Peter or Judas

2 corn 7.10

We all have times in life when we do something that we regret, something that we are sorry for.  But, there are different kinds of being sorry and which type of sorrow we have will have a lot to do with the course our life takes from that moment forward.

The bible talks about two kinds of sorrow,

2 Corinthians 7:10
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

Godly sorrow or worldly sorrow
Repentance or regret
Life or death

The bible also shows us what each of these look like in the stories of Peter and Judas.

There are many similarities to Peter and Judas.  Both were apostles, both followed Jesus for 3 years, listened to the same teaching and saw the same miracles.  Both were told by Jesus that they would fail him. Both turned their backs on Jesus, Peter in his denial and Judas in his betrayal.  Both were sorry, but that is where the similarities end.  The kind of sorrow they each had was very different and led to very different outcomes.

In Matthew 26 starting in vs 69 we read the account of Peter’s denial.  In the courtyard, as he denies Jesus for the third time, swearing that he doesn’t know him,  he hears the rooster crow and immediately remembers what Jesus had told him in vs 34 of the same chapter.

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” Matthew 26:34

The Bible says that Peter went outside and “…wept bitterly“(vs.75).  They were not just tears of sorrow, they were tears of godly sorrow, tears of repentance. Sorrow for what he had done to Jesus.  Humble tears that would bring healing and put him in the position to be reinstated by Jesus in  John chapter 21.  Repentance brings restoration, it brings healing, it brings life.  We know the kind of man who Peter went on to be, bold, unwavering in his life and in his death.

Then we have Judas.  Judas, who in Luke 22 goes to the chief priests and officials and works out a plan to betray Jesus.  They agree and even offer to pay him to do it, which he consents to do.  He then awaits his moment and after being sent away from the last supper by Jesus, who predicts his betrayal to him, he infamously leads the guards to the garden where Jesus is praying and betrays him with a kiss.

I often wonder what Judas thought was going to happen to Jesus. The Bible tells us in Matthew 27 that after Jesus was condemned he was “seized with remorse and returned the silver coins to the chief priests and the elders.” vs.3. He turned to the chief priests and elders admitting his guilt and what did they do? Nothing! They placed the blame totally on him. Then Judas, feeling hopeless, went out and hung himself.

The kind of sorrow that Judas had was worldly sorrow, overwhelmed in his guilt and regret, he saw no way out but death.  How very sad. What he truly needed was Jesus!  He missed as we so often do what Jesus had been telling them for the past 3 years.  He watched Jesus forgive sins, heal the sick, feed the 5,000, and drive out demons.  He watched Jesus raise the dead, yet in his moment of remorse, he didn’t turn to the only one who could save him!

It is no different in our own lives.  So often when we have done something we regret, we turn to everything but Jesus.  We run from him when we need to run to him.

As we get ready to celebrate Easter, let’s remember what Jesus accomplished for us through his life, death, and resurrection.  Jesus already paid the price for all our sins, past, present, and future and because of that we can run to Him when we have sinned.  With the help of the Holy Spirit we can respond to our sin with godly sorrow and repentance going forth with no regrets.  The other option, respond like Judas and go down a path that leads only to death.

Lord help us!  Open our ears to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit calling us to repentance that leads to salvation so that we can go forth with no regrets!

 

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For Good Friday

cross

I push through the crowd
Trying to get away
Taunts now turned to terror
As the ground gives way

Midday it may be
But it’s black as night
What once seemed like justice
Is now a gruesome sight

I heard some say
They now think it’s true
This man named Jesus,
King of the Jews

They say he truly was
The very son of God
But now he is dead
I guess evil has won.

How could they do it?
Nail him to that tree
Were they so very sure
His claims were blasphemy?

I am glad it wasn’t me
Who put those nails in his hands
I’d hate to be the one who killed the son of man
So I push through the crowd though I can barely stand
I guess it’s hard to run with this hammer in my hand.

 

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When God Says Stay, Stay!

The other day as I was doing my Bible in One Year devotion, the Old Testament reading was in Numbers chapter 9.  As I was reading through and got to vs 15, it was talking about the cloud over the tabernacle.

 “15On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up,the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. 16 That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. 17 Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. 18 At the Lord’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. 19 When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s order and did not set out. 20 Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the Lord’s command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. 21 Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out.22 Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. 23 At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out. They obeyed the Lord’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses.” Numbers 9:15-23 via biblegateway.com

The Israelites waited on God…when he moved, they moved, when he stayed, they stayed.  They didn’t know when they set up camp if they were going to be there for a day or a year, but when the cloud stopped and covered the tabernacle, they set up camp and when the cloud lifted,  they set out.  As we see in vs 23, “..at the Lord’s command they encamped and at the Lord’s command, they set out.  They obeyed the Lord’s order… ”

Reading this really hit home for me.  It is hard to put into words what I felt.  Sometimes, God speaks to us and  it is so clear what he is telling us, but it speaks directly to the core of our being and trying to express that in words is hard.  However, I also thought is was important to try to explain.

When my husband left 3 1/2 years ago, I felt God tell me that as far as that part of my life was concerned, I was to “stay”,  just like when the cloud was covering the tabernacle, that was how I felt, like God came down and wrapped his arms around me.  He told me that for a season, He would be my husband.  I know that sounds weird, we already know that we are the bride of Christ, but this was a bit different.  It meant that the hole that was left from my husband leaving and trying to tear apart what was never meant to be torn, needed to be filled with God.  When our divorce was finalized two years ago, I prayed and asked God for direction, still he said “stay”.

You may at this point be asking yourself, what does “stay” mean or look like.  Well to me it means that while the laws of this world may say that I am released from my marriage, that doesn’t mean that God says that.  To me it looks like  still wearing my wedding rings because God has not released me to remove them.   Well, that isn’t fair you might say.  Or maybe you think I am crazy and wasting my life.  I didn’t say that I was just sitting still in a corner waiting for God to bring my husband back through the door.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I try to live every day of my life to the fullest.  I enjoy all the, too many to count, blessings God has showered so generously upon me.

What I don’t do is look for some other man to fill the void in my life that can only be filled by God.  There is only one thing in this life that we truly can not live without and that is God.    It isn’t my job to question God’s command, is it my job to trust him. When God told me to stay, I said ok Lord, I will follow you on this path, I don’t worry about how long it has been or what the future holds for my life in that area.  I trust that whatever it is, it will be the best for me because God knows me better than I know myself.  Tim Keller says it best when he said

If we knew what God knows, we would ask exactly for what he gives.” 

The Israelites didn’t know when they stopped how long they would be in one place and  I may not know how long either.  But I know this…the Bible clearly shows how things went for the Israelites when they followed God’s command and how they went when they “..did what was right in their own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)

 

 

I don’t know about you but  I don’t want to do what is right in my eyes or what is right in the eyes of the world or those around me who tell me it is time to “get over” my divorce and move on by finding someone new.  Why is that people seem to think that having someone new is the only way to show that you are moving forward??   As if I am stuck in one place because I don’t have a man in my life.  I want to do what God calls me to do.  I want to follow His commands.  I want him to be the love of my life.  Is this easy?  NO not at all! Can I do this on my own?  No way!  I need the power of the Holy Spirit to be with me and the strength of Christ to get me through each and every moment of each and every day.  But is it worth it?  Absolutely!!!

 

 

 

 

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Fix Your Gaze

eyes-on-jesus

One of the things I do every morning before I get out of bed is  read a quick devotion.  Nothing long or elaborate, just something quick to get my day started on the right foot.  I don’t know about you, but I KNOW there is no way I will make through each day with out the supernatural strength and peace of God.

Yesterday morning and this morning, I read from a devotion book called Jesus Today written by Sarah Young.  One of the things Sarah does, is she writes devotions from the perspective that Jesus is talking directly to you.  I love reading them.  They are always timely and I so often feel like she wrote them just for me.

The thing she talked about the past two days was what we are gazing at.  The first line of yesterday’s devotion was

Gaze at me; glance at problems” (Sarah Young, Jesus Today March 2)

As I read that I really took a minute to think about what that meant.  There are so many times throughout my day where I get fixated on my problems.  Then, not only do I fixate on them, I start to try to come up with ways to solve them on my own and in my own strength.  If I continue down that path, before I know it, I have left God in the dust, I am running rampant, trying to fix something that I have largely exaggerated in my mind to be a huge problem when it probably isn’t even something I need to worry about right now.

Then as if she read my mind, this morning’s devotion said this

“Invite Him(The Holy Spirit) to alert you whenever you get overly focused on problems so you can redirect your attention to Me” (Sarah Young, Jesus Today March 3)

One of the things that I think we all need to remember is that we need to fix our eyes on Jesus.  Romans 12:1-3 says this:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Roman 12:1-3

When we gaze at our problems, they begin to take up more space in our mind than they should.  When we are fixated on them, we start to obsess about them. When we do this, we then do nothing more than glance at God.  This can be a recipe for disaster.

The more time we spend with our eyes fixed on our troubles, the more alone, afraid, and overwhelmed we feel.

However, the other side of that is, the more we fix our eyes on Jesus, the more, joy, peace, and secure we feel.

The truth is that gazing at our problems, really doesn’t solve anything.  However, gazing at Jesus sure does!  When we are so in tuned with Him, when we are listening for His voice, He will let us know when it is time to act and when it is time to just rest in Him.  Then when we do need to act to fix something, we aren’t doing it in our strength, we are doing it in His.  That is when problems get solved!

So today fix your gaze decidedly on Jesus and do nothing more than glance at your problems.  Invite the Holy Spirit to be the voice of guidance to keep your eyes where they need to be.  Let Jesus be what consumes you as you go through this day and watch and see how the problems and troubles of your life fade into the background,  shadowed by his glorious light.

 

 

 

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A Valentine’s Day Reminder For Single-moms

you-are-loved

This morning I got up and thought about what I wanted to write today that would encourage single-moms this Valentine’s Day.  After a less than enjoyable morning of getting kids off to school I sat down to write feeling less than loved. I then looked back at what I had written last year and I realized it was something that I really needed to be reminded of today.  So I decided to re-post this blog entry from last year.  Whatever your morning has looked like so far this Valentine’s Day and whatever this past year has brought into or out of your life…know that no matter where you are today….YOU ARE LOVED!

A Valentine For Single-moms

Here we are, Valentine’s Day again.  And maybe this morning, all you wanted to do was hide under the covers and not even think about it.  Personally, I have never liked Valentine’s Day, whether I was single or not.  To me it just seemed such a sad thing to put one day aside to show people you love them…shouldn’t we do that every day???

But regardless, today I wanted to take a minute to let you know something that perhaps, in the craziness of the life of a single-mom, you have forgotten.  YOU ARE LOVED!

It’s true!  Did you know that you have the most amazing valentine that anyone could ever ask for?

Well let me tell you a bit about him,

He loved you from before you were born, even before the creation of the world.
He knows everything about you, the good, the bad, the ugly and He loves you anyway.
He loves you at your worst and at your best
He loves you in such a way that he even knows the number of hairs on your head
He gave up everything, including his own son, so He could be with you forever and
nothing, Nothing, NOTHING can separate you from His love.*

Wow, someone actually loves me like that?  YES! God does and He has shown us all this through Jesus.

Romans 5:8  “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

And all of these words aren’t something out of a card, they are truths, promises that God has given us in His Word.

Maybe today, you didn’t receive a Valentine’s Day card, or flowers, or candy but in truth you have something far better.  You have an entire book(The Bible) reminding you of how much you are loved.  You have greatest gift ever given to you, JESUS, and you will have the sweet hugs and kisses from those little miracles you were blessed with that made you the best thing you could be, a mom.

So get out from under those covers, and boldly declare today, YOU ARE LOVED! then show all those around you the same love!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

*Bible references: Ephesians 1:4Psalm 139, Luke 12:7John 3:16, Romans 8:38-39

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Dart Board

dart.jpg

“I hate you!”, “You’re the worst Mom ever!” have you heard those words fly at you from your child’s mouth?  For me, one of the hardest things about being a single-mom, is becoming a dart board.  Do you know what I mean when I say that?  It is like all the hurt that is bottled up inside your kids, all the things that they want to say to their Dad but won’t or can’t, all the pain they feel over what has happened in their lives is shot at you, taken out on you.  You end up being the target for the darts of your kids hurt and sometimes, that dart goes straight to your heart.

This week just so happened to be a worse than normal week for that kind of thing in our house.  Sometimes, I know exactly where it comes from.  Sometimes it is legitimate hurt that my kids are trying to deal with and sometimes, it is just them using their circumstances as an excuse to get their own way and when that doesn’t happen, backlash occurs.  Regardless of which it is, having hurtful words hurled at you is heartbreaking. And when you are the only disciplinarian in the house, it only gets worse.  There is no break, no saying to your spouse…”you handle this one”  No one to back you up or support you in what you are trying to  do, and always the constant fear that you are doing it wrong and everything is going to blow up in your face.

I don’t know about you, but these types of weeks really wear me out.  I feel overwhelmed and when that happens, I often allow self-pity to begin to creep in.  As I know I have said before self-pity can be a very slippery slope, one that I don’t particularly like to get near the edge of.  By the time Friday morning rolled around, I felt pretty down.  Since I was pretty much all set at work and only had a few quick things to do, I made plans to go snowboarding.  Snowboarding is something I love, something that gives me much needed time to myself and much need time alone with God.  As I left work and headed out to the ski area, I took some time to just pray and really praise God.  Even though at first I didn’t really feel like doing that.  I wanted to complain and whine but instead, I just sang my own worship song and thanked God for who He was and for all he was doing in my life.  The more I did this, the further away from that slippery self-pity slope I moved.  By the time I as sitting on the chair lift ready to take my first run, I felt like a different person.  As the day went on and I headed home, I felt God remind me of few important things in dealing with this whole “dart board” scenario.

Most all the answers come from Ephesians 6.  Specifically in the passage on the Armor of God.

The Armor of God

” 10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

First I need to remember that I am not in a battle against my kids.  vs. 12 clearly tells us that our battle is NOT against flesh and blood, that means not against my own flesh and blood either!  Second, God has given us all we need to combat those darts.  vs 16 tells us, take up the shield of faith.  This shield can extinguish ALL the fiery darts of the enemy.  And no I am not saying that our children are our enemy, as we already established in vs 12, we know who our enemy is!  The enemy would like nothing more than to get me on that slippery slope of self-pity and he will use whatever means he can to accomplish it.  Last, PRAY! pray in the spirit on all occasions.  Prayer is one of our most powerful weapons and when combined with Praise as I talked about above…it sends the enemy running for cover!

So start each day with the armor of God.  Commit those verses from Ephesians 6 to memory.  Remind yourself of who the real enemy is.  Pray continuously.  Praise him always.  I love to recite Psalm 34 to myself.  It starts with “I will extol the Lord at ALL times, His praise will  ALWAYS be on my lips.”(Psalm 34:1 ,emphasis mine) Don’t allow the hurtful darts being thrown at you to undo you, rather use them to fuel you to a closer and deeper relationship with God.

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Why Worry?

corrie-ten-boom

Each year as the new year arrives, we choose a family bible verse for the year.  In addition to that I like to pick a personal verse as well.  This year, as I was reading through my Bible in One Year devotional by Nicky Gumbel, a verse in the New Testament passage for the day basically popped out at me.  As soon as I read it I knew this was my verse for this year.  It was Matthew 6:34 from the message translation, which reads:

“Give your attention to what God is doing right now and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.  God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”  Matthew 6:34 MSG

One of the things that Nicky said in the devotional was

Think ahead, plan ahead, but don’t worry ahead.

Now I don’t know about you, but I am notorious for worrying ahead.  Not only that, but I excessively plan ahead for what I am worrying ahead about!  That is not only exhausting and unnecessary, but is actually completely pointless.  As Jesus tells us in Luke chapter 12, vs 25-26

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life ? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

Jesus makes it pretty clear that worrying does absolutely nothing to change what is going to happen.    One of my favorite quotes is from Corrie Ten Boom who said;

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but it empties today of strength” Corrie Ten Boom via Bible in One Year

All worry does is ruin our day, get us worked up, and  cause us to miss out on the amazing things that God is doing in the present!

Now, I have gotten better over the past few years at leaving more and more things to God, because when you get put into a situation where you are just completely overwhelmed and at the end of yourself, you then realize…I can’t do this and you cry out to God “HELP!” But there are still times when I allow myself back into that pattern of worry and excessive planning about what I am worrying about.  It is then that I need to remember what my verse of the year reminds me of…..and the bottom line of that is: Trust God!  I need to pay attention to what God is doing now, at this moment in my life and not worry about what may or may not happen in the days, weeks, months, or even years to come.  I need to remember that my future is in his hands.  He is a good father and I am his daughter, whatever he allows not only will he help me through, each step of the way, but he will also bring good out of it.  So why worry?!

 

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