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You are enough.

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.  They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.  We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us.  This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood” (1 John 4:4-6 NIV).  

I want you to do me a favor.  Stop allowing those voices that tell you that you’re not enough to creep in.  Give yourself some grace.  Remember, Jesus thought you were worth it.  You are so, so worth grace and forgiveness.  Forgive yourself.   

Whatever burden you are carrying right now, drop it.  I don’t know what it is.  But He does.  And that’s what matters.  Put it in His hands and leave it there.  Walk away and never look back.  I wish you could see what Jesus sees when He sees you.   

And, while we’re at it, look around.  Forgive everyone around you, too.  They don’t deserve it.  But guess what, it doesn’t matter.  When Jesus’ hands were nailed to a tree for you, neither did you. You never will deserve it.  If you could earn it, there wouldn’t have been a reason for Jesus to come.  It wouldn’t have been sacrificial love.  It wouldn’t have been forgiveness. You were an imperfect person while He was the perfect Son of God who CHOSE to come to earth and die for your sin.  

You’re hurting. You’re broken.  But your story isn’t over.  You just must flip the page.  Here’s the thing, you must make a conscious choice every day to flip the page.  You can’t be stagnant.  You must move on.  Life goes on.  And if you’re not actively seeking His kingdom, time is going to pass you by and you’re going to regret the time that you waste.   

Moral of the story: you are a child of God.  Therefore, focus on giving both yourself and others grace and forgiveness.  Because God is going to use you in ways that you can’t even imagine.   YouAreEnough

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Slaves to Unforgiveness (Part 2)

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“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?” (Psalm 22:1 NIV)

How often, in some form or another, do we, like Jesus–use these words?

It’s okay for us to be mad or upset with God.  But we can’t be overcome with our anger. We have to be willing to go to God, even while we are mad at Him, and literally ask Him to help us to forgive Him. Because He’s the one who can heal our hearts; even when they are hard against Him.

We have to spend some serious time with God, including both some confession time and worship.  Because there might be things that you didn’t even realize you did in your anger against Him that will get in the way of your relationship with Him.  It’s incredibly easy to fall into a place of deep anger with God without even realizing it.

I’ve found myself completely overwhelmed lately, with schoolwork, with planning other things, with just flat out busyness. So I have to spend some time right now, even in my craziness and look back a year or so to where I was so mad at God that I honestly didn’t even want to pray. Because no matter how overwhelmed I am right now, I’m not in a place where my only thought is:

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1 NIV)

The beautiful thing is, when Jesus said these words on the cross (Matthew 27:46), He knew that God could have saved His life yet God chose not to because Jesus, the sinless Son of God, came to earth to die for the sins of man.

God never abandoned me, He had already sent His son to die in my place before I was born. Any thought that He did just made me angry without even realizing i was angry. That brings me back to this week’s verse of the week:

“A man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.” 2 Peter 2:19 NIV

 

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Slaves to Unforgiveness (Part 1)

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Disclosure: In order to fund this blog, this post contains affiliate links.  That means that if you make a purchase using a link in this post, I may make a portion of the profit from that purchase.    

I think it’s funny how God likes to use my own words against me in a “haha, not funny” kind of way.  I’m writing a devotional right now, so I’m going through and editing it and  came to a portion when I discussed forgiveness. I felt like I was getting a smack in the face.  From myself.

 

“A man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.” 2 Peter 2:19 NIV

There is a particular situation that I will not actually go into the details with that I let get into my head way further than I knew it could go.  I played out situations in my head with this person that I thought could happen that I knew would never happen because I thought they were mad at me or would turn the tables on me, when in all reality it was solely a one-way street.  I was the only slave.  I’m pretty sure they don’t have a clue that I’m upset with them, and what I wasn’t getting until now was, it doesn’t matter.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walking in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 4:32-5:2 NIV

As followers of Christ, we are called to strive to live as Jesus did.  This means forgiving others.  When we hold on to unforgiveness, we’re not truly loving.  We’re not acting as Christ would.

“A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” John 13:34 NIV

So, this whole time I just wanted to be heard.  To be listened to.

I had to come to the realization that I wasn’t going to change them.  I had to change my expectations for them.  Because in all reality, they weren’t fair.  I don’t get to expect people to act the same way I expect myself to act.  Nor do I get to expect people to be mind readers.

What did Jesus say about forgiveness? You forgive people over and over if they sin against you (Matthew 18:21-22).  He didn’t say just if they only offend you a little bit, or once you’ve relished in your anger a little bit, then forgive them. There were no conditions. Just like there are no conditions to our forgiveness.

Part 2 will be up tomorrow! 🙂

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The Holiday I’ve Never Understood

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I can’t be the only one who hasn’t thought that calling the Friday before Easter “good” made any sense whatsoever, can I?

Nothing inherently good comes to mind of the events that happened on “Good Friday.”  Let’s take a look at the events of the day, shall we?

Judas was a close friend of Jesus had already betrayed Jesus.  What does he do on “Good Friday?”

“Very early in the morning…Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself.”  Matthew 27:1,5 NLT

He began to feel remorse for his sin and, unfortunately, he took his life because of it.

The night before, Peter vows to Jesus that he will not betray him.  But..

“Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard.  A servant girl came over and said to him, ‘You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean.’ But Peter denied it in front of everyone.  ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about’ he said.  Later, out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to those standing around, ‘This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.’ Again Peter denied it, this time with an oath, ‘I don’t even know the man.’ he said. A little later some of the other bystanders came over to Peter and said ‘You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent.’ Peter swore, ‘A curse on me if I’m lying- I don’t know the man!’And immediately the rooster crowed.'” Matthew 26:69-74 NLT

Both Judas and Peter are focused on in their betrayals of Jesus.  But it is clear that each of the disciples betrayed Jesus between the Last Supper and Jesus’ trial:

“‘Tonight all of you will desert me.  For the Scriptures say, God will strike the Shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'” Matthew 26:31 NLT

Why did we need accounts of both Judas and Peter, though?  Judas was an example of allowing sin to overcome our lives.  Peter was an example of allowing grace to overcome our lives.  We need to see both to be able to choose.  Still, on “Good Friday”  it wasn’t good.  We can see the outcome now, but that particular day Jesus was betrayed by His followers when He needed them them the most.

Jesus is then put on trial where the crowd is given the option to free him or a murderer and they free the murderer.  They mock him, spit on him, whip him then take him to be crucified.

Here’s where we make our turn from what I’d call worst Friday ever to maybe what we should call “Best Friday Ever.”  Because of three words:

“‘It is finished!’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:30 NLT

He’s saying “Done.  Complete.  You don’t have to wait until Sunday to know that I’ve already finished the job.”  The disciples walked with Jesus, talked with Jesus, ate with Jesus, watched Him work miracles and all of a sudden Saturday came around and somehow those words fell on deaf ears, though.  They knew his promises, they knew that He was coming back.

Jesus went through the suffering of Good Friday to say three words that have changed my life and the lives of countless others.  Jesus carried out Luke 19:10 on Good Friday.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” NLT

It was so much more than just a “Good Friday” because in just three words, Jesus made it clear that we had the option to have a different destiny.  He provided the sacrifice necessary to atone for all of our sins.

Go check out my post about “Silent Saturday”