Characteristics of God, Godly Living

Finding Captivating Love {Devotion}

While this post is over a year old, it is worth making sure its contents are shared with all of you – my lovely readers who are dearly loved by our heavenly Father. Allow it to soak into your spirit, help you draw nearer to Jesus Christ, our King, and ponder the truths of our great God and His Word!


Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance (1 Peter 1:1-2).

In 1 Peter 1:2, we learn a few interesting things.

  • God has a purpose regarding us.
  • We are chosen.
  • We have been made holy.
  • We have been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb (that is, Jesus Christ).
  • Grace and peace are ours in full measure.

The question I want us to answer today is….

How are you at living out these basic precepts that make up the Christian faith? It can take some of us many years to finally grasp the fact that we are –

  • on God’s mind (that He has a purpose for us!)
  • chosen by God alone (and it has nothing to do with our works)
  • cleansed (really cleansed) by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus, the Messiah!)
  • God’s grace and peace are completely poured onto every aspect of our lives, if we will allow God to do it!

What would our lives look like if we really grasped these truths? What would my life look like, if I really knew that I was loved by my Savior? Not a conditional kind of love that is based on what I do or don’t do, what expectations I completely miss by a long-shot, and any other human measure I can concoct in my mind.

Jesus loves, really loves, me and you. To such an extent that He came to earth.

Think about what kind of longing that would take.

“I am going to earth, to redeem them.”

“I will be forsaken, unloved, hated in fact, punished for what THEY did (for our sin, and He did it with such amazing love), and I am going to BRING them back. I am going to FIX our broken relationship, because I dearly love them and created them.”

This is true, friends.
Our reality.

God’s love is passionate. He is absolutely for us! And, this is the kind of love that God has for each one of us.

There is this song I reheard at a conference, but it took on a whole new meaning while there. “Live Like You’re Loved (Hawk Nelson)”. What would it take for me to live like God loves me? Not on some mini-level. We are talking about a football stadium, out of this world, full blown confidence, kind of love that God has for each of us.

The love of God is beyond anything we could ever comprehend.

We could take all of the oceans of the world, line them up next to each other, and it still wouldn’t even come close to the greatness of God’s love for us. All He wants is to be with us. To spend time with us. It’s a relationship!

Thessalonians

Week 4: 1 Thessalonians 4:3

This week’s memory verse is 1 Thessalonians 4:3. This is a precious piece of Scripture. While all Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16), this one is quite meaningful for the lives of many believers in Jesus Christ.

For this is the will of God, that you should be consecrated (separated and set apart for pure and holy living): that you should abstain and shrink from all sexual vice… (AMP-C)

Friends, we have been set apart for God and His purposes. This is the tremendous joy of the Christian life we live. God has many amazing things in store for us, as His people who have been redeemed (rescued) by His Son Jesus Christ, and choose to continue seeking after God’s will.

For the Christian, one of the greatest temptations is sexuality. It is a hot area where the Devil knows just what crafty word or action to use, as he stands in the way between us and God. We all know someone who have fallen prey to the Devil’s lures with sexual temptation, and left their faith and lives in ruins.

While God has given us the ability to desire sex or things of that nature, it is a gift human beings have completely misused and reaped the consequences. This command is given for our benefit, for sexual sin destroys.

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other… (Matthew 6:24, NIV)

Our sexuality is going to influence the sanctification process. Sexual sins promise little, deliver none, cost us much, and cause us to flee from God and His presence. And since many face this temptation and give into it, the Devil doesn’t have to try too hard – in order for us to give in. This is why we need to be aware of how we struggle with temptation, so we might stand firm and protect our relationship with our heavenly Father.

In Asbury’s Commentary, we are reminded of the remedy for temptations: run to God and stay in His presence!

Few things have contributed more to the downfall of believers than sexuality. However mature one might be, the constant bombardment from a society that does not know God (v. 5), coupled with the nature of sexual desires, provide ready ammunition for the Tempter (see 3:5). Paul’s implied remedy is the continuing presence of the Spirit in the believer’s life.

Our faith is heavily involved in this choice – whether we obey or reject this command given to us by God to abstain from sexual sins.

Faith is the belief in the Father’s love for you, the Son (Jesus Christ) who willfully went to all costs to redeem and reconcile you to the Father, and the truth that the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in your life. The Holy Spirit will not sit around and do nothing. God has set you apart and equipped you to live a godly life. Keep drawing near, and watch Him work!

How are you focusing on His Presence, as you face temptations?

Thessalonians

Week 4: Prepare For An Energetic Week!

Few things get to me like this topic, as far the church life goes. Welcome, I am your “equally messed up” tour guide. I cannot help but read 1 Thessalonians 4, and be reminded of the ways the Church is… far from where we could be. I love the global church; we are the beloved body of Christ. His bride. His treasure.

Yet we settle for so little, when God wants to lead us to much more – even in this life before we reach Heaven and all its glory.

My Honest Heart Struggle

I made it my mission to go through “Meeting the Thessalonians” before this course was set to begin, which I mostly was able to. I can honestly say, week 4 was without any doubt one of the most difficult weeks. While I had weeks of surprising affliction that made it hard to reach for my Bible and notebook, this week has challenged me greatly based on the content in 1 Thessalonians 4.

It touched me at my core, as a single woman. Some excitement. Erm, much frustration. Plenty of moments, where I was reminded of where I want to be as part of the Church.

Join Me!

I invite you in joining me for the reading of God’s Word, where we will hear God speak in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12.

As a single woman, I am bombarded with temptation – often. I am not alone in this struggle, though. I know, many readers are right there with me.

This passage of Scripture is important for all believers, regardless of our relationship status.

As we take the time to focus our attention on our Lord Jesus Christ, He will work in our midst. While we may face many temptations and struggles in this area, we are not alone. Girls and Guys, you are not alone. I am looking forward to the chance of going through this passage of Scripture together.

This week’s blogging might look drastically differently than the past three weeks have been. Because this passage of Scripture is of such great importance to me, I want to try and pop in whenever I can – to share my thoughts on a particular verse or share a quote from a Bible commentary. This week, in terms of blog posts, might look crazy different than this past week. Or, it might look exactly the same. Only the Good Lord knows!

We simply have to wait and see what God decides to do, because this is His blog.

I may have many passionate things to say, and He may have to offer a strong, yet gentile, reminder of “No Stacey, you cannot write that. It is not useful to build up others in the Church.” (I actually have a good set of moments like this. I, too, am a work in process. . .)

Whatever happens on the blog or your personal study this week, keep digging into God’s Word! I am excited to see what God shows us. Here is the reading plan for this week.

Until next time,

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Thessalonians

Week 3: Alone with God (Wrap-Up)

As I read and remember 1 Thessalonians 3, this woman’s prayer to God is “Lord, I can’t do this!” Okay Lord, show us what you got.

Difficulties

1 Thessalonians 3 can be a difficult read. We are finding ourselves in various seasons of life. While some of us have these kind of friends, I am reminded that others do not. Whichever season of life you are facing, God will encourage your heart. His chosen method may differ, but God will strengthen your heart and cause your faith in our Savior Jesus to increase.

Paul’s Shoes

Let’s put ourselves in Paul’s shoes: Paul faced persecution from preaching the Gospel. He preached the Gospel to the Thessalonians, alongside his brothers Timothy and Silas. While Paul and Silas remained, Timothy went to see how the Thessalonians were getting along. The Thessalonians were new to the Christian faith and suffered, too.

Alone with God

Before “the brothers” could minister to an entire community of individuals who did not know Christ, they had to have their relationship with Jesus in order. In our own lives, we have to learn to be alone with Jesus.

Part of the suffering we may face is finding ourselves alone.

If we will allow it to, this is the place of seeing the value of our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Our companionship.

Desperately crying out to God one-on-one is what is needed, more than anything.  Being alone with Jesus, during suffering, is what will build our faith and encourage us beyond measure. Jesus faced suffering, much suffering, so we can be reunited with our great God! Let’s remember this truth, as we face – perhaps more of a lonely period than predicted.

Being alone with Jesus Christ, during suffering, might be needed to lay the framework for our relationship with Jesus.

Today, let’s choose to remember that being alone with Jesus is a good thing (because it is).

Desperately Needing Jesus

While we could quote Scripture for why others ought to be present, we need to stay in Jesus’ presence even more. We can even be tempted to wonder where others’ are, but it might be the wrong focus. Jesus went through so much, so that we can actually be alone with God. Let’s celebrate this truth, that we get to be alone with God!

Where will we allow our focus to be today?

Because of Jesus Christ, we have been reunited with God. The Father paved the way, and saved us! As a result, we have been reconciled to God. God has given us the tremendous gift of His presence. During our times of suffering, this is the time to set our relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ – as the most important relationship of our entire lives.

Remember these words –

The Lord said to Moses (Lev. 6:1).

He wants to talk with you, too, especially during your suffering. Perhaps even, give you a word of encourage to speak to another.

Until next time,

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BookLook

“The Privilege of Worship” (BookLook)

Worship Wars

In “The Privilege of Worship,” Stewart Holloway addresses worship in a new vibrant way. We all know the “worship wars” that can happen within our churches and relationships. We spend far more time arguing or sharing our puffed-up opinion about how we want to worship, than we do simply worshiping. And the result of such actions, is destruction rather than peace and brokenness rather than the wholeness Jesus gives to us. There is no beauty in “worship wars”. I have seen its effect on a personal level, and it reminds me of the need to focus on worshipping God (not myself or someone else). What if we worshiped God in all His holiness and splendor, rather than arguing about the way we worship?

Help Wanted: Jesus!

As Holloway stated, many Christians are missing out on the privilege of worship. We get more excited about a football game, than we do about worshipping our Savior. We should be more excited about Jesus Christ and the opportunity given to worship Him. This is why revival is the only word to kindly express our need as the Church.

For many of us, our worship needs a revival. We need to remember what worship is honestly about. These days, we aren’t treating worship with the reverence it deserves. We need to remember the design of worship. Through worship, we get the opportunity to “communion with God” as Holloway states as he describes worship. God has given us a way (worship) to meet with Him and pour all that is building up in our hearts.

Worship is the beautiful communion and celebration between us and God.

Thoughts on “The Privilege of Worship”

As I read Holloway’s book and reflect on its key principles, I am able to gain a clearer picture of worship and its importance in my life. However we worship, it needs to be the center of our lives. Holloway shows his heart for worship in “The Privilege of Worship,” and God will change our own hearts as we read this book. Our hearts will become excited about worshipping the Lord our God. We will have a more intimate relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. We will see peace flow through our church lives, as we give ourselves to God, His Church, and choose to not participate in worship wars.

There are many good things God will give to us, as we give ourselves to Him and commit to worshipping Him.

This book has been a blessing for me to read. While I am not done reading or using it in my Christian life, I do think it is a good book for any Christian to read. We all need to remember the amazing privilege we have been given, in Christ, to worship. (Psstt: The book is only $3.99 for the Kindle edition)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through BookLook’s blogger review program, in exchange for a honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.