The One Goal to Keep {Inspiring Women}

Hi friends! For the months of May/June, we will be using a reading plan given to us by Sweet to the Soul Ministries. Feel free to stroll through their Facebook page and blog. They even have a journaling kit and Bible study for this month’s plan.

I bring before you all a special verse for Christian women. This is the verse. It can spark excitement in our hearts, but it can also scare some of us. This is a place, where we can learn to live out our faith in Jesus Christ and allow our sister-relationships to become a greater priority.

These older women must train the younger women to live quietly, to love their husbands and their children, and to be sensible and clean minded, spending their time in their own homes, being kind and obedient to their husbands so that the Christian faith can’t be spoken against by those who know them (Titus 2:4-5, TLB).

Community: Friend or Foe?

I love this passage of Scripture, but sometimes I don’t. My heart chases after deep Christian community, and sometimes it can be difficult to find. Being with my brethren is what my heart wants. In Christian community, we grow leaps and bounds and build lasting relationships. This is why we are urged to seek out godly friendships with other women.

Even if this pursuit takes a little time (or a long time) for fruition, it will be well worth the wait.

Worth Fighting For!

However difficult this pursuit for Christ-like relationships with other women, I feel like this is worthy of fighting for!

When we live out this Scripture in our daily lives, we are placing our trust in Jesus Christ and choosing His way of life over our own. These kind of relationships require vulnerability, feeling uncomfortable, and accountability. But, this is the place of being loved beyond measure, and our faith in Jesus Christ is tested/matures too.

Finding Our Willingness

Now “older woman” doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be 80 years old, but I wholeheartedly believe they have a wealth of spiritual treasures to pass onto the next generation. Women of all ages would greatly benefit from these distinctive relationships. We just need to be willing to obey God, as we come alongside someone else in the faith.

Far too often, we have stepped aside and ignored this Scripture – to avoid “interfering in another’s life”. Truth be told: We need for another woman, who is following Jesus, to come alongside us and lovingly interfere. We need to grow in our willingness to allow  (even invite) another to step into our lives. 

Speaking as a younger woman, but older than some, I know my need to be –

(1) Taught how to apply my faith in Jesus Christ to specific situations

(2) Reminded of biblical truths

(3) Prayed over

(4) Given Encouragement

 

Let’s cling to the truths of Titus 2. We won’t be able to live it out perfectly, so if you feel like you are failing – take heart, you aren’t alone. But, let’s remember the grace of our great God and focus on obey God in living this thing out – no matter what it looks like.

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The Jesus-Girl Who Confesses

Hi friends! For the months of May/June, we will be using a reading plan given to us by Sweet to the Soul Ministries. Feel free to stroll through their Facebook page and blog. They even have a journaling kit and Bible study for this month’s plan!

As daughters of God who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ, we need to willfully enter our prayer closet and bring before God our desperate need for His forgiveness and deliverance.

The most sacred thing in our lives, is our relationship with God. No act of human influence can compare to Jesus Christ who has touched our souls, for He has chosen to rescue us!

Lord, I told you about the evil I have done. I am sorry for my sin (Psalm 38:18; ERV).

This is what we need to do, because we are accountable to God for what we have done. While we may avoid this truth, if we could, the reality is – we can’t hide from our sin. No one has been able to successfully hide from their sin. Adam and Eve tried to, but they ended up only hiding from God. Walk out of the darkness, by entering Jesus’ well-lit presence!

Before we can become a woman of influence, we have to be a woman with a humble heart who acknowledges her sin before a most holy God. We must allow Jesus Christ into our lives.

Here are some truths we must grasp –

(1) God is set apart, and cannot even look upon sin.

O Lord my God, my Holy One, you who are eternal. . . But you are pure and cannot stand the sight of evil (Hab. 1:12a, 13a, NLT).

(2) Even though it is uncomfortable to think about our sin, let’s find comfort in our Christian community where we all must confess our sins and turn from them. Also, let’s confess to one another, so we may be prayed for and healed.

But he was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace; he was lashed—and we were healed! We—every one of us—have strayed away like sheep! We, who left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet God laid on him the guilt and sins of every one of us! (Isaiah 53:5-6, TLB)

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working (James 5:16, ESV).

(3) Most importantly: As we repent of sin, let’s celebrate Jesus Christ as our Redeemer. He has paid the ultimate price, and loved us with an eternal love.

. . . Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice (Psalm 51:7b-8, NKJV).

I invite you to enter a quiet place, where you can talk to God about the struggles with sin and seek His forgiveness.

Want to learn more about confession, sin, what God says, and having a relationship with Jesus Christ? I am hosting a daily devotional on 1 John over at Indoor Outreach. Join us, as we dive into God’s Word!

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Rising Above Temptations {{Trials Tuesday}}

((Friends, don’t forget to ‘tune in’ this Saturday – as we kick off our online Bible study right here on Gracefully Overcoming))

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Temptations are a fact of life, and affect the best of us. Often times, we don’t want to face this truth that – temptations are real. Temptations are, indeed, very real. Even the best people faced temptations. This is why we can face our temptations head-on, versus pretending like they are not there (hello Stacey, understand this!).

Temptations We Face

As we sit with our friend, James, I want us to remember that…

While temptations are part of the human experience, it does not mean we have to give into them.

Because, they are destructive.

Because, there is a way out! (see 1 Cor. 10:13)

Through Jesus Christ, we can rise up and conquer the deadliest of temptations.

Before we can rise up and conquer temptations, though, we have to be willing to do something.

We have to admit that we are one who struggles with sin. And, realize how temptations affect us (leading us to death).

Does anyone else find it peculiar that the craving thing we face, promises life, but in fact brings death?

That thing you crave, is not going to deliver its promise of life or satisfaction. Thanks be to the Lord Jesus Christ, He will satisfy and bring life!

Grab Your Bible, Friends!

I invite you to join me, as we take a closer look at James 1:13-15. Read the selected passage, and then join me back here – so we can sit and talk.

What temptation are you facing right now?

We often think of sexual temptation when we hear the word “temptation” thrown around. But, temptations come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Money, relationships, and keeping a busy schedule are just a few temptations we might face.

Craving

In Ephesians 2:1-3, we are reminded that, before Christ, we chased after everything we craved.

If there is anything we know, it’s temptation. We experience it every day. From the moment you get up out of bed, temptation will find you… especially if you are a follower of Jesus Christ.

We need to get honest right now, with whatever temptation we are facing; see it for what it is. We need to let these words of truth be sown into our spirit right now.

Lessons From James

Temptations are…

1… real.

2… not of God.

3… coming from our own desires.

4… dragging us away from Jesus, our loving Savior, and the things of God.

5… gonna destroy us (and others), if we do not put them in their proper place.

Call to Action

Today, I want us to do something – as we look this temptation in the face. Whatever your struggle may be right now, look it in the face and see it for what it is.

“_________ does not honor God. It does not bring me closer to God. Whatever it is promising to do for me, is a lie. I am going to choose to trust Jesus to help me with this.”

Our desires, if not subdued, will carry us away from God. Our desires will try to get us to compromise, in order to soothe whatever the longing is for. They will seem subtitle and like they aren’t a big deal. But, they are.

How can you confront the lies of your current temptation, and accepting the truth of God and His Word?

Introvert Speaks: The Complexity of Being Relational

I have a confession to make.

I don’t always value how God has uniquely made me, as a relational introvert. Can anyone relate to that? (Ha!) 

I know that I am… His daughter. Loved and chershed by my Savior!

And yet, there is that nagging quality about my personality, that sometimes I wish I could rewire myself (yet, I press on knowing God knows exactly what I need to be).

On the days, where my efforts seems misused, I wish I wasn’t so relational.

These Longings

If I were to describe this nagging feeling, I would have to say it is a longing for deep community that etches past everything else that seems to matter in comparison. The drive isn’t for money or fame. It is for community, true community.

As you think about your friends who are highly relational, consider their perspective as you read through the rest of today’s post…

It is a deep burden sitting on top of my spirit, to build real relationships with other people. With others who are trying to figure out what it means to trust and follow Jesus Christ on a daily basis. To figure out how to keep meeting together, in an Acts 2 fashion.

It is.. to discover how to appropriately welcome others to invest in my life, not just in their life.

I want the kind of relationships that God has intended humanity to have with one another and Him too.

This is why God has gifted me with these heavy longings. This right here. A deeper community with His Church. With His people.

These longings can be described as a craving for God-designed relationships, and not settling for technology driven relationships – where it is socially acceptable to ignore our friends or get so wrapped up in us that we forget about them (I am not excluded from this observation, either).

It is about His Church. His beloved. Who stand in need of what you are. They don’t need more time, social media or its followers, or anything else. They just need you. The blessing of who you are.. The blessing of what you can bring to the table with your community.

Here’s What I Want

I want an Acts 2 kind of relationships.

These fluffy, superficial, relationships. Those, I don’t want. I will settle for them, if I must. But, if you want to know my heart, this is what I am chasing after…

I want a community… that is…

  • Completely for me.
  • Take quality time together seriously.
  • Take the responsibility of being there for one another – seriously.
  • Willing to keep me accountable.
  • Will pour God’s love and Word over my life.

God designed us for a better form of community. Whether or not we are seeking it, is an entirely different question…

And, it is one I am willing to fight tooth and nail for.

I am willing to risk every fluffy relationship to gain these rich relationships I was made for.

Because, the community God has designed His people for. It’s more than worthy of fighting for.

The Fight Against Complacency

In this battle of fighting for relationships where we can connect and relate to one another, there is a lot put on the line. Because, I don’t want to settle. I don’t think we are expecting enough of each other.

And, this challenge of being relational affects our level of complacency. It challenges our way of living comfortable, where we don’t have deep relationships where our sin is called out, God’s Word is loudly announced in our relationships, and we can walk together heart-and-heart as we seek God…

God’s Design for Community

This is the kind of community God invites Christians toward. This is the kind of community of believers we can become. This is where we experience God and His people at its fullest. This is what I want. This is what I am willing to fight for. I am willing to put everything else on the line, to pursue these kind of God-honoring relationships. Let’s not forget the blessing of a deeper, richer, community of believers we find in Acts 2.

Trials Tuesday: Mortality and Our Pursuits

Trials Tuesday 2.9.16

“For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers
the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So
also will the rich man fade away in the midst
of his pursuits (James 1:11, ESV).”

As human beings, we genuinely do not like being reminded of our own mortality. Which is why God teaches us that we are a breathe away from eternity. The “here-and-now” won’t last forever. We touched on this two sessions ago. But, it affects where we are going TODAY!

The Big Question

… that stands out to me is this – What am I pursuing? While I am not rich, I am still a human being. A human being whose time on earth is limited. It’s crazy to recite this verse again, but we need to grasp this –

“This is how the rich person will fade away in his pursuits (ISV).”

Like I said, I am not rich. Far from it. There is thanksgiving in this realization, but those with wealth and statute probably have a harder time grasping this reality than “normal folks”.

Why Would I Say This?

Because Jesus said it!

Unlike most, Jesus doesn’t want to ignore the hard-truth. Because He wants to prepare His people and make all men come to Himself and find His AMAZING salvation and rest!

“It is much harder for a rich person to enter the
Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through
the eye of a needle (Mark 10:24, GNB).”

Scripture reminds us that it is harder for those with “financial freedom” to come into the Kingdom of God. It comes with the act of surrender. Money is the one thing that sets them apart. In the world, they have it all. But in God’s Kingdom, He is commanding them to give it up. To be willing to give it up. Our financial wealth can be a hindrance to our walk with God.

We see an example of this with the rich young ruler, when Jesus

‘… looked at him and loved him. He told him,
“You’re still missing one thing. Sell everything you
have. Give the money to the poor, and you will have
treasure in heaven. Then follow me (vv. 21, GW)!”‘

Knowing God

The whole thing about God is knowing He is sovereign, and there is nothing we can do to earn salvation. Jesus sums it up, by stating the biggest “but” we could ever ask for as human beings.

‘Jesus looked at them and said, “It’s impossible for
people to save themselves, but it’s not impossible for God
to save them. Everything is possible for God (vv. 27).”‘

This is the POWER OF GOD!! God alone saves. It is not by our own merit that we are saved. Because, we could never be “good enough”. In Romans 3:10-12, we are reminded that none are righteous. Secondly, we are taught that the best deeds we could do – is nothing more than filthy rags (see Isaiah 64:4).

How do we define what is righteous?

Take a moment to read Romans 3:9-18.

What does it say about righteousness?

How does it define the people’s hearts for/against God – their Creator?

Read Romans 3:19-20.

What does it teach us about accountability to God?

Why are we accountable to God (see Matt. 12:30-37)?

We need a Savior. This is why Jesus Christ came – to save us. I love the passage found in 2 Cor. 5, where we are taught that we are given the righteousness of Christ. Why are we given such righteousness? Jesus carried our sins and death, bled on our behalf, died a sinner’s death, and rose again on the 3rd day. 

Take time to read 2 Cor. 5:14-16, 21.

What does verse 15 teach you?

Read 1 Cor. 6:9-11.

What does this passage teach you about the power of God through His Son Jesus Christ (Hint: See verse 11)?

With This in Mind…

let’s return to our Scripture for today.

For my life, accountability to God means everything. It means I will choose not to do something, because I want to honor my God. It doesn’t always mean I won’t do something. Because of the faith I have in Christ, I will choose to do something. I will make decision to activate my faith, and walk by it in my daily life!

With morality, comes a hard truth. We see it in today’s passage of Scripture.

“So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits (ESV).”

Mortality means that we can be busy in our lives…

pursuing one thing after another…

and we could DIE before it is all finished.

In fact, we probably will die before “our plans” come into fruition. This is the difference between chasing ourselves (and own pursuits) and chasing after God!

Will you choose to chase after God or your own pursuits? The line isn’t always crossed, but as 1 John 2:15-16 teaches – we can be pursuing something that is far from God’s will. We need to seek God honoring pursuits. Where God is found right there in the middle of what we are pursuing after.

We need to live today like we will meet Jesus tonight!

As it says in Isaiah…

“At the LORD’s command, flowers and grass disappear,
and so do we. Flowers and grass fade away, but what
our God has said will never change.  (Isa 40:7-8, CEV)”

In Light of Our Position in Christ

… we should be considerate of what we are pursuing.

I love the last part of Isaiah 40:8: “But what our God has said will never change.” This means that God’s Holy Word. This is the stuff that will last for all eternity. We need to consider what we are honestly pursuing.

I am sure there are things that need to change, so we can change the direction our lives are headed!

How are you living for eternity?

Make a list of your best laid plans. Divide your list into your plans for this week, year, and yes your “bucket list”. How do they fall in line with the Word of God?

“You were raised from death with Christ. So live for what is in heaven, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Think only about what is up there, not what is here on earth. Your old self has died, and your new life is kept with Christ in God. Yes, Christ is now your life, and when he comes again, you will share in his glory (Col. 3:1-4, ERV).”