Jesus will always be there, so keep him Over Everything

Jesus will always be there, so keep him Over Everything

Jesus gave his life so that we could live. His sacrifice didn’t mean we would be promised a perfect life. Hard times will come. But he is with us through them.

Struggle is both inevitable and uncomfortable. But it has purpose. When we face hard times, he wants us to draw closer to him. He is by our side at all times and loves us more than anyone ever can or will.

“But now, God’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, the One who got you started, Israel: “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end— Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.” - Isaiah‬ ‭43:1-4‬ ‭MSG‬‬‬‬

May we always run to him in every circumstance and keep him above all else in life. Never loose hope, never give up and be reminded to never place anything before him. He is faithful and will be with you helping you get your through all hardships as long as you call on his name!

Image source:
https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.43.2.NLT

Sometimes we are going to be put in the fire when we are following God, but we will not be alone!! Just as he protected Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when they were thrown in a fiery furnace when they refused to serve the gods of Nebuchadnezzar, you too will be protected and will not be burned or consumed. The hard trials God will allow you to face will be to draw you closer to him and strengthen you for the calling he has for your life.

“Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments. And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in. So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames. But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?” “Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied. “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!” Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!”
‭‭- Daniel‬ ‭3:19-27‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Father God, we praise your mighty name and we give you all glory and honor for you are loving and good to us. Father, whenever we go through the trials in our lives, please remind us that we are not alone and that you are walking right beside our us through the fire. Remind us Lord not to become discouraged, not to lose hope, and remind us who we are. We are called by you for such a time as this and we must keep you above all things that come into our lives. Lord Jesus, whether you’re walking with us by our side, or our carrying us through the hardest times in our lives, may we never loose sight of the power we have through you. May we always praise you through the hard times and know that you are with us always. Father God, if we ever for a moment allow fear or doubts to begin to take route, remind us that we are sons and daughters of the most high! And remind us Oh God, that your word is our double edged sword which will defeat and destroy anything that is not from you. Lord, we thank you for loving us, protecting us, and directing our steps. In Jesus name, we pray, Amen 🙏

Growing with you,

Sandy

The Time for Forgiveness is Now

The Time for Forgiveness is Now

We live in an imperfect world. Life leaves us disappointed when our expectations or needs are left unmet. We are imperfect people who disappoint even ourselves when we don’t meet the expectations we set for ourselves.

I love Jesus and I want more than anything in the world to always do the right thing and love others as he loves us. But truth is I fall short and I make mistakes. Fact is there will be times that we will let both ourselves and others down.

Some of my past mistakes are still being carried with me. They are a weight that at times feels heavy. I know that they don’t define me, yet I carry them. They are hard to forgot and hard to move past. But I long for the day when I can.

REFLECTION:
What are you holding against yourself? Are you allowing others to shame you because of your flaws? Are you allowing unforgivess to hold you back?


Father, tonight my prayer is that anyone reading this post holding themselves or another individual accountable will find the strength to forgive. May we find the strength to let go of what is holding us back. Father help us find release so that we can walk in the Purpose you created us for. God help us to be obedient and release our shortcomings to you. We can’t do it apart from you Lord. Help us forgive, now in this moment. Help us to break chains that keep us stuck.
In Jesus name, Amen

Growing with you,

Sandy

What does it mean to forgive like Jesus?

What does it mean to forgive like Jesus?

Many times I have been guilty of believing that I am weak. This is because I respond to personal attacks and insults far differently than anyone I know. When others put themselves first, I am always left feeling guilty or questioning myself. I tend to second guess my responses numerous times after occurrences have past. I argue with myself internally and ask; Why can’t I be like them?, Why can’t I respond the way they would?, Why can I not give the nastiness back? Well, it’s because I am me. God created me to be different!

While I may at times want to respond the way others would when I am faced with disrespect, in my heart I know that I can’t.

I don’t want to hurt others or mistreat them. It feels wrong in my spirit. No one deserves it. No matter how nasty they are.

We are called to forgive like Jesus, but again what does that mean?

Forgiving like Jesus means to forgive EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. It means forgiving all the time no matter who or what the situation or circumstances are.

Now, hold on a second. What about extreme situations such as murder, rape, child molestation? How on earth can we forgive those offenses? Only through strength that the Lord provides us with and even then, it may be the hardest thing we will ever have to do. And God loves us so much that he leaves it as our choice to do. He will never force us to follow him.

There are those who will say no way, never would I forgive such an offense. And I can understand that response, because that type of forgiveness is unimaginable. But with God, I know it has been possible for some.

Jesus taught that we are to forgive others just as he forgives us. He never placed a limitation on what or who should be forgiven.

Jesus was the ultimate mercy seat for every single one of us. He gave his life for all. So if we are to be like him, we too must extend mercy and grace to all who offend us. He never told us it would be easy, but he did tell us to go to God in prayer and ask him to forgive us just as we forgive those who sin against us (Matthew 6:12).

In this same chapter in the book of Matthew, Jesus told his people that their sins will not be forgiven by the father if they don’t forgive others:

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” - Matthew 6:14-15 NLT

Another version of the Bible explains it this way:


“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.” - Matthew 6:14-15 MSG

So we are called to live by grace and extend mercy to all, always. Otherwise, we ourselves will not be forgiven for our sins.

In Matthew 18:21-22, the Apostle Peter questioned Jesus on this very thing.

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Jesus is saying here that we must forgive over and over, continuously. Through our own strength we can’t do this. But the strength of the Lord will cover us in our weakness if we call upon his name and ask him to help us.

If you’re like me, striving not to meet others with the same disrespect they do to you, know that you are not weak. You are actually the opposite, you are strong. Take pride in this strength and continue to ask the Lord to help you continue to practice it over and over again if needed. For anyone can be reactive, but being like Jesus means forgiving and showing mercy, grace and strength. Do your best to not act out of your character, but rather continue to show the strength of the Lord at all times and in all things.

If a time comes when you fall short of this, don’t beat yourself up, repent and ask the Lord for forgiveness and then surrender the hurt and anger to the Lord and forgive your offender anyway.

God is showing me that as followers of Christ, we should always strive for peace. For when we do, rewards await us in Heaven.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” - Matthew 5:9, 11-12 NIV

Father God, We thank you and we Honor you for always forgiving us no matter what we do or how much we continue to do it. Jesus, you gave your life for us and you continue to chase us with unrelenting love no matter how many times we mess up. We know that in this world we will have trials and tribulations, but we know that you are right there with us giving us the strength we need to get through. Lord we ask that you would continue to strengthen us during these difficult times and change our hearts to be more like yours so that we may be able to offer forgiveness to those who hurt or offend us. May we be wise and guard our hearts, but may we also be reminded to forgive those that offend or hurt us. Father God our flesh is weak, but we submit ourselves to you and ask that you would lead us and guide us so that we will walk in your purpose for our lives and ultimately love others as you love us. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Growing with you,

Sandy

Please watch these video stories below from Mathew West. I pray they show you that even in the most devastating circumstances, forgiveness through the Lord’s strength is possible.