When Trials Are Difficult {Trials Tuesday}

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. – 1 Peter 1:6, NLT

Last week, I began to unwrap this idea of grieving. Some might ask, “grieving what?” It might be chronic illness, or more than a diagnosis or list of symptoms. There is a lot to process and grieve in my case.

Seven years ago, I was finishing up a bachelor’s degree and receiving an acceptance letter that would cause me to pick up my things and move to a new city. And today, I am somewhat content in my role as a “stay at home aunt and daughter”. But the reality is harsh. Chronic illness has, in fact, changed my life in a very big way.


Every so often, I am reminded that chronic illness, or trials in general, bring that luscious spiritual fruit. I love the spiritual fruit {even though I despise the trial itself}. An example of the spiritual fruit in play:

With our family, we have the opportunity to remain calm – even when our senses are overloaded with noise. A family’s house gets loud. But when we allow the Lord our God to work in our hearts, things will change.

For me: The greatest blessing is – the ability to remain loving and self-controlled when my niece comes over on the weekends. Today my house felt enormously loud, but by God’s grace I could remain calm, redirect, and begin my Bible study time. My sinful self didn’t get angry and begin yelling at these little people I am leading by example. This is a direct result of Jesus Christ!

I have days when I am “off” so to speak, and my niece will ask what happened. This is my reminder that I need to re-evaluate what’s going on in my heart and walk with Jesus. Honestly, it could be due to debilitating symptoms, not enough Jesus time, or something else. The bottom line is: Spiritual fruit is a blessing in my life, and it can be in yours too!


Fruit Means Pain –

It has taken much work to reach this place in my life. Seven years’ worth of working with the Lord has shown me that trials are painful, but God, the Lord Jesus Christ, is going to be the One to get me through it. Things won’t always go my way, but He will get me through it.

It won’t be painless. There will be many tears, but He will get us through this one baby step at a time.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine” – Isaiah 55:8

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. – Ephesians 3:20

This week, I desperately need to consult my Bible on a daily basis. I need to stay in step with the Spirit, so I will stay close to Jesus and not give into my sinful desires (Galatians 5:16).

Feature image by Rye Jessen.

Until next time,

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Transforming Our Words {Trials on Tuesday}

It has been so long since our James study. These days, I think about our “Trials on Tuesday” series. Now seems like the perfect time to pick it up again.

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Dear brothers, don’t ever forget that it is best to listen much, speak little, and not become angry; for anger doesn’t make us good, as God demands that we must be (James 1:19-20).

Many of us struggle with our words. Words can be such a powerful thing. But, they can also become our downfall.

I can struggle profoundly with my words. And I fall into two extremes: withhold all words or say whatever comes to mind, and the words (or gazes) can be less than godly. Our heart, center of passions and emotions, is where it all begins.

I can become tempted to be angry or careless with my words. But, my fleshly heart has a choice to make: To honor Jesus Christ or be led to sin.


The Difficulty

The words we speak, along with listening, and attitude, are important things that help make a mature Christian. It would be wise if we all did a little self evaluation.

Words are either gifts or thorns.
Words can fill up our minds, and even lead us down many rabbit holes.

Even with the confusion of words, God doesn’t leave us on our own to figure it out. God has given us His Word – the Bible, to help us learn how to speak, listen, and control ourselves.

Thank you Lord Jesus, for knowing our struggle with words!


Seeking God’s Help

God is teaching us to:

  • be slow to speak.
  • quick to listen.
  • slow to become angry.

Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again, so we might be reconciled to God our Father. And now, we can be a pleasing aroma to God – choosing Jesus and to walk in His wondrous ways.

There are three truths to glean from:

#1) When we learn how to communicate like God is showing us, we see results! Our generous God gets the fame that He deserves. And our relationships are better, because we put God’s instruction into action.

#2) God wants to show us that our circumstances do not have to choose our actions for us. This is where the mighty grace of God steps in.

Friends, our God is far more powerful and loving than we could ever imagine. He wants to strengthen and transform us.

#3) Even though our circumstances may not change, our attitude and habits can change. They can change, because of who God is. Because of God, we can begin to take actions to live out this Scripture.

The Son of Man has come to give life to anyone who is lost (Matthew 18:10).

Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants—what is good, pleasing, and perfect (Romans 12:2).

As I draw near to our Lord Jesus, this is where these transformation – miracles take place.

Image by Nathan Dumlao.

In Christ,

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Get Cozy with God {Part 2 // Diving Into Corinthians}

Welcome to part two of our “Get Cozy with God” message, my dear friends! ♥

In part 1, I bravely shown you what the inside of my Bible journal and notebook looked like from my other morning’s quiet time. I hope you were able to gain some encouragement from that.

Today, I want to focus on some of these key things that stood out to me – as I spent time with 1 Corinthians 1:1-3. Before we dive in, let’s just pray and read through the passage today.

Lord, fill this place. Meet each person where they are at, and let their confidence remain in You and the incredible work You alone do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (NKJV).

Called. . .  by the will of God: We have been invited by God, to His banquet. He has chosen us! We have been handpicked by our great God. How often do we realize the gift we have been given? It is an absolute gift we have received. It is worthy of celebration, that we have been gifted this opportunity to be with our risen Lord forever.

Kletos {Called} is defined as: Being invited (by God in the proclamation of the Gospel) to obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom through Christ.

We have been called by the Lord, and now are able to rest in Him. It is God who has called us to be His followers and people. As we live out our faith in Christ, let us remember this gift of completely depending upon the Lord. It is a complete gift to be led by God.

“The apostle. . . was called . . . by the will of God; he did not thrust himself into that high and honourable employment, but was chosen, called and sent by God. . . (William Burkitt).”

Sanctified in Christ Jesus: We have been called by God, and this changes everything. In this process of becoming His, we are thoroughly changed. We are no longer defeated by our sinful nature, but we now experience victory because of our Lord Jesus Christ and what has been done on our behalf through the cross and His resurrection.

“The word “saints” does not differ materially from the word “sanctified” in the former part of the verse. It means those who are separated from the world, and set apart to God as holy. The idea which Paul introduces here is, that they became such because they were called to be such. The idea in the former part of the verse is, that this was done “by Christ Jesus;” here he says that it was because they were called to this privilege (Albert Barnes).”

In Every Place, Both Theirs and Ours: This letter is to be used for all of Christ’s beautiful bride. “All who profess Christianity, both in Corinth, Ephesus, and other parts (Adam Clarke).”

“Jesus Christ is the common Lord and Savior of all. He is the exclusive property of no one Church, or people, or nation. Calling on or invoking the name of the Lord Jesus, was the proper distinguishing mark of a Christian. In those times of apostolic light and purity no man attempted to invoke God but in the name of Jesus Christ; this is what genuine Christians still mean when they ask any thing from God for Christ’s Sake.”

Featured image by William Montout.

Until next time,

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Holy Spirit Infused Relationships {VOTD}

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law (Gal. 5:22-23, NKJV).

If we were to be honest with each other, we could say relationships are not easy. Sometimes, they can be the hardest aspect of our lives. Everything can be going along fairly well one day, until we have a conversation. A conversation we could spend years trying to forgive ourselves for. Or maybe, just a conversation that might wreck our day.

Lack of Fruit

In Romans 6:21, we are reminded that our sinful nature won’t produce good results. “But what good did you receive from the things you did? All you have to show for them is your shame, and they lead to death.”

We all can testify with our own stories of experiences, that. . . we don’t receive good things from our shame. Our shame filled words or actions have costed us something.

These kind of broken hearted relationships and conversations haven’t produced things like kindness, self control, or goodness.

We have good news. God can produce in our lives these very good things we crave. What we lack, God alone can provide!

God Directed

The Holy Spirit is in full control, able to direct our hearts, and give us these good gifts.

Even if these things aren’t on our “to do” list, it is on our great God’s. Because even in the worst of circumstances, God is always filled with the fruit of the Spirit in overwhelming quantities. These are very essence of who God is.

Loving Like Our King

Through being connected, we become more like Him. While it isn’t an instant process, it is surely one worth praying and waiting for. Let’s draw nearer to the Lord through opening our Bible, praying for our relationships, and seek more of Him.

As Christians we aren’t perfect, but the God we serve is! We are clothed in His righteousness, as we accept what our Savior Jesus has done for us. We are forever changed!

Through our Savior Jesus Christ, we “belong to Him who was raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God (7:4).”

Friends, we have been radically changed by our gracious God who has given up everything for us. He wants to help us in our relationships. Let’s give Him access to these sometimes hard places.

. . . “For those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on the things of the Spirit (8:5).”

The Difference Maker

The difference in our relationships doesn’t come from us, but the One we have fixed our eyes upon. Through God and His Holy Spirit, our relationships can be different. Because of our great Savior, we can see a radical difference (see Galatians 5).

Because of Jesus, we can love those He has placed in our lives. Remember, “we love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).”

How has the Holy Spirit helped you in your conversations and relationships?

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Image by Ben Rosett.

Noticing the Change {{POTF}}

 

I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because he considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry— even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I received mercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 1:12-14, CSB).

I needed this truth: our Lord Jesus is the One strengthening us!

While I am a person who struggles with sin, I am absolutely saved by His grace alone. God has shown me His mercy. He has purposely loved me, despite the person I used to be. When my sin nature is in charge, I have the ability to crave being unkind. Yet, the Lord, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, is showing me how I can live a brand new way of life! He continues to deliver me from my old self on a daily, even hourly, basis.

My sin shows me my desperate need for our Lord Jesus who rose from the grave! In Scripture we are given the opportunity to see the difference between drawing nearer to Christ and living for ourselves. Galatians 5 is the number one Scripture that comes to mind on this subject. It shows us the absolute different in our lives when we focus on this relationship with God through our Savior.

For myself, I know our Lord Jesus is the One making the difference! He is doing the work that only He can. Routines, diets, and other things cannot ever change the “inside me.” This is something only our Lord Jesus can do.

The grace of our Lord has been abundantly poured out on me, along with faith and love found in Jesus Christ. The change I need in my personal life is something only Jesus can do. I need the Lord to take my life fully. I need to keep my words and attitude in check, because honestly it is easy to slip up. When life happens, it is easy to fall into the hard place of old ways. Take a look at this encouragement.

take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth (Eph. 4:22-24).”

Friends, let us keep daily putting on Christ.
Let us choose the things of God over this world.
We are given the Holy Spirit to help us in our journey.

How are you making sure you don’t “sober up” from the Holy Spirit?

Just that statement alone, takes a bit to digest – Reading our Bible’s, prayer, and Christian fellowship are all ways to get “drunk on the Spirit”.

Friend, keep drinking in the Lord through coming nearer. We need our Living Water, and drawing nearer is the best way to govern our lives. The Holy Spirit is our tool for every day living, so let us allow Him to strengthen our lives!

Image is by Matt Botsford.

Seeking Him,

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