The Monday After: Healing Grace {Sheryll}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave church inspired by and filled with  Truth, encouragement and passion on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the day and week, we often lose that Sunday feeling. 

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} is our attempt to carry the Sunday message into Monday mornings by walking together and sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Each Monday, a voice from the pews will give personal perspective to the words we soaked in on Sunday. Because of your generosity, lives are being changed by God’s grace, and we’re able to share these stories with you here!

The Monday After Sunday, April 28, 2013: Healing Grace {Listen HERE}

By Sheryll Belonga

When I was a young girl, I used to play a game where I would pluck the petals from flowers.  The goal of the game was for the last petal remaining to reveal that I was liked by a particular guy.  A silly game, of course, but it revealed where my heart was and who held it.  Sometimes if my fate didn’t  end well with that last petal I would pick another flower and do it all over again hoping the end would result in my favor.  I refused to give up until I got what I was seeking.

Although those days of petal picking are over, we all still struggle with being liked.  We want to know we are accepted.  We allow others to determine our worth and what we are able to do.  And in doing so we’ve allowed others to break us.  Some of those breaks are still present today.

Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”.  Words can hurt deeper than anything physical because they attack our heart.

Pastor Joe’s message spoke to the little girl inside of me that has never stopped longing for acceptance.  She still wants to be liked by everyone because, after all, isn’t it the opinion of others’ that matters most? Acceptance by others means being valued, and if I am valued then I can do anything or so I’ve thought.  As I listened to the message, I was reminded that my way of thinking was all wrong.  We’ve been taught to live only for Christ, but sometimes we forget that.  In his message, Pastor Joe reminded me of what God thinks of me.

I am accepted!  Psalm 27:10 says, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.”  I have heard this verse many times but the meaning of it was missed.  It tells us that even if the ones who brought us into this world, those who should accept us more than anyone, that if they toss us aside, God is there.  God is where my security remains.

I am valuable!  My life was worth someone’s death, and not just anyone – but Jesus.  Now if that doesn’t shout valuable I don’t know what does.

I am capable!  The Bible says that I can do anything through Christ who gives me the strength, but the key is through.  You must go through Him to have strength but first you must know Him.  If you don’t know Him, that is have a relationship with Him, then you have no idea the strength you could possess.  If you have any doubts of your relationship with Christ talk to someone today.

I heard someone once say, “Live for an audience of one”, which means live to please God and God alone.  I must admit that is hard to do when feeling the acceptance of others can be so addictive, but with an addiction comes the desire for more.  I don’t know about you, but constantly chasing that high is a never-ending battle.  Isn’t it good to know that Christ’s acceptance is instant and unconditional?

I know it won’t be easy to change our thinking but we can, it will just take practice.  Pastor Joe gave homework for this week so here it is: everyday tell yourself that you are accepted, valued and capable.  Everyday practice believing what God says and let your belief influence your behavior.

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

The Monday After: When Grace Dances {Sheryll}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

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

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} is our attempt to carry the Sunday message into Monday mornings by walking together and sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Each Monday, a voice from the pews will give personal perspective to the words we soaked in on Sunday. 

So follow along each Monday as we seek to integrate that Truth into our daily lives; And thank you for your generosity. When you give lives are being changed!

The Monday After Sunday, March 31, 2013: When Grace Dances

By Sheryll Belonga

Not many of us have ever been in an actual desert, but take a moment and imagine it with me.  As you read these words let the gift of imagination take you there:

It is the middle of the day when the sun is at its hottest point.  The air is so dry that you feel as if you can hardly breathe.  You hope to find a tree that will at least shade you from the sun beating down upon you even though you can escape the heat that it emits, but there are none to be found.  In your weariness you think you see a glimmer of something in the distance that resembles water, but as you press on toward it you realize that it was only in your mind.  You feel as if you can’t take another step further and you think to yourself, why did I allow myself to enter into this state, this state of desperate need.  You look back over the situation and think of all the ways it could have been avoided, but, alas, you find yourself in a state of emergency.

Have you ever been in that state before?  That place where you finally have to cry out to God and say, “if you don’t help me I can make it.”  You ask Him to fill you with His life giving water and help you go on.  From a physical standpoint your body has a limit on how long it can go without something as simple as water.  In fact, going too long without it can be fatal.

So my question is why.

Why do we live day after day and not reach out for something that is so easily gotten?  Is it because we think we can hold of just a little longer? I know that is how I think sometimes.  But then I wait too long and I end up in that state of emergency, a state I could have easily avoided.

Maybe that isn’t you; maybe you reach daily for that water.  Maybe you make it a point to pray daily.  Maybe what you need is sustenance.  You see, although prayer is an important point of maintaining your spiritual health, time spent in His word provides the nourishment you need for spiritual growth.  It is like milk to a baby.  Milk is so essential that in an infant it is more important that water.  It is the milk that provides a body what it needs to be able to grow.  What they receive on the inside shows on the outside and when they aren’t getting enough it shows also.  When we don’t spend time in the Word daily we are not prepared to face what may come our way.  We are not equipped to handle the things that daily life may bring.  I find myself in both of these places at times and I always look back and think of how it could have been avoided.

The next time you find yourself tempted to go without that daily drink, remember that it will eventually lead you to a state of emergency.

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

The Monday After: The Suffering Servant {Anita}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave church inspired by and filled with  Truth, encouragement and passion on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the day and week, we often lose that Sunday feeling. 

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} is our attempt to carry the Sunday message into Monday mornings by walking together and sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Each Monday, a voice from the pews will give personal perspective to the words we soaked in on Sunday. Because of your generosity, lives are being changed by God’s grace, and we’re able to share these stories with you here!

The Monday After Sunday, March 24, 2013: The Suffering Servant

By Anita Everly

Oppressed.  Afflicted.  Judged.  Cut off.  Stricken.  Suffering.

These are the words used to describe Jesus, our Savior.  Perhaps any of these words from the text of Isaiah 53: 7-9 could describe you right now.  If not, undoubtedly your season in the midst of such circumstances has happened or will soon.

And in the midst of these verses, something struck me: in these three short verses, Isaiah mentioned four times that Jesus was silent.

Silent.

He didn’t defend himself, argue, plead or justify.   He was silent.

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Moreover, he endured.  He accepted, tolerated and lived through the pain of every offense thrown at him.  Both of these reactions go against our culture’s way of reacting and are often hard to understand.

However, in 1 Peter 2:23 we find this:

“When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats.  Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.”

Jesus entrusted himself to God.  He knew God had a plan for all of it and endured precisely because of that!

In our common terms, terms I believe are biblically sound, Jesus knew:  God’s got this!

What about when we’re in a winter of life?  Do we choose to endure knowing God’s got this and He has a plan?  And somehow, out of some of life’s worst heartaches and circumstances, He works all things for our good?

If Christ Himself did nothing wrong yet endured death on a cross for me, He understands.  Surely I can trust God with the dark valleys of my life.  But it takes just that, releasing ourselves into the Hands of the One who can heal.  When we’re in a valley, it may be the last thing we feel like doing, but it’s the answer to us experiencing Him exchanging our ashes for His beauty.

Jeremiah 29:13 says,

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.

This is a rock solid promise that when we seek Him, we will find Him.  He meets us where we are–and with suffering experience.

But as Pastor Joe, said, we have to stop and ponder the things of God.

We cannot fill ourselves with the mess of this world if we expect to be filled with Him.  We have to open His Word, pray without ceasing and be still before him, reflecting and listening.  Those things take intention and time.  The guidance, hope and healing are there, but we have to engage during the enduring.

There is probably no better week than Holy Week to lay it all down at His feet and be silent before Him, entrusting our circumstances and lives to Him, not just the difficult, but all the good, too.  He’s got it all, and we can entrust ourselves to Him in faith that He purposes His plan in us.

What are we willing to sacrifice this week to spend time seeking Him with all our heart?

He’ll meet us where we are and bring the Light.

They say it’s darkest just before dawn.

Hallelujah!  Here comes the Son!

 

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: Encountering the Holy: A New Day

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave church inspired by and filled with Truth, encouragement and passion on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the day, after the music fades and our cars leave the parking lot, pieces of the message tend to fade, too; somewhere along the way, we often lose that Sunday feeling. 

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} is our attempt to carry the Sunday message into Monday mornings by walking together and sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Each Monday, a voice from the pews will give personal perspective to the words we soaked in on Sunday. 

So follow along each Monday as we seek to integrate that Truth into our daily lives; leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

The Monday After Sunday, March 17, 2013: Encountering the Holy: A New Day

By Dawn Kelley

Last year I had the oppertunity to write out my biblical mandate — verses that God has prompted me to live by over the years.
The main verse was Isaiah 61. This one really spoke to my heart, as both a reminder and a conviction that Jesus has invited me to join Him in this amazing journey of flavoring the world with joy. God gives incredible joy!
The verse that spoke most to me was verse 2 which reads,
“He sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the favor of the Lord has come.”
Pastor Joe’s reminder was that this time — the age of grace — will not last forever. There is an urgency in the call to share the gospel!
He has called me to help people to see that Jesus is the comfort they need for mending their broken hearts, and that He has the keys to their jail cells! As Christ followers, we are the salt of the world, and our flavor is joy!
I am in a place where I need to re-evaluate if I am answering that call at this point in my life. I’m finding that as we live our lives re-evaluation is something that we must re-visit often. So my challenge this week is to be intentional in sharing the gospel with others. Perhaps it’s time for you to reevaluate to?
I pray this message is one to which we cling.

Dawn Kelley is the wife of Andrew and the homeschooling mother of four, Jaden, Niya, Makayla and Aiden. She loves to read and write in her spare time, and she currently uses a personal blog to share her adventures in motherhood and womanhood.

The Monday After: God’s Glory, Our Comfort {Marcus}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave church inspired by and filled with  Truth, encouragement and passion on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the day, after the music fades and our cars leave the parking lot, pieces of the message tend to fade, too; somewhere along the way, we often lose that Sunday feeling. 

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} is our attempt to carry the Sunday message into Monday mornings by walking together and sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Each Monday, a voice from the pews will give personal perspective to the words we soaked in on Sunday. 

So follow along each Monday as we seek to integrate that Truth into our daily lives; leave your thoughts in the comments below so we can create conversation and encouragement! 

When you give lives are being changed and stories can be shared! Thank you!

The Monday After: Sunday, March 3, 2013: God’s Glory, Our Comfort

By Marcus Wolfe

Today’s message came from Isaiah 40, which is famous for several of its often-quoted passages.  First, in verses 3-5 we see verses that are repeated in the New Testament when speaking of John the Baptist (Matt 3:3, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4-6). In verse 8, we are reminded of God’s Eternal Word:

“The grass withers and the flowers fade,

but the word of our God stands forever.”(NLT)

And finally one of the most often-cited verses (commonly on posters complete with graphics) verse 31:

“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.”(NLT)

So how are we to take these into our own lives?

We are reminded in these passages that there is Everlasting Comfort, the Everlasting Word and Everlasting Strength.

God’s comfort is available.  Sometimes that comfort comes in personal redemption while other times it is knowing God is in control.  Recently, while reading Scripture, I have been struck by how much this theme comes up (that of the ultimate justice of God) – it’s laced throughout the Gospels and Revelation as well as the Old Testament.

In the end, God is justice and we as believers in a messed up world can take comfort in knowing that God IS in control and in the end He WINS.  Isaiah prophesied this very idea 150 years before the fall of Babylon, even before Judah had been sent into exile — that God’s people could take comfort in knowing He was in control, that He indeed would lead His people and that His Word, although not yet accomplished would come about.

We as 21st Century believers have the benefit of hindsight in seeing indeed God’s Word was true and faithful to Israel.  So how much more should we know that God’s Word is everlasting!  I don’t know about you but to me that in itself is comforting.  Of all the doubt and uncertainty out there, I can trust and rely on God’s Word to be true and faithful.  That does not mean I do not struggle with allowing it to take hold and guide my life, I still resist its claims on my life – that I should simply be able follow the maxim “the Bible tells me so.”

And, finally, I should find strength in the Lord.

“We should not be content to be ground dwellers,” Pastor Joe said. “You have a different calling.”  Am I allowing this promise of strength to encourage me to new heights of trust and obedience, or am I still living a life of repeated days amounting to very little.  Am I living by faith and using my gifts for His kingdom purposes, or am I afraid to step out and be bold?  Do I dream of great purposes, or am I content to allow life to happen, always afraid of where God might take me?  Am I in the game, or am I a spectator?  There is strength in Him if only I am listening for His voice.

That I should take comfort in the Lord and know that His Word is faithful and true and through this be built up and encouraged to do His work and to be His child.  I hope I can allow this cycle of encouragement and comfort to lead me on.

Marcus is married to Jessica and is currently a substitute teacher at Zion Benton Township High School.  They care for any number of guinea pigs (currently two).  In his spare time, Marcus enjoys reading, computer games and shooting.  His ministry passions include working with senior adults and the sick, and growing with other men, as well as helping Jessica with whatever ministries she is involved with at the time.