Would you like to serve? There are many opportunities to Volunteer. Check Where You're Needed

Pastor Shannon and Kristen's Blog

Check here for weekly updated blogs from Pastor Shannon and Kristen

Dealing with Guilt

Guilt is the feeling we get after we sin—it’s the result, the bi-product of our sinful nature. It can lead in either of two directions—heartfelt repentance or heart-wrenching condemnation. 


Guilt can either destroy us in the end or bring us into right standing with God. 


God himself promises He’ll never abandon us —but our sin can cut us off from Him if we allow it to and build a wall that leaves us lonely and afraid. 


Isaiah 59:2 says, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”


The only way we can be restored to Him and rid ourselves of guilt is to confess our sin and give our heart back to Him. We have to deny our desire to wallow in our guilt and find the strength to seek God’s face. 


1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 


Even when we are faithless, God is faithful. His very nature is to forgive, if we’re willing to repent.  


A great example of this repentance is David. Remember in the Bible when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and killed her husband so he could marry her? 


David realized the hurt he had caused and asked God for forgiveness. He felt the shame of sin and did all he could to make things right with Him. 


David couldn’t stand the thought of being separated from His Lord, so he cried out to Him. God heard his cries and He forgave Him.  God had mercy on him even though he had sinned in His eyes.


The same is true with us. He is faithful to forgive our sins no matter what they are.


David’s life shows there’s no sin too great that you can’t be forgiven. All you have to do is humble yourself and willingly ask for His mercy. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done—God’s grace is ever-lasting and His desire is to heal your heart and bring you salvation. 


Does that mean you won’t have to deal with the consequences of sin? No, even David had to watch as his son die because of his disobedience. 


But, neither sin nor guilt can have the final word in your life. God is waiting to restore you to Him. He wants to forgive your sins and lead you into His presence where His mercy lives and breathes. 


That’s precisely the reason He sent His son Jesus, for a final pardon of sin that allows us to live with our Father forever and ever. He wants us to receive the gift of forgiveness, but we have to be willing to receive it. We have to take the necessary steps of faith. 


What are those steps?


  • First, give your guilt to Him through confessing it. Holding on to your sin and guilt will do nothing but eat away at you and make it harder and harder to draw near to God. By releasing it to Him, you’re making a willing choice to receive His grace.

 

  • Allow God to replace your feelings of guilt with His everlasting joy. This will take a determined effort on your part to let God in and do a little heart surgery. He wants to rid you of your guilt and give you a joy that will empower you to live instead forcing you into a hole. Give the guilt to Him, and see how He can turn your life around.


Pray this prayer: Gracious Heavenly Father, sometimes I feel tormented by the guilt of past sins. Today, I’m confessing these sins to you and releasing my guilt. It’s now covered by the blood of Jesus, never to be picked up again. Thank you for your life-giving mercy that you give so freely and the way of salvation provided by Jesus. You are my Lord and Savior and I love you.  Thank you for your freedom. Amen. 

 


How Content Are You?

Everyone wants to find fulfillment. That goes without saying. The trouble is, many will never find it because they’re continually striving and looking for it in the wrong places. 


The true essence of fulfillment is not in wealth or fame or any other place we look. It’s in obeying God and serving Him. 


The foundation of our fulfillment is being in a right relationship with God and continually seeking His face. But, to fully experience that fulfillment, we must learn to be content.


As Job 36:11 says, “If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment.”


It’s a promise we can bank on, but only when and if we give our lives completely and passionately over to Him. 


The Apostle Paul is a good example of this. He was content because he had a passion for God’s purposes for his life and fulfilling His plan. His all consuming desire was to do the work of the Father and this drove him to spread the message of Jesus everywhere he went. 


Paul was not driven to acquire wealth for himself or to chase after any of the trappings of this world. His desire was to do the will of God and to be content with the few possessions he had. 


As Philippians 4:10-20 says,  

I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. 


Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. 


To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 



Remember, it’s when we feel an emptiness in our heart that we feel compelled to chase after the wrong things of this world. Riches, fame, prestige. They’re all just substitutes for what we’re yearning for with God. 


Striving after them will always get in the way of our contentment and living a life worthy of the gospel.


True contentment comes when we allow God to fill our needs and to bring us peace. Experiencing God as the true source of our happiness will cause everything else to drift away, like a fog from our eyes, so we can see the truth clearly.  


He is the only thing that can satisfy us. He alone is our answer.


Pray this prayer: Heavenly Father, I know I can only find happiness through you. You are my source and not any earthly possession I seek. Help me to find contentment in living a life that’s pleasing to you. I know how distracted I can get when I focus on the wrong things. Your goodness and love are the only things I seek. Help me to focus my heart so that I can experience more of you. I love you, Lord. Let me shine your life where ever I live. Amen.



Losing Your Job

If you’ve just recently lost your job, I want to encourage you with something that may not seem earth-shattering, but it’s an eternal truth that has a mountain of power in it—if you’ll just meditate and think about it.


God’s purposes for you are to prosper you and lead you to a hope for the future. I don’t say that lightly for I believe it firmly in my heart. We serve a good God and He sees you as His child he wants to bless and give favor to. 


Just read Jeremiah 29:10-14 and see what God promises for you:


This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile." 


Notice here that God has given us a promise that He intends on keeping because He is faithful and loves us more than we could ever know. He promises hope and a time of blessing that will lead us out of exile (our time of trouble) and into the purposes of His heart. 


You may feel lost today because of a job loss and exiled from the life you once knew. But, you can feel content knowing God is with you and not against you. He sees your need and knows what you’re going through even in the toughest moments of your life. 


The key to overcoming the sorrows of this season is to remain content regardless of your situation. We have to remain steadfast in anticipation of what He can do while always giving Him praise for who He is. 


Remember, no matter the circumstance, His mighty hand will uphold you and His life-giving grace will never cease to give you strength. 

As Philippians 4:10-14 says, I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. 


Pray this prayer: Dear Lord, you are my abiding strength in my time of need. I know I’m not dependent on my job for provision; you are my source. I will forever believe the promises you have given and the plans you have for me to prosper me and not to harm me. Thank you that I have your assurances in my heart and that with it, I can face anything. I love you. Amen.