We are 7 days away from the release of Tea for Two: A 30 Day Devotional!!!! Pre-order your copy now!
We are 7 days away from the release of Tea for Two: A 30 Day Devotional!!!! Pre-order your copy now!
Hey guys! God put it on my heart to share my testimony. Some things have happened in my life within the last 1-2 years that most aren’t aware of. God delivered me from some things and has been doing some great things in my life. I broke the video down into two parts or else it would’ve been way too long. I was hesitant about posting the second part because I share some personal things that I went through in 2013-2014 and made some mistakes that I’ve just now been able to forgive myself of. I was worried that those who know me and know what I stand for were going to judge me, but God asked me, “Are you doing this for man’s approval or for my glory?” Since I’m doing it for God’s glory, it honestly doesn’t matter what man thinks of me. With all that said, please keep any negative or judgmental comments to yourself. I pray that this blesses you and ministers to you. God bless!
16“Brothers,” he said, “the Scriptures had to be fulfilled concerning Judas, who guided those who arrested Jesus. This was predicted long ago by the Holy Spirit, speaking through King David. 17 Judas was one of us and shared in the ministry with us.” 18(Judas had bought a field with the money he received for his treachery. Falling headfirst there, his body split open, spilling out all his intestines.19The news of his death spread to all the people of Jerusalem, and they gave the place the Aramaic name Akeldama, which means “Field of Blood.”) 20Peter continued, “This was written in the book of Psalms, where it says, ‘Let his home become desolate, with no one living in it.’ It also says, ‘Let someone else take his position.’ 21“So now we must choose a replacement for Judas from among the men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus…”
-Acts 1: 16-21
This morning I started reading Acts 1 and verses 16-21 ministered to me. They made me think of my Pastor’s sermon yesterday. My Pastor spoke on how God invites us to be a part of His great plans, but He will not force us to accept His invitation. The choice is ours. The example my Pastor gave was when the Angel of the Lord came to Mary telling her of God’s plan to bring Jesus into the world and that He wanted to use her to bring Jesus into the world. Not to go too much into it, but basically Mary was presented with a great opportunity that would require her to make sacrifices, such as the fact that she had never been with a man and most people would not believe her story about an immaculate conception and the fact that she was engaged to Joseph (Matthew 1:18-21, Luke 1:26-38). Mary had many reasons to say no, but she didn’t. She decided to trust God even though she did not know the details of how it would all turn out.
Acts 1: 16-21 is similar to Mary’s story, but it shows what happens when we reject God opportunities. This passage discusses Judas’ story. We all know Judas as being the one who betrayed Jesus. It honestly did not have to be that way for Judas, but he made his choice to reject God’s invitation.
When reading this passage God ministered this to me:
God presents each one of us with great opportunities. In Judas’ case, it was to be one of Jesus’ disciples and to help spread the Gospel throughout the world. When God brings us these opportunities, we have a choice: to accept or reject. If we choose to accept, that means we have to do it God’s way and according to His standards. It also usually means that we are going into this with knowing very little and trusting Him because He will not reveal every detail of how it will happen or play out. We have to trust that no matter what problems may arise or what sacrifices we have to make, He will work it all out in our favor. Accepting these God opportunities leads to fulfillment and great blessings. However, if we reject these God opportunities, He will find someone else with a willing heart to replace us, which is what happened to Judas (Acts 1:21). Also, when we reject God opportunities, we are more vulnerable to becoming like the world and we essentially choose the world’s opportunities over God opportunities, which will end in disaster and feeling much regret. Once we reject those God opportunities, we cannot get those opportunities back.
This truly ministered to me because I have seen this happen in many people’s lives. They let fear of the unknown, opposition from others, or belief that what the world has to offer is greater since it does not require any sacrifice or denying of the flesh, to cause them to reject these amazing opportunities from God. They get so caught up on what’s going on in the natural that they take their eyes off of God. This is what happened to Judas. He took his eyes off of God and believed what the world had to offer was better so he rejected his God opportunity, which ended in him feeling so much regret that he took his own life and he ended up being replaced.
What I love about the story of Judas is that even though Jesus knew all along what Judas was going to do and it was even foretold that he was going to reject Jesus, Judas was still presented with this amazing God opportunity. That’s the incredible thing about God, even though He already knows whether or not we are going to accept His opportunities, He still presents them to us. He still tries to win us over. He is so patient and merciful! We even see this with Judas during the Last Supper when Jesus went around washing each of His disciples feet (John 13: 1-5). That was such a loving gesture. The washing of feet was the responsibility of a servant. The fact that someone as mighty and powerful as Jesus would do the work of a servant for Judas despite knowing that Judas was going to betray Him is incredible. That’s how loving He is! He will still present these opportunities to be a part of His great plans to those He knows will reject His plan. Let that sink in…
I say all this to make the point that we need to be like Mary instead of like Judas when God approaches us with these great opportunities to be apart of His plans. Yes, these plans will require us to make sacrifices, to deny ourselves, and will require much of us, but they are so worth it in the end. Think about Mary. Because she chose to accept God’s opportunity, we now read about her in God’s Word! She was part of the ultimate plan of bringing our Savior into the world to die for our sins and overcome death! That is amazing! You may not fully understand the opportunity when God first presents it to you, but know that it will bring Him glory and it will be a marvelous, magnificent plan that He is allowing you to be a part of. Put aside your fears and insecurities, fix your eyes on God, trust Him, and accept the opportunity when He presents it to you.
“Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for He has roused Himself from His holy dwelling.”
I came across this verse today as I was reading Jesus Calling (If you have not picked up a Jesus Calling devotional, you need to do so now…and I mean right now. You are missing out on some great stuff!) This verse made me think about the continuous battle between our spirit and flesh. It says in Galatians 5:17, “The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.” This battle is no joke. It is a constant struggle between our spirit, which wants to do what is right and honor God, and our flesh, which wants to indulge in pleasure and do everything that is contrary to the word of God. Jesus even tells us in Luke 9:23, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” In order to be a true Christ follower we are to indulge the spirit and neglect the flesh, which is easier said than done. Denying the flesh is painful to be truthful. I mean you are denying your flesh what it wants, and your flesh pretty much responds like a two year old throwing a serious, full blown tantrum. I’m talking kicking, screaming, crying…the works! But denying your flesh is so worth it in the end. Romans 8:7-8 says, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” When we deny our flesh, we submit to God’s law and we please God. I don’t know about you, but I love to please my Abba! Jesus has equipped us to deny the flesh. His finished work on calvary…His victory over death has enabled us to deny the flesh and no longer be a slave to this flesh. It says in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Basically, if we choose to indulge our flesh and reject Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we will spend eternity in hell. I believe Zechariah 2:13 tells us one of the ways to deny the flesh. When we are in God’s Presence, our flesh must be quiet because He is holy. You want to deny your flesh? Get on your face before God daily in His word and through prayer. The key word is daily. We have to deny our flesh 24/7 and it’s not something we can do in our own will power. If that was the case, Jesus wouldn’t have had to die on the cross. By spending time with God, you will be in His Presence, which will silence your flesh. Also, ask God to help you develop a spirit of self control. This is key to denying your flesh. If you have no self control, how are you supposed to deny your flesh? One way to develop self control is through fasting and prayer. When fasting and praying, you are denying the flesh, which weakens it, and you are strengthening your spirit. You have to strengthen your spirit and weaken your flesh. Simply put, you gotta shut the flesh up!