I’d love to hear from you in the comments! Share a thought or two from this Weeks’s reading in Matthew to encourage each other.
One section that I LOVED this week was :
“Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matt 9:13
The literal translation of that shows Jesus saying something more along the lines of, ‘I delight to give help & mercy to sinners. I am determined to bring this world mercy, not a demand of adherence to the law.’
This is good news for the spiritually sick such as you and me!
Mercy incarnate came and forever changed my life. He became the sacrifice so that the demands on me were paid in full by Himself and I was left with full mercy.
I love John 12:3. Mary sat down with an expensive bottle of perfume and ‘wasted’ it all on the feet of Jesus.
The smell of that sacrifice filled the whole house. No one could get away from it. The heavy scent enveloped you no matter where you were in that home. And you could smell it on Mary for quite some time to come, I’m sure. Hair dripping and her clothes also affected as she rubbed the perfume into his feet; the aroma soaked deep into the palms of her hands.
A sacrifice such as this draws our attention to the one worth focusing on and away from ourselves. It overtakes you and you can’t get away from it. The richness in that moment of hard sacrifice lingered for so long where it dripped on the floor and splashed the chair and rested on those who were most closely involved. The broken jar holding the fortune, now gone, becomes a thing of heartbreaking beauty. The worship induced by such lavish expense thrown in an unlikely moment to a humble audience will forever stop us short.
Mary breaking that jar of perfume was just a shadow of Christ’s own body that was to be broken… and it would fill the whole world with the scent of his beautiful sacrifice… Jesus was the expensive jar broken for us.
Judas was wrong. Indeed, it was used for the poor.
Early in the year I hurt two of my friends. A lot. I was in sin. After a difficult couple of months (years?) I had snapped to a least suspecting audience and subsequently lost sleep and health for the the next two weeks.
I then apologized, cried, and threw myself at them asking for mercy. What I got was much more; the proof of a true friend; the proof of Christ in them. They became an embodiment of Christ in my life. I’m beyond thankful.
I was told I was forgiven and a while later I knew I was forgiven when after a simple little visit I received a hug and an ‘I love you’ from my offended friend… and continued attention.
To be on the receiving end of mercy and be able to link arms and continue down the road again actually strengthened my faith and strengthened the friendship. God is gracious.
I thoroughly enjoyed this talk from Rachel Jankovic that I share with you now and believe each and every one of you need to listen in, too.
If your Christian life were a cup of tea what kind would you be? I’m serious. This is a good, hard question that will make you squirm. Follow me… You may think you are a lemon ginger or camomile… or maybe a nice robust Irish breakfast tea.
Now think of all the difficult circumstances and all the difficult people in your life right now. They are the boiling water. They’re going to prove what kind of teabag your spiritual flavour is. There’s no hiding it once the hot water hits.
You can’t blame the people or circumstances for what seeps out of your teabag, no matter how frustrating or sinful they may be.
The teabag flavour is between you and God and He brings the hard things & people around to show YOU who you really are and give you a chance to repent and add some lemon ginger in there instead of the wormwood you discovered filling your cup.
We don’t often realize that even if our prayers were answered, if things were different, if that person hadn’t done that, that we would still be the same kind of tea. Living without boiling water leaves us in spiritual ignorance in which we think more of ourselves than we ought to think.
The fact is that you would be the same person even if your problems were fixed. It’s just that you know what kind of person you are BECAUSE of the problems.
But God is gracious and will FILL you with HIMSELF… and there are so many yummy flavours he enjoys sharing with the world. Don’t settle for wormwood. REPENT and see what flavour He wants to make you.
You just can’t hold us down! … we’ve got some goodies for you tomorrow if you choose to partake with us.
Tomorrow the doors will be open at 8:30am with tea, coffee, and muffins & such. Please come and say hello and enjoy some fellowship before we get started. We officially start at 9 but y’all, I can’t wait that extra half hour!
I’m so thankful for all my friends & family working so hard to make this happen! Decorating and setup is a big job and they jump in with smiles to get it all done and the speakers work so hard to prepare for their sessions…. we are ready for you!
First session begins at 9:30am and the rest of the day is full of focusing on Scripture, bowls of chocolate, shopping, and a special treat for you at our last break.
Also, a reminder that this is your last day to get in on the prize draw for only $20. Tomorrow you can still enter but it will be at a cost of $30, so it’s worth it to get in early. The prizes are fabulous!
We can’t wait to encourage you! Please pray for us as we prepare and pray for you.
Holly will be sharing at the VWEC in just 2 more days!!! We cannot wait to see her again! She is always such an encouragement! Here’s a snippet on what she’ll be sharing.
We are always trying to escape. Escape pain, embarassment, boredom, hunger…many sorts of trials. The idea of being comfortable all the times seems to be the human dream. “As long as you are happy” is the code phrase we use to give ourselves and others permission to be self centered and, ultimately, our own god. If our own happiness means discomfort or stress free lives, then good luck everybody else, because sacrificial love is no longer an option. Sacrificial love requires…well…sacrifice…which, by definition, requires loss, pain, stress or at the very least some discomfort. Sacrificing that which costs me nothing, is not truly sacrifice, as King David said.
Whenever our flesh experiences pain or stress, we feel that prickly thorn in our side and grimace. We do all we can to remove that thorn, so we can skip merrily on our way to the next pleasurable thing…I’m including myself in this…in fact, I could be the chief of sinners in this subconscious way. When that thorn is painful enough to really interfere with life, and out of our control…becomes clinical…we ask God to take it from us. Often He does. But sometimes He doesn’t.
Why on Earth would God not relieve us?! He’s a good Father, isn’t He?! Because, in Heaven, things are not always as they seem on Earth. The Apostle Paul was in this exact scenario, and asked God three times to remove some anonymous thorn from his flesh. God’s response was “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness”. In other words…no. You’ll get more than you need from me and you’ll see my power way more than if you were strong and pain free. Paul accepted that and kept on living with his thorn. The thorn had purpose. All thorns have sharp points.
The scriptures are clear that the point of his thorn was to keep him humble for some reason. It was used by Satan to bother, even torment him, but he needed it, otherwise, Paul’s flesh would have given into some proud temptation and pride always leads to destruction. The prick in your side keeps you from being destroyed.
Roses have thorns…well technically, prickles…however, their purpose is protection from predators, like pride. Roses are most glorious and delectable to some wild life, but not when a thorn accompanies each bite. Also, the thorns help a rose bush climb and grow, like those little sharp thingys that mountain climbers use to scale a cliff. Our trials and pains are for our maturity and strengthening…unless you’d rather enjoy couch potato Christianity, we need to learn how to live with the thorns…no…not just live with, but thrive, have victory and be joyful over them!!
“My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” 💪 2 Corinthians 12:9
5×5…”Living With the Thorns”
More on this beautiful idea, this Saturday, at the Valley Women’s Encouragement Conference ❤
These are our theme verses for the conference… Charmin will be filling you in on why we chose these verses and why we love them in her session, Your Works Already Approved. Be prepared to be greatly encouraged by what we find in Scripture!
Interested in joining us this year? Find the info you need HERE .
It is much easier to take a bullet than to offer yourself to a slow and agonizing death for another person. Offering your life to a difficult situation? One that could take years… maybe even decades for someone who doesn’t give a rip??? Surely God doesn’t expect that?!
I’ve said it before when faced with panic and fear all around you, ‘It’s easy. Be willing to die at a moment’s notice’. The answer to living in quiet confidence in dire circumstances is to understand the sovereignty of God and have firm assurance that you are His. Then it literally doesn’t matter what happens to you. You’re good. You’re just one second away from GLORY. No problem.
But what about that life that Jesus calls us to all day every day with the pile of people we encounter. Those people who will come and go and not really care about your sacrifice & all of your ‘counting the cost’ and all that… You are in the spiritual school of laying your life down in a slow and agonizing death the way that Christ did, and modeled for us to do. Can we rest in God’s sovereignty in those circumstances, too? Of course we can. We NEED to. Can joy be found in this way of living??? Of course it can. True JOY is only found in humble obedience. (Not talking about choosing to stay in an abusive situation! If someone is in physical danger, a loving response will look very different than if some is just in an ‘unhappy’ situation!)
It is so much harder to invite the difficult offering of yourself for those who won’t acknowledge it for the beautiful following of the spiritual model of Christ that it is. So much harder to live out the raw sacrificial Christian faith as opposed to dressing up to talk and sing about it on Sunday mornings.
I’ve had so many people say over the years, ‘You mean, I’m supposed to be a doormat?!’… Ummm, you’re only a doormat if you don’t offer yourself. You’re a welcome mat until you allow others to choose your actions. But if the Spirit is in control it remains a welcome mat that just looks like a doormat from the world’s vantage point. Whether it’s your spouse, friend, enemy, child, coworker, or just a random guy on the street… it can be so hard to be willing to be Jesus to these people over and over again until we die. But remember, let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus. Remember to be like Christ. Remember to die slowly for others no matter how long it takes, not just be willing to take a bullet for them.
You get to choose. This life in Christ allows you to choose of your own free will whether you will lay down your life like Christ did for another person or whether you will demand your rights and pull your welcome mat inside and shut the light out so everyone knows you’re not accepting visitors anymore.
Think about Jesus who endured from sinners so much hostility against himself, and don’t grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle in saying no to you and yes to others, you have not yet resisted to the point of having to suffer enough to pay for the sin of the world. You aren’t that bad off yet… you are called to keep going until you reach the limit of what Jesus suffered for your sin. Hebrews 12:3,4 TSPB – The Shannon Paraphrased Bible 😉
Looks like we’re in this whole ‘welcome mat’ thing for quite some time, eh? Until we meet Christ face to face we are called to just keep plugging away shaking out our welcome mats and making sure the front door is ready and waiting for more company. Even the same old company that keeps making messes on our doorsteps, over, and over, and over…
We’re all dying. But every day we are in the Lord’s training to learn how to die well. We are learning how to die a slow death for Christ’s sake.
Jesus always keeps His welcome mat out. Always. And I am SO THANKFUL for those in my life that have been Jesus to me over the years, keeping the door open, full of grace. May the Church rise up as an offering for each other and live like their Forerunner! 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻