The Monday After: The “S” Word (Anita)

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the week, pieces of the message tend to fade and we often lose that Sunday feeling.

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} carries the Sunday message into Monday mornings by sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Because of your generosity to Accelerate, we are able to share these stories! Thank you!

The Monday After Sunday, July 20, 2014: The “S” Word {Listen Here}

By Anita Everly

How many times have we willingly walked right into sin?
We know it’s not right, but we chose it.  “I don’t care. Just this one time. Okay, this is the last time.”
As Pastor Joe pointed out at its Biblical root, sin is a deliberate refusal to submit and outright rebellion to God.  He also mentioned it was active opposition to God.
That doesn’t make sin sound so seductive anymore.
Yet, it’s far too difficult to say, “I won’t do it anymore” and really follow through.
Sin and God cannot coexist, so we must become filled and saturated with God.
First, we must confess our sin to God. 1 John 1:9 says,
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
What a gift!  He will forgive us and purify us from our sins. Rather than being suffocated by the guilt and shame, He promises restoration. With that guarantee, we can begin to climb out of the pit to see the hope He has for us. Darkness has no power over us when we place it all in the hands of God in whom there is no darkness.” (1 John 1:5)
When the temptation to sin rears its ugly head, we must turn away and flee in the other direction. Sin does not play nice, and it requires a full-on assault.
We continue combating sin through the power of the Word of God. It is called the sword for a reason. It does battle.  Hebrews 4:12 says,
“For the Word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
God’s Word hidden in our heart, written on note cards, emblazoned on our mirrors — whatever it takes to be in the Word — is the key to demolishing the strongholds of sin.
In addition to confession and God’s Word, we must pray.  Jesus said to his disciples on the Mount of Olives, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.”  (Luke 22:40)
We have to be proactive and prepared for the devil who prowls looking for someone to devour.
When we belong to Christ, we have the Holy Spirit living inside us enabling us to conquer our sin. Galatians 5:16 promises,
“So I say, live the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”
Jesus has already won the victory and taken the punishment for our sins and left us with the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.  I heard it once said that we don’t work for victory over our sins, but we work from victory. Christ has already won.
It’s crazy, but the sin that can most easily destroy and separate us from God, when given over to Him in complete surrender, can be the very thing that brings us closer to Him in ways we could never imagine.
When we are filled with God’s Word, prayer, the Holy Spirit, there is no room for Satan, his lies, or his temptations.
Remember, the battle is already won; let’s live like it.

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.

The Monday After: The Humble Path to Happiness (Anita)

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the week, pieces of the message tend to fade and we often lose that Sunday feeling.

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} carries the Sunday message into Monday mornings by sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Because of your generosity to Accelerate, we are able to share these stories! Thank you!

The Monday After Sunday, June 22, 2014: The Humble Path to Happiness {Listen Here}

By Anita Everly

In a culture where we toot our own horns, speak our minds and announce our status updates multiple times a day, it’s hard to imagine not doing any of that and instead look for ways to build up others.
Chances are most of us are thinking way too much about ourselves and not enough about others.
It’s embarrassing to be so very far from following His example of humility: Jesus was fully God and He also surrendered those rights to come down to earth and serve.
I’m feeling challenged to empty myself of me, be filled more with Him and pour out more onto others.
Jesus said, “I am gentle and humble of heart.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Pastor Joe pointed out that this means we must be unselfish with our time, possessions, energy and money. While it’s easy to think, “I’m not selfish with these things,” a better evaluation might be, “How generous am I?” For me, that makes a difference. I have some grasping and grabbing and hoarding to let go of. Humble hearts are best friends with open hands.
In addition, I can’t seem to shake the challenge to look for the positive in others and make it a habit to verbally point that out to them, especially the person we find it hardest to esteem.
Given enough time to really listen to that “difficult” person we find that there are reasons for most people’s hard hearts, unyielding spirits or just plain negativity. If we look at them through the lens of Christ we are able to gain compassion and look deeper to see the good that resides and bring that to the surface with our words of affirmation.
Whether a person thinks too much of himself or too little, everyone needs to hear life giving words. To be a servant of sharing God’s grace and love by humbling ourselves to lift up others is truly a walk on holy ground.
And in the upside down ways of the Kingdom, our lifting others up will likely result in our own hearts being more filled with goodness and joy than they ever could be by focusing on ourselves.
So do you need more of you to show more of Christ?
Lay low this week.  That’s just where things start to look up … for me, for you and for others.

 

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.

The Monday After: The Strange Embraces of Jesus (Anita)

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the week, pieces of the message tend to fade and we often lose that Sunday feeling.

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} carries the Sunday message into Monday mornings by sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Because of your generosity to Accelerate, we are able to share these stories! Thank you!

The Monday After Sunday, May 18, 2014: The Strange Embraces of Jesus {Listen Here}

By Anita Everly

I decided to take Pastor Josh up on his triple dog dare and came home from church to fill five Dixie cups, one for each member of our family. As he encouraged, these full cups are to represent the Living Water of Christ we are to intentionally “pour out” onto those we interact with each day, more fully embracing those outside of our comfort zones in the same way Christ did.

I thought, “Piece of cake!” I’ve already been convicted over the last few years that those weekly trips to Walmart were an opportunity where I could shine the light of Christ. I could offer a smiling face to my cashier after standing in line for minutes on end. No one is cheerful after standing in line at Walmart; that would be noticeably different.

Or the guy at the bank. He’s a nice kid and I’m there every 1st and 15th of each month with my Dave Ramsey-like cash withdrawal. He knows me by name now! Slam dunk.

Pouring out more Living Water all week long, not a problem.

Then, I thought of the verse: “The second [greatest commandment] is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Mark 12:31

The second greatest commandment. Loving my neighbor. Something I often find hard to do.

He knew some of our neighbors would present challenges, or that we’d just rather not take the time to invest in them. But yet, He commanded us to love our neighbors, often the very opposite of what our self-centered culture would rather do.

Loving that neighbor who squabbles over the property line. Or the one who mows his lawn just when you sit down to dinner on the deck. Loving the neighbor with the kids she never watches. Or the one who really does want to Rock and Roll All Night and party everyday.

Yes, those. All of them. We are commanded to love them.

But, you see, it’s more than the literal neighbor, too. It’s also the gossipy co-worker you see everyday who you’d rather dodge. The boss who undermines you and takes credit for your accomplishments. The manager who says your work is never enough and never any good either. We are commanded to love them, too.

And what about that sister who said what she did at Christmas and you’ve let it steep in bitterness and distance? Or the brother who refuses to help your aging mother? Yes, we are commanded to love them.

That’s all a bit harder. Getting out of my comfort zone will actually mean pouring out the love of Christ to people I cannot easily leave. It’s the ones I see daily, share space with, and to whom I’m bound by blood.

But it’s also in those relationships where, if I’m willing, I can show my weaknesses, be vulnerable and authentic with others. It’s with these people where I can lay down my pride and put on patience and love to show that my life is different because of the change that Christ has made in my life.

Sometimes sharing God’s love is hard. And often, it’s not so much about what others need to have as it is what I need to give.

People like the Samaritan woman cannot be filled up with the Living Water of Christ if we are not willing to go beyond what we would normally do to share this amazing Love.

It means extraordinary love in the most ordinary places.

Let’s tip the buckets of Living Water everyday and see what happens.

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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.

The Monday After: The Resurrection Changes Everything {Anita}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the week, pieces of the message tend to fade and we often lose that Sunday feeling.

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} carries the Sunday message into Monday mornings by sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Because of your generosity to Accelerate, we are able to share these stories! Thank you!

The Monday After Sunday, April 20, 2014: The Resurrection Changes Everything. {Listen HERE)

By Anita Everly

My aisle seat in the solemn sanctuary was stilled in pitch black when the spotlight burst on, not on stage, but beside me.  Eyes blinked, adjusting to the harsh brightness from behind.

My 15-year-old ears could barely take in the accompanying auditory overload. Whips snapping against the floor, following seconds behind by the screams of the young men in Roman garb. They were relentless giants and my body flinched at every crack of the whip and shout of their callous mouths.

My head sternly forward, I was strengthening for the moment they passed by my peripheral, but they were not the first thing I saw.

The tip of the old rugged cross slowly came into sight with Jesus heaving underneath the weight, his crown of thorns jolting back with each strike on his already bloodied and bruised back. The exhale of his breath met the tears that flowed hot from my eyes and the rear Roman soldier’s sash hit my shoulder as he lifted his arm towering above my head to bring down another blow.

That was the day the crucifixion became more than a cross for me. The day His love for me penetrated my life with the gravity of what He endured because of me.

I realized just this holy week that while I have lived as if my sins were forgiven and Christ died to pay the price, I have continued to carry around the consequences, my guilt and shame.

While the Word and preachers have made it clear that Jesus took away my sins, the guilt and shame associated with these, I have compartmentalized and allowed them to linger in my heart. Though I’ve sung “Jesus paid it all,” I fail to live in the truth of “all.”

We are all plagued by the sins of our humanness daily. More than likely, just like Lisa who shared her beautiful story, you have tried to “get clean” too. Whether we battle addiction, deception, pride, laziness, self-sufficiency or unashamedly revel in our sins, we all need to get clean.

And I couldn’t have loved Lisa’s words more: “I had stopped using drugs, but I had not allowed myself to start healing because I was trying to heal myself. And that’s not the way it works.  It works by accepting that Jesus Christ died not just for all of us, but for me.  And I felt all the stains washed from me.”

girl-field-of-yellow-flowersWhether it’s our fresh belief or a seasoned faith that needs to take hold and run full into His freedom and grace, we need to yield to His resurrection power and let him do the work we were never intended to do.

We were never meant to carry these sins or their guilt and shame. They were crucified on the cross and buried with Him.   And on the third day He arose. The words of the Scriptures and prophets were fulfilled as all darkness of Friday was defeated by the King of kings, our Sunday King.

None before or since has unleashed such power.

When we move toward being Sunday’s child, we live in a hope that is eternal and rest in His power, instead of fight in our own.

It is in Sunday that we can truly know the truth that by His stripes we are healed—of all.

It’s the Monday after.

Are you living in Friday or Sunday today?

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.

 

The Monday After: Integrating God’s Word into Our Lives {Anita}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the week, pieces of the message tend to fade and we often lose that Sunday feeling.

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} carries the Sunday message into Monday mornings by sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Because of your generosity to Accelerate, we are able to share these stories! Thank you!

The Monday After Sunday, March 16, 2013: Integrating God’s Word into Our Lives

By Anita Everly

Perhaps you’ve heard of a few little movies by the names of Braveheart, Pearl HarborThe Man in the Iron Mask and Secreatriat?
Randall Wallace is the screenwriter for the award winning Braveheart, the story of William Wallace and his struggle to lead Scotland to political freedom.
A friend of mine had the opportunity to hear Randall Wallace speak at a conference recently.  Do you know what his big secret was to becoming a great writer?
Doing it.
Yes, that’s it.
He mentioned that he prepares to write the night before. He lays out his clothes, gets his coffee ready to hit brew and prays for the morning ahead—the night before. And when morning comes, he slides into his clothes, brews the coffee, prays again and starts writing. And writes every single day. Even if there are no words, he writes: nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing over and over. Soon the words and captivating stories come alive again through his fingertips. He has learned the art of integrating writing into his everyday life by preparation and execution.
In 40 Days in the Word, Rick Warren suggests the same thing for Bible reading. Preparing the night before: getting to bed earlier, laying out our Bibles and whatever materials we need, and opening it all up to be ready to slip into our time with God. I think he even mentioned getting the coffee ready, too.  {Thank you, Rick and Randall.}
If you are struggling with getting into God’s Word, this is something that might help tremendously. My quiet times had been inconsistent and good attempts to get them done later in the day did not happen many days. Rick Warren mentioned this so I tried it the next day, and it’s worked wonderfully well since. It’s pretty hard to go all day ignoring, forgetting or being interrupted in our attempt to read the Bible when it’s all opened up and ready to go.
If your days are easily interrupted by events or even precious people in the hours before dawn or work begins, this might be of help. Or maybe it’s taking your Bible and devotionals to work to do at lunch. Or setting it up on your bed in the morning to do right before you go to sleep. Whatever suits your learning and lifestyle.
Whatever will work, we just need to do it.
And just like Randall Wallace with his writing, there may be days we read and don’t hear a lot from the Lord. But if we keep at it, it doesn’t take long for us to recognize what God wants for us right where we are and with exactly what we need. His Words to us come.
Even if you are a pro at consistent quiet times and the actual doing it is not an issue, perhaps going into deeper study, journaling more, praying more deeply, listening to God or memorizing scripture can be areas where preparing ahead can provide more fruitful accomplishment in integrating God and His Word into our lives.
As far as God’s Word goes, we cannot build our lives on it, feed on it, live by it, grow through it, act on it or trust in it if we don’t read it.
When we prepare and execute a plan for being in His Word, He is faithful and quick to permeate us with His truths.
And that is the ultimate freedom!

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.