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Friday - Week 1

The Shame of Not Being Enough

January 8, 2021 • Angela

I have struggled with a sense of shame almost my whole life. Some of my earliest memories of school involve an overwhelming sense of shame. I vividly remember being in kindergarten and one of my classmates already knowing how to read. Right after learning one of the letters assigned for that week, my teacher had one of the girls from my class sit in her rocking chair at circle time and read us a short book. I was amazed and completely overwhelmed all at once. I didn't feel like I'd ever be able to do that. The day my teacher told us we would learn to count to 100, I felt like dropping out of school. Then I learned that in order to graduate you had to go to school for twelve years and kindergarten didn't count. I wanted to go home and never come back.  School was hard for me, especially in those early years.  In the first grade, I was given the labels of "Dyslexic and Learning Disabled." These labels brought with them a lot of shame in the years that followed.  Moses knew a little something about the sting of shame, too. In Exodus 4, he asked God to pick someone else for the job. Because of his "weakness" or "disability," Moses did not feel confident to speak in front of people. His reluctance to obey God's request shows the grip shame had on his life. To us, it seems almost unthinkable to ask God to pick someone else for a job, yet that is exactly what Moses did.  Because of shame, Moses didn't think he had anything to offer. He didn't trust that God could still move powerfully through his weakness. The shame Moses experienced made him feel less than, unusable, disqualified, and broken.  I've felt those same feelings over the years and still struggle with them even now.  In our weakness, God is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-11). We see this truth lived out through Moses' life as he later chose to not let his shame stop him from obeying God's call on his life. Did it happen overnight? No, but day by day, choosing to trust and walk forward one day at a time, God formed Moses into an amazing leader, a leader whom God used to lead His people out of slavery and into the promised land. If you look at a lot of men and women God used powerfully through the ages, you'll see leaders who first fought battles on the battlefields of shame.  Shame has a way of making you feel less than, not enough, and exposed. Shame makes you want to go into hiding, not be God's spokesman or woman. Yet throughout Scripture, especially illustrated in Moses' life, God intentionally sought out those cloaked in shame, showing once again His heart for the hurting and His power to redeem their lives. What God did through Moses' life, He can do in yours as well.  In Psalm 103 we read about God's compassionate, merciful, patient, and loyal love for His children revealed through Moses' life. God could have chosen a less broken leader, but He didn't. That says a lot about God's heart for the hurting. I don't know the cause of shame in your life, but I want you to know that despite the lies you hear, God can and wants to powerfully use you. The next time you feel the heaviness of shame coming over you, think about Moses and how powerfully God worked through his life. Trust God to work powerfully through yours, too. Never forget, You are never too broken for God to use or redeem.  -Angela

Friday - Week 4

God is the Shame Breaker • January 29, 2021 • Lyli

Sometimes I go to a dark place in my soul, and I struggle with feelings of not being enough. I will lay in bed at night wrestling with dark thoughts. A sinister voice whispers to me: “You are not loved. You will never be enough. You might as well just give up the fight.” Oh, those lies from the pit of hell! There is an enemy of my soul, and he wants to demoralize me and make me desperate. He wants me to give in to despair and wonder if God has forever deserted me. My adversary will stop at nothing to destroy me and rob me of peace. Here is the truth: I don’t deserve God’s love, but my God is seated on a throne of grace. He pours out His lavish love with reckless abandon, and His unconditional love covers all of my sin. He took on flesh and bore my reproach on the cross, and all of my transgressions have been cast away as far as the east is from the west. I am fully forgiven and free from all condemnation. I don’t have to be enough because the Advocate who is in me is greater than the adversary who is in the world. I am adopted into His family and transformed into a new creation. When shame tries to fill our minds with misery, we need to remember the miracles of mercy God is accomplishing in our lives: Our Rescuer has heard our cry for help, lifted us out of the pit of sin, and placed our feet safely on the rock (Psalm 40:1-2). God has delivered us from the sentence of death and will continue to deliver us (2 Corinthians 1:9-10). Because we have placed our faith in Christ, we have been declared righteous, and we have peace with God. His love has been poured into our hearts through the gift of the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:1-5). Those who seek the Lord’s help will never be ashamed and have no need to fear. When we look to Him, we are radiant and have every reason to praise (Psalm 34:1-5). Our temporary suffering is producing an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. Christ is renewing us from within day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). Friend, you may be battered, but the Shame Breaker will never let you be completely demoralized. You may be bewildered by the brokenness in this fallen world, but His hope within you keeps you from falling into a pit of despair. The troubles of this world may temporarily knock you down, and you may have to get back up bruised and weary, but your God will always be your defense. Not for a moment will He forsake you. God has spoken salvation over your life, and shame doesn’t get the last word. The next time you hear the voice of shame calling your name, you can stand on God’s promises and say, “I am not forsaken. I am a child of God.” The Shame Breaker has covered you with grace and called you His beloved. -Lyli _____________________________________________________________________________________ Have you purchased The Gospel of Mark Bible study journal yet? Not only will you find all of the daily reading passages and SOAP journaling pages, but you’ll have each of the daily devotions in printed form–no need to check the app on your phone while working through your study! Don’t forget, the Bridge Reading Plan is only available in the printed journals! The Bridge is a two-week long reading plan designed to bridge the gap between two studies. In The Gospel of Mark journal you’ll find the Bridge Reading Plan along with two weeks of SOAP journaling pages and daily Scripture reading! Don't miss this! The Bridge reading plans will walk through the entire Book of Psalms during 2021. This plan is found only in the study journals, so grab one today! You don't want to miss out! When you purchase a journal, you are helping us reach women around the world with the gospel. By purchasing a journal you help our incredible team of volunteer translators build up leaders around the world. Your journal purchase allows women to read God’s Word in their native language and have access to quality Bible study materials in the language they best understand. We hope you’ll join us on our mission to make God’s Word accessible to women in every nation and in every language! Order The Gospel of Mark and The Gospel of Mark for Kids journals here!

Thursday - Week 4

January 28, 2021

Wednesday - Week 4

Our Pasts Are Forgiven • January 27, 2021 • Kelli

This saying is trustworthy: If we died with him, we will also live with him.  If we endure, we will also reign with him. If we deny him, he will also deny us. If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, since he cannot deny himself. -2 Timothy 2:11-13 Have you ever turned down and denied a friend who was offering to buy you lunch? I am definitely guilty of responding with a quick,  "No, no way! Seriously, you don't even have to do that! I've got it, I'm fine." Then comes the infamous debit card fight between you, your friend, and the employee behind the counter. There was one particular incident where this happened between a friend who wanted to cover the cost of my lunch and me. As I began to shoot down her idea she replied, "Don't rob me the opportunity to bless you." Her response stopped me in my tracks. There was no arguing with that beautifully spoken response. Why do we have such a hard time receiving? I see this struggle to receive play out as we attempt to wrap our minds around the greatest debt that was ever paid on our behalf: the forgiveness of our sins. The forgiveness of our past sins as well as the sins we have yet to commit. We've messed up. We continue to sin. We make mistakes. God paid the price for us and He looks at us and says, "Not guilty!" The moment we surrender our life to the Lord we become a daughter of the King. We are His. His forgiveness is ours as we repent and receive it. No matter how we may feel, when we refuse to accept Christ's forgiveness for us we deny that His work on the cross was enough payment for our sins. Feelings can absolutely serve us well, especially that gut feeling we get in a bad situation. However, allowing our emotions to dictate who we are can be very dangerous. This got me thinking that refusing a gift is not necessarily a humble posture. My friend was right in saying my refusal to allow her to bless me was actually robbing her of something she was walking out in obedience. To not accept the Lord's forgiveness may have more to do with our feelings. Maybe it's rooted in thoughts and feelings of being unlovable, unworthy, or even feeling what we have done is unforgivable. This is why it is so important to fill our minds with truth. We can train our unaccepting hearts to become softer as we acknowledge our sin and ask for forgives and believe we are forgiven. Life is too short to lug around unnecessary baggage. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy by not letting go of what the Lord already paid for. Even Peter, who denied the Lord as He stood trial, was forgiven. Not only that, Peter was welcomed by Jesus and restored to Him. Jesus did not allow Peter to linger and wallow in his shame or despair. He knew Peter had much to accomplish (and suffer) for His name. If Peter had spent too much time stuck in his shame, who knows how many would have missed hearing the gospel! No matter what we do, God will never disown us. He has set us free and He longs to restore us to Himself, no matter what we've done. My prayer is that we all repent and truly accept the forgiveness and grace that has been gifted to us. This is where we will find freedom and live differently because of it. God doesn't want us to sit in that place of shame. He wants us to come to Him and ask for forgiveness. This was never about us forgiving ourselves, but His gift of forgiveness to us. The price has been paid. We have been set free! -Kelli ____________________________________________________________________________________ Have you purchased The Gospel of Mark Bible study journal? Not only will you find all of the daily reading passages and SOAP journaling pages, but you’ll have each of the daily devotions in printed form–no need to check the app on your phone while working through your study! Don’t forget, the Bridge Reading Plan is only available in the printed journals! The Bridge is a two-week long reading plan designed to bridge the gap between two studies. In The Gospel of Mark journal you’ll find the Bridge Reading Plan along with two weeks of SOAP journaling pages and daily Scripture reading! Don't miss this! The Bridge reading plans will walk through the entire Book of Psalms during 2021. This plan is found only in the study journals, so grab one today! You don't want to miss out! When you purchase a journal, you are helping us reach women around the world with the gospel. By purchasing a journal you help our incredible team of volunteer translators build up leaders around the world. Your journal purchase allows women to read God’s Word in their native language and have access to quality Bible study materials in the language they best understand. We hope you’ll join us on our mission to make God’s Word accessible to women in every nation and in every language! Order The Gospel of Mark and The Gospel of Mark for Kids journals here!