are. If you know my parents you know how dependable they are. I used to get frustrated because my mom would volunteer to do all sorts of things, but now that I am older I realize that she did it because she loves other people and wants to glorify God with her life.

If you ask my dad to do a job I can personally guarantee you that the job will be done to perfection if absolutely possible. The same goes with my mom. She doesn’t just do things to get by, she goes all out so that whatever she does is excellent. If either of them say they’ll do something or be somewhere, then unless there is an emergency they can’t avoid, you can count with assurance that they will follow through.

They won’t even be late. My mom used to say “better never than late”. If I ever came in late without calling I was in deep trouble.

They don’t do this for the accolades. Sure, people thank them, but that is not their purpose. They do this because that is who they are. It glorifies God for them to live like this. I’m proud of my parents, and I’m proud to be their son.

There is a famine of this kind of character in our world today. It is not uncommon today for people to sign up for a task and then fail to follow through. It is common for people to say they’ll be somewhere and never show up. They’ll even go so far as to avoid texts and calls to keep from having to lie about why they didn’t show. I’ve baptized so many people who never came back to church or even showed Christianity by their lives yet claim constantly that they are Christians. People all over the place claim one thing and live another. It is hypocrisy and deception.

The strange thing is some of these very people will turn around and say that they don’t like church because of all the hypocrites there.

It’s time to stop. When you became a Christian, you confessed that you wanted to make Jesus The Lord of your life. If you didn’t make that confession, then you aren’t a Christian. That’s what being a Christian is – being a Christ-follower – one who allows Jesus to make the character calls in your life. He is Lord. Jesus said “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.(Matthew 7:21)”

Jesus wasn’t flaky. He didn’t lie to people and let them down. He didn’t avoid people to keep from having to make excuses for them. He wasn’t wishy-washy in His dedication to make sure you were saved from your sins.

I know this sounds pretty harsh. I guess the lie that did it for me was the countless Christians who said “I’ll see you at church” but continually never showed.

They aren’t letting me down. They weren’t holding me up. But it does hurt my heart for people to so blatantly lie about their Christianity. People constantly say they believe in Jesus. “Jesus is Lord.” But their lives show otherwise.

Your actions show your allegiance. If you are living a lie, then it is time to stop. Stop living a lie and start living for Jesus the way you claim. He forgives. He’s waiting to take you in, but as long as you allow the lies to flow freely – as long as you don’t allow Him to control your life then someone else is in control. Jesus said it like this, “You belong to your father, the devil, … When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)”

I know that’s hard to hear, but I’m hoping that if you see the severity of what you may think is “no big deal” you’ll begin to think differently. If this has been you, then there is forgiveness and grace in Jesus. Come back to him. Confess your sins. Repent and turn back to God. Then live with dedication remembering that everything you do should glorify God. Christians should outshine everyone in dependability and work ethic and trustworthiness because of their desire to glorify the Almighty with all they are.

Jesus still loves you. The church still needs you. It’s not too late to change.


A Good Friend is a True Blessing

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I’m not a mechanic by any means. Cars intimidate me, and I have never had the opportunity to go to any kind of shop class where they discussed engines (my high school didn’t offer shop classes). But, I’m interested in learning, and I have a pretty good ability to use tools and fix things when I put my mind to it.

Back in May, my truck started making noises and running rough. Then it overheated and started putting steam out the exhaust pipe. This was a problem, and I didn’t know how to handle it. In my estimation the truck was probably done for. I called up a friend who works on cars as a hobby, and he gave me some directions on how to narrow down the problem.

After trying a few things and replacing a few parts it was decided that the head gaskets were probably bad due to the overheating. This meant taking the top half of the engine completely apart to replace gaskets that sit on top of the block.

If I’ve lost you already, just bear with me.

My mechanic friend said he thought I had the skills to do the job, so with his advice I started taking things apart. Last May I was able in two days to take the engine apart all the way down to the head gaskets. The top half of my engine was sitting on a table in my garage.

When I went to have some parts cleaned and resurfaced I found out that my heads were also cracked. This increased the cost significantly, but again, my friend was right there giving me pointers and helping me see how to do things best.

About two weeks ago I started putting parts back together. I hadn’t taken pictures along the way, so I was very concerned that I wouldn’t know how to put everything back together. I was especially wary of my knowledge in putting all the electrical connectors and hoses back in the right places. Yet again, my friend was there to point out different things and give me advice to make the job a success.

Last saturday he came over and helped me iron out the last few problems, and I cranked the engine back up for the first time in two months. It ran on the first crank.

I am super excited to have my truck running again. I did 95% of the work, but I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do the job without my friend to guide me along the way. I can’t thank him enough.

This is a lot like life.

We are called to live our lives in and for the glory of God. We are given tasks to do that are too difficult for us on our own, but God is always there helping us as we call on him.

God is to us daily as my friend was for me during my mechanic work. He isn’t doing all the work, but He is making sure we have the skills and tools available to get it done ourselves.

How much do you rely on God? Are you trying to “do life” without Him? So many of us only call on Him when we need Him, but you know what? He doesn’t seem to mind; He comes to our aid anyway.

In Hebrews 13:5 the writer records this promise from God, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” there is great comfort and confidence in knowing this promise. With God on our side helping us along we have confidence to try big things that are beyond our experience level.

God wants to do big things through you. God wants to help you along. Look to him.

Thanks for continuing to read these articles each week. If there’s anything I can do for you, feel free to contact me at jddobbs@verizon.net or at the church of Christ office at 245-1611. You can also join in or start a discussion about this or any of my other articles at http://www.mrdobbs.org. God bless you as you look to Him for strength!


Standing at the Crossroads. Which way do I go?

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Are you or have you ever been standing at the crossroads of a life decision wondering what God’s will for you in this choice happened to be? Does God want you to go left or right or keep going in the same direction? Sometimes the will of God in our lives is clear, but more often than not it is not nearly as obvious.

Consider Abram. He was a man of God who loved Him and trusted Him with his life and all his heart. One day the Lord told Abram to go to the land the Lord had promised him. Where was this land? Abram didn’t really know. God had not sent a map; He only said “Go!”, and Abram went.

I wonder which direction Abram went when he left his house. Did He turn right or left? When he came to another crossroad down the way, what was his method for determining his course? How was he supposed to find a place he had never seen nor had he even been told where it is?

The one thing we know about Abram is that he is the father of faith in God. The three largest religions in the world today consider Abram (later known as Abraham) as one of their patriarchs. The thing about Abram is that he really did trust God.

He didn’t just say he trusted God. He didn’t just go through the motions and give lip service to his faith. He lived out his faith every day so that when God told him to leave his family and his land, he left.

Again, I wonder which direction he went when he left his house.

It didn’t matter which direction Abram went. It was the right direction because He was trusting in God.

God promises us something special when we come to the crossroads of our lives. What he requires of us is faith in Him. Then, when that faith is in place, He promises us that whichever road we take He will bless. Romans 8:28 assures us that any of the decisions we make will turn out for the good when our faith is in the Almighty God.

When I get to that point in my life, then the decisions become much less stressful. The “what ifs” go away because I can now trust that God will take care of me as He promised he would. It may be that you are at a crossroads because the blessings coming your way are many. You aren’t choosing what blessings will be the greatest for you down that road. What you are deciding is where can I go and serve God and glorify Him? With that attitude, He’s going to bless you whatever you choose.

That’s one of the most magnificent aspects to Jehovah, God. He gives us free-will choice. He doesn’t force us down a path or decision. He loves us and helps us down whatever road we choose.

In the light of this we have a great freedom in Christ. That freedom allows us to make any decision we choose because our lives are focused on glorifying God regardless of the outcome. We are focused on trusting no matter the decision.

What if my whole world falls apart when I make this decision? It doesn’t matter. Everything in this world is temporary. God has promised to never leave or forsake you. He has promised to help you through. He has promised to grow you as you face those things. Was it easy for Abram to leave? No. Was Abram scared? Yes. But he persevered and God blessed him.

May you have the mind that trusts God in your decisions. May you be constantly in prayer about the plans God has for you, and may you rejoice that your God loves you enough to bless you regardless of your choices. What a great God we have!

This year make a commitment to not hesitate in making the tough choices. Trust God, and allow Him to guide you even in the confusing times. As always, if there is anything I can do for you or pray with you about feel free to contact me at http://www.mrdobbs.org or at jddobbs@verizon.net. God bless you!


There is Hope in the Midst of Sorrow

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To be honest with you, I haven’t had time to sit and process all the events of the past week. When I heard the news, I was shocked, and when I heard the ages of the children I was horrified. However, with the candlelight vigil to plan and the countless other people who we’re there to check on, I haven’t spent much time being able to process this myself.

What I do know in the midst of this is that God is still here. He is still active. And He works all things out for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

My children have been very inquisitive about this event. Imagine my three year old and five year old trying to process that other children their age were shot by their own dad. When I think of some of the stories of how this went down it literally stops me in my tracks, and I have to pause for a moment to regain myself.

I cannot imagine being the mother. There are too many “what if’s” to be able to ever be completely healthy after last week. But God still works things out for the good, but your dedication to him is the key.

Look at what it says in Jeremiah:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.” Jeremiah 29:11-14

God is not the one who orchestrated the events of last week. Even though Christians live their lives daily in dedication to the One True God they still die all over the world. The reason is that Satan is still at work as well, and mankind has free will choice on which of the two they will serve.

What helps me in times like this is not the idea that God will protect me from everything, but that He is guiding me to a better path. He will not necessarily keep me from death or harm, but He will not harm me himself.

He is the only father who will never fail you. He will always love and cherish you. He always protects, but sometimes the protection comes through helping you heal through a difficult time so that you can help others heal and be prepared for tougher times to come. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, the scripture says that God is the God of all comfort, and He comforts us in times of trouble so that we can comfort others when their times come.

We don’t know all the ins and outs of how God protects. We don’t know the extent to which He is continuously working in our lives, but we can trust that as we dedicate our lives to Him, He will work everything out for His good. We just need to seek Him, pray to Him, and call upon Him, and He will deliver us from the captivity of the sin of our lives (see Jeremiah 29).

In John 9, the disciples asked Jesus who was being punished by this particular man being blind. Did he sin or did his parents? Jesus’ reply was neither. This man was blind so that God may be glorified, and as Jesus healed him, God was glorified.

I do not believe that God orchestrated the events of last week. However, I am confident that He is working out everything involved with each person so that if they are seeking Him and praying to Him and calling out to him, then He is working out everything for their good and to His glory.

I know that trusting in this promise is often hard, but we are promised hope, and as we learn to live in that hope, then we will have confidence and peace even in times of intense sorrow.

I hope that you have had a chance to process what our whole community experienced last week with the shooting that occurred. If not, I’d like to encourage you to find a minister in town that you can talk to. Any of our members here at Nichols St. Church of Christ would be honored to speak with you, and I know that the ministers from the various other churches in town feel the same. Please take time and find comfort and peace through talking this out and seeking God. In Acts 17 He promises that He is not far from you. He’s just waiting for you to seek him.

If there’s anything I can do for you in this or the coming weeks, please let me know. You can contact me although the church office at 979-245-1611 or via email at jddobbs@verizon.net.

God bless you, and may God bless our city as we all continue to seek Him through tough as well as easy times.


How to Love a Deity

The last couple of months I’ve been writing about the two laws of Christianity, and the last couple of articles have been about how God loves us unconditionally. As a recap, there are only two laws in Christianity: love God and love everyone else. Everything else is just commentary on these two laws.

So the question remains; how do you love a Deity?

In order for us to understand that concept, first we must understand our status with that Deity as created beings. We’ve messed up. People like to blame God for alot of the things that go wrong in the world today, but if you really think about it, most that we can call “bad” really began by someone exchanging the reign of this loving God in their life for a self-rule where “I” am the most important being in the universe. When I do what I want, and that want contradicts what God wants, then alot of bad can result.

Want some examples? How many wars are actually God ordained? Wars are usually started by countries that either want to take advantage of another country’s weakness or by a country that wants to take vengeance into it’s own hands instead of allowing God to do His job. September 11 wasn’t caused by God. It was caused by people who put themselves and other sick and twisted ideologies above God in their lives.

Unfortunately, we all have the same problem.  At some point in our lives we do what we want even when that contradicts what God wants.  We put ourselves on the throne, and God is tossed asunder as we revel in our selfish ambitions.  This could be anything – a liar is only thinking about self-preservation.  An adulterer is only thinking about self-gratification.  A gossip is only thinking about the status he or she will achieve by having the next “scoop”.  We have all sinned – we have all put ourselves on the throne and taken God off.

Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  This is you AND this is me.  We have all sinned and, as Galatians 3:24 says, we have been “prisoners of sin”.

So what can YOU do about it?  Suppose you get a ticket and you have to go to court.  You are guilty.  There’s no denying it.  When you get to court you tell the judge how good you are and all the great things you have done.  Are you still guilty of breaking the law?  Yes.  Can anything you’ve done or ever will do erase the fact that you’re guilty?  No.  This is a problem.  You are guilty and must pay the fine.

In essence this is the situation mankind is in.  We have messed up and messed things up in the process.  So how do we make it right?  God has already done the work for us.  He did this through His Son, Jesus.

How do you love a Deity?  It starts by accepting and reciprocating that love.  If my son loves me, he will first accept the love I want to show to him.

What’s your life like?  Are you still trying to do things your way with yourself on the throne?  There are only two laws to this thing we call Christianity, and the first law, Love God, begins with you agreeing to accept that love.  What does God do in return?  He gets rid of your sin and wipes your conscience clean in the process so that you can start fresh with this newly refurbished relationship.  You can live in Him the way He intended for you to live.

So what do you do? It begins with a choice – then proceeds with a dedication. A ceremony, of sorts.  Where God fulfills His promise to you as you ceremonially “die” to your old self in order to start this relationship with your Creator in the right way.  Romans 6, Galatians 3, 1 Peter 3 and many other scriptures describe this ceremony as baptism – an immersion in water to symbolize the death and resurrection that Jesus went through so that you don’t have to.

I don’t know where you are, but if you want to know more about starting this journey of Loving God and Loving Everyone Else, then please contact me.  I’d love to have the opportunity to listen and share as we take this trip together.  Feel free to contact me at jddobbs@verizon.net or on twitter or facebook as mrjdobbs.  I look forward to hearing from you, and may the Love of God rule in your lives!


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