Speaking to the Soul – January 3

A short reading and prayer for today

O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. Psalm 86:5 NLT

I am sorry to remind you of this but, sooner or later, everything breaks down. Whether you are thinking of your health, car, bicycle, microwave, vacuum cleaner or heating system all of them will, one day, encounter problems. No one can go through life without facing these challenges. It is simply a fact of life. In this psalm David faces up to the fact that all of us sin. It’s not a pleasant fact to face but we would be crazy to suggest that it doesn’t affect us. Of course, we may try to wriggle out of this by suggesting that our sins are not nearly as bad as other people’s sins, but, at the end of the day, we need to acknowledge that we are sinners, falling well short of God’s standards.

The Bible doesn’t draw our attention to our sin in order to humiliate us, or to encourage us to beat ourselves up. It shines the light on our sin in order to show us the remedy. In Romans 3.23 the apostle Paul wrote, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Sadly, we let God down each day through our self-centredness. Our thoughts, words and actions are all cheapened and spoilt through our preoccupation with ourselves and because we are not entirely in tune with God we fail to say and do many things that he would have wanted.

The remedy for sin is truly amazing. God offers to wipe it out. He offers to forgive our sins. We are familiar with the fact that failings normally lead to penalties. If I fail to drive at an appropriate speed, or to park in the right place, I am likely to get a penalty and although we huff and puff we know that’s what happens and we accept it. But what happens about the penalty for our sin? The Bible tells us that Jesus took that penalty upon himself through dying on the cross. He was perfect and so was able to take the weight of our failures upon himself and offer us forgiveness.

God offers his forgiveness to us today and, as we face the facts, we all need to turn to him and receive his gift.


In what ways do you regularly let God down?


Lord God, I admit that I have failed you in thought, word and deed and I accept your generous gift of forgiveness. Amen

Photo – Parish church, Ballycastle