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,

Signature

 

Advertisements

Psalm 119

Today’s reading plan includes this incredible chapter. Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. You can find in around the middle section of your physical Bible. I cannot cover all of this beautiful chapter, but let’s find some treasures to note – shall we?

Happy are all who perfectly follow the laws of God. Happy are all who search for God and always do his will,  rejecting compromise with evil and walking only in his paths (vv. 1-3; TLB).

I have thought much about your words and stored them in my heart so that they would hold me back from sin (vv. 11).

 I will meditate upon [God’s Word] and give them my full respect. I will delight in them and not forget them. Bless me with life so that I can continue to obey you. Open my eyes to see wonderful things in your Word (vv. 15-18).

I am completely discouraged—I lie in the dust. Revive me by your Word (vv. 25)

Turn me away from wanting any other plan than yours. Revive my heart toward you (vv. 37).

For these laws of yours have been my source of joy and singing through all these years of my earthly pilgrimage (vv. 54).

 You made my body, Lord; now give me sense to heed your laws. All those who fear and trust in you will welcome me because I too am trusting in your Word (vv. 73-74).

 I faint for your salvation; but I expect your help, for you have promised it (vv. 81).

Your faithfulness extends to every generation, like the earth you created; it endures by your decree, for everything serves your plans (vv. 90-91).

Accept my grateful thanks and teach me your desires. My life hangs in the balance, but I will not give up obedience to your laws.  The wicked have set their traps for me along your path, but I will not turn aside.  Your laws are my joyous treasure forever. I am determined to obey you until I die (vv. 108-112).

Lord, deal with me in loving-kindness, and teach me, your servant, to obey; for I am your servant; therefore give me common sense to apply your rules to everything I do (vv. 124-125).

 As your plan unfolds, even the simple can understand it. No wonder I wait expectantly for each of your commands (vv. 130-131).

Lord, see how much I really love your demands. Now give me back my life and health because you are so kind. There is utter truth in all your laws; your decrees are eternal (vv. 159-160).

I have wandered away like a lost sheep; come and find me, for I have not turned away from your commandments (vv. 176).

There is sooo much more to be discovered! Take some time and read through this passage of Scripture. Maybe even, allow an online audio Bible become a tool to help you.

{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)

Week 1: Wrap Up

What was special about this week’s message? I invite you to comment below, and share with me (and other readers) about how God spoke to you in this week’s Bible study on 1 Thessalonians

Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1-2:6

“You became followers of us and the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit. Therefore you were examples to all who believe in Macedonia and Achaia… (1:6-7a, MEV)”

This is the message that stands out, to me. One of the reasons I love the Thessalonians is – because their faith was enveloped in strength. They heard the Gospel message, and kept it close even in affliction. This showed the entire world that their faith was not an empty act, but as genuine as our faith could be.

Further in the New Testament, we are reminded that afflictions help us to refine our faith. In times of great trials, we are reminded of our dependence upon God just as David was. David wrote many worship-filled songs, from the depths of the pit that trials can often be described as. Yet even in the midst of great agony, David chose to allow it to be a tool of worship. The same can be true for our own lives. In 1 Peter 1, we are reminded that afflictions are the . . . groundwork, I guess you could say, for a deeper faith in Christ.

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith… may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ… [T]he outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls (see 1 Peter 1:6-9).”

Just before we are told that trials must come and even serve a purpose, we are reminded of a great promise. 1 Peter 1:5 is one of the verses in this chapter of Scripture that I hold tightly to.

“Through faith, God’s power is standing watch, protecting you for a salvation that you will see completely at the end of things (1 Peter 1:5, VOICE).”

In the NIRV, the first part of this verse reads like this: “Through faith you are kept safe by God’s power…” Our faith is important. We have to believe that God is keeping us safe, even through the fiery trials, and that He is bringing us closer to the great salvation He has promised us! I love the picture this verse offers to me. I crave protection, and that is what God is offering to me (to us) as I continue to deliberately put my trust in Him!

Looking back on your life’s trials, I invite you to join me in deliberately seeking how God has made that part of your growing faith journey. I know, the road is hard. For me, I can see how God has stretched my faith and pruned out some of the fleshly things I once clung to. I have grown more intimate in my relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.

While my faith in Jesus isn’t where I hope it will be, it is shown as genuine and experiences growth in trusting Christ through those same trials I despise. This is the work of God, through the Holy Spirit. God is working through the good and bad.

Genesis 16-18; Psalms 41-42

jan-17Assigned Reading: Psalms 41-42; Genesis 16-18

Psalms –

Chapter 41 – God deeply cares for the weak. The Father has an overflow of compassion for us – who are weak. This is such a tender passage of Scripture, that shows us the heart of God. It is a Psalm to be cherished. It shows us how God acts toward the needy, as He protects, preserves, sustains, and restores. Thank You Lord for Your mercy and the way You care for me!

But may you have mercy on me, Lord; raise me up, that I may repay them. I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me. Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever. Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen (vv. 10-13).

Chapter 42 – Our souls are crying out in longing for our great God. Even when we run away from Him, our souls crave God. Thankfully, He doesn’t give up on us, and continues to pursue us. Our hearts seek after the fulfillment that only He can give. He is the One who offers us the hope that changes everything. Our hope is in God, and we have to reach a place of meeting with Him.

How are we setting aside a time and place to daily meet with Jesus to remember who He is, what He has done, and how He wants to meet us and work in our daily lives?

Genesis –

Just some bullet points today, about the reading in Genesis.

→ Sarah clearly did not trust God or His promise. She didn’t even acknowledge the promise in her conversation with her husband regarding using Hagar to have a child (Gen 16).

→ God called Hagar to return to Sarah and submit to her. In God meeting with Hagar, He showed her that He: saw her and would provide for her – even though she was a foreigner (Gen. 16).

→ God continues to remind Abraham of the covenant He has with him. Abraham fell on his face and worshipped God. He truly believed God and what He said (Gen. 17).

→ God states that Sarah will bear a son. Abraham laughed out of disbelief, due to his age (Ishmael was much older at this time), so he asked (or insisted) that Ishmael receives the fruit of the covenant. God was intentional and had his heart set on Isaac. Isaac would receive all the blessings of the first born, even though he was the second. God didn’t want any substitute for His plans. He made sure of it. Abraham and Sarah went their own way, but it was no replacement for God’s plans! (Gen. 17)

→ I can understand why Sarah laughed at the thought of having a son at such an advanced age. If I heard God say something deeply woven into my heart’s desire after such a long wait, I would too. I would be caught in unbelief (Gen. 18).