“Betrayal!” January 23

 

Betrayal! - If you've ever been betrayed you know it can cause pain and heartache unlike almost anything else. It can lead to anger and bitterness. And the pain can go on for years. How do you respond to betrayal? Do you play the video over and over, burning it into your mind along with all the "why's" and "if only's"? #betrayal #forgiveness #sovereigntyofGod #salvationIf you’ve ever been betrayed you know it can cause pain and heartache unlike almost anything else. It can lead to anger and bitterness. And the pain can go on for years.

How do you respond to betrayal? Do you play the video over and over, burning it into your mind along with all the “why’s” and “if only’s”?

And what about wrong roads, have you ever asked yourself, how did I get here? This isn’t where I wanted my life to end up.  Continue reading

“Heaping Coals of Fire When Betrayed” July 1

 

Heaping Coals of Fire When Betrayed - Betrayal: rejection, hurt, anger, disappointment. How should we respond? Don’t we have a right to be angry? To get even or give them a piece of our mind?

God has a super-weapon to deal with that kind of betrayal.

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 26 & 27
Psalm 78.56-66
Proverbs 20.4-5
Acts 10.1-23

 

Heaping Coals of Fire When Betrayed

 

1 Chronicles 26 & 27:

Betrayed by Someone Close

 

Chapter 27 ends with the list of David’s closest advisers. It says in verse 33, “Ahithophel was the king’s counselor, and Hushai the Archite was the king’s companion.” These two men were probably David’s two closest friends, people he trusted and confided in. But sadly, one of them would later betray him. David wrote about it in Psalm 55. Verses 12-14 recall the anguish he felt:

12 For it is not an enemy who reproaches me;
Then I could bear it.
Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me;
Then I could hide from him.
13 But it was you, a man my equal,
My companion and my acquaintance.
14 We took sweet counsel together,
And walked to the house of God in the throng.

Our spiritual ancestors experienced the same struggles and disappointments we do. Perhaps you have experienced some betrayal by a friend or even a spouse. Maybe you’re undergoing some other kind of hurt or rejection. If so, go to the psalms and find comfort from God’s Word, knowing that others have gone through similar things and come out the other side.

 

Our Response

 

While God through His Word can bring us great comfort, His work in us doesn’t stop there. He wants to grow and change us through our trials, even when we are deeply hurt. In the process, He may use us to bring either restoration to the relationship or conviction to the offender.

First we need to pray and give the hurt to God. Then we should examine ourselves and ask God to show us where we might have contributed to what happened. That doesn’t mean we are responsible for someone else’s sin, but we are responsible for our own actions or reactions.

Perhaps we see that we were a small portion of the problem. If so, we should take 100% of the responsibility for our 5% or 10%. That might mean going to our offender and asking forgiveness without blame-shifting or minimizing what we did.

Our tendency, even when we’re willing to go to them, is to say, “I’m sorry I lost my temper when you hurt me so badly.” In other words, I’m sorry I did it, but it’s really your fault! Instead, we should simply say, “I’m sorry I lost my temper. Will you forgive me?”

Next is the hard part! We are not to expect anything in return. They may confess their wrongdoing or they may not! Either way, we are only responsible for ourselves.

I can hear the cries now, “So he or she just gets a pass on what they did?!”  Continue reading

“Blending In & Hiding Out” May 3

 

Blending In & Hiding Out - God has always desired for His people to be set apart, holy, different from the world around us - so we can manifest His holiness. Instead, we like to blend in and hide out. God has always desired for His people to be set apart, holy, different from the world around us – so we can manifest His holiness. Instead, we like blending in and hiding out.

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Samuel 8 & 9
Psalm 55.9-15
Proverbs 15.15-17
Luke 22.1-23

 

Blending In & Hiding Out

 

1 Samuel 8 & 9:

Is There Any Difference?

 

God has always desired for His people to be set apart, holy, different from the world around us – to manifest His holiness.

Matthew 5.16 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

That light in us is supposed to shine and in so doing bring God glory. Peter reminded us to:

“Be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1.16).

As we live in “grace obedience” (understanding that we cannot live holy lives without the help of the Holy Spirit, relying on Him, repenting and calling on His mercy when we fail), we bring Him glory. And that difference, that light, will draw others to Christ.

Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” (Jn. 12.32).

But, like the people of Israel in asking for a king (1 Sam. 8.4), we often prefer to blend in, to be closet Christians, to act much like the world around us. Our children, too, complain that it’s unfair they can’t dress and act like the rest of the world. I wonder if we have failed to instill the importance of their calling in them because we don’t always believe and live it ourselves.

Let’s pray that we would truly let our light so shine before men that they would see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. Let’s pray that when their lives are falling apart, they would see something different in us and be drawn to it. And when they ask, we would “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks [us] a reason for the hope that is in [us]” (1 Pet. 3.15).

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Psalm 55.9-15:

Betrayed by a Friend

 

David had been betrayed. It wasn’t an enemy who had betrayed him, but someone he considered a close friend. Who among us hasn’t felt that disappointment, hurt, even anger over some betrayal? Yet …

Ephesians 4.26 says, “Be angry, and do not sin,” and verses 31 & 32 say, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Romans 12.21 raises the bar even higher:  Continue reading

“When a Friend Betrays Us” April 6

 

When a Friend Betrays Us - Have you been betrayed by a close friend? Most of us have. It hurts when a friend gossips or fails to be there when we need them. What can we learn from David about how to respond? And why does what comes naturally only deepen our pain?Have you been betrayed by a close friend? Most of us have. It hurts when a friend gossips or fails to be there when we need them. What can we learn from David about how to respond? And why does what comes naturally only deepen our pain?

 

Today’s Readings:
Joshua 1 & 2
Psalm 41.1-13
Proverbs 13.15-16
Luke 8.26-56

 

When a Friend Betrays Us

 

Psalm 41.1-13:

My Own Familiar Friend

 

Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted,
Who ate my bread,
Has lifted up his heel against me (v. 9).

Like David, we have, probably, all had a “familiar friend” who has betrayed us. Betrayal hurts. It hurts when someone we trusted gossips about us. It hurts when a friend we counted on turns away when we need her most.

But like David, we can choose how we respond. We should start by turning to God.

David prayed, “But You, O Lord, be merciful to me, and raise me up” (v. 10).

Jesus raised the bar even further. He commanded us:

“… love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven ….” (Matt. 5.44-45).

How we respond when we are wounded whether by a friend or a perceived enemy says a lot about our spiritual maturity.

How do I respond? How do you respond? Are we able to bless those who spitefully use us? Or do we respond in anger and unforgiveness? The latter is easy. It comes naturally. And our sinful hearts will allow us to feel downright justified with anger and bitterness. But look at our Proverbs reading to see why these questions are so important.

 

Proverbs 13.15-16:

The Easy Way Turns Out to Be the Hard Way

 

y chart

Verse 15 says, “Good understanding gains favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard.”

Yesterday I referred to this verse when I said, “Life gets hard when we decide we can make our own rules.” Responding with sinful anger, bitterness, criticism or gossip seems like the easy way to go. It comes naturally to our sin nature.

On the other hand, responding in a godly way seems hard at first. But as we travel down each of those roads, what seemed easy becomes the hard road as we suffer the consequences of our sin. And what seemed like the difficult choice becomes easier, because God is at work (Matt. 11.28-30, Gal. 6.7-10). See the Y-chart above and my post “Responding to Difficult People” for a more complete explanation of this passage.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Joshua 1 & 2:

Be Strong and of Good Courage!

 

Moses has died and Joshua has just assumed the leadership of God’s people. Some of God’s first instructions to the new leader were “Be strong and of good courage!”—not just once, but repeatedly (vv. 6, 7, 9).

That advice is for us today, as well. Whatever God has called us to do, He’ll give us the wisdom, the strength, and the courage to do as long as we rely on Him.

 

Do a Heart Check

 

Do a Heart CheckThen verse 8 says:

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (1.8).

We love the promises of God like “you will have good success,” but so many of God’s promises are conditional. In this passage God lists three conditions:
1) “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth,” 2) “you shall meditate in it day and night,” and 3) “observe to do according to all that is written in it.” “For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

How much time to you spend reading, studying, and memorizing God’s Word? Do you meditate, think deeply about, its great truths and instructions? Is it in your mouth? Or is your mouth filled with complaining, criticizing and condemning? Are you a doer of the Word or just a hearer?

God is faithful to His promises and there are many kindnesses that God extends His children just because of His mercy and grace. He never treats us as we deserve, but like any good parent He expects us to be growing and becoming more like Christ. That requires faithful, grace-empowered obedience on our part.

 

Luke 8.26-56:

Changed or Not?

 

What a great story about the Gadarene demoniac! The man ran around naked, lived in the tombs and was so violent chains couldn’t hold him. But once he had a genuine encounter with Jesus, he was changed (v. 35)!

Even though we are not saved by our works, genuine salvation will produce good works. Jesus said, “You will know a tree by its fruit” (Lk. 6.43-45). How has your life changed since becoming a believer? Or has it?

You may be religious. You may have attended church all your life. You may believe in God. You may even be a “good” person by the world’s standards.

But religion can’t save you.

And looking “good” on the outside while your heart is far from God will only make you prideful and self-righteous.

The only path to salvation is a relationship with the living God through His Son Jesus Christ. We must believe the Gospel: recognize that we are sinners without any ability to save ourselves, that Jesus is who He said He was, that He lived a sinless life, died on a cross as payment for our sins, rose again and is seated at the right hand of the Father. We must put our trust in what He did on our behalf instead of ourselves and surrender our lives to His lordship.

 

What about you?

If you’re not sure about your relationship with Him, cry out to Him. Confess your sins, tell Him you believe, and surrender your life to Him. You can do it right now: in your living room, in your office, or anywhere you are.

If you do, seek out a Christian friend or a pastor. Tell them of your decision. Then find a good Bible teaching church and start your new life in Him. Contact me in the comments section below and I’ll be glad to help you or answer any questions.

And if you are a believer, look back at our reading in Joshua and consider the questions I posed there. How much time do you spend reading, studying, and memorizing God’s Word? Do you meditate—think deeply about—its great truths and instructions? Is it in your mouth? Or is your mouth filled with complaining, criticizing and condemning? Are you a doer of the Word or just a hearer?

And what about your response to our reading in Psalm 41? How do you respond when wounded by someone? Do you respond with blessings or do you respond in anger, unforgiveness, and vengeance?

Do a heart check. How has your life changed since becoming a believer? I hope you’ll share your testimony and your struggles.

Changed by His grace,
Donna


FREE eBOOK:

Prayer for Busy, Imperfect Pray-ers: 5 Strategies to Jumpstart Your Prayer LifeI would love to have you join me on this journey through the Bible. Just sign up for the BIBLE IN A YEAR daily posts so you don’t miss a single one.

Sign up now and receive a copy of “Prayer for Busy, Imperfect Pray-ers: 5 Strategies to Jumpstart Your Prayer Life.”


Marriage Made in Heaven?

You can also SIGN UP FOR SPECIAL “CHRISTIAN LIVING” posts, including the new series “A Marriage Make in Heaven?”

Previous Posts in the Marriage Series


Blended Families + LINKUP - I'll be talking about the common issues and challenges, offering some solutions, and providing resources to help. If you're not a blended family, I'm sure you know someone who is. The first post will start in the next linkup.

Click here for all the posts in the “Blended Families” series that we just finished.



I sometimes LINKUP with these blogs:

Mondays The Modest Mom The Art of Homemaking Musing Mondays
Tuesdays Purposeful Faith Tea & Word Tuesday Talk
Wednesdays A Wise Woman Builds Her Home Messy Marriage Coffee for Your Heart Christian Blogger Linkup Women of Intention Mississippi Mom Writer Wednesday Seeking God in All I Do
Thursdays Chasing Community Booknificent Thursdays Dare2Hear
Fridays Missional Women Grace & Truth Faith & Friends Fresh Market Friday
Sundays Spiritual Sundays

This post may contain affiliate links, but I only recommend books and resources that I believe are theologically sound and beneficial to the reader. Thank you for supporting this blog and ministry by supporting my links!

“Bible in a Year” posts have been edited and updated from previous posts.