Assured Forgiveness

The following is the article I submitted to The News Tribune (Tacoma) for Sunday. To God be the glory!


Let’s get right to it – we are all sinful and thus we make mistakes every single day. We say and do stupid things. We hurt people with our words. We sin through omission. We sin through turning a blind eye or deaf ear to an injustice. There is no getting around it. We all find ourselves in moments where confession is warranted and, for the most part, forgiveness is expected.

We see this over and over again through the media. Some out-front personality makes a mistake. They say something offensive and social media goes wild. After some time, an apology is issued. Immediately the words of the offender are critiqued: Is the apology sincere? Are they only apologizing because they got caught? Did they actually apologize, or did they just craft some words together to make it look that way? Sometimes the apology is simply overlooked as people continue to fixate on the offense. So really, it is not about the apology, but rather for the offender to admit their offense so they can be further punished through the court of public opinion – a court that rarely shows mercy. Soon the offender loses sponsors, business ties or even their job because these businesses fear the court of public opinion. They do not want to be the next victim. Does this sound familiar? If not, just wait, I am sure that the next offender will be coming along anytime now, and the court will be in session to judge and convict. It almost makes a person paranoid. We do not want to be the next victim in this merciless court. But praise be to God that His mercy is boundless.

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son (Jesus), much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” [Romans 5:10-11]

This is the Good News: You were enemies of God, but Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins that you may now have peace with God. The world may not necessarily want peace with you, but God was so serious about peace with you that Jesus suffered on the cross. That is true love and grace. Even if the world befriends you, it will eventually turn its back on you. But once you are in Christ, that is forever. He will never turn his back on you and thus you never have to worry about a merciless court or God throwing you under the bus. Our amazing God desires reconciliation and thus He desires your faith-filled, humble confession so He can announce to you forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

So go ahead – confess your sins. Confess boldly before the Lord. Confess even your darkest and most embarrassing sins to God. Confess, and rest assured that through faith in Jesus Christ, you are forgiven. Amen.

Not Dragged Off

Psalm 28:3 (ESV) ~ “Do not drag me off with the wicked, with the workers of evil, who speak peace with their neighbors while evil is in their hearts.

Have you ever felt this way following the realization that you have willingly submitted to temptation? Have you ever just dropped to you knees and pleaded with God to not drag you off with the wicked? There have been many times when I have come to realization that I have done something contrary to God’s Law/commands and wonder why God continues to put up with me. Sometimes I half expect a lightening bolt to strike me down or worse yet, that scary scene from the 1990 movie “Ghost” (Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze). Remember that – when the bad guy dies and then some dark figures come out of the shadows to drag their soul away? Please God, do not drag me off with the wicked.

The psalmist here is crying out to God, knowing that if his cries fall on deaf ears, he will be confined to the pit. But, Blessed be the Lord! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. (Psalm 28:6) Through faith in Jesus Christ, your cries for mercy do not fall on deaf ears. You are a sinner, that is true, and that is why you need a Savior – Jesus Christ. For those who do not willingly serve sin, call upon Jesus; knowing that he is your strength and shield, and trust in him for The Lord is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed. (Psalm 28:8) For those who belong to Jesus, you can have this hope for he died and rose FOR YOU that you would not be dragged away with the wicked.

Oh God, I praise you that through Jesus Christ, You have redeemed my life from the pit. I know I am a sinner. I know I have and will give in to temptation. I know I have and will disobey You. Oh God, may my heart be inclined to You, that I will not strive to satisfy the desires of my flesh but rather strive to know You more and more. Have mercy on me, oh God and give me strength, for You are my fortress and shield. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Don’t Deceive Yourself

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:8‭-‬9 ESV

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One of the things that I am trying to teach my children is to be honest when they do something wrong. Too often, when confronted with their sin, my children are adamant in their denial. I didn’t do it. Even though it is obvious that they are guilty. I reassure them that I am not mad but rather I just want them to be honest. I reaffirm my love for them and say that there is nothing they can do that will change that. I remind them that I will always forgive them even though there may be consequences. But for a child, the fear of punishment is strong and thus their adamant denials and failed attempts to cover up their own sins.

But isn’t this a commentary for the Christian?

There may be sins in your life that you are afraid to admit. There may be sins that you are afraid to even voice in your own head when praying to God. You may bury the sin deep in your memory, hoping that time will heal and the wrong will be mended. Or…you may even deny that a sin is a sin, attempt to justify the sin or try to divert God’s attention to “worse sinners”. But daddy he broke your ________.

The fact of the matter is that we can not hide our sins, we can not deny our nature, and we can not divert God’s attention. God knows our sin, but God is a God is grace. His love is not diminished because of your sin. God is faithful and just to forgive your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. If Jesus is your Lord and Savior, don’t be afraid of your sin, but confess your sin and know the forgiveness of your loving heavenly Father. Don’t deny who you are and don’t deny who God is. You are a sinner, but God is a God of grace. Let Him heal you and love on you.

Amen.

To Confess

Father God, my sins to you I must confess
For my life here and now is a total mess
Created in beauty but still I transgress
Holiness I seek yet I seem to regress
Your holy judgment of death I acquiesce
But Jesus Christ is my Lord, that I profess
And so, in his name, I ask that you may bless
For Jesus is risen, that I will express

You

There is none holy like the Lord: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.” [1 Samuel 2:2 ESV]

Holy God,
Father,
the Almighty,
there is indeed no one like You — not even close.
There is no one or no thing that can come close to comparing to You.
You are
Holy,
Sovereign,
Creator of all.
You are my God and thus I worship You.
You, oh Lord do I worship.
You
You
for You and You alone are worthy.
But what am I?
As the psalmist say, I am but a worm.
I am only worthy of condemnation and destruction.
Oh Lord, my God, have mercy on this worm,
a sinner,
wretched,
insolent
Have mercy, Lord, have mercy, in Jesus name.
Forgive me
Forgive me
Forgive me
May I sing Your praise day and night.
May I proclaim Your glory.
May I shout of Your salvation.
May I dwell in You.
For You are indeed my Rock and Salvation.
Ohhhh…
…there is no god like You,
for You are my Rock and Salvation.
You
You
only You.
You are my God.

The Way

Father God,
hear me as I pray
and keep me in the way,
always and forever, each and every day.
A sinner I’m a runaway,
but be close to me today.
Forgive me as I go astray.
In Jesus may I stay.
So send me now without delay,
that others won’t dismay.
Always and forever, I am Yours, hooray.

Morning Confession

Morning has dawned,
The sun has risen.
Me a sinner to which I’m imprisoned.
Filled with sorrow
and regret,
Oh God my Lord, please remove my large debt.
Christ Jesus died
and rose for me.
My faith I place completely in thee.
Restore and renew
that I may rejoice.
And of Your glory I’ll give a loud voice.

Known by God

The following is tonight’s Liturgy of Repentance for our midweek Lenten worship service. The theme is the call of Jeremiah from Jeremiah 1:4-19. The very thought that God knew me before I knew myself is humbling and thus who am I to say, “God, You must have the wrong guy.” I am known.

I am known by You, for You formed me.
I am known by You, for You knit me together.
I am known by You, for You choose me before I knew myself.
I am known.
I am known by You, for You breathed life into my being.
I am known by You, for You appointed little ole me to serve You.
I am known by You…yet Jesus died for me, a sinner.
I am known.
And knowing me, You still have sent me, but yet I search for excuses.
I can’t speak.
I’m too young.
I’m too old.
I don’t know enough.
Are You sure You have the right person?
But YOU know me. You. God Almighty. Creator. Know…ME.
And You send me anyway.
You and You alone qualify me.
Oh God, I confess my faithlessness to You.
Oh God, I confess my fear to You.
Forgive me.
Oh Lord, my God, hear my cry: I repent…

Crying Out

The theme for worship tonight is the call of Moses. The people of Israel called out to God and God heard their cries. God chooses Moses to be His instrument of freedom and but he resists…at first. Has God chosen you for for a specific task; to proclaim freedom in someway? Have you resisted? Are you doubtful that you can do it? Listen and trust God.

Oh God,
Your people are crying out, and You hear them.
They are crying out from bondage;

lost and alone.
They cry out, but I often know not their cry.
Their cries are often missed by my ears and I perceive them not.
Some even cry out without knowing they do.
They cry out through their actions and choices.
They don’t know their dire situation.
They are in bondage.
They fight and struggle.
They search and search, but they find no relief.
They search for meaning but find no firm foundation.
They cry out, and YOU hear them.
Oh God,
I cried out once, and You heard me.
I cried out, and You showed me mercy.
I cried out, and You sent Jesus.
Your people are crying out, and I either do not hear or refuse to hear.
I confess my deafness to You.
Forgive me.
Heal me of my deafness, oh God, and send me.
Send me that Your people may hear and know Jesus.
Oh Lord, my God, hear my cry:
I repent…

The Pastor -|—

Faithful

Oh God,
Your Word is faithful and true,
Your Word is enduring and timeless,
Your Word is changeless and trustworthy,
You have never failed to follow through.
You have never let me down.
Oh God, so
How could I be so faith-less?
How could I be so trust-less?
How could I be so impatient?
You have never given me reason to doubt You, yet I did.

I confess.
I repent.

Hear my prayer and heal me.
Hear my prayer and strengthen me.
Hear my prayer and empower me.
In Jesus name, forgive me.

And now, oh God…

May I shine a light unto Your faithfulness
for all to see.
May I reflect Your glory,
for all to bask in.
May I proclaim Your love,
for all to know.

Satan wielded his sword against me.
Your sword is stronger for Your Word will never pass away.
May I always trust in Your faithfulness.
In Jesus name I pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—