Resting on the Hope {{POTF}}

In the book of Titus, we are reminded that our beliefs are important. Trusting our Lord Jesus is so important. Our relationship with Christ really does affect every area of our lives. One thing to consider today is the level of importance we have given our Lord to spend quality time with Him. This is something I am considering for myself.

My Commitment –

Today, my day started much later than it normally does. I knew I had things I wanted to read and study through the course of today, and yet I spent the time somewhere else. The problem isn’t resting, but in how I chose to rest. Somehow, I have believed the lie that I need to be “entertained” in order to rest.

Friends as I think on my own life, I want us to just consider the level of commitment we are given our Risen Lord. I mean, how much time are we giving to simply spend with the Lord? 30 minutes is my goal in terms of my uninterrupted quiet time, which isn’t much time in the span of things. Yet distractions can even keep me from doing this precious thing in my mornings.

Resting on Jesus –

This is like “the verse” I have been drawing strength from lately. I love this Scripture, where we are reminded that we can rest on the hope of eternal life. Rest on the hope of our Lord Jesus.

That faith and that knowledge come from the hope for life forever, which God promised to us before time began. And God cannot lie (Titus 1:2, NCV).

Faith and understanding rest on the hope of eternal life. Before time began, God promised to give that life. And he does not lie (NIRV).

I needed the word “rest” to meet me where I am. We are given the abundant privilege to trust and walk with our Creator through His Son Jesus Christ. We can fully trust and rest in our Lord Jesus and not have to worry about a thing!

This is a kind of hope that will never fade away.
We are given the opportunity to soak up quality time with our great God.

How are we taking advantage of this precious gift? Don’t let it slip by. Being with Jesus is such a precious gift!

We can sit in His presence and soak up His joy and peace. Our Lord Jesus is waiting for us. I know how easy to get caught up in the things of this world, even when we know the Lord Jesus wants to hold us and have quality time with Him.

It isn’t a legalistic thing, but a genuine relationship thing!

Let’s rest in our Lord Jesus. For me, “quality time” is something that fills my soul. And to know the Lord wants to meet me in that way, is mind-blowing. He wants to fill our souls. He wants to meet us where we are, and fuel us with excitement for Him and absolute joy – despite circumstances.

We can actually rest and just trust the Lord to take care of things fully. We can draw nearer and take delight in the Lord who has chosen to rescue us.

Resting in Him,

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COME As You Are, Friend!

Friends,

Welcome to Gracefully Overcoming! This blog started out, mainly just as an outlet to the things I was going through in my life. However, it has turned into much more. This has become a beautiful place to seek the Lord with friends – near and far. While this blog begun out of chronic illness, it is wholly about seeking the Lord Jesus with whatever we have to offer.

. . . Even our messes is absolutely acceptable offering to our great God!

Just Come, Friend!

“Jesus said, “Come follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” So Simon and Andrew immediately left their nets and followed him (Matthew 4:19-20, NCV).”

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18, NASB).”

“The sacrifices God desires are a humble spirit–O God, a humble and repentant heart you will not reject (Psalm 51:17, NET).”

In the Scriptures, we are reminded that we can just come. We don’t have to wait until our lives are picture perfect and oh-so-neat to meet (or even better experience) our gracious God. He is yearning to be with us, and allow us to see this new and abundant life He has created for us. While sin has messed up things, they are not beyond repair – because we have our amazing Savior Jesus Christ who has come to repair everything. All we have to do is come.

Maybe, you aren’t uber excited about doing a Bible study right now. I wasn’t either, but the Lord awoke that spiritual desire today when I began my time reading through Titus. So just know, the Lord will meet you. Wherever you are, the Lord will meet you.

Let’s just come and realize our deep need for our Savior Jesus Christ!
Let’s invite Him into our broken (and often messy) lives, and wait to see how the Lord will transform us, our circumstances, and entire lives.

 

The biggest thing we need, as believers, is to get closer to the Lord Jesus. Whether it is through this study or another one, the ultimate goal has to be just that – to get as close as you can to the Lord.

This weekend, I want for us to begin praying about possible goals. Rather, goal.

What is one goal you can set, to help you get closer to Jesus these next eight weeks?

Because God has wired us differently (personality, interests, etc), that goal is going to look differently for each of us. Now I am setting aside a separate post specifically to talk about goals, but I am not talking about a year long goal. You may have one. You may have five. If you do, I think that is fantastic! My goals never seem to stick, so my one goal I am fixed on – is to sit quietly before the Lord.

Just think about these next eight weeks. What is ONE goal you can set that will draw you nearer to the Lord?

There are a variety of ways to get involved in our Bible study. You can find an eight week journal on Amazon to use for this (or another) study. Also: You can follow my Facebook page. Or even join the women’s small group to dig deeper into this Bible study!

In Him,

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“The Privilege of Worship” (BookLook)

Worship Wars

In “The Privilege of Worship,” Stewart Holloway addresses worship in a new vibrant way. We all know the “worship wars” that can happen within our churches and relationships. We spend far more time arguing or sharing our puffed-up opinion about how we want to worship, than we do simply worshiping. And the result of such actions, is destruction rather than peace and brokenness rather than the wholeness Jesus gives to us. There is no beauty in “worship wars”. I have seen its effect on a personal level, and it reminds me of the need to focus on worshipping God (not myself or someone else). What if we worshiped God in all His holiness and splendor, rather than arguing about the way we worship?

Help Wanted: Jesus!

As Holloway stated, many Christians are missing out on the privilege of worship. We get more excited about a football game, than we do about worshipping our Savior. We should be more excited about Jesus Christ and the opportunity given to worship Him. This is why revival is the only word to kindly express our need as the Church.

For many of us, our worship needs a revival. We need to remember what worship is honestly about. These days, we aren’t treating worship with the reverence it deserves. We need to remember the design of worship. Through worship, we get the opportunity to “communion with God” as Holloway states as he describes worship. God has given us a way (worship) to meet with Him and pour all that is building up in our hearts.

Worship is the beautiful communion and celebration between us and God.

Thoughts on “The Privilege of Worship”

As I read Holloway’s book and reflect on its key principles, I am able to gain a clearer picture of worship and its importance in my life. However we worship, it needs to be the center of our lives. Holloway shows his heart for worship in “The Privilege of Worship,” and God will change our own hearts as we read this book. Our hearts will become excited about worshipping the Lord our God. We will have a more intimate relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. We will see peace flow through our church lives, as we give ourselves to God, His Church, and choose to not participate in worship wars.

There are many good things God will give to us, as we give ourselves to Him and commit to worshipping Him.

This book has been a blessing for me to read. While I am not done reading or using it in my Christian life, I do think it is a good book for any Christian to read. We all need to remember the amazing privilege we have been given, in Christ, to worship. (Psstt: The book is only $3.99 for the Kindle edition)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through BookLook’s blogger review program, in exchange for a honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

 

Finding the Joy of the Lord (Ps. 122:1)

I want to apologize my friends, for the delay in this week’s post for our “Making the Journey” series. It has been one thing after another, or so it seems. But, here is our post. I hope it blesses you, as much as it blessed me while writing.
Don’t forget to pick up your journal if you haven’t yet. You still have time. Head over to Amazon for the “Making the Journey” journal designed to help us understand these precious psalms and apply them to our lives.

Today, we will be continuing our study in “Making the Journey: Singing Along the Road Towards God”. This is week 2 of our journey toward God using these special psalms that were used as worship songs as they made their way to Jerusalem for the Feasts required by the Old Testament law. These songs were ways for them to draw close to the Lord – and learn new ways to offer up praise toward God.

The Long Distance

‘I rejoiced with those who said to me,
Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
Our feet are standing in your gates,
Jerusalem (Psalms 122:1-2, TNIV).’

The Israelites journeyed a long distance to reach the house of the Lord, and all they are met with is – shear joy. Going to the house of the Lord should bring cheer to us. The original word for “glad” is ́âmach – which means to “cheer up”.

The Joy

When we worship God, we are brought to this place where whatever is plaguing us, is put to the side. It doesn’t mean that those things aren’t of great importance, but when we worship God in His true nature (recognizing God’s character) – He is given the proper place in our lives. Thus, we are energized with joy. God given joy.

This Psalmist’s Word

This word, ́âmach, appears in the Psalms 52 times. Meaning, a psalmist felt strongly compelled to write of the God-given joy a number of times. It wasn’t a once or twice experience, but a continual theme of what we can expect to gain in our time with the Lord. But, this gift isn’t reserved solely for Israelites. They aren’t alone, because God provides joy to all those who seek.

Join the Search: For God’s Joy

How are you finding yourself seeking joy today? Where have you turned – in order to find such joy? Have you found it? How can that joy compare to the joy found in the Lord?

The Joy of the Lord

(and the Story Behind This Famous Verse)

Nehemiah discusses the importance of this, when he said – “The joy of the Lord is my strength (see Neh. 8:10).” When His joy is what clothes our spirit. It is an indescribable experience. In the book of Nehemiah, Ezra, the teacher of the law, was instructed to bring out God’s Word – the books written by Moses containing the law. And, he did.

This congregation was excited to be in God’s Presence, as they assembled together and heard the Word of the Lord. As they are listening to the Word of the Lord, they are weeping throughout its reading. The Word of the Lord is read from daybreak to noon, and the whole time – there is just the unexplainable JOY for the Lord and His precious word. They knew what a gift it is to have the Lord. To be in this place together to worship God. They had reverence for God’s Word – opting to stand as it is being brought out to be read. They knew what a true gift this was.

The people listened attentively.
They knew the gift.

They had just returned to Jerusalem. The city’s walls have just been rebuilt. They had just gotten settled in their homes and towns. Now, was the BEST part of their return home. A home they probably didn’t know if they would ever see again. As they rebuilt their lives and towns, they saw God’s faithfulness. This is exactly why they could CHERISH the Word of God and the time spent together as an assembly of God-fearing people. (Click here to read Nehemiah 7-8 over at Bible Gateway where you can pore over this Scripture with their fantastic resources!)

Discovering His Joy

I don’t know about you, but I can honestly say I need this! I need the joy of the Lord to be present in my life. I need to quit being discouraged by anything and almost everything, and remember who my God is – and what all He has brought me through.

The joy of the Lord needs to become my strength.

On good days and bad, God is our strength… if we will allow Him to be.

How are you reaching out for the Lord, to be your place of joy?

Back to the Psalm

In Psalm 122, as the psalmist is flooded with joy, he is not off being a lone ranger believer in God. He is with his beloved. His brethren. His companions. They came over to the psalmist and called to him – “hey, let’s go to the house of the Lord.”

According to the Clarke Commentary, one thing led them to finally return to Jerusalem and to complete the God-given directive to worship in Jerusalem.

When Cyrus published an edict for their return, the very first object of their thanksgiving was the kindness of God in permitting them to return to his ordinances.”

Not only are they being called back to Jerusalem, they are praying for peace over Jerusalem. Even though there are different emotions arising from this trip, it is marked with excitement.

Psalm 122 – In My Life

How is excitement for God, His Word, and His Church characterizing your life?

I want my life to be fueled by excitement from being in my God’s Presence. I want to be able to say – “I rejoice when I get to go to the Lord’s house and be with His people.” I want that to be true of my life.

Our Own Worship Song of Praise

I was glad because they said to me. We will go into the house of the Lord.
At last our feet were inside your doors, Lord.
The Church is like a town that is joined well together…
Bring peace to Your Church, Lord.
Allow us to be centered around Your will.
Make us with Your peace.
Because of the house of the Lord our God, I will working for your good.

Choosing Jesus: Celebration

Choose Jesus- Celebration

“God celebrates. He invented delight, joy, and celebration.”1

This week’s spiritual discipline is “celebration”. When was the last time you actually celebrated something God has done on your behalf? When we celebrate, we become infused with joy.

God’s kind of joy.

Why We Can Celebrate –

It is a known truth that we can have troubles in this life, yet are still able to experience joy and peace that God provides.2 So what is this joy and excitement? Why is it so important? There are a few reasons why we can celebrate. Want a few to dwell on?

  • He has given us life!3
  • He has been orchestrated all the days of our lives.4
  • Nothing escapes God’s attention, not even us.5
  • He has come to seek and to save the lost.6

This is a short, but meaningful list, and I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet. Do you know that God is for you?7 This is why He has come. To redeem you. To be with you.8 This is the reason why we can celebrate. When we know why, we can really jump in and join God in His goodness and joy, by opening the door to an excited spirit that’s on fire for Him. When we choose to celebrate (joy, excitement, among other forms), we become closer to our Creator than we have ever been. It will build our faith and relationship with our Savior.

If we want to get closer to God, we need to start taking notice of His goodness and celebrate the work He is doing.

Its Benefits –

When we celebrate the truths found in God’s word, it will help us to draw closer to God and remember all the good things He has done for us. We will gain a spirit of celebration. Instead of a spirit of “woe-is-me”. The celebration doesn’t remove our circumstances. We will encounter things in our lives, hard things, but we need to remember the power of God – and just how mighty He is at work in our lives. We have so much to celebrate. Even David, as the king, just couldn’t contain his excitement for what God was doing in his midst.

“David danced before the Lord with all his might… So David and all the household of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.”9

We need this kind of joy. Where we can freely express our praise to the Father without fear or any concern for what others will do or say.10 We need to quit trying to swallow our deep desire to celebrate God’s work, and let the praises arise from our spirit. We need to remember the words of Apostle Paul, where God instructs to not grieve the Holy Spirit. It grieves the Holy Spirit when we are led to praise God, yet cease to give Him that authority in our lives.11

In Calhoun’s book, he notes that we need to “set [our] eyes on God as [we] celebrate, and forget how [we] look. God delights in all kinds of worship.”12 He’s right. We do need to place everything else aside, and make the spiritual discipline of celebration become a daily priority in our lives. Let’s celebrate what God is doing, like Moses and the Israelites did in Exodus 15!13

Question –

Where are you most prone to celebrate God? Alone? With others? In worship? In music? In nature?14

Activity –

I encourage you to spend time in your spiritual-high-place, and just enjoy God’s sweet presence. Notice how He floods your spirit with joy, despite how things may be playing out in your life. Just enjoy Him. Express your joy to Him, and begin to ask how you can live a life of celebration. Unafraid celebration.

If you are accustomed to hiding your celebration, begin asking why. How has others’ disapproval affected how you express yourself in worship to God? The people closest to us, can lack understanding when we show expressions of celebration towards God. In 2 Samuel 6, David and his wife faced a disagreement as the result of her criticism of how he worshiped God.15 May we wisely remember that David is known as “a man after God’s own heart.”16 This is the kind of worship that pleases God.

A heart that praises God in the city streets oblivious to whose watching, is a heart that will praise Him in the quiet areas of their lives as well. It is a heart that seeks Him above all other pursuits. May we become people who lead our hearts into a deeper trusting relationship with our Redeemer, as we receive a flood of His Spirit’s presence in our lives.


1 Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 27.
2 See John 16:33.
3 See Genesis 1:27.
4 See Job 14:5.
5 See Hebrews 4:13.
6 Luke 19:10, ESV.
7 See Romans 8:31.
8 See 2 Corinthians 6:16-18.
9 2 Samuel 6:14-15, NRSV.
10 See Galatians 1:10.
11 See Ephesians 4:30.
12 Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, 27.
13 See Exodus 15:1-21.
14 Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, 28.
15 See 2 Samuel 6:14-22.
16 See 1 Samuel 13:14.