Message From Matt – April 3

“Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.” – Psalm 41:9
“For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.  We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.” – Psalm 55:12-14
David was a man that obviously knew what it was like to be betrayed!  It seems that he must have been betrayed by a friend more than once and we also know that he was hated by his son Absalom, which devastated him.  Betrayal by a friend or a family member is said to be one of the hardest emotions to overcome because of the closeness and trust that we have with them.  This type of pain might be the most difficult pain to overcome.  But in this, David was not alone!
Joseph was envied and hated by his brothers and would eventually be sold into slavery for 20 pieces of silver.  Jesus was betrayed by Judas and delivered into the hands of the Pharisees for 30 pieces of silver.  Both of these men were hated, lied about, imprisoned, and sold for money, but both handled it with grace!  
Joseph prospered because he chose to not let betrayal and suffering take his focus off of God.  He chose to always do what was right,  no matter what his surrounding were.  When he was a slave, he worked hard and was blessed!  When he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife, he resisted and ran!  When he was sent to prison, he had favor with the keeper of the prison!  When he was forgotten by the butler, it didn’t change his character.  He chose to always honor God and God honored him!
Jesus was betrayed with a kiss.  This type of kiss is still known in many cultures as a sign of love and compassion. A sign of being a close friend or family member.  This type of kiss is usually only given by someone you trust and Judas used his closeness to betray Jesus into the Pharisee’s hands.  Of course, Jesus already predicted that this would happen and it was necessary to fulfill prophecy, but I still wonder what Jesus felt when Judas placed the kiss on His cheek.
Maybe you have been betrayed by a family member or close friend before.   It was probably one of the worst feelings that you have experienced and you never want to go through that again.  Let me give you some things to do in response…
1. Keep your eyes on God always!  He never fails or betrays us!  
2. Don’t let bitterness take root in your heart!  It will destroy you, not the person that you have been offended by!
3. Choose to forgive!  This doesn’t mean that you will forget, but it is choosing to not hold the offense against the one that offended you.
4. Look to restore the relationship!  It might take a long time to trust again but look for ways to restart the relationship.  
Life is fragile and it is short!  Do your best to not let the hurts from the past determine your present actions!
Here’s an oldie, but still true – Always choose to be better, not bitter!

Message From Matt – March 27

You are not alone!
“Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?  Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:31-33
We all have times that we feel alone!  Even if we are popular with others and surrounded by friends, the feeling of loneliness can creep up on us and can lead to depressive thoughts.   And then there are  times when you are actually all alone.  Times when no one seems to be there for you!  When those times come you might think, “maybe they are too busy…they have their own lives (families, career, etc…) to take care of.”  But whatever the reason, you can still feel abandoned.  
Is this what Jesus felt?  Abandoned?  
As Jesus was close to the time of His betrayal in the garden, He told His disciples that they would be scattered from Him (John 16:31-33).  He prophesied that they would all leave Him…they would all be offended at Him.  Even though Peter spoke up and said that he wouldn’t be offended at Him, (Matthew 26:33) he was!  As Jesus had said, they all left Him! 
But, Jesus was not alone!  Jesus reminded the disciples that even though all would leave Him, the Father would never leave Him!  This is a great truth to constantly be reminded of.   No matter what is happening in your life, God is always there for you!  He will never leave you! 
This reminds me of a familiar verse that I quote often, Hebrews 13:5, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
So, no matter how lonely you might feel today, always remember that God is with you and having God with you has awesome benefits! According to Jesus, knowing that you are not alone can give you peace and reminds you that you are an overcomer because of Christ!  Peace and victory!  What a great combination!  
Thank God that He never leaves you alone!

Message From Matt – March 20

Don’t forget to think about God!

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” – Ephesians 3:20

Maybe this shouldn’t be called the Message from Matt this week because half of it is someone else’s work, but a devotional was sent to me containing the story below that I wanted to share. It is a good picture of God’s power that is in us that encouraged me and I believe that it will encourage you. It reads…

“When Mary Slessor heard that David Livingstone had died in Africa, she was convinced that God’s call was for her to become a missionary. Though it was rare for a single woman to be approved as a missionary, she sailed for Nigeria in 1876. Her work there bore great fruit. In addition to helping spread the gospel, she helped put an end to the practice of killing twins at birth because of the local belief that they were a curse. After a few years on the field, she was visited by friends from Scotland who expressed amazement at what she had been able to accomplish in the face of such great obstacles. One of the native chiefs who had been converted said, “You have clearly forgotten to think of the woman’s God.”

Though we are to be diligent in our labor for the Lord, we must never forget that it is not our strength, wisdom, and effort that bring the results. Paul wrote, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6). Remembering how dependent we are on God’s power to make our work have meaning, value, and results helps keep us from yielding to the sin of pride. The praise and glory and honor must go to Him alone, because it is He alone who makes the work that we do fruitful. Only when we work in God’s power, will we see the results that only He can produce in our lives.” (From Paul Chappell)

I love the chief’s response…”You have clearly forgotten to think of the woman’s God.”!!! Can that thought be said of you? Do we forget what God has done and what He can do for us? Just looking at Jesus’ life, we see what He has done! We know that He created the world! He also healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and mobility to the handicapped. At salvation, we have new and eternal life! We have redemption from the life of bondage to sin and we have been given the Holy Spirit to seal us forever with Him.

Let’s not forget what God can do for us! He is capable of doing great things in your life! He is able to work through the problems that you might be having in your marriage, your family, or your job and do what some say is impossible! Because God is all-powerful!!