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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Made to Shine {{Week 4}}

Welcome, friends!

I invite you to get out your study journal and Bible, if you have it nearby. If you haven’t had the privilege of ordering your study journal yet, you can do so here (Please Note: It’s an affiliate link).

The Scriptures – Matthew 5:14-16; John 8:12

Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16, MSG).

Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in (John 8:12, NIRV).”

Devotion

Before I first decided to follow Jesus, I was filled with nothing but darkness. In my spirit, that’s all there was – death and darkness.

… Then I met Jesus, and He changed everything!

He took all the darkness, and gave me His light. He took on my punishment, so I wouldn’t face a permanent spiritual death. And, He gave me new life. Best of all, I can now have a relationship with Him that thrives on intimacy and His grace.

I now stand before the world as a new creation, filled with the light of Christ. We are like a city of a hill. You can’t hide the transformation Christ is doing inside of you. The light given to you – was always made to shine!

With Jesus, we can shine in the darkness.

As you give Christ the space to proclaim His glory through you, many others will come to know Jesus Christ and His transformative power too! This is why we resist the urge to run away and hide (Hello Jonah!). We have been shown the great mercies of God.

. . .

Try as we may, we just cannot hide. We simply cannot ignore the change God does inside of us. Like Moses’ shining face (see Exodus 34:33-35; 2 Corinthians 3:12-13), we will shine the darkness right out of this world. Not because of anything we could do on our own, it is simply who God is. He expels the darkness, when we come to Him, surrendering, and make Him Lord over our lives… when we give up control, so we can begin a relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ! It all begins with abiding in Jesus (see John 15).

We can’t ignore the good work God is doing in our hearts, but why would we want to? Let Jesus continue His good work. He is doing great things, you just wait and see (see Philippians 1:6)

Lord Jesus, You are good and do good. Thank You for the way that You’re changing me. Help me to keep shining for You, so others will come to know You too! Amen.

Our God Stands {{Week 1}}

Hello, my dear friends!

Today is our last day for our first week of study. We have begun studying Isaiah’s 40th chapter. In this chapter, we are uncovering many truths about God, His character, and compassion for us. I would like to invite you to open your Bible and join us for today’s devotion time. (And if you are new to our study, it’s not too late for you to join in! You can find our journal and schedule.)

The Scriptures: Isaiah 40:8 and 1 Peter 1:22-23

Yes, grass withers and flowers fade, but the word of our God endures forever (Isaiah 40:8, GNT).”

Now that by your obedience to the truth you have purified yourselves and have come to have a sincere love for other believers, love one another earnestly with all your heart. For through the living and eternal word of God you have been born again as the children of a parent who is immortal, not mortal (1 Peter 1:22-23).

Our God Stands Forever!

God stands forever, and gives us what no solely human ever could – new life. Jesus Christ is our wonderful Savior.

We have been given new, beautiful, life. It is well worth all its costs, when I think about it. New life is given to us, by our Savior. Our generous Savior.

Because God stands forever, we are given new life! Our new life can never be taken away from us. In John 10, we are reminded that “no one can snatch us from the Father’s hand (vv. 28)”.

Our new life is handed to us by Christ, Himself. Jesus Christ paid the greatest cost. The cost none of us could ever pay. See, our sin costs. Sin separates us from God, and has brought us to a place of spiritual death. There is no life in it. Only pain, sorrow, regret, and punishment for what we have done. Then, God’s great mercy stepped in. This is why Jesus Christ, has come. He has come to redeem us, through His death and resurrection. He came to set us free, and give us brand new life.

Today, let’s choose to trust God and His Word. God is proclaiming to us that He stands forever. He stands forever, and is for us! How can you choose to trust God to stand for you, today?

As I read this passage of Isaiah, I am reminded of something found in Exodus 2:23-25. God is deeply concerned for us.

Just as He was for the Israelites, God is deeply concerned for us. This is exactly why He came. He could have chosen many alternatives to bring us back from the damage our sin has caused, but He didn’t. He chose the lasting way. The everlasting way. He is worthy of our praise.

God stands forever – and – is reaching out for you. He is calling out, for you to come near and see for yourselves – He stands forever. He is drawing you near, so you can see who our great God truly is.

See 2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3

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Friends, I encourage you to consider joining our Sept/Oct Bible Study. We will be diving straight into Matthew 4-7. To check out the journey, for this particular study, please visit this link. As an Amazon Affiliate, the blog is given a small earning for any purchase you make using the above link.

Until Sunday,

Stacey

MMS – Offer

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 “offer.”

Sometimes, I wonder what I do have have to offer.

Like really…

These days, I feel so lost.

Let’s rephrase: My body feels lost. There is this jumbo disconnect between the me I want to be – the woman of God I want to be, and the me that I am. It’s not just the walking-in-new-self-transformation-process thing, or maybe it is.

My adjustment in health is a part of the new me.

It is a key part of the new me I am in Christ Jesus. It is through these difficult wilderness moments, that I become the woman of God I want to be. The woman of God I need to be.

I just don’t feel like I have a thing to offer.

In.The.Flesh.

I am not able to make it to church most days (as of lately).

I am not fulfilling my commitment to serve in particular areas.

It has a way of affecting me.

What Do I Have to Offer?

This poses the question – “What do I have to offer?” To Christ. To the Church. For now, until healing comes, I need to focus on ways to simply be present as often as I can.

I need to plunge into the Word of God, and trust He will use all these things – the painful things too – for His glory.

In John 9:2-3, we learn that sickness can be (and will be) used for His glory. That’s what I have to offer. My affliction. My time. My good moments. My bad moments. My experiences. My spiritual fruit being formed. Even sharing what God teaches me through His Word – to benefit those who are seeking Christ in the midst of a struggle.

God works all things out, even the bad things.

See Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28

John 15:4- Stay with Me

You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.
Remain in me, as I also remain in you.
No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.
Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
-John 15:3-4

I am already clean.
That is what the Scriptures are teaching me.

There is nothing I could possibly do to be more spiritually clean than I am at this very moment. The moment I heard the Word, repented of my sin, and turned my life over to Christ, I became wholly, beautifully clean. It can become fairly easy to believe the lie, that I am somehow not clean.

It is easy to believe the lie that… God is displeased with me. A friend shared this quote a while back, and it shines brightly today: “You are doing better than you think.” I think of it pretty often. It’s not because of me that I am doing better than I think, but it is because of God and His work in my life.

God is not done with me yet, either.

When life breaks me, I can trust God is working beneath the surface. He works in all these troubling circumstances that I find myself crawling somewhere in the middle of it all. God has this. More important than the stuff I find myself in the middle of. The hard stuff my life is entangled in. God has me! There is no greater treasure than that. I know to whom I belong. Though I may forget more often than I remember. I know where my identity lies. I am a child of the Most High God!

God has cleansed me.
He loves me with an everlasting love.

In this love letter from my Abba Father, the words I feel being whispered to my spirit are these:

“Stay with me. You are clean. You are made new. You are mine.”

I may struggle to believe or have faith, in the midst of life-crushing situations, but God has all of this and holds me near and dear. In the middle of the hard stuff, I know I need to make my time alone with Jesus (spending it in His Presence basking in His sweet intimacy) a priority. I need to cry out to Him. I need to not allow emotions to build up. I need to just run to God. There isn’t anything can really do about the circumstances themselves, but knowing to make my intimacy with Christ at the top of my list is a starting place.

And… it is the hardest, yet most rewarding, thing I can do in the middle of the hard stuff.