A Living Hope: A New Covenant and Sitting Among Friends #67

The new covenant gives life (2 Corinthians 3:7).  It gives us a new hope (1 Peter 1:3). A new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26). A hope in the Living God (1 Tim 4:10) that we can receive from nothing and no one else.



A New Covenant.

There are many questions that surround the new and the old. Out with the old in with the new. That saying can leave a bit of a sting. If we have the old or become the old. We don’t necessarily want it to be set aside because the new came along.

That is how many of the Pharisee’s felt as Jesus was telling them He had come to fulfill the law. The law (the old covenant) was what they knew. It had become their identity. Through it, they knew who they were. It was linked to their family heritage and it was to set them apart from the rest of the world. It would signify them as children of God.

It cannot be a surprise as to why Jesus rocked their world. He was essentially telling them, all they ever knew or understood was going to be turned around. Who and what they held so tightly to, needed to be made complete and it was going to come as something new.

What I didn’t understand was that being obedient was no longer just a chore, a to-do or an unachievable task but an opportunity to be pleasing to my Lord and give Him my worship.  It was freedom. It was a gift.
While the old covenant and the laws pointed us to our sin and the need for a Savior, the law was not designed to give us a new heart.

Hebrews 8:7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.

The old covenant was established with Moses and is often referred to as the ten commandments. There were also many laws that were given to the people such as festivals, sacrifices, and purifications. You can find them in the first few books of the old testament.

Some are lead to believe that the laws are no longer good or appropriate for our time. We live under grace. While that is true, because Christ came to fulfill the law, all the laws are not obsolete. In Matthew 5 Jesus said I did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it.

Christ made the law complete because He could give us a new conscience and a new heart. He would now write the laws on our hearts and put them in our minds.

I understand that many may be thinking we are free from the law. It is no longer relevant. While some laws had their own purposes, God’s law is not abolished.

What we have now in the new covenant.

Step away for a minute here with me. If you are a parent, you make rules and set boundaries. It helps them know how to navigate the world. When your child breaks the rules, there are consequences so they understand the depth of the importance of the rule.

As parents, we want our children to follow those rules not just because we said so, although we may say that, but we want them to follow the rules because we love them and gave them for their safety and growth. We want them to show that love to us by being obedient.

Before we know Christ as our Savior, we are living in rebellion to God. The laws are set so that we can see and understand how far away from a perfect God we are. They are for us to understand what sin is, as Paul explains in Romans 7.

They were never meant to perfect us but lead to Christ who does.

For a long time in my life, as you can read from my testimony here, I thought that rules were to make me perfect. What I found was that they were too hard to keep up with. So, I didn’t. I made my own rules, ones which I thought I could keep. Ones that satisfied my flesh.

I chained myself back to rules, even my rules. I chained myself to my own rebellion. I chained myself to my shame and found my worth in the comfort of those chains.

While all the while I could have been living free. I was given life in Christ but was choosing to go back to the path that leads to destruction. I was free to walk in Christ’s grace.

After all, He already knew I wasn’t perfect. Who was I kidding? It was not possible. It was never meant to be. Hold on to that truth.

The new covenant gives life (2 Corinthians 3:7).  It gives us a new hope (1 Peter 1:3). A new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26). A hope in the Living God (1 Tim 4:10) that we can receive from nothing and no one else.What I didn’t understand was that being obedient was no longer just a chore, a to-do or an unachievable task but an opportunity to be pleasing to my Lord and give Him my worship.

It was freedom. It was a gift.

The new covenant that we receive as believers in Christ is not a checklist of being perfect. It is walking in grace and humbly allowing Christ to perfect us.

When we put our faith and trust in Him, we become His child. He loves us!

The boundaries and rules are for our safety. They are so we can continue to receive His blessings and see His glory in our lives.

The new covenant gives life (2 Corinthians 3:7)
It gives us a new hope (1 Peter 1:3). A new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26). A hope in the Living God (1 Tim 4:10) that we can receive from nothing and no one else.

Christ has the power to change lives and I would love to talk to you about how He can change yours. Email me at yoursewtrendy@gmail.com

Personal Reflections:

Have you chosen to see the laws for what they are and learned to walk with Christ in obedience? In what areas, do you struggle? In what areas, can you celebrate victories?

How has living up to your list of perfections hindered your relationship with Christ?

Do you use chains in your life as a crutch or as an identity? Are you afraid to let them go because they are all you have ever known or you have become comfortable in them? As a believer, do you believe God can break those chains for you? 

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If we are not connected on Social Media, Find Me on one of the links Below!

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This week's featured friend is Natalie Venegas from Milk and Honey Faith. I am really excited to be sharing what Natalie has been doing on her blog because it is such a beautiful idea. She has created The Testimony Tour. This tour runs across 10 blogs and features amazing women sharing their testimonies all for the glory of God. Thank you so much for joining us, Natalie. I am glad you are here.



















WOW! Thank you all for coming and for the 66 Amazing posts from last week. This party has been wonderful thanks to you, friends, who link-up with us and those who stop by and read posts. Thank you!

You all are amazing writers who share Family and Faith, DIY's, Recipes, Photos, Giveaways, Homeschool and more. Many of you have amazing journeys of faith and I praise the Lord we are able to connect here!


There are easy share buttons to your left or at the bottom of each post (mobile) and after you link-up. Thanks for sharing! 

Thanks! From all of us at  #SittingAmongFriends


*** Joining Us Here? You are welcome to join me on Pinterest and Pin to Our Sitting Among Friends Blog Party Board where I will be happy to re-pin posts to my other boards. *** 




   





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The Testimony Tour: The Prodigal Daughter Returns

God is faithful and oh, so good. He like the Father in this story allowed me to repent and when I came running back to Him, He welcomed me with open arms rejoicing my return.


Thank you so much for joining us on the Testimony Tour. This is day two of the tour and you can check out Lori Schumaker from Searching for Moments here if you missed her post. 


My testimony may seem typical for a kid that grew up in the church. We went to church every weekend and every Wednesday night. I was trained in all the do’s and don’ts of the church. I was taught all the traditional Bible stories and had many scriptures hidden deep in my heart.

At twelve, I remember sitting in my room and pouring out my heart in prayer. Whatever else was going on in the day, I don’t remember. What I remember clearly is realizing that I was a sinner and I needed to ask God for forgiveness and to come into my life to save me.  

I would like to say something amazing happened that day, but on the outside, it didn’t appear that way. Everything seemed to continue as normal. I continued to do all the things a good church girl would do. I went to church faithfully and knew the right things to say at just the right time.

In my early teens when my life started to change, I was on automatic pilot in my Christian life and started doing things I wanted to do. Living up to the standards I was taught felt impossible. I wanted a free ride to do it my way.

I spent many years, my way. In fact, this continued until my mid-twenties. I always kept God on the backburner and like anyone who has bible knowledge but not a real relationship, I could pull it out and use it to my advantage.

The story of the prodigal son touches my heart because it is about a father who didn’t give up on his child after all he had done. The story can be found in Luke 15. 

There was a man who had two sons. The younger of the two sons told his father he would like to have what his father was going to give him as an inheritance. The father gave his son his portion and a few days later, the son left.

It’s not surprising someone given a free pass and a lot of cash squanders it away. Thinking he was just given the world and enough money to buy it he quickly finds himself broke. This son ends up working for a farmer and eating the pigs’ food before shamefully going back to his father to ask for work to get a bit of food.

I had a pretty easy life. I was loved dearly by my parents and family but I squandered a lot away doing the things I wanted to do. Any money that I had I used for myself and my own selfish desires. Whatever the latest whim I had, I satisfied.

I ended up living a pretty cushy life in Hawaii. I was teaching during the day and had plenty of money to indulge in, as Luke 15:13 calls, “loose living”.

When a person asks Christ to be their personal Savior, He says he will never leave them nor forsake them (Deuteronomy 31:8). 

I knew Christ was with me but I did what I could to not face Him. I tried running as far as I could. Honestly, I don’t how I would have survived had He not been there. 

I, unlike the prodigal son, never ran out of money. What I ran out of was spiritual satisfaction. No matter where I looked or how hard I tried to find satisfaction in the things of this world, I was left spiritually poor.

Then everything changed. God let me, like the prodigal son, fall into a pit, not just a pit of destruction, but a pit of self-loathing. I had despised this person I had become. I had great shame and by then, a large amount of baggage accumulated.

God is faithful and oh, so good. He like the Father in this story allowed me to repent and when I came running back to Him, He welcomed me with open arms rejoicing my return.

I would love to say that there was instant healing but God had a lot of work to do in my heart and mind. I had chosen to live for myself for a long time and those habits had to be broken.
Once we have decided to give our life to Christ we are free to obey Him. We are free to walk in His grace.
In Christ, I had to change. I had to begin to let Him perfect me. That kind of retouching doesn’t come easily. It meant facing the consequences of a loving Father so I could be restored in Him. It meant surrender.  It meant understanding that I was already forgiven and I had to forgive myself.

My life’s consequences were based on my choices to rebel against who I thought God was. Growing up, I thought God was all about rules and quite honestly, they were rules I could never live up to. In my own eyes, I was a failure.

Every time I broke another rule, I thought I was farther away from ever being truly forgiven. Being a person who strives for achievement, this kind of life seemed impossible to live. I don’t remember ever knowing or being told, it is impossible.

I tried living without Christ while living up to the standards I was taught.  After a while, I thought I had messed up so much that there was no hope. Why try to be perfect when you just can’t.

That is not the gospel, friends. The gospel tells us we are sinners and desperately need Christ. This world is temporary and to live forever with Him requires that we submit our will and our life to Him.

The rules and the do’s and don’ts, the squandering of our lives, leave us short next to a perfect God. He doesn’t expect perfection. He will perfect us through Him.

Once we have decided to give our life to Christ we are free to obey Him. We are free to walk in His grace. 

We are no longer bound by the rules. The rules were intended to point us to our sinful lives so we could recognize our need for a Savior. Does that mean we go on sinning? Trust me, it certainly does not! 
  
Life with Christ is about a daily relationship. A relationship where we rely on Him because we love Him and are not strong enough to do it all ourselves. It is about spending time with Him and knowing who He truly is based on His Word and not ideas we have devised about Him.

Being part of this Testimony Tour meant I would write about how I came to know Christ. How I came to know Christ was a process. It started for me when I was a child. But when I began to really “know” Christ was when I truly surrendered to Him. I learned who He truly was by studying the amazing words He has given us through the Bible.  

Through knowing Him and His constant grace, I have been given the gift of understanding who I am in Him. Today I can say I am an imperfect, loved, child of the King of my life. Thanks be to God!

If you would like to know more about giving your life to Christ, I would love to have that conversation with you. Feel free to email me at youresewtrendy@gmail.com

Thank you for joining me today.   

Please be sure to join my new friend, Tiffany Parry to continue The Testimony Tour. 




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A Living Hope: A New Hope and Sitting Among Friends #66



When I became a believer as a young girl, I believed the Bible. I believed that Christ died for my sins and without accepting His gift I salvation, I would be lost forever.

My faith changed but didn’t grow very much. For so long I kept hold of only elementary understandings of who God was. Some of that was a God that I had created through my lack of knowing Him.

One thing I didn’t get a real grip on was the hope that Christ alone offers. I held onto the beliefs that it was about the rules and quite honestly, I was doing a very poor job of keeping them.

I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get that I live in Christ, I didn’t need to have the strength to be obedient on my own and that looked quite different than what I had conjured up in my mind or had been taught.  

Thinking I had failed so desperately, sadly, I rebelled against God. It was easier to live for myself.  I didn’t have all those rules. You can read more of my testimony next week during The Testimony Tour.

As I continued through my young adult life, my rules became even more lenient and I found myself literally thinking if I don’t look over my shoulder, I never have to face God.

For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God. Hebrews 7:19 (NLT)

What I didn’t know was that the law, the rules, were never intended to make anything or anyone perfect. They were supposed to show me how sinful I was so I could recognize my need for a Savior.

For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are. Romans 3:20 (NLT)

As I began to trust Christ with my life, He helped me to understand it was not only necessary for me to believe His Word to be true but I had to believe it was true for me.  Christ took my hand from that pit and pulled me out, renewed my strength, and allowed me to soar.
What it took me so long to realize was that God had forgiven me. The rules or law had pointed me to my need for a Savior.  I remained chained to them not seeing that my hope in Him lead to restoration.

Isaiah 40:31 says But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

My previous choices in life left me weary. They drug me down to a pit of self-loathing.

As I began to trust Christ with my life, He helped me to understand it was not only necessary for me to believe His Word to be true but I had to believe it was true for me.

Christ took my hand from that pit and pulled me out, renewed my strength, and allowed me to soar.

I find my hope in Him.

You may not have made the same decisions I have. Maybe you came to Christ when you were young and have always lived a “pretty good” life for Him. But if we are being honest, I find from the many conversations that I have, living by the rules always leaves us weary and feeling trapped.

Don’t misunderstand me, please. We have to live in obedient surrender to Christ. Should we say we are living under grace and then go on sinning. As Paul, would say, Certainly not!

This new hope that we have in Christ is about freedom. It about chains being broken. It is brokenness being made whole. It is about taking that new hope and using it for God’s Glory. 

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.  Galatians 5:13 (NIV)

So, what shall we do with this new hope?

In Mark 12, one of the teachers of law said to Jesus, of all the commandments, which one is the most important.

To which Jesus replied, "The most important commandment is this: 'Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.' The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these." Mark 12:29-31 (NLT)

Love. The greatest commandment. Seems simple. Yet, we find ourselves so weary and without strength to do just that.

Yes, there are some who seem so easy to love, but what credit is that to you? (Luke 6:32)

We must trust this hope we have is truly meant for us. Daily, sometimes, hourly or by the minute we can have restoration in knowing that our hope of being perfected (loving others) rests in the hands of the One who is able to deliver.

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, who by grace has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good word and deed. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (BSB)

Christ Himself, will encourage our hearts. He will give us strength to serve and love one another for His Glory. Through seeking a relationship with Him, He will give us a New Hope.

Personal Reflection:

Do you find that serving others makes it easier or harder to love them?

What things, rules, or laws do you find yourself tightening the chains that Christ freed you from?

What is the difference between believing God's Word to be true and believing God’s Words to be true for you?

How often so you find yourself praying for the people in your life that are most difficult to love?

I would love to continue this conversation. Meet me in the comments and let me know your reflections on the hope you have in Christ.

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This week's featured friend is Gleniece Lytle from Desert Rain where she helps turn a parched life into a well-watered garden. Gleniece writes about living an abundant life in Christ while living on little. She also shares great recipes. Thanks for joining us, Gleniece. I am glad you are here!

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WOW! Thank you all for coming and for the 45 Amazing posts from last week. This party has been wonderful thanks to you, friends, who link-up with us and those who stop by and read posts. Thank you!

You all are amazing writers who share Family and Faith, DIY's, Recipes, Photos, Giveaways, Homeschool and more. Many of you have amazing journeys of faith and I praise the Lord we are able to connect here!


There are easy share buttons to your left or at the bottom of each post (mobile) and after you link-up. Thanks for sharing! 

Thanks! From all of us at  #SittingAmongFriends

*** Joining Us Here? You are welcome to join me on Pinterest and Pin to Our Sitting Among Friends Blog Party Board where I will be happy to re-pin posts to my other boards. *** 



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A Living Hope: A New Heart and Sitting Among Friends #65



As we look ahead to Spring, we get a whole new refreshed joy. Joy in the brightness of the days and in the hope of the renewal of life.

Last week, we began a new study on A Living Hope (you can begin here). We focused on the encouraging verse in 1 Peter 1:3. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (NIV)

This verse, which is the guiding light of our study, gives us the hope of a renewal of life. Because Christ conquered death, we have A Living Hope!

The new birth is a spiritual birth, not a physical birth as we see Jesus explain in John 3. The new birth that we are given is through accepting a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

What happens next?

Sometimes we think when we ask Christ into our lives fireworks will go off or rays of sunshine will fall down on us from Heaven. Maybe you were somewhere where you felt so overwhelmed by the situation or your surroundings so it was quite spectacular.

If not, don’t feel guilty. I want you to remember the moment but not get caught up on it. I want your focus to be in developing a relationship over time just as in any good relationship.

For me, and I know for many people the fireworks and the heavenly AWWWW, didn’t happen.  That’s okay. Something, big inside of you did happen and that what we are going to celebrate today!  

Quite honestly, I think this is better than fireworks.  Before accepting the promises of God, you were in complete rebellion to God. Not able to walk in His ways because His ways were not in you.

Ezekiel 36:26 says, And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. (NLT)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)This is where we rejoice! Old ragged self, gone! We don’t need to go back to that. Christ not only conquered death on the cross but He conquered sin! The battle has been won! With Christ, you are on the winning side!
WOW! The heart we were born with is a stubborn heart of stone. A stone is cold and incapable of absorbing. I want a new heart, how about you?

I want a heart that can love and be tender and responsive. That is what we are given. In that, we have an opportunity for a new life. As one commentary put it, why try to patch up an old life when you can be given a new one?

This newness, this fresh new start, is what gives us the opportunity to receive God’s Word that He will write on our hearts. This is exciting! Not living in rebellion to God means we can walk in His freedom.

Before Christ, you were a slave to sin, now you are free in Christ (Romans 8:1-2). Be careful not to put yourself back in the bondage you were before you put your trust in Him.

The changes in your life will be the evidence of a new heart!

Trust Him to change your heart. He will seal His Spirit in you and lead you to walk in His ways. Ezekiel 36:27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

When I became a believer, I tried to live by all the rules that I was taught. Do this, don’t do that. I lived for so long in the bondage of getting it right that I continued to rebel. It seemed easier.

What I didn’t realize was that I put myself back in the chains that Christ freed me from. When Christ sets you free you are freed indeed! (John 8:36)

When you become a believer, you may feel pressure to get it all right immediately. Trust me being perfect is hard to live up to. Don’t do that! Christ died for you because He was perfect. He will perfect us and one day when we see Him, we will be made like Him.

You may be thinking as I did, it is really hard. In fact, it is too hard and so you resort to your flesh and desires to lead you. Trust! Put your Faith in Christ to do this in you!

Open hands say to Him, Lord, I cannot do this on my own. I need you!

He wants to change you. That is why He says you are a new creation. That is why He gives you a new heart. He wants you to walk in the freedom and grace that He has given you.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

We are given great mercy. We are given a new birth. We have a living hope. The best part is it all stands on the firm foundation of a living God! 1 Peter 1:3 Join Seeking God for a 7 Week Study on the Hope of the Living God!
This is where we rejoice! Old ragged self, gone! We don’t need to go back to that. Christ not only conquered death on the cross but He conquered sin! The battle has been won! With Christ, you are on the winning side!

If you are struggling with your old self Romans 7 and 8 is of great encouragement that you are not alone.

No matter how impure you were living before Christ, you can start new, start fresh. Just like a new Spring morning, buds of hope will begin to appear.

Personal Reflections:

What do you feel is harder, trying to live the “right way” or accepting Christ to change you, (which means submission of self)?

How often do you find yourself trying to break free from the bonds you have already been freed from?

Do you pray with open hands or tightly closed fists?

What is the most exciting part about being new? What do you do with that excitement? For who’s purpose do you rejoice in it? Who do you share it with?


If you have further questions or thoughts about today’s reflections, I would love to hear them in the comments below or email me at youresewtrendy@gmail.com
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If we are not connected on Social Media, Find Me on one of the links Below!

Jaime Wiebel - Facebook | Twitter |  Pinterest |  Google+

This week's featured friend is Deb Wolf. Deb writes at Counting My Blessings: At the Intersection of Faith and Life. Deb's Page is full of fantastic ways to live out your faith better every day. She has a true passion for teaching the Word of God and you will certainly enjoy the practical encouragement that she offers. Thanks for joining us, Deb. I am glad you are here! 
WOW! Thank you all for coming here and for the 66 Amazing posts from last week. This party has been wonderful thanks to you, friends, who link-up with us and those who stop by and read posts. Thank you!

You all are amazing writers who share Family and Faith, DIY's, Recipes, Photos, Giveaways, Homeschool and more. Many of you have amazing journeys of faith and I praise the Lord we are able to connect here!


There are easy share buttons to your left or at the bottom of each post (mobile) and after you link-up. Thanks for sharing! 

Thanks! From all of us at  #SittingAmongFriends
*** Joining Us Here? You are welcome to join me on Pinterest and Pin to Our Sitting Among Friends Blog Party Board where I will be happy to re-pin posts to my other boards. *** 





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Be Still

Be Still
Be Still My Friends! You can rest assure that God is in Control.

For Sharing...

Seeking God

Hope In Him Alone!

Hope In Him Alone!
Thank You, Lord, for deciding who I am!

Seek Him First! Today's Bible Reading

James 1:17
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

It is of utmost importance that you know that Christ died for you. He died for all sinners so that our relationship with Him could be restored.

Because of His sacrifice on the cross we can have peace. Are you seeking more peace today? Peace of the soul can only be given through the redemptive power of Jesus Christ.

I hope that you, too, know the saving grace of an amazing God.
If you have questions about how to know more you can email me at youresewtrendy@gmail.com

2 Timothy 1:7

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