This is the Gospel: Day 5

But God

by

Today's Text: Matthew 1:20-23, Luke 1:26-33, Luke 2:1-12, Colossians 1:13-23, John 3:16-18

Did you ever read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe as a kid? My auntie bought the series for me at a tag sale and I read them so many times they are written on the tablet of my heart. The ideas in the books created paths for my mind to follow when thinking about the Gospel.

All of this waiting and longing is like Narnia’s long winter brought on by the White Witch:

“Why, it is she that has got all Narnia under her thumb. It’s she that makes it always winter. Always winter and never Christmas, think of that!”

“How awful!” said Lucy.

It sometimes feels like we will be cold and suffering forever, without any hope of a release from evil and death.

Well, it’s finally Christmas!

The answer to our long winter of sin and hopelessness was a baby born to a virgin in a stable (Matthew 1:23).

After thousands of years of longing, in the most unlikely and personal way, God “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13,14).

We were stone dead in our sins, “But God, being rich in mercy… even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us ALIVE together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:4).

Hang the garlands and sing the carols because we are saved! We were dead, but Christ gives us life!

Ephesians 2:8 says this life comes by grace through faith. But this “by grace through faith” business is a difficult idea for me to understand. I like to see a reward earned for a hard day’s work: a hearty supper for the men and the horses after ploughing the field. I like to do a great job and get what is rightfully mine, using my own power to get what I think I deserve.

But I forget that what I deserve is death.  

I need to repent not only of my sins, but also of my paltry attempts at righteousness. The times I read books to my children, the meals I prepare for my husband, the kindness I extend to strangers— none of this is good enough to satisfy the debt that I owe for my sin. Only Christ was good enough.  

This is the delicate beauty of “by grace through faith” — I don’t earn it, because I can’t. I couldn’t, but Christ did! Ring the bells of Christmas because our rightful winter is over, and our undeserved and blessed Christ is here!

I still remember the magic of reading these lines as a child:

“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”

But there is an even greater and truer magic:

When you were dead in your transgressions…
He made you alive together with Him,
having forgiven us all our transgressions.
- Colossians 2:13

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  • Eva Groleau

    Spent the evening with the family watching Chronicles of Narnia…..then come to read my devotional for the day. Surprise!!! God moments….love them.

  • Kristin Hartzler

    This has caught me in such a moment of “God, I’m dead, I don’t feel you, I don’t see you in my life. Am I saved? Do you want me ? “. I’ll spare you the details but I have been struggling for years with my salvation. I grew up in a Christian home and remember the day I got saved! But I keep trying to earn salvation and I keep reminding myself that nothing I do is good enough. He is a gift being offered to me when I don’t deserve it.

    Kristin H. Montana

    • Amy Najmon

      I’ve been in a similar place, a seemingly year-long desert, during which God has spoken into my heart that He is the one who never changes, and as long as I continue to seek Him He will continue to reveal Himself to me (Jeremiah 29:13). Our culture cultivates a belief that love is always a feeling, but the Bible shows us it’s a commitment, even in the deserts, which, as this study lays out, is a commitment by faith and not works. Thank you, sister, for your honesty and transparency. Praying for you, Kristin!

  • Check out Michael Card’s song “Immanuel.” I was reacquainted with it this morning then read this devotional in the evening. “For all those who live in the shadow of death, a Glorious Light has dawned. For those who stumble in the darkness, behold, your Light has come. Immanuel, our a God is with us, and I’d God is with us, who could stand against us?”

  • Without Jesus, I am dead. Only He gives me life. Such an important thing to remember when getting caught up in this life on earth.

  • Don’t rest on your achievements like the Pharisees. Only Jesus is good enough.

    • Holly

      Yes! I think too often we measure by or achievements and forget that thy don’t matter.

  • Christina

    As a believer, we can not meet the “mark”. We can never earn what God freely gave by sending His son to die on the cross for our sins. When we attempt to do that, we cheapen grace. God’s grace is powerful enough to cover our sins, even before they were committed. I think what a lot of us do though because of this, is we take it for granted. This act of amazing love should lead us to complete devotion and adoration for our Heavenly Father. May we never forget what sacrificial love looks like! May we always be reminded of that great gift!

  • Chattin Atchley

    This is great because as people of God we should do good so others can experience him. We have to make sure that’s our intention. We shouldn’t do good to try to repay God because we never could repay him for sending his son. I think we are most blessed when our intentions are right and our heart is softened for the good of others.

  • Thanks be to God for sending us Life through Christ. Oh how awesome our salvation is every time I read how we come to be saved I just have to Thank God

  • Christmas is only a week away… and I learned things in these verses that I had never come to think of in my last 26 years: who was told to name the baby Jesus (both Joseph & Mary), the length of the Nativity Trail, and the name of the angel (Gabriel) who visited Mary. I also did a quick bible search to find that the same angel visit Daniel, and later Zechariah (Mary’s cousin-in-law).

  • Latoya Irving

    Thank you father for your son in Jesus Christ amen

  • It’s so nice that God gave his one and only son for us. Most guys can’t even get you a text back, but God was just like “lemme give you my one and only son real quick” how bomb is that?!

  • Whitney

    I love c.s. Lewis!

  • Alicia Reagan

    Amen!! What a glorious truth!!

  • Maggie Jasper

    These passages give me reassurance that no matter what I do God’s love is everlasting. So lucky to have him as the guide and leader in my life.

  • It never occurred to me to repent of my inept attempts at righteousness; to realize how wrong it can actually be to feel like I am making up for something bad by doing something good. I think I especially am guilty of comparing myself to others and feeling like I am doing ok as long as I am doing ‘better than them’. We are all sinful and therefore are all equal to each other in God’s eyes, and his eyes are the only ones that matter.

    • Steph

      I also feel like by doing something good I am maybe partially making up for something I did wrong. I think this devotional was a great reminder that I need to repent for this as well, even though it doesn’t feel like something I need to repent for. I am also soo guilty of constantly comparing myself to others in an effort to make myself feel better. I am not placed on this earth to judge others, and I certainly have no room to do so. As you said, we are all equal to God. So thankful that He loved us and chose to save us from our sins.

      I also appreciated the explanation about saved through faith by grace, as I think this is a tricky topic to understand.

  • All I have to say is wow. I’ve been a Christian all my life and I know that GOd saves me from my sins but reading this just really put it in my head again.

  • Got the author. Will be leary of this persons work. I am generally anointed by these messages. Saddening.

    • Emily

      Hey Shannon! The author is CS Lewis, a great historical figure and theologian who wrote many novels and literature pointing towards Christ and the gospel. His most famous work, The Chronicles of Narnia, is a series of books written as allegorical Children’s books. The message of the books is about the white witch(representing Satan) and Aslan(representing God/Christ). I have been very blessed by the works of CS Lewis and I hope you will give his books a try!

  • And it’s not a “greater and truer magic” it’s not magic at all. Who wrote this?

    • Nancy Green

      It was C. S. Lewis, and it’s an allusion to Lewis’ children’s books. children

  • Lion Witch and Wardrobe? White witch? I didn’t appreciate this analogy. Too secular. I hope the remaining devotions are not like this. I had trouble receiving the message.

    • Gaby

      The author was famously a Christian man. The Lion is a metaphor for Jesus and the witch is Satan

    • Rachel

      Hey Shannon, I understand the word “witch” can automatically turn you off from reading the books or hearing the story but there is nothing secular about this book series. It’s a beautifully written children’s story about the gospel. I promise it’s a good read!!

  • ❤️

  • 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
    I have come across this verse virtually every day in different situations over the last couple of weeks. God clearly wants me to pay attention to it and is speaking to me though this verse.

  • CarrieAnne

    Gods love is amazing!

  • The concept of grace is so awesome! God GIVES it to us not because of anything we have done to deserve it or earn it, but simply because He loves us. ❤️

  • I am so unworthy but still he loves me❤️

  • This was honestly so amazing. Gods love is so powerful and there is nothing we can do to earn it and we can’t brag about it. He gives it to hair only we ask and it’s so amazing Immanuel.

  • Claudia Ernst

    Taylor praying for the Lord gives you guidance in your walk with Him. Continue to read his word and He will speak to you for as long as you seek Him. He wants to have a personal relationship with us and his desire is for us seek Him for everything. I was raised Catholic as well so I identify myself a little bit with you. Just know that being a Christian means to have a personal relationship with him instead of being religious. Trust me He is an amazing God! Wish you the best in your walk with Him and hope we continue to cross paths in this app. ❤️

  • Great read, the real true meaning of Christmas

  • MERRY CHRISTMASS

  • One of my favorite book series.

  • I’ve never looked at Christmas that way! I’ve heard that Jesus came and was born and later died to save us from our sins, but I never saw it that way

  • Rebeckah

    Thank You, Jesus, for the blood You shed to make it possible for us to be in right relationship with you.

  • Gabrielle Doraisamy

    Wow, talk about perspective. This is so good, I need to remember that no matter what I do here on earth that may be “good” it still doesn’t make me deserving.

  • I grew up in church since the age of 4. I’m in my 30’s now. I’ve only recently, within the past 5 years, begun to grasp the true meaning of the gospel. One of the hardest things for me to let go of is the fear of losing my salvation. I grew up being taught it was something that could be lost. Knowing how unworthy I was/am and how even in my best efforts, I still sin, I started to believe that I’d never get in to Heaven. I’m so grateful that my eyes are being opened to the truth in that the cross was enough. Jesus paid my price. Nothing I do can get me to Heaven, or separate me from His love. It is only by His grace that I was chosen as one of His.
    “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners , Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

    • Taylor

      Pam I really resonate with that fear of losing my salvation as well. I grew up in the Catholic Church and although I never felt like I was getting anything out of it I picked up all of these untruths about who I am and what I need to do to get into heaven. I am still very much in the weeds of all of that but I recently I have really negus praying to God asking him to cleanse my mind and show me who Jesus really is and who I am and what he really has done for us. I can read it in the bible but it doesn’t seem like enough to just read it because the illusions I have picked up block me from truly feeling what he did. The more I pray and surrender it all to God I can see Him working everyday in my life to undo and cleanse me of the lies. Between passages in the bible He calls me to read, to people He has put in my life, I know He is working to make me new. ❤️

      • Chelsea

        Taylor, I am just now reading this series and I am in the same boat!!! You are right, I need to pray more that God will help me to let go of those feelings and resentment towards the church. I know not all Catholic churchs are this way. But I was lost as a kid/young adult as the focus was never on the Gospel. It’s a long road to get past those emotions.

  • This walk with God is new to me. I went through a “but God” phase for years. My grandmother recently passed away and I know that her purpose on this earth was to bring me to God. I thank her and Him for that.

  • Carly Parker

    HE makes us alive, without him we were dead. God bless!

  • I LOVE John 3:16!!!!!!❤️

  • Elizabeth

    Rebecca Fairies, your entire life has truly been a testimony of His. You JUST explained how at a young age, things were put in your life by special people you were also blessed with to, years and years later, bless many of us. That story was told in a way that resonates and, in the end, points to His glory and love for us. I’m thanking God now for this portion of His story – your story. He has shaped and molded you, since a young child, to do His work well today. I’m grateful that “you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.” so that he can use you. Prayer for you and lifting Him up. His works and majesty BLOW MY MIND, all the time. Ever-lasting, loving and faithful God!!!

  • I am alive through Christ he has given me eternal life so thankful

  • Lisa Preston

    Repenting of my own righteousness

  • We are dead but Christ gives us life… Amen!!!

  • Amber Manzur

    Such a great reminder.

  • Brandi Marie

    <3

  • I love the reminder of repenting for my own attempts at righteousness. How many times has my own pride and works gone before Christ?

  • I caught myself today. I was praying for those who are reading through this series who “really need to hear the gospel” (my intentions being to pray for those who have not yet acknowledged God as their Lord and Savior). And then God started showing me the many ways in which I have been seeing myself as righteous and somehow needing to hear the gospel less, and how very very wrong I am. Thank you Father for opening my eyes to this truth. Thank you for this series and for all those who need to hear it, myself included. I am so sorry for my pride. Please forgive me. Amen.

    • Cass

      Yes! And thank you for praying for all of us who need to hear it-believers or not!

  • “23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.”

    Not shifting from the gospel. This is my take home message today. We are never too grown up in the faith or so ‘righteous’ that we don’t need to hear and know the gospel. Lord help me to abide; stable and steadfast, by Your grace.

  • But God…why me, why us, I just can’t take it anymore, aren’t you listening??? I could go on and on. This is exactly where I’ve been over the last few years. I have yet to see the reason, or lesson, or understand, but I know that one day i will finally understand.

    I know death is all I deserve but this was a good reminder that life on this side sometimes just feels unfair, so I need to fix my eyes on eternal life and rember what Jesus did for my sin.

    • Carissa

      I know the feeling. God is sovereign over all things, even the injustice and the feeling of unfairness in our own lives. Faith is made stronger through these years of “Why me? Why us? Where are you, God? Are you listening?” The lesson will always be God bringing us closer to Him in trusting Him and His Word. It is faith alone that pleases God, Creator of heaven and earth. May humility be the blessed fruit of suffering and joy come in the morning. Keep up the good fight of faith. God has promised to never give us more than we can handle. Jesus is with us in every tear cried, every broken heart, every step we take on this journey home. We do not belong to this world. We have an inheritance of royalty and heavenly majesty. We are son and daughters of the Most High God!

  • Mandy Knight

    “But God…” I think I have started about a thousand conversations with God this way when I am trying to explain MY reasoning or belief or thought process about why something should or shouldn’t happen a certain way…to Him. Like He should be listening to me on how I want things done as if it were an open table discussion! I, as several others have said, have trouble understanding sometimes the grace that He gives us (especially as He’s listening to me give Him my properly thought out bullet point on Situation A) and realizing that sometimes, even when you think you’re doing it for the right reason or you have good intentions in your heart, it’s still not right or meant for you and He has protected you by closing that door. And I think we as Christians often times think that if we are doing “everything right”, doing all of the “good things”, then things should be much easier for us and be constantly surrounded by joy…but Jesus never promised that. Matter of fact he told us that we would have troubles in the world but to take heart because He has overcome the world. He promised us to walk with us through the struggles…and He could make that promise because He shed His blood on the cross so that we could be reconciled to God and have an eternal relationship with Him! How undeserving, but truly blessed are we?!
    Even in the moments that we aren’t sure or are doubting Him or what’s going on in our lives – give those thoughts to Him, He can handle it I promise. And then be still and wait and listen for Him to start placing things on your heart…it’s amazing to feel that kind of love come over you. It will change you more each day.

    • Jenny

      I love everything you wrote here! It is such a frequent thought in my head to say God has something better planned or something that is right for my life when something fails. He closes those doors to protect us…what an amazing Father ! Loved reading this today thank you.

      • Taylor

        I have to really hold onto the truth that God has something better planned for my life. Been hurting lately because of a breakup I’ve gone through. But God has a plan. I’ve got to believe that with all of my heart

    • Elisa Best

      So true. I’ve found myself thinking so often that because I do everything that I’m supposed to do that everything should go my way.

  • Antimony

    “But I forget that what I deserve is death”. This. This I cannot seem to get away from. I don’t deserve a reward when I’m “good”. Even my “goodness” … It can only earn me more death. More judgment. I deserve to die.

    • Kylee

      We all deserve that, Antimony – BUT GOD! God, in all his mercy, realized our need for an OUT, a way to pull us OUT of our sin & impending death, no matter how deserved. So here we stand, deserving to die but receiving instead His richness of LIFE, of mercy and love and everlasting fellowship with Him! Truly a gift so undeserved it could only come from the One who makes everything new. I’m there with you, Antimony, deserving death and heaps of it. So thankful we get to say BUT GOD! together and marvel at this gift!

  • Elizabeth

    I’ve been through a long “But God” phase, and guess what He did end winter and life couldn’t be more amazing living through Him!!

  • Amen!

  • “But God.” That’s the Gospel in two words, isn’t it?

  • I’ve been going through a “but God” phase for a couple weeks now. I know that what I can see and imagine does not compare to what he has laid out for me, but that doesn’t make my doubt any easier. The imagery of Aslan is a beautiful one; God is like that in every situation. I need to just keep praying.

  • @bonnie it is an awesome collection

  • Perfect timing, just as God tends to have. I’ve never read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but it is the book I picked up to start this very day.

  • BUT GOD. I love it, I’m planning on making a little canvas of that to hang somewhere in my room. I just love it. :)

  • Kasey Summers

    What I deserve is death… That’s what we deserve… Yet not what we get…. So undeserved. Such a gift. What a privilege it is to be a child of God. I don’t ever want to take my salvation or the other ways the Lord has blessed me for-granted! Thankful!

  • mmartinez86

    People say I am kind and a good person. And sometimes I have a hard time finding my own faults especially when I am in a relationship with a man who is not a Godly. He believes in a higher being but doesn't know if it is the God I believe in. SO sometimes deep down I sort of feel I am more in tune with Godly ways but I am no means any better. I am a sinner. And only through Jesus Christ I am good enough and saved.

    • Kylee

      Of course you’re more in tune with God. You believe in Him!! What a gift to be able to share with your partner, though I know it can’t be easy. I think about 1 Peter 3:1 when it talks about wives who win their unbelieving husbands over in the faith by the words of their mouths and the conduct of their lives…which makes me think the way we live, as women who believe, can be a HUGE influence on our men! Be encouraged today, there is hope for the unbeliever &, as 1 Corinthians 7:16 says, “how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband?” Anything is possible with God! Praying for you.

  • coffeewithclay

    Love love love all of this! Also you guys, it would be great if you could check out my blog for more encouraging words. That would be lovely all my dear friends! God Bless~
    http://refreshthedaywithcoffeeandclay.strikingly….

  • The more I keep my eyes on Him and His finished work, the less I look at myself, my sins and my inadequcy; cos we can’t look at two things at once. The less I look at myself, the less sin has dominion over me. We are changed from glory to glory as we behold Him. That is where we get the grace and power to be delivered from sin. In me, I see no beauty. In Him, I see everything beautiful.

  • Diane Huntsman

    I am convinced after 47 years of life, that this side of heaven we will always battle something or several things.. The idea that because we are Christ followers we should live free and easy is a myth.. The closer we get to Jesus by way of relationship with Him the clearer we see our flawed pitiful selves.. We battle with our flesh, we want gossip, bitterness, pride to be radically removed that we might live in freedom and fully please Him, and yet they seem to have very temporary moments of absence from our lives, they seem to always come back, uninvited and definitely unwanted…and so we do what we know to do over and over again.. Acknowledge them as sin, own them as our own sin, confess and ask for power to repent and fill our minds with truth to combat lies.. We all want to be free, we all want to live lives of accurate reflection of a redeemed and regenerated life.. But we still contend with this body of flesh, we still return to our vomit, we just need to continually do what we know to do and trust Him to work in these hardened messy hearts of ours.. He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. Don’t accept the sin as a normal part of our humanity and excuse it, go to Him over and over again to beg Him to remove it, to empower us to say no to the sins that ensnare us.. He is our source and our strength and He does amazing things in the hearts of His beloved people. Don’t give up, keep going to Him with the battles of life!

  • Grace starts with seeing ourselves rightly. When we see ourselves as BELOVED daughters of the King, not the image we or others have created of us- then we can step into the grace filled life that has always been there.
    Why do we turn to food, or shopping or drinking or men or other things of this world to complete us? To comfort us? When the LOVER OF OUR SOULS is right there with the only thing that fills us up? Him! It takes trust building practice and surrounding ourselves with the grace message through the Word, good teaching and other grace minded sisters in Christ. We cannot earn it. We will never be good enough in our own effort. Jesus knows this. Only blood shed could do the work. And he already did it with his own blood. It is finished! Step into the free life! You are a slave No More! As you seek His finished work, the Holy Spirit will help you- just keep seeking him. The fruit of the spirit will become your character. Self-control will come with the Spirit’s help. It takes practice, but it will happen! He will not leave you, nor forsake you! ❤️

  • Leslie Olson

    Nothing is over with Christ – marriages can be restored , the childless can hold that baby, the financial catastrophe can be overcome, old can become new Beauty for those ashes. WHO NEEDS A RESURRECTION TODAY?

  • This is one thing I don’t understand. Grace, and striving. I strive and strive and set rules for myself, to be self controlled , patient, loving, kind, and as soon as those prayers leave my mouth, it’s as if I’ve prayed the opposite.

    My flesh, my heart, it fails too often, and I can’t seem to know how to tap into gods love, his grace, his forgiveness, without striving.

    Striving. Rest– what is that? Don’t eat ice cream and 5 bowls of cereal before bed ? But it tastes good! And it comforts me! And I’m bored! And I don’t know how to tell myself no. A struggle that is honestly pulling me into the deep waters.

    • Anna Thandaza

      Girl. Same here. Same. Here. I don’t want to offer advice to you for fear that it wouldn’t be helpful at all- salt in the wound, even. But I want to tell you what I’ve been learning in hopes that it would help.
      We can do nothing apart from Jesus, right? So a good prayer to pray first thing is just that. “Jesus, self control, gentleness, patience…I just don’t possess these things. You do. Please live your life through me.” We live in dependance on His Spirit, moment by moment. The next time you crave comfort, I pray you would immediately turn to Him in prayer and tell Him what you need and what you want-ice cream(which is my VICE) or otherwise- and ask Him to help you make a wise decision that will benefit your soul. And I want to do the same.

    • Sunny

      Thank-you for being so vulnerable in sharing. I am right with you crying "help me Jesus". Give me Your thoughts and Your words to speak. Then give me the trust to know You are guiding me. Your words are truth!

    • Laura

      Feel exactly on the same boat here with you… You’re not alone!

    • SuzyQ

      I hear the beauty of your heart, Kristen. What you are seeking are the fruits of His Spirit, instead of a relationship with Him!! Repent and be forgiven. Just KNOW him, don’t try to fulfill your list of dos and don’ts. See yourself as Beloved by the King of King whose Kingdom NEVER ends. Hear his Word for YOU-For God so loved Kristen….not so you could be “good”, but so you can be ALIVE!

  • Sweet sisters, can I ask for your prayers? Not because I deserve them. But because I believe in the power of prayer, and hope that someone out there might understand this too.
    This morning, I am seeing more clearly that my own pride and bitterness are so often holding me back from fully living in God's marvelous 'But' moment. Keeping me from embracing the full life that He desires me to live for Him. No matter how much I try to rid myself of these sensitive, hurt-filled areas, they are still lingering because they are re-opened so often. (I am one sensitive lady, I suppose.) These feelings are rooted in relationships. Relationships with others that God calls me love, even though it can be so challenging. People whose words and actions have hurt me deeply – in small ways, continually, some unknowingly and some knowingly. People who are family, who I cannot cut ties with to start over. No escape. But maybe that is the point. I need to let go of the desire to run away, and face these places of hurt, anger and bitterness with God's help. In all honesty, I feel overwhelmed. I would much rather fight for my own rightness or wallow in defeat when I don't measure up. Ugh, I am so flawed, so human. But I know my ways are not God's ways. And I desperately want His ways!
    Praying for a greater understanding of His grace – toward myself and those who have hurt me. Praying for the strength to posture my heart to humbly enter into His presence to face these tough places with His help. Praying Christ would meet me here and help me to surrender ALL of my pride, my hurt, my bitterness. To make room for His love and grace to embrace my heart and restore it to Him. Lord, I am so grateful for your gift of life. Forgive me when I fall short of fully accepting this. Help me to let go of all that holds me back – and to keep letting go. Praying for an ever-growing heart of love instead of hurt.
    Thanks, ladies. I hope you all have a blessed Friday filled with His goodness, love and grace.

    • Natalie

      Praying for you ❤️

    • Christy

      Amen

    • Savannah

      Praying for you this morning, Beverly. I struggle with a lot of the same things. It can be so so hard to love some people. Something someone told me awhile back that’s stuck with me is that “sinful people tend to respond sinfully when sinned against.” Our reaction when people say hurtful things to us tends to be wrong, because well…were sinful too! But I think it can be good to reminded of that so we can be aware of our tendencies and bring them before God in prayer. Praying for you and hoping relationships are healed for you. Xx

      • Beverly

        Thanks for sharing and for your prayers, Savannah. I had never thought about it this way, but I completely agree. Whether I overflow my hurt to others or hold it in allowing it to build and breed negativity, it is wrong. Wrong because I have not taken it to God first. I'm so grateful for your reminder to take all my feelings to Him first.

    • ~ B ~

      "My own pride and bitterness" – you've narrowed it down to two things I think we most contend with. You are not alone friend and I will be surely praying for you as you continue through this season. Prayerful that you find peace in giving it up to God and that He releases you of the bitterness you feel and opens a new life daily without it. ~ B

      • Beverly

        Always grateful for your prayers, B. And your encouragement. Peace and new life sound absolutely glorious. Adding these to my prayers, as well as, the strength to choose them over any bitterness or pride. I believe He can help me cut the roots of these ugly weeds. Thankful for your words.

    • Ruth

      I struggle with this too, so much. I’m praying for you today and I hope we can both find some sense of peace about this and be able to live our lives feeling free and growing in Christ, as I know we are meant to! Your works today have spoken to me more than anything has for a good few weeks. So thank you for your openness and that you took the time to write your thoughts. It is appreciated! ❤️❤️❤️

      • Beverly

        I'm grateful for your prayers, Ruth. I will also be prayerful for you. It's such a comfort to know that we are not alone in our hurts and feelings. Your words encouraged me – to seek His peace, to choose His freedom, and to grow in Christ. He desires so much good for us, which I think can so often be clouded by the world, by others, or by our own negative thinking (this is a big one for me!) That is why I think He encourages us to take captive our thoughts to Him. Because He is good, He is love, He is grace. And our hearts desperately need this. Thank you for understanding and sharing too!

    • Ruth

      Of course I meant ‘words’ not ‘works’!

    • Alexis C.

      Many prayers for you. And for them. You are right, we can not escape family, but with prayer we can discover how to survive them. I have had to do just that. Be with them but not of them, find time out places, remember that their bitterness and sorrow does not have to become yours. Their words, actions are not what is important, only God is. Easier said than done, I know. But, knowing that great anxiety comes with each family gathering, I have preplanned safe zones for prayer and peace and to breath. I pray that you too can find safe zones to be in the Word not their distorted world. Prayers of love, clarity and strength to you. Hold tight to your faith, the tighter you hold-the less their hurt can embed itself. In fact you start to see them in a different light and are better able to manage the time with them.

      • Beverly

        Alexis, I appreciate your prayers for myself (and for my family!) It is so easy to get caught up in my own feelings and forget that they also need prayer – thank you for this reminder! And for understanding. These are good thoughts – to be gracious but not get pulled under by others negativity (real or perceived) and to seek God first. I'm grateful for your encouragement to stand firm and steadfast in faith. I also pray for eyes to see them differently. Deep down, I would so often rather choose compassion than bitterness. Oh, the battles we face in our own families seems so unfair. But I'm sure if when we let them, these relationships can be a place for God to work and grow our hearts in the process. Thankful for your prayers. And also prayerful for you and your family too.

    • Pam Blum

      I totally relate to your struggle because I have struggled with the same thing for many years. I am a sensitive person too, and when people hurt me, intentional or not I take it very hard and personally. I “try” to move on, but because I can never forget the action I fight the losing battle of holding it against them and I have a habit of writing people off or holding them at a distance because I don’t want to get hurt again. I struggle with letting what happened in the past come in and taint my present and I need God’s help to not let that happen. I will definitely pray for your and covet your prayers in return.

      • Beverly

        Pam, thank you for your understanding and prayers. I will keep you in my prayers too! I once read that we can use our sensitivities in negative ways or positive ways. Negative being worry, anxiety, etc. Positive being compassion, empathy, etc. Praying we can both use our sensitive hearts to glorify God by showing compassion and forgiveness to those who have hurt us. Because if I choose to pause (in spite of my feelings) – and open my hurt-filled heart to God's Truths – I see that Christ also experienced similar things, and He chose forgiveness instead of bitterness. Praying for a heart that is more in line with Christ's heart. And praying for your heart too. I believe that God wants to continually (!) restore our hearts to Him. He is greater than our hurts.

    • Joanna

      Prayers for you Beverly, you are not alone in your struggle!

    • sharijune

      Oh, Beverly, you are not alone in your emotional battles. But, you are honest and open. I thank you for that. Praying? Oh, yes, I started praying for you as of now.
      Love and Hugs to you!

      • Beverly

        Thank you for your words, sharijune! And I'm so grateful for your prayers. I'm learning that the more honest and open I am – with myself and others – the greater room I make in my heart for healing and growth. It's challenging being vulnerable with weaknesses at times, but it's oh so worth it. Thanks for your understanding and encouragement.

  • Hallelujah! Thank you God!

  • Victoria Rae

    Amen!

  • Caroline @ In due time

    We are redeemed!!!! Praise God!!!!

    http://Www.in-due-time.com

  • katherine

    But God… Amen! Thank you Jesus!

  • “using my own power to get what I think I deserve.

    But I forget that what I deserve is death.”

    This idea struck me a couple of days ago and here it is again today. Even though I know it’s not about what I can do, I’m constantly under the (false!) impression that I can get what I want through my own strength or that I should get what I deserve. But when I think about what it is I really deserve, it’s death. Plain and simple.

    Even if by some miracle I made it through the day being nice or good, there are a million or things I did to sin against my neighbor and God that I didn’t think twice about.

    ” I need to repent not only of my sins, but also of my paltry attempts at righteousness. The times I read books to my children, the meals I prepare for my husband, the kindness I extend to strangers— none of this is good enough to satisfy the debt that I owe for my sin. Only Christ was good enough.  ”

    And yet, God sent his son in my place. So that I can live eternally with Him. A gift of grace that I’m not worthy of. What a blessing and oh, how he loves!

    “When you were dead in your transgressions… He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions.
- Colossians 2:13″

    That truth smacked me right in the face today! I’ve heard the gospel hundreds if not thousands of times but it was new today. Thank you SRT! Thank you Lord!

  • Four of the people I was closest to in life passed away in Winter months. The anniversaries of their death spanning 45 days of one another. Each of those persons buried on a hill in a small town in Pennsylvania. Each funeral with snow on the ground. Each time, I stood shivering as the wind whipped across that tall place. The last funeral there, the snow fell deep and wet and my children clung tightly to my husband and I as we all stood, coats zipped tightly, winter boots secured and the literal Jack Frost nipping our noses. What felt like an eternity there was over in a blink and my family laid rest on that frozen slope. We maneuvered our way back to the line of cars quietly and before I stepped into my door, I looked out over the car. When I was little, I would stay at my grandparent's over the summers, I could see that cemetery hill in the distance from a nearby place at their home. I was always enamored with how perfectly I could make out that hill and yet when there, I could never see the house. The angle and placement were always just so that I could only figure it's approximate location and I'd giggle and move on. But that last day there, I tried again. I stood, looking into the distance recalling the many times there, the many memories with those loved ones, a town more home than any other. I peered through the thick flakes of falling snow, but to no avail, I could not see the house. It was different this time, I had no reason to come back. It hurt. I teared up as I leaned into my seat because the reality of that winter was harsh. The pain stung like the bitter cold biting at my well covered toes and fingers, but I smiled as we pulled away, I realized this would end. The pain would lessen and that *my* life didn't end on that hill. That although I couldn't see that house, the memories weren't contained in those four walls. That those memories of warm summers, fresh applesauce and perfect climbing trees would keep my heart warm and that my viewing place would be available anytime I sought it. I realized that Winter stings, just like trudging the deep snow to pay my respects, we walk through seasons of deep hurt and sin as if we are plodding into heavy places. But in all our plodding and striving and doing and seeking, we need to remember, that though we can't see through the bitter air, God sees us. He can make out our hills and He knows our journeys over them. Though we deserved death, He pulled us from a permanent winter. We don't have to stand in those dark places and look for home, HE is home and keeping our eyes on HIM, will carry us through our burdened winters. Jesus is my warm winter place, my grace upon grace place and with Him I am free from the bitter and biting cold! ~ B

    • Karen

      Thank you for the beautiful analogy. I'm struggling to comfort someone hurting right now, who doesn't trust Jesus to be this comfort to her. She holds on to her pain – recovers just enough to move on, but drags past pain along and adds it to the load of future pain. Perhaps your experience will open her eyes to understanding.
      Karen

      • Rachel

        Beautifully written and brought tears to my eyes. I recently lost my grandmother who was so precious to me and memory upon memory kept flooding my mind. What a great reminder that through the pain and sorrow, there's still hope. And even though death is separating us now, we will again be reunited some day and I will go home to meet HIM. We don't have to live in deep hurt, but Christ is and will renew us ever more. He is my "grace upon grace place" and in HIM, I am free.

    • Beverly

      "… we walk through seasons of deep hurt and sin as if we are plodding into heavy places. But in all our plodding and striving and doing and seeking, we need to remember, that though we can't see through the bitter air, God sees us… We don't have to stand in those dark places and look for home, HE is home and keeping our eyes on HIM, will carry us through our burdened winters"
      B, this really spoke to where my heart is this morning. Thank you for your words. Praying for Him to be my focus, my home.

    • Brenda

      Very well said. I am a visual person and I can see exactly what you are writing about, the bitter, biting cold of the snow. Standing on a hill cold and lonely. But God….then I see the bright sunshine and the warmth of our Savior wrapping His arms around His children. I love the “but God” part! He always pours His love on us and pulls us out of the winter when we let Him.
      God bless you sister!

    • mamajonk

      Beautifully said B. Thank you!

    • A PEACH IN ITALY

      Beautiful analogy. Thank you!

    • Alexis C.

      That much loss in this world is hard in so short a time. Your writing and faith are beautiful. My prayers are with you as you adapt to not having these loved ones physically present.

  • Beautiful. He pays the price for us. So thankful.

  • But God! Two of the most powerful words in all of Scripture! Praying for you as

    • Lyle

      Hit post too soon! Praying for all of you sweet sisters today to be encouraged. Rejoicing that we can walk in the light of the hope we have in Jesus, Who brought us out of the winter of sin in our hearts and gives us the spring of His righteousness!

  • God is a loving God. He is always leading us with a love we will never comprehend. Praise be to God that he sent his son into the world to save us from our nasty sin, even today!

  • “Ring the bells of Christmas, because our rightful winter is over, and our undeserved and blessed Christ is here!” What a beautiful picture!!! We were in darkness, but God… But God!!! Such a gorgeous reminder that my problems and transgressions are wiped clean with the winter’s snow. Hem me in, behind and before, oh God! I give you all my problems and my worried and my anxieties today, amen.

  • Kelly_Smith

    I try to spend a lot of time trying to wash the filthy rags of my righteousness. Those good things I do will never be good enough. Thank you, Jesus, for being my righteousness! That doesn't mean that I stop trying to live right. It is my motivation that is the problem, not my actions. John 14:15 sets me straight, "If you love me, you will obey what I command." Love is my reason to live right, not duty or performance. Read more–> http://mrsdisciple.com/obeying-god-wrong-reasons/

    • Candacejo

      Amen, it is my motivation that is the problem, not my actions. Guilty! But it is all about love and what HE has done, not me. Enjoyed your blog post as well. Good stuff! ♥

    • Lyle

      Yes! I identify with obeying for the wrong reasons. May love for our Savior motivate me, knowing that I don’t have to perform but rest in what He has already done. Going to check out your blog, Kelly! Thanks for sharing.

  • carlybenson

    "God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ" – that amazes me. The start of the passage in Colossians talks about how Christ existed before everything, is supreme over everything and holds everything together… and yet he chose to come to us, to save us, even though we didn't deserve it at all and he could easily just have left us to deal with the consequences of our sin.
    It was what he chose to do and wanted to do because he loves us despite our sin. So thankful for his love and grace.

  • But God…
    But God…
    But God..

    How I love those words..! Ah, I just love them!!

    There is nothing I can do, say ,produce or argue that can pay the debt I owe for my sins…NOTHING…NADA., ZILCH….nothing to barter with…I have nothing….But God…oh, But God…rich in mercy…

    I Love that Paul, writes, on what it is that Jesus has done for us…Paul who was so far removed from the believers,he persecuted them….But God…rich in mercy…

    Thank you Lord God, that when I was dead in my transgressions, ( when, the only way to go was death, for all my sins) , You gave me, and still do, life together with Him, Your Son Jesus Christ, having forgiven all my sins…I am in awe Lord God…But Dear God, thank you ..Thank you…

    Thank you Lord…

    Thank you…

    Amen…

    Sister's, no words can express my thanks to you for your totally overwhelming kindness of words, prayers, encouragement and love…yesterday..I cried as I read each and every blessing, late last night….I go, knowing I am truly covered in the prayers and love of my sister's here at SRT….THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH.

    I pray God's abundant Blessings dear sister's over you all, and yours….May He turn His face to shine on you today and throughout this coming week…with Love, Peace Joy, Grace…
    Thank you again..
    With love,
    Tina xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    • Candacejo

      Going with you in spirit dear friend. Be blessed and may precious memories flood your soul. ♥

    • Cindy J

      But God… Amen Amen Amen… prayers from my heart go with and for you Tina.. But God… the “hemmer inner has created you for such a day as this. .. all for His glory, yet to be revealed”… bless you sister. He is watching over you. . Amen Amen.

    • Rachel

      Tina, my heart aches for your loss. Know that your sisters here are encircling you in prayer. We’ve got you surrounded! May you encounter joys in the most unexpected moments and places during this tough time.

    • shereadstruth

      Praying for you today, sweet Tina. So grateful for your heart.

      xoxo-Kaitlin

    • Alexis C.

      Tina, May you experience peace, calm, love, warmth and Our Father’s loving arms giving you strength. Prayers and thoughts are with you.

    • Beverly

      Hugs and prayers over you, Tina. Praying that you will see God at work all around you, and that He will continue to cover you in His love.

    • sharijune

      May you be held in His arms, held together. I love your beautiful heart, Tina. May God cover it and keep you.
      – With continued love and prayers.

    • Cindy

      Your words are a Blessing on so many days, Tina… May you be blessed in the days ahead….

  • "But God…" Oh how I love the sound of these two words! Life isn't easy… we have multiple things to do, painful trials to endure… But God…!!! God doesn't leave us to handle it all alone. He loved me so much that He died on my behalf. There's nothing I could ever do to repay His kindness to me. And so, I live, I love, I serve God and His people… out of gratitude for what my loving God has done for me!

  • Alexis C.

    Colossians 1:17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
    I like this idea of being “held together” . On the days when my transgressions are getting the best of me and I feel like I am letting my Christianity unravel I can remember this verse and stop being of the world and let myself be ” held together” safe in His Word. Thank you Lord for being my all.

    • Kristine

      I also connected with the idea of being “held together” by Christ. What a relief to know someone else holds the strings, lights the path, knows the way.

      • hannah

        That idea of being held together is another mysterious truth that is so life-giving for me too. Thanks for pointing it out!

  • You're right, it is a very delicate and mysterious path we walk. Lately I've been meditating on the paradox of safety in Him. On one hand, He is our refuge. On the other hand, as they say in Narnia, "He's not a tame lion". He's deeply dangerous and yet we're forever secure in Him.
    I agree that sometimes we need to repent, not so much for attempting to be righteous (we're definitely called to live righteous lives as sons and daughters of the Great King) but certainly for thinking that our righteous actions could ever pay the wages of our sin.

    • Kelly_Smith

      Hannah, you identified the difference. It is not righteous living that is the problem; it is presenting our right living as our righteousness.

      • hannah

        Thanks Kelly. I sometimes struggle to articulate that difference gracefully, but that's where I want to be.

      • Stacy

        It takes away the greatness of what Christ did for us on the cross when we think that somehow we deserve it from our seemingly "righteous" acts. It's always a good reminder for me that our righteousness acts are like filthy rags Isaiah 64:6. We NEED Christ. And I thank God that he loves us so much to save us through Christ and it doesn't depend on our "good" deeds. I need a daily reminder to be taken off my high horse and brought to my knees before Christ. I didn't DO anything to deserve this grace, BUT GOD…….

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