Following Perfection Versus Jesus

I have been feeling led to study 1 Timothy for quite a while. As I study, I generally blog about whatever it is – that I am studying. The Timothy study is tugging at my soul frequently these days, reminding me of where I need to be.

Why haven’t I committed to this study? I have perfectionist tendencies and set lofty expectations I cannot realistically meet. My heart and physical abilities are in two separate places, and must be able to meet.

Developing Courage

We miss so much when we put everything on hold – in case we can’t follow through as planned. Our expectations cannot be more important than God and relationships.

Here is the thing: Perfectionist level expectations can strain those relationships and hold us back, to the point where we won’t immerse in our friendships or read our Bibles without the promise of expectations being met.

The Real Question

How willing are we – to step out in faith, where we trust Jesus Christ to make us courageous people?

We have been called to be strong and courageous. Every little bit we give to God is a worship offering. Just because we miss our own expectations, does not mean that we somehow miss His or those of loved ones. We have to be willing to lay down our own expectations, and exchange it for time with Jesus and those we care about.

Allowing Ourselves to Worship

It goes back to the truth of being a living sacrifice. When we give ourselves to God, we become an acceptable offering.

Jesus Christ is the key ingredient. We need Jesus to be the One leading us, even in our expectations. He is the One who enables us to set reasonable expectations for ourselves and those around us. So, let’s make our lives about our relationship with Jesus Christ.

While my best efforts aren’t enough, I have a Father whose resources are unlimited. This Father of mine is willing to help out His sons and daughters in any and every way – as we call upon His name. We may not meet our own expectations, but this is the place where we meet the grace and amazing love of our great God.

Choosing Wisely

Standing in this place of  God’s love and grace is where we can allow ourselves to make a trade. We can trade in our high expectations, for the opportunity to stand in awe and worship God – as we trust Him to make a way.

I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9, NRSV).

Friends, we must choose whether we want to follow our perfectionist tendencies or Jesus Christ – the Living God. Our lives are messy and out-of-control, which may lead the perfectionist march, but Jesus Christ is more than enough. He doesn’t have to try to be, for He is perfect!

As for God, His way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure (Ps. 18:30-32, NIV).

Until next time,

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The Man I Met {You Can Meet Him Too}

Today, I am met with a man. A man who probably isn’t that much different from me. In Luke 5, we meet a man who is covered with leprosy. The disease has ran its course, and reached its capacity.

. . . And, he is sicker than he has ever been.

The Emotions

 It so happened that, as Jesus was in one particular town, there was a man whose body was riddled with a virulent skin disease. When he saw Jesus, he fell on his face. ‘Lord,’ he begged, ‘if you want, you can make me clean.’ – Luke 5:12

Illness brings heavy emotions, difficulty thinking, and crazy sleeping patterns, which admittedly is on top of the “typical” symptoms of our health issue.

While emotions can be beautiful and exhilarating, it can be a heavy burden to carry as well.

The emotions might be worse than the actual medical condition. It sticks to our side like glue, and reminds us of what we do not have. It reminds us of the past we cannot go back to, where we once had our family/friends and a place to call home.

. . . This is what this leper faced, and the reality for many of us on a daily basis. 

The life we once knew is – dissolved. Our new life is confusing. And, rarely understood by those nearest to us. They know not the debilitating emotions we struggle with. Even if it is suffocating, others often do not see the enormous burden we carry.

. . . But there is One who knows exactly what we face, as He is the only One who can carry us through this mess!

The Jesus I Know

I appreciate this man who is known only by his debilitating condition, because he knew the struggle, experienced the heavy emotions, and went running to King Jesus! He ran until he reached Jesus, because he knew Jesus is the answer.

. . . Jesus loved him {and us} and delights in taking care of us {just as He delighted in caring for this broken man}.

This Jesus is the same one who holds my heart. Jesus came, went to the cross, died and rose again to be with me. So, I may have peace with my Father.

My heart is safely held by Jesus, even on my worst day.

. . . He is my Protector, Comforter, and Friend.


This man encountered Jesus, and was changed.

Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. ‘I do want to,’ he said. ‘Be clean.’ And the skin disease disappeared immediately. – Luke 5:13

Honestly, this is enough to bring me to my knees. The man ran to Jesus, and was wholly welcomed as he was. We are, too.


Our Invitation

Just as Jesus welcomed this man, we are welcomed and invited to come running to Him right now. We don’t have to wait until x, y, and z resolves itself. We can come to Jesus right now.

. . . Jesus invites us to come to Him. Weariness, heavy circumstances, and all, we are invited to simply come to Him.

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!

Week 3: 1 Thessalonians 3:7

Welcome, my friends, to week 3 of our study! I am so glad you are here. Thank you for taking a few moments out of your day to read today’s blog entry in your email or possibly on the website. You will not regret taking this time to invest in your relationship with God through Jesus Christ. He is the source of all hope and comfort.

The Scripture –

While I am limited in sharing at this moment due to circumstances, I want to be able to share with you our new weekly memory verse.

In the middle of our trouble and hard times here, just knowing how you’re doing keeps us going. Knowing that your faith is alive keeps us alive (1 Thess. 3:7, MSG).

The Truth Revealed –

As I face my own troubles, I can relate a bit with Paul. Honestly, the great “longing exchange” (where the longing for a close friend is mutual) is a tremendous comfort in hard times. When you are in desperate need and alone, quality companionship is one of the top desires one troubled friend could have.

When we are going through hard times, we just need someone to be there for us. . . someone who will lead us straight to Jesus Christ. It’s the exact medicine we need.

We learn a few things about Paul and the Thessalonians –

  • Paul’s Heart: Longed for the Thessalonians, and bombarded with troubles.
  • The Thessalonians’ Heart: Longed for Paul, and continually sought Christ. . . resulting in much spiritual growth even during persecution.
  • Resulting in much comfort, especially for Paul in his time of need.

Hearing others’ stories of faith in Christ makes everything much better. While the circumstances may not change, our heart are uplifted versus drowning. Our perspective changes – because we receive comfort from friends. . . friends who treat our friendship in a godly way. Encouraging us to keep pressing into Jesus, praying over our circumstances, and helping us to hold onto our faith in Jesus and His Good News.

Biblical Friendship

While we may not choose our times of suffering, God can use this time to be encouraged (or encourage others) by others’ faith and show us the kind of friends we have (or are).

The Thessalonians and Paul had biblical friendships. They sought the Lord Jesus to be honored in their lives. They wanted to help encourage one another, pray together, and continue to live out their faith in Christ.

Biblical friendships are hard to find, but are what makes the lasting change in our spiritual lives.

Jonathan and David are a classic example of biblical friendship (see 1 Samuel 23:15-18). They loved each other in a godly friendship; Jonathan made sure to be there when David needed him the most (click here to listen to a sermon on the topic). Likewise, the Thessalonians would have send word back conveying how much they care for Paul and miss him.

Biblical friendships make the difference in our Christian walk, and an important tool in our transformation.

“[Thessalonians’] steadfastness was a great source of comfort to [Paul] in his trials. . . In the inevitable trials of the ministerial office there is no source of comfort more rich and pure than this (Albert Barnes Commentary).”

Preparing to Serve

It has been one of those weeks.

I need to clear out the spaces in my spirit.

… Tomorrow is Sunday.

The Privilege of Serving Sundays

Sunday is the day, where I am given the abundant privilege to serve God and my brothers and sisters in His family! Don’t get me wrong, we are given opportunities to serve God and His people on a daily basis. But, Sunday’s always feel a bit different than those other opportunities. Perhaps, it’s just me.

For me, Sunday’s are long – yet there is something beautiful about them. It is a time to hear the Word of God faithfully preached, meet with His people, laugh with His people, and to be vulnerable with His people. All of which is actually an opportunity to see God and His handiwork more.

Preparing for Tomorrow

I just want to be prepared for tomorrow. Like I said, interesting week. More like, an interesting “encounter” (since I don’t want to divulge more information, we will leave it there). And, I just can’t get it off my mind. I am wondering what is the next step. I am wondering about a lot of things – actually.

Thankfully, I am talking with my Risen Savior about it. While the thoughts creep in and I can’t imagine vulnerably telling others in a face-to-face conversation, I am sharing it with my great God who already knows what is going on.

Tomorrow, I am given the opportunity to serve. As I look back through my serving posts from this year, I can see how it has been quite a year (something I have meant to write about at some point). I have wondered and wandered about where God wants me to serve. I finally have places, where I am serving. God has been providing this year, because I asked and He answered!

How does one prepare to serve?

  1. Get alone with the Lord. Carve out very specific time, to shut out distractions and seek the Lord (see Exodus 19:3a and Luke 5:16).
  2. Recognize God’s greatness. Pore over Isaiah 40, and remember God’s vastness (see Psalm 77:13-15). Our faith is dependent on what we know about God. Keep remembering the God you serve!
  3. Remember what Jesus has done for you! We can offer up ourselves as a living offering, because of what Jesus has done for us. The mercy of God needs to be our motivation. Keep looking to the cross and His empty tomb. Keep looking to the new life He has given you (see Romans 12:1; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21).
  4. Repent of sin. In Scripture, we are reminded that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Because of the God we serve, we can come asking for forgiveness and rest assured that He is faithful and just and will do it (see 1 John 1:9).
  5. Enjoy God’s Presence. Take time to simply rest in Him. Celebrate who God is. Celebrate the kind of relationship God has given you with Himself, through Jesus Christ. Celebrate that God will equip you, to serve Him (see Exodus 33:14; Psalm 16:11, 27:4).
  6. Pour out your heart. Share your heart with God. Tell Him what is going on, right now. Honestly. God sees you. God sees your brokenness. God sees the masks you tend to put on, before you leave the house. God knows what you face. Nothing you can think or say, will shock God. Use this time, to simply be with Him. In the book of Psalms, we are given examples of how people have prayed through their brokenness (see Psalm 13).

I will stop today’s post right here. I have tons to say on brokenness, serving, and other semi-related topics. we will have to pick up where I left off – another time.

Until next time,

Stacey