Suffering Servant

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 53

Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

In the last few weeks in our home, we have had many conversations about Easter and its meaning. It took a little while to get past the newness of peeps and candy filled eggs with our boys, but eventually we landed on the story of Jesus. Simultaneously, our small group has gone through a six-week study called The Easter Experience by City on a Hill productions. This has led us up to celebrating Easter this past weekend.  In the midst of all of these conversations and scripture reading around Easter it has allowed us more time to reflect around what Jesus physically went through in addition to His willingness to die upon that old rugged cross.
In our group we have read various scriptures leading up to this event and asked each other, ” Who would you most identify with at this moment?” One of the two thieves, Peter, Judas, Mary, one of the guards or on-lookers? We  had the opportunity to watch some difficult video that visually shows his pain and suffering. As we landed on Isaiah 53 its amazing to see how over 700 years earlier Isaiah was prophesizing this day to come.  It’s fitting that Isaiah means “God is salvation” in Hebrew.

Another interesting fact that I learned this week while learning more about Isaiah 53  is how the total chapters in Isaiah is equal to the old testament and the new testament. (66) our Sovereign Lord always shows his authority in so many ways.

Now Isaiah 53 has so many truths we can take away.  I would encourage you to read slowly Isaiah 53:1-12.  If we had only had Isaiah 53 we would understand the birth, life, death, and resurrection of our Lord. We have fallen short, and like sheep needing a shepherd,  there is only one person who can save us,  Jesus.  The suffering that Jesus went though He did not deserve.  All of it. Its unimaginable that the sins He died for on the cross include my sins today.  And even though Jesus didn’t deserve any of it, He took them all.

Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

It’s hard to even imagine, I take it for granite daily.  No,  there’s nothing I can do to pay Him back.  I simply give thanks, pray to be obedient, lovingly trust Him with all aspects of my life to the best of my human possibility.  We deserved the death, but Jesus took it for all of us.  We thank you, praise you, and love you.

 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:20-21.

From Suffering Servant to Glorious King.

Ezra 3 – Returning Home

Ezra was a priest, a scribe, and a great leader. His name literally means “help” and this is exactly what Ezra did.  Ezra helped fulfill the promise of the Jewish people returning to Jerusalem. In this short chapter,  Ezra 3 has some powerful insights and reminders that can speak to your heart today.

The first insight is noticing one of the most important things the Jews did upon returning to the city.  Their first focus was on creation and use of the alter.  It was the symbol of God’s presence back in Jerusalem .  What does God’s presence look like to you? Is there a presence in your home? For me I think of some of the little things that represent and remind me of our trust in Him.  The verses that hang on our walls, the calendar that shows family pictures with verses written, the kids Sunday school handouts hanging on our fridge, the Resolution certificate framed from our marriage small group study sitting in our dining room.  In a kitchen you can find a mason jar full of prayers and praises from this year.  I also reflect on what do we model when others come stay? What are we modeling when we are alone? Are we intentional in having a place where we can rest in His presence and show our trust in His protection and presence like the Jews did upon returning home?

3 Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening sacrifices.

The second focus was on building of the temple, the people didn’t look ahead at the finished product, or the walls to protect the city, they focused on the foundation.  This could be a sermon on its own but I’ll keep it short.  Our foundation is everything.  It doesn’t matter if you are building  temple, house, or a fort.  The foundation is essential.  It’s Just like in our lives.  Our marriages, decisions about jobs, raising a family, making a decision to move…  really anything we do has to be given to God first. Our foundation has to be in God. If you short change, alter the appropriate materials, or modify the accurate dimensions of a foundation it can lead to disaster.  For some of the Jews, this had already happened to them once.  They didn’t want it to happen again. If our foundation is not strong, and when pain kicks in, hardships, fear, anxiety or lowliness sets in, without a solid foundation you will waiver and eventually fall.  Take time daily to build your foundation! Now, think about how the people reacted once the foundation was done. It says they sang, praised, and gave thanks. For He is good, and His loving kindness endures forever… Ezra 3:11 Take time today to sing, praise, and give thanks! Amen

2 Timothy 2:19 says, 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

Lastly, look at the end of Ezra 3.  At first I was unclear about verses 12-13. The contrast between shouting for joy and weeping? In my study bible it talks about the mix of emotions being felt at that time between the generations.  That some Jews had lived when their first temple was originally built, while others were part of something for the first time.  How many times does the Holy Spirit produce that same emotion in us?  I can be standing in church arms up, praising God singing,  without any care for my pitch.  The next moment, my hands wiping tears from my face convicted once again.  I can often become sobered by my shortcomings, and full of joy, thanksgiving in other moments. In these moments I can see how there are times when it is hard to decipher.  Only God can move us that way.

12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. 13 No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.

 

Where do you turn when your world has been flipped upside down? Maybe it was a marriage, job, your own child, a bad decision? Where do you return? You return home to the Lord.  If you have been lost, or maybe just need to rebuild.  Head into the wonderful arms of our Lord.

Have a blessed Tuesday.

Speaking Up

Just this last week at school (principal at K-5 building)  I had an opportunity to talk with some students and their families about the many decisions they have the opportunity to make daily.  When talking to these students and their families I referred to 1 or more of Paul’s characteristics of the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5. That in acting out of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control there are many more chances to experience joy.  Just like these children’s decisions we equally get to make daily choices. Often our decisions are based on our own self-serving attitude, and at times they can come from pressures of the world or others.  Prayerfully,  our decisions can be given to God and model Godly obedience.

Today, in Jeremiah 38 there are a few decisions being made by multiple people.  Each of these decisions can fall into one of the above categories.  Let’s look at who they were and where their faith was.

Princes and King – Even though just a chapter earlier, (37:21) King Zedekiah was listening to Jeremiah, now the king had the attention of these princes. (38:4-5) In these verses the king had told them he didn’t have any control of Jeremiah, that they could do what they will.  The princes were listening to the voices of the people of Judah, believing that the words from Jeremiah were weakening their armies. The princes were eventually given the ok by the king to put Jeremiah into a cistern to die. People pleasers.

Ebed-melech the Ethiopian – God uses us in many ways.  Ebed-melech showed his faith in various forms here. First in going to speak with the king about saving Jeremiah.  Then convincing his friends to help him pull out Jeremiah. He even thought to get extra padding for the ropes to hurting Jeremiah.  He feared God more than the people.  (Later after Jerusalem fell captive to the Babylonians Ebed-Melech received a very encouraging word of hope through Jeremiah’s prophecy Jeremiah 39:15-18) .

“Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, ‘Take thirty men from here under your authority and bring up Jeremiah the prophet from the cistern before he dies.’ So Ebed-melech took the men under his authority and went into the king’s palace to a place beneath the storeroom and took from there worn-out clothes and worn-out rags and let them down by ropes into the cistern to Jeremiah. Then Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, ‘Now put these worn-out clothes and rags under your armpits under the ropes’; and Jeremiah did so.  So they pulled Jeremiah up with the ropes and lifted him out of the cistern, and Jeremiah stayed in the court of the guardhouse” (Jeremiah 38:10-13).

 

My message to the kids this last week and often is you can go along with the crowd or do what is right.  In this situation Ebed spoke up for God.   When have you stood up for what is right even when it was risky? What helps you to serve God when people around you are not doing so, and even when they criticize or threaten you? When another person is treated wrongly do we speak up and show love and kindness? Maybe even pull them out of the cistern they are currently in? Have you ever been in the trenches? Thank God for the times He sends an “Embed-melech” your way.

Dear God, We are so grateful for the prophet Jeremiah and his faithfulness. For  those like Ebed-melech and the rope holders who’ve helped pull us out of difficult situations. Those who have given us an uplifting message, interceded in prayer on our behalf, and provided their time and expertise to help us in our dilemma. Help us to be a rope holder and offer a word of encouragement, be a listening ear, and extend tender compassion and mercy to one in need. Help us to obey and be Your hand extended to those in need.  Amen.

Meanwhile in Jerusalem – 1 Chronicles 20

 

It happened in the spring of the year, at the time kings go out that Joab led out the armed forces and ravaged the country of the people of Ammon, and came and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. And Joab defeated Rabbah and overthrew it. 1 Chronicles 20

Notice anything different about this verse? Yes… one thing could be spring time is when battles were fought.  Who would want to go to battle in the cold.    Currently, I’m very eager for spring to be here.  We have had our kids in for many days over these last few months. They are ready to be out.  Yes, I’m sure  there was frost bite whether in battle or just playing outside for an extended amount of time.

In addition to my warmer weather prayer you read, But David stayed in Jerusalem.  What? David didn’t go? This is the very short version of 2 Samuel 11. Go back and read that chapter for the details.  What was David doing? As the king he should have been doing his duty and leading his army to war.  Instead he sent Joab because he was too focused on his own desires.  How often can we do the same? Not following what God has planned for us and following our own temptations even when they know they are wrong.  Based on the idea of a Rooster Crowing app mentioned by Mike Baker in our most recent sermon from the series Imperfect. The idea is that each time we denied Jesus the rooster would crow. In this case, the crowing would be going off big time the minute David thought, No I think I ‘ll stick around here, Joab you go.

A couple reminders to me were;

  • During this time when God’s planned on David leading his army out to battle,  David stayed back back and was tempted giving into his desires. Take the initiative to do God’s will, and not your own. Don’t give temptation a foothold by resting in inactivity. If we cannot fill our days with our own matters, there is always plenty to be done for others… God has big plans for you.
  • Beware of moments and times of ease.  It is in these moments that we most easily fall into the power of Satan. Watch and pray in days of relaxing and ease, even more than at other times. There is nothing more full of subtle danger in the life of any servant of God than that he should remain inactive.   God wants us to be out in the fields.

It seems like spring is here this week. Let’s keep our focus on God and take initiative for His will not our own.  Have a blessed Tuesday.

 

One-liners

Proverbs 10 provides 32 verses of various types of truths for us.  These verses can be reflective on past stages of living while also providing wisdom for living life closer to God. 

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
    but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out. v. 9

Each verse has a contrast approach by referring to acts of wickedness or righteousness.  I wish I could say I landed on the side of righteousness throughout the stages of my life so far.  Unfortunately, because of my human tendencies and self serving attitude I acquired I have fallen short more times than I would like to admit. 

Hatred stirs up strife,
    but love covers all offenses. v.12

As we read through these general truths by Solomon ask yourself, ”  Is my life defined by my infinite “to do” list and what can I do to serve myself?  or A life of loving the Lord and seeking ways to follow Him? We all have a mutual 24 hours given to us.  Give, Grow, Gather, Go and above all Love.

The righteous will never be removed,
    but the wicked will not dwell in the land. v. 30

Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray for your continual guidance, grace, and wisdom to saturate our hearts. Let our lives be one that is being lived for you and not us.  That in our mutual breaths of life we have on this earth they are marked by love, integrity, and righteousness. That in our thoughts, words, and actions your presence reminds us to submit to you. Help us to repent in our sins and allow our weakness to be filled with grace and love only for you.  Thank you God for your living word.  Amen

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to[c] his own glory and excellence, 2 Peter 1:3

Have a blessed day!

Ups and Downs

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. Psalm 27:4

What is your greatest desire?  Think about it for a minute.  Do you have something? Often our schedules or circumstances can apply enough pressure to never think about this question.  At first we may think of various earthly treasures  or warm places we want to be based on our current weather here in Illinois.  Still, there is no place, thing, or human that can fill this desire.  David writes in Psalm 27 that the one thing he seeks, is to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  How awesome is it to remember. That on this side of Heaven, our earthly days are promised too!!! So when we ask again what is our greatest desire, it would be A desire to always be in His presence.  Look back at Psalm 23:6.

Now as a husband, father, brother, son, principal, coach, and friend  I understand the multitude of things we are part of or are called to do from sun up to sun down.   We are stretched pretty thin and always trying to do  something helpful for others. Being God’s hands and feet.   Take time in all our daily lives to allow the Lord to dwell in your heart today!   

In Psalm 27:1.  we look back at verse The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

Am I the only one tired of fear creeping into my mind? The painful self generated questions,   How will this turn out? What are they thinking about me? What if I fail? Fear is always lingering waiting for us to take the bait, to believe in the “fake news“. The two fears you are born with are the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises.  Let’s not let the noise of the world, others, or from our self imprison our minds and hearts.  God hears our voice when we call out to Him.  Psalm 118:6 reminds us that the Lord is on our side, what can man do to me?

Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. v. 10

This verse reminds me that whatever is  in your past doesn’t matter anymore. God can take away any past pain. Broken homes, addictions, divorce, loss, abuse? Whatever horrible experience you have lived that has caused a void in your heart, God can heal. He can take away any pain.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

I know waiting is not easy.  I have a few of my own children that are masters at asking the question, Are we there yet?” Waiting on the Lord can be hard because we usually want answers to our prayers yesterday.  We just need to remember that God’s plan and timing is always better than ours.  Wait and trust… so hard. What is God trying to teach us in our waiting?  God offers hope to today and our future. Let our waiting teach us of His glory, grace, and power.

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
 they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40 28-31

Dear God, I pray that you take my selfish desires and turn them to you. That through a love and trust in your promises I can put aside my fears, failures, and false gods to dwell obediently in your presence.  Let us wait patiently for all you have planned for our lives.  In your loving name we pray. Amen  

Loud and Clear

Good Morning Bible Journal fiends.  Today we will be reading Deuteronomy 28.  This chapter has 68 verses in it.  The first 14 verses provides us insights of the many blessings you will have when you fully obey the Lords commands. The next 54 verses cover the curses that will be faced when you disobey the Lord. Looking at these verses helps me to understand the heading Loud and Clear.  It seems like we would be able to obey. Yet, after reading this chapter my next step was to figure out how I apply this chapter to my life.  God what are you telling us? For myself,   I’m able to look at all the amazing things that God has provided.   Many blessings through faith filled relationships, physical needs being met, healings in the midst of pain, a heart transformation, and ultimately a true relationship with God.  All the good in our lives can always point  back to God.  “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. – Deuteronomy 28:1

On the other hand, all the bad things can often point to myself and my selfish desires. This can include pain that I have caused to others, my many years of confusion about life, seeking short term pleasures through worldly substitutes… these can all point back to me, and my selfish desires to fulfill my own will. When I don’t obey. 15 “But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.

In Deuteronomy 28 Moses tells us through the use of repetition similar to what Lynden was saying yesterday with Dora cartoon connection ( have small kids too) What God desires from us and what will happen when do and don’t obey. Moses is telling the Israelites, and us, that God has always provided and always will.  These first 14 verses tells of the blessings of walking in covenant with our Lord. Moses also reminds us of our disobedience. This choice is ours. God loves us, He sent his only son to wash away all our sins. That even in our sinful nature, Gods love is always present for us.  For me this covenant language can be easy to read through, underline, highlight, and reflect on but, I need more than doing that .  It has to be in my heart.  Because when I just write it and not put it into my heart, I can easily forget. Deuteronomy 6:6 reminds me 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.   

Our small group is starting a 4 week study on family discipleship.  One of our first goals is to focus on our modeling.  Jim Probst shared a story before that has stuck with me for years.  Him and some other guys were meeting and thinking of ways to honor God.  Many people had great ideas of serving, additional financial giving, possible additional mission trips.  One gentleman said, ” I just want to obey. ”  In Luke 11:28 Jesus reminds us that, “28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

There was a Promise Land that the Israelites were looking for then, there is a Promise Land for us now.  In the midst of our lives, God has provided for us a way to get to this Promise Land.  His love for us is always there, our its our choice to be obedient and remain faithful. To know and apply this obedience into our lives we need to make His words an integral part of everyday of our lives. Think about the Parable of the Sower. 18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Loud and clear, there are blessings and curses based on our faithfulness.

  • Pray continually – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
  • Set our minds on things from above. Colossians 3:2
  • Let the message of Christ dwell among us. Colossians 3:16

Dear God, Thank you for your living word that we can be in every day. Create in us a soil that will take your words  to grow closer to you.  We love you and pray for obedience and faithfulness to you. 

Amen

Behind the Scenes – Genesis 41

Today’s Reading Genesis 41

Good Morning Bible Journal Readers. Happy Tuesday!

Today, as we read through Genesis 41,  it is truly amazing about all the events that take place in this chapter with Joseph.  There are so many moving pieces and ways God is able to show us His presence through it all. Without a faith you may find parts of it hard to believe. As believers though,  In reading this part of Josephs story I can be reassured knowing that God is always at work. Even in my shortcomings, or times that I think I have things in control.  I truly don’t, and need to remind myself, He does. God is  Behind the Scenes…always.  Thankfully, God is always working and directing us closer to Him. Think of Joseph, just in this chapter as he goes from sitting in a jail cell, to interpreting dreams,  to being in charge of Egypt. God always working behind the scenes to make His work move forward.

Genesis 41:16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”

How has God done this for you? Let’s take a minute to reflect.  For me, I think about my walk to and into faith. This included God orchestrating a move from one neighborhood to another. At this point I’m approached by a neighbor (Chet & Shannon Bandy)  to attend a service with them and consider joining their small group.  For a second we thoughts to ourselves, with a brand new mortgage, a struggling marriage, and a toddler. and two new jobs. Our ways were not working so well.  Faithfully, God was working behind the scenes. God orchestrated a life long friendship, a small group that I’m humbled to co-lead, an amazing transformation in both of us. God changed a “me first” marriage to a loving “one another”  marriage that now is formed around God and not ourselves.  I couldn’t of planned any of it.  But God can!  God is at work behind the scenes right now in you.  Marriage, friends, jobs, kids, medical situations… you name it.  It may not seem like He is to us at times because we are wanting things according to our plans and our timing.  But when we have faith, and trust in Him, his plans will work out way better than we can ever imagine.  God’s timing is always perfect. 

Proverbs 3:5  Trust in the Lord with all your heart,  and do not lean on your own understanding.   6  In all your ways acknowledge him,  and he will make straight your paths.

What is God orchestrating today? Trust His will! Remember Behind the scenes isn’t usually where we can see it or put our hands on it. Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

In the Beginning – Genesis 1

Happy 2019 Bible Journal Family!

I’m humbled and honored to start our newest journey today through God’s living word.  As we head into 2019 I hope you had some time to reflect on 2018 and how God has moved mountains in your life and others around you.  I also know you faced hard times as well that stretched and challenged your faith. Remember we can look back with thankful hearts for what God has done and forward with confidence that He has great plans for you! What are your spiritual goals for this year?  I pray reading through our daily devotional is one of those additional ways for you to be in the word. Allow time in the bible to nourish your heart, mind, and soul while growing closer in a relationship with our God.

 The first half of the year we plan to start with the Zondervan overview of the Bible, where we take a chapter and focus on a specific topic .  Today, we start in Genesis 1 with a focus on,  In the beginning.  What a great way to start 2019 by going back to the one who created it all. The one who today through Him, will create all things new.  Revelation 21:4-6

Genesis 1:1  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

This first verse is a simple reminder He made it all and He has sovereignty over all things. This statement In the beginning  is a statement that answers the question between skeptics and believers, Is the world a result of divine creation or evolution?  As believers we look at the beginning and know that God was purposeful in the creation of the heavens and the earth. Watch and share this short video about how did it all begin and how it will  never end.  The Story by Spread Truth

Psalm 90:2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

In the beginning, God spoke and everything came into existence. In the beginning, of all His beauty created, His masterpiece was us! We were made in His image to reflect Him.  We were physically made to represent Him.

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Our lives have a  grand purpose of worshipping, loving, and serving Him while enjoying a life-long growing relationship with Him.  Psalm 139: 14-16 reminds us that all days of our existence are already written in His book.

So as we start 2019 I pray that you can walk in courageous confidence that God who is the creator of it all is always by our side. That our physical existence was perfectly planned. That our spiritual existence changes when we decided to walk by faith and believe in Him. In John 3:3-6 Jesus tells his disciples that we will enter His Kingdom when we are born again of the water and Spirit.  

Lastly, when we think about,  In the beginning, God saw all that He had created and said it was good!  Even after sin entered the world He has never abandoned us. He sent His son to save us.  In the beginning, similar to the start of a new year, God fearfully and wonderfully made us for a purpose. I pray that this new year bring you a joy and peace that all that will happen this year God has planned.  He is with you and longing for you to speak to Him every day and in all moments. 

Genesis 1:31 God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.

Happy New Year!

Wounded Healer

During the last couple weeks I have changed what I have wanted to write about today almost daily.  Each day all of our writers have selected such great verses to reflect on.   Similar to hearing an amazing Sunday message that seems to been written for your current circumstance.  I once again felt this after Stephanie’s testimony on Saturday.

Today, I came upon that in a message called, “Wounded Healer” which was a reminder how we make a difference in others.  The statement that struck me was, ” Our deepest wounds can often be your greatest opportunity for ministry.” As we go about this day we don’t have to hide the current hardships we are going through,  or even the ones we try to hide from the past. 1 John 1:9  I understand that as adults, teens, parents, employees, leaders, and colleagues we are suppose to have it all together according to earthly norms.  But, lets put down our guard, fears, and  worries remembering God told us that in our weakness he is strong.  2 Corinthians 12:9-10 Remember the Samaritan women who talked with Jesus at Jacob’s well in John 4, she was afraid to share her story with him, until she realized it was Jesus and He already knew everything about her. She left that well and went back to her hometown and was able to share the story of a conversation with Jesus. Her testimony changed lives.  Your testimony will too!

John 4:39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

It’s very hard to share our pains, regrets, and failures. We can be afraid that others may truly get to know us.  That we may not be as close to perfect as we try to pretend to be, or that our family goes through struggles, or maybe you were raised in a difficult environment, and that even in adult years you don’t actually have it all together even after you landed your first job. It’s Ok, I know no one is perfect, actually not even close, but we don’t have to hide.  I’ve been the master at this growing up at a young age with many things going on in our lives as a child.  (Check my ACES score). My youthful insecurities that can still appear every now and then allowed me to keep others away so they couldn’t get to know the real me.  Romans12:2 The truth is, the more I searched for God, the more I was able to see that He has always been with me.  Knowing me completely the whole time. He knows you as well! Seek the Lord always. 1 Chronicles 16:11  When we know the Lord our insecurities can come down when facing the world and we have a platform to share how God has been faithful then, and how he will be faithful now.  So this Christmas season, share the amazing story of the birth of Immanuel.  We can also share our own story without fear, and through that story you can change lives through your love and faith in our Lord. Who knows us more than anyone! He has great plans for you and your story. 

Jeremiah 29:11-13

Tauren Wells – Known

Merry Christmas Bible Journal brothers and sisters.  – Keep sharing God’s love.

Listen to the sermon on Wounded Healer by JT English from the Village Church.