Living As God Intended {Trial Truths}

Late last year, I set up some boundaries. Social media boundaries. These boundaries were put in place to protect me. To protect my heart. The hard thing about social media is – the reminder of how different our lives can look like from everyone else’s.

My life looks vastly different from everyone else’s. I could sit here and literally count the ways. But, it doesn’t really benefit my soul to do that. Instead of doing this profitless thing, I need to keep my focus on the Lord and His Word.

Looking to the Word –

But be sure in deciding these matters that you are living as God intended, marrying or not marrying in accordance with God’s direction and help, and accepting whatever situation God has put you into. This is my rule for all the churches (1 Cor. 7:17, TLB).

In Scripture, we are reminded that – we can be placed in very different circumstances from others. There is a bigger picture than our circumstances (even the devastating ones), and that is the quality of relationship we have with God through His Son Jesus Christ! Will we allow the Lord to be of greater importance than our painful circumstances?

Some things in my life can make me feel so ashamed, and yet I have to remember it is a “drawing near” tool. While my identity isn’t in my circumstances, these things can help me connect with Christ – who is the Source of my identity.

Whatever your circumstance, I welcome you to my blog. You are welcome here. None of us fit into this perfect box of unbrokenness, for we all face hard things. Let’s just keep coming to our Lord Jesus honestly, and learning how to live for Him.

The circumstances we face can be very tough at times. I love this verse found in 1 Cor. 7, because it honestly shares the truth we need to recite in our daily lives. We need to consider how to live a life for our Lord Jesus, even now. We need to live out the call God has placed on our lives today, rather than waiting for better circumstances.

If you are anything like me, you might be feeling inadequate and broken right now. Friend, this is where the Lord will meet you and share with you His presence as you draw nearer to Him.

While I cannot fix your circumstances or even my own, I am here to offer you comfort. The truth is – you are not alone, neither am I. We are not alone. The Lord Jesus Christ meets us here. In this place. And out of all other places, this is the one where He chooses to reveal Himself the most. . . as we come broken before Him and desperately seeking Him.

Well, that is all I have to share today. But, I will be back soon. Don’t forget to order your journal and prepare your heart – because Monday we begin our newest online Bible study (Press On Toward Faithfulness)!

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UPDATE + He’s All In!! {Trial Truths}

If there was anything I could say to those who feel lost, broken, or whose hearts feel like they might burst from all the stuff coming at them..,

it would be a simple yet significant reminder of our Risen LORD and the peace that comes from knowing and having a relationship with our Lord Jesus.

While I have endured things in my life, I know the one key difference maker in my life – has a name. His name is Jesus Christ. I have endured difficult things. Some of which I have kept hidden in the depth of my soul. But my Savior and my God knows those deep things. I don’t have to speak of them, in order for Him to see those things.

Eternal Gifts –

He is the One who makes circumstances feel and turn out differently. I can walk through the fiery road of chronic illness, and yet Christ gives me absolute peace and joy in the midst of these almost unbearable things. He offers His peace and presence to us – in the midst of what we are going through. We just have to keep holding on!

Let not your heart be troubled. You are trusting God, now trust in me [Jesus Christ]. . . I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid (John 14:1, 27, TLB).”

A question I have the privilege of asking is – “Do you have peace about the circumstances of your lives?” We need to dig our heels in, and seek the Lord’s peace and presence in our circumstances. This is an important question, because the Lord promises us His peace and presence. When we seek Him and surrender, the Lord makes Himself available and will speak through the silence or harsh season.

By inviting Jesus into our situations, we are actually ushering in His incomparable peace that begins to heal our shattered hearts.

The Lord meets us in our difficult situations and cloudy days – and presents good, eternal gifts to us. 

He just knows exactly how to meet us where we are. In the midst of our brokenness.

Where Our Savior Meet Us –

Instead of staying away, that’s the place where He meets us the most. As Scripture says, He came for the lost (see Luke 19:10). He came for those whose hearts are breaking. He has come for us!

The Lord is our loving eternal Father who wants to carry us through the good and bad. He wants to absolutely love us through it, and remain faithful!

If you hear nothing else, hear this. The Lord, our great God, is all in and ready to dive into life with us!

Don’t forget to purchase your eight week study journal! Our Titus and 1-2 Timothy study BEGINS on January 15th. All proceeds go toward helping this ministry.

Also: Find out what Gracefully Overcoming is up to – on Facebook! Several good things going on: Our women’s small group is studying Mark before our new study begins, while the Facebook page is diving into a chronological reading plan!

In Christ,

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Job 32-37; Psalms 28-32

Assigned Reading: Psalms 28-32; Job 32-37

Psalm –

Chapter 28: Not only did David declare that God was his Rock, he proved it by crying out when it mattered the most. We need to cry out to God in this way, and seek His mercy. He is our Shepherd and will carry us.

Praise be to the Lordfor he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him (Ps. 28:6-7).

Chapter 29: Let us worship the Lord and give Him the honor due to Him. The voice and hands of the Lord speak loudly over everything. He is good. He is powerful. When the voice of the Lord speaks into our situations, all things can be changed and nothing is off limits.

Chapter 30: One thing God’s people need to fathom is – God will answer the prayers and heart cries of His people. He may not heal us or the circumstances the way we anticipate, but He does heal. So, why are we silent? Let’s sing the praises of our great God.

Chapter 31: When despair takes over our lives, we need to keep our trust in the Lord our God. We are encouraged to stay strong and keep hoping in God. How are we practicing these truths today?

Love the Lord, all his faithful people! The Lord preserves those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord (Ps. 31:23-24).

Chapter 32: God is our hiding place, and the One who forgives our confessed sin. God is that good. He will forgive us, when we have wronged Him. He promises to be our sanctuary right when it matters most. Our Protection and Deliverance is what God is, to us who are called His people.

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered (Ps. 32:1).

Job –

I highlighted in my YouVersion app a lot for this portion of Scripture. There is a lot of rich things that we can find, as Elihu talks to Job.

Certain aspects of this talk by Elihu I enjoyed –

  • He is younger and waited until the older men spoke (I need to be more like that…).
  • He is blunt. He isn’t afraid to call Job’s words arrogance.
  • He shares a lot of good truths as he tries to relate to Job.

I couldn’t have predicted the level of struggle I would have with the book of Job. My emotions have even tossed back and forth with Elihu, but I am thankful for the highlighted portions of Scripture – that I can go back and reread this weekend. I am thankful for the truths found here, many of which I need to take to heart.

In chapters 32-37, we find wisdom, truths, bluntness. The preparation we are given, before Job heard directly from God. After all of his storming Heaven demanding God to show him what wrong he has done, God is going to answer him.

Job 29-31; Psalm 26-27

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Assigned Reading for January 11: Psalm 26-27; Job 29-31

Psalms –

Chapter 26 – What is a different way of putting what David is saying?

Lord God, I need You to free me.

Essentially, this is what he is saying. He is showing all of us that these are the kind of prayers worth praying. The result of such honest prayers is watching God show up like never before.

How are we intentionally seeking God through His Son Jesus Christ?

His heart cry was to lead a blameless life and to be mindful of God’s unfailing love. This serves as an important example for me, because I need to be mindful of God and His kind of love. I need to move out things, so I can be focused on Him and the things He is leading me to do.

Chapter 27 – God is greater than anything that could try to cling to our lives. We don’t have to be afraid anymore, because we have Jesus and God is on our side! My heart is safely kept by God, and He will protect it. He will guide me, and give me the confidence to trust Him increasingly more.

Job –

In chapters 29-31, Job makes his final defense. During the reading of Job, I have had some mixed emotions about this man of God who held to integrity and ran from evil. He spoke as a man. A very desperate man. He spoke bluntly to God, which is difficult to read as God is holy. Unlike us, God is holy. Yet, God saw fit to allow Job to speak such words. Job was holding onto his faith, but it was also being stretched – extended beyond its previous capacity.

As I began reading, these first few verses bring some heartfelt questions to mind.

How are we realizing God is watching over us? And, how are we enjoying an intimate friendship with God?

Job is recounting his former deeds, and how he was a man of integrity. He was spoken well of, offered counsel, and helped anyone he could. As he spoke, you can tell he was speaking genuinely. However, those days are long gone. During his testing, he was not respected – rather he was shamed by his community.

Surely no one lays a hand on a broken man when he cries for help in his distress. Have I not wept for those in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor? Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness. The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me (Job 30:24-27).

This is where Job stood. As he stood here, he wondered what was going on. It seemed like God was attacking him, but Job had an enemy he did not know. Job continued to show himself as a person who feared God and ran from evil.  As Job recounted his deeds, his heart was being searched. And soon, God would answer him.

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