Almost Time! {Press On Toward Faithfulness}

Hello my friends!!

Our study is quickly approaching. Press On Toward Faithfulness is our eight week study. I do hope you will join me, as we sit and study the Word of God. Diligently, we will be studying and learning from the books of Titus and 1-2 Timothy.

About the Study –

While it is New Testament books we are reading, they are only a few chapters each. And each day, we will be taking it slow and ingesting the treasures of our great God bite by bite. I promise you, the daily readings won’t be too long to read and meditate upon. We will be taking our time walking through these precious chapters.

Our goal here isn’t to see how much of the Bible we can read in one sitting. Rather, our ultimate goal is to allow Christ and His Word to take root in our hearts and change us from the inside-out!

In these books, we are able to gain wisdom from Paul as he counsels two spiritual brothers actively involved in ministry. Titus and Timothy gleaned much needed encouragement, as God spoke to them through Paul. They were encouraged, which helped them stay faithful to what the Lord was leading them to do. Many of us need this kind of encouragement.

Gathering Your Tools –

Our study begins January 15th, so it is just a few short days away. Be sure to grab your eight week Scripture Writing journal, which can be used for this study (or almost any study). It is only $6.25 on Amazon.

Next week, I will reveal our Press On Toward Faithfulness schedule – which we will be using to guide us through our day to day study. While it is a daily study, it will allow us to take in the Scripture piece by piece to get as much as we can – out of this sacred time. Each day, we will uncover new (and even once forgotten) truths that can radically change our perspective of God, ourselves, and show us the steps we need to take – as we place our trust in our Lord Jesus.

Also for those interested: We have a Facebook women’s small group ready to meet and dive into this study in a more personal setting. Consider joining us! But don’t forget about our multiple blog posts – as we go through this study! We will be spending lots of time diving into the Word together, whether it is through the blog or our women’s small group (sorry guys!).

Let’s Pray, Friends –

Lord Jesus, prepare our hearts for this sacred time. So many of us need this time more than words can say, and I know I am one of them. Prepare us physically, emotionally, and spiritually for this study. Help us to be planted in Your divine word and hear from You. As we hear directly from You, help us willfully obey – surrendering everything – so You can move in our lives, communities, and ministries. Be glorified, Lord. Amen!

Talk with you soon, my friends.

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P.S. Thank you for the support you provide, to keep this ministry going! The website link may be changing, so keep an eye out for that – friends. Even when this happen, fear not! The ministry of this blog will press on. The Lord has been providing mightily for all our necessities. I received word that my laptop was no more, but the Lord provided one for me to use.

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Check It Out!

(Email readers, please note that this blog post contains links you might miss unless you view this post on the website at http://www.gracefullyovercoming.me)

It has taken me nearly eight months, but finally you have an easy place to view other articles I have written that don’t make it to Gracefully Overcoming. Typically, I share these articles on GO’s Facebook page. Yet, I forget or become oblivious on the “how to” in sharing these articles right here on the blog.

Anyhow, now you have the opportunity to view these almost “top secret” articles. While visiting my website, click on SOG Articles and it will take you directly to my author page through Servants of Grace.

You will be blessed beyond measure, as you stroll through this ministry’s content. The best thing about it is: you will receive amazing biblically sound teaching, through this ministry. Coming in at second best is: there’s nothing to pay for – like other ministries who have to cover the cost of their ministries. You don’t have to jump through hoops to find this biblically sound teaching on Servants of Grace.

Go check them out, even if you have never heard of this ministry before.

The founder of SOG is very passionate about the Word of God, and ensures everything is going to line up with the Word of God.

Not only is it completely biblical sound (which should be any Christian reader’s biggest concern, by the way), SOG has all kinds of things, which are all designed for you and your Christian walk to benefit.

Concerning GO and our ministry right here on Gracefully Overcoming – including our beautiful Thessalonians’ study: Be sure to check back in a day or two, where we will be studying this week’s memory verse – which is. . .

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for
this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-
18).

Click here for our Thessalonians reading plan.

Until next time,

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Heart-Breaking Forgiveness {{Week 7

Welcome to today’s blog and  our Gleaning From the Heart of Jesus study!

And we have made it to week 4!! Welcome to week 7, my friend.. I am excited to have you joining me today, as I share a real experience of learning about forgiveness the hard way!

Today, we will be discussing the necessity of forgiveness. Not only have we been forgiven of much, we are also commanded to forgive others. If we want God’s forgiveness, then, we need to be willing to extend the same kind of forgiveness to others.

Take a moment to bring out your journal and Bible. If you don’t have either nearby, join us anyway!

The Scriptures – Matthew 6:14-15, 18:33-35

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Mt. 6:14-15, NIV).

From the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

‘Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you? In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.’ ‘This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart (Mt. 18:33-35).’

Devotion

Forgiveness is an intensely deliberate act. Not one of us can claim that we have forgiven someone by happenstance, when we have been offended by another. Others have badly hurt us, yet because of the tender mercy of God – we can forgive them no matter what they have done. Others hurt us, and this is what leads us to this place of needing to forgive. Whether accidental or deliberate in their offending, we are commanded to forgive them. This is an absolute heartfelt action, which requires faith, time, effort.

Forgiveness takes time and effort. And, a whole lot of time with Jesus – our beloved Savior! Forgiveness will not “just happen,” because it takes a lot of God’s strength and our own will – to forgive others.

When I think of forgiveness, I am reminded of a specific encounter where I had to learn my “toughest” (although, this year has beat that encounter using several relationships…) lesson on forgiving others. May you be encouraged, as I share that experience.

When I think of a certain older gentleman (I served alongside him in ministry), I am filled with great joy. But, it was such a painful road of forgiveness. We were constantly bumping heads, or so it seemed. It was such an intense situation to be placed in, and I wasn’t sure how I would survive it, yet God showed both of us His grace and how God can mend a broken friendship (or thriving enemy-ship) – if we will join God and be willing to pursue reconciliation.

After forgiveness, the friendship grew to almost what I would call a mentorship. I mean, we reached a place of definite closeness in serving well together and in terms of godly leadership influence. I can vividly remember finding out that he was “let go” in his volunteering position, I was just heartbroken. Had that occurred during our frequent conflicts, I would have been glad. But, God worked so much during this difficult season. He taught me so much about trusting God, the Christian life, serving, and living with sickness. All of which was exactly what I needed at the time.

Needless to say, I can testify that God grows deeper relationships, when we allow Him to plant forgiveness in our hearts for others – which is the outflow of the way God has forgiven us.

To this day, the struggle and need to forgive still exists. As I stated, this year has been one filled with roughed up relationships (friendships with people I care for). Yet, the lesson of forgiveness remains. These situations are devastatingly hard, and can come one after another. The process doesn’t get easier with experience, but our faith in God and the good work He will do – does get stronger with each new experience. In each of these situations, it has shown me humility and to absolutely trust God (hyperventilating and all). God is molding me in these situations, to make me the person He wants me to be. He is giving me opportunities to know Him more, too.

Lord God, I pray You will teach us to forgive. We are Your beloved children who have been forgiven of much. Grow us in Your tender grace and show us how to truly forgive and love others. This is how people will know You, by the way Your forgiveness is poured out in our most difficult relationships. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Where are the Singles Ministering?

I have been thinking about 1 Corinthians 7, lately. In this particular portion of Scripture, we are reminded that it is better to be single. When we are single, we are in the absolute best position to serve God in His Church.

“I want all of you to be free from worry. An unmarried man worries about how to please the Lord. But a married man has more worries. He must worry about the things of this world, because he wants to please his wife. So he is pulled in two directions. Unmarried women and women who have never been married worry only about pleasing the Lord, and they keep their bodies and minds pure. But a married woman worries about the things of this world, because she wants to please her husband. What I am saying is for your own good—it isn’t to limit your freedom. I want to help you to live right and to love the Lord above all else (vv. 32-35).”

I don’t write this to condemn single Christ-followers, but to encourage them. To encourage you. On the basis of the love of our Savior Jesus Christ. I know there are many single Christ-followers. I just wonder where they are. Not in a “on-the-lookout-for-a-Christian-man” kind of way. But, I want to see the single folks serving alongside me, in every ministry in our global Church. I want to see us, as God’s dearly beloved, utilizing every single gift we are given. Let’s not misuse any of our God-given gifts!

I want to know…

  1. Where are they serving?
  2. How are they allowing God to use their season of singleness to impact the Kingdom of God?
  3. What kind of example are they setting?

Singleness and the Ministry Given

We Notice Them

As singles, we become abundantly aware of every married couple in our home church. We notice when new people visit our church. We notice who the single people of the Church are. So, the singles are out there – despite how rare their appearances seem to be.

Yet, many are single…
They just aren’t seen serving in His Church.

Singles: Godly Examples on Ministering

I am speaking of His Church on a global level. It is not solely my Church that I speak of, but His Church. I am one who craves mentorship. I am greatly impacted by others’ lives, as I observe their words and actions. I treasure seeing others’ faith at work through their serving within the Church. To see others who take God at His Word when He teaches us to rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep, live in harmony with one another, and associate with the lowly (Rom. 12:15-16).

So, this is a question that can obviously plague my spirit.

Where are all the single Christ – followers who can be leadingserving, and impacting others for the Kingdom of God?

Where are they?

I just want to know where they are.

I just want to find them and witness their God-centered passion.

Surely, they are out there. Right?

I mean, they have to be out there somewhere.

But, what are they doing if they aren’t ministering within the Church? And yes, I wonder if they allow their singleness to hold them back in their serving.

Or, perhaps, are they busy following other things?

  • Careers?
  • Friends?
  • Traveling?
  • Catching up on TV shows?
  • Self-isolating?
  • Busy buffing up at the gym?

The Gift of Singleness

I wish we recognized the tremendous strength that our singleness could hold. It has taken me nearly 29 years, to reach this blessed point of being content in singleness and having a passion to utilize this season to actively pour myself into ministry as God allows. I don’t want to miss a beat, due to discontentment. I don’t want my Christian brothers and sisters, to neglect their God-given gifts either.

Single or married, we need to concern ourselves with pleasing God and using our gifts in His Church.

Contentment in Singleness

I am growing in this area of being content in singleness. A key aspect of this, for me, is to serve God in the local Church. While I serve, through various functions (this blog, my writing, other social media, etc), serving in the local Church body is a key aspect of growing in godly contentment.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it (1 Tim. 6:6-7).”

 

Serving within the Church has replaced the discontentment. I am choosing to see the gift of singleness and the contentment that God can bring with (and through) it. Instead of being centered on singleness and dreaming up possibilities, I am basking in the opportunity to serve. Using my spiritual gifts, to serve where I can love and grow alongside others. This is where I am finding my joy, sweet fellowship, deeper communion with Jesus Christ, and yes godly contentment – even.

In the Bible, there are countless singles who left their footprint on others’ lives. It is because of their singleness that they could more wholeheartedly follow Jesus Christ – our loving Savior.

This is not to say that married individuals did not (or cannot) wholeheartedly follow Christ. But as we know, single individuals have more to offer. This is due because our lives typically include much less responsibility. A married individual worries about how to please their spouse/family, whereas we can focus on solely pleasing the Lord. All He asks for is our hearts, and singles have plenty to give.

Singleness: An Opportunity to Minister

You know when you read Christian books or articles on singleness, there is something they tend to mention.

Those who are unattached, are in the absolute best place to minister to others.

I am holding onto this truth. Scripture even backs it up. It’s biblical, as we see in 1 Corinthians 7:32-35.

When we are single, we can throw ourselves into whatever area God is calling us. We do not have concern ourselves with wondering if our husbands feel as though we are neglecting our marriage, kids, spending too many hours in Church, etc. Because, we can wholly devote ourselves to Christ, His Bride – the Church, and just focus on how can we minister to others and be ministered to.

As I look to this kind of lifestyle of treating singleness as a ministry opportunity, I want my eyes to be opened to other men and women of God who are of a like-mindset, and learning how to focus on pleasing the Lord. I want to find these individuals who can serve as encouragement and examples of how to lead in the midst of singleness.

Reflection –

If you are single, how are you using your singleness to serve?

If you are married, what examples of single Christians have you observed in your own life?

MMS – Laugh

MMSFor the month of October, I am joining many bloggers in a challenge to write every single day for 31 days. I learned about this challenge through another challenge I participate in most weeks. The “Five Minute Friday” challenge is going to expand to last the whole month! Each entry, will be five minutes unedited of writing on a particular theme – found on Kate’s blog.Today’s theme is “laugh.”

What makes me laugh? Youth ministry makes me laugh. I didn’t think I would like it – like I do. Joyous, laughter, almost-like-it-is-home. It fits. But see, I was convinced for years I wouldn’t like it. It even scared me to a certain extent.

But, it’s not like that.

At all.

This is what happens when God invades our lives.

This is what happens when we invite God into our lives.

This is what happens.

 

I love how God is showing His power.

I love how God is showing me joy.

I love how God is helping me to build relationships.

Meeting Spiritual Joy

Laughter meets spiritual joy.

It’s not like when Sarai laughed at God.

God told Abraham His plans for his family. Sarah (then, Sarai) laughed the moment she heard this – “your wife will have a son this time next year.”

When God Makes Plans

… He can breathe a different kind of laughter into our lives. He can infuse joy into our spirit that is bigger-than-life.

Prayer

God, I need You to give me Your kind of laughter. I need You to give me a life flooded with laughter and joy defined by You alone. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.