Community: The Time’s Now

Friends and readers,

I have a wee little announcement to make. For a long time, I have talked about the need for community. The passion for companionship with like-minded followers of Jesus Christ – is something that can drive many of us. It can influence our decisions and lead the way in our lives.

For my own life, I have felt the intense longing for companionship and seen how this longing can drive me the wrong direction if I am not careful. Even so, I have seen how we treat “needing community/companionship” as though something is terribly wrong with us.

The Bible teaches us about the truth. In the Gospel, we see humans with a sinful nature come to know they need Jesus Christ. In learning about our need for a Savior, we learn also about our need for His beloved Church.

We need one another.

We aren’t capable to live our Christian life on our own. We need our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, those who are experiencing the Gospel and His powerful transformation.

As disciples of Jesus Christ, we were made for community. And so, I am pursuing a new avenue in connection with this blog.

With that said, my announcement: I have made an online small group for my blog readers and myself to draw near to Jesus together, pray together, search the Scriptures together, and stay encouraged despite circumstances – together!

I want to invite you into a closed Facebook small group. Only God knows the outcome of such a step in faith. But, willfully I come and invite you all to join me too in our online small group. Don’t worry about the “what if’s” or “possibly not keeping up”. I invite you to come and join me. Let’s “do life” together, and just enjoy Jesus Christ – our Savior!

On Monday, we begin a four week Bible study on the book of Philippians. As someone who struggles in her quiet time, I invite you to join me as we dive into Scripture at our own pace and support one another in our walk with the Lord.

In Him,

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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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{Summer} Psalm 124

This is where my heart has sat these past few days. While I am in the middle of preparing our home for our all-too-often apartment inspection, I had to take a few moments to write on this.

Click here to read Psalm 124. A short, but meaningful Psalm.

The Psalmist, David, points out one pondering question.

Where would we be – if it were not for the Lord?

The statement “if not for the Lord,” reminds us to take a look at what our great God has brought us through.

Although our lives are difficult, as Jesus promised us they would be, God is in the midst of it. He is working on our behalf, in unimaginable ways.

He is keeping our families safe.

He is providing many essentials in our lives.

He is giving us encouragement and an eternal hope.

He is causing our hearts to draw near to His.

. . . God is doing soo much behind the scenes, and it’s left unseen to the human eye.

When we doubt God’s protection, may we remember this passage and remember the tremendous blessing of following our Lord Jesus Christ.

When we choose to draw near and follow our Lord Jesus Christ, He will act on our behalf.

So, keep drawing near.

So, keep praying.

So, keep engaging in Bible study.

So, keep asking Him questions.

So, keep building relationships with other Christians.

So, keep trusting in Him as your priority.

So, keep worshiping our great God.

Whatever you are going through, my friend, God will have your back – as you place your trust in Him. Allow God to be your number one priority, because that’s when you will receive the most protection from God (also when you will be most aware of His protection and pray for it).

if the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us, they would have swallowed us alive when their anger flared against us (Ps. 124:2-3, NIV).

If He had not been with us when the villains came for us, When their anger flamed around us, they would have swallowed us up alive! (VOICE)

Entrusted to Correct {1 Tim. 1:3-5}

textgram_1489616297Sometimes we just don’t act as we ought to, but this is why God has placed us in the care of shepherds – pastors and others who will guide us and remind us of His truth.

Apostle Paul knew that Timothy had some shepherding to do – right where he was. He needed to correct the people in Ephesus, and get them on the right path. This was the reason for Timothy’s stay in Ephesus.

There were men who were teaching others the wrong things about the Christian faith. As teachers we need to make sure we are teaching others the right things, because we are accountable and leading others.

The Truth

As I said when I left for Macedonia, please stay there in Ephesus and try to stop the men who are teaching such wrong doctrine. Put an end to their myths and fables, and their idea of being saved by finding favor with an endless chain of angels leading up to God—wild ideas that stir up questions and arguments instead of helping people accept God’s plan of faith (1 Tim. 1:3-4, TLB).

The Nudge

New believers were following these men of God. But, how they were being led astray! They were not getting the firm foundation of truth they needed, and so Timothy was being led to shepherd these people – and teach them the truth even if that mean correcting their leaders.

We are saved by God’s grace and His grace alone. Jesus Christ is what makes up the Christian faith, and these men were deviating from the truth of grace.

Be Careful

As Christians seeking to nudge other believers onto the right track, we have to be careful how we approach these situations. While it may be tempting to respond in haste, when others are acting outside of God’s trusted will, we are called to respond in love.

What I am eager for is that all the Christians there will be filled with love that comes from pure hearts, and that their minds will be clean and their faith strong (1 Tim. 1:5).

We speak up, because believers need to believe and cling to His truth. As we speak up, we have to remember it’s about defending the truth of the Gospel – which requires prayer and boldness.

For godly leaders, spiritual correction is difficult but essential. This is part of their call, as our shepherds.

The Ultimate Goal

As we are being led by the Holy Spirit, let us remember that the ultimate goal is to see others come to place their faith in Jesus Christ and to experience His unconditional love for them. The Holy Spirit wants to use us and the gifts He has placed within us.

As a shepherd, Timothy was being led to correct the leaders in Ephesus. But before he could lead others, he had to make sure that his relationship with God through Jesus Christ was his number one priority – which it was. Timothy was a man of faith and sought to follow the will of God.

How do we know that Timothy, a pastor and man of God, lived what he taught? We see his faith in 1 Timothy 4, as Paul encourages Timothy to continue what he is doing.

1 Samuel 4-8 (Part 2)

Let me catch you up:

Israel has gone into battle with the Philistines, took the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant with them – without His permission. Now as a result, the Ark has been stolen by Israel’s enemy.

“. . . God’s power was against the city (5:11b).”

We need to truly know in our hearts that God is ruler over all. He is the One we must give account to. He is our good Father, who disciplines us – out of love for us (see Heb. 12). Even though the enemy they fought were not God’s people, God displayed His power in hopes that they would see His holiness and their need for Him (see Joshua 2:8-11) .

God is holy, and we all need to acknowledge His holiness. This is why we are able to see God’s power reign, as He shows the people He is not someone to take lightly.

When God’s power came against these pagan people, they moved the Ark to a different place and the same thing happened to its town’s people. People continually were afflicted and cried out, because the Living God had come against them! And in the town of Ekron, they actually cried out to heaven for help (5:12).

While they did not follow God in any way, they found themselves in a crucial place – where all they could do is begin crying out to God. 

Experiencing God’s glory is indeed a privilege. However, God’s glory had been taken away from Israel – when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant was moved and yes stolen.

Now for the testimony of God’s love and power:

God brought His glory back to the people He loved and cherished. Even though they acted wrongly, He chose to allow them to experience His Presence through the Ark. That’s grace, friends!

There came a time for celebration and absolute joy, when God’s glory returned to Israel (see 6:13-15). The people worshipped God.

Israel, God’s people, worshipped the Lord. They spent time in His Presence and enjoyed Him, for the Lord and His glory had returned to Israel.