by: Rich Vaughan
Anyone who knows me knows I love my sweets! I am a “sweetaholic”! (I don’t think that is an actual word since my spell check went crazy on me, but you get the gist!) The following is a true story.
I was serving as the Senior Pastor at Raeford UMC, in Raeford, NC. At Christmas time both Debbie and I often bought our staffs the chocolate covered almonds in a large jar from Sam’s. Everyone seemed to love them and I found that I REALLY LOVED THEM! I loved them so much in fact, that after we had purchased them for our staff, but BEFORE we had given them the candy, DEBBIE HAD TO HIDE THEM FROM ME. She always did a great job. Year in and year out I never could find where she hid them. Until our last Christmas in Raeford. Debbie had gone to bed and I was still up. Like the good little husband that I am I had washed and dried some major plates and pans that needed cleaned. I decided to also put them up in the drawers where Debbie stored them. As I was sliding them into their places one kept hitting something. I finally got a flashlight to see what is was. JACKPOT! I HAD FOUND THE CHOCOLATE ALMOND STASH! I immediately opened one jar and starting chowing down on those wonderful chocolate almonds. I had both of my cheeks full (like a squirrel or chipmunk), when suddenly I sensed someone behind me and I heard, “RICHARD COOK VAUGHAN!” (It is never good for me when Debbie uses my entire name!) My sin had found me out. By the way, “The Devil made me do it” was not an acceptable response! “Are you eating those chocolate covered almonds we got for our staff?” Truthfully, my mouth was so full I couldn’t answer except to mumble an unintelligible, “maybe”. Needless to say that was my last chocolate covered almond for that year! By the way, begging for forgiveness works better with the Lord than an upset red-haired wife!
I think the hardest thing we learn from childhood through adulthood, is that even when we think we got away with something, our sins always find us out. Satan never leads us down a good path and the Holy Spirit will convict our soul until we are restless and need to approach God and ask for his forgiveness and grace. The good news is that when we ask God with a repentant heart he covers us in love, grace, and forgiveness. Psalm 103:12 sums that thought up beautifully when the psalmist writes, “as far as the East is from the West, so far He (God) removes our transgressions (sins) from us”. That is the heart of salvation for us. So watch those sweets, look out for Satan at every turn, and rejoice that God always offers salvation to we sinners. Amen and Amen!