The Local Vineyard Church Podcast

Blessed Are the Persecuted

August 13, 2023 The Local
The Local Vineyard Church Podcast
Blessed Are the Persecuted
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Are your relationships leaving you feeling drained, overlooked, or pained? What if it were possible to choose joy and peace instead, even in the face of hurt and betrayal? As we delve into the teachings of Jesus, we uncover a different way to handle our most difficult relationships. 

This week we tackle a tough yet essential topic: finding joy amidst relational upheaval. We discuss how Jesus instructs us to bless those who have wronged us, and rejoice when we are ill-treated, a concept that certainly challenges conventional wisdom. We also shed light on the freedom that comes from overcoming offenses and betrayal, with the help of four insightful principles and bible verses that offer comfort and guidance. 

Taking it a step further, we venture into the powerful dynamics of empathy and forgiveness. By following Jesus' compassionate example, we learn to respond with understanding instead of reacting in anger. Hear the inspiring story of a teenager who chose forgiveness over bitterness even when faced with unspeakable trauma, and learn how choosing forgiveness can set you free. Join us as we embark together on this transformative journey to reframe our relationships.

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Speaker 1:

I'm so glad you're here with us today. I want you to know that this week I've been praying for you all week long and I'm just so thankful that you're here with us today. I have a goal in mind. Could I be upfront with my goal in mind today? My goal in mind is to drink some of this delicious cucumber lemon water. Oh you got me the plain water Dang. I don't got no luck today. No, no, here you go. My goal for today is to add value to your life. That's my goal. I want to add value to your life, no matter what's going on in your life. That is my hope. To add value to your life. Okay, today we conclude our summer long old school Bible study called the Beat Attitudes, where we've been looking at nine counter cultural values that Jesus taught before his most famous message to sermon on the Mount, and these values have been challenging. They've been very challenging in the sense of they've been. They go against our natural response to things. They go against how we naturally view things, and each of these Beat Attitudes they start with the word bless. Now, bless is also where we find the word happy, but not happy in the sense of unhappy when this happens, and I'm not happy when that does not happen, in the sense of an internal thing, something deep in our hearts. A better word for it is joy, and joy is a soul condition. It's a soul condition. What do I mean by that? Joy is something that you can choose, no matter the circumstances going on in your life. See, joy is something that you can say today I will rejoice, today I will choose joy, even in this thing, even in that thing. So Jesus is saying bless when you do these things and you can choose joy. Now I want to be upfront with you today. Can I be upfront? I'm going to be upfront with you today. If you have never, if you have never been hurt by someone you love, if you have never been offended, if you have never been let down by a person or people or group of people, if you don't have any relational hurt in your life, there is this delicious place across the street called Bricks that has a delicious brunch menu and I encourage you to go there, because today's message is only for people who have relational issues. But if you have had relational issues in your life, this message is for you today. Okay, it's for you today. If you agree that people are messy and that you are messy, if you agree that you are messy, that you have been hurt and you have hurt others, well, we want to figure out what Jesus has to say to us today. Okay, check this out. This is what our rabbi Jesus says. This is our last be attitude, matthew 511,. He says bless are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you. Because of me, that doesn't sound very blessed to me. Aka, bless are the hurt people, and I think that might be all of us today. And check out what Jesus says. He says when all that happens, when you've been insulted, when you've been persecuted, when people say stuff about you, he says this rejoice and be glad. Who does that? Jesus? Who does that? Nobody does that. Be joyful. When people are mean towards you, I won't be joyful, but I'll give them an uppercut. Come on, mike Tyson. Somebody Nobody does that. What is Jesus saying to us, so, as everyday people who are learning how to become followers of Jesus? What is he saying to us today? Jesus is saying act a different way about it, act a different way about it. And then he finished. He says because great is your reward in heaven, for the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you, here you go. This is what Jesus is saying. Some people are going to insult you, some people are going to hurt you. Some people and most of the time those people are the people you care about the most will hurt you. Rejoice even in that, but why? But why would I do that? Why rejoice when I never saw this divorce come in? Why would I rejoice when I never knew my spouse was going to change like that? Why rejoice when, every time I go to work, my coworkers drive me crazy? Why rejoice when my kids my just so much for my kids, but they're now out of control? Why would I rejoice? Okay, here you go. I'm going to tell you why. I'm going to give us a deep teaching today. Is that okay, not deep? In a sense, I'm going to confuse you. Some people say, yeah, man, preach that deep stuff. None of that surface level stuff. We need some deep teaching. No, if you want to be confused, go to seminary. I'm talking about deep teaching in the sense of I want to give us, get us to a deeper part of God's heart today, a part that we don't regularly go to. That part is when Jesus calls us to rejoice. Jesus calls us to be glad. Jesus calls us to respond in a different way. Here you go, I'm going to verify, just in case. Someone told you that if you follow Jesus, all your problems in life will go away. They were wrong, but when you follow Jesus, you now have the ability to handle your situations in a different way. Where they're suffering, they're now come sanctification and sanctification, that's just a fancy word of saying. In the process, you can grow. You can grow here you go, check this out. I have a few encouraging Bible verses that I want to read. Actually, nick, can you grab me that helmet and shoulder pad? Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then can you come up here and read these things for me real fast. I got to do something While Nick is reading these very encouraging, super encouraging Bible verses. Go ahead and read them. They're super encouraging. Hold on, I got to do something real fast. Okay, matthew 24-10. And then many will be offended with the trade with one another.

Speaker 2:

Well, I hate one another. Do I read the other part? I'll have to find it All right. Luke 17.1. Then he said to the disciples it is impossible that no of the sentences should come. In Proverbs 18.19, an offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like a barred piece of a citadel.

Speaker 1:

Can you put that out? Those are pretty encouraging, aren't they? Those are some pretty encouraging Bible verses. And what are all these Bible verses saying? It's saying people are going to offend you, people are going to betray you, and when they do that, our response is we want to be like a fortified city that puts up gates. We want to walk around guarded. Who in here has ever been hurt so much that now, when you go to meet people, you're skeptical of them? Who in here has been hurt by people that you're not sure if you can trust them? And what do we do? We walk around guarded. I'm going to hit people before they hit me. I'm going to make sure that no one can get to me. I've got my helmet. This thing is my helmet of salvation, this is my helmet of protection and this is my five-year-old's bicycle hat. This is my helmet. This is my nephew's football gear. See, the problem is this when you put walls up to protect yourself from getting hurt, you also put up walls preventing yourself to be loved by God. You can't be touched by God when you put walls up to protect us from being hurt, and that's understandable. I get it. I want to walk around like this all the time. It would be awesome. But imagine if every time I talk to you, I wore these things. Imagine if we're at Starbucks and you're trying to share your heart with me. I'm like, okay, yeah, that's good. Yeah, I hear you. And you're like Jacob, why are you wearing all this stuff? Because I'm guarded, unless you get too close to me. See, I wear protection to protect me from you, but I also close you out from getting to know me. And some of these walls we build up we build up around our hearts and our lives, and those walls express themselves in different ways. You may see people who are guarded with their anger. They get angry easily, they're ready to snap off on someone and you walk on eggshells around them. Maybe you know people and this is probably not us, it's probably other people you know. Maybe you know people who have walls of relationships and they keep everyone at a surface. They keep everyone at a distance. Maybe you find yourself never wanting to be planted where you are and you're always looking for ways to escape and to get out, because being too close to people, well, that's just too close, and these are defense moves to keep yourself from being guarded. But the problem is you can guard yourself from the people who love you and from the God who is for you. So what do we do about it? Here you go. Today, I'm going to give us four principles. Should I keep wearing this? I'm going to give us four principles of how we can take off our guards and how we I don't want to mess my glasses up, I just got the hoos. This thing's tight, george. There you go, boom. I want to give us four principles of how we can take off the guards and live a life of freedom. Can I be honest again with you guys? These principles I'm about to share with you, they're very challenging. It's leg day at the spiritual fitness gym and we're doing some legs and we're going to do some burpees. Today, they will all get a little bit more challenging as it goes on. And none of these things I'm about to say to you, none of them. You're not going to want to do one of them. I'm going to be honest with you. You're not going to want to do it. If you do it, if you do it just like leg day, come on, you will like the results. But let me make sure I'm clear you aren't going to want to do any of them Okay, especially when people you love have offended you and hurt you. Especially when you're currently going through a relational issue right now. Especially when you're thinking of ways on how you can leave that marriage instead of staying in it. Especially when you're going through the hardest part about being a Jesus follower is when we have to follow Him, even into the tough places of life. Here you go. Principle number one choose to overlook the offense. Come on, jacob, overlook the offense. Like I'm already mad. I'm mad, and if you knew what they did to me, you wouldn't say that. If you knew how they treated me, you wouldn't suggest that. Here's the hard part. Here's the hard part. This is what Scripture tells us. Proverbs 10, 12 says this love overlooks the wrongs that others do Overlook. Like. What are you saying? Okay, bible? Let me read a couple more. Here you go. When a fool is ignored, he quickly lets it be known. We've all seen this person. Heck, I've been this person. I've been this person. Right, they stink up the room, they change the whole environment. But the wise people? Here you go. The wise people meaning they know that life is connected. Wise, meaning you know that life is connected. What I do today will affect tomorrow. What I did last week will affect next week. Wise people what wise people do? They take it in salt and they make a different choice. Wise people ignore it in salt. Okay, that's kind of hard. One more a man's wisdom or a woman's wisdom gives them patience. So they just did something to you, they just try to ruin your day and you're saying I'm not going to respond, like everybody wants me to respond. I'm not even going to respond based on the way they deserve for me to respond to them. I'm going to back up, be thoughtful, because Scripture says it is to his glory to overlook an offense. In other words, it's good for you, it's good for you. And you may be thinking, jacob, it sounds like you're letting them off the hook. Sound like you're letting them off the hook. No, no, no, I ain't trying to let anyone off the hook. I'm just trying to help you out, not them. Because it says it's to your glory to overlook an offense. Here you go. A couple of weeks ago, I shared this story there in one of the messages and I want to share it again because, as I was prepping for this message, the story actually made a lot more sense. So this is a true story. Recently it just happened to me when I was very offended by someone I'd never met before. I don't even know who they are. Here you go. A few months ago I was taking my daughter, kingsley, to swim practice. You may be familiar with the story if you've been following this message series. I was taking my daughter to swim practice and we pull up at the light right off of Lux Lane and we're about to turn right onto Courthouse Road and, no joke, right when the light turns green like the light just turns green I'm out of my own business in my Hyundai Sonata, just with my heated seats. They're kind of cool, but it was hot, so I don't know why I have my heated seats on and the light turns green. And as soon as the light turns green from behind me, this person behind me starts going ballistic on the horn and I'm catching my surprise. I look through my rear view mirror and I just see this lady behind me in the car just going to town. Hunk, hunk, got the hand up. Hunk, hunk, hunk. You know what I did as a wonderful Jesus follower, as an awesome. You don't know what I did. I slowly put on my acceleration, slowly turned out into it. And now she's getting even more mad because I'm slowly driving and she's trying to get around me but I'm not letting her get around me and she's honking, going nuts, hunk, hunk. Maybe I go regular and she drives around me and I'm mad, I'm like this person, I'm so upset. And then Kingsley, my five-year-old. She asks me. She says, dad, what's wrong with that person in the car? And again, me being just an awesome Jesus follower, just so amazing Jesus follower. And Dad, I say to my five-year-old I said, kingsley, that person is what we would consider a jerk. So I say to a five-year-old what's wrong with me? And then Kingsley, being way more of a righteous person than me, says to me. She says, well, dad, maybe her dog died and she was on her way to the hospital. And I sat there and I'm ashamed for a little bit. And I said to myself my daughter has a better perspective on this situation than I do. And so I say you know what, kingsley, you might be right. We prayed for this lady and her dog, you know, and we went on, but my daughter had the right perspective. So I told that story a few weeks ago, talking about how we sometimes don't give people the benefit of the doubt. You know we were quick to judge people, but as I was working this message and talking about offenses, talking about when we've been hurt, talking about hardships, I actually thought of something different my five-year-old and her little heart and her little brain. She chose something different in that moment that I chose. She chose to view this person with empathy. With empathy. Okay, here you go. What is empathy? Empathy is even when someone wrongs you, hurts you, insults you, instead of reacting the way you want or, here you go, even the way they deserve, you step back and you ask yourself I wonder what's going on with them. I wonder what life is like for them. Again, being a Jesus follower, it is not our job to just be like. I'm going to react how everyone else reacts and do like everyone else does. Because if we are the same, how will we ever be the light? Let me say that one more time If we are the same as everyone else, how will we ever be the light? Here you go. Another story I got a bunch of stories today. We were at Disney World recently. Come on, it was our last day there and me and my family. We were at the hotel cafe area, the cafeteria area. Everyone's tired. We've been there for a good while. We're about to head back to the airport. That's sad too, like vacation over, it's sad. While we're at the cafeteria we have this double stroller that both of our boys sit in and Erin got her much needed coffee about this big and she put it in the cup holder that's attached to the double stroller. We're getting ready to go, me and Kingsley. We walk to the door and Erin has a double stroller and the aisles are tight and she goes to turn the double stroller out. When she does that, she hits the chair, the cup holder, the cup holder flies off the double stroller, the coffee flies everywhere, I mean every. There's a big cup holder, it's about this big, and it flies everywhere. It goes everywhere. It's a big scene. And do you know what the response of the people were? The other parents around her were. They instantly jumped up, hopped up, grabbed paper towels, ran to Erin, helped her start cleaning, helped her start getting everything ready. The awesome staff at Disney all of a sudden has had a whole new cup of coffee for her. She didn't even ask for it, it was bam, there you go. They just knew it was going to happen, I guess. And everyone starts helping her clean, which and they took what could have been a very embarrassing you know, aggravating situation, and they brought joy to it, hope to it and all and reason why? Because all these parents helped her, because they know what it's like. They know what it's like to have kids and how stressful those situations can be. So, instead of being like sucks for her, they were moved with empathy, with compassion. There's these stories in the Bible when Jesus is about to perform some of his best miracles. Like one of them, he even feeds like almost like 15,000 people. It's like insane. He did it with like a number one special from Captain D's. I don't even know how he did that. It was cool, though. And. But before he did the miracle, you want to know what happened before the miracle? He saw the people. Scripture tells us he was moved with compassion. He was moved. Before miracle happens. Compassion comes first. Before breakthrough happens, heart checks have to happen, and Jesus was moved with compassion, he was moved with empathy and his miracles happened. Here you go. People are messy and they are going to get their mess on you, and you are going to get your mess on other people. Maybe it's our job to respond with empathy and do the right thing. That way, empathy has the ability to look past the behavior and imagines the pain in their life. So next time that person cuts you off on the road instead of being ready to pill back the banana that was one of my dad jokes for the day Hope that one was good. You say maybe they just got a call and someone is hurt and they desperately need to get to them. Chances are it's not the case. Chances are they probably are just being irresponsible. But why be angry at someone you're probably never going to see in your life? God has called us to a different response. Here you go. Next one Keep my heart free from unforgiveness. James, give me a little something up here to keep me on track. Keep my heart free from unforgiveness. Keep our hearts free from bitterness. Let me say something to you real fast. Let me again. I want to be clear with you today. Let me shoot it to you straight Bitterness, unforgiveness. I know I preach about forgiveness a lot, so I won't talk about it for a long time, but here's the truth Bitterness and unforgiveness. I want you to listen to this Bitterness and unforgiveness in your heart. It's a dream stopper. It will kill your dreams, it will plateau your future. It will make you take steps back, not steps forward. When we hold on to bitterness towards someone, even if they deserve it, even if what they did was horrendous, it weighs us down, it keeps us from finding freedom. It keeps us from moving forward. So you may be like Jacob. What do I do about this? Jesus taught us a principle in the Lord's prayer, and I love to do the Lord's prayer or part of my morning prayer time, and I use it as an outline for prayer, and one of the things that Jesus says in the Lord's prayer is this he says forgive our sins, for we have forgiven. Notice the past tense there. We have forgiven those who sinned against us. It's literally saying God, forgive me for my jump, because I'm in the process of forgiving others for their jump. I'm not gonna wait around. I'm not gonna wait for it and I'm sorry, and I want some people to know today you will probably never get that I'm sorry Probably will never get it. I'm not gonna wait around for it, though. I'm not gonna wait around for it. I'm not gonna make someone earn it. I'm going to decide to forgive, decide ahead of time. Every day you're going to forgive people even before they hurt you. What do I mean by that? That's saying, before you see that X of yours and you know they're gonna slide in. That one comment I forgive in advance, before you see that boss. That's always on. Grateful Lord, forgive him when you buy that Big Mac. God, I forgive myself for doing this to myself. Lord, I'm just hungry. Check out what the apostle Paul says you must make an allowance for each other's faults. You know what an allowance is? Money I give to you so you can spend later. The Bible says we're making an allowance for each other's faults. I have to make room for that and the reason why and we forgive the person who offends us. Why? Why do we do that? Because we remember. We remember what. Do we remember? That we're great and what awesome and we're amazing and what? No, no, no. We remember the Lord forgave me. The Lord forgave me. One of the best choices you can make in your life Is to look at someone who has hurt you and say you're not gonna be able to offend me, I'm letting you off, you won't have power over me. Not one more day, not one more day. You will not live rent-free in my brain. Not one more day. Last story I'll share it here. When I was a youth pastor down in Virginia Beach, I got a call from my senior pastors and it was one of those calls that you just never want to get as a pastor. A Girl in our youth group was kidnapped. She was kidnapped, not asking context. The girl was 17 years old, she just graduated high school, she was getting ready to go to northern Virginia for college and she's gonna, you know, start kind of her young adult life. And while she was getting a tan in the middle of the day at a busy shopping center in Virginia Beach, virginia had him back to her car. A man ran up behind her, started to choke her, threw her in the back of her mini SUV and Got into the car and drove off in the broad daylight. And that's called bystander syndrome. Let's let you know. If you see a whole bunch of people not doing nothing, you won't do nothing either. And this is an add to that. Sometimes we live our lives like that. This is cuz no one else is doing anything, we don't do anything either. But God calls us to justice, he calls us to take a stand. He calls us to defend the widows in the orphans. He calls us to make a stand. Even when the world's not doing nothing. The church needs to stand up and do something. That's another message. So when we got the call, when I got the call, she was already found returned home. The man was arrested. So me and my pastors go to the house. The family was very a part of our church and we were talking to the parents and the in the girl. Obviously they're very traumatized and so anyway. So so the girl starts to tell us what happened. She says the man chokes her and he chokes her so bad that her Blood vessels in her eyes pop. You can see his, you can see his hand marks around his neck and you know it's intense. And she said he tied her up through her in the back of the trunk and as and as he's driving her he's crying, he's on done, he's like lost it. And the girl said, once she started to regain consciousness, she could hear the man just crying and weeping and and and and. She said and. Then she said, and I can't make this part up, okay, she said. She said to the man this girl, this. The girl has been kidnapped, she said to the man who kidnapped her. She said, sir, what is happening? What is going on? She said. The 17 year old girl Said can I pray for you? Can I pray for you? Literally, I'm hearing this story, I'm thinking to myself I can't believe it. I'm thinking I can't believe this is what she asked her. And then the man starts to say yes, yes, my life is in ruins, my life is ruined. Right then and there, this girl says I will pray for you. And she starts to pray for this man. Okay, long story short, he takes her to an ATM. This girl, who is super smart, gives him the pen and says take it off, take all the money out of it. Because she knew her mom, mama bear, had access to her bank account and if a certain amount of money came out, mama bear got a text message notification about it. And so, once the mom got the text notification, try to call her daughter and then discover that the branch from which she the money was coming from was almost 45 minutes away from where they normally are. She called the branch, called the police, police, bam, right there, rest of the man right at the bank place. And then, and then the girl Now ask the girl, why did you pray for him? Like, why did you pray for him? Again, I can't make this up. She said to me I prayed for him because I knew if I invited God into my situation, he would protect me. Later on, she ended up forgiving the man in person, the parents too, and she made a decision. She made a decision because how does a person do that, how does a person make a decision like that? She chose, as a 17 year old girl who is experienced one of the worst things that you can experience she chose forgiveness. She chose forgiveness and she said to me she said, pastor Jake. Later on she said to me pastor Jacob, the reason why I chose forgiveness is because I was excited for my life. That was about to happen. I was excited to go to school, I was excited and I did not want to live in fear anymore, and so I made a decision that this man's trouble is not going to determine God's future for my life, and she chose forgiveness. And again, I know that's a, that's an intense story and that's that. But I want some people to know today you cannot allow our forgiveness to determine your story anymore. You cannot allow bitterness and shame and anger and fear to be the headline writer of your story, when you have a future that God is painting for you, that is full of his goodness, full of his mercy, full of his love, full of his breakthrough. I'm telling you this friends, don't let bitterness write one more note in your story. Oh, come on, to forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner with you Last one, I Told you these things are hard. Overlook an offense, choose not to be bitter and then we pray, bless and do good to them. I Can we be real at church today? I Ain't trying to pray for anyone who's hurt me and I definitely trying to bless nobody and do good to them. I'll pray for them, all right, I'll pray for the flies of a thousand camels that be all up in their armpits, hemorrhoids. I pray for that. Let them have that. But everyday people who are learning how to become everyday followers of Jesus, what's supposed to react differently? Pray, mean it to pray for them. I have this prayer list that I have and and I had a couple people kind of hurt me recently and I took them off my prayer list. I'll show them. I Ain't afraid for them, no more, they don't get no. Bless, and the Lord gently what she always does, gently correct me. Add them back to your list, pray for them. Bless meaning to speak well off, that's what that means. They're not saying go buy them something Don't know. Not blessing like that, that's not a blessing anyway. Bless is to speak well of them. Even when they speak ill of you, you speak well of them and that does something in you. One in the death for them. Let me just read a couple of scriptures real fast. Let me just read a couple of scriptures real fast. Okay, jesus said this speaking to a Jewish audience that believe this Old Testament principle of an eye for an eye and a two for a two. Jesus says this. You have heard. It said an eye for an eye and a two for a two. But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also, and if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, go ahead and hand them over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go a mile, go two miles with them. What's Jesus saying here? He's saying it's important for us, as Jesus followers, to respond in a different kind of way that actually attracts people to the goodness of God. Jesus says this. You have heard it said love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Those are the words of Jesus, not mine. Jesus says this, but I tell you, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Now I want to be clear. There are some people that we need to process with, and I encourage you as your pastor, I encourage you to find a safe person to talk to, like a pastor, a counselor, a mentor, someone who can let you talk about pain so you can move forward. Let your best friend Sue might not be the person to talk to that rhyme. Last thing do not do wrong to repay your wrong, and do not insult to repay an insult, but repay with a blessing, because you yourselves were called to do this that you might receive a blessing. Last thing I'll say is this choose a life of joy. So we're going to overlook an offense, we're going to make a decision. I'm not going to walk in bitterness and our forgiveness. We're going to do good, pray and bless those, and then, when we do that, I will choose a life of joy. I won't live as a victim anymore. But I know who the sun sets free is free indeed. So, god, jesus, holy Spirit, we need you at this teaching today. We need you because people are messy. Yet you tell us. You tell us to love our neighbors, you tell us to forgive. You say we will be blessed when we do those things. We'll find joy when we do those things. And you said the reward is heaven. And I just actually feel like the Lord is putting on my heart right now. The reward is heaven, and I'm not talking about an afterlife experience. I'm talking about heaven here and now. You have been living in hell because of the hurt that people have done to you. The circumstance you're currently in right now is keeping you up at night. It's messing with your sleep, it's messing with your decisions, it's messing with you. It feels like hell and I feel like the Lord is saying he wants to bring heaven to you Peace, joy, peace, harmony. So, lord, I take that I don't know if that's for one person, two people or no people we take that and we give that to you, lord. Help us see the reward of heaven when we make a decision to say I will not be a victim anymore, but a victor in you, christ. So if you're in here today, you're like Jacob, that sounds good, but I don't really know this Jesus you're talking about. Or maybe you're in here today and you say, yeah, I used to live with Jesus, but life kind of got in the way. If you want to make a decision to trust Jesus with your life again, I want to pray for you. Now, I'm not going to call you out. Have you come up front? Nothing like that. Just write where you are in your chair. If you want to make a decision to trust Jesus with your life or trust Jesus with your life again, I want you to pray this prayer with me. Just write where you are. You can say it out loud or say it in your heart, and you say Jesus, forgive me for my sins, make me new Today. I trust you with my life Today. I follow you in Jesus' name, amen, amen. Let's give God some praise in here today. Amen. Let's give God some praise in here today. Amen.

Choosing Joy in Difficult Relationships
Overcoming Offenses and Living With Freedom
The Power of Empathy and Forgiveness
Choosing Forgiveness and Overcoming Bitterness
Finding Heaven Amidst Hell