1 Samuel 4-8 (Part 1)

Gracefully Overcoming 2017 Blog

“Why did the Lord…? (1 Sam. 4:3)”

Unfortunately, we get like this also. We go out to fight without praying and our spiritual armor, then we bring forth our questions like this.

We want to make and carry out our own plans, but expect God to bless them.

When we do this, we are forgetting one little thing –

The Lord is the One who rules over all (1 Sam. 4:4)

Israel lost the war on the Philistines, because they went their own way versus stopping to pray and see what God wanted. They even, acted in a way – that causes the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant {which is a BIG deal} to be stolen. For seven long hard moments, God’s glory departed from Israel.

Friends, we need to pray in the battles we face. We need to pray in the midst of the battle, but also need to pray

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The Most Humbling Worship Offering {Romans 12:1}

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (Romans 12:1, ESV).

We are urged by God to give Him our bodies – as a living sacrifice. God wants all of us, as we are today. He doesn’t want us to hold off – until our bodies or souls have made it closer to a version of perfection. God wants us, as we truly are.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel as though my body is worthy enough to be a sacrifice, or worship tool, for my great God. I feel so far from where I could be, in terms of my physical body, sensitive and overwhelmed soul, and yes even in my relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

I want for God to be given more of me. As I enter this new season of life, I have to remember God wants me as I am. Though unworthy, He accepts me. . . and invites me to come to Him as I am. I can lay down the mask of this false self, where I pretend to be more fine or spiritual than I am. I can lay down the expectations I can never meet.

Because Jesus Christ invites me to come, and boldly come to His glorious throne as Hebrews 4:16 teaches us, I can walk in fellowship with my Wonderful Savior and Prince of Peace. What makes the difference? It is in the assurance that Jesus Christ has purposefully chosen to have a relationship of constant communion with me, that I can freely offer my body as a living sacrifice.

While I may not have much to give, I can make the deliberate choice to give what I do have – to Jesus Christ.

This is about spiritual worship. This is not about seeing my offering as “too little.” Rather, it is about coming to Jesus with whatever I have to offer.

Jesus Christ is the King of all Kings, the Name above all names, and He has chosen to make my body His dwelling place. He has made the deliberate choice to love me, even when I am most unlovable.

He has chosen to make His presence known, even in the midst of physical hardships beyond my control.

Jesus Christ has chosen to love us. Even when we were once His enemies, He came to reconcile us with the Father. While our relationship with our heavenly Father was once shatter “beyond repair” (if left up to us, mere humans), Jesus Christ brought us into this glorious place of restoration through His suffering, death, and resurrection.

God is all powerful. He is the only One who can take our broken pieces, and make us whole.

This is what He is choosing to do, as He invites us to give Him the broken pieces of our lives, and turn them into a complete spiritual worship tool.

. . . We may not have much to offer, but how willing are we to give God what we do have to offer?

Week 9: 2 Thess. 3:3 (God is Faithful)

Life can be intensely overwhelming and confusing at times. As we go through circumstances in our lives, we will be met with the reality of our faith – as it stretches or shrinks.

| The key is in seeking Jesus with whatever we have to give. |

Lately, I have faced difficult days, but the truth is – those days have forced me to remember God is faithful. He is the One I can truly count on. While I can’t “count on” better circumstances, I can expect God to be faithful – regardless of what I face. He is always available, holy, authentic, and loving.

God is always faithful and true to His Word! God has much to give us as we seek His face. He wants to pour into us His truths and the reality that He is for us!

God has declared His faithfulness and everlasting love, to us, through His Son Jesus Christ!

. . . Praise God for His faithfulness!

God’s Faithful – Even When We Aren’t!

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one (2 Thess. 3:3).

I am thankful for this week’s verse, because life can really beat me down. Yet in today’s verse, we are given the hope found in Jesus Christ.

. . . While I may find myself in a place where I am struggling to just hang on, God is ever-faithful! He is the One who gives me hope and carries me even when I feel like I cannot take one more small step.

The amazing part is – God meets each of us, right where we are, and reminds us He is faithful. He is absolutely for us and pursuing us. I am not sure what you are facing today, but know you are not alone.

God is with you, enabling you to hold on, and remember His hope found in Jesus!

God Reminds Us of His Truth

God reminds me in this place of sticky circumstances that it is about Him. It is about drawing near to Jesus Christ with our whole hearts and receiving what God has chosen to give us.

It is about the relationship we can have with our heavenly Father, because of His amazing love that reconciles.

It’s knowing that God

. . . will light the way.

. . .  offers us His hope found in Jesus.

. . . has made a declaration with His authentic love for us.

. . . stays with us, as we face life. Not only does He make His presence known, He is fighting for us – just as He has always done.

May We Resolve. . .

. . . to stay close to our Savior Jesus Christ and experience His hope and love for our lives. May we resolve to choose Him again and again, even if we are having a rough day. While difficult circumstances are not our preference, let’s allow this time to remind us of the great faithfulness of our God.

Yahweh, our great God, gives us three specific promises in this week’s memory verse –

(1) God is faithful.

(2) God will strengthen you.

(3) God will protect you from harm.

Week 8: 2 Thess. 2:15 {Stand Firm, My Friends}

So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15, NIV). 

I have this week’s memory verse posted in several places of our home. It has continued to serve me with the needed reminder to stand firm and hold fast to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Even though I finished week 8 many weeks ago, I haven’t been able to take it down.

It has provided necessary encouragement, throughout the difficult days, when giving up seems tempting.

Stand firm literally means to keep one standing. In order to stand our ground, we must remember the hope we have found in Jesus Christ. We cannot allow circumstances to cause us to waiver either to the left or right, if God has called us to a specific thing. Let’s trust Him and obey Him in that specific thing.

In order to persist, we need to remember Jesus Christ’s word – which has lovingly been given to us. While in the Bible we are taught many things about God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the life He is lovingly calling us too, this is where the Holy Spirit steps in. In many different scenarios I cannot tell you what God is calling you to do, but God definitely is able to do exceedingly more than you could ever ask Him to do.

He promises us wisdom when we ask for it, gives us the resolve to stand strong, and helps us to continue on. A message we all, including me, need to hear – because we can get weary at times. God is calling us to stand strong in our faith. It is impossible to do this, when we are not allowing ourselves the necessary time spent in His presence and reading our Bible.

Keep listening for His voice, as you persevere and seek Him above all things.

This is definitely one truth we need to hold close to our heart, as we seek to live out the truths we learn in the Thessalonians.

See Psalm 46:1; Proverbs 3:5-6; Eph. 3:20; James 1:5

Week 7: Friday Five (2 Thess. 1)

Originally, I was turned onto this mode of carrying out the “Five Minute Friday,” by a dear friend. Marie faithfully carries out this Friday series, on her own blog. The idea is to offer five bold points, that you may read within five minutes.

Five Truths on 2 Thessalonians 1

(1) As we continue to follow Jesus Christ, we are kept safe (1:1). This is perhaps one of the greatest treasures I have found. As a woman, I crave protection. So to know that my Jesus, my King, is protecting me and keeping me safe – is comforting beyond words! It makes me okay with the difficult days, when I stop long enough to realize I am being protected and kept safe by the King of Kings!

. . . To: The church of Thessalonica—kept safe in God our Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ (1:1, TLB).

(2) We are given rich blessings, which are found through our relationship with Jesus (1:2). In my digital Bible, it is translated a bit differently which helps to understand the Bible more clearly. Because of God the Father and our Lord Jesus, we have been given rich blessings and peace-filled hearts and minds (1:2b, TLB).

Does it get any better? In the world we live in, peace – filled hearts and minds are one of the greatest gifts we can be given. In a day where our minds and hearts run like they are on a treadmill all night long, the peace Jesus gives is enduring and ever-loving!

(3) We have the opportunity to do three specific things based on the knowledge of those God has placed in our path, who continue to be an encouragement to our faith (1:3-4). We can pray for them, share with others about lessons we are learning through their example, and give thanks.

Each of these things are growing points for me. I believe they are for each of us. We live in a “me first” world, which causes us to forget or neglect others, their faith, and the privilege of praying for them or sharing things we learn through their example.

(4) God can use our sufferings to make us ready for His Kingdom (1:5-6). This set of verses will cause us to give James 1 a second chance, where we are urged to count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4, NKJV).

We need to trust that God will use our sufferings for His ultimate good. He is preparing us for something greater. His Kingdom is worthy of our suffering (see Prov. 3:5-6; Rom. 8:18).

(5) As we face suffering, God will provide us with quality rest through Jesus’ second coming (1:7, 10). As we come into His Kingdom, we will forever know God as He honestly is – with no holding back. 

One day, we will stand in His presence and will never again be distracted by the circumstances we are facing or the things of this world. We will stand in His presence in utter awe and overwhelmed with joy. We will be fully satisfied in the Lord.