Pardon The Preserved 

Jeremiah 50:20

“‘In those days and in that time,’ says the Lord,
‘The iniquity of Israel shall be sought, but there shall be none;
And the sins of Judah, but they shall not be found;
For I will pardon those whom I preserve.'”

One of the greatest benefits of being in a relationship with God is the forgiveness of sin. God explains that although we have transgressed His laws, the covenant provides pardon. In Israel’s case, it was through temple sacrifice, in ours, it is through the blood Christ shed at Calvary. The forgiveness He offers is complete. All sin, and it’s penalties, are washed away in the priceless blood of Christ. When God forgives, nothing will ever be brought up again.

I am captivated by the statement in this verse where sins are sought, but cannot be found. It is not saying that we cannot find a way to sin, but rather that the sins of the past have been completely pardoned. Whoever might bring a charge against the child of God, the answer will remain the same, “What sin, I don’t remember it.”

Guilt is one of the strongest anchors which holds us back, from accomplishing great things for the Lord, but it is not God who is filling our minds with guilt from past failures. Those things have been forgiven and we can move on to a life which brings glory, honor, and praise to God. I have often thought, how little Paul would have ever accomplished if he let his past failures hold him back from pursuing and serving Christ.

If you are feeling guilty about present sin, turn from it and to the Lord, but if you are plagued by past failures, it is time to look past them and at the cross, where all sin was washed in the blood of God.

Pastor Jim



Job 20:4-5
“Do you not know this of old, Since man was placed on earth, That the triumphing of the wicked is short, And the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment?”

Once again, Job’s agony is answered by one of his self-appointed counselors. This time, Zophar, the Naamathite, raises his voice and refutes Job’s cries, telling him that all of human history testifies against his logic. I find it interesting that Zophar sites history in support of his argument.

We can learn a lot from those who have gone before. It was philosopher George Santayana who wrote, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” The idea being, if we attempt to do the same things generations before us have done, we should expect the same results. One common definition of insanity is when a person does the same action over and over, and expects a different result. Much could be avoided if we honestly looked back at those who have gone before us. If young people would look at the affect drugs, alcohol, and even smoking, have had on the generation that’s gone before them, they would avoid the temptation to party. If married couples looked at the impact adultery has had on countless marriages and families, they would avoid those flirtatious moments that lead to sin. If we, as a culture, were to carefully examine Israel’s heritage, we would find that sin weakens a nation, and we would vote for leaders who were willing to take a stand for righteousness.

We cannot make decisions for others, but we can make personal decisions that will impact on others. Don’t wait for the world to change.  Instead, determine that you will live for Christ in such a way as to impact others for His Kingdom.

Pastor Jim



Psalm 79:8
“Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us! Let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us, for we have been brought very low.”

Memory is a funny thing. There are certain things that no matter how hard I try, I cannot seem to remember, and other things I can never forget. Names are particularly hard for me. It is not that I don’t care, or don’t want to remember; I just have a mental block. I have tried all the tricks: concentrating when the person introduces themselves, repeating the name back to them, using it in the conversation, and even relating their name to something else. Still, if some time has passed, and I encounter them again, the file that holds their name has been corrupted, and my memory refuses to access it.

It is not a memory problem, because there are many things that I have a hard time forgetting. Those are usually my failures. I can be haunted by the ways I have let others down, or been a disappointment. I am particularly plagued, at times, by past sins. It is during those times that I am encouraged by the way God’s memory works. While He is omniscient, He chooses to forget our sins and refuses to forget our accomplishments.

“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 8:12

When we are plagued with a failure from the past, it is important to remember that it is not the Lord who is bringing it to mind. When that sin was committed, the blood of Christ had already made payment for it. Our Savior already paid the price, carried the punishment, and removed the sin, as far as the East is from the West; drowning it in the depths of the sea. There is someone who loves to bring up the past, his name is Satan, and one of his titles is the Accuser of the Brethren. Scripture tells us he lives to bring accusation against us for our failures. Since God refuses to listen to the accusations, he has to find another audience; that audience is usually the sinner. I don’t know how much time he spends trying to convince others of my unworthiness, but I know he expends a tremendous amount of energy on me. During those times I am so thankful that I can cry out with the Psalmist “Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us! Let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us, . . .”

If you are struggling with a past failure, whether it ended ten years ago or ten minutes ago, the solution is the same. Confess your sin and receive the complete and total pardon that Christ offers through His shed blood. Do not dwell on your failure, but on His mercy. Instead of playing back that event over and over in your mind, use your thoughts to recall the cross. Think back to His love for you, that was displayed as He gave His life to pardon your sin. Allow His blood and love to wash you clean and restore your strength.

Pastor Jim

Game Day

Deuteronomy 9:1
“Hear, O Israel: You are to cross over the Jordan today, and go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourself, cities great and fortified up to heaven”

Imagine being on a team that has lost most of its games. Time after time, no matter who your opponent was, you figured out a way to lose. Now, imagine your team is about to face the best team in the league. How confident do you think you would be as the coach begins his pep talk in the locker room?

Israel’s 40 year journey through the wilderness has been marked with loss after devastating loss. From the very beginning they lived with fear, failure and defeat. They complained at the lack of resources, lusted for the fantasy life of Egypt, committed heinous sins with the golden calf and the women of Moab, lived in unbelief, refusing to enter the land of Promise, then watched as a generation died in the wilderness. Now, after what might be viewed as “pre-season games,” they are on the verge of entering the land where they will face “nations greater and mightier than yourself, cities great and fortified up to heaven.”

Based on their past, their future looks bleak. Moses exhorts them not to look at themselves and their failure, but at the Lord, and the work He desires to accomplish in and through them. He declares,

Deuteronomy 9:5
“It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God drives them out from before you, and that He may fulfill the word which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

The righteousness of Israel was not the driving force behind their victories. Instead, they were to be ever mindful of the faithfulness of God. Much of what we struggle with is too great for our personal weakness. Praise the Lord, He will fight for us. He will drive out what is too great and mighty for us to defeat in our own strength.

Take time today to cling to the promises of God and walk with the confidence that it is He who will bring you to victory.

Pastor Jim


Pharaoh’s Failure

Exodus 5:2
“And Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.’”

IMG_1387All of Pharaoh’s foolish decisions can be traced back to this statement. The fact is, he did not know the power of God, which caused him to view the miracles as parlor tricks, and have his magicians do the same. It was a failure to understand the provision of God. He couldn’t see how releasing his work force would ever be good for the prosperity of his nation. Most of all, it was his failure to comprehend the plans of God, which caused him to harden his heart and resist Moses. Week after week, month after month, Moses preached to Pharaoh. He explained the plans of God, and yet Pharaoh resisted. He failed to realize these oppressed slaves were part of the plan of God, to save the human race. What he saw, was an immigrant work force to further his kingdom. God saw the nation from whom the Messiah would come, and the world would be saved. Pharaoh’s hardened heart and resistance to Moses’ message did not thwart the plans of God, but it did cost Pharaoh dearly. It cost him in this life. He suffered, his family suffered, and his nation suffered, all because he refused to submit to the plans and purposes of God. What a different story we would read, had Pharaoh only accepted the Word of God.

The same remains true today. God’s purpose is still to save humanity. Week after week, month after month, His message is being declared, and many are responding by placing trust in Christ. Sadly, however, many follow the foolish example of Pharaoh. They harden their hearts and resist the Word of God. Instead of resisting God and suffering loss, both now and in eternity, will you respond to His call, and surrender to Christ? His love for you is great and His plans are perfect.

Pastor Jim


For Me Or Against Me

Genesis 42:36
“And Jacob their father said to them, ‘You have bereaved me: Joseph is no more, Simeon is no more, and you want to take Benjamin. All these things are against me.’”

2015/01/img_1356.jpgSometimes perspective is reality. How we see things will determine how we act. Jacob had experienced a series of very difficult trials. He lost his sons, Joseph and Simeon, and now he was in danger of losing his youngest son, Benjamin. As these things built up around him, he cried out in despair, “All these things are against me.” What Jacob failed to realize is, the things that seemed to be working against him, were the very things God was using to work out the salvation of his family. All he could see was loss, but God was at work, behind the scenes, preparing a much greater reward than he could ever imagine.

Life is like that. We see things through the lens of our limited experience and knowledge. When something goes against what we perceive as “the plan”, we become discouraged, upset, heartbroken or even angry. Sometimes, like Jacob, we will forget God’s promises, and raise our voice to accuse Him of wrong-doing. If only Jacob could look beyond the walls of his limited vantage point, and see what God was actually accomplishing, then instead of despair, his voice would be filled with praise. God has a different way, He wants us to look beyond our experiences, and into His promises. He wants us to believe Him when He said, “ALL things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

Regardless of what difficulties you are facing today, keep in mind that you cannot see the whole story. You are somewhere in the middle of what God is doing, and He promises not to leave you, but to work things out for His ultimate purposes.

Pastor Jim