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Toys and Sin.. the constant clean up job.

January 8, 2010

James 4: 7-8 : Surrender to God! Resist the devil, and he will run from you. Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Clean up your lives, you sinners. Purify your hearts, you people who can’t make up your mind. (Contemporary English Version)

Surrender to God – wow.  To surrender, hypotasso in the greek: to take the step to come under the authority and influence of God.  This is massively challenging: I found myself thinking about how much I am coming under the authority of Christ.  Is it 100%?  No.  I need to surrender everything and make a complete commitment to come near to God.  Coming near to God means revering and worshipping God.  This is me recognising that God is so utterly amazing and awesome and I should praise and glorify Him – literally take time each day to bring to mind how awesome God is.  Singing worship songs, praying prayers of immense gratitude, telling those around me why God is so totally awesome. And when I do this it presents the sobering thought that I really can’t deal with my junk, my sins, my destructive behaviours by myself.

Clean up my life!  With 4 kids, a good session of play will result in parts of my house looking like a toy junk yard.  Toys all over the place just waiting to inflict a painful wound on my soft feet.  The key as a parent is to find a balance between allowing my kids to make a mess (known as play) but not allowing the mess to become a permanent fixture. So constantly my wife and I, (and sometimes even our kids) are picking up toys and carefully placing them neatly in their spots; ready to be distributed around the house several minutes later.

It is the same with temptation and sin: I need to constantly clean up, constantly come before God and seek His forgiveness, constantly be on my guard against temptation, all towards making my life clean.  Like the inevitable mess made by kids, I will inevitably makes mistakes and be tempted – but I have not failed, I now realise this is part of being human. And part of being Christian is to constantly seek to be pure and clean.  ‘Purify your hearts, you people who can’t make up your mind.’ literally means to constantly seek to purify my heart.

God I praise and exalt you for this challenge to constantly seek to be pure and clean, and for the death on the cross of your son that can make this possible.  Lord I surrender every area of my life, I turn and face the junk and seek your strength and intervention to deal with it.  Make my pure Lord.  Amen.

God bless,

Rev Mark Brown

NOTE:  I am going on holiday for four days with my family and will be unable to post.. so please find below four days worth of readings. Catch you in a few days!

To subscribe to this blog and receive my reflections as an email:  click here.

PS If you want to leave a comment click on ‘Comments’ below and scroll down.

Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan

The Portion for today: Genesis 4-7; day two of my holiday: Joshua 6-10; day three of my holiday: Psalms 3-5;  day four of my holiday: Job 3-4

Also I have set up a place on my FB page where your can discuss, make observations and ask questions about these readings.  Check it out by clicking here.


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  1. This so clicked with me. The idea that we are God’s children, constantly cleaning up our messes truly resonated! Yes! I love when something becomes so clear. Thanks for that!

  2. Sister Pam OP permalink

    Who else would I rather surrender to than God? Of course, there is no one. Yet, I still catch myself surrendering to false idols like possessions, appearances, status. The devil is a liar and a coward. Resistance works when faith is part of of the plan. When I resist, the devil tries harder to show how powerful he is and sometimes convinces me. Experience has taught me what a liar the devil is. The evil forces seem so real, but it is all an illusion. The devil will try to blind us to the truth, that God is moving ever closer.

  3. Heather permalink

    It is great to hear about your personal life, thank you for sharing. I am a divorced mother of two who homeschools on a part time basis. I currently live in Reno, NV.

  4. Diana Devlin permalink

    Can you delete me so I dont keep getting everyones comments as emails. TOOOOOO many. Thanks

  5. Connir Lovingood permalink

    James 4:7-8; Another great commentary Mark. I call it cleaning out the cobwebs. We need to clean out the cobwebs (obstacles) in our heart to become closer to God. He will do the rest. He will guide us toward the right path through our temptations and see that we are safe.
    Vs. 1-5 tell us that worldliness and pride stand in the way of us becoming closer to God. Vs. 6 tells us that God’s grace is greater than anything we could want in this world. Vs. tells us to be humble in the spirit of God. This means for us to resist worldly temptations and stand up against the temptations of Satin. We cannot have the sin of the world and God. We need to draw closer to God, He will not be moved. Things in the world change daily. God is the same now and forever will be. We need to clean up our life in our actions, and what we are in our heart. Cleansing inside and out. Vs. 8. We then humble ourselves before God, and He will “lift us up” out of the rut we are in. vs. 10.

  6. Davlyn permalink

    I am at this same place in my walk with the Lord. I am more aware than ever that it is in constantly seeking the Lord that I have failed. I confess today that I am going to press in and make God the priority in my life. Help me Holy Spirit to be more aware of what I am thinking about and turn toward You for the answers that I am seeking. I give You all the praise and glory that only You deserve. Thank you for your Love.

  7. I thank the Lord for you Rev Mark..Almost everytime I read one of your emails its like you are speaking to me directly. I especially love this email. Thank you so much for it…

  8. Kathy permalink

    Enjoy your vacation!

  9. Thank you… this is so hard. Yes I am human but I am fed up with it. Why can’t I get better, more like Jesus. I fail too much, bt I must trust that He knows and is gracious. Thanks for the encouragement.

  10. Tony permalink

    God bless you in this endevor on facebook and I hope your vacation is a refreshing to your hearts.

  11. Thanks for the sharing Rev Mark, I come to know howmuch weak i am and need to be cleansed every sec of the day .so often pray create in me apure heart Lord Pslam 51 is my faviourite.Thanks again for ur sharing daily enrich my spiritual journey .Enjoy ur holidays

  12. stephanie permalink

    MIKE MY NAME IS STEPHANIE there are two stepanies i am one of them but i have only posted on this blog this would be the third time becuse i can not read whright or spell verry good the first time was to tell rev mark THAT I HAVE NEVER READ THE BIBLE becuse i cant read or comprehend well i also am a lost child REV MARK REPLIED STEPHANIE IT SOUNDS LIKE THE LORD IS DOING GREAT THINGS IN YOUR LIFE but i did not feel it at that time i have only been following these comments becuse i dont know how to sign up for his e mails and he is so right.then i started feeling sorry for myself for myself and lost touch with GOD agian i wrote yesterday pored my heart out about my drug adiced life for thirty years we all know what comes with that then SISTER PAM repled to my comment and said some words of wisdome. I hope i can do the same for you i to get fed up daily i wonder why GOD alowes us to deal with so much then as i read SISTER PAMS comment i realized GOD is molding us as we speak even it does not feel like it we are not sick we are siners this world belongs to satin with it comes pain and suffering POINT BEING GOD HAS REACHED OUT TO US BECUSE WE ARE REACHING OUT TO HIM THROUGH REV MARK WE WILL GET BETTER OR LET ME SAY GROW IN CHRIST AND BE A LITTEL MORE LIKE HIM EVERY DAY JUST COMEING TO THESE COMMENTS DAILY BEFORE MY FEET EVEN HIT THE FLOOR I FEEL STRONGER IN HIM ………….GOD BLESS YOU MARK……….

    • Julia Bond permalink

      Through you I see God working. Did you know that Moses stuttered? Through our weaknesses God’s strengths are made manifest (obvious).

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      You are so right Stephanie, This world comes with pain and suffering. Without God, that is all that it is, pain and suffering. When God is in my life, I know that God will take the pain and use it to help me grow in faith and love. The pain then has a purpose. You are growing and becoming stronger in Christ already. I am thankful for your presence here.

  13. pam permalink

    thank u thank u. Have a great holiday my brother.

  14. Thank u Mark for this wonderful message .
    May u hav a good time with ur family and may God Bless ur Family

  15. Michael Cook permalink

    First I want to say enjoy your vacation with your family Pastor Mark! I hope you get in some good recreation!

    Secondly my comment and reflections about todays post! Yahoo! I love how this passage is so full of promise. Resist the devil and he will literally run away from you! Wow! Glory to God! Flee literally means he, the devil will take flight. Did anyone else catch that! He will take off running from ME…lil ole ME! But there is a requirement and that is I must first bring myself under God’s submission! I must be single minded about this! Not wishy washy about it. But firm in my resolve to allow God to have full authority in my every day life! Come near to God or as the KJV says draw near to God! And as I draw near to him he moves in my direction. Wow!

    Let’s Do It!

    • Julia Bond permalink

      “Be the kind of person who, when the wake up in the morning the devil says ‘oh no, not them agian’.” author unknown

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      Yes, Michael, I caught that, also. Definitely powerful.

  16. kim permalink

    Rev Mark

    On many days i’ve wanted to leave a reply but for some reason haven’t until now. I just wanted to say that i admire you and am thankful for your messages everyday. I admire the fact that you are “real”, that you are not perfect or without faults or sin and are not afreaid to say it. THAT i believe is one reason you have been so succesful with this forum.

    We are all damaged and deal with our own demons and sins yet how wonderful that we can continually be forgiven. Within the past year i have given my heart to the Lord and have put all my faith in HIM, as a Christian yourself you know what i mean when i say my life has completly changed. I am in awe at the love he gives me and the peace that came with my faith. He has blessed me more than words can say.

    May you have a great holiday and blessings to you and yoru family.

  17. Greg Olmen permalink

    I read many notes as part of my daily quiet time, and there was a theme striking at me this morning and it surrounds your comment about coming under His authority 100%. Something similar was presented in Rick Warren’s devotional about “Offering Yourself to God”, not at 95% but completely. I know this message is for me as I consistently find ways to retain a percentage of me and my control on the things God would have me to surrender.

  18. josi permalink

    enjoy ua holiday mark. u do bless me big. i wish you r coming 2 ma country; KENYA that i may get a chance 2 meet u. may GOD increase u

  19. Im trying to my best to stop letting the devil into my everyday living! I go to church 3 times a week! so why cant I walk right and live Godly?

    • Julia Bond permalink

      Church is GREAT. Worship and fellowship are so important to you and those around you. In my day to day life I find that it helps to have some ‘cues’ for prayer and reflection. eg. When I hang out the washing I start by thanking God for the great/poor (we need the rain) drying weather and carry on from there. I gave a friend who prays for another friend every time she has a shower. She remembers to do this because they once had a great conversation about shower cleaning products (mums with littlies). Keep you Bible by your bedside and read a verse or chapter before slep and before you get out of bed in the morning. You will find your own ways. It helps to write down those empty times in your day like driving to the store when you could put in a Christian tape; or washing the dishes when you could give thanks for the food that messed them up.
      May God provide you with inspiration.

  20. sonya permalink

    So poignant, this is a constant battle for me 2 this time, I just want a concrete definite change..His will not my own!!!

  21. Lynn permalink

    i too struggle with my walk and at times i ask God how He can love me when i let Him down so much. but in my time talking to my Daddy, He let me know that as long as we don’t give up, as long as we keep on fighting,we don’t let Him down or disappoint Him. we are in a war, and in war there are many battles to fight,and we have not run from the battles,we stand and fight each one as it comes,and He stands with us and fights too. i have gotten into the habit of thanking God for giving me another new day and i feel that by doing so 1st thing every day i have already set the devil to fleebecause i chose to acknowledge God above all first. i go through my day finding even the littlest things to thank God for. i sit in my home and talk to God as if He is there with me,and i have come to find out He is. if need be take baby steps,for every step towards God is a step away from the devil. i pray showers of blessings upon your lives, in Jesus name.

    • Beth permalink

      Amen. Lynn i totaly understand what you are saying. In the mornings I also thank GOD for giving me a new day that I can spend with HIM in my heart guiding me each day. And i do feel empowered that I will stand tall against the devil because I know GOD and DEAR JESUS CHRIST our SAVIOR is always by our side. And I know if I make a mistake or sin LORD GOD is there to forgive me. I thank GOD our HEAVENLY FATHER for giving up HIS only SON for us, so that our sins may be forgiven and so that we may all live forever in Heaven someday together. God bless you and GOD bless all. In JESUS’S name, Amen.

  22. Lynn permalink

    pastor mark, i pray that you and your family will feel the presence of God as you take time to have a vacation and alone time as a family. God bless you and yours. also wanted to say what a lovely family you have indeed. thank you for sharing your life with us. it was a blessing to get to know you better.

  23. eleanor pedro permalink

    Thank you for your ministry at fb. it helps me a lot in battling loneliness while I am in a foreign country. I am blessed by your ministry and your being down to earth! Enjoy your vacation! God bless you, indeed!

  24. Diane W permalink

    Yes….Istruggle with sin..a specific sin of “stretching the truth” which when I am honest is lying. Thankyou Rev. Brown for your timely message. James is a great book to read…By God’s Grace and with the Holy Spirit changing me I will overcome. Bless you Rev. Brown and may you have a wonderful holiday with your family…:)

  25. Melanie permalink

    I like the idea of surrendering to God. Recently we had a visiting preacher in our church who said that in the world you overcome by conquering; with God, you overcome by surrendering. Awesome food for thought.

    Also, I would like to join everyone else in wishing you a happy and safe holiday.

  26. Patsy Bond permalink

    I have so many questions about Genesis 4:14-17. Where did those people come from that Cain was afraid of? There was already a city named nod? where did his sons wife come from? I have read this many times and every time I read it I have the same questions.

  27. Julia Bond permalink

    Rev Mark. I am a ‘baby Christian’. Even though I was bought up in the Catholic Church I left God in preference for the world at 18. About three years ago I was struggling to find a playgroup that accepted my son’s special needs. I ran into a Christian friend who invited me to playgroup her daughter ran at their Presbeterian church. WOW, acceptance for my son AND FOR ME. His behaviour was no longer my fault and these women HELPED and supported me in my parenting rather than critisizing. What and amazing reflection of God’s Love. These women later invited me to a Mum’s Bible Study where child minding was provided by uni. students from the congregation. Two hours without the constant demands of my son – of course I’ll come along – oh yes and I’ll join in the study too. And wahat do you know – the inevitable happened. I now pray for The Spirit to soften my Husband’s heart and thank God for the continuing support of my Christian brothers and sisters such as you who makes it possible to fit in my reflections when my family is at peace (usually when they are all asleep [I also have an 18mth old daughter])
    God’s love to you all.

  28. Alvert Johnson permalink

    I am really blessed by this message..Right when I was feeling down & lost and feeling so sinful..Thank You God for being so faithful even When I doubted myself..I will keep on trying to keep myself pure and even if I fall, I’ll make sure that I’ll bounce more harder 🙂

  29. One thing I have to try and take better note of is to remember to resist. Sometimes you are so pulled down and before you know it commited the sin especially if you struggle with a bondage to a certain one. You just find yourself in the trap of it and caught up and after the fact it is like oh wait I should have resisted.
    Trick of the enemy. Got to call on the Holy Spirit FIRST before you commit the sin. Not my might, nor by power, but by my spirit says the Lord.

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      Im, you speak the truth for me, “sometimes you are so pulled down and before you know it committed the sin….” It is the pulling down that sets me up to be vulnerable to sin. Then the sin pulls me down even further. That has the potential to set up a vicious cycle ever spiraling downward. That is why we must rely on faith and forgiveness. God empowers us to resist the devil and break the cycle. I am thankful for these gifts from God.

    • Stacy permalink

      Resisting the devil in times of strength, when you are NOT being tempted, is crucial! When you are being tempted, you are at your weakest. You must be on the offense in times of strength. Someone I respect very much gave me this advice. She said to rebuke Satan and the particular sin you struggle with whenever you think about it. For me, the issue is cutting, so once in a while, when I’m not even tempted, I say “In the name of Jesus Christ, I am not a cutter. I don’t have to cut because Jesus already received my wounds.” Or something to that effect. I have found it to be very helpful.

  30. stephanie permalink

    I got up this morning and i was not even going to sign on to this blog becuse of the gult I am feeling for smoking pot the last two days knowing of my sin and doing it anyway the shame I feel nearly kept me away I signed on anyway not thinking I was going to get over this hump only for GOD to lead me to your comment …………….STACY………………WHAT WORDS OF WISDOM THANK YOU FOR SHAREING AND I WILL PRAY FOR YOUR WEAKNESS EVERY TIME I PRAY FOR MY OWN THANK YOU JESUS FOR USING STACY TO HELP ME HOLD MY HEAD BACK UP.

  31. Keep fighting;our enemy wants nothing more than to keep us defeated.I fell again and reallyam sick of living but I know the fact that i’m sober today and here another day means that i have another shot at living for Him better tomorrowXO

  32. Michelle Meyer permalink

    I like your analogy of cleaning up toys versus constantly being on alert to clean up sin. Wow, but that sounds like it can be really tiring. Sometimes it is easier to just give way to some of the little messes. I try to be the woman God wants me to be but I fall short. Thanks for the reminder.
    -Michelle Meyer

  33. Cheryl permalink

    Thank God today my eyes are open and I can face my sins (sometimes we can be in denial or think it’s right and find out it is not pleasing to God) It’s a process that takes a life time. I thank God for Jesus, when we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleans us from all unrighteousness. With God all things are possible and nothing is to hard for Him. We are overcomers.

  34. Aaron Bell permalink

    Amen! This really spoke to me! The devil keeps attacking me and I sadly give in and I feel ashamed. Please pray for me so that I strive for what God wants me to do. I’ve loads of uni work and an exam tomorrow so I just pray that I still can make time for God in this busy week.

  35. MaryMarthaKay permalink

    Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

    I come near to God, He comes near to me!
    I submit to HIM, and take HIS YOKE upon myself … and daily submit to HIM, daily learn of HIM ….. HIS YOKE becomes a part of me … becomes easier …..
    I learn as I go …. His burden is light. The more I submit … the more natural the yoke fits; it becomes second nature, and a freedom emerges as I follow HIM. Whom the SON sets free is free indeed.

  36. Michele permalink

    Aaron, prayers going up!! I have found in my walk that if I put God first then it seems there is so much more time in my day. He definitely has a way of clearing our schedules and guiding us towards only what is necessary. Repent, pray and surrender and continue to pray for His will. God bless, Michele

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