Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | May 31, 2015

May 31, 2015 “To Do Or Not To Do”

“The Lord will not abandon his chosen people, for that would dishonor his great name. He made you a special nation for himself—just because he wanted to! As for me, I will certainly not sin against the Lord by ending my prayers for you; and I will continue to teach you those things which are good and right.”                            ( 1 Samuel 12: 22-23)


Good Morning and blessed Lord’s Day, dear friends in Christ!

Years ago , when I was attending my church’s confirmation classes, one of our assignments was to memorize certain portions of a document called “The Westminster Shorter Catechism.” Written in 1646, the intent of this document was to teach a proper understanding of the Reformed Christian faith and its beliefs. The document asked a series of questions followed by the correct responses to those questions as understood by the reformers who produced it. One of the questions was “What is sin?” The answer given is  “Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.” What does that mean? It means that sin is either not doing those things God decrees or doing those things God decrees should not be done! To paraphrase Shakespeare, “To do or not to do…that is the answer!”

I heard a story once about a boy who came home from school and asked his father , “Dad, do you think it’s right for someone to be punished for something they didn’t do?”  Dad put his arm around his son and said, “Well of course not. Why do you ask?” The boy, somewhat relieved answered, “I’m really glad to hear that because I didn’t do my chores this morning.” 

    Sin is not simply doing those things you should not do…it is also neglecting to do those things you should do. I wonder if you have ever considered that failure to pray is a sin against the Lord?  This passage from 1 Samuel certainly affirms that. The actions of Samuel illustrate two great responsibilities that we, the people of God, are expected to fulfill: (1) To consistently pray for one another, and (2) teach others the right way to live. To fail in these responsibilities is regarded as sinning against the Lord, for it is His will and His directive. Throughout the day, God brings people to our thoughts. It may be through a conversation with them or about them. It may be in a remembrance of some sort. It may be during a quiet time of reflection. It may even be in a dream. When those thoughts or situations arise, take time to pray for those people. Don’t delay. Pray for them right then and there. To do less risks sinning against the Lord and deprives the other person of an opportunity to have powerful intercessory prayer made on their behalf. It may also be an opportunity to teach them about the love of God and the right way to live. Is God speaking to your heart even now? Is he bringing someone you know to mind? If so, make intercession before the Throne of Grace on their behalf. To neglect doing so is sin, so right now… let’s pray!

Sovereign Lord, Our deep desire is to live a life in accordance with your perfect will. This means, among other things, not sinning against you by our failure to pray for others. Please bring family, friends, acquaintences, and those in need of prayer to our minds so we might lift them up before you in prayer. Instruct us in the ways of righteous living that we may teach it to others as well. Praise and thanks to you now and forevermore. Amen



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