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So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.

Acts 24:16 (ESV)

On a business trip to Kansas City, Missouri, if my memory serves me right.  And that meant that my brother and I, along with my sisters, were left alone at the house for the time they were away.  So, again, if I remember correctly, my brother and I started throwing the football around...inside the house...probably...well, not probably...it wasn’t a good idea.  It wasn’t long before we started throwing the football around in the den ...one of us would throw the ball to the other who would run from the dining area into the den and as the approach to the couch was made, leave solid ground and leap through the air onto the couch while catching the ball...just like the football players did on Saturday afternoon as they made circus catches during the college game of the week.  Boy, it was really fun.  I mean running as fast as you could, jumping outstretched, parallel to the ground, making the catch, and then  hurling into the couch...life was good!  Then...life wasn’t so good.  One of us,  I’m pretty sure it was me, let a pass go, while brother was in full stride, and missed brother...and the couch...and plastered the old German clock...with that two foot glass front  that enabled you to see the inside workings of the clock,  that hung on the wall.  My dad had started to make, put together, and repair old wall clocks and sell them as a hobby.  Well, the glass in the clock shattered as well as my good time for the day as the clock fell from the wall onto the carpeted floor.  What was I going to do?  I guess moving to Alaska was out, but it did cross my mind.  I was going to really be in...big trouble...not little trouble...big trouble.

 I bet my mom and dad were going to talk to me for two or three hours about their disappointment in me, being the oldest child in the house.  And if there was one thing that really got to me...it was those long talks.  Look, penalize me...punish me...discipline me...take stuff away...just don’t give me one of those three-hour talks...those were worse than punishment...but that’s what was coming.

So I thought and I thought and I thought and I came up with a plan.  There was a man who worked at the same place my dad worked...I think his name was McClure...or McClung...anyway, he was a great guy that was in charge of the financial loan office of the business, and I knew he would help me if he could.  And he did...he purchased a pane of glass, made the correct measurements, cut the glass...and installed it in the clock.  I assured him I would pay him for the glass in good time.  Good as new...no one could tell...I was...we were...in the clear.

Well...there was one issue...it started out as a mere whisper in my mind...but it wasn’t long before it began to take over every waking moment of my thought life as I waited for mom and dad to return from Kansas City.

My conscience...yes, I was already a Christian...and the Holy Spirit was beginning to bring that burden of wrongdoing into every waking moment.  I knew what I was supposed to do...Confess my sin to God and ask for forgiveness...and seek forgiveness from the ones that I had wronged...my parents.  I was going to have to be specific and tell them exactly what I was sorry for and ask them if they would forgive me.

I mean, after all, I didn’t want my prayer life to be totally ruined and ineffective.  I knew what the Bible said, for we had just studied in Sunday school about how frequently Paul mentioned the pursuit of a clear conscience.

“having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. 16  So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.”

Acts 24:15-16 (ESV)

 On top of that, I knew the Bible taught the importance of having the ability to say that there’s no one that I know of that I have knowingly wronged, offended, or hurt in any way, that I have not gone back to and attempted to make things right with God and with them.

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24  leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24 (ESV)

I could hardly wait for my parents to get home and as soon as they did I blurted out what I had done.  My conscience needed clearing and my heart needed cleansing...and thank the Lord both occurred.

Restitution to Mr. McClung was necessary...but I had successfully made the wrong...right...and my conscience was clear.  I could sleep at night...and my prayers could mean something again.  Thank the good Lord and my parents for providing a way for my mind and heart to be clear by forgiving me for what I had done.  It even made the two-hour talk...which I did receive...not so bad at all.

How’s your prayer life...seem ineffective...without power...just like you’re going through the motions?

Let me ask; is there anyone alive that you have knowingly wronged, offended, or hurt in any way, that you have not gone back to and attempted to make things right with them and with God?

Try Acts 24:16, “ So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.”
Acts 24:16 (ESV)

What would it take for you to get to the place of a clear conscience?  Promises made to children that haven’t been kept,  items stolen from employers, hurtful words said to a spouse or children, slander against a fellow brother or sister in Christ, cheating, dishonesty, lies...

Just do what I did...and do.  Confess your sin to God and repent.  Seek forgiveness from those that you’ve wronged.  Make restitution if necessary and possible.  Seek to restore the relationship.  And do it now!  Being obedient to the Lord is not always convenient...but it’s always freeing...and that freedom... a clear conscience...is worth it all.

Oh yeah... another lesson to pass on (no pun intended) don’t throw a football in the house!

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Romans 12:18 (ESV)

Posted by Ralph Sawyer with 0 Comments
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First Baptist Church Wentzville (FBCW) started a prison ministry at a small jail in Lincoln County in early January 2017.  The purpose of this ministry is to share God’s love for inmates at their greatest point of need.  The Bible illustrates God’s heart toward prisoners, “I was in prison and you came to visit me…I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”  Matthew 25:36, 40

If Jesus walked the earth today, you would find Him in the jails and prisons, talking and dining with the most reviled criminals and outcasts in society.  He would be there “to seek and to save the lost.”  The men of FBCW’s Prison Ministry gather each Friday at the Lincoln County Jail to share God’s word, show God’s love for man and encourage inmates to follow Jesus.  The Prison Ministry recognizes the dignity of God’s creation in that no matter how far an inmate has fallen, no one is beyond Christ’s love and power to redeem. 

God does not despise the broken; nor do the men of FBCW Prison Ministry.  Jesus identifies strongly with the weak, the helpless, and the outcasts of society.  He considers the way we treat them to be the way we treat Him.  He wants us to identify with inmates as well, putting ourselves in their shoes and caring for them regardless of their crime.  God seeks to set prisoners free, not always from their physical location but from the imprisonment of sin, ignorance, and poor choices.  Jesus identified Himself as the source of this freedom and the Prison Ministry provides the nourishment of His Word each week, introducing God’s mercy and love. 

Every Friday evening, inmates sing and praise the word of God in a small recreational room, often cold and with inadequate lighting.  As the weeks progress for the Prison Ministry, refinement and transformation in God’s word fulfills an inmate’s soul, all within their place of punishment.  Jesus pursues each inmate in love and does not give up on anyone, even if they are in jail.  The law is at work, thanks be to God.  Each member of the Prison Ministry works tirelessly to transform lives of inmates to become better people and walk with God.  We have witnessed former inmates learning from their mistakes, renouncing their sin and becoming a leader for God.  For those who may not know, God is winning!   

Transformed lives point everyone’s attention to God!  This is the greatest motivation to get involved in the FBCW Prison Ministry.  If God leads you to serve Him through this ministry, contact Jim McAllister (636-265-0626).  Take part in the miraculous turnaround in a criminal’s life and remember, no one is beyond God’s reach. 

Posted by Andy Binder with 0 Comments

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