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Thessalonians

Week 4: 1 Thessalonians 4:3

This week’s memory verse is 1 Thessalonians 4:3. This is a precious piece of Scripture. While all Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16), this one is quite meaningful for the lives of many believers in Jesus Christ.

For this is the will of God, that you should be consecrated (separated and set apart for pure and holy living): that you should abstain and shrink from all sexual vice… (AMP-C)

Friends, we have been set apart for God and His purposes. This is the tremendous joy of the Christian life we live. God has many amazing things in store for us, as His people who have been redeemed (rescued) by His Son Jesus Christ, and choose to continue seeking after God’s will.

For the Christian, one of the greatest temptations is sexuality. It is a hot area where the Devil knows just what crafty word or action to use, as he stands in the way between us and God. We all know someone who have fallen prey to the Devil’s lures with sexual temptation, and left their faith and lives in ruins.

While God has given us the ability to desire sex or things of that nature, it is a gift human beings have completely misused and reaped the consequences. This command is given for our benefit, for sexual sin destroys.

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other… (Matthew 6:24, NIV)

Our sexuality is going to influence the sanctification process. Sexual sins promise little, deliver none, cost us much, and cause us to flee from God and His presence. And since many face this temptation and give into it, the Devil doesn’t have to try too hard – in order for us to give in. This is why we need to be aware of how we struggle with temptation, so we might stand firm and protect our relationship with our heavenly Father.

In Asbury’s Commentary, we are reminded of the remedy for temptations: run to God and stay in His presence!

Few things have contributed more to the downfall of believers than sexuality. However mature one might be, the constant bombardment from a society that does not know God (v. 5), coupled with the nature of sexual desires, provide ready ammunition for the Tempter (see 3:5). Paul’s implied remedy is the continuing presence of the Spirit in the believer’s life.

Our faith is heavily involved in this choice – whether we obey or reject this command given to us by God to abstain from sexual sins.

Faith is the belief in the Father’s love for you, the Son (Jesus Christ) who willfully went to all costs to redeem and reconcile you to the Father, and the truth that the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in your life. The Holy Spirit will not sit around and do nothing. God has set you apart and equipped you to live a godly life. Keep drawing near, and watch Him work!

How are you focusing on His Presence, as you face temptations?

Feature image by Carly Rae Hobbins.

Categories
Thessalonians

Week 4: Prepare For An Energetic Week!

Few things get to me like this topic, as far the church life goes. Welcome, I am your “equally messed up” tour guide. I cannot help but read 1 Thessalonians 4, and be reminded of the ways the Church is… far from where we could be. I love the global church; we are the beloved body of Christ. His bride. His treasure.

Yet we settle for so little, when God wants to lead us to much more – even in this life before we reach Heaven and all its glory.

My Honest Heart Struggle

I made it my mission to go through “Meeting the Thessalonians” before this course was set to begin, which I mostly was able to. I can honestly say, week 4 was without any doubt one of the most difficult weeks. While I had weeks of surprising affliction that made it hard to reach for my Bible and notebook, this week has challenged me greatly based on the content in 1 Thessalonians 4.

It touched me at my core, as a single woman. Some excitement. Erm, much frustration. Plenty of moments, where I was reminded of where I want to be as part of the Church.

Join Me!

I invite you in joining me for the reading of God’s Word, where we will hear God speak in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12.

As a single woman, I am bombarded with temptation – often. I am not alone in this struggle, though. I know, many readers are right there with me.

This passage of Scripture is important for all believers, regardless of our relationship status.

As we take the time to focus our attention on our Lord Jesus Christ, He will work in our midst. While we may face many temptations and struggles in this area, we are not alone. Girls and Guys, you are not alone. I am looking forward to the chance of going through this passage of Scripture together.

This week’s blogging might look drastically differently than the past three weeks have been. Because this passage of Scripture is of such great importance to me, I want to try and pop in whenever I can – to share my thoughts on a particular verse or share a quote from a Bible commentary. This week, in terms of blog posts, might look crazy different than this past week. Or, it might look exactly the same. Only the Good Lord knows!

We simply have to wait and see what God decides to do, because this is His blog.

I may have many passionate things to say, and He may have to offer a strong, yet gentile, reminder of “No Stacey, you cannot write that. It is not useful to build up others in the Church.” (I actually have a good set of moments like this. I, too, am a work in process. . .)

Whatever happens on the blog or your personal study this week, keep digging into God’s Word! I am excited to see what God shows us. Here is the reading plan for this week.

Feature image by Sweet Ice Cream Photography.

Until next time,

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Experiencing the Beauty of... Isaiah 40 Updates

Diving In {{Week 2//Announcement}}

This week, we conquered the beginning of our Bible study. We are covering Isaiah 40, over the next three weeks. This past week, we devoted ourselves to intentionally studying Isaiah 40:1-8. To those who are going through this Bible study with me, I want to tell you something.

Congratulations! It may not seem like it now (or maybe it does), but these are the moments that count. These are the moments, where you are being intentional about your time and relationship with God.

Recap: Our Isaiah study has a journal and schedule available for all to use, for free. The journal isn’t found only on Amazon, because it is a shorter study. I want to invite you all to join us, as we slowly work our way, through this special chapter of God’s Word.

This study has much to teach us about God, His character, and His love for humanity. It is the perfect way to spiritually prepare ourselves, for our next study – “Gleaning From the Heart of Jesus”.

In our Sept-Nov study, we will be studying Jesus’ temptations and the greatest sermon we could ever hear (Matthew 4-7). For more info, please see the end of this post. You won’t want to miss it, as I have included the official start date for our new study.

The Schedule (Week 2)

Monday
Isaiah 40:9-10
*Blog Post Day*

Tuesday
♥ Isaiah 40:11 ♥

Wednesday
Isaiah 40:12
*Blog Post Day*

Thursday
Isaiah 40:13-14

Friday
Isaiah 40:15-17
*Blog Post Day*

The Weekend
Review//Go Deeper

You can find all of our posts, regarding this study, at a wonderful little place called “Experiencing the Beauty”. It is a special home, to keep all our Isaiah 40 posts tucked nicely together. If you ever miss a day’s post and wonder where you can possibly find it, that is where you will want to go.

Our Announcement

Friends, I encourage you to consider joining our next study. It kicks off Sunday, September 11! We finally have our start date. Aren’t you excited?!? I know, I am. This study is going to be an amazing time of worship and drawing near to Jesus. This study will last nine weeks. So, it is a bit longer than the standard Bible study reading plan you might find on most blogs. But, it is an in-depth look at Matthew 4-7. We will take bite-size looks at this set of Scriptures. It will be the same exact format as Isaiah 40, Ephesians, and most of our other recent studies.

It is still a very do-able study, for anyone regardless of what your daily life might look like. Your life might be crazy, but you can still carve out 20-30 minutes a day to plunge into a deeper Bible study. I am so excited for our study. I hope you are too!

Visit this link to check out the journal for Gleaning From the Heart of Jesus! Please note: As an Amazon Affiliate, my blog is given a small earning when you use this link for any purchase you make.

Categories
Walking Into The Light (Ephesians)

Custom Designed Armor {{Week 6}}

Hi friends!

Welcome to week 6 of our study. Hard to believe – we only have a few days left of our Ephesians study. For those who have joined me on this journey, congratulations on this amazing accomplishment of studying through the book of Ephesians this Summer. For those who have popped in, to glean from the blog posts, you are reaping good things in your spirit – as you turn your eyes to Jesus and the bounty He offers to us – as His followers!

I invite you all to join me, as we peek at Ephesians 6:10-13 – which is today’s passage. As you prepare for what I have to share, please get out your Bibles and journals and spend time soaking up His Word (the secondary Scripture, is 1 Cor. 9:24-25). After you spend some time meditating on these treasures, meet me back here.

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The full armor of God is such a gift!

Our reality is this truth – While we face a heavy battle, God is standing by our side equipping us for all we need. He is equipping us to: 1) Fight the battle 2) Victoriously win.

I can stand firm in today’s adversity, because of the gift of God, His love and hope, and the armor He alone provides. The only way to defeat the enemy is, by keeping the armor of God on. Yes, it can get a bit hard – remembering to keep it on. But, this is where the battle is won.

Jesus wants us to win. He wants to help us achieve this victory. But, it only comes – as we stay close and listen to His instructions given to us through the Bible!

He wants to give us strength.

He wants us to win, but this can only happen – as we draw near to our beloved Savior! And, allow Him to help us to put on the armor.

Now, there is something we need to understand: The armor of God is custom designed for our individual fights. His armor is custom designed, so we need not worry that it won’t fit with our lives or struggles.

I know, for my own life, I need to run the winning way – this means putting on God’s armor. This is the living, where it desperately counts.

God is why we can stand firm and overcome.

Lord God, we are tired and our sinful self is raging. We need You to give us, Your followers, clarity on how to put on Your precious armor pieces and to know how they work. Thank You for Your trusted Word and for supplying all we need. Be our strength, today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Categories
Devotions

Matthew 4

Read Matthew 4.

My note for NT260 says this:

“Things that tempt us are normally shortcuts to a seemingly positive outcome.”

Jesus gave the Father a period of forty days, where He was committed to fasting. Fasting and prayer, is a very good thing. But, how often things creep in to change what we do? We get tempted. It is easy to get tempted.

Typically, we use the word distracted.

It is easy to become distracted, which can in fact lead to temptations we face.

During any period where we are devoting ourselves to God, things will arise in our lives where we have to stay steadfast on the Word of the Lord. We need to remain focused and know what the desires of the Lord are.

As we stay focused on our great God, something happens.

He reveals His good and perfect will.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom. 12:2, NRSV).

Jesus, the Perfecter of Our Faith

In the book of Hebrews, we are reminded why we can meet opposition and come across victorious. It is not because of who we are in this world, but it is about the One in whom we have found our eternal identity. It is about our identity in Christ.

“[L]et us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb. 12:1b-2).”

Son of God

The Devil knew who Jesus was. It is not like he found someone in the wilderness. a nameless, John Doe. The Devil knew exactly who he was messing with. In the book of Job, we are reminded that the Devil has to go to God for permission (see Job 1:6-12). This would have been the case for Jesus’ temptations as well, as our own.

Permission granted.

Why?

If Jesus hadn’t endured, how much more would we stand entrapped in the Devil’s wiles? Scripture has given us record of what Jesus experienced, so we may arise victorious. Even when we face our own trials and temptations, we can do a few things –

  1. Recognize the power of God at work in that situation.
  2. Depend upon the name of the Lord.
  3. Apply what His Word, the Bible, teaches us.

Remember What God’s Word Teaches

We need to remember what God’s Word teaches us about the truth of temptations. We all will face them. Every single one of us. The one aspect of our lives that will be attacked than any other – is our identity. Our very identity in Jesus Christ.

The Devil will utter the same to us – “If you are really a child of God, then, …”

In James 1, we are reminded that our trials and temptations help build up our faith in Jesus Christ. We need to take our cues from Jesus, and resolve to know His Word and let it change the way we respond to our temptations. It changed the way Jesus lived, and can do the same for us too!

Scripture on the Truth

Most importantly, be disciplined and stay on guard. Your enemy the devil is prowling around outside like a roaring lion, just waiting and hoping for the chance to devour someone (1 Pet. 5:8, VOICE).