The Light of Christ Journey

Encouraging people on their journey with Christ

Bringing good out of betrayal is something only the Lord can accomplish. Because we live in a sinful world, you may have already experienced betrayal. Jesus is our Lord and Savior, yet He was not immune from betrayal.

Mark 14:17 In the evening Jesus arrived with the Twelve. 18 As they were at the table eating, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, one of you eating with me here will betray me.” 19 Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one?” 20 He replied, “It is one of you twelve who is eating from this bowl with me. 21 For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!” [1]

The Lord Helps Us Overcome Bitterness

The enemy often uses traps against us regarding betrayal. The first trap is to lead a person into sin by betraying you, and the second is to tempt you to become bitter. Bitterness is a deeper and more dangerous wound if it goes untreated. The treatment for bitterness is forgiving the person or persons who hurt you. Forgiving those who have deeply hurt you often takes the Lord’s help.

The Lord knows we are weak and need His assistance to forgive. 1 Corinthians 15:57But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. [2] When the Lord frees us from bitterness, we can move forward in faith to be healed and begin to regain our spiritual balance.

Love Your Betrayer

How can I love my betrayer? This type of love is not romantic love but a decision to love. Love happens when I forgive them and turn revenge over to God. Also, remember not to talk badly about them because our words are powerful. When we speak positively about people and pray for them, we begin to see how the Lord sees them.

I know this sounds difficult, but we must rely on the Lord. With the Lord’s continued assistance and willingness to seek Him, we let the Lord fill us with His love versus falling into more traps by satan.

Let The Lord Heal You

The Lord desires to bring healing as you cry out to Him in prayer after being betrayed. Ask the Lord to bring healing to your heart. As you forgive, the Lord can heal you and give you a glimpse of what He experiences daily regarding forgiveness. In Matthew 6:14, Jesus says, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.”[3]

To hear about bringing good out of betrayal, listen here:

[1-3] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Tyndale House Publishers.

Giving your heart to Jesus is an act of humility that changes everything about you. Unlike an opposing army that captures you with force, Jesus does not force His will on us. As the good shepherd, He calls us to Himself, and we have free choice to receive Him or reject Him.

When we receive Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts. 1 Corinthians 6:19Don’t you realize that your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price.[1] How has giving your heart to Jesus affected your life? How has the Lord transformed you? How is the Lord molding you today?

Enemies of Jesus Want to Capture Him

As Jesus comes to Jerusalem, His earthly ministry is ending. Satan is working in the hearts of Jesus’ enemies who seek Him, not to humble themselves before Him but to harm Him. Mark 14:1It was now two days before Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law were still looking for an opportunity to capture Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the Passover celebration,” they agreed, “or the people may riot. [2]

Over the time of Jesus’ ministry, many people came willing to Jesus, transforming their lives. Mary Magdalene was freed of seven demons and changed as a person. (Ref. Luke 8:2). The religious leaders who wanted to harm Jesus could have been set free from their sin but chose to oppose Jesus, not to give their hearts to Him. They hardened their hearts which would have eternal consequences.

Giving Your Heart to Jesus Gives You Peace

The religious leaders felt threatened by Jesus. Peace had escaped them, but you don’t have to live that way. When people give their hearts to Jesus, they stop worrying about things they can’t control. You begin to slow down, trust the Lord in your daily life, and let go of what you can’t control.

Philippians 4: Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. [3] There is no significant obstacle, no affliction too big, no pain too great for our God. The Lord is always with us to walk through the storms of life with us. Our circumstances may not change, but His presence brings peace the world cannot give. When we come to Jesus, He lifts us out of the darkness and places us in the light. No matter how lost, broken, sad, or defeated you may feel today, know the Lord is with you and will never leave you.

To hear about giving your heart to Jesus, listen here:

[1-3] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Tyndale House Publishers.

Jesus, the Passover lamb, comes to Jerusalem for the last time to fulfill the will of His Father and Biblical prophecies by giving His life for humankind on the cross. Mark 14:1It was now two days before Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law were still looking for an opportunity to capture Jesus secretly and kill him.[1]

Think about how different your life is today because Jesus died for your sins. The Lord made a way for you by giving His life for you. Jesus calls Himself the way because having faith in Jesus is the only way to be saved.

The Feast of Passover Foreshadows Jesus’ Sacrifice.

In the Lord’s timing, Jesus would die on the cross on the Feast of Passover. He would be the final and all-sufficient sacrifice. The Israelites were enslaved people in Egypt and could not free themselves, but God would intervene. The Lord sent ten plagues upon Egypt, and finally, the Pharaoh relented and let the Israelites go after the tenth plague. The first Passover occurred as protection for Israel during the plague.

This plague was called the plague of the firstborn. The Lord instructed the people to bring a one-year-old lamb or goat without defect into their home on the tenth day of the first month. Four days later, they were to sacrifice the animal and put its blood over the sides and tops of the doorframe of their home. Exodus 12:13 But the blood on your doorposts will serve as a sign, marking the houses where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt. [2]

Jesus Frees Us From the Slavery of Sin

The Israelites could not free themselves from slavery, and we cannot free ourselves from the slavery of sin without God’s intervention. In Luke 4:18, Jesus says, “I came to set the captives free.” The captives are us, and Jesus came to set us free from sin. When we place our faith in Jesus, we receive the gift the Lord can give us because of His sacrifice on the cross.

Jesus saves us just as we are without our help or merit. Jesus tells us in John 8:36,  So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.[3]Today, you can rejoice if you have faith in Jesus as your Savior. Jesus has paid the price for your sin, and He will never leave you. To hear more about Jesus, the Passover Lamb, listen here:

[1-3] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Tyndale House Publishers.

God will judge the wicked in His time. I would be the first to admit I don’t always understand God’s timing when judging the wicked. When Adam and Eve fell into sin it infected the entire human race. In our broken world, sinful people and nations cause unmerited pain to others. In the middle of this broken world, the Lord has placed you as a believer to be a lighthouse to show others the ways of Jesus.

One person can make a difference. On a foreign mission trip, we visited a local prison. Our team brought food for the prisoners and told the message of Jesus. Several people placed their faith in Jesus that day, joining a few other believers. The Lord was using one prisoner we met there as an informal chaplain spreading the light of Jesus amid spiritual darkness. As believers in Jesus, we forget that we would be headed down the same path as the most wicked person in the world without faith. Jesus, in His grace, rescues us from our sins when we repent and believe.

God Will Judge the Wicked

Judging people is the role of the Lord because He is the only one who truly knows our hearts. Our loving God does not compare us to others because He knows we have all fallen short. Romans 3:23For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.[1] In this week’s story, the wicked religious leaders tried to trap Jesus so they could arrest him. If they did not repent, they would face judgment along with the wicked. Revelation 20: 15 And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire. [2]

God Gives the Wicked Time to Repent

Manasseh was the son of Hezekiah, one of the finest kings, but he was not like his father. Instead, he was a cruel tyrant. His story is told in 2 Chronicles chapter 33. He was an idol worshiper who turned against God and worshiped many different pagan deities. In addition, he was guilty of immorality and perversion as he devoted himself to witchcraft and murder. He even sacrificed his son to a pagan god.

In God’s grace, judgment came upon Manasseh. The Babylonians hauled Manasseh to a foreign prison. There he had a change of heart. 2 Chronicles 33:13 And when Manasseh prayed, the Lord listened to him and was moved by his request. So the Lord brought Manasseh back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh finally realized that the Lord alone is God! [3] God’s mercy is vast and beyond our comprehension because He responds to repentant hearts.

To learn how God will judge the wicked in His time, listen here:

[1-3] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Tyndale House Publishers.

Asking God for forgiveness lifts a huge burden. Is the Lord calling you today to confess your sins so He can forgive? I remember ministering to a World War II soldier in the hospital. The war had been over for decades, but an action in the war continued to trouble him. He indicated that there was no day that he did not think about what happened.

Humbling himself, he admitted what he had done and asked the Lord to forgive him. As I held his hand, I assured him if we sincerely repent of our sins, the Lord Jesus forgives us. After all those years, God’s forgiveness removed a heavyweight. If you are struggling with past sins, don’t wait any longer. Come to Jesus today. 1 John 1: But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. [1] 

God Did Not Design us to Carry the Burden of Sin

The Lord did not design us to carry the burden of sin. Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.[2]

If you are carrying the burden of sin, take your sin to the cross of Jesus and leave it there. As we confess our sins, the Lord forgives us. The Lord gives us a wonderful gift of forgiveness. Jesus bought this gift as He paid the price for our sins on the cross.

When I Refuse to Confess my Sin

The religious leaders had challenged Jesus, so He told them a parable. He wanted them to admit their sin so they could be forgiven and set free. What would they do? They refused to repent. Mark 12:12 The religious leaders wanted to arrest Jesus because they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. But they were afraid of the crowd, so they left him and went away. [3]

Jesus gave them every opportunity to turn from their wicked ways, but they refused. Only the Lord knows if they softened their hearts and came to Him in faith at a later point. These people are now in eternity, but it is not too late for you to come to Jesus and confess your sins. Jesus came to set the captives free. (Ref. Luke 4:18) Let the Lord set you free today if you are wrestling with unconfessed sin. The Lord brings sins to our minds so we can confess and be forgiven, not to condemn us. We can be so thankful for having such a wonderful, forgiving God.

To hear more about asking God for forgiveness, listen here:

[1-3] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Tyndale House Publishers.

Making Jesus our cornerstone is the most significant thing we can do. A cornerstone is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation. All other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.[1] If the cornerstone is off, it places the whole foundation in jeopardy.

A life built without Jesus as your cornerstone is like building our house on sand. A life lived without Jesus as your cornerstone soon becomes chaotic. With Jesus as our cornerstone, He is our anchor in a storm. He is the invisible hand that sustains us as we walk through the uncertainty of life.

Jesus met Spiritually Blind Religious Leaders

Jewish leadership challenged Jesus only days before He died on the cross for our sins. Jesus told them a parable about wicked farmers who refused to give rent to the owner. In the parable, the evil farmers represent the religious leaders. As the parable unfolds, the farmers beat the first servant who came to collect for the owner. The servant goes back empty-handed. The owner sent other servants who were abused or killed. Then the owner sent his beloved son, whom the farmers killed.

Then Jesus spoke to the religious leaders. Mark 12:“What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do?” Jesus asked. “I’ll tell you—he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others. 10 Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. [2] The religious leaders knew Jesus was talking about them. Their failure to repent resulted in rejecting Jesus as their cornerstone. If they did not change, this would have eternal consequences. 

Building on Jesus as Our Cornerstone

Is the Lord calling you to strengthen the foundation of your life? Jesus may be in your foundation, but today the Lord is calling you to make Him your cornerstone. We live in an ever-changing and chaotic world. Jesus wants you to be able to navigate this time of difficulty. You can build a firm foundation by spending time in God’s word, prayer, and worship. Spending time with the Lord is like putting reinforcement in our foundation.

Others around may be far from the Lord, but you can be a lighthouse guiding them to Jesus. You can be Jesus’s arms, feet, and voice to bring the Good News of Jesus to those the Lord directs you to. My Father’s last words to me before he died were, “I will be alright.” He was correct in what he said because Jesus was his cornerstone and firm foundation. Making Jesus our cornerstone changes everything, especially our life today and in eternity. To hear more, listen here:


[2] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Mk 12:9–10). Tyndale House Publishers.

Responding to God’s intervention in our lives shapes our present and future. One of my friends was an older adult when he came to Jesus. One day the work of the Holy Spirit made it clear he was living a life of sin that separated him from the Lord. Although he had been in church many times, this day was different. He sensed he needed to humble himself and walk out of the mess he had made of his life.

He later asked Jesus into his heart and began to live a new life. God opened his eyes to see the folly of his past life. His current and eternal life had all changed in one day. Most people may not experience such a life-changing event. Adjusting to God’s intervention in our life is often one slight adjustment after another. Over time minor adjustments add up to significant adjustments that transform our lives.

When God’s Intervention Falls on Hardened Hearts

The Lord loves when people respond to the Holy Spirit and come to Him in faith. Unfortunately, too many people ignore the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives and harden their hearts. In our story, religious leaders question Jesus’ authority. As a result, He tells them a parable to show the condition of their hearts.

A man plants a vineyard, but when it comes time to collect his share of the harvest, he sends out a servant. The farmers do not want to give up the owner’s share of the crop and beat up the servant. Later other servants are sent out only to be killed.

Mark 12:6Until there was only one left—his son whom he loved dearly. The owner finally sent him, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’ “But the tenant farmers said to one another, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ So they grabbed him and murdered him and threw his body out of the vineyard. [1] The parable showed the religious leaders they were like wicked farmers. But instead of repenting, they hardened their hearts and turned away from the Lord. How many people in hell regret their hardened hearts? For them, it is too late, but it is not too late for you!

Change My Heart, Oh God

When we respond to the Lord’s intervention in our life, He reveals that our hearts need to change. The Lord, in His mercy, begins to open our eyes to our need for faith and transformation. A heart that responds to the Lord becomes moldable and teachable. It may seem slow, but the Lord changes and softens us over time. Isaiah 64:8 And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand. [2]

To hear more about responding to God’s intervention, listen here:

[1] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Mk 12:6–8). Tyndale House Publishers.

[2] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Is 64:8). Tyndale House Publishers.

God sends helpful people into our lives throughout our lifetime. Life is like a stage; throughout our lives, God sends helpful people to us in His grace. Some people may be on our stage for an extended time, while others may briefly appear. But they are all significant. Think of the helpful people the Lord has blessed you with along your journey. How did each person influence you? Whom did the Lord send into your life to tell you about the Good News of Jesus?

The older I become, the more I appreciate the helpful people the Lord brings to me because they are few but great in impact. Galatians 6:Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. [1]

God Sends People into our Lives to Call Us Back

Have you ever been lost? If you have, it can be a scary experience. We can be lost spiritually in life, but the Lord has mercy on us. He sends others to call us back to Himself. God may do this through personal contact, worship, media, or Scripture.

In our story, the Lord tells a parable to the religious leaders. It is a story of the Lord sending servants out many times to call the nation of Israel back. A vineyard represents Israel. Although the Lord may send people into our lives to call us back, we have free will to refuse. In the parable of the vineyard, the Lord’s grace falls on hardened hearts.

Parable of the Vineyard

Mark 12:2At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. But the farmers grabbed the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. The owner then sent another servant, but they insulted him and beat him over the head. The next servant he sent was killed. Others he sent were either beaten or killed, until there was only one left—his son whom he loved dearly.

The owner finally sent him, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’ “But the tenant farmers said to one another, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ So they grabbed him and murdered him and threw his body out of the vineyard. [2]

The Lord Calls the Backslidden

To backslide means to go backward spiritually. It is not unusual during our spiritual journey to backslide. The Lord wants you to know that He loves you and wants you to return. The Lord has a plan to restore you in the middle of your mess. When we humble ourselves, the Lord is always there to take us back to Himself. Remember, God sends helpful people into our lives. To hear more, listen here:

[1] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ga 6:2–3). Tyndale House Publishers.

[2] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Mk 12:2–8). Tyndale House Publishers.

What will I do with what God gives me? Every believer wrestles with this at some time. Our lives are an ongoing battle of building our kingdom or building God’s kingdom. We know that we should be building God’s Kingdom in our hearts but putting that into practice is not easy.

God has gifted each person in different ways to be part of the puzzle in His Kingdom. Giving up my will for the Lord can be challenging yet rewarding. Surrendering to God’s will means letting go of whatever is holding us back from our relationship with Him. It may mean letting go of money, power, authority, or something else that is a roadblock in your relationship with Jesus.

God’s perspective and plans for our lives are far greater than anything we can imagine. When we surrender to His will, He gives us the peace that settles in our hearts.

When I Misuse What God Has Given Me

The religious leaders in today’s story had great power and authority. But, their hardened hearts created roadblocks for themselves and others. Their actions were just the opposite of God’s plan for them. Could we fall into the same trap?

The priests, teachers of the religious law, and elders used their authority to question Jesus’ authority instead of seeking Him with their hearts. In doing so, they used the gift of power and authority given to them for the wrong purpose.

Mark 11:29 “I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. 30 “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human? Answer me!” 31 They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John. 32 But do we dare say it was merely human?” For they were afraid of what the people would do, because everyone believed that John was a prophet. 33 So they finally replied, “We don’t know.” [1]

Taking Steps to Surrender to God

The Lord wants us to surrender to Him because He knows that is best. Tell Him about your struggles with surrender if you are struggling with this. Ask Him to help you trust Him deeply and surrender to His will. As we pray, the Lord will help us overcome our earthly desires.

Isaiah 40:31But 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. [2] When we call on the Lord, He answers our prayers in His way and timing, which may not be how we envisioned. Will you let the Lord take over your life so He can bless you to use your gifts and resources to bless others?

Ask yourself, what will I do with what God gives me? To hear more, listen here:

[1] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Mk 11:29–33). Tyndale House Publishers.

[2] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Is 40:31). Tyndale House Publishers.

Are you questioning God? Is it wrong to question God? In the Bible, we often see believers questioning God. Habakkuk asked in desperation why evil happened. God later answered him, and he rejoiced in the Lord. His question came from a sincere heart. Habakkuk, the prophet, questioned the Lord in desperation.

Habakkuk 1:How long, O Lord, must I call for help? But you do not listen! “Violence is everywhere!” I cry, but you do not come to save. [1]I believe there are times in our lives when all of us have questioned God if we are honest. We may ask, “Lord, why did you let this happen? Lord, why do good people suffer?” Perhaps you can think of a time when you questioned God. We don’t see what God sees or knows what He knows.

Questioning God with Wrong Motives

The religious leaders often questioned Jesus, but with the wrong motives. One such situation occurred during the last days of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Mark 11:27 Again they entered Jerusalem. As Jesus was walking through the Temple area, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him. 28 They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right to do them?” [2]

The religious leader’s goal in questioning Jesus’ authority was to trap Him. What was in their heart was coming out of their mouths. The religious leaders were asking Jesus with a rebellious untrusting heart, not genuinely seeking an answer from Him. Only the Lord knows as we question Him what is in our hearts.

We Don’t Always Understand What God is Doing

I may question the Lord with a sincere and loving heart seeking to understand, but in the end, we need always to trust God, who knows best. Isaiah 55:“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. [3] We don’t have eyes to see the future, so we don’t know the amazing things the Lord is doing in our lives.

Rather than focus on why I think it is better to focus on trusting God. He uses the brokenness of our lives to display His glory. This gives us hope during trying circumstances that make us question the Lord. Without seeing God’s perspective, we can only trust that the Lord will bring good out of our struggles. Paul says it best. Romans 8:2And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. [4]

Are you questioning God? To hear more, listen here:

[1-4] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Tyndale House Publishers.

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