Ryan Lochte And The Opportunity Of The Second Chance

Regardless of the lies we have told, the blunders we have made and the sins we have committed, God will not only forgive us, but He will give us the opportunity for the second chance.

ryan-lochteRyan Lochte lied!  Lochte a 32-year-old U.S. Olympic swimmer has won 12 Olympic medals – six gold, three silver, three bronze.  Lochte’s achievements rank him second behind only Michael Phelps as the most decorated man in Olympic swimming History.    

In spite of his successes, Lochte created an international incident at the Rio Olympics.  As, Ryan told the world that he and three other American Swimmers were robbed at gunpoint by men carrying police badges.    

A Brazilian police investigation not only proved the allegation false, but revealed it was Lochte who had committed the crime. In a drunken rampage the swimmer vandalized a sign, destroyed a bathroom soap dispenser and publicly urinated at a Rio gas station.

Ryan Lochte lied!

IMG_0891Marben Bland lied!  Bland a 58-year-old seminary student and licensed preacher has had a stellar professional career –  earning honors as a speaker, writer and business owner.

He has worked in senior leadership for some of the world’s best companies including Sara Lee, Eaton, Fiskars Brands, PPG and Advanced Micro Devices.  He actively practices his Christian faith by preaching, blogging and leading group bible studies.

However, despite his professional accolades and professed faith, Marben has lied repeatedly about important and trivial things, to family, friends, business partners and the women in his romantic life.

His lies inflected pain, produced misunderstandings, causing loses of money, trust and social standing.

Marben Bland lied!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             King DavidDavid lied!  King David, the “sweet singer of Israel,” reigned over Israel for nearly 40 years, from 1000 B.C. to 962 B.C.  David’s greatness as a leader was forecast years prior to his kingship.  As a young shepherd, beyond all odds, he defeated the towering Philistine Warrior – Goliath.    

As King, David conquered the city of Jerusalem, defeated the Philistines and ushered in the city’s golden age.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Following God’s commandments, David brought the Ark to Jerusalem and destroyed the “High Places” where only the select could worship. He made Jerusalem not only the political capital of Israel, but its religious center as well. 

Not only did King David successfully rule over a unified Israel, but his reign also established a powerful dynasty. From David’s bloodline would come Jesus the Christ, sent by God to restore Israel and to save the world.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         However, with all that greatness and favor from God, David lied about an affair he had with a woman named Bathsheba. 

David followed this lie with a murder – he arranged for Uriah, Bathsheba’s Husband, to be sent to the front lines of battle where he was killed.  The lie led to additional death and pain, as the son conceived in David and Bathsheba’s night of passion died.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ryan, Marben and David all lied! 

Sooner or later, we will reap the consequences sowed by our lies:

  • Ryan – lost his sponsor endorsements and faces the possibility of being barred from competitive swimming.
  • Marben – lost friends, opportunities, money and relationships.
  • David – lost control of the royal court as his son Adonijah attempted to overthrow his father and seize his throne.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

However, despite all the wrong that we have done; God gives all of us the opportunity of a second chance.

God is not only the God of second chances; He is the God of another chance!

This is good news because even when given another chance, most of us mess up the opportunity of the second chance fairly quickly.

One of the amazing facets of God’s character is His incredible patience with us.  Psalm 86:15 says it well, “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”

Micah 7:18 says, “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance?  He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.” 

 Regardless of the lies we have told, the blunders we have made and the sins we have committed, God will not only forgive us, but He will give us the opportunity for the second chance. 

Nevertheless, to gain that second chance, we must sincerely ask God for forgiveness.

After his sins with Bathsheba were exposed, David wrote Psalm 51, which can be a model for us when we ask the Father for forgiveness:

“‘Be merciful to me, O God, because of your constant love.
Because of your great mercy wipe away my sins!’  
 

Wash away all my evil and make me clean from my sin!’    

‘I recognize my faults; I am always conscious of my sins.’

I have sinned against you — only against you — and done what you consider evil.  So you are right in judging me; you are justified in condemning me.’” (vs 1-4)

“Be merciful to me, O God, because of your constant love. Because of your great mercy wipe away my sins!” (vs 1)

Psalm 130:3 from The Message translation tells us:

“If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings, who would stand a chance? As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit, and that’s why you’re worshiped.”

God has given Ryan, Marben, David and anyone who is reading this post the opportunity for a second chance.

Remember that no lie is too big, and no sin is too large that God will not forgive.

Ryan, Marben and David all lied – but we are all given the opportunity of the second chance by a God who loves us and wants the best for us even when we have done wrong greatly.

For as Sir Thomas Moore wrote in the great hymn of the church –  Come, Ye Disconsolate, “Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Who Do You Trust?

A recent YouGov poll reveals that Americans have a profound lack of trust in both Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump.

The New American Standard Dictionary defines trust as, “A firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.”

Trusting the Lord is the hallmark of our faith.

Proverbs 3:5 states it clearly, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

Think about it, how many of our difficulties, defeats and dilemmas stem from our failure to trust the lord with all of our heart?

One area where many of us fail to trust the Lord is with our finances.

For many years I went about my life living as I thought according to God’s commandments, praying, reading the Word even leading Bible studies.  However, when it came to money, I failed to live out God expectations.  In essence I did not trust God with my money.

But that was the problem my money is not my money.  The funds that we “earn” working our jobs, investing our money or even enjoying the jackpot from the lottery are given to us by God because He trust us to act as stewards of what He has given to on His behalf.

Paul make the case for stewardship in 2 Corinthians 9:6 when he says; “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”

Trusting God and being a good steward of our finances will reap these bountifully results:

1. Trusting God –  Will Give Us More Money 

God does not want us to live pay check to pay check with nothing saved for a vacation or a rainy day.  Trusting God with our money requires us to save.  1st Corinthians 16:2 gives us a great plan for saving. “On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come”.

This command is really simple when we get paid, save some of it.  If your funds are tight start with saving a dollar per paid period with the goal of increasing it by one dollar each time you get paid.

Soon you will be amazed how the dollars will add up and you trust in the Lord will increase as you realize that He will make a way for you to save when you thought that your funds were too tight to ever consider saving.     

2. Trusting God – Will Get You Out of Debt

Being a good steward of finances calls us to pay off debt.  Psalms 37:21 tells us The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but

the righteous is generous and gives.

God wants His children to be debt free.  However, the question is with student loan, credit card, car and other debts how do we work our way out to the financial pit many of us find ourselves in?

God has graced many talented people to help His children get out of debt.  I am big fan of Dave Ramsey and His Financial Peace University click on this link to find a church near you that are conducting financial peace classes.

3. Trusting God –  Will Make You A Generous Financial Giver 

Being a godly steward of our finances will make you a more generous giver with God and with yourself.

A Word About Tithing:

Many Christians struggle with the issue of tithing. In some churches giving is over-emphasized. At the same time, many Christians refuse to submit to the biblical exhortations about making offerings to the Lord. Tithing/giving is intended to be a joy and a blessing. Sadly, that is sometimes not the case in the church today.

Let’s be clear tithing is an Old Testament concept. The tithe was a requirement of the Law in which the Israelites were to give 10 percent of the crops they grew and the livestock they raised to the tabernacle/temple (Leviticus 27:30;Numbers 18:26Deuteronomy 14:242 Chronicles 31:5).

In fact, the Old Testament Law required multiple tithes—one for the Levites, one for the use of the temple and the feasts, and one for the poor of the land—which would have pushed the total to around 23.3 percent. Some understand the Old Testament tithe as a method of taxation to provide for the needs of the priests and Levites in the sacrificial system.

The New Testament nowhere commands, or even recommends, that Christians submit to a legalistic tithe system. The New Testament nowhere designates a percentage of income a person should set aside, but only says gifts should be “in keeping with income” as we discovered in 1 Corinthians 16:2, when it says that we should take put something aside.

We are to give as we are able. Sometimes that means giving more than 10 percent; sometimes that may mean giving less. It all depends on the ability of the Christian and the needs of the church.

However, despite the teachings of New Testament I still tithe.

Why Do I Tithe?

I tithe not because of a legalist commandment that requires me to give at least 10 percent.  I tithe for one reason and one reason only because I trust God with my money.    

Tithes and offerings should be given with pure motives and an attitude of worship to God and service to the body of Christ. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

God trust me to be a good steward of the money He has given me.  And because God trust me, I trust I trust Him.

Trust the Lord with your money, it will give you an eternal return on your investment.

Live In Peace

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Often when people die, we who are left behind say to the departed, “Rest in peace.”   While those words are meant to honor the dead, God wants to honor the living, by giving us the opportunity to live in peace.

Over and over again God’s Word offers us peace.

Often when people die, we who are left behind say to the departed, “Rest in peace.”   While those words are meant to honor the dead, God wants to honor the living, by giving us the opportunity to live in peace.

Over and over again God’s Word offers us peace.

Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made know to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you peace and rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest and peace for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Paul in Romans 5:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”    

Despite all of our efforts to find peace in things good and bad, the only real and true peace is found through our faith in Jesus Christ.

Therefore, put your trust in the Lord and live in peace.

The concept of living in peace is great, but how do we do it in a world that challenges our peace in so many ways?

Three strategies for living in peace:

1. Put God First In All Things

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33

When we put God first, we will gain peace. For when we live our lives in His lenses and with His guidance, all of us can bring the peace of the Lord to the pressures of life.

2. Bring Our Lives To Christ In Prayer

“O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”

These lyrics by Joseph M. Scrive in the classic song – What a friend we have in Jesus – says it all about the power of prayer.

God hears the prayers of His children.  The Lord commands us to pray, and He promises to listen when we do.  David, in Psalm 18:6 expresses how God will respond when we call.  “In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.”

3. Study God’s Word to discover what would Jesus do   

 

“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.” Proverbs 3:1-2

If we truly want peace we need to understand the ways of the Prince of Peace Jesus Christ.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

Therefore, let us all live in peace!

tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made know to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you peace and rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest and peace for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Paul in Romans 5:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”    

Despite all of our efforts to find peace in things good and bad, the only real and true peace is found through our faith in Jesus Christ.

Therefore, put your trust in the Lord and live in peace.

The concept of living in peace is great, but how do we do it in a world that challenges our peace in so many ways?

Three strategies for living in peace:

1. Put God First In All Things

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33

When we put God first, we will gain peace. For when we live our lives in His lenses and with His guidance, all of us can bring the peace of the Lord to the pressures of life.

2. Bring Our Lives To Christ In Prayer

“O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”

These lyrics by Joseph M. Scrive in the classic song – What a friend we have in Jesus – says it all about the power of prayer.

God hears the prayers of His children.  The Lord commands us to pray, and He promises to listen when we do.  David, in Psalm 18:6 expresses how God will respond when we call.  “In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.”

3. Study God’s Word to discover what would Jesus do   

“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.” Proverbs 3:1-2

If we truly want peace we need to understand the ways of the Prince of Peace Jesus Christ.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

Therefore, let us all live in peace!

Running The Successful Race

Nearly 11,000 athletes from 206 countries are gathering in Rio for 17 days of competition at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

Medals will be given out in 306 events, including swimming, volleyball, and for the first time in 112 years – golf.  However, the primary focus of these games will be on the track.  The Jamaican Sprinter, Usain Bolt, will attempt to defend his Olympic Gold Medal in the 100-meter race, and try to hold on to his title of “world’s fastest man.”

Paul uses the analogy of an athletic race as a metaphor for life in 2nd Timothy 4:7-8.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

These verses from are often read at funerals to commemorate the life achievements of the recently departed.

As effective as these verses from Paul are at reflecting the end of life, they do little to describe the elements needed to run a successful life race.

In 2nd Timothy 4:2-4, Paul gives his apprentice Timothy instructions for running a successful race.  A careful reading helps us to apply these God-given instructions to our lives.

Let’s examine Paul’s charge for running a successful life race:

  • Preach the word
  • Be prepared in season and out of season
  • Correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction
  • Keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist and discharge all the duties of your ministry.

God calls all of us to His service in this race of life.  One does not have to be a preacher, or be ordained, or even be taking a Greek Class in seminary to be a minister in the service of Christ Jesus.

In this race – God calls us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves

In this race – God calls us to forgive others as we ask for forgiveness

In this race – God calls us to make disciples of all people.

Therefore, enjoy the pageantry of the opening ceremonies, the spirit of competition, and the awarding of the medals to the successful runners of the race.

However, let us not forget to run a successful race as ministers for the Lord, to the people of God.  Then, one day it will be said about us and our ministry, “we fought the good fight, we finished the race, and we kept the faith.”