I got to speak at Treehouse tonight. Its a ministry where kids who are often forgotten have a place to go and be seen. To be encouraged and supported and learn about the God who loves them.

I have spoken there twice now and it continues to be an honor.

Tonight I talked about King David and King Josiah. The two greatest kings to be in the Bible, (except of course for our Lord, I wouldn't forget him). What makes these two men so great? Simply... their heart.

David was claimed, he was anointed and chosen by God. All other kings were measured by David. David was passionately in love with the Lord and was dedicated to honoring him. Christ was even called, "The son of David." In his love and devotion to God, even David committed multiple sins. And not just sins of passion, he was plotting and scheming and planning. He had time to rethink and stop his actions, but he didn't. Even while being claimed by God, David sinned greatly. And when he was called out on his indiscretions, he didn't run from it or try to explain it away, or even blame it on someone else. (That seems to be man's MO if you ask me. Or my children. They love blaming someone else for what they did wrong.) David was convicted of his sin and instead of running away, he ran towards God. He claimed forgiveness. He clung to God's mercy. His heart was longing after God.

It wasn't David's accomplishments that made him great, it was his heart for the Lord. Even in sin, he sought God. He didn't allow Satan to use guilt to keep him away. Guilt is powerful for me. It is often the greatest tool to keep me from forgiveness or even a fulfilling faith journey. Guilt allows us to believe that what we have done, or the promises broken are the last straw. That you have reached God's limit. You aren't worthy of what is freely offered to others. Guilt makes you believe Love is not for you. Guilt paralyzes your heart.

King Josiah didn't have guilt, but he had excuses. Scripture says that Josiah's dad did every kind of evil in the eyes of the Lord. Think about evil. Neglect. Abuse. Adultery. Theft. Scheming. Murder. Lies. Hate. Pornography. Anger. Blame. Jealousy. Manipulation. This was his role model. This was the man who was supposed to teach him all about life and love and trust. Josiah became king at age eight, and he walked in the ways of his father David, doing right in the eyes of the Lord.

Josiah had all sorts of excuses to not trust God. He had excuses for living life in outright sin, and yet he didn't. He chose God. He chose love. He chose life. His heart was striving for God.

Joshua 24:15 says that, "Even when serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, choose this day whom you will serve." Even when we don't feel like it, we have a choice. Yes, guilt and excuses are great crutches, but is that what we want? Doesn't God have more for us?

I think of these kids at Treehouse. What is like to live their life and sit there listening to a gal talk about how God is there for you. That we all make mistakes, but its not about that, its what we do after. Do we run from God or towards him? We all have excuses, but God wants more for us. I can lean on God's strength to trust him and give him my heart.

How do you choose that when your parents never notice you and you feel alone?
How do you choose that when your boyfriend is pressuring you to have sex and you don't want to, but you love him so much and don't want to loose him?
How do you choose that when you want someone to ask you to hang out over the weekend and you've been waiting for a friend. You know God is there, but you want a friend to hang out with.
How do you choose that when your parents expect perfect grades and you can't handle the pressure?
How do you choose that when life seems so much easier with the edge taken off by ____insert drug name here.
How do you choose that when you know you have to stop hanging out with your friends because you aren't strong enough to say no to them, and you aren't proud of who you are when you are with them?
How do you choose that when the pain you inflict of the cut on your arm or leg actually gives you release and prayer doesn't?
How do you choose that when taking the diet pills makes you feel like you have some sort of control in your life and you are afraid all the time of what people think of you?
When you feel alone.
When you feel unloved.
When you feel unseen.
When you feel scared.
When you feel torn.
When you feel weak.
When you feel lost.
When you feel guilty.
When you feel depressed.
When you feel ashamed.
When you feel afraid.

How do you choose God in those moments of weakness?

It can't be easy being a teenager without a faith support system at home. When you feel alone in your relationship with God.

I ask that you please keep these students in your prayers. For all the hard things they face everyday and the people who hurt them or neglect them. For all the kids who don't even have Treehouse as a refuge. Pray for them. Pray hard for strength and conviction and courage. Pray that they know they are loved.