When we were in Holland, we wanted to spend Sunday at Marken, a beautiful little island northeast of Amsterdam. Since there was no hotel there, we stayed in a town four miles away in order to take the ferry over in the morning. The women of the town wear turned-up caps, and the men wear big, baggy trousers and wooden shoes, and smoke Meerschaum pipes - great big pipes about as big as a saxaphone.
In the morning, while we waited for the ferry we noticed several hundred villagers gathering for the Catholic church service across the street. The bell began to ring, and little girls began to scurry into the church. Then followed the teenage girls, the young matrons, and finally the older women. None of the men moved; they went right on talking and jesting, as stolidly as though there had been no motion at all.
When the last old woman had gone in, there were two seconds of breaks; then the little boys went toward the door, and successively the teenagers and the older men. As the smokers approached the church, we noticed something we had not seen before. In front of the church were large wooden racks with number holes. The men came up, hung their pipes in those niches in the racks and went on into the church. When the last man had gone inside, we saw 75 or 100 Meerschaum pipes. Not a man was in sight. Of course, when the Mass was over, they would come out, each man would reach for his pipe and light up.
I said to myself, "I wonder what we would see if out in front of our churches, we had a rack for our little packages of sin -- something we were doing, a nice neat little box, Christmas-wrapped. As you entered you hung your package on number 18, went inside and took communion, said, 'I surrender all,' and hurried back to that box."
Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that He can not save, or His ears dull that he can not hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that he does not hear. (Isa.59:1,2)
1. What sins are you hiding from others that separate you from God?
2. What do you value more, your secret sins or God’s fellowship?
3. What steps will you take to break from these sins and restore intimate fellowship with God?
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