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The first time I ever flew into New York City, the man who picked me up said, "Well, you just landed on the garbage of New York." I said, "What do you mean by that?" He said, "Well, you see, LaGuardia Airport is built on a landfill. Years ago all these garbage trucks hauled all this garbage from New York out here and built a place where there's now an airport. I was impressed. I thought, "You know, it's amazing what engineers can do. I mean, they made something very useful out of garbage." You know, there is a cosmic engineer who put the galaxies together, and He is a genius at making something useful out of garbage.
Our word for today from the Word of God is found in Psalm 51. It's a very, very touching psalm because of the point at which David is writing it. He has sinned the great sin of adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of one of his most loyal soldiers. He's then arranged for the murder at the battle front of his friend—her husband. And we now find him groping his way back to the Lord, repenting and seeking forgiveness.
I guess if I were to title this psalm it might be called David at the Dump, because he's really facing a garbage situation—the garbage of his life. Listen to some excerpts from this psalm. "Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Let me hear joy and gladness. Let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways and sinners will turn back to You."
See, David knows where to begin in cleaning up the garbage of our lives. You've got to acknowledge its ugliness, and he has. And he says, "Now, Lord, I'm counting on You. Please clean it up; give me a new kind of purity. And then give me a determined, steadfast spirit. I've learned from this, God. I'm not going to make these mistakes again. And give me back my joy better than ever."
But notice the result. He said, "As a result of that, God is going to make the garbage of my life into a ministry. Because "I will teach transgressors Your ways and sinners will turn back to You." That's a pretty exciting concept to recognize that God can take the garbage of a sin-scarred life and convert it into credentials of His grace.
It happened to the Apostle Paul. As Saul of Tarsus, he murdered Christians, he imprisoned them. His violent past later, though, opened many doors when he came to people and they said, "Woah! You mean you are a follower of Christ?" God turned that garbage into something very useful. It opened doors; it opened hearts. How many times I've heard people say, "You know, after what I've been through, I wouldn't want to go through it again, and I wouldn't want anyone else to. But I can have a ministry to people who are where I was."
Look, maybe you've been a victim of sin. I think of Joan who was abused by her father. But she has resolved that relationship; she's learned to forgive and love him, and this lady is having an amazing ministry to people who were sinned against in the same way. Now, that's not an excuse to play in the garbage. It's far better never to have been there. Just ask anyone who's been there. But if there's garbage in your past, bring it to the Lord Jesus—to the cross where He paid for it all. Let Him forgive you. Let Him clean you up. And most miraculously, then use the junk of your past for His glory and the good of many others.
See, only Jesus could do this. It took His death on the cross to so beat the power and the penalty of our sin that He can now offer us forgiveness and meaning, and turn our past into an incredible future. This could be the day that you could leave all the sin, and all the junk, and all the garbage of a lifetime at His cross. You say, "Jesus, forgive me. I believe You died for me. I'm Yours."
We'd love to help you do that. You can check out our website. You'll find a lot of stuff there from the Bible that will help you. It's YoursForLife.net.
The power of Christ is so great that it reaches even to the garbage dumps of our lives and turns trash into treasure. Like the song writer said, "All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife, but He made something beautiful of my life."