Shepherding + Obedience

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Ohh friends,

I want to share with you our “focus verse” for the rest of the week. It is soo late in the week, to call it a “memory verse”. But, I really appreciate the truth found in this verse.

The saying is true and irrefutable: If any man [eagerly] seeks the office of bishop (superintendent, overseer), he desires an excellent task (work). – 1 Tim. 3:1, AMPC

I have much to say on this verse, but I want to keep today’s blog post shorter than normal.


Friends, let us consider how we can draw nearer to our Risen Lord today.

I don’t know what you have going on. You may be crazy busy, or physically weaker than normal. Let us consider how we can seek the Lord.


Finding Wholeness in Him

When I seek Him, He fills me up with His Holy Spirit. I don’t want to miss this experience of being full of Him – and feeling complete.

And you are in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life (Col. 2:10, AMPC). .

Normally people give themselves “one word” for 2018, I am finding out what mine is. A bit late? Drawing nearer is my goal for this year. I want to be drawn nearer to our Lord Jesus Christ – despite the circumstances of today.

Plant Based Eating

Today, I am on day 9 of being completely compliant on my new way of eating. I slipped up a bit last night, but overall it is going very well. This is something I am doing out of obedience.

I just want to obey the Lord and follow the direction He is leading me. I am realizing just how much I need to stay on this plant based way of eating.

As of yesterday, I “reappeared” on Instagram. I am hoping to be more vocal about this new way of eating, and maybe share recipes I am coming across and loving. Plenty of things going on, and as the Lord leads – I will share them here.

A Place to Minister

One of the reasons I love our verse is – it reminds me of the gift we have to shepherd others in the faith. As the Lord leads, He allows us to be there to love on and guide others.

This blog is an opportunity for me to live out this passion of mine – to shepherd and lead others closer to our Lord Jesus. Even if my days are filled with sickness or housework busyness, I can meet here and share what the Lord is putting on my heart.

Thank you all for being here, and allowing me to share.

In Him,

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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

Immersed in Service – Part 2a

When I think of immersing oneself in service as an act of worship, I think of Anna. We find Anna in Luke, chapter 2. So today, I want to talk about our sister Anna for a bit. She has a story that can strengthen the weakest of us.

What circumstances are you facing today?

We may feel like our circumstances prohibit us from immersing in service as an act of worship. We may feel like that ship has sailed. Or maybe even, we are just too old//young//single//married to be used by God in service as a public declaration that we are lovers of God who want to seek Him. I want to share with us today the testimony of this amazing woman of God.

Immersion into service is about our public declaration that we, too, are lovers of God who want to seek Him!

Anna: A Woman After God’s Own Heart

While we know very little about Anna, Scripture gives us some important details about this woman of God, so that we can strive to become more like her. That is, to learn from her example. Anna was a woman who sought after the heart of God and immersed herself in service as an act of worship. It was not a one-time event in her life, but she chose to have a daily encounter with God. She made sure her connection to God never went stagnant, because she stopped making sacrifices (and I apologize, but you have to wait for the second part of her story for more on her walk with God…)

How can you seek after the heart of God, to enjoy Him, today?

In Luke 2, we are given 3 verses about this woman. We are going to look at the first part today.

“At that very moment, an elderly woman named Anna stepped forward. Anna was a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She had been married for seven years before her husband died and a widow to her current age of 84 years…”

She was –

  • a prophetess in the temple.
  • a woman from the tribe of Asher.
  • a widow for many years.
  • alone since her husband had passed.
  • a worshiper of the Lord.

This is just a small glimpse of who Anna was. Yet, it tells so much of her story. I love the example that Anna was. She was not merely an example to those around her, but generations of men and women, alike, can look to her example as well.

Prophetess

Anna, whose name means grace, was a woman who could foresee what God was doing. God would grant her the advantage of knowing His plans (or some of them) a little beforehand. This is what a prophetess does. She had a spiritual gift that set her apart for His glory. And, she honored God, by utilizing the gifts she had been given. Look at where she was. She was in the temple.

How are you planting yourself in the Word of God, the Bible, so you can know His plans? #2) How are you utilizing the spiritual gifts God has planted within you, as a follower of Christ?

Lineage

She is declared blessed, by her background alone. In Genesis, we learn that the tribe of Asher (her family background) is blessed above all other nations.

“May Asher be blessed above other sons; may he be esteemed by his brothers; may he bathe his feet in olive oil (Deut. 33:24).”

Asher will become famous for rich foods, candies and sweets fit for kings (Gen. 49:20, MSG).”

So, Anna came from a well off background. Why was Asher blessed above the rest, though? Do you wonder? Does it have any implication regarding this woman that exemplifies such faith?

Based on this article and Deuteronomy 27:13-26, I think it is because they followed the word of the Lord. They tried to obey God. Yes, they failed. They made mistakes. But, their heart’s desire was to obey the Lord God – and – we see this in the life of Anna.

Though her time in the Scriptures is short, she is seen as a woman who sought out ways that she could be concrete about her love for the Lord. She was seen regularly at the temple to pray and fast, because she loved God.

How have you sought out concrete ways to live out your faith and love for our Savior Jesus Christ?

A couple chapters later, after the important message concerning blessings and curses, we can read that the tribe of Asher is declared blessed by God.

How are you choosing to trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior? In the Word of God, we are reminded that those who place their trust in the Lord are blessed. One (of many) Scripture pointing this out is Psalm 40:4 –

“Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust…”

Widow

Now remember, Anna had no husband. God only granted her seven years with her husband, before he preceded her in death. As a widow, she would have been left to decide what’s next for her life. Would she have her family find another husband for her, so she may follow societal customs and bear sons? Or, would God have a different plan in mind for her?

How have your plans differed from God? How are you choosing to worship and enjoy the Lord right where He has you in life?

When Anna is seen in the temple, she was 84 years old. She had been a widow for many years.  Despite her widow status, she was still busy seeking and serving God. She didn’t let her relationship status define her ministry.

Likewise, we need to allow our lives to be defined by God. It is not up to our relationship status or barrel of circumstances, to determine if we will serve the Lord our God!

Even though Anna was technically alone, she immersed herself into the will of God. She immersed herself in serving God, by going to the temple. She continued to be a faithful Jew who waited upon the promises of God to be fulfilled (see Lk. 2:38).

How is God reassuring you of His love for you? He loves you, and wants to be present in every area of your life. Romans 8 reminds us that “[i]f God is for us, who can ever be against us? (vv. 8)” He does not leave us alone. He loves us beyond words!

Take a moment and read what God says concerning His children in Deuteronomy 31:8.

There is another side of Anna. One that goes beyond her personality, family history, relationship status, age, and all other things. It is called her worship status. Even though she had circumstances beyond her control, she chose to change her worship status from those around her.

How have your circumstances tried to redefine your worship status?

Stay tuned!

Until next time,

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Immersed in Service – Part 1

My Goal

In 2016, my goal has been just for one thing – to immerse myself in service. This is not a “stay busy” kind of goal. Rather, my goal is wrapped up in doing what is eternally profitable.When we choose to focus on our love relationship with God through Jesus Christ and serve in His Kingdom, we have a better return for our efforts. When we serve God, our efforts are long-lasting.

When we give ourselves to God, He does things we could only dream of. In fact, God’s Word teaches us that He can do things that we could ever dream of.

This is the significance of serving God and others within God’s Kingdom. I want to focus on serving and teaching others, because it is for the sake of God’s Kingdom.

In the Kingdom of God, we all serve.
Despite our many different gifting areas, God is wanting to use us as His instruments.

The Goal Versus Distractions

More than anything, I want to immerse myself in a love relationship with the Holy One of Israel, knowing Him more intimately than ever before, and plant myself in serving one another in love.

It sounds great on paper. Even, amazing. Yet, I find myself distracted. Like most single Christ-followers, I find myself distracted. Even though, as a single woman, I can be distracted, I am reminded of the goal: to be Kingdom-minded.

God’s Plan

Regardless of our life circumstances, God wants to use up to build up His Kingdom.

He wants to use the man who has lost his wife to cancer.

He wants to use the mom who feels like she has little to offer.

He wants to use the chronically ill who have no choice, but to take life as it comes.

He wants to use that single woman who is wondering if Mr. Right will ever show up, but continues to trust her Maker most days of the week. 

God has a plan and purpose for each of us. God is equipping us all. God wants to use each of life’s circumstance to help others.

God can use this season of my life, if I will just allow Him to. Likewise, He can use the season of life in which you find yourself too. It may not be the most glamorous of living, but God can use it nonetheless. We serve a God of hope. He wants to offer us His comfort right here, right now. I don’t know what you are facing today, but He extends to you His hope. This hope is not built upon anything that can fade away with time. The hope God offers is eternal, and found through a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.

He Leads

The Scriptures have so much to say about serving, singleness, and just about everything else you ever wanted to know. There is no greater comfort than knowing – God is the place where we can run.

When we don’t know God’s activity (where He is working) or His Will (what He will do), we can trust God’s heart, because through the Bible, His Word, we can know what God is truly like. We can know His heart. And then, we can know that God will indefinitely lead us on. If we will simply begin seeking His face, He will surely lead us on.

Even when we do not know what God is doing, or how He will work out the circumstances in our lives, we can trust God’s heart. Through the Bible, God’s precious Word, He shares all of Himself with us!

Matthew 6:33 reminds us of this sacred truth.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.”

IF we can zoom into God, our love relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, and His Kingdom, God can do the most amazing things!

How are you choosing to give yourself in service, today? What difficulties do you face, as you fixate your eyes on your love relationship with God through Jesus Christ?