What was your biggest betrayal? I don’t want to shame you at all, but those are moments we never forget. We carry that forever. We don’t have to carry the shame (and if you are still carrying shame, please reach out to us), but we can’t just forget the time we betrayed someone. Maybe you betrayed a friend’s confidence and hurt them deeply. Maybe you broke your marriage vows. Maybe you weren’t there for a parent when you should have been. Maybe, maybe, maybe. The list could go on and on, but somewhere in there, you know what your betrayal looked like, felt like, sounded like.
I can never forget my biggest betrayal. I broke the bonds with this precious, precious person and our relationship was never the same. Initially it was worse…so much worse. But the Lord did an amazing miracle in our relationship and now it’s better than it was before the betrayal. What we’ve built together since then is deeper, wider, more beautiful than before. It’s still a work in progress and it’s hard work at times, but we are doing it together and there’s peace and forgiveness there now.
But it all started with a recommitment to them and our relationship, a new promise, and a greater resolve to fulfill that promise everyday.
There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t remember how I hurt this person, but now there’s no shame carried in that memory any longer. All that’s left is a beautiful reminder of what God saved me from, how he pulled me out of that pit, and the work he’s done in my life since that time. Instead of bitter tears of regret, I am filled with tears of joy and gratitude. I’m so thankful for the forgiveness of God and the forgiveness of this precious person.
I never fully understood the weight of God’s grace until this betrayal, forgiveness, and restoration. Grace so heavy I can hardly bear the weight of it.
Isn’t this such a picture of what it looks like to be restored back into a right relationship with God? We were in the garden and suddenly we found ourselves at the crossroads…remain faithful to our relationship with God or betray him for a fleeting pleasure, for something that tasted good, but would never last. We’d betray him for a promise of something better that would create a hell on earth.
But then GOD! He made a way through the blood of Jesus, the forgiveness of that betrayal, and restored us to God our Father as if the betrayal never happened.
Do you remember what He saved you from?
Many of us have been saved from our betrayal and been made right with God, but we don’t even recognize the small betrayals that we commit against God all the time.
I don’t have time to read scripture today. I’ll get to it tomorrow.
I’m so tired. I think we’ll stay home from church today. It’s been such a busy week and I can worship God here at home. c anyway.
I do so much for other people during the week, I just want to go to church and worship, listen to the sermon, and go home. I don’t want to sign up to work in the nursery or help with communion.
We betray our relationship with God. I’m not here to condemn, I’ve been guilty of some of these (or others) before too. I’m just here to call attention to areas in our lives that we haven’t fully COMMITTED to God.
How can we say we love God so much if we hardly take time to listen to what He has to say in His precious Word? Do we love what God can do for us? Or do we love Him for who He is?
Scripture is pretty clear we shouldn’t forsake meeting together. Do we love our sleep more than His Bride? Do we love our comfort more than His Church? Do we love what we’ve built with our family more than what God is building with HIS family?
When did we let the lie slip into our heads that we don’t have to serve the Church - God’s family - because we do all kinds of stuff outside of the Church during the week? God gave all of us a role to play in HIS body - HIS Church - and He says that when we don’t play that role, we hurt His Church. We hurt the Lord.
I think it’s time we recommit ourselves to our relationship with God. It’s time to own up to our quiet, small, seemingly insignificant betrayals.
Do you remember what He saved you from?
It’s time to RECOMMIT to His Word. If you want to hear the Lord speak to you, you are guaranteed to hear the Lord through what He’s already spoken to you in scripture. Open your Bible today and recommit to meeting him everyday in those living and active Words.
It’s time to RECOMMIT to His Church. If you want to feel the move of God in your life, if you want to experience more of His presence in a deeper way, if you want to help change the lives of people around you, you’ve got to recommit to His Body. You’ve got a role to play and the Church needs you. We hurt when you don’t show up. We are less effective when you aren’t here. And I don’t just mean physically in the building, but working alongside other believers in Kingdom Building ministry inside the Bride. Ask how you can serve this week and recommit to His Church.
It’s time to RECOMMIT our time and attention. Do you have your head up? Are you looking for opportunities to share the gospel, to minister to someone hurting, or to help someone in need? Or does it have to slap you in the face for you to take notice? Do you start your day asking God, “What do you want me to do today, Lord?” Or do you start you day, like so many of us, rolling out of bed cranky and immediately busy busy busy? It’s time to pay attention to what God is doing around us and what He wants to do through us.
How are you spending your time? Are you maxing out your time limit on social media everyday? Are you binging your favorite TV Shows every night? Are you going from school to soccer practice to grocery store to dinner to bedtime routine without spending much time in prayer or the Word? Lift your head and turn your heart toward him today and recommit your time and attention to the Lord.
How have we betrayed God with our time, our money, our affections? It may sound small to us, but that is just because we’ve rationalized things for so long and our culture has conditioned us to believe Christianity is a part of our lives when really…it IS our life.
Let us return to our first love. Let us recommit to loving his letter. Let us return to the intention and purpose of the relationship. Oneness. Wholeness. Righteousness. Holiness.
Our relationship with God doesn't just end at Salvation through Jesus... that's only the beginning. There's so much MORE for us through working out our salvation with fear and trembling. I don't think that means being scared and the trembling is from that. I think the fear is a reverence for God in all His glory and the trembling is because we get to LIVE in His glory as we work out our salvation! How beautiful and what an amazing gift we've been given! There is MORE.
Do you remember what He saved you from?
Written By: Lyndsay Terry
Since we belong to the day, we must be clearheaded by placing the breast plate of faith and love over our hearts, and a helmet of the hope of salvation over our thoughts.
1 Thessalonians 5:8
In the Aramaic it can be translated “be clearheaded in our vision as we are deployed on the battlefield for faithfulness and love, and set apart with the shield of the hope of everlasting life.”
The Lord has had me in 1 Thessalonians 5 for a good part of the new year as I pray and ask for my word for the year. And even though I do not have it yet I can not shake this nudge. I don’t quite understand the nudge fully the closest thing I can get to words are “remember/rejoice” and even those don’t fully resonate.
"For God has not destined us for wrath but to possess salvation through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One."
1 Thessalonians 5:9
Do you realize that God chose you? You are not second best. You are not the last one to be picked at recess. YOU are the one He wants. And He is not waiting for you and I to fail. No, God is waiting for us to succeed. To fully step into all that He has blessed us with. To fully receive the fact that once we receive Jesus we are then adopted into His family as children, His children.
As I pray and meditate on what I am believing, striving, reaching for this coming year, I cannot help but look back at this past year. I had my fair share of trials and struggles and “seriously” moments through out the year. But the reality is those were not the highlights, the things I remembered first or even right away.
Without being too “churchy” the main topic throughout the past year was “Wow, God”.
If hindsight is 20/20 then I want to look back and remember. I want to be able to look back and see how my God made a way where there was no way. How God choose someone like me to show His incredible, overwhelming love. How God chose to restore relationships, mend heartache, heal sick, forgive, and mold, grow, and develop me and my family along the way through the good and the bad.
God is always good. He is never not good. And if we let Him, God will never waste a situation. He works ALL things for the good of those who love Him.
"…because of this, encourage the hearts of your fellow believers and support one another, just as you have already been doing."
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Our testimony, our life is supposed to be an encouragement to us and to those around us. Our lives are supposed to be a reflection of the Light, His Light. So we remember. We lean in and we share with others what He has done. And it bring encouragement to both us and them. It leads us into excited anticipation and expectation.
God is NOT done with YOU yet! He wants more. He want to share with you more. In Ephesians it says that every spiritual blessings has already been lavished upon us as a love gift from the Father. There is so much more our Father has to offer. There is so much more He wants to do in and through you, His child.
"Let joy be your continual feast. Make your life a prayer. And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I want to look back and see that hindsight and rejoice seeing how God used every part. Even the really uncomfortable parts. Even the growing parts. I want to look back and see that...
"The One who calls you(me) by name is trustworthy and will thoroughly complete His work in you(me)."
1 Thessalonians 5:22
I want to remember what He has done for me and rejoice for what He is and will do. And I want to invite Him to do just that. I want Him to help me look more like Jesus so that by the end of 2022 more people will see Him through me.
It’s not about me. It’s ALL about Him.
Written By: Alexandria Brown
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
UNLIMITED LIFERead Now
Have you ever thought about the concept of redemption? If you are a saved believer then you most likely have on some level. Otherwise, it just might conjure up images of an action movie title (it actually is one, just so you know). Lately I have been thinking about redemption as we begin a new year. While Ecclesiastes assures us that there is nothing new under the sun, it can feel a bit like a redemption the further away from 2020 we get.
My niece, Norah, gave me a beautiful answer to the question, “What is redemption?”. Her answer was “getting a second chance”. That resonated with me. I have needed second chances (or third, fourth, fifth…) in my life many times.
As I think about a redemptive year, I think about the new chances I have for self-improvement in areas of my life that need it. I need to lose some weight. I need to be better about reading my Bible. I need to be more in tune with my kids when they are home and awake. I need to be proactive in learning my Portuguese so I can be a more effective missionary. All of these things were not completed in the last year (or two). So now I have another chance. That kind of thing feels good to me. It’s awesome to be able to hit that reset button and redeem yourself on various goals.
Let’s think deeper, though. Redemption in the Old Testament came through sacrificing animals on certain dates with very specific instructions OR through the high priest going into the Most Holy Place and communing with God for the people of Israel. If you weren’t part of the nation of Israel you had no hope and no redemption! With the arrival of Jesus, we see that these extensive practices come to an end. With his perfect sacrifice, Jesus redeemed us in the deepest sense of the word. While Norah’s answer about redemption was true, Jesus puts a new spin on it. It doesn’t just mean a second chance, but a complete and total exchange of all our mess ups for a clean slate - FOREVER! This means another chance no matter how many chances you have previously used. In video game terms - unlimited life. I kind of like that thought. Jesus gives us unlimited life. Who wouldn’t be excited about that!
John 10:10 “The thief comes only to seal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
This is one of the most awesome promises we have in the Bible. And the best part is that it is all throughout the Bible. The Old Testament is pointing out the need for it and telling us it is coming. The New Testament tells us that it is here and how we can achieve it. Jesus is the way! Giving your life to Jesus - crucifying the old man to the cross allowing Jesus to redeem you and pay the price for ALL your sins - is the only way to true redemption.
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
I hope that you are living in a redeemed state today. If not, reach out to any one of us. We would LOVE to study or talk to you about how to make that commitment to Christ and live in a constant state of redemption. It is a beautiful and peaceful, hopeful and eternal thing. Take advantage of it today!
WRITTEN BY: Angie Reese
Have you ever had moments in your life where it seemed as if the Lord stepped in to do a little course correction? Like, maybe things were good.
And then things start happening. Rather abruptly sometimes, right? Like big, “OH, this is really happening” things or subtle “I can’t quite place my finger on it but things seem different” sort of things.
Either way, you may begin to notice as the Holy Spirit brings your attention to these things and even the subtler things feel magnanimous when the Lord is turning your attention toward them.
And so, on the cusp of something new, something at the very least, in part, unknown, our status quo comes under scrutiny. Maybe there are some parts of your life, some habits or lack thereof, that you began to be convicted of- but you’ve just seemed to lack the determination to do much about it. That’s the worst, isn’t it? Knowing the thing you ought to do and yet not doing it?
That’s sin, by the way. (And you know, maybe that’s just me, since I’m realizing I journaled a prayer for myself from James 4:17 earlier this week and now whoomp, there it is.)
Okay, okay, the point is- there is something in our lives that needs to change. Something cannot stay, something needs to go or something needs to be done. And it’s right in our faces now.
What are we going to do about it?
Because we can’t ignore it anymore. No. Those rumblings have grown louder and louder, to the point where we can hardly hear anything above the noise. It’s like something’s about to fall and maybe that something ought to be us, right to our knees.
“Lord, I know I am not living in the fullness of life that you have promised me because of this thing in my life. God, it is hard for me to imagine scrapping this and living a completely different way, but I want YOUR way. I want YOUR will. I want my desires to be YOUR desires and I want my utmost desire to be YOU.
So right here on the floor, I yield to you. I ask that you give me the strength to turn, to flee, and to instead follow you where I have not followed you before. To invite you into the places of my life where I have gone my own way. To allow you to transform the parts of me I have not yet submitted to you.
Your will, God. Not mine.”
Truth is, this life is too much for us to handle on our own, try as we might. The stakes are much too high. God has prepared good, good works for us. We cannot afford to stand in the way because of fear or discomfort or complacency.
The greatest thing we could ever do with these disruptions (to our status quo) would be to recognize, acknowledge, repent and allow the Lord to reorient us.
He knows where we’re going, friend, and so, often, this orientation enables us to not only get there, but to get there well. With excellence.
Tonight, I felt the enormity of the call on my life. And it felt heavy but not like a burden. Just weighty. And I sobbed. For a lot of reasons.
For the time I have wasted because I have missed what great importance being faithful in the small things holds.
For the absolute honor and privilege it is to get to take part in the good work that God has prepared for me, for His Kingdom and His glory.
For all of the things I settled for and believed were better than the Lord Himself because I sought to satisfy my flesh rather than walking by the Spirit.
I know, though, that faced with this merciful reorientation by the Spirit of the Lord, there is a “washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” that will happen if we will only surrender.
He strengthens us so that we may throw off all that hinders and the sin that ensnares us- so that we can run the race set before us.
So now we’ve got our bearings. He’s set us on our marks and we can see more clearly the direction we are heading.
Written by: Olivia Caldwell
Photo by Emma Simpson. https://unsplash.com/photos/mNGaaLeWEp0?unsplash.com/photos/mNGaaLeWEp0?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content =creditShareLinkutm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditShareLinkn
Don’t Look BackRead Now
It’s a New Year! What does that mean to you? Do you go into the New Year with delightful expectancy? Or fear?
Are you anxious to begin again? Or anxiety ridden from all that you endured in the previous year?
Do you take time to celebrate your accomplishments? Or are you eating ice cream straight out of the container as you languish over the failures?
If you are like me, you have experienced each of the previous scenarios at different times depending on your previous years’ experience. And I do believe there is value in taking a day sometime in January (or even December) to reflect and review. To celebrate what went well and to contemplate what did not.
However, there comes a point when we must move forward. We can’t sit back on our laurels and we should never hunker down into the muck and mire of our regrets. There is a conversation that takes place between Allen and his father in Richard Paul Evans’ book, Walking on Water, that, I believe, makes my point.
“The past makes a good bishop but a poor king.”
“What does that mean?” I said.
“It means that it’s good to take counsel from the past but not to be ruled by it. Otherwise we end up using today to fight yesterday’s battles and miss tomorrow’s promise.”
So while we may take a day to reassess the previous year, we need to make sure it does not completely control our current moments, or future movements. I don’t want us to miss what God has in store for us as we move into the future.
Don’t Look Back
How we look at the past can either help or hinder us as we move into the future. So let’s take Lot’s wife as a cautionary (true) tale.
Lot’s wife missed out on tomorrow’s promise when she failed to obey the simple command of the angel of the Lord, as she was leaving her beloved home in the city of Sodom.
Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! ~Genesis 19:17b
Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus He overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. (Gen. 19:24–26)
Now when it says she looked back, it’s important to take a moment to reflect on the English word within the text…look. The Hebrew word for “look” is nabat (Strong’s Concordance H5027), and it means “to look intently in a favorable manner”. So, as we can see she didn’t just glance back over her shoulder. She was looking back with intense longing. Instead of trusting in the goodness of God and the future He had for her and her family, she was longing for her previous life…living among wicked people in a city known for its sexual depravity. Her heart was with the wicked city and it’s ways, not leaning toward a future with a Holy God.
Jesus himself, warns us to remember Lot’s wife when He was answering the Pharisees question of when the Kingdom of God would come.
Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. ~ Luke 17:32-33
Instead of her life being preserved, her longing look back was preserved, in a pillar of salt. A look that pointed out the true affections of her heart. Where is your heart? Are you still sitting in the self-condemnation of past sin and failures? Are you glancing back at the past, reconsidering repeating a sin you thought was long buried? Or, are you looking forward to all that God is calling you to? Leaving behind those things that the enemy of your soul intends to use to harm you? Satan wants to preserve our sins. To keep us deep in the mire of fear and doubt. He wants us to continue on a path of self-destruction…to keep looking back with longing so that we miss tomorrow’s promise from God.
In order to move forward into the New year, we must defeat the lies of the enemy with the truth of God’s Word. We can look to each new day as an opportunity to walk forward into the future with Jesus. Let’s embrace these words from Oswald Chambers, “Leave the broken, irreversible past in God’s hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.”
To this I say, YES! His mercies are new every morning.
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.(Lamentations 3:22-23).
So let’s refocus our hearts with intention toward the heart of God. Let’s leave behind those things that we are no longer controlled by. Let’s leave behind those things we are no longer called to do. Let’s step into the invincible future with our invincible God!
May yours be a blessed and happy New Year,
Written By: gay Idle
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