Let Go of That Attitude of Entitlement

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd…(Acts 2:14).

One of Matthias’s first days on duty as one of the 12 disciples was on the day of Pentecost. My goodness, what an exciting day that must have been for him! I can only imagine how privileged he felt to be a part of that number as he stood with the rest of the disciples as Peter addressed the crowd.
 
Something changes inside of you when someone gives you a chance. Matthias was given an opportunity he probably never dreamed was possible, but because of His faithfulness to follow Jesus, He was chosen by God to take the place of Judas Iscariot. Let me tell you when you’ve had to play the background for a while, it is very humbling when you are finally chosen.
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Maybe some of the other disciples had wrestled with similar issues as mine, issues of entitlement. Since all the other disciples had been one of the chosen disciples for all of Jesus’ ministry its quite possible that some of them carried that title with a bit of self-righteous pride, but not Matthias. I believe Matthias was so humbled by the opportunity to become one of the 12 that he viewed his role with a true attitude of gratitude.
 
I can say that because I’m living it now in my own life. When you get overlooked and others are chosen it humbles you, but when God finally calls you up and calls you out it is immensely humbling. Now, instead of believing I deserved this all along, my heart is immensely thankful to the Lord.
 
Maybe God hasn’t called you up yet because He’s waiting for you to repent of that attitude entitlement that you have that says, “I deserve this.” Until we change our hearts and minds and believe instead that I deserve nothing and everything is a gift from God, we will not quite be ready to be called up and called out.
 
Some of us may think, why in the world does that person get to be chosen but I’m not. I’m sure many and maybe even Matthias thought that about Judas. LIttle did Matthias know that God’s long term plan involving him. Yes, him, to take the place of Judas.
 
Some of us want so badly to take the place of others before it’s our turn, so we grow bitter resentful hearts towards them instead of simply being faithful to follow, allowing God to call us up and call us out when He best sees fit. Maybe God has a long term plan he’s working out in your life too, but you’re allowing what you believe to be unfair in this present moment hinder you from being faithful to follow.
 
Be encouraged to be like Matthias. Let go of an attitude of entitlement and deal with any thoughts towards another person that might be filled with jealousy or resentment because you want their spot. Let your life be a testimony to the goodness of God. The Lord is looking for more and more people who are simply thankful and faithful to follow no matter where He has placed you.
 
Lord, thank you that you are in control. Thank you for your timing. Thank you for growing and changing my heart through a long season of waiting. Honestly, there were parts that I hated, you know that, but I know, in the long run, it humbled me. For that, I am forever grateful, in Jesus name, Amen.

Matthias: A Man Who Was Faithful to Follow Before He Was Chosen

it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us…(Ac 1:21).

Some of us may wonder if we’ll ever be called up by the Lord? It seems, in our limited understanding that others are getting chosen over us and we wonder when it will be our turn to get called up, chosen and called out.
 
After the death of Judas, the disciples knew they needed to fill his role. They decided that the person they would choose to take his place would be someone who had been with them the whole time that Jesus had been ministering. There were two men’s names that came to mind. These men had followed Jesus and His disciples closely. I imagine maybe wondering if they too would ever be invited in to become one of Jesus’ 12 disciples.
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By God’s divine providence Matthias is chosen to replace Judas. I’m sure that day was a day of true elation and celebration for Matthias. I’m not sure if he was the kind of guy who was often overlooked or passed over by others, but on this occasion, because of His faithfulness to follow despite his title or an important role to play, he is chosen.
 
Can I just be really honest? I was put in a similar position of waiting recently in my life and I hated not getting chosen, but something inside of me kept reminding me to be faithful to follow even though I wasn’t the one getting called up and called out. I can understand your frustration when it seems like one more opportunity doesn’t go your way and you’re back in the waiting room once more. Yet, Matthias reminds us to be faithful to follow and as we remain faithful, the Lord, in His timing, will call us up and call us out.
 
You see, the Lord is not looking for people with the strongest titles or greatest amount of prestige. He’s simply looking for those who have continued to follow, play their part in the work they have been given and as they walk in true obedience He gives you more work to do for the Kingdom. But you see, the Lord taught me that before I can become a Peter, I must first be a Matthias. Some of us want all the leadership before we show ourselves to be faithful to follow in the small things.
 
Matthias’s story gives me hope and it also reminds me to stay humble. It reminds me to keep my head low and my obedience in check. The Lord is looking for more Matthias’s to do His kingdom work. Would you be willing to be a little value in the eyes of the world, faithfully follow and submit yourself to Jesus so that He, in His time can raise you up? Matthias followed for three years before He was called by God. Would you be willing to do the same?
 
Lord, let my heart be saturated in your love. I want to be like Matthias who followed in true faithfulness. Because of it, you called him up and called him out. I want to be so faithful to follow even when I receive no prize or accolades, in Jesus name, Amen.

When The Words “I’m a Failure” Ring Louder Than “I’m Redeemed”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”… (John 21:15).

In a stunning scene, Jesus reinstates Peter, communicating a simple yet profound truth that, “I believe in you.”
 
Have you ever been down a road you’d rather forget? Have you ever been so devastated by life or the consequences of a sin or someone else’s sin that you’ve thought, “Surely, this is it for me. There is no more Kingdom work for me to do like I’ve done before. I am a total failure.”
 
I’ve been there, believing those lies. I think it’s because shame was closer to my heart then grace. If we stay in environments long enough where we are surrounded more by shame then grace, the message of “I’m a failure” becomes an easy one to tell ourselves. Until we find freedom from those environments it will be very hard to experience the beauty of God’s grace for our lives.
 
But you see, Peter, on all accounts completely failed Jesus. I mean, He totally dropped the ball as he denies his rabbi three times signifying that he is cutting himself off from Jesus. To deny your rabbi in public three times meant that you wanted nothing to do with them and that you were disassociating yourself from them. This is why it’s so beautiful that Jesus comes to Peter and gives Him a second chance.
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Maybe you’ve made a few mistakes along the way and you wonder how Jesus could love someone as sinful as you. I wonder that often. Yet, Jesus, in all of HIs grace says to Peter, “I believe in you.” Isn’t this a wonderful truth? That no matter what journey we’ve walked. No matter how hard it has been, there awaits a Savior who comes to us to remind us that, “I believe in you.” Peter repents, and turns away from HIs sinful decision made out of fear and Jesus gives Him even greater Kingdom work to do than before.
 
Don’t believe the lie that your life is over. That you’ve disappointed God and that He’s completely done with you. There is grace for sinners like you and me and God will use those who humble themselves and admit their own weaknesses and failings. There are no perfect people. There are messy people who have been redeemed, who are climbing their way, stumbling towards victory.
 
Lord, I am amazed at how you love sinners. You take our lives and in our humility and repentance, you restore and redeem. That’s just the kind of God you are. Thank you, Father, for loving me, a sinner and for seeing me first as your child. I love you, in Jesus name, Amen.

The One Who Jesus Loved

So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved….(John 20:2).

John understood something about his identity. He affectionately refers to himself as, “the one whom Jesus loved.” We might think at first glance this feels a bit precocious, but John embraced and believed something that is true for all of Christ’s followers. Truly, we are, at the core of our being, “the one whom Jesus loves.”
 
If we understand this foundational truth we won’t feel the need to soothe our anxious hearts with a successful life and the praise of man. If we truly embrace our worth in Christ, we will find our heads and our hearts resting often in His bosom as we wait with Him in the stillness of His love.
 
When I first became a Christian I had many misplaced identities that the Lord had to help me sift through. For many years I thought His love for me was based upon my performance for Him. I thought if I had something to show for Him then I had more value, but what I have come to learn is that my greatest value is not in what I do, but in simply being HIs child.
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The greatest story my life will tell is not of all I’ve done, but in the person who loves me. Yes, He is my greatest joy and finest treasure. If my identity is wrapped up in His love for me then I can have confidence in knowing that He is the rock I place my life upon. With a strong, steady, firm foundation, rooted in HIs love, my life becomes a beacon of hope that draws people into the glory of God, not because of what I do, but because of the Father’s love that is working in and through me.
 
Abba, pappa, daddy, I am loved by you. Therefore, I don’t need success or the praise of man. I just need more of your love for me. Yes Lord, let it be what guides my life. Let it be the joy that springs from my heart. Yes Lord, let your love radiate in me for the world to see, in Jesus name, Amen.

When Your Fears Are Challenged

If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar… (John 19:12).

The Jewish leaders used fear to become powerful people. Fear was their weapon as they allowed evil to rule their hearts and minds. You see, whenever a heart grows hard to the goodness of God, it will always be led by evil intentions.
 
The Jewish leaders could never quite see who Jesus was, because in their own hearts, I believe, they really wanted to be King. If pride is your friend and fear is your weapon, then you’re going to hurt people. People who are loved by God and are simply trying to follow after Him.
 
Pilate was a man who lived in fear and the Jewish leaders knew it, so they pressed buttons in Pilate that would send him into a place of internal panic. Maybe you’ve been there too. I know I have when my greatest fears are challenged and I now have a choice to make. Will I enter into a state of panic, or will I quiet myself before the Lord?
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Since the Jewish leader’s hearts had grown hard, the only thing they could hear was evil. At the root of every hard heart is a wrong belief about God. Beliefs like, “God isn’t good if….” “God must not love me because”….. “I can’t ever trust God with this”…. or “God is mean and unfair”….Until we soften our hearts and repent of our wrong belief our hearts will continue to grow hard. I have seen my own heart grow hard towards God. A number of years ago, I allowed my heart to grow hard in my singleness and I made foolish decisions because of it.
 
After I repented I was able to start walking in freedom, but it honestly took me a long time to get there, because the Lord allowed me to fall in my own pride and wrong belief about Him. Once I hit the bottom I was able to see how wrong I had been.
 
Don’t be surprised if you’re bombarded by the enemy with lies when you start pursuing your freedom. Face your fears and walk forward with confidence knowing that ultimately, God is in control and you can trust Him with every single step along your journey. God’s goal is to set you free from fear, but you’ve got to be willing to take scary steps of faith towards your freedom, in Jesus name.
 
Lord, I don’t want to be like Pilate who allowed fear to control him. I want to be like Jesus, who looked fear in the face and kept walking forward in your grace. Lord, I know that you can use my life, even when I am afraid. Even when I stumble and fall you pick me back up again. Thank you, God, for loving me in that. way. Thank you for picking me up, in Jesus name, Amen.

He Binds Up and Heals

he will bind up our wounds… (Hosea 6:1).

If you have ever been hurt, please know, there is a healer. If you have ever been rejected, abandoned, abused or mistreated, please rest assured that the Lord Jesus is fully able to bind up your wounds.
 
It just may take some time. His healing rarely comes and makes everything right in one fail swoop. It comes over time as each layer is peeled back like an onion. As I give Jesus more of my heart, my hurts and my fears, He brings forth HIs healing light to the parts of my life that need a touch of His love.
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You know, there’s something about Jesus that I just can’t shake. The thought of His love is overwhelming. It’s just sometimes I forget how powerful He is and how able He is to take our wounds and heal with the power of His love.
 
There are some wounds I’m asking Him to go deeper into so that I might experience the fullness of His love. Truly, this is what I need more than answers or a quick fix. I need His restorative love and power. I need His healing and His mercy for each new day. I need that constant reminder that although life can turn painful and difficult corners, I can always go and find my Heavenly Father who is able to receive me into His healing arms of love.
 
Lord, I choose to walk in your healing power for my life today. Thank you Holy Father for setting me free. Thank you for being a safe place for me to land when life falls apart. Thank you for being my joy, delight, and hope in this world. Continue to cover me in your grace, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Jesus Loved Those Who Betrayed Him Too….

This is my command: Love each other…. (John 15:17).

Loving others when they love you back is simple. The thing is, Jesus loved those who betrayed Him too. Can I just be really honest? That’s a hard one for me to live out. It’s not that I don’t want to love them, it’s just so much harder for me to do. My natural tendency is to just try and forget about it and honestly that’s almost impossible to do. I’ve noticed “just trying to forget about it” doesn’t take the pain away. It just continues to bubble on the surface.
 
But what do we do when we’ve been betrayed, rejected, forgotten and abused? It seems as though the answer, at least with Jesus, is always love. Now, this doesn’t mean that we invite them back into our life if they continue to act in destructive ways towards us, but it simply means that we do not allow our hearts to grow hard towards that person. It means we don’t allow things like bitterness, and unrighteous anger to burn towards them on a daily basis.
 
The church is so divided over this because instead of love, we judge. Instead of love, we hurt, betray and mistreat others within the body of Christ. Why? Because our own lives have not been captured by Jesus’ simple command to love one another.
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Our driving force within the church can quickly become fear, control, and power. If this is the ship we find ourselves to be the captain of there’s no telling what we will do to protect ourselves.
 
You know what’s easy for me to do? Look at the hurt others have caused me and forget that I’ve hurt others too. You know what this causes me to ask myself? Heather, how would you want someone else to treat you if you hurt them? Well, I would want them to pray for me. I would want them to ask God to grow my heart in love. If I have sinned against them, I hope they would come to me and tell me so that I could make it right.
 
Maybe love doesn’t get practiced very much in the church because we’d rather use tools that are easier to pick up. Tools that tear town. Tools like gossip, rage, bitterness, and revenge. One of the most loving and unifying things we can do in the church is restore things that have been demolished by sin.
 
We love to do it with old furniture and cars, but we hate practicing it in real life with people. Yet, this is where Jesus’ simple command to love one another becomes most real. This is where we must practice it for the sake of our own growth and for the betterment of the body of Christ.
 
Lord, I come to you with a heart that really just wants to love others. I know that I do not do this perfectly, and so I need your Holy Spirit alive in me to help me accomplish it. Abba, please, fill my heart for those who have hurt me with your love, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.