Something Good for a Monday

Want to hear something good? Something that will really give you some hope on a Monday? Listen to these words from 1 John 1:8-9:

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.

imagesStarts off with a little kick, if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. Oh boy. There we go. Way to start on a Monday.

But, listen, even that right there is hopeful. All of us have brokenness in our lives. We all have places where we don’t measure up. Fall down. Blow it. Fail. Fall. I do. You do. We all do.

We all struggle. That’s ok. That makes us human. That’s part of the human experience. You aren’t perfect. No one expects you to be.

So, there’s that. But what comes next is really good.

If we confess those sin, God will forgive us. Today, through the grace of God, you can be forgiven. You can know grace. You can know mercy. For whatever it is.

No matter the sin. No matter the weight. No matter the failing. No matter the fall. Through the grace of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven today.

It’s there for you. Claim it. Know it. Accept it.

On this Monday, in this time, in this place, through the grace of Jesus Christ, no matter what has happened, you are forgiven.

Yep. You. You are forgiven.

Live in that mercy and grace today. May that grace guide you today, and each day of this week.

Live like the loved child of God that you are!

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Today in this passage we read the famous story of when God calls Isaiah. We see God appear in the temple before this and we see him ask a question – who will go for us?

Listen to Isaiah 6:8:

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

And we see Isaiah’s famous response. Here I am, send me! Man of us have heard Isaiah’s response and marveled! What an awesome thing to say, what a great response. What am example.

May we have the strength to do the same!

But where did this strength come from? Where was this motivation found? How could Isaiah decide to forsake everything that he was doing and follow God’s request? Where did this motivation come from?

Look what happend before the famous verse 8, look at 6-7:

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

God took away his guilt. His sins were forgiven. His sin was atoned for. He was forgive and free.

He had experienced the joy and life of forgiveness! He had seen his sins taken away. He had heard and experienced the power of being forgiven.

He had the most powerful motivation any of us could ever have in our lives – grace.

Was God asking for a lot from Isaiah? Yes. God was sending him out on a big life changing mission. But Isaiah gladly and eagerly volunteered. Because he had found the joy of God’s forgiveness. He was new. He was clean. He was forgiven. It was a fresh start. A new day. And he couldn’t wait to go!

Today, you’ve been forgiven. God has forgiven you. You sins are washed away. Serve Him today not out of obligation or fear. Serve Him out of a thankful heart.

We have the greatest motivation in the entire world. We’ve been given grace! We’ve been given forgiveness! We’ve been given love!

And God asks us today, who will go and show that same grace, forgiveness, and love to others?

May our response be the same as Isaiah. Here I am. Send me!

A Prayer of Confession

I read this prayer this morning on a site I use in the morning for my daily devotional. It really resonated with me today.

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.

Most holy and merciful Father:
We confess to you and to one another,
and to the whole communion of saints
in heaven and on earth,
that we have sinned by our own fault
in thought, word, and deed;
by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not forgiven others, as we have been forgiven.

Have mercy on us, Lord.

We have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us. We have not been true to the mind of Christ. We have grieved your Holy Spirit.

Have mercy on us, Lord.

We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of our lives,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation of other people,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our anger at our own frustration, and our envy of those more fortunate than ourselves,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and our dishonesty in daily life and work,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to commend the faith that is in us,

We confess to you, Lord.

Accept our repentance, Lord, for the wrongs we have done: for our blindness to human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty,

Accept our repentance, Lord.

For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors, and for our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us,

Accept our repentance, Lord.

For our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of concern for those who come after us,

Accept our repentance, Lord.

Restore us, good Lord, and let your anger depart from us;

Favorably hear us, for your mercy is great.

Accomplish in us the work of your salvation,

That we may show forth your glory in the world.

By the cross and passion of your Son our Lord,

Bring us with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection.

Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.

Being Thankful: We Don’t Get What We Deserve Podcast

The sermon podcast for Sunday, November 13, 2011 is up on Asbury Church’s website.  This is second sermon in our series “Being Thankful.”  We talk about in this message how we are thankful that we don’t get what we deserve.  The text for this sermon is Exodus 32:1-14  Also by clicking on these verses you can see my notes from the sermon as a note in the YouVersion online Bible.   You can listen to it by clicking here, or you can listen to it here on this blog by clicking the link below. And, as always, you can subscribe to my sermon podcasts through iTunes.


We Don’t Get What We Deserve

No Mark

As I’ve said several times that the thing I love most about the Psalms is that they are honest. When the Psalmist is angry, you know it through reading what’s on the page. When the Psalmist is happy and full of joy, you know it by reading what’s on the page. When the Psalmist is struggling with something, you know it.

And the struggles that the Psalmist has with God is apparent in different times. Sometimes he’s upset with God about something. Sometimes he’s afraid that God will be mad at him because of something he has done. Sometimes he is just scared of his enemies, of his sin, of the things in his life.

I just love them because they are so honest about the things that we go through. The emotions behind them match the emotions of our lives.  We are the same. The Psalms reflect what we feel, so many times in our lives.

Listen to part of the words of one of my favorite Psalms, Psalm 130:

Lord, if you kept a record of our sins,
who, O Lord, could ever survive?
But you offer forgiveness,
that we might learn to fear you.

If the Lord kept a record of sins, who among us could stand? If the Lord were to mark our mistakes, His book would be full of failures and sins. If we had to do more good than bad in our lives to earn His love, we wouldn’t be able to stand.  None of us could do that.  None of us could undo the bad that we’ve done.

We can’t do enough good to make God ignore the bad.

That was the work of the cross. Through the cross, our sins are done away with. Through the cross we are forgiven. Through the cross, things have changed, life is different, we are new. Through the cross, our sin is forgiven.

Through the power of the cross, there is no mark. It is erased.  It is forgiven. It is forgotten.  It is gone.

Through the power and grace and love of God, offered through the cross, there is no mark.  There is no record. There is no sin. The Psalms also tell us that as far as the East is from the West, that’s how far our sins are from God.

Today, you are forgiven. Today, there is no mark. Today, they are gone.

Today, may we live like the forgiven children of God that we are.