Tag Archives: Compassion

Trust Habits #3

Self Care

As we pursue habits that enable us to develop a greater trust in our Risen Lord, I want to talk to you about something important: Soul care. Now soul care is far more important than the traditional ideal of “self care”. It isn’t so much about vegging out in the front of a computer screen. It is about taking care of every part of us. It is choosing to place our spiritual needs, ahead of those specific and important physical needs.

Soul Care

Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again (1 Thess. 5:23, NLT).

In 1 Thessalonians, we are reminded that the Lord will make us holy in every way. How can we put physical and emotional care ahead of our own spiritual needs? We need to come and sit with our Lord Jesus. “Come away with Me” is the message the Lord is giving us.

Come Away With Me

And He said to them, “Come with Me privately to a solitary place, and let us rest for a while.” For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat (Mark 6:31, BSB).

An important part of trusting the Lord is surrendering control. It can become far too easy to hold a tight grip on the temporary things, and in the process, we miss the opportunity to cling even tighter to our Lord Jesus Christ.

What are we doing, friends, when we place “self care” as a much higher priority than our own souls?

What self care sorely lacks is the soul rejuvenation that is going to carry us through the hard stuff. We can watch our favorite show for countless hours and end up far more depleted, and all in the name of self care. Self care is not a bad thing. It is actually a very good thing. But, let’s make it a better thing. Like Mary of Bethany, may we choose the better thing that will not be taken away from.

“But the Lord said to her, “Martha, dear friend,] you are so upset over all these details! There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it—and I won’t take it away from her!”

Maybe, the thing we truly need is to change how we care for our entire selves, so one area is not lacking.

How can we better meet our soul’s needs?

Assignment: Evaluate your way of self care. How can it promote soul care?

 Maybe, you take a prayer walk.
Maybe, you just sit in God’s Presence
and allow Him to hold all of the anxieties you hold inside. 
Maybe, you talk with the Lord about your struggle with control.

The Good Shepherd’s Love {{Devotion}}

I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep (Jn. 10:14-15, NLT).

My favorite passages are those who acknowledge God as my Shepherd. I am someone who has both been led astray by other humans and one who has heard my Shepherd’s Voice and still ran away.

Maybe, you can relate? It’s easy to find ourselves in either position, isn’t it? Our great God is the Perfect Shepherd. He knows how to lead us and is the Shepherd with the strongest ability to lead us in the way we ought to go.

Our Lord Jesus is declared as our Good Shepherd in John 10. As our Good Shepherd, He shows us the way to eternal life. He lives out what we are taught in Isaiah 30:21 – which says:

Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd who has passionately, loving – laid down His life for His sheep – who are actually those who believe and follow Him. As we follow the Lord, we are loudly declared as His very own. And over time, He even gives us ways to impact the Kingdom of God. We are given ways to passionately love, in a similar way to how Christ Jesus has loved us. While we will never be able to show the exact love He has shown, we can passionately love just as He has loved us.

Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God (1 Peter 5:2, NLT).

We are invited to feed the Kingdom of God. God has assigned to each of us a particular place of ministry. Maybe it is in our homes, through our blogs, or on the soccer field (or in the stands). Wherever you are: If you are a follower of our Lord Jesus Christ, then, this verse is for you.

You may not feel important “enough”, or equipped. But the truth of the matter is: God has a purpose for  your life. Before you were born or became engulfed in your trial, God set you aside with a specific purpose in mind. That purpose still stands.

We are invited to join our great Lord at work, and share the Good News with others. While every day isn’t our best day, we have been given many new opportunities to share with others that our God is the absolute best God and Savior! He is far greater than we could ever imagine, and He is working all things together for His good (and ours).

And the really good news is: we don’t have to actually see God’s hands moving – to know He is most definitely working. When things get tough and we begin to doubt He is working, may we remember faith is choosing to trust what we know about our great God – through His written word, the Bible!

Unsplash Photo: Scott Webb

In Him,
Stacey

When I Am Not Okay

Do you ever look someone in the eye, say your good, and then realize you aren’t as good as you just said? That was my experience tonight at my small group.

Today was a considerably good day on a physical level. I even made it to Bible study tonight, and so when others asked how I was – the answer immediately came off as “oh, I am doing great today!”

As Bible study progressed, I remembered. I remembered that I have been plagued with depression all week long. I remembered that I have felt alone and found it hard to do simple tasks, because of it. I sat there, listening as they spoke tenderly, and awaited coming home. The Lord’s mighty hand held me together, as I sat there, because I just felt some of the weight that accompanies depression.

My Struggle –

All week long, it has been a struggle to reach for my Bible and journal. I had been doing so well on getting my daily reading of 1 Timothy and have enjoyed it so very much. This week, it was a hard week and so I am behind. I am behind on reading, but in sharing my heart with you all too.

Depression is just something that is hard. For this week, in particular, I have found myself just crying. For roughly two days, I just cried and cried. Which isn’t something you would typically find in my character.

Where Am I Turning?

My hope remains in our Lord Jesus Christ. My morning habits include turning on praise music and attempting to read my Bible. I may not journal, but if I can just read a verse – then I have something to meditate on throughout the day as I am resting or feeling motivated enough to clean.

The cloud of depression has days, where it is paralyzing and nothing gets done. Maybe, not even the simple act of turning on praise music. But even so, the Lord God Almighty is with me in the struggle.

No Shame –

Friends, I hope you are all doing well. But maybe, you are finding yourself in a depression fog too. The only (and best) advice I can give you is – to do whatever is necessary to draw nearer and nearer to our Lord Jesus Christ.

One more note, because I deeply care. If you continue to struggle with depression without relief, consider making an appointment with your family doctor. Depression can be very hard, and we all deserve support. We need to have a support system of others who help us fight it!

Also there are treatments out there, that might be able to help you. There is no shame in depression or seeking help from a medical professional. I have had to do it in the past – myself.

Honestly, there is soo much more to say on the topic of depression and I hope to address more of it in the coming weeks – but for now I want to just encourage you to keep drawing nearer to the Lord. Keep diving into the book of 1 Timothy. We will be starting 2 Timothy soon. Maybe, I will be caught by then.

God bless you, my friends!

Image is by Francisco Gonzalez

Still seeking Him,

Signature

Week 2: Friday Five (1 Thess. 2:7-20)

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 2:7-20. . .

(1) Through these men’s example, we are reminded that we can share the Gospel of God and even our own lives as a means to witness to an unbelieving world (vv. 8). We see in this week’s memory verse that these men did not only share the Gospel of God. While they could have, they did some even more impactful by sharing their lives – allowing their lives to show off the power of God.

(2) We need to live out our lives in a way that pleases God (vv. 12). God will send others into our lives who will “plead… encourage… and urge…” us in our Christian walk. They will continue to lead us on in our faith journey. There is this one Proverb that says it best:

Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another (Prov. 27:17; NASB).

(3) We can follow in these men’s footsteps, by thanking God for how those in our midst have responded to the Gospel (vv. 13). These men got down on their knees and thanked God for how the Thessalonians responded to the Gospel of God. They knew who was the reason for the Thessalonians coming to Jesus Christ. It is by God’s grace, and His grace alone, that we have been saved.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy (Titus 3:3-5a, NIV).

(4) We, too, will suffer for our belief in Jesus Christ (vv. 14). The believing community of Thessalonica suffered persecution for what they believed. It is as Scripture teaches us that others will despise us, because of Jesus Christ. When the world rejects Christ, they will also reject – even injure/kill those who worship Jesus Christ as the Savior and Lord of their lives. But the God we serve is sooo faithful to us, even when others come against us!

If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as it loves its own. But I have chosen you out of the world, so you don’t belong to it. That is why the world hates you (John 15:18-19, NCV).

(5) We can love and treat others we mentor in a likeminded way. The men of God diligently chose how they would care for the Thessalonians. They loved and treated them like treasured family. This is, in part, to why the Thessalonians were their pride and joy. The men poured much into this community of believers. They were not people they knew for only a moment, but knew well!

Feature image by Naassom Azevedo.

Genesis 27-29; Psalms 51-52

Jan 21.png

Assigned Reading: Genesis 27-29; Psalms 51-52

Psalms –

Chapter 51 – The psalmist cried out for God’s great mercy, because he was faced with his sin. When we sin against God, there is nowhere to hide from the sin or its consequences, or from God. We need to become like the psalmist who runs to God, and confesses his sin. Not only does he rely on God’s mercy, he prays fervently for a big change to take place in his heart.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; restore within me a sense of being brand new. Do not throw me far away from Your presence, and do not remove Your Holy Spirit from me. Give back to me the deep delight of being saved by You; let Your willing Spirit sustain me (vv. 10-12, VOICE).

What sacrifice I can offer You is my broken spirit because a broken spirit, O God, a heart that honestly regrets the past, You won’t detest (vv. 17)

Chapter 52 – God’s unfailing love is what truly lasts. His love outshines every good and bad deed we will see on this earth. Not only is His love unfailing, we are reminded how perverse the heart can become, seeking only to be evil. While we could be like these wicked people, we have something they don’t – Someone they refuse: Jesus Christ, our Shield and the One True God. He gives us Himself, and shows us what His love is really like. And His love changes us completely, as we begin to enjoy sweet fellowship with King Jesus.

Genesis –

Chapter 27

Jacob stole Esau’s blessing, and this was a crafty decision that was not only premeditated but also one with many consequences. It would take years for reconciliation to occur between Jacob and Esau. The moment Jacob stole Esau’s blessing, he was on the run. Today, there are many families who face divisions like this. As a result of a decision, one of betrayal, there is a great separation between family members. The fleshly desires are not worth the devastating effect it has on families and other relationships.

Chapter 28

While Jacob deceived his father, Isaac still spoke tenderly to him and guided him in the direction he should go. Not only did Isaac guide Jacob, more importantly God spoke directly to Jacob and told him of his future. This would offer much encouragement to a weary soul, pondering his fate.

 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you (28:15, NIV).

Chapter 29 –

Rachel was a shepherdess. She carried the important task of caring for her father’s sheep. As we think about Rachel and her particular responsibility, we are reminded of her importance. Without due diligence, she might lose some of her sheep. I am reminded of how God calls some of His daughters to be a shepherdess. We are called to care for God’s people, giving them much attention, and loving them diligently (see 1 Peter 5). It is an important job. We know it’s important to note Rachel’s work responsibility, because it is mentioned in God’s precious Word!