Hakuna Matata   

Remember It | Devotion #1: Hakuna Matata
Isaiah Combs | Worship Leader

Here is a crazy fact that will make some of you feel old. The Disney movie, “The Lion King,” was released into theaters in 1994. That was 24 years ago. I have always loved The Lion King, and now that I have my own kids, I force them to watch it with me. That was until my 5-year-old daughter began to get nightmares because of the scene that Mufasa dies. It is pretty intense. I would have to agree.

But there is a song in the movie that is really catchy. The song is “Hakuna Matata,” and it means “no worries.” The meaning of the song and the phrase “Hakuna Matata” is that the past does not matter because it is in the past. Once we accept it is in the past, it is gone, and you should forget about it. The song also talks about a warthog, named Pumbaa, who had a stink problem when he was a young warthog and forgetting the past helped him move on into his future. It is a problem-free philosophy. But I do not agree. Remembering your past can help you appreciate where and why you are in your walk right now.

The Bible is very clear about what happens to my sins and my past. Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” We also read in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I am very thankful for the forgiveness of my past, and I am thankful I am not that person anymore. It is good to remember what God saved us from. He will not use it against us, nor should we.

Our past is important. Although I am not proud of my past, I get to use my past all the time to help people going through the same or similar situation and trials in their life. I like to call my past, my testimony. It is my testimony on what God has done and has continued to do in my life. It is nothing that I have done. but it is everything that Jesus has done in and through me. 

I still like the song “Hakuna Matata,” and I still will let my kids watch the movie. I will remain thankful for my past because it is my testimony. So remember your past and use it for the glory of God. There is someone out there right now struggling, and they need to hear your testimony of what God has done.

Who I Used to Be

Forget It | Devotion #6: Who I Used to Be
Katrina Young | Nursery & Pre-K Director

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

As a new believer, I was given the book Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. In this book, the main character, “Christian,” is weighed down by the burden of his sin. When he came to the cross, the sin and burden fell from his shoulders, rolled down a hill, and disappeared into an empty tomb. The story represents what takes place when we confess our sin to God. He lifts it off our shoulders, takes it away, and remembers it no more. 

In a few weeks, I will be attending my 40th high school class reunion. I am from a very small town in Indiana, so it goes without saying, my class was very small as well. As little towns go, there is not much that is private in your life. Our class knew each other very well, and if we were not close friends, we still were very aware of the details of each other’s lives. “Nothing was a secret!” At this point in our lives getting together is a brief trip down “Memory Lane.” Yet, none of us are the people that we once were, and in getting reacquainted, I am certain I am not alone in hoping there is very little memory of who I once was but rather, want them to see who I am today, a child of God. 

We are reminded of forgiveness in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 

Perhaps the most difficult part of this Scripture is allowing ourselves to let go of our own transgressions and guilt so that we can walk in freedom. Forgiving ourselves can be a bigger challenge because we are aware of the state of our own hearts and minds when we sinned. It is only through His abundant grace that He chooses to forgive us. By reliving the past and trying to carry the weight of our own sin, we can hinder our spiritual growth and prevent ourselves from doing what we are called to do. In the Psalms, King David wrote about God’s grace in saying, “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). If God does not hold our sin to us once we repent from it, why should we?

My prayer is that as I go through my daily walk, that people will see Christ in me and not the image of who I used to be. As C. S. Lewis wrote, “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.”

Mind your Mind

Forget It | Devotion #5: Mind your Mind
Jen Combs | Women’s Ministry

Do you have any skeletons in the closet? Are they the things you do not want other people to know about you? We all do to some extent. Fast forward some years, and you have come to the point in life where you now know the Lord as your Savior. He is ruling and reigning in your life. You serve Him, love Him, learn about Him, and He is the all-encompassing Lord of your life. But then there are those days where you wake up, feeling the baggage that is tied to you. It is like a steamboat that you are dragging around on dry ground that is chained to you. Some days you cannot get out of bed because of it. If you manage to peel yourself up, you look in the mirror and think, it is just too much. What are we supposed to do with our past once we have come to know the Lord? 

Can I remind you of how sneaky Satan is? Remember, he comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He is a liar, deceiver, and tempter. A lot of the times you will find that battle to be in your mind. At least it is for me. Satan wants you to wallow in your past, throw it in your face, and not forget that shame and guilt he likes to heap on you. 

All of this makes me think of 2 Peter 2:22, “What the true proverb says has happened to them: ‘The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.’” Some days we are so quick to forget that the Lord has forgiven us, He has taken our guilt and our shame on the cross. We are just like the sow, the Lord cleaned us all up, but we are so quick to return to the mud. We just cannot seem to forget all of the awful crazy that we have done. We wallow in the past, unable to forget it. 

One of my favorite verses is 1 Peter 1:13, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action…” The footnote in my Bible says, “Girding up the loins of your mind.” You have to know and understand that Satan wages war on our minds. You must gird up your mind, make it ready for battle, and flee those thoughts. When Satan lobs those fiery darts of shame and guilt, you have to run to Jesus. Take your mind and thoughts to Him. 

Philippians 4:8-9 adds, “Finally, brothers whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me-practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”  Training your thoughts is something, if you practice, the Lord can use to give you peace. He can help you flee the attacks of Satan. Start practicing today. 

Living Water

Forget It | Devotion #4: Living Water
Debbie Kerr | Office Administrator

John chapter 4 tells of the encounter Jesus had with a Samaritan woman at a well. Each day she would come to the well after everyone else had left. She walked around in great shame and condemnation, considered an outcast not only by the Jews but by her own people. She was known around town as the woman who had many husbands and was currently living with a man unmarried. On this particular day, Jesus was sitting at the well when she arrived. He purposely struck up a conversation with this Samaritan woman, which is something a Jew would never do. He began to speak life to her as He revealed everything she had ever done. 

Every day she went to the “well” of the world trying to find something or someone to quench her emotional and physical thirst. As she lowered her bucket down into the well, He explained to her that the water she was drawing would not satisfy and how she needs to taste the Living Water only He can give. Meaning, Jesus is the Living Water, and only He can completely meet her needs so that she will never have to go back to her old “well.” She instantly recognized that He must be the Christ, the One for whom they were waiting. She excitedly, ran off to tell the others of her encounter with Jesus. An interesting observation, as she ran off in her new found freedom and forgiveness, she left her bucket of cares and sins at the well with Jesus. That is exactly what He wants us to do with our past. 

Paul tells us in Philippians 3:13 (NKJV), “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.” The Apostle Paul is another excellent example of the importance of forgetting a terrible past. We cannot arrive where God wants to take us when we continue to look behind us with an often distorted and condemning view of the past. Even the side view mirror on our vehicles remind us that things behind us are deceiving and distorted. What we choose to focus on determines the trajectory of our lives. Jesus does not want us to look behind us because we are not going that way! It will only slow us down and keep us from being an effective member of the body of Christ. That is why we are instructed to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). 

Like the Samaritan woman and the Apostle Paul, once we are forgiven of our sins, we are no longer identified by our past. The next time the enemy tries to remind you of your past, remind him of who you are in Christ. You are chosen, loved, adopted, forgiven, and joint heirs with Jesus. The former things have passed away, and all things are becoming new!

Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” 

Stop Hiding

Forget It | Devotion #3: Stop Hiding
James Mann | Children’s Director

Anyone who knows me knows I grew up in a Christ-centered house. In 2005, my family and I moved from Michigan to Florida. Christ started moving from the center of my life as it became difficult to find a church to call home. Before I knew it, God was completely out of my life. I still prayed before meals and bed, but I was just saying a rehearsed prayer just to appease my parents. I was dead in my faith. For the longest time, there was this skeleton in my closet. I moved back to Michigan in 2011 and began to try this whole church and God thing again. I did not want anyone to know about this hidden past of living in the world. I avoided telling anyone and in return, became even more lost in the world. 

I went on an entire year like this. It was not until a year into going back to church that God made things clear for me. Luke 8:17-18 challenged me, “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.” For me, God was telling me that all my sins of the past would come to light eventually. If I bring them to light, then I can grow and truly start on the path He has chosen for me. 

Something we need to remember is that everyone has something in their life they are trying to hide from the world. Some skeletons are larger than others, but they need to be shared. The only way we can leave our skeletons behind us is by making our past known. Then, instead of hiding these skeletons we can leave them behind us and continue down the path God has chosen for us. As believers, the most important thing we can do right now is pray for God to show us what these skeletons are that we are carrying around and trying to hide from the world. Ask Him just to strengthen you and allow you to bring them to light and leave them behind. If we allow ourselves to do this, then, and only then, are we able to lighten our load and run after the desires that God has for us in our lives.

Office: 8393 E. Holly Rd. Holly, MI 48442 | 248.328.0490 |

Copyright © 2016 The River Church. All Rights Reserved.