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.

Trust Habits #7

I have been thinking on my inconsistency, regarding certain blog led Bible studies I have conducted over the years. And one day, I want to go back and *complete* the series I once begun.

Normally my Summer season is where it becomes increasingly difficult for me to sit, study, and write. It becomes difficult for many reasons, but this is the place where it seems as though I am being “attacked on all sides.” I don’t expect this Summer to be any different.

Right now, I am trying to spend as much time with my Grandfather as I can – while he is still on this earth. I am thankful for the way he has shown his love for the Lord Jesus Christ and his family. He has always loved us well. As I look to this week’s trusting habit, I want to discuss showing up when life is hard. There is something to be said when we work on our faithfulness, even when times get hard.

How are we prayerfully considering our own faithfulness, in response to the Almighty faithfulness of our great God?

As I prepare for this Summer, I want to be faithful. I want (and need) to keep showing up, even when life gets hard. I am not talking about showing up in a physical sense, but a spiritual one. I want to keep showing up, in terms of meeting with the Lord Jesus on a consistent basis.

Would I love to write this Summer through whatever happens? Absolutely.

But more than that, I want to have quality alone time with our Mighty God. I need to position myself to enjoy the practice of the Lord and all He has to offer me in the process of meeting with Him.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

Mark 1:35, New International Version

This Summer, I want to consistently show up in my time with the Lord. It doesn’t start six weeks down the road though. It begins now. It begins now, as I take the necessary steps to prepare my heart and body for Summer. Even amidst the much heartache occurring in my life right now, I need to consistently show up – by meeting with the Lord.

Tonight, this might look different than it will tomorrow. Tonight, this might mean sitting up to prepare writings. Whereas, tomorrow it means hardcore sleep. In each activity of doing or resting, the necessary thing is to show up in my relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.

What is soo amazing about our Mighty God is – He continues to show up. He continues to be faithful. His faithfulness doesn’t depend on who we are, but on His character. Our God is good and faithful no matter what is going on in our lives.

I will share more about our Summer study soon enough. I would like to get a bit of the posts scheduled first, especially since my consistency during hardcore trials could use a bit of work.

Unsplash Photo: Ben White

In Him,
Stacey

Trust Habits #1

“So be very careful how you live, not being like those with no understanding, but live honorably with true wisdom, for we are living in evil times. Take full advantage of every day as you spend your life for His purpose.”

Eph. 5:15-16, TPT

This Scripture used to intimidate me. “Make the most of every opportunity.” But, I am chronically ill. How do I live and make the most of my opportunities, given my limitations?

There’s something I neglect: Our great God is in control. He is the One enabling us – to make the most of every single opportunity. Even though I live with daily trials, I can cultivate “trust habits”.

Developing Trust and Intimacy

Trust habits can be defined as practices which encourage intimacy and deeper trust in our Lord Jesus. As I previously mentioned, I have certain trust habits designed to help me grow in my relationship with the Lord. I haven’t officially “made it” in case you were wondering, but my faith in Christ is growing.

In order to live out this Scripture, I need to cultivate “Trust Habits” – these are the regular, daily, activities in my day that will continually reinforce a deep intimacy and trust in our Lord. Despite our trials, we can have our faith deepen. Trust Habits help me draw near and truly trust our Lord Jesus Christ as my Father, Savior, Creator, and Lord over all things.

Habits That Lead

There are many different habits we could cultivate in our lives. Some lead us nearer to our Lord Jesus Christ, while others cause us to run for the opposite direction – away from our Risen Lord. We need to become intentional about our lives, and how we live out these days the Lord has given us.

A habit is something we can implement into our day.

There are many ways, in which we can create space for our Lord to reign over our days. We can build habits into our days, which deepen the trust we have firmly placed in our Lord Jesus Christ.

What are some of these “Trust Habits”?

  • Reading our Bible.
  • Praying.
  • Fellowship with the Holy Spirit and other believers.
  • Joining in worshipping God in song.
  • Scripture memorization.
  • Surrendering: Giving everything to my Heavenly Father.
  • . . . & much more.

A Word of Encouragement

Dear friend, I know trials cause us to feel as though our faith is shrinking. I know, it can seem as though our opportunities shrink versus growing. I want to encourage you to keep drawing near to our Lord Jesus. Keep seeking ways to implement these habits, which will cause your faith in Jesus Christ to grow. Our time in the Word of God or prayer may seem so small, but it is about drawing nearer to the Lord.

Each step we take to draw nearer to the Lord – is a step we need to take. Don’t give up. As you face this difficult season, allow your trust in Jesus to become raw, real, and stretched.

Featured image by Aaron Burden of Unsplash.

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My Heart’s Wreck {Trials Tuesday}

Today was the original day for our “Trials Tuesday” post, but something happened. My heart and mind were filled with many thoughts and emotions. Ever been there?

My heart was a wreck. And it took some untangling, before writing could begin.

Over the years, I have learned of my inability to emotionally handle certain kinds of trials. Most of the trials I have encountered have required me to emotionally mature. With each trial, I am required to adapt and grow through the trial. Like most growing, it hurts. . . 


Today, I am reminded we can control our attitudes in trials – even if we cannot control anything else. I may not be able to control how much of my week is devoted to resting. But, I can control my attitude about spending that time resting.

While resting may not be my favorite thing to do when dishes and laundry are piling up, I can celebrate the Lord God and this comfortable bed. Or, I can celebrate having online friends who love having conversations as much as I do. Or, having the ability to read my Bible or blog through the “stuff of my life” – much like I am doing now.

While there are many things I cannot control, I can control a few things such as: What I eat, if I read my Bible, and my attitude.


In James 1 and Romans 5, we are reminded about our attitude in trials. In both of these passages, we are reminded that God can work out some very amazingly good things for us – even when we are being pressed on all sides through a trial.

Dear brothers and sisters,a when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.

James 1:2, New Living Translation

It can seem like the impossible. However, in our lives, we can literally fight through our trials with the joy of the Lord as our strength! We don’t have to complain or become bitter, because we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us – if we have chosen to repent and follow Jesus Christ as our Lord. With the Holy Spirit comes certain characteristics we see in God, things like self control, love, kindness, and gentleness,  But, here is the key ingredient: We need this relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ!

This relationship with our Lord Jesus can be the defining moment for our attitudes. I know, it has been for me.

We need our Lord Jesus! He is absolutely essential in our lives, and as we try to learn how to live despite trials.

There is no one like our God.
Amazing things occur when our Lord Jesus becomes the foundation for our lives.

We cannot control many things, but can choose to seek our Lord Jesus Christ on a daily basis – and seek to have His attitude as we live for His glory.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. . .

Romans 5:3

Featured image by Kelly Sikkema through Unsplash.

In Christ,

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Our Sacred Works (Diving Into Corinthians)

 

I am ready to rejoin Diving into the Corinthians. Feel free to join me. The journal is different than others, but available for purchase.

Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-23.

Build with Care (v. 10-11)

Like a skilled architect and master builder, I laid a foundation based upon God’s grace given to me. Now others will come along to build on the foundation. Each serves in a different way and is to build upon it with great care (v. 10, VOICE).

It begins with our choosing to follow our Lord Jesus Christ. He is to be King over our lives. When our Lord is in full control of our lives, this is where we get the opportunity to truly build with care. Friends, what we do matters. Through Jesus Christ, our Resurrected Savior, we can make an eternal difference.

We may have little energy, but God can do so much with our little. Let’s be intentional in how we choose to live.

Everything we do/say can be used to spread the Gospel, and to show others the magnificence of God.

Works of Eternal Weight (v.12-15)

. . . Everyone’s work will be put through the fire so that all can see whether or not it keeps its value, and what was really accomplished (v. 13, TLB).

We can’t judge the quality of our deeds based on this world. Only our great God can determine what was honestly accomplished. This is what will happen on the Day of Christ’s Judgment. Was our works done with a pure heart and for God’s Kingdom?

This can be a scary thing to think about. But, let’s point our gaze on the works of Jesus Christ who has saved us! God can do so many amazing things on our behalf. His grace not only saves, but enables us to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.

Holy Temple (v. 16-17)

Do you remember in John 14 (v. 15-17), where we are promised the Holy Spirit as Christ’s followers?

The Holy Spirit lives in every single person who has chosen to trust Jesus Christ as their King. He is the One doing this amazing work in us, as we live out our faith in Christ. Because of this relationship we are changed!

This sacred friendship we have with God impacts every aspect of our lives.

The Wisdom (v. 18-23)

So don’t be proud of following the wise men of this world. For God has already given you everything you need (v. 21, TLB).

If you are like me, you might need to reread that last sentence. God truly has given us all we need! We do not lack anything, because God is our Awesome Shepherd who has provided for every single one of our needs.

Make God’s wisdom more important in your life, than anything else. While some might trust in this world, our trusting priority needs to be reserved for Jesus Christ. Let us remember that all things belong to our Lord Jesus Christ!

Featured Image by Hưng Nguyễn Việt of Unsplash.

In Him,

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