The Gospel Demands Forgiveness {Inspiring Women}

Hi friends! For the months of May/June, we will be using a reading plan given to us by Sweet to the Soul Ministries. Feel free to stroll through their Facebook page and blog. They even have a journaling kit and Bible study for this month’s plan!

In order to truly become transformed women, who are changed by our Lord Jesus Christ, we need to become women of humility. Humility, or its opposite – pride, shows up the moment someone has wronged us.

Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others (Col. 3:13, TLB).

How Do WE Respond… when someone has wronged us?

This is the moment where we realize a lot about ourselves and the grace that we are given through the suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is impossible for us to truly forgive those who have deeply hurt us, except by the power of our risen Lord.

King Jesus is the One who is doing this beautiful work inside of us.

And you will know God’s great power. It can’t be compared with anything else. His power works for us who believe. It is the same mighty strength God showed. He showed this when he raised Christ from the dead. God seated him at his right hand in his heavenly kingdom (Eph. 1:19-20, NTE).

Reminded of the Gospel

When these deeply conflicted situations arise, we are reminded of the Gospel. The Gospel reminds us that all people need God’s forgiveness – which is found only through Jesus Christ. They need our forgiveness, too.

God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. . . Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:19, 20b-21, NIV).

Because we have been changed by the reality of the Gospel, we will seek after God’s heart in our relationships. We need to be willing to pursue reconciliation with others, after being made right with God. If we want to see God bring healing, let’s choose to work toward forgiving others.

Letting Go of “The Right”

We may have “the right” to be angry with someone for the way they have hurt us, but we can willfully choose to “count it as rubbish (see Phil. 3:7-14)”.

Why would we do such a thing? Because, we have met Jesus Christ.

From the moment where we said “yes” to following Jesus, our lives have been changed – for the better. Our hearts and minds are being renewed. Now if we haven’t met Jesus Christ or been changed by Him in this dramatic way, we will try to forgive in our own efforts. We need Jesus Christ and His power to forgive. 

Forgiving others is hard, but made possible with Jesus Christ. Every hint of willingness reminds us of the Holy Spirit’s work in our midst. Through walking by the Holy Spirit’s leading, we are able to remember none compare with Him. His truth always wins.

In Christ,

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Fighting Well When Weary

I have been sick for quite a while. Some days or weeks, are miraculously better than others. Then you have days like these, where there’s just debilitating weakness and nightmares (meaning: lack of sleep). Everything is snowballing. So, the question you habitually begin to ask is. . .

“Would someone else do a better job if they were placed in my shoes?”

You wonder if someone else would have more success, if they were in your exact shoes.  You begin to consider if it’s not your circumstances, as much as it is somehow you.

The Gift of God’s Grace –

Even as I wrestle with this question, there is something I know to be fully true.

I know, it’s by God’s grace that I have accomplished all I have. And I know that this same grace God gives, is why I can remain encouraged and endure through my circumstances. Because of Jesus’ work on the cross, I am not alone and He is carrying me and my grief.

I may struggle with how well of a job I am doing, but I am still here. I am still fighting. I am still staying where I am planted, and trying to be on the look out for something good to spring up from the ground of my circumstances – that makes it all worthwhile.

Even so, I still can’t help but wonder about that thing. That question. “Would someone else do a better job?” The question, I guess, we all find ourselves asking at one time or another. Even if it is not in sickness, we each face our own unique battles.

Let’s resolve to give this to God. May I give this to my God, with whom I have a relationship, because His knowledge and strength are far greater than my own!

I am what I am. I give what I give. I just need to keep my sword of intentionality nearby, so I fight this battle well. I need to be able to fight well.

Be Intentional –

I need to remember to be intentional. While I can’t break from my struggles, I can choose how I fight my battles. And some days, I will lose. But, I need to figure out how to win.

Our circumstances are not our choice, but how we fight is.

Many of us face circumstances, where we cannot pause our circumstances to regroup ourselves. There’s comfort in knowing I am not alone. The struggles are, as I said, unique for each of us.

I need to remember I am doing my best. Even when I am too weak to fight. Even when I am tired of fighting. I need to be careful in how I fight and learn to fight well.

The Tools –

And, fighting well means not giving up. Summer will be difficult on my body, but I can’t give up. I have to continue enduring and learning which weapons are best suited to fight my battles, which includes –

  1. Stay deep in the Word. As for this Summer, I am working toward reading through the book of Psalms and blogging as I go.
  2. Keep praying and fellowshipping with my Lord Jesus.
  3. Trusting myself and more importantly Jesus Christ. I need to trust that I am doing my best with what I have been given and that my Savior is well pleased with me – regardless of my sickness.

Week 4: The Ultimate Goal – Part 2

While I deeply want to pour over a specific passage of Scripture, this is not the day for that conversation to take place. Yesterday, we began to talk about how God is the ultimate authority in our lives. I want to continue that conversation, before we move on.

Before we can go enter the depth of this precious set of God’s commands found in 1 Thessalonians 4, we have to recognize who God is and see Him as the One in authority over our lives. He is the Supreme authority in our lives. His Voice is the only One that will matter at the end of the day.

What is Your Focus?

Knowing this means: He is designed to be the Source of our focus.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Col. 3:1-2, ESV).

. . . let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb. 12:1b-2).

When we have placed God in the appropriate place in our lives, as our focus, we are in the absolute best position to please Him in our lives. After all, God is after our hearts (see Matt. 22:37).

Well – Pleased

God wants to enable us to live a pleasing life. As I think about learning to please God, I am reminded of what could be our motivation. We are reminded in Zephaniah 3:17.

The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing (NKJV).

God’s love for us is personal, present in our relationship with God through Christ, and will last for eternity.

Our relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, is brand new. We have been reconciled to God. While we have our old way of life peeking into the corners of our minds and hearts, just as the Thessalonians did, God is still even more present. God is our source of strength, and He is the One leading us to a brand new way of life.

 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. . . That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus (Eph. 4:17, 20-21).

Closing Thoughts

At this moment, we may struggle terribly with accepting God’s authority in our lives. Perhaps, we don’t want to listen to His Voice and obey Him based on what He teaches us in His Word. While these moments are hard, they will lead us closer to the Lord. As we face decisions of listening to His Voice, let’s remember the goal: to draw near to the Lord our God who is singing and dancing over us, and wants us to experience an intimate relationship with Him!

How can you become closer to the Lord? Focus on the goal, where you are closer to your heavenly Father than you have ever been.

Until next time,

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Week 4: Prepare For An Energetic Week!

Few things get to me like this topic, as far the church life goes. Welcome, I am your “equally messed up” tour guide. I cannot help but read 1 Thessalonians 4, and be reminded of the ways the Church is… far from where we could be. I love the global church; we are the beloved body of Christ. His bride. His treasure.

Yet we settle for so little, when God wants to lead us to much more – even in this life before we reach Heaven and all its glory.

My Honest Heart Struggle

I made it my mission to go through “Meeting the Thessalonians” before this course was set to begin, which I mostly was able to. I can honestly say, week 4 was without any doubt one of the most difficult weeks. While I had weeks of surprising affliction that made it hard to reach for my Bible and notebook, this week has challenged me greatly based on the content in 1 Thessalonians 4.

It touched me at my core, as a single woman. Some excitement. Erm, much frustration. Plenty of moments, where I was reminded of where I want to be as part of the Church.

Join Me!

I invite you in joining me for the reading of God’s Word, where we will hear God speak in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12.

As a single woman, I am bombarded with temptation – often. I am not alone in this struggle, though. I know, many readers are right there with me.

This passage of Scripture is important for all believers, regardless of our relationship status.

As we take the time to focus our attention on our Lord Jesus Christ, He will work in our midst. While we may face many temptations and struggles in this area, we are not alone. Girls and Guys, you are not alone. I am looking forward to the chance of going through this passage of Scripture together.

This week’s blogging might look drastically differently than the past three weeks have been. Because this passage of Scripture is of such great importance to me, I want to try and pop in whenever I can – to share my thoughts on a particular verse or share a quote from a Bible commentary. This week, in terms of blog posts, might look crazy different than this past week. Or, it might look exactly the same. Only the Good Lord knows!

We simply have to wait and see what God decides to do, because this is His blog.

I may have many passionate things to say, and He may have to offer a strong, yet gentile, reminder of “No Stacey, you cannot write that. It is not useful to build up others in the Church.” (I actually have a good set of moments like this. I, too, am a work in process. . .)

Whatever happens on the blog or your personal study this week, keep digging into God’s Word! I am excited to see what God shows us. Here is the reading plan for this week.

Until next time,

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Impact #1

im·pact

  1. to fix firmly by or as if by packing or wedging
  2. to press together

The Introduction (I Should Probably Give. . .)

I love visiting blogs, where the writer shares their lives. I have seen on, at least, one blog – where the gal will write in – with specific things in mind. So, I thought I would give it a try. I am calling it, impact. This is the name of this part of my blog, for one simple reason.

Many things impact our lives, which lead us to impact others by what we say and do.

Our goal in life, ought to be Jesus. Let’s run to Jesus and the abundant life He wants to give us, shall we?

The Questions –

Feeling – It has been a trying week, but I am seeing God’s handiwork. I am pretty joyful (overall, not without my sorrow-filled moments), considering standing brings out debilitating symptoms (and sometimes a little too close to blacking out).

…ehem…

Actually, I have even woken up many times with specific praise songs laid upon my heart. The Holy Spirit has caused my spirit to start singing the lyrics to specific songs, throughout the day (or during the night). For me, it shows I am pursuing Christ (and He is working in my heart)- even in the middle of my storm. Humming songs in silence isn’t my common practice, but it shows God’s working and causing my faith to become stronger.

Studying – I have been studying Psalms 98 and Luke 19:37-40. This is such a powerful set of Scriptures to get our hands on. God is doing incredible, out-of-this-world, things in our lives, and we need to praise Him. We need to break out our musical instruments and voices, to sing our hearts out with an abundance of joy – that God gives to us.

Reading –

Listening To – Last few weeks, I have been enjoying “Everything” by Lifehouse (Find the “Everything” skit on YouTube, if you get a chance). Then, there is the whole “Party Like a Princess” by Jamie Grace. That one I am really enjoying celebrating too.

Celebrating – Today, I am celebrating who God is. God is providing me with the encouragement, strength, and ministering that I need. Even while I face health struggles, God is my Constant and shows me that He is the One fighting for me! (Exodus 14:14; Job 1:6-12, 2:1-7; Romans 8:31).

Loving – These days, I am loving silence. While I enjoy entertainment in form of iTunes, Netflix, and movies, I love the option of shutting it off to read a book or just talk with the Lord. I am learning to be okay with silence (even crave it). Silence helps me draw nearer to the Lord and feel His presence.

Silence ushers me into God’s Presence, through the Holy Spirit.

Which reminds me that… I am whole, completely full, and lacking nothing.

So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority (Col. 2:10, NLT).

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing (Ps. 23:1, NIV).

Praying – Right now, I am praying for my family and our needs to be met. I am praying for God to work a miracle on our behalf.

Holding Onto – Knowing God is fighting for me (see 1 Peter 1:5).

Through faith, God’s power is standing watch, protecting you (1 Peter 1:5a; VOICE).

Other Scriptures – Psalm 23; 2 Corinthians 10-13