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.

Meeting My Shepherd

So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! {Luke 15:3-7, NLT}

Today, I want to focus on the lost sheep that our Lord Jesus purposely went and redeemed. He saved this sheep from danger and brought them home. Friends, we are His sheep.

Anyone who has repented from their sins and chosen to follow Jesus Christ – is one of God’s sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. {John 10:14-15}

I have grown fond of the illustration as God as my Shepherd. Ever since I studied John 10 in a seminary course, I have felt drawn to seeing God as my Shepherd. However if I am honest, I haven’t always allowed Him to shepherd me. I have been a stubborn sheep who goes astray. But, He never stops pursues me – thankfully.

I want to start out by explaining what repent means. To someone unchurched or even someone like me, I needed the definition. I don’t want to use the word “repent” lightly or misuse it when I write an Instagram post, etc.

Repentance means:

→ To change one’s mind.
→Turn from our sins, and turn to Jesus Christ.

When we make the decision to turn from our old life and follow our Lord Jesus, there is much rejoicing in Heaven. The Lord is going to keep cheering us on, as we seek to bury our old sins in His strength and make Him our number one choice.

He doesn’t leave us in this process of trusting Him with our lives. He gives us every ounce of strength, courage, and grace we could ever need.

Hang in there, dear friend. Take heart in the fact that our great God is going to keep cheering you on.

For myself when I make decisions, I need to remember my “why”. We see this word in health related challenges. “Remember your why” in the context as the reason for what you are doing.

For us, as believers in Jesus Christ, we need to remember the One who has laid down His life for us. We make our decisions based on this love relationship we have with Jesus Christ.

See Galatians 2:20; Psalm 23

Featured Unsplash photo by Pawan Sharma.

In Him,
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Love Based Law – Part 1 {POTF}

Hello friends –

I invite you to join me in a two part blog post, where we will be looking at 1 Timothy 1:8-11 –

But we know that the law is good, provided one uses it legitimately. We know that the law is not meant for a righteous person, but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and irreverent, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral and homosexuals, for slave traders,liars,perjurers, and for whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which was entrusted to me (1 Timothy 1:8-11, CSB).

We know the law is good if we use it properly.

The law is holy. . . just, and good. . . [If we] use it for the purpose for which God has given it [then it becomes] a schoolmaster to lead us unto Christ, and Christ is the end of that law for justification to every one that believes (Clarke Commentary).

The Truth About God’s Law

This sacred law of God teaches us about our broken relationship with God. As hard as it is to talk about, this is the truth. This is why the law of God has been given to us.

Admittedly we may think the law of our great God is something horrible, but honestly it isn’t. God has given us His law – His rules to meet and teach us. God teaches us we are sinners. We are not holy, righteous, or close to perfection, but our great God definitely is and has chosen us to be His own people!

Came For the Broken

Just as the law is given to sinners, I am reminded this is why our Lord Jesus came. He came for us, to redeem us!

I am reminded by the Holy Spirit of what it says in the book of Luke.

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (5:32).
For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost (19:10).

Our blessed Savior has come for you and me personally. He didn’t come to call the righteous, but He did call the broken, the lost, people like us who just don’t “have it all together”.

With God’s grace, we don’t have to be perfect people. We just really need our Lord Jesus and to keep drawing near – so we aren’t going through life alone.

Instead of shrinking back, God has wholeheartedly continued pursuing and loving us – and is inviting us to become His own people.

God’s Love

In John 3:16-17, we see the absolute depth of our Creator’s amazing love for us. God wants to be heavily involved in our lives. He loves us and longs to be with us!

16 For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Friends, our great God’s love for us goes above and beyond anything we could ever imagine! While the law shows we have sinned against God, every one of us, our story doesn’t have to stop there.

Our great God sent His Son Jesus Christ to be the Savior of the world! He went on a rescue mission – for you! Will you choose to accept what Jesus has done on your behalf through His suffering, death, and resurrection?

I invite you to join me tomorrow, as we talk specifically about God’s love and role as our Eternal Father.

Image is by Mari Helin-Tuominen.

In Him,

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Week 2 – He Has Saved Us! {POTF}

Hi friends!

Welcome to a new week of our Pressing On Toward Faithfulness study. I am glad you are here. If you check out our study’s page and compare it with our schedule, it will become apparent that we are a bit behind.

Yes, we are.

Currently, I am three blog posts behind. Most bloggers would admittedly “let go” of certain blog topics and move on.

However. . . Titus 2 is something very close to my heart. So, we will keep going as we trek through Titus and 1-2 Timothy! We will press on. For me, Titus is really about meeting our Lord Jesus, becoming God’s people, and being equipped to be God’s beloved Church. 

The Lord has soo much He wants to speak with us about in these books. So, we may linger around certain verses a bit longer than expected.

Memory Verse For This Week –

In our quiet times this week, I have a verse for us to focus our attention on. Our memory verse is Titus 3:4-5a, which says:

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy. . . (ESV)

This passage of Scripture is so crucial, because it reminds us of how much the Lord Jesus has saved us from. We have been changed from the inside out, and all because of our Mighty King – Jesus Christ!

We have been redeemed, because the Lord has said so!
We have been called His own people!

And, the Lord is showing us what it looks like to BE His people!

Friends, take time this week to linger over God’s Word and allow Him to speak louder than the distractions in your life. This is my hope, too. I hope there is more writing and studying this week.

#OneGoal

During this study, we will learn what it looks like to linger in His grace. I asked you all earlier to pick #OneGoal for our study, how is that going? Is it drawing you nearer to the Lord? Has the distractions of life, kept you from living it out?

My #OneGoal was to sit and linger in His presence.

The past few days, I haven’t been able to make it to my “Quality Time” spot I have in my room. As for this weekend, it has been a tough thing to pursue. But tomorrow, I am going to start back. I am thankful for the audio sermons I have been able to listen to, as I have my “rest days”. My body has felt exhausted, and I am learning how to rest and study – perhaps even at the same time. This is a big step for me: Learning to have actual Bible study (on our blog’s study), even when I don’t feel good – is a big deal. I typically “put it off” and will study something else – until I feel “ready”. But, I have been able to stay caught up on my daily reading for the book of Titus – and that is soo exciting!! I am just a bit behind in my “sharing” of what the Holy Spirit is showing me. =]

This study is blessing me; I hope it is having a similar effect on you too.

I am learning so much and being reminded of the beauty that comes with being His daughter!

Don’t forget! You can still get an eight week Gracefully Overcoming journal for only $6.25, and we even have places to get plugged in on Facebook. Including a women’s small group! Be sure to find ways to get plugged in and go deeper – either with our journal, the Facebook page, or our women’s small group. We are here for you!

Image by Jason Betz.

In Him,

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Clothed in Love {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.

Our faith and hope rest in Jesus Christ alone. God chose Jesus Christ to be our Savior and purposely sent Him into the world for our sake.

Reborn

Jesus Christ has brought us into a new place with God our Creator. We have been forgiven of our sin and reconciled with God. Because of Jesus Christ, we can trust God and find rest for our souls.

Now your faith and hope can rest in him alone. Now you can have real love for everyone because your souls have been cleansed from selfishness and hatred when you trusted Christ to save you; so see to it that you really do love each other warmly, with all your hearts (1 Peter 1:21b, 22; TLB).

Friends: From the moment where we first said “yes” to Jesus, we have been reborn. We have a brand new life, which “comes from Christ, God’s ever-living Message to men (vv. 23).” Let’s bask in our new life. While I know we are often reminded of our past, our slate is wiped clean by the work of Jesus Christ.

Church, we have been given such a precious gift through Jesus Christ and the amazing love He has demonstrated toward us. It’s time to celebrate.

The Selfless Surrender

Look at what God has done on our behalf:

He forgives all my sins. He heals all my sicknesses. He saves my life from going down into the grave. His faithful and tender love makes me feel like a king. He satisfies me with the good things I desire. . . (Ps. 103:3-5, NIRV).

As we walk in our new lives, we can have genuine love for others. This is made possible, because of the transformation Jesus Christ is doing in our lives. As we surrender our selfishness and hatred, it makes room for the good work God wants to do in our lives.

The Changed Life

He is our beloved Savior, and has chosen to redeem us. He has taken us out of our pit of selfishness and hopeless despair, and given us new life. As we walk in our new life, we are given the opportunity to take off our old “clothes” and put on the new. God wants to radically transform our lives, including the way we treat others. He is heaping gift upon gift over our lives, as we surrender control to Him.

God has chosen you and made you his holy people. He loves you. So you should always clothe yourselves with mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other, and forgive each other. If someone does wrong to you, forgive that person because the Lord forgave you. Even more than all this, clothe yourself in love. Love is what holds you all together in perfect unity. (Col. 3:12-14, NCV) 

Feature image by Jeremy Bishop.

In Christ,

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