Noticing the Change {{POTF}}

I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because he considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry— even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I received mercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 1:12-14, CSB).

I needed this truth: our Lord Jesus is the One strengthening us!

While I am a person who struggles with sin, I am absolutely saved by His grace alone. God has shown me His mercy. He has purposely loved me, despite the person I used to be. When my sin nature is in charge, I have the ability to crave being unkind. Yet, the Lord, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, is showing me how I can live a brand new way of life! He continues to deliver me from my old self on a daily, even hourly, basis.

My sin shows me my desperate need for our Lord Jesus who rose from the grave! In Scripture we are given the opportunity to see the difference between drawing nearer to Christ and living for ourselves. Galatians 5 is the number one Scripture that comes to mind on this subject. It shows us the absolute different in our lives when we focus on this relationship with God through our Savior.

For myself, I know our Lord Jesus is the One making the difference! He is doing the work that only He can. Routines, diets, and other things cannot ever change the “inside me.” This is something only our Lord Jesus can do.

The grace of our Lord has been abundantly poured out on me, along with faith and love found in Jesus Christ. The change I need in my personal life is something only Jesus can do. I need the Lord to take my life fully. I need to keep my words and attitude in check, because honestly it is easy to slip up. When life happens, it is easy to fall into the hard place of old ways. Take a look at this encouragement.

take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth (Eph. 4:22-24).”

Friends, let us keep daily putting on Christ.
Let us choose the things of God over this world.
We are given the Holy Spirit to help us in our journey.

How are you making sure you don’t “sober up” from the Holy Spirit? (Just that statement alone, takes a bit to digest – Reading our Bible’s, prayer, and Christian fellowship are all ways to get “drunk on the Spirit”.) Friend, keep drinking in the Lord through coming nearer. We need our Living Water, and drawing nearer is the best way to govern our lives. The Holy Spirit is our tool for every day living, so let us allow Him to strengthen our lives!

Seeking Him,

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{Summer} Psalms – 1

The blessing behind using this blog is – the freedom. My fingers can walk joyfully across my keyboard, and use a different format for this particular journey. Each blog post can short or long. There is joy and freedom, because I can just seek Jesus without borders.

Welcome to Psalms, Chapter 1!!!

What stood out? At the top of my paper, I jotted down very specific Bible references. Tonight, I want to share those with you. Each verse is shared in the NIrV translation. I encourage you to check out these verses in your own Bibles. Highlight them. Write notes in the margins about what God is showing YOU through these verses.

. . . Everything godly people do turns out well (1:3a).

The Lord watches over the lives of godly people. But the lives of sinful people will lead to their death (1:6)

When the Lord judges them, their life will come to an end. Sinners won’t have any place among those who are godly (1:5, see Matthew 25:31-46).

Which Path Will You Take?

Several other things stood out to me too. The descriptive words in the first verse alone are soul stirring. Things like “join in,” “make a habit,” and “follow.” It can be tempting to crave what others are doing, or even just settling for what others are doing. But, we are reminded of these two different worlds.

If we will focus our attention on Jesus Christ, the Bible, and eternity, we will grow by leaps and bounds

. . . and find ourselves intensely joyful as we sit at our Savior’s feet.

This Summer, I want to develop a great joy for our Risen Lord and the Bible. I want to just be able to walk by the Holy Spirit. I want to see the distractions of my life sink into the background completely unnoticed, because I am just sooo full of God and the joy He gives.

In Psalms 16:11, we are reminded that…

You [God] will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore (AMPC).

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 12-15; Psalms 38-40

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Assigned Reading: Psalms 38-40; Genesis 12-15

Because our study is chronological, it took us to the book of Job after Genesis 1-11. Well now that we have read, mourned, and repented with Job and his friends, it is time to return to Genesis. Are you ready? Genesis is a beautiful book with much insight and truths.

Psalms –

Chapter 38 – Our lives can reek from our foolish sins. David’s life was in ruins, because of his sins. When we have unconfessed sin in our lives, it truly does eat away at us. Let us confess our sins before our Maker who knows absolutely everything about us. I want to share the ending of David’s prayer. It’s beautiful, regardless of the translation.

Don’t dump me, God; my God, don’t stand me up. Hurry and help me; I want some wide-open space in my life! (vv. 21-22, The Message)

Chapter 39 – The Psalms remind me of many truths. Here, we are reminded that we need to join David in watching what we say and do. Our lives are short, and we need to remember our hope. Our hope is found in Jesus Christ, our Savior and God’s Son. He is our true wealth and joy. He is our Deliverance from our own rebellion.

Lord, we need Your rescuing – from ourselves. We need Your help. None but You, Lord!

Chapter 40 – God heard David’s cry and helped him. God can deliver us from anything, but we need to bring the things of our lives to His precious feet. God’s plans for us are soo many – too many to list. So, let us come confessing our sin knowing our need for Him and cry out for His eternal help!

Genesis –

The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you (12:1).’

God began his journey with Abram. Abram was called to go to the land God would show him. God showed him the promised land that God was going to give Abraham’s family. Their family would have a long journey to go, before reaching this land of “milk and honey”. This land of abundance would be theirs, but in time.

… if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you (13:15-17).”

… Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness (15:5-6).

Between the call to the talk he had with God about Abraham’s further inheritance, Abraham faced hardship. Many things of hardship, but God’s promises still stood true. Though childless, God’s promise of many descendants was still true. Abraham knew the power of taking God at His Word. We have to trust God, even when our lives are “in the waiting” to see what God is going to do.

God’s promises still stand, even if our circumstances look vastly different than the outcome is supposed to be. Abraham’s reality looked so different from what God said his life would look like in a few years. This reveals the power of our God, and the need to trust Him. Things won’t always look like we envision, but He will provide the things He promises.

Two New Opportunities (For the New Year)

Hey friends,

Welcome to 2017! I have TWO NEW THINGS to share with you all today. These are some pretty nice ways to get “plugged in”. Even if you are a part of a church family, it would still be a great way to get spiritually fed this year. Bear with me, as I share the details of both.

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Picture from Free Images

Bible Reading Challenge is the first big opportunity I have to share with you all. While it started on the 1st, it’s not too late to join in. The goal is simple: to get into the Word of God and to encourage one another to keep spending more time in God’s Word.

The reading plan is a combination of reading the Bible in the order that things happened, and also reading daily Psalms. For the Bible Challenge, I have set up a blog to share the thoughts/posts and a facebook place to help my friends have easy access to the daily reading schedule. Just five days in, I have already gotten a bit behind and all. But you know what, I am really enjoying this Bible challenge. I am enjoying having the opportunity to just sit at the Lord’s feet and listen to my audio Bible as I remember how God has worked on behalf of His people – and – how God is our awesome Protector and Defender who initiates a relationship with us through His Son Jesus

Our Nine Week Bible Study is next on the agenda. I feel a bit scatter brained right now, so bear with me – as I write up this post. I am looking at my already higher-than-normal word count, and hoping I don’t miss details. While I know I haven’t shared much details about our new blog study, there has been a reason for that. These past few months have been crazy and hard as far as my health and symptoms go. I have wanted to make sure I would be up for this, as I do put a lot of time and attention into each of these studies (or I try to). Anyway, I am ready to share. =)

Are you ready for this? We will be studying the Thessalonians. Both books are included in this Scripture Writing – Bible Study on this blog. Honestly, I have already begun this study and am on week 3. So, I can say we will grow a lot. God is speaking to me in really good ways. He is reminding me of His presence. So, I invite you to join me in our study of Meeting the Thessalonians!

 

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Our new study will be a bit different as far as its format. I believe this will make it a better study for both you the reader and myself.

The Thessalonians study has been an amazing ride, one ride I am definitely ready to share with you all!

Big changes for our study –

  • It’s a “weekday” format – meaning five lessons per week.
  • A focus on memorizing Scripture.
  • Our weekly blog posts will continue, but perhaps only 1-2 posts per week.
  • A posted reading plan for those who cannot afford the journal (I couldn’t get one either, so don’t feel bad).

Also, there are changes within the journal too. What are some of those changes?

  • A weekly prayer sheet to help us jump start our week in prayer.
  • A reflection questionnaire to help us end each week well, and prepare for the following week.
  • A space to actually write out the memory verse, along with tips to help us memorize Scripture.

God is going to do some very amazing things in the course of our study. It will be 9 weeks of honest conversations with God and seeking Him in His Word! Look forward to having you join us.

We will begin our study on January 29!

Psst a little secret: We will begin studying the book of Romans after this study in the same format. We will take bite-size portions of Scripture to meditate and focus on, studying Romans over several Bible study eight week “sessions”.

Click here to support Gracefully Overcoming, by purchasing our Meeting the Thessalonians Scripture Writing Journal!

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