Devotion: Did I Cause That?

Whenever something goes wrong and suffering comes, do you ever wonder what you are doing wrong? Or, am I the only one that falls into this trap?

Last few days I find myself asking, “What am I doing wrong, Lord?”

Then if I am blessed enough, the Holy Spirit will stop me in my tracks. I think, it is an easy trap to fall into. But just because we find ourselves in a bad situation, it doesn’t mean we have somehow failed.

I wonder what would happen if I could stop and ask: “What does God want to teach me through this?” Rather than “How is this evidence that I have somehow failed?”


For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10, English Standard Version

Based on the Bible’s truth, I can state clearly that this is faulty thinking. And I, as a follower of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, need to speak His truths into my life. I need to replace the lies, with His divine truth.

Today, I watched Priscilla Shirer and her sister Chrystal Evans Hurst talk about identity. As they were talking, they brought up the power of reading Ephesians 1-2 and listening to who God says we are.

When we allow God to define who we are, we will have an unshakable identity.

An identity that will never depend on someone else or our abilities. Our identity will firmly rest on who God is and what He has done for us through His Son Jesus Christ!

In Christ Jesus, we are so loved. We cannot make honest mistakes [keyword focusing on honestly, not deliberate sins], and walk around as though we will be punished or the world will fall apart for our lack of perfection. We are human beings. Human beings who are passionately loved by their Creator, God, and Savior!

In love He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

Ephesians 1:4b-6

So, what can we learn from Ephesians 1-2?

In a brief statement:

Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, is everything I am not. He has covered me, so I don’t have to worry about not being enough!

Maybe, you are feeling as though you aren’t quite enough today. Oh friends, if we could only replace this faulty thinking with the glorious truth that we are His! We are Christ’s. We are loved. We are accepted. We are forgiven. We have been completely redeemed. We are no longer broken and incapable of receiving our Creator’s love.

May we run and enjoy tonight’s chapters that remind us of our Forever Identity!

Disclaimer: You can now support Gracefully Overcoming through your Amazon purchases. At no cost to you (and effortlessly), Amazon will allow you to shop and Gracefully Overcoming get a bit of a benefit from your shopping. It can be any purchase you make. But, I am still enjoying this title by Charles Swindoll.

Finding Real Blessedness (Ps. 128:1)

Originally, when I made this blog study, I wanted it to be a weekly Sunday night posting. Something to encourage us to spur on in our study of the Psalms of Ascent. Then, I got a little behind… *ehem* a lot behind.

If my math is correct, we should be on week # 5. Theoretically, if we are all still engaging in our study.

Let’s pretend we live in a perfect world. Where we stay on track. Where we make the Word of God a daily priority. And, life doesn’t get in the way. Can we do that for a second? (Please bear with me, as I focus over the next couple weeks on catching up for “Making the Journey” right here on Gracefully Overcoming!)

Beginning Anew!

We have been going through this study with our journals (still available on Amazon). I encourage you to open your study journals to week 5, as we study today. Make any notes you feel led to make. Mark up your study journals. It makes it a even-more memorable experience.

Let’s look at this week’s highlighted Scripture.

Blessed are all those who have respect for the Lord.
They live as he wants them to live (Ps. 128:1, NIRV).”

Obedience is an Act of Worship

The theme of this week is, obedience is an act of worship from our hearts to His. What are we doing to pursue this kind of obedience? Who do we have as an example of this kind of obedience from the Scripture?

In the book of John, we are reminded of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. After He reappears to His beloved disciples, Jesus has a “sit-down-and-talk” moment with one of those disciples – Peter.

Open your Bibles to John 21. I encourage you to focus specifically on Peter’s interaction with Jesus. It is pointed out to Peter, the one whom Christ would build His Church (see Matthew 16:13-20). So, this is one of the most important conversations that would take place in Peter’s life.

Peter’s Heart

As Peter’s eyes met the Risen Lord, he did not stop worshiping Christ. He did not stop serving Christ.

From jumping out of a boat to swim ashore to run to Jesus.

To jumping back on the arriving boat, to grab fish to help Jesus cook breakfast.

Peter shows his love for the Risen Lord. He doesn’t stop for a moment until after the food is prepared. Now, it is time for a heart-to-heart with his Savior Jesus.

From John 21:15-19, VOICE Translation. Brought to us by Bible Gateway..

 They finished eating breakfast.

Jesus: Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these other things?

Simon Peter: Yes, Lord. You know that I love You.

Jesus: Take care of My lambs.

Jesus asked him a second time . . .

Jesus: Simon, son of John, do you love Me?

Simon Peter: Yes, Lord. You must surely know that I love You.

Jesus: Shepherd My sheep.

(for the third time) Simon, son of John, do you love Me?

Peter was hurt because He asked him the same question a third time, “Do you love Me?”

Simon Peter: Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You.

Jesus: Look after My sheep. I tell you the truth: when you were younger, you would dress yourself and go wherever you pleased; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and take you to a place you do not want to go. (vv. 15-18)

The Voice’s Commentary ~

“Ever since the night Judas betrayed Jesus and Peter denied knowing Christ three times, Peter has felt small. He has felt he betrayed Jesus too. Matching the three denials, Jesus has Peter re affirm his love for Him three times. At the same time, Jesus reaffirms Peter’s call to ministry each time by challenging him to serve as a leader. The conversation on the beach that day affects him profoundly. From then on, Simon Peter is one of the most humble followers of Jesus, but he is also one of the great leaders of the early church, as Acts explains.

The disciples all learn a lesson that day. No matter what someone may have done, the Master wants the miracle of forgiveness to restore that person to be whom He made and called him or her to be.”

 

Jesus said all this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. After this conversation, Jesus said,

Jesus: Follow Me! (vv. 19)

To Glorify God

At the end of this passage, Jesus does something that we wouldn’t expect. We live in a culture where we tend to expect life to be easy if we follow God’s path. This is not how it plays out for any of the disciples to be truthful. Jesus is upfront with Peter in verse 18-19. It isn’t the “die at a ripe old age” that is going to glorify God, in Peter’s life. But, it is the hardship he will endure for Christ’s sake.

We need to remember that obedience is the factor of our lives that we need to keep consistent. We need to stay obedient to God our Savior, no matter what happens in our lives. We need to not look for smooth circumstances, but let the will of God determine the course of our lives. As we follow Christ, He will enable us to carry our cross. He will move the mountains in our midst. But, He may call us to climb through difficult situations. They are not for nothing, but to glorify God.

Our highest motivation needs to be to glorify the Father no matter the cost.

“Blessed”

This word, blessed, doesn’t mean an absence of hardships. Rather, it means – happiness. It means an injection of joy, despite whatever hardships you might experience.

For example:

This type of blessedness (‘esher in the Hebrew language) is used to describe those who wait for Christ the King (see Daniel 12:12). Those who wait upon the Word of the Lord for the Messiah’s arrival – they indeed are BLESSED. Simeon and Anna exemplify this truth well in Luke 2. While at the Temple, it is confirmed to him that the Christ-child has ARRIVED! Read their responses in Luke 2:25-38, and how they glorified God.

As you wait,
As you obey God,
As you walk in the situation God has called you into,
How can you glorify God?

Maybe you aren’t feeling the blessedness of the situations or are struggling to walk in obedience right now, but I promise you that God will give you all you need right now at this moment. God will bring you His joy and kind-of-blessedness.

You and I need to keep our focus on Jesus Christ – the King of King. We need to get our praise on right where we are, and watch to see how God is going to make Himself known.

Let’s Go Back to This Week’s Scripture

God wants to send us off into blessedness far greater than anything we could ever imagine. He wants to radically change our situations. He wants us to learn how to trust Him, and experience the sweet fruits of letting Him lead in our midst.

“Those who stand in awe of the Eternal—
who follow wherever He leads, committed
in their hearts —
experience His blessings!”

Let us commit this truth to memory this week, friends! Let’s start now. I know, I need to remember this truth of God. I need to remember that obedience leads to knowing God and experiencing Him in my midst. And, I need that. Do you?

5.5.15 – Ways Chronic Illness Blesses Us

Yesterday, I shared my struggle to see blessings that outweighed the curses of chronic illness. Today, I came across a wonderful blog post by a lady named Shelly. Her post on the blessings that chronic illnesses bring, it really hit home. I was honestly, ready to not like it – convinced it would bring up points I didn’t want to hear. Things like “endurance”. I wasn’t prepared for the joy that awaited me, by reading her post. In her post, she shared several things that allows a chronic sufferer to be blessed – despite their afflictions. It’s things that I wouldn’t have grown into – except by chronic illnesses.

Things like…

1) Thinking before answering the question, “How are you?”

2) Carefully determining what to spend time and energy on.

3) The value of a Sabbath’s rest.

For you, dear friends, do any of these points hit home for you? Which one do you struggle most with? Which one do you desire to put into practice, more than you have in the past? These questions go out to everyone – despite your circumstances.