Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Finding Hope In This Broken Life

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 CSB

Finding Hope In This Broken Life

This broken life. It is full of mess and pain and all kinds of trials and grief. How does God expect us, in our humanity, to traverse these roads with hope – and even joy - in our hearts? The answer is with an eternal perspective. 

With an eternal perspective, we can see beyond the momentary weakness, pain, and sorrow, and look ahead to the joy that is ours in Heaven. That joy can give us hope to get through this life. Even though we cannot control what happens to us, we can control how we react. There is a time to weep, but joy comes in the morning. Weeping may stay overnight, but there is joy in the morning. Psalm 30b CSB

An eternal perspective helps us put our priorities in the right order, not wasting time on things that don’t really matter, chasing empty dreams and searching for fulfillment in material possessions. We spend all our time and energy focusing on life here on earth, when in the grand scheme of eternity, the time we will spend on earth will be very short compared to the time we will spend after this life is over. 

Eternity waits for all of us and if we are born again, we get to spend eternity in heaven with God. Worshiping is one of my absolute favorite things and I like to think of spending eternity in one giant time of worship – singing and praising God for the rest of all time. Because I love to worship, turning on worship music helps me when I have lost my eternal perspective and the weight of this world has brought me down. Think of things you can do to help you get your focus back on God when life is hard. 

We have the gift of the Holy Spirit the minute we are saved. He stays with us and works in our lives as much as we let Him. When we yield to Him, we will walk by the Spirit and not gratify the sins of the flesh. Gratification of the flesh is focused on the things of this world. Surrendering to the Holy Spirit will give us an eternal perspective. 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 Galatians 2:20 CSB

Spending time with God in His word and praying helps us to remember to look at this life with an eternal perspective. It renews our mind and brings fresh hope. We need this continuing renewal of our minds on a daily basis for strength and to continually set our minds on things above. 

This world is not the end of your story. The hardship you are facing is not the end of your story. Whatever you are going through will not last forever. It usually feels like it will, and Satan loves it when we lose hope. He is the father of lies and he uses every chance he can get to make us believe his lie that there is no real hope. This life can really be a struggle at times but by keeping our eyes on God and remembering all we are experiencing is temporary and life in Him is eternal, we can find hope. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Prayer for Help, Guidance, and Forgiveness – Psalm 25

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Prayer for Help, Guidance, and Forgiveness – Psalm 25 Submitted by Kay Crumley

Most of us have experienced a time in our lives where things just don’t seem to be going well. There are many reasons to feel that sense of defeat and hopelessness. David opens this prayer declaring his trust in God and His protection. David proclaims, in verses 1-2 that he has put his trust in God. He states that in both verses. Repeating that trust is a way to demonstrate his total confidence in God to be faithful to him. He is assured that anyone who trusts in God will not be put to shame or disgrace. He fully believes that God will not allow him to be put to shame by allowing his enemies to defeat him. Those who hope or trust in God will be protected from shame. The reverse is that those who do not trust in God but act treacherously without cause will be shamed or disgraced. In times we feel most vulnerable we can rely on God to intervene and protect us from negative outcomes we fear. The critical requirement is that we are living in obedience and trust in Him. While that rescue may not be immediate, our faith is in the everlasting faithfulness of our God.  

David proceeds in this passage to ask God to equip him to obediently live in a way pleasing to Him. We have resources that David didn’t have. We have the Holy Word of God to study which describes those who live a life of faithfulness.  Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. David was earnestly seeking God to be his protection and guide. 


Psalm 25:4-7(NIV) 

4 Show me your ways, Lord, 
    teach me your paths. 
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me, 
    for you are God my Savior, 
    and my hope is in you all day long. 
6 Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, 
    for they are from of old. 
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth 
    and my rebellious ways; 
according to your love remember me, 
    for you, Lord, are good. 

God shows His children His ways in His Word. We can learn His plan for our lives. His character is evident throughout the Bible. His Word is truth. David implored God to show him His ways, His path, and His truth. God is our Savior. He sent Jesus to be take our sin so that we can have eternal life. We can fully place our hope in Him. Bible hope isthe confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in His faithfulness. Hope in Him is more than wishful thinking, it is complete confidence in His faithfulness. Romans 15:13May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. We should always remember His mercy and love because we see evidence and proof of it throughout scripture. Mercy is the outpouring of God’s love for us. Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Finally in this passage we see David ask that his sins be forgiven, and that God will not remember his rebellious ways. Later in Psalm we have this promise. Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. God’s love for us gave us Jesus so that we can have forgiveness through His sacrifice on the cross. When we place our trust in Him by believing He is the only Son of God, we are forgiven of all the sin in our lives. God then sees us through the filter of Jesus who paid the debt of sin we can never pay. We can never be or do anything that will redeem our soul. The only way to eternal life with God is through belief in Jesus. God is good, His mercy never ends. Each believer has that confidence as can all who will seek Him and submit to His lordship in their lives.  

God has given us all we need in every difficult situation. He sent Jesus who covered our sin to provide forgiveness, then He sent the Holy Spirit to live in us and be our constant helper, guide, intercessor, and strength.   

Monday, January 29, 2024

Living The Jesus Way – The Way of the Heart

Monday, January 29, 2024

You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Whoever insults his brother or sister will be subject to the court. Whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be subject to hellfire. So if you are offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.  Reach a settlement quickly with your adversary while you’re on the way with him to the court, or your adversary will hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison.  Truly I tell you, you will never get out of there until you have paid the last penny. You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. Matthew 5:21-30

Living The Jesus Way – The Way of the Heart

Jesus has been with His disciples and multitudes of people delivering the Sermon on the Mount. He continues now with a deeper understanding of the law. Up until now the people had not studied the Law of Moses for themselves. All they had was the teaching on the law from the scribes and Pharisees, who taught them that outward appearance and actions were more important than their heart. Jesus teaches that outward conformity without inward change is not a true change. He taught them that what is on the inside is just as important as outward actions. The very expression of who we are can be discovered in our actions, and as believers, our actions should always reflect what we believe and point others to Him. 

In Matthew 5, Jesus talks about two major sins, murder, and adultery. He begins by saying “You have heard it said…” speaking to the teachings of the law and of the scribes and pharisees. He was not disqualifying what the law said when He went on to say “But I tell you…” Jesus is the fulfillment of the law, and He is about to take them deeper into the true meaning of the law. They have had a surface understanding to the law that was only applied to the surface of their lives. 

The Scribes and Pharisees believed that committing the act of murder was a sin, but the anger inside leading to that act, and insulting others was okay. Jesus brought a deeper understanding that what is in our hearts is just as important as our outward actions. Sometimes we act impulsively in sin but most of our wrong actions begin with a wrong thought that leads to a wrong desire. When we have wrong thoughts and wrong desires it is much more likely that they will be fleshed out in actions. 

Anger itself is not a sin, it is an emotion. Left unchecked it can lead to sin – with our words as we tear down instead of buildup, or in our actions. If we act out in anger by yelling, insulting, or gossiping – we will be held accountable for these actions. With adultery, it is the same. Jesus said if we even look lustfully at a man or a woman who is not our spouse we will be held accountable. This same principle may be applied to anything we lust after or covet. 

As believers it is in our heart that true change takes place that then informs our outward behavior. For this reason, it is of utmost importance that we take care of our heart. We must weed out the emotions and feelings that are not right and may lead us to sin. We can pray for every thought to be taken captive and focus on Him, abide in Him. 

We demolish arguments and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

What does a heart committed to The Jesus Way look like and how is it formed? 

Living The Jesus Way requires us to react differently than others. Our actions should line up with our beliefs. When we feel anger, we should react differently than someone who is not living The Jesus Way, because our heart has been transformed by Jesus Christ. We are reflection of Him in everything – including how we react to people who make us angry or hurt us. 

Jesus did not command us to like people, He commanded us to love them. Our heart and our obedience should not be contingent on other people’s behavior, but on our own desire to obey our Heavenly Father. As believers we should always defer to love no matter what the other person does. A heart committed to living The Jesus Way looks like loving others when they are unlovable and have offended us. It looks like surrendering our anger to Him and choosing not to insult or tear down others with our speech. It looks like taking our difficult and wrong thoughts captive to obedience in Him. 

How is a heart committed to The Jesus Way formed? By surrendering to Him and allowing the Holy Spirit to convict, mold, and shape us as we live out our adoption in Him. How can we make sure we keep the condition of our heart in such a way that we react in The Jesus Way? Abide in Him. Stay focused on Him. Our heart will not be formed one time as a believer and then we are good until we get to eternity. Our transformation is an ongoing constant experience. We surrender to Him every time we are hurt or have been offended and are angry. When our words or actions do not reflect our relationship with Him we need to run to Him and surrender again and again.  It is our relationship with Him that allows us to be continually transformed into the likeness of Him, so that all our words and actions flow from a heart that seeks to glorify Him in all things.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

The Jesus Way - “The Way of the Heart”

The Jesus Way
“The Way of the Heart”
Matthew 5:21-30 CSB


Key Truth: "To follow Jesus means to live out the values and principles of His Kingdom with our whole lives.”

Main Question: What does a heart committed to The Jesus Way look like and how is it formed? 

1.    The response of the heart. (vs. 21-26)


2.    The desire of the heart. (vs. 27-30)


After the Message: 
Read Romans 7:7-25. What is the purpose of the Law? What is the consequence of sin? How does sin affect our actions? Who can help us with this problem?  

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