Devotion: Honest, But Desperate

Can I be honest?

If walking out of a doctor’s appointment after 30 seconds wasn’t social Siberia, I would have today. There was just something about this appointment, that made it worse than the rest.

I say all that to say:

I understand having a bad day or the urge to walk out of a difficult situation.

I want to ask you something that my Uber driver asked me on my way home. “What’s next?” Maybe, you aren’t too sure what your next step ought to be in the physical and emotional realm of things.

I want to be that friend who sits and prays with you – as you wait for God’s directive toward what is next.

What’s Next?

” Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).”

After we have grieved our situations with our Amazing God, we need to ask ourselves (or be asked by a loving friend) what is next for us. For myself, the next step(s) are clear. While I would love to run away from my life and ignore all responsibilities, I can’t do that. And, the odds are you cannot either. So instead of living in a fantasy world where I neglect all responsibility, I want to share what is next – for myself.

Your list may be completely different, depending on your circumstances, your relationship, and surrender to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

  1. Make the next appointment with someone new, and keep searching until I find someone who both listens and is compassionate.
  2. Spend the time praying.
  3. Dive into God’s Word – the Bible.
  4. Fellowship with other Christ followers.

Your answer to this question might look differently, I imagine, but this is my written response to such a question. But, I hope you include steps 2-4 in your plan of what’s next.

Choosing God’s Plan Over My Own

We desperately need to hear God’s Plan for what’s next!

Spending time in prayer, His Word, and fellowshipping with like-minded Christians are each important activities, which will help us discern God’s will for our lives!

And I am desperate for God’s direction.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).”

I have learned enough to stand on God’s promises, because He never leaves my side. He always is acting on my behalf and even working in ways I cannot see or understand. So, I want to remember the essential need to cling to His Word and Will.

Disclaimer: You can now support Gracefully Overcoming through your Amazon purchases. At no cost to you, 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 quite fond of this title by Charles Swindoll.

In Him,
Stace

Job 21-23

Chapter 21 – Job speaks

“Listen to what I say. Let this be your way of comforting me. Be patient while I speak. Then after I have finished speaking, you may make fun of me (vv. 2-3, ERV).”

All Job wants is – comfort. He is hurting on an intense level, and his friends aren’t showing much comfort or compassion toward him. He desperately needs to hear from God.

Even when we have been given good comforting friends, we still need comfort and to hear from God more than anyone else.

Jesus, as our Comforter, reminds us that we can draw near and allow our relationship with Him to be the most important thing in our lives.

Jesus Christ is the Comforter we stand in need of. No matter what kind of friends we have, our need for Jesus never changes!

We need Him to overwhelm our souls with His goodness, hope, and eternal salvation.

We have Jesus Christ as our great Savior. He came to give us a new beginning, where we dwell in the presence of our God. God loves us, and pursues us – daily!

Chapter 22 – Eliphaz Responds

Haven’t you done many evil things? Don’t you sin again and again? . . . That’s why traps have been set all around you. That’s why sudden danger terrifies you (vv. 5, 10, NIRV).

This is why Job’s friends have a bad reputation. They are convinced that sin has caused all of Job’s trouble. These men didn’t know about Job 1-2. This is where we learn that our relationship with God, causes the Devil to become angry and seek to devour us.

The closer Job got to God, the more the Devil wanted to try and destroy him. As we see from the last few chapters, Job gets even more prosperous as he sought God.

Let’s stay steadfast in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. God is far greater than the Devil or anyone else, just like verse 12 teaches us.

You agree, don’t you, that God is in charge? He runs the universe—just look at the stars! (MSG)

Lastly, we have verses 21-30. This is a Scripture worthy of our attention, which teaches us three key points –

  • Obey God and be at peace with Him.
  • Let’s put away our sin and return to the Lord!
  • Make Jesus Christ your delight.

Chapter 23 – Job Speaks

But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold. For I have stayed on God’s paths; I have followed his ways and not turned aside. I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food (vv. 10-12, NLT).

Amen! When the time of testing is over, we will come out as gold. Our time of testing shows where our faith has stood in our darkest hour.

How will we come out of our testing time, and will we cling to the hope found in Jesus Christ no matter what?

I want to live my life in such a way, so that after the testing I can feel unashamed about how I responded.

Featured image by Nik Shuliahin.

 

Genesis 16-18; Psalms 41-42

jan-17Assigned Reading: Psalms 41-42; Genesis 16-18

Psalms –

Chapter 41 – God deeply cares for the weak. The Father has an overflow of compassion for us – who are weak. This is such a tender passage of Scripture, that shows us the heart of God. It is a Psalm to be cherished. It shows us how God acts toward the needy, as He protects, preserves, sustains, and restores. Thank You Lord for Your mercy and the way You care for me!

But may you have mercy on me, Lord; raise me up, that I may repay them. I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me. Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever. Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen (vv. 10-13).

Chapter 42 – Our souls are crying out in longing for our great God. Even when we run away from Him, our souls crave God. Thankfully, He doesn’t give up on us, and continues to pursue us. Our hearts seek after the fulfillment that only He can give. He is the One who offers us the hope that changes everything. Our hope is in God, and we have to reach a place of meeting with Him.

How are we setting aside a time and place to daily meet with Jesus to remember who He is, what He has done, and how He wants to meet us and work in our daily lives?

Genesis –

Just some bullet points today, about the reading in Genesis.

→ Sarah clearly did not trust God or His promise. She didn’t even acknowledge the promise in her conversation with her husband regarding using Hagar to have a child (Gen 16).

→ God called Hagar to return to Sarah and submit to her. In God meeting with Hagar, He showed her that He: saw her and would provide for her – even though she was a foreigner (Gen. 16).

→ God continues to remind Abraham of the covenant He has with him. Abraham fell on his face and worshipped God. He truly believed God and what He said (Gen. 17).

→ God states that Sarah will bear a son. Abraham laughed out of disbelief, due to his age (Ishmael was much older at this time), so he asked (or insisted) that Ishmael receives the fruit of the covenant. God was intentional and had his heart set on Isaac. Isaac would receive all the blessings of the first born, even though he was the second. God didn’t want any substitute for His plans. He made sure of it. Abraham and Sarah went their own way, but it was no replacement for God’s plans! (Gen. 17)

→ I can understand why Sarah laughed at the thought of having a son at such an advanced age. If I heard God say something deeply woven into my heart’s desire after such a long wait, I would too. I would be caught in unbelief (Gen. 18).

August Announcements

Psssst, stay tuned for the big announcement at the end of this post. You won’t want to miss any of it!

We are on the last week of our Ephesians study. It blows my mind, when I think about how God has taught and strengthened me these past several weeks of study. Ephesians was a great book to study, and I am soo glad you all joined me. We still have two new blog posts to share this week, that go with our study “Walking into the Light”.

If you missed the study and want your chance to grab the journal, please use this Amazon link. Please note: As an Amazon Affiliate, any purchase made is just one way you can offer your heartfelt support to Gracefully Overcoming.

Scripture Challenge

I have a new Scripture Writing Challenge for us –

For the month of August, I will be “hosting” a brand new study, using Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook (with occasional blog posts). So my hope is that – you will consider joining me. Just as I did for a few short studies, I will compile a journal to guide us – as we study this particular chapter in the Bible (to be announced very soon!).

After I work out the little details, I will be back to share the official details with you all. Until then, join me in prayer for our new scripture writing study.

Saving the Best for Last!

This is truthfully the big announcement!

I am so excited to share this announcement with you all. I have found another place in the blogging world – to share some of the things God is showing me in my journey of life. I am very stoked about this new experience and season God is allowing me to enter into. I have joined Servants of Grace, in what they are doing to proclaim the Gospel to all nations.

Today, I am over on SOG discussing community, the longing for it, and how the Gospel has impacted the version of community we have. You won’t want to miss it. This article is a sequel of sorts. I wrote about my struggle for community earlier this month. You may remember community is a big heart struggle of mine. I crave community. I invite you to join me over there, to discuss God’s design for community. There is much more God has in store for us. We shouldn’t have to settle or starve for community. Click here to read “The Gospel and Community”. 

I will write back later this week, to share specific details about our August study! So, you will want to stay tuned

~ Stacey

MMS – Silence

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 “silence.”

Anxiety-Filled Heart

In a full fledge anxiety attack, I just need silence.

Desperately need silence.

I hate anxiety.

I hate who I become in these anxious-filled moments.

Please, just…

ssssshhhhhhhh.

Days like these, I feel like I need to wear a sign – “Please, excuse me. I am in the middle of an attack against my human nature. My anxious driven human nature.”

Silence in a Chaotic Spirit

I just need silence. It’s not that those around me, are corrupting me. It’s just that… My spirit is plenty-loud-enough for all of us. Anxious moments remind me of my need to self-isolate and try and figure things out. To quote a song – “Stop the world, I wanna get out/I need an escape away from this crowd/Just to hear You speak to me.”

I can’t face this crowd.

Crowd of noise.

Crowd of pretending I am fine.

Crowd of pretending I am not having a walking-anxiety-attack when I desperately want to be as joyful on the inside as I look on the outside.

I Just…

I just want out. I want out of my skin.

I want to be the me that God created me to be.

I want to find the beauty God has in store for me and those I love.

I don’t want the spiritual war.

I just need silence to navigate the valley of death I must walk through, in order to meet the green pastures God desires to give me. In order to navigate these things, I must go to the Source. I must just “be still” before my Maker, and let Him be the One to help me through these things. I need to embrace the silence and opportunities to allow Him to heal my heart.

Further Reading: Psalm 23