Characteristics of God, Godly Living

Finding Captivating Love {Devotion}

While this post is over a year old, it is worth making sure its contents are shared with all of you – my lovely readers who are dearly loved by our heavenly Father. Allow it to soak into your spirit, help you draw nearer to Jesus Christ, our King, and ponder the truths of our great God and His Word!


Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance (1 Peter 1:1-2).

In 1 Peter 1:2, we learn a few interesting things.

  • God has a purpose regarding us.
  • We are chosen.
  • We have been made holy.
  • We have been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb (that is, Jesus Christ).
  • Grace and peace are ours in full measure.

The question I want us to answer today is….

How are you at living out these basic precepts that make up the Christian faith? It can take some of us many years to finally grasp the fact that we are –

  • on God’s mind (that He has a purpose for us!)
  • chosen by God alone (and it has nothing to do with our works)
  • cleansed (really cleansed) by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus, the Messiah!)
  • God’s grace and peace are completely poured onto every aspect of our lives, if we will allow God to do it!

What would our lives look like if we really grasped these truths? What would my life look like, if I really knew that I was loved by my Savior? Not a conditional kind of love that is based on what I do or don’t do, what expectations I completely miss by a long-shot, and any other human measure I can concoct in my mind.

Jesus loves, really loves, me and you. To such an extent that He came to earth.

Think about what kind of longing that would take.

“I am going to earth, to redeem them.”

“I will be forsaken, unloved, hated in fact, punished for what THEY did (for our sin, and He did it with such amazing love), and I am going to BRING them back. I am going to FIX our broken relationship, because I dearly love them and created them.”

This is true, friends.
Our reality.

God’s love is passionate. He is absolutely for us! And, this is the kind of love that God has for each one of us.

There is this song I reheard at a conference, but it took on a whole new meaning while there. “Live Like You’re Loved (Hawk Nelson)”. What would it take for me to live like God loves me? Not on some mini-level. We are talking about a football stadium, out of this world, full blown confidence, kind of love that God has for each of us.

The love of God is beyond anything we could ever comprehend.

We could take all of the oceans of the world, line them up next to each other, and it still wouldn’t even come close to the greatness of God’s love for us. All He wants is to be with us. To spend time with us. It’s a relationship!

Thessalonians

Week 3: Five Friday (1 Thessalonians 3)

Originally, I was turned onto this mode of carrying out the “Five Minute Friday,” by a dear friend. Marie faithfully carries out this Friday series, on her own blog. The idea is to offer five bold points, that you may read within five minutes.

Five Truths On. . . 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13

(1) Because of their aching hearts, Paul sent someone to go and check on the Thessalonians. Even if they had social media back then, I don’t think it could ever do the heartfelt thing that they set out to do. Physically, they sent Timothy to be with their friends to see how they were doing. Timothy went on the motive of love and risked everything. They didn’t just “like” their status, but went to them and had honest conversations which could have involved confession, glory stories of God’s work, and much encouragement.

(2) Suffering are a part of every Christian’s life. In 3:3-4, we learn how the missionaries prepared the Thessalonians for what they would face. They were well prepared for the expected suffering. God used the brethren to help prepare them as well as encouraging them to endure. Their new life meant they wouldn’t undergo suffering without the support of the body of Christ.

… But of course you know that such troubles are a part of God’s plan for us Christians.  Even while we were still with you we warned you ahead of time that suffering would soon come—and it did (TLB).

(3) The ministers proved themselves, as they showed concern for the Thessalonians. We live in a time, where it is easy to forget about others. Even in their suffering, these ministers reached out to see how their beloved friends were doing in their faith and in their new lives founded by Christ Jesus. This shows the depth of their love for Jesus and others.

(4) Knowing the truth about their friends’ faith brought joy and comfort to the imprisoned missionaries. Once we finally know how others are, it makes room for comfort and an abundance of joy that moves our hearts nearer to God. Their faith will encourage ours, even if we seem like these great people of faith on the outside. God only knows the measure of our need to hear how God is working in others’ lives. It offers us courage and hope to see how He will move in ours!

(5) Hearing about others’ faith in Christ ought to drive us to worship our Savior that much more. The unknown of a friend’s belief in Christ will drive us to our knees, to pray desperately on their behalf. If desperation precedes joy, the worship is all the more lively and intimate.  It’s a much needed time of remembering God’s goodness and that this is the God who walks with us.

How can we thank God enough for you and for the joy and delight you have given us in our praying for you? For night and day we pray on and on for you, asking God to let us see you again, to fill up any little cracks there may yet be in your faith (9-10).

Tyndale

Befriend (Tyndale)

befriendScott Sauls has come out with a new book, and I am very pleased to bring it to you today in review.

In his book, Sauls opens up about the truth regarding friendship and even ourselves. While we all crave friendship on different levels, we were all made for relationships. Authentic relationships.

In Befriend, we are given direction and insight on how to pursue real friendships with others.

Sauls makes his case for befriending. In relationships, there are specific types. Many of us are familiar with one sided friendships. While we ache for a friendship resembling something that David and Jonathan of the Bible shared, we face a difficult reality. We find it difficult to have authentic friendships, where we can be vulnerable and build a common connection of two lives shared. I know, this struggle quite well.

Real friendships, for many of us, seems just too far out of reach. In the world we live in, surface level friendships seems to be what is made available to us. It seems to be the norm in the world of Facebook, to settle for inauthentic friendships. Let’s become unsettled, friends, and remember the gift of authentic friendships. In this book, we are reminded of the abundant beauty found only in real friendships. In real friendships, we find belonging and a support system.

We all want to belong. Even in today’s world, we can find the tools necessary to turn our relationships into something more.

This book hits home for me. I have written about my ache for real friendships before. I am loving this book. It has been exactly what I have needed to read. While I am not finished reading the book, I can definitely say I would (and do) recommend grabbing a copy to read for yourselves. Not only does it talk about authentic relationships that seem far away, I find a friend in Sauls. As soon as I began reading his book, I just felt like it was exactly what I needed to read. Sauls offers much needed advice.

Befriend reminds us the better friendships must include vulnerability and love.

There are twenty essays collected in Befriend. Not only are the chapters short and relevant, Sauls hits a different aspect of real friendships too, giving us a fuller picture of friendships.

Be sure to pick up your copy of “Befriend” today!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Tyndale’s book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive 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.

Gleaning from the Heart of Jesus

Social Media Society {{Week 6}}

Welcome to today’s blog and our Gleaning From the Heart of Jesus study! Today, we will be discussing a very important topic. One we all will encounter, as we live in our Christian life! Are you ready? Break out those journals and your Bible. If you don’t have either nearby, join us anyway!

The Scriptures – Matthew 6:1-4 and Jeremiah 17:10

Jesus said, “Be careful not to do good deeds in front of other people. Don’t do those deeds to be seen by others. If you do, your Father in heaven will not reward you. When you give to needy people, do not announce it by having trumpets blown. Do not be like those who only pretend to be holy. They announce what they do in the synagogues and on the streets. They want to be honored by other people. What I’m about to tell you is true. They have received their complete reward. When you give to needy people, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Then your giving will be done secretly. Your Father will reward you, because he sees what you do secretly (Matthew 6:1-4, NIrV).”

The Lord says, “I look deep down inside human hearts. I see what is in people’s minds. I reward each person in keeping with their conduct. I bless them based on what they have done (Jeremiah 17:10).”

Devotion

Unfortunately, we live in a social network culture where it’s common practice and expected to proclaim every single act and good work that we have offered up to our gracious Creator and Redeemer! While it is still just as wrong as Scripture tells us, we have somehow made it seem okay. So, we “check in” when we get to church or the latest worship event we have been to. We post a picture, when we crack open our dusty Bible for the first time in a week.

We have lost the sacred art along with the way God has trained us up, where we are careful to not tell others about our “good deeds”.

According to this set of Scriptures, we are reminded of the danger that our sharing or oversharing can cause. We can, in fact, miss (completely) the blessings and rewards of our great God. All because, we weren’t careful to live our acts within the walls of our spiritual marriage.

Like an earthly marriage, there is much of ourselves and actions that are far too personal for the outside world – to have access to.
Our relationship with Jesus is a treasure that this world shouldn’t have full access to.

While we share a great deal about our relationship, we need to be careful.

Our spiritual marriage is a sacred thing. While we are proclaiming and sharing, let’s resolve to stay humble and allow God to be our motivation for every single thing we do. Let’s listen to God, take Him at His Word, and remember why Jesus tells us to not share the knowledge of our “good deeds” with others. Let’s remember the gift of discretion, and obeying God. We need to allow discretion and godly obedience to invade our hearts and minds, so we don’t proclaim our good works and lose our heavenly rewards.

See Romans 12:2; Luke 12:1-3

Lord God, Keep my focus on You. Help me to not share my “good deeds” with the world, but leave them for You alone. Thank You for all You are and the relationship I can have with You. Help me not to follow the patterns of this world, but to be transformed by You alone! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Gleaning from the Heart of Jesus, Updates

Schedule for Remaining Blog Study

Hi friends!

For the last few weeks, we have been going through the Sermon of the Mount. But before we reached Jesus’ awesomely convicting sermon, we were met with the temptations Jesus Himself faced.

The Father sent Him out into the wilderness, too. In the wilderness, where it was just the Father, Son Jesus, Holy Spirit, and the tempter Satan. In the wilderness, is a sacred but difficult place. Sacred, because of commune with the Father. Difficult, because of the heaviness of the temptations He would endure.

Jesus shows us how to walk through our own wildernesses.

And sometimes, it means getting away from everything we once knew. To be given our Father’s perspective on our life’s difficulties.

My Own Wilderness

Lately, I have been feeling like I need to take a step back in my online presence. This will only affect social media, not my blog itself. With that said, I have made a schedule to keep everyone in tuned with where we are in our study.

While the journal is available on Amazon (and your support is soo needed and appreciated, it’s what keeps this blog running), I have been posting the main scriptures on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Although Facebook had a glitch this week when I made my new Instagram for my new blog, Chronically Overcoming.

Disconnecting…

Just like my Instagram account was disconnected from its purposeful source (Facebook is honestly the primary reason I began using Instagram in the first place, but anyway). A lot of times, we mean well… but in the process, we become disconnected from the important things (see Col. 3:1-2).

We need to take reflective rest breaks, and just take time out to allow our perspective to be renewed and to take inventory of our spiritual lives. There is absolutely no shame in this. It is actually really good to plug in and just take inventory of our spiritual lives. Where are we? And, where are we trying to go? Has God been the One leading us?

This is what I need to begin exploring.

As we continue our study, let’s expect God to move things around in our lives. Let’s expect God to show us what we need to surrender to Him. I don’t know where you are in your life, but I can guarantee you – He is asking you to surrender something. Take time to disconnect and check your connection with Him. Make sure you know what He is willing you to do. Make sure you can clearly hear His voice. Just disconnect for a bit, in whatever way God leads you.

Again, this choice will not affect the blog posts you all have grown accustom to seeing here on Gracefully Overcoming.


* Please note: The link for the journal (through Amazon) is an affiliate link.
* You can find all of the posts for our Gleaning study here.