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

Fall QT Routine

There are several topics spiraling through my brain for future posts. But, I want to talk a bit about my current Quiet Time Routine. Since I leave for the doctor in 90 minutes, routines is a good place for today’s topic.

What Time?

Typically, I don’t use an alarm clock in deciding when to get up. It is dependent upon my body and different variables. It is sort of dependent upon:

  • Sleep needed
  • Fatigue/pain level
  • Brain fog
  • Distractions

My “Must Have’s”

While there is no “set time” due to illness, I do have my particulars for my Morning Routine. These are things I enjoy making as part of my Quiet Time and how I prepare my heart/mind/body for the day.

My Quiet Time isn’t as complex as it once was, when I was healthier and younger. My time with our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ is the key part to beginning my day. While there isn’t any set order for my day, I love to add three components to it:

  1. Prayer
  2. Bible Study (using index cards for notes to stick in my Bible)
  3. Worship music /// Read a Christ-centered book

Seasons of Life

I miss the amount of “in depth” studying that I once had the energy for. But, I love where I am right now, in terms of my relationship with Jesus Christ. As I come before Him each morning, I get the opportunity to talk with Him (and hopefully listen). As I make this time with Him a daily habit, I can find myself falling more in love with my Savior.

How do you find yourself falling more in love with Jesus Christ, with each day?

While my Morning Quiet Time isn’t where I would like it to be, I am in a wonderful place too. My index cards, made from construction paper, are a huge help in developing a passion for God’s Word and this time with Him. I have struggled to break in my new Bible, but having index cards tucked in my Bible is a huge help in creatively seeking God and His Word.

I need to creatively seek God and His Word!

While I am not who I hope to become, I am not who I used to be either. So, I am enjoying this season of worship. I have to enjoy this season, because we never know when life and/or health will take us somewhere else. This is one thing I know, as I have lived with chronic illness for the past 8 years.

My Quiet Times rarely look the same from year to year. This serves as a reminder to cling to Christ Jesus and not a particular study method. While our health may fail, God remains forever. He is strong and our Portion.

God is good, and able to help us through whatever difficult terrain we find ourselves walking through.

What do your mornings and quiet times look like? Do they vary from year to year? Or, have you been able to stay consistent?

Image: Aaron Burden

Dwelling in His Beauty {{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!

Women of God, we have been given an imperishable beauty – that comes from Christ alone. In this day-and-age, it is easy to be consumed with our outward beauty, but we are far more than just external beauty. God has made us His daughters, and we can become even more beautiful with each day that we follow Jesus Christ.

Our Scripture

Be beautiful inside, in your hearts, with the lasting charm of a gentle and quiet spirit that is so precious to God (1 Peter 3:4, TLB).

. . . but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious (ESV).

Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in (MSG).

Circumstances Can Make Us Beautiful!

No matter what is going on in our lives, we can cultivate inward beauty. We can become women who are quiet and gentle – without losing our chance to “be strong and courageous” as Joshua 1:9 teaches.

Each of us is given an unique set of circumstances in our lives. Although these things are difficult, they continue to make us more beautiful on the inside. This is part of the pruning process we are given. We learn about this dreaded, but beautifying process in the book of John. In chapter 15, Jesus has a much needed talk with His disciples. Although He was going away, He reminds them of their need to stay connected to Him (which is accomplished with the Holy Spirit).

Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me (John 15:4, AMPC).

As followers of Jesus, girls, we need to stay deeply connected to Jesus. We need to find ourselves clinging to Him – regardless of the circumstances of today.

The difficulties of today, will enable us to experience the fruit of tomorrow. This is the beauty that lasts. Jesus wants to make us even more beautiful.

Our eyes need to be on the prize, which isn’t a stash of newly bought makeup for our faces to hide the real appearance of who we are.

Instead this eternal prize is the beauty of Jesus Christ, powerfully on display – as we live out our lives.

This is the goal worth pursuing. This is the beauty that can still remain when we are old and grey.

As long as we are pursuing Jesus Christ and welcoming His love pursuit of us, we are choosing inner beauty as the priority. Choosing inwardly beauty doesn’t mean never wearing makeup again. It only means, we are choosing the better thing.

Feature image by De Jesus Benitez.

Deuteronomy 5-11

This is a large chunk of Scripture to ingest, but let’s see if we can make it through these seven chapters.


Chapter 5: The Big Move –

God brought Israel out of Egypt and is jealous (and protective) of them (5:6, 9). In chapters 5-8, I want to say that Israel is reacquainted with the Lord their God – their first love. Israel is moved from their old life and introduced to a life with God. Let’s remember how Jesus Christ has rescued us, and continues to teach us how to live with Him by our side.

Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you. . . (5:33)

Chapter 6: The Great Heart Issue –

In 6:13-19, we are taught to fear God and keep Him where He belongs in our lives. Our response to God ought to be love and excitement to enjoy Him and speak of His name boldly to others (6:2-3, 5-9). We need to make it a common practice to talk about the Lord and make King Jesus our focus.

Because of who we are in Christ, we can fearlessly share His truth.

Chapter 7: Our God –

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments (7:9). . . If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the Lord your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your ancestors. He will love you and bless you (vv. 12-13a).

God is holy. The Israelites likely understood this truth more than we do today. God is faithful, but He is holy too. God is the One who deserves all of our affection. We need to allow our actions to be made for God alone.

Our Relationship –

Now as we move into chapters 8-11, we are encouraged to think abut our own relationship with our Risen Lord Jesus Christ. These words in Deuteronomy are for us too.

Chapter 8: The Discipline –

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. . .Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you (8:2, 5).

We are reminded why we face testing. I have this passage highlighted in my Bible, because I need it to stand out whenever I open it to chapter 8. As we face testing in our lives, we need bold reminders that God is with us and He is doing a work in us.

. . . This is where we are reminded of our need to cling tighter to our Lord Jesus Christ!

Chapter 9-11: Stiff – Necked People

Israel was given the Promised Land because of a specific promise God made. It is fully dependent upon God, rather than the people of Israel. They turned from God, which cost them many blessings. Rejecting God and His Word brought curses on themselves, because that’s what they ran toward.

. . . You had turned aside quickly from the way that the Lord had commanded you. (9:16b) Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. (10:16)

Friends, we have our own stubbornness keeping us from God. We need to turn our hearts away from sin. . . and run to King Jesus!

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. (11:18).

Feature image by Derek Mack.

Loving Like Jesus {{Week 6}}

Short note: There is an error in this week’s journal. The Scripture reference for our memory verse is actually… Matthew 5:46.

Welcome to today’s blog, where we will be digging into day 36 of our study! To me, it is mind-boggling to see how far I have come. In the beginning of the study, I struggled to get to each day’s reading plan. Have you all faced the same sort of problem? Maybe not this time, but another time? But the last few weeks, I have absolutely fell in love with the way Jesus is teaching and revealing Himself to us – through the book of Matthew. It’s like I can’t get enough. And, I don’t want my study time to end when this study concludes in a few weeks. I want to keep going, keep seeking, keep growing through what I read here in Matthew.

The Scriptures – Matthew 5:43-44; Proverbs 25:21-22

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor. (Leviticus 19:18) Hate your enemy.’ But here is what I tell you. Love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you (Matthew 5:43-44, NIRV).

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat. If he is thirsty, give him water to drink. By doing these things, you will pile up burning coals on his head. And the Lord will reward you (Proverbs 25:21-22).

Devotion

This passage shows us how much different God’s ways are. He does things much differently than you and I would, in any given situation. The situations with our enemies, are no exception. Jesus instructs us to love, not hate, our enemies!

While the world teaches us to conspire and get revenge, Jesus is the One urging us to take a different approach. Instead of hurting them, we need to love them. This is where God is glorified in our situation.

When tempted to show less love, remember the depths of your Savior’s love.

For each of us, the temptation to show less love is very real. It could be easy to limit the amount of love we are willing to show them, but no argument is good enough to justify disobeying God.

The Scriptures give us a brightly shining example of this kind of love. It is found in Jesus Christ. It is found in the love of our Father. While we were still enemies of God, He came and redeemed us. He redeemed us, even when there wasn’t anything “right” or “good” about us. This reveals how deep the love of God goes. We caused Him tremendous pain and heartache. We even did more than that, but we have experienced the tender hearted mercy of God. While it is difficult to fathom, God came to earth, carried our sins, and paid the ultimate price we couldn’t ever pay. This is the God we serve. He laid everything down, so we might enjoy a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ!

Jesus is why we can love our enemies.

This is the hope we hold onto, as believers in Jesus. This is why we can love those who seem impossible to love. While it is difficult to love those who do us harm, it is made possible because of Jesus Christ!

Lord Jesus, Help us to remember our need to love others – even when they try to hurt us. Keep pointing us back to the wonderful work of the cross and Your powerful resurrection. You are the One who pours out new life and reconciliation into our lives! Amen.