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You, Lord, know every one of my deepest desires, and my noisy groans are no secret to you.Psalm 38:9(CEV)

The low fuel light comes on as he’s driving to work and his heart sinks. No money for gas, no options available. He has to get to work but doesn’t know how he’ll get home. Borrowing gas money again didn’t seem like an option he wanted to visit. God, why…

She turns out the light and lays her head on the pillow. She did it again. She promised herself she’d stay faithful, stay pure. More importantly, she promised God. What if she gets pregnant? What if he finds out? What if? O God, please…

The pop-up on the internet entices him. Three hours later he realizes he’s wasted an entire afternoon. How can he do this to his wife? How can he do this to his God? Who can he tell? Everyone looks to him as some spiritual leader, if only they knew, but God knows. Jesus, I’m so sorry…

It’s 2 AM. The silent breathing in the next room turns to a muffled cry. “I so wish I hadn’t had him…” She catches herself…again. How can she feel this way. She wanted a baby, no THEY wanted a baby. But now, after the accident she’s alone to tend to the house, the finances, everything. The guilt she bears towards her child overwhelms here. ‘If only.’ “God how can I…”

During those deepest, darkest times of your life he hears the groans of your heart; the groans no one else knows about. The feelings you would never be able to tell anyone.

Those regrets? He hears them.

The guilt and shame? He sees the scars.

The fear and worry? Knows about that too.

No matter who you are. No matter where you are in life. Whether you are a successful businessman, a highly esteemed ministry, a best selling author or a homeless person looking for the next fix. You have those feelings, those inner groanings of the soul that you bear alone. They can attack at night, in broad daylight, during times of celebration and times of grief. Sometimes your human soul can’t even find the words to express the emotion you feel.

It’s during those times that your Heavenly Father longs to come by your side.  God understands the language of half words. He knows the feelings interrupted with sighs, and interprets them as the breaths of a broken heart. Not only does he hear your broken thoughts, he has promised to never judge, never condemn, never get his ‘shocked look.’

Don’t allow the guilt, the worry, or the weakness of your soul deceive you into thinking God doesn’t care. He cares deeply and knows your thoughts before you think them.

PRAYER: Father, I praise you for the promise you have made to stay by my side. I’ve pushed you away at times. I’ve rebelled and stumbled in my weakness. I have feelings, doubts and fears I can’t express to my closest friends. I thank you that you hear me and love me. Amen.


You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Psalm 23:5

Imagine for a moment that life is one large banquet and you are an honored guest. As you seat yourself with the others at the table you notice something rather odd. The placards at each setting have words on them. You naturally assume that the words are the names of the person seated there, but on closer inspection you realize that isn’t true at all.

The person across from you has a placard that reads ‘caught in adultery’. The person down the table from you three places has one that says ‘addicted to alcohol’. Another says ‘victim of financial ruin due to poor choices.’ And on the list goes. It suddenly dawns on you that you have no idea what your placard says. You read it. Your first impulse is to hide the words, but then the room is filled with a wonderful aroma.

You look for the source of this wonderful scent and your eyes are immediately drawn to a white robed figure making his way around the table. He stops at each place and anoints the person’s head with oil. Soothing, wonderful smelling oil that changes each person it touches. With each anointing the recipient’s face glows. Partially from the soothing effects of the oil. Partially from the joy that seems to flood that person’s soul.

Then you notice another oddity. As each person is anointed, the words on their placard mysteriously change. The descriptions of the person’s failings are replaced by a single word: GRACE!

In essence that is the word picture the Psalmist has for each of us. To be anointed with oil was a custom of honor and distinction in Bible times. Honored guests were anointed with oil and as a result the room was filled with a wonderful fragrance for all to enjoy, and the person anointed felt within himself the soothing, healing effects of the oil on his hot, dusty head and face.

Each of us comes to the ‘table’ of life with robes that are tarnished by the daily struggles we face. Before us is a placard with words that describe the struggles of our lives: worry, anger, disbelief, immorality, judgmental spirit, murder, abuse, gluttony…and more. Yet if you are a Christ-follower, those words are replaced when the master comes to anoint you with the oil of his forgiveness, his love and his mercy.

That’s grace. Grace is living with the anointing of Jesus in our lives. None of us deserves it. We don’t deserve to be in the same house as the banquet much less sitting at the table.  Yet because of his sacrifice for us, we are treated as honored guests. Feel the soothing effect of the oil on your head and face as it removes the guilt of past mistakes. Smell the fragrance of forgiveness. Enjoy the euphoria of his grace as it permeates those darkest corners of your soul.

Not only does his anointing remove the stains of your past. His promises to you are so numerous that your cup will overflow with his blessings.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I’m reminded once more of the rich blessings I have because of you. I am so unworthy of your love. So undeserving of your forgiveness. I’ve failed you. I’ve hurt others. Worst of all, there are so many ways I’ve failed myself. Please forgive me for the times I’ve not listened to you. Anoint me with the oil of your grace so that I will be a pleasing aroma to you and those around me. In your name I pray, Amen.


He remembered us in our weakness. His faithful love endures forever. Psalm 136:23 (NLT)

Most of us don’t remember weak people, we remember the strong, the victorious. We admire the athlete who overcomes all odds to cross the finish line first. We applaud the one who endures pain to finish the race or the one with determination that continues to try even when defeat is obvious.

The person who tries to overcome their weakness is sometimes looked on with favor as well. We look kindly on them as they scrape and clutch for every inch as they pull themselves up the rochy muddy walls of the hole they’ve fallen into. Tenacity and determination are qualities we can admire in a person if at least some progress is being made.

But we seldom remember the weak. If we do remember the weak person we remember them with disdain. We question how they got there. Why they don’t seek help? On a rare occasion we may give them some lame words of encouragement, but often those words are condescending and really meant to make us feel better for having tried.

The Psalmist reminds us that our Father remembers us while we are still in our weakness. He doesn’t ask how we got there or why we haven’t tried harder. How we got ourselves into the situations we are in isn’t as important to God as how we will find victory and he knows the only way we can find that victory is through his son Jesus.

Weakness can show itself in many ways. For some of us our weakness shows up in addictions to anger, drugs, sex. For others our weakness shows up on doubt, worry, and fear. Weakness can also show itself in how we feel about ourselves in our relationships. We put ourselves in ‘love’ relationships that are really demeaning because we don’t feel we are worthy of being treated well.

Weakness is seen as a flaw to us humans, but God sees weakness and an opportunity to make us strong. Anyone who has ever worked with wood knows that the strongest part of the wood is the knot. The knots in wood come from injuries that the tree has ‘healed’ and from branches that need the support of the trunk to grow.

Weaknesses in our lives are like knots in wood. They are places and situations in our lives that we can use to make ourselves stronger through faith in Christ and the grace he freely offers us. Don’t let your weaknesses leave you defeated. There is one who wants to take your weaknesses and use them to make you stronger, and that person is Jesus Christ. Jesus never looks down on us for being weak. Jesus welcomes the opportunity to uplift us in the midst of our weakness.

PRAYER: Father God, it seems like everyday I fail myself, you or others in some way. I say things I shouldn’t say. I do things that are hurtful or fail to do things to lift others up. I’m looked down upon and scoffed at for not being able to succeed. Some days I just give up because I don’t feel it’s worth trying anymore. Thank you for loving me in the midst of my failures. Thank you for wanting to help me overcome my weaknesses so I can be strong in you. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.


In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:3-4

There is an old Native American legend regarding evil and good. Evil is portrayed as a dark dog that lives within each of us; good is a white dog that also lives within each of us. The two are at constant battle for control of our lives. The dog we choose to feed the most is the dog that wins control of our lives.

In a sense, the legend isn’t far from being wrong. Paul describes a similar scenario in his own life when he says, in Romans 7, the good that I want to do, I don’t do. Instead, the very things I hate, the very things I despise, I find myself doing over and over again. Paul, like the rest of us, want to see the ‘dark dog’ die, yet we continue to feed it at least enough to guarantee power to wage war in our lives.

Any of us who have walked the journey of life at all are well aware of the battle within. There are so many things out there that cry out to us. Things that make us feel good (for awhile at least), things that ‘seem right’ (even though they contradict God’s law), things that sneak up on us and attack us at our weakest moment.

For some of us it’s an addictive habit like smoking, drugs or alcohol, or lust. For others it’s anger, language or food. Still others battle daily with feelings of failure, insecurity, fear and doubt. We work hard to build or salvage broken relationships, save our homes or jobs and rescue our children from harm. It’s draining just to think about it!

The Apostle John gives us a formula for victory. It’s a lesson he learned at the feet of Jesus himself. The secret to victory over the world isn’t found in religion. It’s not found in social action, counseling, self-help books or volunteering at the local soup kitchen. Recovery groups and fitness programs won’t help either.

The secret to victory over whatever you are struggling with is love. Not love as the world gives, but love that comes from a growing relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Many of us know that but few of us see victory. One reason may be that we forget, or have never learned, that relationship takes time. Victory won’t come over night. The bad news is that we are responsible for every bad decision we’ve ever made. We can choose. The good news is that even if we’ve made a boatload of bad decisions in life, Jesus Christ will forgive us and help us back on the road to recovery.

Don’t expect to win every battle every day. Take little steps. Relationship comes as we read God’s Word on a daily basis, pray for guidance and strength and refuse (one decision at time) not to listen to the enemy voices that want to bring us to defeat.

People who are victorious over the things that bring them down are the people who determine every day to walk just one step closer to the light. The are the ones that have learned to celebrate the small victories in life and bounce back from the occasional defeats as they learn to love Jesus Christ above all else.  

PRAYER: Father, from this day forward I have resolved to move closer to you in relationship through the love and forgiveness only Jesus Christ can offer. Forgive me for the times I’ve made wrong choices. Empower me with your Spirit to learn to walk closer to you and love you more. In Jesus name, Amen.


Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out. Proverbs 10:9

He was caught red-handed. There was no way to hide it now. It was in the open. His integrity lay in a shattered heap on the ground. How would he face his family? How would he face the family of the person he killed? What would happen with his faith? Would God act swiftly and with revenge? All his years of waiting, running, fighting for what was right was destroyed in an instant.

He felt anguish, guilt, fear, shame and, interestingly, relief. I’m talking about the story of David and Bathsheba. Here he was, King of Israel and caught in a lovers triangle. He’d slept with another man’s wife and got her pregnant. He had her husband murdered to try to cover up his crime. He ran, but he couldn’t hide.

Before we are too hard on David we need to look at our own lives. Maybe it isn’t adultery and murder that plague us. It could be anger, lust, addictions of any kind, doubt, or envy. We may be able to hide those things for awhile. Some of us get good enough to hide them for years! There are a few that are able to live their entire lives fooling other people. But even if we can fool everyone else, we will still have internal consequences to deal with.

Sociologists and psychologists tell us that many emotional, physical and spiritual issues in a person’s life can be traced to one thing: guilt or unresolved guilt. Guilt is a powerful force that can affect us in every aspect of our lives. We do things to try to cover up that guilt, but those things make matters worse. We grow fearful of what other people may think so we live in fear.  We blame others or try to drown our sorrows in new relationships, drugs and alcohol or some other activity. We run in fear of being found out because we don’t want to suffer the shame or consequences. The things we do to try to hide our ‘secret lives’ only make matters worse and take a devastating toll on our personal lives and relationships.

People who finally ‘come clean’ often express a feeling of relief. They don’t have to hide anymore. They can get the support they need for the healing process and their entire outlook on life changes for the better. Coming clean may mean we have to confess some things publicly, but most importantly it means being honest with God and with ourselves. He is the only one who can heal us of our wounds. Confession of our struggle isn’t a sign of weakness but of strength.

Regardless of what you are struggling with today, Jesus can offer you the healing you need. He doesn’t expect you to clean yourself up first. He won’t be critical when you fall (again and again). Jesus knows the root cause of our actions when no one else does. He isn’t about making us feel guilty; Jesus wants to make us feel clean.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I thank You for knowing the struggle I go through every day. I’m afraid of being caught. I’m losing sleep. I feel completely out of control. I even doubt your existence at times because the pain is so bad. Forgive me for failing so many times. Help me to have the courage to change what I need to change so I can live in integrity. Amen.

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