Devotion: Good Out of Bad

Life is hard.

How often do we allow ourselves to grieve with God about the difficulties of our lives?

We need to be able to weep with our Mighty God about our difficulties, so we can begin to see how He is working, with fresh eyes as we grieve with the reminded that our Savior Jesus is grieving too.

Confession: I don’t like being sick, but there is something very beautiful about how our Mighty God who raised Jesus Christ from the dead – can indeed bring good out of bad.

This is probably why I love hearing Genesis Joseph’s testimony!

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

Genesis 50:20, ESV

“My Verse” toward chronic illness has been Genesis 50:20.

When, like Joseph, we experience difficulties in our lives, we have to remind ourselves of the good things that can happen – even though we went (or are currently going) through a terrible thing

[This is not to advocate abuse. If you are being abused, call 9-1-1 and get out of that situation. If you are suicidal, call 9-1-1 and find support to find hope again as well as accountability if/when you need it or meds/therapy, because in both circumstances whether someone else is harming you or self harm is happening, you are worth getting out of that kind of situation or mindset. You are worthy of living and thriving. No judgment here. I am both on meds and see behavioral help, so that I don’t self-harm. I don’t want to even get to that point again in my mental health. ]

Jesus Christ cares for you so much, that He died on the cross to carry your sorrows and griefs as well as sins. And He rose on the third day to give you new life. New life, that you can begin living now!

Maybe for you, it is a trauma you wish never happened. Maybe, it’s a chronic illness that you have experienced for years and it hasn’t gone away. Maybe, it is the loss of your marriage. Or something completely different, but equally devastating.

I love the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and He is the Reason I can get up in the morning.

Even in a sea of depressive thoughts and chronic illness, He remains my hope. And our God never changes, regardless of how horrible our circumstances become.

My goal today is simply begin sitting with you. I don’t know if it is your first time here or hundredth. Either way, welcome to Gracefully Overcoming!

You are very loved and treasured first and foremost by God, but by me as well – so if I can pray for you or offer emotional support…

Don’t be shy to leave a comment or head on over to Facebook or Instagram to find me (I don’t check Twitter enough). There is even a Gracefully Overcoming Facebook Group for additional support.

One way you can support this page is through using the affiliated links I use in social media for your any Amazon purchases. It is an affiliated link, which means my blog will benefit at no extra cost to you! Great, right?

Like this one (double donation, since it is my devotional).

Or this one. This link actually is the one recently used in Social Media. It is for a book I am reading about hoping again. Great read so far!

In Christ,
Stace

The Sanctification Process

Ohhh my friends, I have missed you all so much!!! While I am still on my break, or Sabbath if you will, I wanted to just take a few moments to write you all.

This time away is needed, yet difficult. While difficult, this is the season of life where I will reap the greatest of spiritual blessings.

It is a time of deepening the relationship I have with my heavenly Father through His Son Jesus Christ – my Savior – the One who rescues me and keeps me safe regardless of my outward circumstances.

My Own Testimony

Today, I have been thinking on a transformative piece of Scripture from the book of Titus. I wanted to share just a bit of that with you all.

Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient; we were misled by others and became slaves to many evil pleasures and wicked desires. Our lives were full of resentment and envy. We hated others and they hated us.

But when the time came for the kindness and love of God our Savior to appear, then he saved us—not because we were good enough to be saved but because of his kindness and pity—by washing away our sins and giving us the new joy of the indwelling Holy Spirit. . .

In this passage, I am reminded of the amazing change I am given through our Rescuer Jesus the Christ. The Lord has taken me so far from the person I used to be. It has been a long journey. But, it is one declaring His glory, goodness, and power.

As I think back over my life, I can honestly say I was the “Poster Girl” for Titus 3:3b – where it says:

“We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.”

I don’t know the specifics of how the Lord did it, but I do know He absolutely did a mighty work – taking me from this person with much hate and anger

. . . to someone who is learning she has been handpicked and profoundly loved by the God of the universe. Which changes everything for my life.

Solely God’s Work

As I continue to walk with my Jesus – with our Savior Jesus, I am able to surrender more and more of me to my gracious Father so my soul has room for the eternally good gifts of God!

This is God’s work, and nothing we can claim as our own. He is working out everything for His ultimate good – and showing me the abundant life He wants to give His people. And it all starts with drawing near to our King Jesus Christ!

He is very generous and able to transform our entire lives – as we make the choice to follow Jesus for ourselves and see what He has in store for our lives. He has a beautiful life in store for us, but the key is willfully seeking to know Jesus Christ for ourselves.

Blog Sabbath-ing

Stay joined to me, and I will stay joined to you. Just as a branch cannot produce fruit unless it stays joined to the vine, you cannot produce fruit unless you stay joined to me (John 15:4).

And as I think on these truths, this time of Sabbath makes the most sense. This is a season of deepening the relationship I have with God through His Son Jesus Christ. This is a season of meeting and walking with Jesus for myself. This is a season of being sanctified and even “pruned” for His glory.

God is doing so much in this season of my life. While the time away is difficult, it has eternal purposes. I just need to keep remembering the undeniable sacredness of this time with Jesus.

If lacking in the blogging department means a more intimate relationship with Jesus without distractions, then, it is forever worth it. As I focus on intimacy with Christ, I am being amazingly changed!

The difficulties of taking this time away, are eased by knowing the good eternal work our Lord Jesus is doing inside of me. As I learn to enjoy this time, He is preparing me for whatever the future has in store.

Image by Roger Burkhard.

Forever His,

Signature

God-Given Assignments {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.

Friends, it’s far too easy to give up. For a lot of us, we can spend our whole lives running from one thing to the next. But, there is also another way. God is working greatly in ours and others’ lives, and He is inviting us to join Him.

So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith (Galatians 6:8-10, MSG).

Let’s think about where we are in our lives, and see how to stay encouraged in our God-given assignments. In these assignments, we are given the opportunity to obey God and bring the hope found in Jesus Christ to many in need of His love and grace.

God has big things in mind for us. He wants to take our personality, spiritual gifts, talents, heart, and lead us into telling others about the Gospel of Jesus Christ – where the sinner finds peace with God and a brand new life. This is where lives are forever changed!

What does a God-given assignment look like? It is anything we are asked to do by our Most High God. From obeying His Word, to going where He is leading us.

Joshua’s Work

I have been reading a bit of Joshua lately, and am reminded of God’s urging Joshua to “be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people“. Joshua needed to be brave and trust God, in order to do this big thing. It was a big thing, but would be taken one step at a time.

God has assignments for us, too. Sometimes they either seem too big or too small. Each assignment requires us to trust our Lord Jesus to strengthen us and do His good work behind the scenes.

Our Assignment

What is God calling you to do? We have many things that could be labeled an assignment. Here is a small list –

  • Help {or sit with} someone in need.
  • Serve in your church.
  • Talk with someone about Jesus Christ and His saving power.
  • Continue a specific ministry (perhaps even, a blog).
  • Lastly, perhaps your assignment right now is to rest.

We don’t choose our assignments. God chooses them, but we must choose to trust and obey. As the song says, there is no other way to happy in Jesus.

Remember This –

May we remember that we are doing something of significance. This is important work we are doing. While it may be easy to trade where we are for somewhere a bit more fun or less labor intensive, this is where God has placed us and He will strengthen our hearts and hands.

Trust His heart, when you cannot see where He is taking you.

Feature image by Arek Adeoye.

In Christ,

Signature

 

Intercessory Prayer (Dutch Sheets, Bethany House)

Truthfully, this is perhaps the most difficult book review that I have written. After reading some of Dutch Sheets’ book, Intercessory Prayer, I discovered he is not an author to read or support.

The Author

As I approached chapter 2, it became clear that Sheets operates from a different belief system. While I didn’t google his name beforehand, it is clear that he declares “modern day” prophesies. By definition: he gives prophetic words that he believes is from God. Whenever we are met with a prophet, we are taught to test their works. There are many who claim to be a prophet, yet their words never spring into action – showing them to be accurate prophesies.

I encourage you all to do as 1 John 4:1 teaches us to do. In 1 John 4:1, we are taught to “test” those who prophesy to see if they come from God. We have many false prophets and teachers in today’s world.

That is a little background on what we are called to do as Christians, when we come across a prophet. With that said, I cannot support him in any capacity. Because he is a self named apostle and modern day prophet, I simply cannot support his work – especially having read some of this book.

Part of the greatest task I have, as a book reviewer, is to lead my readers to books that will direct them into greater knowledge of God, His Son Jesus, and the Gospel using the Bible with a clear interpretation.

 

Thoughts on His Book

Sheets believes that God’s work is dependent upon His people.  As in, God’s work will not go forward unless we are actively involved in intercessory prayer. I highly question this line of thinking. To me, this is something that goes against what I believe God teaches us, through the Bible. While God chooses to work through His people, His work is not dependent upon us in any way, shape, or form.

To be honest, the book started me on a trajectory of questioning my beliefs among other things. I tried to see his point of view, in chapter 2, as I read. Yet, all it did was disturb my spirit and cause me to do a lot of wondering if there was any truth to what I was reading in this book… But soon after reading this chapter, I learned of his background which helped bring some light for why I struggled to read and understand this book. From my own observation, it does not seem like it was written from a clear interpretation of the Bible. Reading a book such as this one, will only cause us to be led astray.

So with all that said, I must admit that this is not a book or author I would recommend.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Bethany House’s blogger review program, in exchange for a honest 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.

Look Up! {{Week 3}}

We are at the end of our third week, for our current study. We have spent the past few weeks, studying Isaiah 40. Amazing journey, right?!? I am loving it! If you are new, it’s not too late to join in. We have one more week, before journeying through Matthew 4-7 (see end of post, for details). For Isaiah 40, you can pick up a free journal and schedule – to join in the fun!

The Scriptures – Isaiah 40:26; Psalm 89:11, 147:4

“Look up to the skies. Who created all these stars? He leads out the army of heaven one by one and calls all the stars by name. Because he is strong and powerful, not one of them is missing (Is. 40:26).”

The skies and the earth belong to you. You made the world and everything in it… He counts the stars and names each one (Ps. 89:11, 147:4).

God is calling us to “look up”. Look up, He says to us. Look up and see. God is the great Creator of the universe. He has uniquely made each star, but He doesn’t stop there.

  • God created them.
  • God has brought them out, so we can see His handiwork. We get the shear joy of witnessing His handiwork.
  • God has called each one, by its God-given name.
  • God counts them, to make sure none are missing.
  • While God counts each one, they are given a specific name. Our God is specific and deliberate in every action He makes.

To me, this shows just how involved God is in each one of our lives – as well. In John 10, we see most of these themes play out again. Only this time, they relate to us!

Just as the heavens and eath are His, we are definitely His too! God saw fit to create us and call us His own. God created us from nothing and has the authority to call us as His own.

God is weaving us into His grand plan for the universe, as we come to Him. (Click to Tweet)

God calls us, by name. It doesn’t matter what we answered to, before we began walking with Jesus. All that matters is the moment we are standing in. All that matters is the new name we have been given, at this very moment. God wants to call us His sons and daughters. This happens, as we come to His Son – Jesus Christ, the Messiah!

Jesus has chosen you (me too), and gives you a new name. Just like He did for Jerusalem, He is rebuilding us. He is bringing us back. He is healing us. He is shwoing Himself as our Awesome Creator. His understanding, in Psalm 147:5, is even described as “beyond comprehension.” He is that good!

Jesus has picked you! And, He has a new name for you too. (Click to Tweet)

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I invite you to join us for our next study. For nine weeks, beginning on September 11, we will be enjoying bite-size portions of Matthew 4-7. This amazing section of Scripture, we will finally get to sit down and study at our own level. You can pick up your journal, over on Amazon. (Please Note: As an Amazon Affiliate, I receive a small earning from any purchases made using the link at no expense to you.)