Tuesday, September 20, 2011


If you feel overwhelmed by your own sinfulness, so did David.

King David was described in the Bible as a man after God’s own heart. But a series of bad decisions nearly ruined his life. He fell into lust, committed adultery, and then lied and murdered someone in order to cover up his mistakes. Yet David learned something we all do, we can’t cover up our mistakes. Our sin always has a way of catching up to us…it will always have consequences. Our junk and our mess do not simply go away. Psalm 51 records the words David writes after acknowledging his own sin. He writes, “Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night.”

David’s sin was haunting him…he couldn’t get away from it. Have you ever felt that way? You think about the past and you immediately have feelings of regret and shame. You think about the present and wonder if you’ll ever break free from the stronghold in your life. Sin has the power to overwhelm us. It can consume us with feelings of guilt and shame. It can break us down and drive us away from God. However, we do not have to let sin have this power…it is not necessary for us to live life in this way. We should be encouraged by the fact that we worship a savior who came to forgive sin and free us from its power.

1 John 1:9 is a great promise: “If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Christ not only forgives us, but purifies and heals our souls…he makes us new again. The good news of the gospel is that:

(1) Our Savior understands our struggle with sin.
(2) He is willing to forgive our sin.
(3) He will give us the power to overcome sin.

When I have a good day and I do my devotions, it is easy for me to believe these truths. However, on my worst days it is really hard for me to believe that. But it’s on our worst days we must believe the promises of scripture over the feelings of our hearts. Do we really live each day in the blessed assurance that we have been saved by grace? After falling flat on our faces, are we still firmly convinced that we are loved by God? Are we really aware that there is nothing we can do that will make him love us less? Faith in Christ implies that we will not allow sin to ruin our life or keeps us from God. We really believe that we are a forgiven people, and we live life trusting in that reality.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


If your feel discouraged or afraid, so did Joshua.

Joshua had a very tough task. He was the apprentice of Moses. But Moses has just died and now Joshua has to lead the Israelites into the promise land. Joshua’s mission is scary for several reasons. First, he is leading a group of people who have not shown a lot of courage and commitment up to this point.  Second, they are going to have to fight a lot of scary/tough guys. Third, he is taking over for MOSES! Talk about big shoes to fill! Can you imagine the comparisons that would take place? You can hear the comments: “Moses would have done it this way" This never would have happened if Moses was here.” I always feel bad for head coaches who have to replace a legend. They are practically set up for failure because the expectations they have to meet are impossible.

So again, imagine being Joshua…he had to be extremely anxious and scared. We know this to be true because God has to repeatedly remind him to be courageous. In Joshua 1:9 God says: “I command you—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” God gives a command: be strong…then he gives a promise: I will be with you! Earlier in the chapter God tells Joshua that no one will be able to stop him. No one will be able to stand their ground against him. He’s telling Joshua, don’t worry about the challenges…I’ve got your back. And this is a word of encouragement for us because the Lord is our source of courage and strength.

In Isaiah 41, God gives us these words: “Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” What great promises we’re given: I’m with you, I am your God, I will give you strength. The problem with discouragement and fear is that they have the power to paralyze us. They can keep us from growing…they can keep us from living…they can keep us from taking steps of faith. Oftentimes we look at our circumstances and feel that there are too many obstacles and too many enemies. In these moments, we must not be shortsighted. We have to see beyond the circumstances, and fix our eyes on God…who is always bigger than the obstacles and enemies that confront us.