You Matter | ONE 01

Have you ever wondered if you matter? We have a tendency to belittle ourselves, thinking we might not be very valuable. Maybe we have some insecurities. Perhaps we are overwhelmed by our many mistakes. Maybe I really don’t matter, after all, I’m just one person.

But let’s not belittle the significance of just one person! I believe that one person matters! I believe that even just one person is valuable. I believe that even just one person has the power to change the world.

Remember that you are created by God. Not only that but of all creation, humans were the only beings created in the very image of God. He made us look like Himself. Not only that, but when God created man He breathed His own breath into the man to give him life. It is the very breath of God flowing through your lungs.

That alone is enough to give you an incredible amount of value! Every single person is important. Every single person has value. Even you. You’re important and you matter.

It is also important to remember that the moment we begin our relationship with Jesus, we are filled with His presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. Not only are we incredibly valuable, but we have the very power of God dwelling within us! Next time you don’t think you can accomplish very much, remember that God can do all things and He dwells in YOU!

Throughout this series, we will be looking at three different examples of Jesus revealing the importance of just ONE PERSON.

THINK ABOUT THIS:

  1. How does knowing you were created in God’s image change the way you see yourself? How does it change how you see others?
  2. When you don’t feel very important what can you do to remind yourself of your value?

PRAY: Lord, thank you for creating me in Your image and filling me with Your Holy Spirit. Help me to remember the value You have placed on me.

SCRIPTURE READING:

Ephesians 2:7-10 (MSG) Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)  For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Genesis 1:26-27 (NLT)  Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

Genesis 2:7 (NLT) Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Romans 8:9 (NLT)  But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you.

 

Release the Debt | Sinking Ships 20

“I’ll forgive them when they apologize.”

Well, what if they never apologize? Are you willing to hold on to the anger and weight of the offense even if the other person never seeks to make things right? Unforgiveness is a heavy weight to bear. I am convinced that forgiveness is better for us than it is the offender. What is forgiveness?

I believe that whenever someone offends us, a debt is created. We feel like they owe us something in order to be made right. Forgiveness is simply releasing the debt. Saying, you don’t owe me anything, I will no longer count this against you. This is not always easy as powerful emotions, and deep hurt compete for control. We think that we have to get over it in order to forgive. We have to stop being angry, or we have to experience healing first. I disagree. I believe that forgiveness is the first step toward releasing that anger and stepping toward healing.

Meaning to say forgiveness is not something that happens to you, you choose it. The choice is not always easy, but it is yours to make. When we make the decision to forgive something inside of us begins to change. It doesn’t mean the hurt or anger instantly goes away. Healing is a process that takes time, but I believe without forgiveness healing is impossible. Do not put control of your healing on someone who may never give you what you’re looking for. Don’t wait for other people to make things right. Extend forgiveness today.

It is also important to recognize the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. While many times forgiveness will lead to the restoration of the relationship, it doesn’t always. In fact, in some cases, it shouldn’t. Some examples might be continually breaking trust, cheating, abuse, and rape. In those situations, most of the time reconciliation may not be what’s best. I believe it is foolish to put yourself in a position to continue to be hurt, but forgiveness is still necessary for healing. Forgiveness is about you and your journey to become the whole person God has created you to be.

Thank you for following along in our sinking ships series! I pray that you will have strong relationships with your friends, family, and most importantly with God. I pray you will find the freedom and healing that follows forgiveness to others. 

Amen.

THINK ABOUT THIS:

  1. Think of ways that not forgiving has added heaviness to your life.
  2. Are you ready to begin the process of forgiving?

PRAY: Lord, help me to forgive others as You have forgiven me. I pray that you would do a healing work in me as I release the debt. Thank You for loving me.

SCRIPTURE READING:

Luke 6:27-36 (NLT) “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

32 “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.

35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

 

Choose Forgiveness | Sinking Ships 19

Godly love is given without expectation of return. Meaning it is without condition. God’s love is offered without the contingency that we are without fault. When we do make mistakes we can come to Him and ask for forgiveness and He gives it. Every time.

The challenge is that is then how He commands us to love. Command is such a strong word, but we must remember that His commands are not a flex of His authority over us, but rather a loving push to live the way in which is best for us. Living the way God requires us is the path to living the abundantly full life He offers. Again, this does not mean that life is not without difficulty, but that through difficulty we have the grace, supernatural strength, to carry on the midst of anything without losing our sustaining joy and perfect peace that comes from God. Meaning to say that following His commands do not lead to restriction, but true freedom.

Extending forgiveness to others is one of God’s commands. Jesus actually goes so far as to say that if we refuse to forgive others, God will then not forgive our sins. 

I think we have to be careful so that we do not get the wrong image. The phrasing almost makes me think that God is an angry toddler folding His arms in a fit saying, “If you don’t do this, I won’t do that,”  which is absolutely not the case. I truly believe that when we fail to forgive others it changes something inside of us. 

God is so serious about forgiveness that He said, if you are in the process of trying to get right with God and remember someone who has something against you, stop what you’re doing and go be made right with them and then come back and be made right with God.

It’s important

When we harbor unforgiveness and become bitter, rehearsing hurts over and over inside of our minds, our hearts become hardened and unable to receive God’s forgiveness. We know that we are not being Christ-like and like all sin we separate ourselves from God. Choosing not to forgive is choosing to remain hurt, rather than receiving the healing that comes with forgiveness.

THINK ABOUT THIS:

  1. Who in your life have you struggled to forgive?
  2. How has that unforgiveness affected your life?

PRAY: Father, forgive me of any unforgiveness in my life. Today give me the courage to begin to love like You love and learn how to forgive others the way that You forgive me.

SCRIPTURE READING:

Matthew 6:5-15 (NLT) “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!Pray like this:

Our Father in heaven,
    may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
    as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,[a]
12 and forgive us our sins,
    as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,[b]
    but rescue us from the evil one.[c]

14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

John 10:11-18 (NLT) “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.

17 “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again.18 No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”

Matthew 5:21-24 (NLT) “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ 22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.

23 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.

 

The Relationship | Sinking Ships 18

 

Imagine going to school everyday. Sitting beside the same group of people everyday.  Yet, everyday, not one ever says a word. Do you think anyone would ever make sustainable friendships? I imagine not. Communication is such a key component to developing relationships and keeping them afloat. The more time you spend with a friend, talking about what really matters, the closer you become. The more you begin to understand their personality, sense of humor, what they mean when they say certain things.

It is the same with our relationship with God. We will never get a close relationship with Jesus if we never spend time talking with Him. This is why we pray. I know when you’re starting out trying to pray that it can feel a little uncomfortable, but isn’t it usually uncomfortable when you spend time with someone you don’t know very well? In the case of God sometimes it is challenging because we’re not even sure if He’s there. However, if we can have the faith to begin we will eventually discover He is present, always.

Prayer doesn’t have to be some big super spiritual skill. You don’t have to have the right words. Simply talk to God. Tell Him what you’re grateful for. Tell Him what you’re going through. Ask Him for help. Ask Him to help your friends. It doesn’t have to be long either. He hears all prayers, especially the short ones. It is also helpful to have a journal to write down what your thoughts are, what you feel like God might be speaking to you and Bible verses that stand out.

Ahh, the Bible. We want to hear God’s voice, but learning to hear God’s voice starts with His Word. Spend a few minutes everyday reading the Words He gave to us. Start in John and read about who Jesus is. Recognize the character of God. Recognize who Jesus is and how He loves us. When you read the description of love in 1 Corinthians 13, remember that God is love. This is not just a description of love, it is a description of who God is and how He loves us.

As we stay consistent in pursuing this relationship with God, we not only learn how He loves us, but how His love and grace empowers us to love other people. As we come to know His love, the way we love will naturally begin to change to become more like Him, much like we naturally become more like our friends.

Two closing thoughts about Godly love.

Godly love is given without any expectation of return.

Godly love is sacrificial.

THINK ABOUT THIS:

  1. How can you apply these lessons to begin a deeper relationship with God?
  2. Do you love all people or only those who you know will love you back?

PRAY: Lord, help me today to know You. I want to have a strong relationship with You. Speak to me today.

SCRIPTURE READING:

Revelation 3:20 (NLT)  “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.

James 4:7-8 (NLT) So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

1 Corinthians 13:1-7 (NLT)  If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. 

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Matthew 5:43-48 (NLT) You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.  If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

John 15:9-17 (NLT) “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.17 This is my command: Love each other.

The Recognition | Sinking Ships 17

There is no more important relationship than our relationship with God. It starts by recognizing what He did for us! Do you even know how much He loves you? Everything God has ever done has been motivated by His love for you and me. There is no end to the incredible depths of His love.

Let’s think about who Jesus is. He is God. Supremely powerful, unknowing the pain of humanity. Yet, because He loves us, He stepped out of Heaven and stepped into humanity. He stepped into the hurt, the anguish, the betrayal and everything that goes along with being human. He lived a blameless life, yet He was accused of crimes He did not commit. He was spit upon, whipped, mocked, betrayed and abandoned by those closest to Him.

He died one of the most horrific and painful deaths a man could die. In doing so, He took upon Himself the punishment for sin. Not His sin, for He knew no sin. Our sin. All of it. He bore upon Himself the weight of all our sin. He Himself, felt forsaken by His Father God. Cut off because of our sin.

However, with His resurrection He defeated sin. He defeated death and in doing so, He freed us from sin’s power. We no longer suffer under the penalty of sin. Instead, we are invited into relationship with Him. Pause there for a moment. God created everything. Every person, every animal, every star, everything big and small. Yet He knows your name and invites you to spend time with Him and get to know Him. He finds great joy and delight in who you are. So much so that He decided to adopt you and call you his son our daughter.

That is a kind of love that is beyond the natural love of humanity. It isn’t anything we deserved or earned, yet He gives it to us freely, inviting us to accept Him to be a part of our lives. When we decide to enter into that relationship with Him, everything changes. It’s beautiful. While we will still walk through challenging times, we can experience, freedom, peace, and joy like we’ve ever known because we aren’t walking alone, but instead, we walk with Jesus. We carry the presence of God into every room and every situation.

THINK ABOUT THIS:

  1. Take time to think about the wonderful things Jesus did so we could have that relationship with Him.
  2. Have you made the decision to enter into that relationship with God?

PRAY: Jesus, I thank You for all you’ve done for me. For the great love you offer. I choose today to receive that love and to enter into relationship with You.

SCRIPTURE READING:

John 1:10-14 (NLT) He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him.11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

Philippians 2:5-8 (NLT) You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had

Though he was God,
    he did not think of equality with God
    as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;

    he took the humble position of a slave
    and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
    he humbled himself in obedience to God

    and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

1 Peter 3:18 (NLT) Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit

Romans 8:1-17 (NLT)  So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

The Response | Sinking Ships 16

One day a banker was looking at his accounts and discovered a man who owed ten million dollars and hadn’t paid! The banker demanded to be paid, but the man said he didn’t have the money. The banker’s response was, “I will take everything you possess until you pay me back!”

The man begged, “please don’t do this. Be patient, give me time. I will pay you back, every cent.”

The banker took note of the man’s sincerity and had pity on him. He decided to cancel the debt completely and let the man go.

The man was grateful, however, he then ran into a friend who owed him a hundred dollars. He grabbed him and began to choke him, demanding, “Pay me back what you owe me, RIGHT NOW.”

His friend begged, “please don’t do this. Be patient, give me time. I will pay you back, every cent.”

The man refused to hear it and instead had his friend thrown in Jail.

The banker heard of this and was outraged.  He called the man in, “I canceled your debt when you begged me to be patient with you to pay your great debt! Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your friend who owed only a little? I showed you great mercy and you refused to do the same!” In his anger, the banker had the man thrown in prison to be tortured until he paid back everything he owed.

That ending though.

I didn’t make this up. Jesus told a similar story in Matthew 18 in response to Peter’s question about forgiveness. The moral here is that because God forgave us of all our sins He expects us to forgive others in the same way. We see here by the way the banker responded at the end that the way we treat others affects our relationship with God.

Of all the relationships in your life, there is one more important than any other. Your relationship with Jesus. It is my goal that we learn not only how to love people, but to LOVE God, having a strong and thriving relationship with Him. We must receive His forgiveness, but also extend that forgiveness to tohers. By seeking the Lord, we are able to learn how to love and forgive people better, however when we fail to live out of that love we create barriers between ourselves and God.

THINK ABOUT THIS:

  1. How did you feel about the man who treated his friend so harshly after receiving such mercy?
  2. When considering what God has forgiven you of, do you think you have ever been that man?

PRAY: Lord, help me to love others the way you love me.

SCRIPTURE READING:

1 John 4:20-21 (NLT)  If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.

Matthew 18:21-35 (NLT) Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”

22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!

23 “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him.24 In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. 25 He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.

26 “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ 27 Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.

28 “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.

29 “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. 30 But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.

31 “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. 32 Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.

35 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”

 

Repeat Offender | Sinking Ships 15

They did it again! They got under your skin. Do they have a vendetta against you? Are they trying to ruin your life? It just seems like no matter how many times you forgive them they keep offending you! How long do you have to keep forgiving them?

After Jesus finished telling the disciples how to deal with conflict, Peter had the same question! I feel like he approached it by presenting a number he thought was really high. “Lord, do I forgive them up to seven times?” I can almost sense him being proud of presenting such a high number. Cause honestly, that is a pretty big number. Most of us would struggle to forgive after the third time, let alone after SEVEN!

Jesus gently looks at peter, smiles, “No peter, not seven times. Try seventy times seven.”

If this had happened today, I imagine next Peter would have texted the other disciples, “you won’t believe what Jesus just said.” Then included the mind-blown emoji.

I heard someone say recently that we should forgive because it’s easier than doing math. While I wholeheartedly agree, I did the math for you. 70 X 7 = 490. That is a high number, although, to be certain the point Jesus was trying to make was not about a set number of times before we can stop forgiving. Jesus is saying no matter what, FORGIVE.

We cannot put a limit on forgiveness, any more than Jesus puts a limit on forgiving us. Remember, Jesus laid down His life so that we might be forgiven of our offenses toward God. When we mess up again, He continues to forgive us. He then expects us to forgive the same way.

Forgiveness is incredibly important, however, I think we sometimes look at it backwards. We think forgiveness is about the person we are forgiving, but really it is about us. Forgiving gives us permission to release the pain they have caused. Someone once said that not forgiving is like drinking poison yourself and waiting for the other person to die. Another that not forgiving is like locking yourself in prison for someone else’s crime.

One last thing, as we will see in the next few days, there is also a key difference between forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation.

THINK ABOUT THIS:

  1. Think about the people in your life who are repeat offenders. What makes it hard to forgive them?
  2. Think about after you forgive someone. Do you usually feel better or worse?

PRAY: Lord, teach me to forgive even when it isn’t easy. Help me to love the way You love and to forgive the way You forgive.

SCRIPTURE READING:

Matthew 18:21-22 (TPT) Later Peter approached Jesus and said, “How many times do I have to forgive my fellow believer who keeps offending me? Seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “Not seven times, Peter, but seventy times seven times

Ephesians 4:31-32 (TPT)  Lay aside bitter words, temper tantrums, revenge, profanity, and insults. 32 But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love.

1 John 1:6-9 (NLT) So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

Psalm 103:10-14 (NLT)

10 He does not punish us for all our sins;
    he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
    is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
12 He has removed our sins as far from us
    as the east is from the west.
13 The Lord is like a father to his children,
    tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
14 For he knows how weak we are;
    he remembers we are only dust.

 

Family Probs (part two) | Sinking Ships 14

Have you ever had a moment so wonderful and so significant that you were sure it would change your life forever? Only it didn’t. David had just anointed king! Surely now his family would respect him. Everything would be different. Except it wasn’t. He was still responsible for watching the sheep while his brothers went off to fight in the war.

One day his father sends him on an errand to give his brothers some food. While there, David hears of a giant who is threatening his nation. Everyone was running scared. David starts asking questions. For those of you who don’t know the story, (spoiler alert) David goes on to kill this giant and become a national hero, however, right now no one really seems to be on his side. His brother sees him and gets angry!

“What are you doing here? Why aren’t you watching the few little sheep you’re in charge of. I know you! You’re a prideful little punk who just wants to catch a glimpse of the battle.”

His brother belittles him and accuses him of some pretty serious stuff that isn’t even true! Have you ever been falsely accused of something by someone who clearly didn’t understand you? It is in these moments that we have a choice to make. Are we going to let their words get into our minds and infect our outlook or will we recognize them as false and not give them any value?

This moment could have derailed David’s whole life. If he had gotten into a fight with his brother, or let those words become his reality then he would have likely never fought Goliath. David’s destiny could have been forfeit right there. If he had listened. But he didn’t listen. Instead, David walked away and continued searching for answers.

The voices we listen to influence us. David was destined for more than watching sheep. He wasn’t full of pride. He didn’t just want to catch a glimpse of the battle, David knew that God was being mocked and wanted to stand up for the Lord. David knew that even though everyone else was cowering in fear, he could defeat this giant. David choice to ignore the negative voice of his brother and instead remember he had been called to greater things.

THINK ABOUT THIS:

  1. What kind of voices do you tend to listen to? Voices that tear you down or build you up?
  2. What negative voices should you walk away from? What positive voices should you spend more time with?
  3. What kind of voice are you in the lives of others?

PRAY: Jesus, help me to know Your voice. Help me to listen to truth that builds me up rather than the negative that tears me down. Help me to be an encouraging voice in the lives of others.

SCRIPTURE READING:

Ephesians 4:2-3 (NLT) Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.

Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)  Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

1 Samuel 17:17-30 (NLT) One day Jesse said to David, “Take this basket of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread, and carry them quickly to your brothers. 18 And give these ten cuts of cheese to their captain. See how your brothers are getting along, and bring back a report on how they are doing.” 19 David’s brothers were with Saul and the Israelite army at the valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines.

20 So David left the sheep with another shepherd and set out early the next morning with the gifts, as Jesse had directed him. He arrived at the camp just as the Israelite army was leaving for the battlefield with shouts and battle cries.21 Soon the Israelite and Philistine forces stood facing each other, army against army. 22 David left his things with the keeper of supplies and hurried out to the ranks to greet his brothers. 23 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, came out from the Philistine ranks. Then David heard him shout his usual taunt to the army of Israel.

24 As soon as the Israelite army saw him, they began to run away in fright. 25 “Have you seen the giant?” the men asked. “He comes out each day to defy Israel. The king has offered a huge reward to anyone who kills him. He will give that man one of his daughters for a wife, and the man’s entire family will be exempted from paying taxes!”

26 David asked the soldiers standing nearby, “What will a man get for killing this Philistine and ending his defiance of Israel? Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?”

27 And these men gave David the same reply. They said, “Yes, that is the reward for killing him.”

28 But when David’s oldest brother, Eliab, heard David talking to the men, he was angry. “What are you doing around here anyway?” he demanded. “What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and deceit. You just want to see the battle!”

29 “What have I done now?” David replied. “I was only asking a question!” 30 He walked over to some others and asked them the same thing and received the same answer.

 

Family Probs (part one) | Sinking Ships 13

Have you noticed that we tend to hurt those closest to us most? We also tend to be hurt by those closes to us. Why? There is a certain vulnerability that comes with closeness. One of the more challenging areas to maintain peace is within our family. Sometimes it’s easy to love our family. Other times they make it very difficult.

Israel’s most famous King was a man named David. He had a close relationship with God, led Israel to many incredible victories and was promised by God to always remain on the throne, and ultimately through his family line came Jesus. However, his life didn’t start off so grand. In fact, David seemed almost like an afterthought in his family.

A prophet named Samuel had been tasked by God to anoint a new king for the nation of Israel. He went to the house of Jesse and instructed him to bring out all of his sons so he could anoint one of them to be the next king. Pretty big deal right?! Jesse follows his instructions and Samuel goes down the line, looking at each son. Some strong, handsome and likely would have made a great King, but with each son, Samuel passed by. They were not to be the King. Samuel went through every single son and finally asked, “do you have any other sons?”

Jesse replies, “Well, there’s the runt out tending the sheep.” David wasn’t even invited, there was no possibility in Jesse’s mind that his son David would be the next king. Some Biblical commentators suggest that 1 Samuel 16:11 is best translated as, “The worthless one.” It is clear David’s father did not have a high opinion of David.

Imagine growing up in that kind of environment and how it would affect you. Some of you don’t have to imagine, you can relate. You feel like you don’t matter in your home. Perhaps parents or family members even tell you as much. This is hard to overcome, but not impossible! David overcame the negativity in his family by engaging in his relationship with God. David knew God loved him and he wrote many great songs and prayers found in the book of psalms that reveal his closeness to God.

THINK ABOUT THIS:

  1. Who are the negative voices in your life? What do they say?
  2. Recognize that they are lies. When God looks at you He sees his child, whom He specifically created and gave purpose.  When you hear those negative voices, remember God loves you.

PRAY: Father, show me today how You see me. Help me to feel Your love and rest in the promise of who You are today.

SCRIPTURE READING:

Ephesians 6:1-3 (NLT) Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”

1 Samuel 16:1-13 (MSG) God addressed Samuel: “So, how long are you going to mope over Saul? You know I’ve rejected him as king over Israel. Fill your flask with anointing oil and get going. I’m sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I’ve spotted the very king I want among his sons.”

2-3 “I can’t do that,” said Samuel. “Saul will hear about it and kill me.”

God said, “Take a heifer with you and announce, ‘I’ve come to lead you in worship of God, with this heifer as a sacrifice.’ Make sure Jesse gets invited. I’ll let you know what to do next. I’ll point out the one you are to anoint.”

Samuel did what God told him. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the town fathers greeted him, but apprehensively. “Is there something wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong. I’ve come to sacrifice this heifer and lead you in the worship of God. Prepare yourselves, be consecrated, and join me in worship.” He made sure Jesse and his sons were also consecrated and called to worship.

When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Here he is! God’s anointed!”

But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.”

Jesse then called up Abinadab and presented him to Samuel. Samuel said, “This man isn’t God’s choice either.”

Next Jesse presented Shammah. Samuel said, “No, this man isn’t either.”

10 Jesse presented his seven sons to Samuel. Samuel was blunt with Jesse, “Godhasn’t chosen any of these.”

11 Then he asked Jesse, “Is this it? Are there no more sons?”

“Well, yes, there’s the runt. But he’s out tending the sheep.”

Samuel ordered Jesse, “Go get him. We’re not moving from this spot until he’s here.”

12 Jesse sent for him. He was brought in, the very picture of health—bright-eyed, good-looking.

God said, “Up on your feet! Anoint him! This is the one.”

13 Samuel took his flask of oil and anointed him, with his brothers standing around watching. The Spirit of God entered David like a rush of wind, God vitally empowering him for the rest of his life.

Psalm 139:13-18 (NLT) [A psalm of David]
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,

    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.

    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out

    before a single day had passed.
17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.

    They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;

    they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,

    you are still with me!

 

A Biblical Approach To Conflict (part two) | Sinking Ships 12

Take A Friend

Conflict resolution doesn’t always go the way you had hoped. Sometimes communication breaks down and the conversation you had hoped would end the dispute fails its purpose. It’s not time to give up yet, but rather gather support. You want to find a friend who can help you settle the matter. Ideally, this is someone who witnessed the initial conflict. If no such friend is available then someone who unbias and cares for each member of the conflict. You don’t want it to turn into an attack against the other person. Our end goal isn’t to be right, but to find resolution. Having a friend who has no stake in the conflict can be a great asset.

Go To Leadership

Should that still not settle the matter it’s time to go to a higher authority. For us as Christians, church leadership is an excellent source to help bring a Godly perspective. With each step, you are slowly widening the circle in the hope of loving restoration. By going to a higher authority, hopefully, it is enough for all people involved to recognize any wrong they have done, and also that they are loved and to come to full reconciliation.

Let Them Go

Unfortunately, there is always the possibility that at this point resolution has still not come. The other person has refused to yield their opinion, and clearly want to part in solving the issue at hand. At this point, you have done everything you can do and it’s time to let them go. You can continue to pray for them, but you can’t let your life be consumed by this conflict. You need to forgive and release the burden for your own benefit. That’s why I love the wording in Romans 12:18 in the NIV that says, “As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” You can’t control other people. Peace is a two way street. If you’ve done your part then you can rest easy knowing you’ve done all you can.

THINK ABOUT THIS:

  1. How is this approach to conflict different than the way you would naturally go about it?
  2. Which part of the Biblical process we laid out is the most challenging for you?
  3. What steps will you take next time you have conflict?

PRAY: Lord, I pray that there are no conflicts in my life today, but if there are please give me the wisdom to handle them in a way that brings honor to Your name

SCRIPTURE READING:

Matthew 18:15-17 (NLT) 15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

Colossians 3:1-17 (NLT) Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is youra]”> life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.