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Pastor's Corner - Sept. 1, 2022

How many of you know what a tattoo is?

Before anybody gets defensive, I’m not preaching against tattoos. It is your body. If you want tattoos, more power to you. I don’t. But that’s me.

Anyways, do you know how a tattoo is applied? The tattoo artist takes a torture device, a needle, and he runs ink into your skin with it to leave an image on your skin. How long does the tattoo stay on your skin? [BEGIN ITAL]It is permanent!![END ITAL] It stays forever. As long as you have skin, you will have that tattoo.

When you are 18 and you thought it would be cool to get that symbol that was popular in the culture at the time. Now that you are 40, it may not be quite as cool. Or maybe you got a lower-back tattoo when you had tight skin and as the years have passed, well, never mind.

But I’m sure that nobody ever did anything foolish as a teenager or young adult that they now regret. What if that regret was on display for the whole world to see? I have heard stories of people getting tattoos with people’s names and then end up with somebody else. That name is on permanent display on their skin.

There is a TV show that used to air on cable called “Bad Ink.” The whole premise of the show was people brought problem tattoos to these artists to have them fixed.

How do you fix a tattoo? The tattoo is permanently engraved on the skin. The tattoo artist does not remove the tattoo. The artist builds upon it. He takes the mistake, the regret, and he adds to it to make something completely new.

It’s not too difficult to find lives in scripture that could demonstrate similarities. Take Paul, for example. Paul had every reason to be proud of the family in which he came from. Philippians 3:5 says, [BEGIN ITAL] “I was circumcised eight days after my birth. I am from the people of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin. I am a Hebrew, and my parents were Hebrews. I had a strict view of the law, which is why I became a Pharisee.”[END ITAL] Paul later tells us that he was the worst of sinners.

1 Timothy 1:15 says, [BEGIN ITAL] “What I say is true, and you should fully accept it: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.”[END ITAL] When Paul accepted Jesus, Paul took all of his life experiences with him. When Paul went on his missionary trips, he had to know how to communicate and work with church and government leaders. He learned all of that as a sinner before he came to Jesus.

God did not erase Paul’s past as a sinner. God built on Paul’s bad ink. Paul’s past experiences allowed Paul to reach out and touch the lives of people he never would have reached had it not been for the life experiences before. God didn’t throw away the bad ink of Paul; God built upon it and used it to touch lives.

God is still in the using bad ink business. We have bad ink. Not just physical tattoos, but emotional and relational bad ink as well. If you feel like they are never going away, you are right. But we don’t stop there. We will build upon them and have a completely new creation.

I don’t have to settle for bad ink when God is giving me new ink. God is not and never has been surprised by anything you did. Psalms 139:16 says, [BEGIN ITAl]“You saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old.”[END ITAL] He knew all about you and loved you enough to build upon you anyway. You are constantly on his mind.

If God can build upon your bad ink, then perhaps He is getting you ready to touch the life of somebody else with bad ink. God is getting ready to move in a mighty way in this area. We get to be a part of it. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. Jacob means deceiver. Israel means struggles with God. Matthew 22:32 says, [BEGIN ITAL]“God said, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”[END ITAL] You see, He is the God of your mistakes, too. He doesn’t just love you when you are perfectly in his will. He loves you during your bad ink as well. God didn’t just love Israel. He loved Jacob. He wasn’t just the God of Israel. He was the God of Jacob, too. He loves us, too. He loves us in our good times and in our bad. He loves us when we are Israel, and he loves us when we are Jacob.

The best is yet to come.


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