Evangel Staff Blog

This is some blog description about this site

What If...

whatifweek1imgAs we begin this Spiritual Life Emphasis, "Trading Your If Only Regrets for God's What if Possibilities," I was thinking about a verse the author of our devotional book shares in chapter one. It is Jeremiah 46:17. I like how the NIV puts it, "There they will exclaim, 'Pharaoh king of Egypt is only a loud noise; he has missed his opportunity." In Isaiah 30:1, Egypt is called "the do- nothing." There is a fascinating story behind these verses that our devotional writer does not tell you. Let me tell you about it!

If I were to say to you, Lexington and Concord or Normandy Beach, or the Twin Towers—your mind might automatically go to the Revolutionary War, WWII, or the terrorist attack on 9/11. Well, in the times that the Old Testament was written, if someone said, "Carchemish," everyone would think of one of the greatest battles in the ancient world. At Carchemish, Babylon smashed Egypt. Egypt was the world's reigning superpower—but this battle changed everything. It was a decisive victory. The balance of power in the Middle East changed forever because of this battle. If you are a New England Patriots fan, maybe you remember when the Pats beat the Titans 59-0 on Oct. 19, 2009. There was no doubt who won! Well, at Carchemish, Babylon won. Hands down.

However, a strange thing happened after the battle. The king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, returned to his homeland because he had heard his father died. Pharaoh had a window of opportunity where he could have pressed in against Babylon, and won back what was lost. But he did nothing - the big do-nothing. He missed his opportunity. And he and Egypt had to live in the shadow of the defeat—but things could have been different, if only.

So many times we live in the shadow of what could have been. But God does not want us to live in the shadow of our failures and faults. He wants us to live in the opportunities of the cross and the new relationship with Him that the cross opens up for us to have. We can live by faith not fear. That is what this series is all about. It is a call to step out in faith based on what Christ has done and who He empowers us to be in Him. That might be a step of service or risking a new relationship or to stop living in the past and live in the future of all Christ has for us.

As we begin this series, I wonder, what opportunity does Christ living in you open? In what way do you want to move past your "if only" regrets and move into God's "what if" possibilities?

I would love if you could respond to this question in the blog by commenting below. And, then we will come back at the end of the series and talk about what happened in our life along the way. Let's believe together, as we follow Christ, for God to open the door to new possibilities in our lives!

Why Alpha?
A Reason to Smile

Comments 6

 
Guest - EH on Sunday, 31 January 2016 23:21
The possibilities are endless.

I'll admit, I think about the "if only" from time to time. The recent record setting jackpot is an example of this that I think many people many can relate to. I thought, If only. What if we won? What would we do if we won? I thought about all the things that I would do with that all money. Things for myself, things for my family, my community, charities and causes I support, random acts of kindness etc. If only. Perhaps that money could be what changes our lives and the lives of those around us. But why does money have to be the "if only" here. I can still do all these things and more with Christ in my corner. As myself, without money. With my heart and my will. I have gifts to share with others that money cannot buy. I can do wonderful things through him. The possibilities are endless. I already won. I have to stop and think about all the amazing things that we HAVE in our lives RIGHT NOW. As they are. How blessed we are to have jobs, to have a home, to have food on the table, to have two beautiful and healthy children, to have supportive friends and family...I could go on. My point is, that sometimes it's hard not to get caught up in the "if only" but I will not neglect to think about the wonderful blessings that are already before me.

0
I'll admit, I think about the "if only" from time to time. The recent record setting jackpot is an example of this that I think many people many can relate to. I thought, If only. What if we won? What would we do if we won? I thought about all the things that I would do with that all money. Things for myself, things for my family, my community, charities and causes I support, random acts of kindness etc. If only. Perhaps that money could be what changes our lives and the lives of those around us. But why does money have to be the "if only" here. I can still do all these things and more with Christ in my corner. As myself, without money. With my heart and my will. I have gifts to share with others that money cannot buy. I can do wonderful things through him. The possibilities are endless. I already won. I have to stop and think about all the amazing things that we HAVE in our lives RIGHT NOW. As they are. How blessed we are to have jobs, to have a home, to have food on the table, to have two beautiful and healthy children, to have supportive friends and family...I could go on. My point is, that sometimes it's hard not to get caught up in the "if only" but I will not neglect to think about the wonderful blessings that are already before me.
Guest - Pastor Brian on Monday, 01 February 2016 09:26
RE:The possibilities are endless.

That is a very interesting thought! I'm so glad you shared it! If you think about it, we have already won-big time-in Christ. Let's learn to live out of the abundance of what he makes possible in our life! Thank you so much for sharing!

0
That is a very interesting thought! I'm so glad you shared it! If you think about it, we have already won-big time-in Christ. Let's learn to live out of the abundance of what he makes possible in our life! Thank you so much for sharing!
Guest - Tracey Coleman on Monday, 01 February 2016 10:32
Living with regret

In looking back on my life, I can honestly say I have no regrets. I could have done things differently, maybe a decision here or there, a path taken a different way. But I know that my life would not be what it is now if I had done things differently. I know, while I have the option to choose, ultimately, God's hand is on my life and the outcomes are in his control. I am grateful for my faith, to keep me close to Him, to give me peace in knowing He is by my side no matter what.

That said, I work in mental health and I know so many people have regrets. They do live a life of shame and regret, regretting past decisions, regretting circumstances that were out of their control. If only we could communicate God's love and mercy to these people so they would know the truth of His love and they would know that He is the master creator, savior, redeemer, peacemaker.

0
In looking back on my life, I can honestly say I have no regrets. I could have done things differently, maybe a decision here or there, a path taken a different way. But I know that my life would not be what it is now if I had done things differently. I know, while I have the option to choose, ultimately, God's hand is on my life and the outcomes are in his control. I am grateful for my faith, to keep me close to Him, to give me peace in knowing He is by my side no matter what. That said, I work in mental health and I know so many people have regrets. They do live a life of shame and regret, regretting past decisions, regretting circumstances that were out of their control. If only we could communicate God's love and mercy to these people so they would know the truth of His love and they would know that He is the master creator, savior, redeemer, peacemaker.
Guest - Brian Tracy on Monday, 01 February 2016 11:21
RE:Living with regret

Great point Tracey! As I think back, I have to admit that I do have regrets about how I did not act with more boldness and confidence at times because I was not fully living in the confidence of God's love and acceptance of me. But that informs my future--to challenge me to live in the full confidence of God's love and acceptance and presence in my life through Christ. And when we do live in this fully, to your point, the question becomes, how can we, as Christ followers, live out God's love and mercy in front of other so they could find hope in Christ for themselves by how they seem Him in us? It makes me think--step 1, get this straight in our lives, step 2--care enough about others to not just be content we are all good but prayerfully live a life that shows His hope and life to others. In fact, as I think about it, it is the confidence we find in Him that allows us to risk reaching out to others!
Thanks for your post Tracey!

0
Great point Tracey! As I think back, I have to admit that I do have regrets about how I did not act with more boldness and confidence at times because I was not fully living in the confidence of God's love and acceptance of me. But that informs my future--to challenge me to live in the full confidence of God's love and acceptance and presence in my life through Christ. And when we do live in this fully, to your point, the question becomes, how can we, as Christ followers, live out God's love and mercy in front of other so they could find hope in Christ for themselves by how they seem Him in us? It makes me think--step 1, get this straight in our lives, step 2--care enough about others to not just be content we are all good but prayerfully live a life that shows His hope and life to others. In fact, as I think about it, it is the confidence we find in Him that allows us to risk reaching out to others! Thanks for your post Tracey!
Guest - Steve Devereaux on Tuesday, 02 February 2016 04:45
My prayer for others

If only we realized how much God loves us....In my prayers for the unsaved, I used to feel frustrated on what to pray for. With my sympathy, compassion and tears given to Jesus, on their behalf, at the end...in my emptiness, I realized that my all encompassing prayer would be that they someday soon realize how much God loves them! When I realized that for myself (probably with the help of someone's praying for me) I was filled with a tearful gratitude that helped me into His arms. Now, I write an ongoing gratitude journal, (love letters) to God/Jesus. My barometer of spiritual health. :-) Thank you God. Xoxo Steve

0
If only we realized how much God loves us....In my prayers for the unsaved, I used to feel frustrated on what to pray for. With my sympathy, compassion and tears given to Jesus, on their behalf, at the end...in my emptiness, I realized that my all encompassing prayer would be that they someday soon realize how much God loves them! When I realized that for myself (probably with the help of someone's praying for me) I was filled with a tearful gratitude that helped me into His arms. Now, I write an ongoing gratitude journal, (love letters) to God/Jesus. My barometer of spiritual health. :-) Thank you God. Xoxo Steve
Guest - Brian Tracy on Tuesday, 02 February 2016 07:03
RE:My prayer for others

Thanks for your post Steve. It is right in line with one of my favorite prayers of Paul in the Bible where he prays that we would have power together all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, to know this love that surpasses knowledge. We need the help of the Spirit to do this--and when we allow Him to take us deeper into the love of Christ (which is a life long journey we all need to explore in deeper ways), it is life changing! May His Spirit take us all deeper (and pray for others to be taken deeper) in the love of Christ during this Spiritual Life Emphasis! Thanks for your post Steve!

0
Thanks for your post Steve. It is right in line with one of my favorite prayers of Paul in the Bible where he prays that we would have power together all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, to know this love that surpasses knowledge. We need the help of the Spirit to do this--and when we allow Him to take us deeper into the love of Christ (which is a life long journey we all need to explore in deeper ways), it is life changing! May His Spirit take us all deeper (and pray for others to be taken deeper) in the love of Christ during this Spiritual Life Emphasis! Thanks for your post Steve!