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.

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

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

Stand Up, Unashamed!

This morning, I am reminded of my need to stand up for my faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. I am reminded that I will make choices that reflect my faith in Christ, and I hope it happens increasingly more.

I may stumble and fall, but I will continue to choose our Lord Jesus over the cares of this world!

For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile (Romans 1:16).

I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them (Psalm 101:3).

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:1-4)

New Living Translation

Right now, I am evaluating my choices for entertainment and how they will undoubtedly affect me. Recently, I discovered my need to “lay down” one of the TV shows I have watched in the past. I don’t wish to reveal the name of the show, but surrendering this show was choosing to not compromise. When we watch worldly shows, it will affect us and our faith.

Lesson I Continue to Learn

Friends, we have to stand up for what we believe. I believe Jesus Christ and the Gospel. I believe Jesus Christ came and died on the cross for my sins, so that I could have a reconciled relationship with my Heavenly Father. I believe that as Jesus saves me, He gives me new life.

Each day, we are given the opportunity to fall deeper in love with our God! Isn’t that a far greater thing than anything else?

Let’s choose to focus on our Lord Jesus Christ today. May our absolute resolve be to honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. While I know the choices are not always easy to make, choosing to live unashamed of Jesus Christ and righteousness is always the choice worth making!

How are we resolving to make the Gospel and relationship with Christ our highest priority?

Image: Marc Schaefer.

What (or Who) are We Worshiping?

During my quiet time, a particular Scripture popped up on my computer screen. It wasn’t the Scripture I intended to study, but one requiring my attention and some thought. So, here we go: Let’s think about this passage and how (or what) we worship.

When Peter arrived, Cornelius greeted him. Then he knelt at Peter’s feet and started worshiping him. But Peter took hold of him and said, “Stand up! I am nothing more than a human.” When Peter arrived, Cornelius greeted him. Then he knelt at Peter’s feet and started worshiping him.

Acts 10:25-26, CEV

Cornelius is seen worshiping Peter and requires a rebuke of sorts. I wonder, how many of us require the same rebuke – myself included. I think, Cornelius became caught up in the moment. I mean, this is Peter – the same Peter who walked with our Lord Jesus.

Worshiping the Wrong Thing

In my opinion, it is easier to focus on worshiping, pleasing people, and giving our attention to the things we can see, touch, taste, and smell. I know, it is for me. I love being able to interact with things I can experience on a physical level. It isn’t things that are sinful, either, but Christ is not always valued over all. It is easy to get distracted or caught up in the moment. But, I think that is why this passage is of such importance.

We need to become very intentional and serious about what we worship, for our God is a jealous God!

The Big Commandment

Scripture is clear, though. We are not to give our hearts in worship to anything else. We are taught to have “no other gods before Me” in accordance with the Ten Commandments in Exodus.

You must not have any other gods except me.

Exodus 20:3, ICB

Our God is so amazing!
He loves us beyond words.
He is jealous for you.
He wants to spend time with you, my friend.
He wants to hear how your day is going. Yes, He already knows. But, He wants you to talk with Him about it. He loves you fiercely, so fiercely that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for your sins, and rose again on the third day to give you new, amazing, abundant life!

After all God has done for us, He absolutely deserves to be the only One we worship!

I wonder how our day-to-day encounters with our Most Holy God are though. Do we worship by faith or merely what is in our sight? (2 Corinthians 5:7) Many things compete for our attention and adoration. From the food we eat, to our cell phones, or our community, anything can become something we worship if we are not careful. May we evaluate our lives and choose to worship God alone!

To learn more about this command, I invite you to read Deuteronomy 6:13-19.

Image: James Barr