Sabbatical 2017 –

Hi friends!

I am currently on a sabbatical from the blogging world for the next few months (well, aside from book reviews). Honestly as resistant as I can be, this season of life is more needed than I could say.

Ways to stay connected, while I am away –

  • Gracefully Overcoming’s Facebook page is going through a study of its own. From now until Christmas, we are studying Psalm 119. Yes, that extremely long Psalm, you might have meant to study at some point.
  • And if that doesn’t grab your attention, Indoor Outreach is going through the book of Luke.

Feel free to pray for me, as I go through this season. I am loving my time away, but miss you all tremendously! Maybe, we can stay semi-connected on Facebook. =)

In Christ,

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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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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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Impact #2

My last impact entry was about 2 months ago. A lot has happened in that time. Health scare, which was relieved by a less serious health problem. Good news! (Bad news is: POTS is the reason for worsening symptoms. All before Spring.)

Feeling – Lately, I have felt a myraid of things. Home Sick. Loneliness. Frustration. (Dis)Contentment. Peace. Joy. Laughter. Mmmm, variety of emotions. Good, Bad, and in between. POTS has been rough, but I am still here. So, that is good news. I am not hooked up to a hospital bed with monitors. I am finding joy in unlikely places of chronic illness.

While all days aren’t joy-infused, I have the hope of my Savior Jesus Christ to remind me who I am. . . in spite of illness. Looking forward to Heaven, but trying to make the most of my time on earth to do something worthwhile.

Studying – Since my last impact, I have nearly finished studying 1 & 2 Thessalonians. Last week, I began the book of James. I am really enjoying it. One of today’s verse hit home for me, and is found at the end of this blog post. I have been reading and studying using The Living Bible found on Bible Gateway, which is a paraphrase like the Message. I am absolutely loving it! It is soo nice to have the privilege to open up the Bible in a new translation, using different wording, but having the same meaning. The Word of God is coming alive!

Reading – I am not quite sure that I am reading anything right now, since I have gotten out of the habit of reading actual books. Desiring God and reading the Bible in chronological order (that things happened) is what I am reading. Our church is reading the Bible together in a specific schedule. We have gone through Job, Genesis, Exodus, and are in Leviticus. Even with the audio Bible, my reading track record isn’t perfection but who says it has to be?

Listening To –

Celebrating – Many things.

  • Jesus is the top celebration. He loves me, and stays with me no matter what!
  • Doctors who care about their patients.
  • Good music that speaks God’s truths
  • Seeing how God can revive my broken spirit.

Loving – the gift of streaming biblical teachings, for anyone to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the biblical truths we need to know.

Praying – for my health, family, and a new blog series idea.

Holding Onto – Jesus! I am holding onto Jesus. Jesus is the One who is holding me, through all of life’s storms.

But when I am afraid, I will put my confidence in you. Yes, I will trust the promises of God… (Ps. 56:3-4)

Other Scriptures – James 1:9 (found below)

A Christian who doesn’t amount to much in this world should be glad, for he is great in the Lord’s sight (James 1:9).

Let the Thessalonians’ Journey BEGIN!

Hey friends,

We kick off our Thessalonians study in the morning. Normally, we will begin the week by focusing on our memory verse. I had a blog post in the works about our memory verse, but here’s the thing: it’s not done yet (Saturday was a horrendously bad POTS day, which oddly enough was supposed to be my writing day).

I have to remember days like these will occur, when sickness or something else arise that put a slight pause on some of the blog posts. But, we are here. We are committing ourselves to Jesus Christ and His Word! As these days come, it is an imperative opportunity to lay our plans aside and see the plans Jesus Christ, our King, is going to carry out. To see what the God of the Universe is going to accomplish in that situation.

In these moments of unmet plans, we are able to stop everything and remember His presence. Not only is His presence available to us, we can fully come to Him and just cry out to Him.

In these moments, we realize the power of prayer and just allowing Jesus to hold us – when everything seems to be on hold (or nearing falling apart). But, we aren’t giving up. Let’s use this study and whatever arises in our lives as opportunities to get closer to Jesus Christ.

… So, my goal is to have the memory verse post to you all by Wednesday.

So, let’s just focus on our memory verse.

For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you (1 Thessalonians 1:4, NIV).

Grab an index card or piece of paper. And, write out our Bible verse in your preferred translation. The translation I use varies. I think my Thessalonian index cards are TNIV. I adore using the Voice or New Living Translation (NLT), but often go for my main Bible – which is TNIV.

Whatever Bible translation you use and love, use it. I use a variety of Bible translations for clarity, and find it really helps me to engage more intently in Bible study when I use my favorite Bible translation. Some people use King James Version (KJV). While I am not a KJV reader myself, I adore the Modern King James Version I have on my ESword app for my phone. Really, I do. It’s awesome. Not only can I use it away from WiFi, it is filled with God honoring commentary and a few different Bible translations . . . as well as the much loved Strong’s Concordance to help me understand what the individual words mean in their original language. It is literally my favorite Bible app (but I also utilize Bible Gateway and YouVersion, if I have WiFi).

One of the biggest things I could say, as we all prepare to start our Thessalonians study is: Plan the study and memory verse into your day. Don’t allow it to become an afterthought. Because when we do, why hellooooo it’s Wednesday and you still haven’t broke out your memory verse cards yet (more on memorizing Scripture and my honest struggle in a couple days).

My hope for us in treking through the Thessalonians is to just meet with Jesus. We need to carve out space in our lives to just center our lives around who God truly is, His power, and His glorious presence. Knowing God, through His Son Jesus Christ, should literally change our lives, and this week we get the abundant joy of seeing how meeting Jesus completely changed the Thessalonians’ lives. They were transformed not for a moment, but a lifetime!

Until next time,

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