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openarmsgirlThe beauty of the Gospel is that when our performance isn’t perfect, God’s grace covers us. The truth is, we all make mistakes and bad decisions that can cause us to feel disqualified. Sometimes when we cause our own problems, we think we don’t deserve God’s help. Yet thankfully, He doesn’t refuse to help us out of the messes we make.

In fact, God will not only help us turn our mistakes around, but in many cases, He’ll cause something good to come out of them.

Either way, one thing is certain: God does not want us to feel guilty because of the times we did it wrong in the past.

It takes bold faith to believe God will bless us even after we make mistakes. It’s the accuser who tells us that God won’t listen if we are at fault for the mess-up. The enemy will whisper, “Who do you think you are, asking for God’s help when this problem is YOUR fault?” When accusations like that taunt us, we can boldly answer, “I am the redeemed. I am loved. I am a child of God covered by grace!”

Consider how God delivered Jonah even though he messed things up pretty badly. God gave Jonah an assignment to go to Nineveh and deliver a message, but instead, Jonah got on board a boat going the opposite direction. He wanted to get as far away from Nineveh as possible! But when a terrible storm developed at sea, Jonah confessed to the crew that he had caused their trouble. The crew members were merciless toward Jonah and threw him overboard to save themselves. Jonah not only thought that this was the end of his life, but also that he was getting exactly what he deserved. But in spite of Jonah’s disobedience, God had mercy on him. Why? Because “... the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting....”

No matter what happens, God is willing to clean up the messes we make.

The psalmist said, “He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is his love to those who fear him. And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated s from our sins.” Jonah thought that because he disobeyed God, deliverance was impossible. But God can make a way where there seems to be no way. He knows how to deliver us out of our situation and make our lives better.

Just when Jonah thought things couldn’t get any worse, a fish swallowed him. He thought because he disobeyed God that he deserved just what had happened, but then Jonah began to pray: “I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and he answered me.” Things didn’t look any different for a while. He was still in the belly of a fish, but he put his faith in God’s deliverance. “...But you, O Lord my God, snatched me from the jaw of death!... For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.”

Jonah prayed that God would rescue him in spite of his disobedience. It takes bold faith to believe that God will rescue us when we are the ones who caused the problem. Most of the time when we disobey God, we are overcome with guilt, but faith says, “Even though I blew it, I still believe if I repent, God will forgive me.”

God will do no less for us than what He did for Jonah. After Jonah prayed, God caused the fish to swim to the shore and spit him out. Jonah was right back where God wanted him. It was the mercy of God that turned Jonah’s situation around.

God wants us to shake off the guilt so He can take us to where we are supposed to be.

And should we take a detour like Jonah did, it doesn’t mean we will miss our destiny. It’s important to know the Lord spoke to Jonah a second time and God told Jonah the same thing He told him the first time.

God is a God of second chances! He can redirect our detour in a split second. Second Timothy 3:16 tells us the Word is good for resetting the direction of our lives.6 God has a divine GPS system that can recalculate the route to our destiny, no matter how far off we’ve detoured. Whenever we start to honor God right where we are in life, that’s when things will begin to change. Jonah obeyed God the second time He spoke. Although Jonah had made a serious detour, his destiny remained intact.

When we take a detour like Jonah, it’s easy to allow guilt to make us feel disqualified and think we must sit on the sidelines. But we have to act like Jonah who prayed for God to deliver him even when he didn’t deserve it. We have to believe that God can turn our situation around and help us return to the path that leads us to our destiny. We have to believe that He will give us another chance and that He still wants to use us to accomplish the dreams He has planted in our hearts.

Too often we look at others and think they’ve never made mistakes in their lives. But the truth is, we’ve all made mistakes that have taken us on a detour. Yet God in His mercy works it out for each one of us if we’ll only believe.

Years ago Dennis and I nearly took a major detour when a businessman made us an offer that looked too good to be true — because it was! He had a very large frame business and wanted to retire, but he didn’t have an heir to take over the business. He told us that he’d been watching us and knew we were hard workers, so he offered to train us and then turn the business over to us once we had learned it.

Dennis and I were very excited — except the more we thought about it, the more we felt it wasn’t what it seemed. We finally woke up when we realized that this had nothing to do with the destiny God had revealed to us. We chose to believe the destiny God had for us and to follow His path — which, at the moment, looked like a less promising opportunity. But because we chose to believe the destiny God had for us, we took the right path.

If we had taken the opportunity that man offered us, we would have strayed way off God’s assignment for our lives. But even then — even if we had made that mistake — we still served the God of the second chance! We could have repented for our disobedience, and God would have used His heavenly GPS system to recalculate the most direct route to our destiny!

We have to shake off the guilt, repent, and get back on the right path, because God has an assignment for each of us to fulfill. Contrary to what many believe, God doesn’t show us mercy only when we do everything right. Even when we make foolish mistakes, He will have mercy on us because that’s who He is. The scripture says, “For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn...” — not even when we do something wrong.

I’m not suggesting we live any ol’ way we want and expect to waltz right into our destiny. Although God’s love isn’t based on our performance, we certainly shouldn’t be trying to see how much we can get away with and still remain in His favor. When we maintain a true relationship with God, we want to please Him and He promises that goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives. His goodness and mercy protect and guide us even when we aren’t aware of it.

Our poor choices can’t stop the assignment God has for us. We aren’t that powerful!

God is greater than our poor choices. Even though God promised Abram that he would have a child, years passed and he remained childless. Sarah got tired of waiting and devised a plan of her own. She had her maid sleep with Abram, and Ishmael was born. But even though Sarah’s plan caused all kinds of trouble in their lives, it didn’t stop the promise of God from coming to pass. God gave Abram a son just like He had promised. God not only fixed their mistake, but He gave them a miracle.

We should allow Sarah’s poor decision to encourage us. No matter how bad our choices, nothing can disqualify us from God’s love. We have to shake off the guilt when we take detours, quit listening to the accuser, and get back on with fulfilling our God-given destiny!



Copyright © Dennis Burke Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Vikki Burke
Web site: Dennis Burke Ministries
 
Vikki and Dennis began as youth pastors in 1973 in Southern California where they received tremendous insight into the work of the local church. In 1976, they moved to Ft. Worth, Texas, to work with Kenneth Copeland Ministries. Vikki worked with KCM for three years before entering full-time ministry with her husband. Since that time, their relationship and involvement with Kenneth Copeland Ministries has continued. Vikki and Dennis have had numerous articles published in the Believer's Voice of Victory magazine.
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