The Beautiful Outcome of Our Lord’s Betrayal

Betrayed.

Abandoned.

Humiliated.

Stranded.

Thrown under the bus.

Do you have a few stories of your own that made you feel…drastically alone?

“The sober symphony of Calvary was arranged by these characteristic notes of betrayal.” This was the story leading up to Jesus’ death.

“Our Savior’s murder was not a story just to give us a knee-jerk emotional response, but to show us how carefully and divinely orchestrated a mission of mercy it was.” Imagine how many betrayals Jesus encountered by both friends and enemies, from the garden of Gethsemane to the interior of the governor’s palace?

Yet, he gave no excuses.

“He humbly remained the Passover Lamb and stumbled up a hill to His own slaughter.”

He took the punches, the spit, the ridicule, the bruising, the scourging, the nails…

Yet, “he muted His own omnipotent roar to save us.”

The lash on his back, the thorns on his head, the spit on his cheek, the bruises on his face, the nails in his hands, the spear in his side, the scorn of the rulers, the betrayal of his friend, the desertion by his disciples – these were all the result of sin, and all designed by God to destroy the power of sin. ~ John Piper

Roman crucifixion ranks among the most heartless and inhuman forms of torture and death yet contrived. That such a cruel practice could be transformed into a means of salvation testifies powerfully to God’s grace and mercy for all the world. ~ Lisa Harper

What MERCY!

What GRACE!

As I read this week’s bible study from Lisa Harper’s, The Gospel of Mark, I was somberly and joyfully reminded of the Cross. Jesus’ story of betrayal led to my story of redeeming beauty. Everyday this should be a prayer of thanksgiving and gratitude in our hearts. What an amazing reminder of God’s goodness in our lives. Everyday we have access to eternal life, healing, the promises of God, joy, and so much more because of our Lord’s choice of a sacrificial death and resurrection. Sometimes we have to be reminded to keep the main thing the main thing; It’s. All. About. Jesus.

Let’s take a moment right now to thank God for this beautiful outcome!

We have one more week in this study! Join me for the final week of The Gospel of Mark Bible Study next Thursday morning as we close up with a grand finale and release the topic of the next study. Be Blessed! Be Revealed!

The Gospel of Mark Book

Week 6: The Beautiful Outcome of Our Lord’s Betrayal

Scripture References:

  • Mark 14: 32-16:8

Reflective Questions:

  • If someone asked you, “Why did Jesus have to die?” how would you answer that person?
  • When you really ponder the symbol of a cross, do you feel more sorrowful or hopeful?
  • What’s the “Oh wow, surely Jesus is the Son of God” moment in your life?

 

 

Power of Believing in Yourself

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In 2008, a first year head coach hung a sign up in his football players’ meeting room which had the word “BELIEVE” on it. The team was going through so many problems. They had not one ten games in a season in 18 years and had not won a championship since 1981. Fast forward nine years later and Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers football program are now your 2017 College Football National Champions. His team needed to believe in themselves, if they were to overcome a record of mediocrity (Schiffer, 2017). “Believe,” Swinney says, “is a powerful thing. Powerful enough to change anything” (Hayes, 2017).

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I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic of belief lately. We all have things and values that we believe in. Our lives are a reflection of what we believe and the habits we build around our belief system. Believing is so simple, we do not think about it, and often we miss it all the time. However, I want to pose this question to you. What do you believe? More specifically, what do you believe about yourself?

There are very few successful people who are not positive and confident in themselves. In many cases they are even less gifted and less skilled in what they do, they just think differently than others who are not as successful. Believing is the doorway of entry. It is the doorway to hopes and dreams and the future that you imagine it to be. Believing is a process of becoming and growing into all of the purposes and potential hidden inside of you and I. Unfortunately, I think our society has misinterpreted what it means to believe in oneself. The problem is that today, many people think that they can do anything, alone, and without any help from others. There is no such thing as the self-made man and independent go-getter. These people are trying to make a life of doing something, rather than becoming something.

As Christians, we are not only called to believe in Jesus, but we are also to believe in ourselves too. We must see ourselves the way we really are, with the help of Jesus Christ. Writer Gerald Kennedy has a lot to say about this topic. He says, “the more we understand the reality of our own hearts, the more we see the need for Christ; pride is the root of sin.” The world is full of people who feel hopeless and reckless, but they try to build up a picture that looks as if they are strong and can stand alone. I have been guilty of this as well. It is the lust of proving oneself that they are a star, to tell the world how good they are and that they deserve praise. Yet, even the very best of us fall short of the righteousness of God. The difference where we fall short and what God has for us is found in the healthy and pure form of Belief…in oneselfANDin God.

Finally, through Jesus Christ, our eyes are opened and we see the truth about who we are….children of God. We were never meant to do this thing called life alone. We were made in the image of our Father, created for Himself and for His great pleasure. Romans 8 speaks about being God’s children. “Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:17). Then in Romans 8 verse 19, it says, “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.”

Do you realize who you are? You are an heir to God and co-heir with Christ! You are created a little lower than Elohim! You are a mighty warrior! You are a masterpiece, created from the very hands of God the Universe! You are above and not beneath! You are royalty and a citizen of the Kingdom of Majesty! You have the very breath of God inside of you! Do I need to continue? You are set apart, holy, and purposed for great destiny! You are whole, healed and free! You can do more than you think you can and you can have more what you think you can have!

When you understand and BELIEVE who you really are through Christ, only then can you truly be REVEALED.

You won’t get anyone to believe in who you are until you believe in yourself. Break off the old mindset and up your game of self-perception! It is those who know their God that can truly know themselves. It is those that believe in themselves and God that will truly do great exploits.

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God just wants your belief. God cannot use your unbelief. Look at the countless examples of people in the Bible that believed. Abraham was counted righteous because he believed God. Moses led the people out of Egypt because he surrendered to a belief in himself and God. Esther saved a nation because she believed. The woman at the well in the New Testament believed in the coming Messiah and as a result went to witness to her town about the Christ who was there. So my question to you again is this. Will you simply… just…. believe? Be Blessed! Be Revealed!

 

 

“Release Your Potential”

There are seeds of GREATNESS inside of you.

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The average human being only uses 10% of their potential. This begs to question, what if we just accessed 10 percent more? What about 15 percent? There is so much that we can do but we forfeit all that is inside of us because we throw away the seeds with the apple. There are seeds of greatness inside of you. Do you believe it?

This message came from my church currently teaching a series called “Release Your Potential,” and it is certainly worth listening to again and meditating on because we need to tap into all that we were created to do and be. (See the link below).

Most people waste the potential of the apple, not knowing that what’s important are the seeds! The power of the seed is so misunderstood that we end up throwing it away or eating it; instead of planting it and nurturing it. What happens when you plant an apple seed, or any seed? It has the potential to grow into another apple tree and produce a harvest of apples!

You have seeds in you that can become a business. You have seeds in you that has the potential to produce 100 times what you produce. You have seeds of creativity, imagination, and wonder, ready to blossom into something beautiful. Think about where you can be in 2-5 years from now if you just plant your seeds?!

Here’s the thing. Are you willing to sow, wait, and give your seeds to God?

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15: 5

In Christ, we can do all things. In Christ, all things are possible! In Christ, your greatest potential can be released beyond your wildest expectations, beliefs, and even your limited capabilities. The seed is small. But it has the power to yield 100 fold results. The less God has to work with, the more He can make happen in your life. Let Him have control of your seed. Its’ in Christ that we can release our potential. So I encourage you to stay connected to the True Vine and Source from where all of our potential rests. Plant the seed and you will see those things inside of you come to life! Be Blessed. Be Revealed.

For all of my Christian rap fans…Fedel’s “I Will Be.”

 

http://victoryatl.com/messages/

They’re Cheering You On.

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There was a time in college I woke up late for my team’s 6:00 am mile run. Yep, I slept right through my alarm and rolled over in the comfort of my bed as my teammates ran the mile early in the morning. I awoke to the sound of a knock on my door. It was more like a banging. As soon as my eyes opened, suddenly the realization of where I was and where I was supposed to be hit me like sirens going off in my head. I ran to open the door and see who was banging and it was my head coach.

With my hand still on the door handle and my eyes locking eyes with my coach, I did what anyone else would have done. I slammed the door back shut. Then proceeded to run to my bathroom to try to figure out how to explain what just happened. My coach came in and followed to check on me. In the most understanding way, she simply told me to get dressed for the run and head over to the track.

When I arrived at the track, all of my teammates were still there; finished with their timed run. So I stretched and stepped up to the line…alone. My coach had a timer in her hand and told me to go when I was ready. I took off. I had so much adrenaline built up from being late and having to be timed, I ran the first lap faster than my natural pace. Lap 2 came around and I noticed myself getting tired early. Then the most interesting thing happened…

I heard the sound of my teammates cheering me on to finish. Mind you they already finished their race. Yet, two teammates joined me on the second lap and my energy picked up. My determination increased. My wind came back. Lap 3 came around and other teammates joined me and the cheers got louder. By the time I was on my last lap, my entire team was running with me pushing me to finish strong to the end.

I will never forget the power of teamwork and love in that moment of my life. I was late, I was tired, I was defeated before I even started and finished my race. Yet, I had people who went before me and cheered me on to the finish line.

Life will often happen the same way. We mess up. We get tired and our faith will get weak. Hope seems lost. Yet, scripture says that we have a cheering section ready to inspire and motivate us to the finish line. They did it. Most importantly, Christ did it and so can we.

Sometimes we win because we have strength to finish on our own. Other times we win because of who’s watching us. You’re not alone. You have teammates cheering you on!

Hebrews 11:1 also talks about the weights and sins in our lives that can slow us down and get us off track. What are you willing to give up in order to get where you are trying to go? What are the weights you need to lay aside to be the champion you need to be? It’s a daily struggle to lay aside the sin in our lives and live as the champion in Christ that we are. Paul in Romans 8 speaks about this internal battle we have that we as Christians struggle with. However, in the very next chapter we get clarity that we are winners, even if we don’t feel like it.

 

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Olympic Gold: USA Women’s 4×100 team. Photo from SB Nation.

We are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Romans 8:37) and there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because He has set us free from the law of sin and death (v.1-2). So when your faith gets tired and your hope seems lost, remember that you are not alone in your struggles. You have a group cheering you on to the finish line because they know you can make it. Christ already won. There’s a champion, fighter, builder, and thinker in you! Get focused again and push yourself to the limit! In Him we are winners and in our weakness, He is made strong.

It’s time to run again. Be Blessed family. Be Revealed.

 

 

 

 

Communing with Christ on a Crazy Day

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This is it family! The final day of the Habits of Grace Study with David Mathis and the final day of July. I want to thank each and every person who has taken the time to read, comment, like, and follow my blog during this time of diving into the study. It’s such a great feeling when you finish what you start and I hope you got some nuggets that transformed your life like it has mine. So I would love to hear some feedback from you all!

Comment below on what was your favorite day of study or personal nugget that you gleaned during the summer. Feel free to look back at all 31 days of Grace that were posted. Also, let me know of anything you want to see next from Revealed8. It would be greatly appreciated!

The last day of the study is about finding the time to Commune with God on a crazy day or even in a season in your life where everything is craziness. We all have been there. I have been there, and there are times I am still there because of the unexpected circumstances that pop up in life. Even so, the enemy always will throw schemes at you to keep you from finding any focused time with God. Hopefully, we have established a routine of the means of grace through prayer and Bible reading, but how do we engage in God when our routine is broken or we simply do not have one? How do you sense God in the chaotic and crazy demands of the day? How do you spend “alone” time with God when you are pulled from so many people, friends, relatives, spouse, and children? Whatever the circumstances, David Mathis provides five ways in order to think about how we can commune with Christ in our craziness. Be Blessed! Be Revealed!

  • Remember What Your “Habits of Grace” are About – Always remember the big picture. It’s not about checking off boxes and working at length to read, journal, and memorize. It is often when we feel strongest personally, we are prone to walk in our own strength rather than depend on God.
  • Consider the Path of Love – When our vertical relationship is right with God, then every other relationship horizontally flows smoother. Sometimes, the most loving we can do is get away from people for a few minutes, feed our souls on God and come back to our communities re-energized to meet others’ needs. Other times, we need to give attention to our children and spouses, best friends, cousins, etc to love on them and sacrifice our alone time.
  • Develop a Morning Routine That is Adaptable – Try to create a routine that can expand into more than an hour if you have it, or collapse into just ten minutes, or even less, when love requires it.
  • Look for God’s Provision through Others – If time alone with Jesus isn’t possible, then be on the lookout for that person who loves Jesus you can share a conversation with to produce some food for you both that you otherwise would not have had.
  • Evaluate Later What You Might Learn for the Next Time – The crazy days and seasons will come and go. But with a little planning, reflection and some intentionality, we can learn how to navigate through these days a little better. Know that it is not our execution of our morning that secures his favor and blessing! We can commune on crazy days; He is always there and already listening.

 

The End of the Means

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Likely you’ve heard of the spiritual disciplines in the past and tried them yourself. And like me probably got frustrated, felt guilty, or gave up along the way in some sort of fashion. Don’t get overwhelmed. This is not that. We’re going to keep it real simple for you and give you one thing to focus on.

You see God’s regular channels of grace are His voice, His ear, and His body. Grace that sends the deepest roots for our souls is the discipline of daily devotion in the Word of God, prayer, and fellowship. Now this may seem very unimpressive. Good news…

I am not writing to impress you. I am writing to encourage you and grow with you in the truth that ordinary consistent faithfulness leads to the spectacular.

So through those channels of grace we have this one goal. One thing. One focus. Jesus Christ. This is our heartbeat, Hosea 6:3. “Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord.” If you have tried this before and gave up, I just want to draw your attention to why you probably did. Your focus was not in the right place. This is not about being the best Bible reader, prayer, or church member. This is not about being the best Christian or observing our own Christlikeness.

Our focus is Christ.

So today, I hope that you and I will endeavor in this pursuit with the right focus. We were created to know and enjoy Jesus Christ. God’s grace empowers us to place us in the path where we can be expectant of that. Trust me, when you get in the right place, He will not disappoint you. Be Blessed! Be Revealed!