Extra Strength: He Loves Me {Sheryll}

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge. 

Extra Strength

Sit, Walk, Stand: Prayer For The Impossible {Sunday, June 21, 2015}

By Sheryll Belonga

As some of you may know from posts that I have done, I first began my relationship with God when I was 13 years old after visiting a church during the holidays. There was a tug at my heart during an altar call to accept Christ so I went up. At that time my parents believed in God and we all attended church together but that was the extent of it.

As I entered high school, I don’t recall attending church as much as I did when I was younger. Occasionally the private Catholic high school that I attended held a mandatory mass during the school day and there was the occasional confession time to the priest that I participated in as well.  Not having a family that nurtured my new relationship and attending a school that didn’t teach me about having full access to God left me with an ignorance of what it meant to truly know Him.

As I grew older and began to seek Him for myself, I was exposed to other views of God.  I went from not communicating with Him on a personal level to fearing Him, the fires of hell and the Rapture. I was also told how loving He was and that He was forgiving but I felt as if my actions would determine His level of love for me and forgiveness of my sins.

Around 19 years old I decided to stop going to church. The temptations of the world became something I wanted to pursue and I felt like remaining in church half hearted was hypocritical. So I told God that I would come back when I was ready to fully commit.

The Bible tells us that He will never leave us and I found that to be true because although I walked away He continued to pursue me.  As I type this, the thought of that brings me to tears. No matter how comfortable I tried to be with the world He wouldn’t allow me to linger in that comfort long. He never left me.  He pursued me and He just waited.

Eventually I came back and renewed my relationship with God.  But after all I had done I never felt like I was good enough or worthy enough of His love and forgiveness so I kept asking for it. There were still times when I would fall into the same sins so I would ask for His forgiveness over and over again because I wanted to make sure I was saved. I needed to keep asking until I finally got it right.

The problem was that I was weak spiritually. I had come to know Christ but what I didn’t know was the extent of His love for me. Yes He died on the cross for me but that was something He did for all of us.  I didn’t make it personal.

Paul says that he prayed for us to have spiritual strength to be able to comprehend, to fully grasp, the extent of God’s love for us. Grasping the extent of His love is not for those who are weak in spirit which is why I never got it.  I didn’t even fully get what Paul tried to tell us in Romans when he said there was NOTHING that could separate us from God’s love.

I felt as if every sin I committed made God love me less and less but it didn’t.  Did it affect our relationship? Yes.  But that was on my part not His.  When I sinned I tried to hide from Him and I didn’t talk to Him.  I put up that barrier not Him.  He remained true to never leaving me but I kept leaving Him.

I comprehend now that His love has no end and it has no limit and I know that in my heart. When I sin I confess and I fall into the loving arms of His forgiveness.  I look at how far I have come and try not to dwell on the past. I am getting better with that part. So I try to live each day not because I want to earn or to keep His love but because I already have it and it’s never going away.

Here are a couple of Bible verses for you to know in your heart:

Romans 8:38-39

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

 

Also, here is a song that speaks to my heart and I pray it speaks to yours. It is “Jesus Loves Me” by Chris Tomlin. I hope you have a blessed week.
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”  (Ephesians 3:20-21)

 

Sheryll Belonga is wife to Jurrell and homeschooling mom to their three great boys. Her desire is to glorify God in all she says and does in spite of life’s daily happenings.

 

 

 

Be Challenged:

On Sunday Pastor Joe challenged us to take each part of the prayer from Ephesians 3:14-21 and ponder it.  He also asked that we pray it daily until we meet again next week.  Now I will be honest and say that I didn’t start the challenge until Tuesday so if you haven’t started it either now is your chance. Pastor Joe’s prayer for us in accordance with the scripture that we will:

  • have the realization of the Holy Spirit’s power in us
  • comprehend Christ’s love for us
  • experience the fullness of God

Extra Strength: Let Yesterday’s Worry Be Today’s Confidence In Christ (Anita)

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge. 

Extra Strength

Sit, Walk, Stand: The Mystery of the Church {Sunday, June 14, 2015}

by Anita Everly

I am a worrier.  I know, I shouldn’t be, but the truth is, I am.  I’ve come a long way, but that is often my default.

It wasn’t until a friend of mine was talking about a daunting project at work that I realized I needed to grow in the areas of surrender, trust, and peace.
Her entire office was highly pressured regarding the details of this project when a co-worker asked her, “Trish, why are you not stressed out by all of this?  How come you are so cool and calm about it all?”

Her answer?

“Honey, I used to worry myself to death about stuff like this, but not anymore.  I’ve given this whole project to God.  It’s not mine anymore and I can’t worry about it.  I just gotta do the work and let Him do the rest.”

She went on to say how it was such a great moment of sharing how Christ can change a life, not just for eternity, but in the mundane tasks of every day.  It was in that moment that I realized my worry was not proving that Christ was alive in me.

As we think about our influence for Christ in the world, I think we often have the most impact in how we react to the common issues in our lives.

As Pastor Joe pointed out, “Perspective makes all the difference.”  Not only for us, but for those around us!

People take notice of any out of the ordinary reactions and interactions, and when they do, we have the perfect opportunity to point to Christ’s transforming power in us.  That’s “the mystery to the world” that Pastor Joe was talking about.

Do you care about the salvation of that unsaved family member?  What about the friend who is just a delight to be around?  The sweet man at the grocery store?  The neighbor who has annoyed you more times than you can count?  The boss who is wretched and demanding?

Either way, we should all pray to care more and to share more of Christ to our corner of the world.  He didn’t put us in the places of life with the people He did on accident.  No matter what we do or where we are, we are to share the Good News and the grace of the Gospel to the world.

He’s told us to go (Matthew 28:19).  He’s told us He will equip us for the task (Matthew 4:29).

We can live with full humility in ourselves and our shortcomings, and full confidence in Jesus Christ and His power to save and transform lives through our willing hearts and surrendered hands.

Now, go on!  Get out there, Church!

Anita Everly is the wife of David and mom to their three sons.  She can be found watching the lives of her men unfold, creating a home, and encouraging other women in life and motherhood.  She is striving to live life on purpose because she is crazy in love with the One who is crazy in love with her.

 

 

 

Be Challenged

  • Is there something you have been wasting your energy worrying about that you need to release to God? If so, hand it over to Him this week.
  • Think about where God has placed you and around whom He has placed you. Ask Him how can you share His word more in those places and with those people this week as well as how you can extend His grace.

Extra Strength: You Are a New Creation (Martha)

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge. 

Extra Strength

Sit, Walk, Stand: The Making of A Christian: From Alienation to Reconciliation {Sunday, June 7, 2015}

by Martha Jackson

In his book, Sanctuary of the Soul, Richard Foster writes, “One of the reasons we love the creation so much is that it is always doing the will of the Father.”

I would also argue that it is being what God created it to be without an argument or second thought.  A tree must be a tree, for that is what it was created to be.

When God makes us a new creation in Christ, through our faith in Jesus’ work on the cross, we are reconciled.  We are adopted and given the righteousness of Christ.  We are daughters and sons of the King.

I am a new creation.  That’s how God sees me now.  When He sees you and me, He sees us as we were meant to be.  A tulip can only be a tulip.  A tree can only be a tree.  A bird can only be a bird.  Once you have placed your trust in Jesus’ work on the cross, through faith, you can only be a new creation.

Prayer: Father, give us your eyes to see ourselves and others who are in Christ as the new creations we are.

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Martha has been a wife for 17 years and is the mother of three children ages 10, 9 and 5.  When she’s not folding laundry, cooking meals, helping with homework, kissing boo-boos, grocery shopping, cleaning house and running errands; she loves to hold babies at Immanuel MOPS!

 

 

Be Challenged:

  • Do you struggle to see yourself as a new creation because of who you were?  If so, bring those things to God as you pray the above prayer.
  • Is there someone in your life who you struggle to see as a new creation in Christ because you are blinded by their shortcomings? Romans 3:23 reminds us that we have all sinned and fallen short.  That person you see is just like you, a sinner saved by grace.  Think of them and call their name as you pray the above prayer.