Wednesday’s Words {Intro to Me!}

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Hey Y’all! I’m so glad that you stopped by. I’m currently sitting on my back porch with a bowl of cotton candy ice cream while my favorite pup is underneath me with her own bowl of peanut butter. It’s a good day. I’m so excited to start this new link up with Jenni from Frankly My Dear & other sweet blogging girls for a good dose of encouragement and community! It’s a brand new community starting TODAY & it’s the perfect replacement for my Wifey Wear Wednesdays I believe!

This week, we were asked to share a little about ourselves & what God is doing in our lives! So, let’s do this.

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I’m Katie. I have a huge love for Jesus, my Savior & BFF, and I daily strive to life my life for Him in all aspects.  A year ago, I was overly blessed and full of JOY to marry the man of my dreams. His name is Joe and he is utterly perfect for me. I still pinch myself at times to make sure this isn’t all a dream. He is romantic, tall and handsome, and takes me on trips all over this green earth. We are super-duper in love and you would quickly learn that if ever you were around us for at least two minutes. He is the most selfless, wise, hilarious, caring, & faithful man I know. He is my joy. We live in a cute house in a fun city and we serve at our local church home & eat way too much good food. Oh, and we also have a Siberian Husky whom we adore & call our child.

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I have a slightly obsessive love for hot tea, coffee, sunshine, Mexican food, spending time early in the morning in the Word, laughing, & reading books. I love Jesus, my big family, & my friends who are as dear as family. I just accepted a job as a nanny during the week after being a SAHW for the first year of our marriage. One day I will write about all the things that I learned from that season of life. I also adore this blog space. The community that it possesses is irreplaceable. I am in the process of growing my blog and I just love meeting new ladies who love Jesus & adore coffee as much as I do. It’s such an awesome thing. I started this blog almost two years ago while sitting in my formerly favorite coffee shop back in my hometown. I have a huge heart and passion with sharing Jesus’ love with everyone I meet. With that passion for Him and a passion to write since I was young, God led me to start this blog over a hot cup of African Sunset Red Tea. He knows the way to my heart. You can read way more in-depth of what and how He spoke to me about this blog here.

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God has been showing me what it looks like to truly follow and live completely for Him. Honestly, I am growing {being stretched} more right now than I ever have in my walk with Christ. He is teaching my husband and I what it looks like to truly die to self and live for Christ even when it’s hard and complicated. I am slowly learning that He is worth it. In my personal life, God is teaching me to open my hands and let Him have the control, the insecurity, and the fear that I have been clinging onto for years and years. He is teaching me that opening my hands means that I am trusting Him for who He is.. GOD. I can’t play God anymore by trying to be in complete control over my life and the people in it. Trust, faith, believing. Surrender. That’s what I’m learning.

Oh, and did I mention that I love chatting with you so let me know that you stopped by! See ya tomorrow dearies for our Romans Summer Bible Study! We’re going over chapter 14.. here’s a sneak peek.. freedom & love!.. you know it will be good!

You are loved!

Katie

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Must Haves for Newlyweds – Kitchen Edition

Hey there, friend! I’m so glad that you have decided to drop by Hot Tea and the Empty Seat today. I hope your Tuesday is off to a great start!

 My husband and I have been married for a little over a year now & I thought it would be fun to share a few of our favorite things around our home that we use everyday. Today is going to be all about the kitchen. Before getting married, I didn’t think much about kitchens or cooking. Honestly, everyone was pretty sure that I wouldn’t be able to cook. Surprisingly, our kitchen has become one of my favorite places to be & I just adore creating home cooked meals for my husband. Whether you have been married for years or are awaiting that big day, enjoy a few of our “must haves” for the kitchen! These items have been life savers for us as newlyweds! Enjoy…

 

 

 

newlywed must haves- kitchen edition

 

 

1} I can’t tell you how often we use these hard plastic mixing bowl set. They are versatile and are super easy to clean which is why I love them so. It also makes cooking a little brighter with all of the fun colors. Our favorite recipe to use these with is our banana chocolate chip pancakes which will be making it’s appearance soon enough… stay tuned 😉

2} An electric can opener. We don’t use canned foods very often but when we do, I personally can’t imagine being without this bad boy. Manual can-openers, as wimpy as it sounds, are a pain to use. This one is easy to store in your cabinets & easy to clean… just wipe it off after use. My kind of work!

3} I love my teal Fiesta ware but there is something about simple plastic plates. We have about six teal & coral ones from Target along with our sturdy ceramic plates. They are super cheap, easy to clean off, & can fit better in the dishwasher than the bulky stuff. They are perfect for little ones since they don’t break if you drop then. Also, places like Target have the cutest designs perfect for each season you find yourself in which is a great little accent to your dinner table.

4} Go big on your eating utensils. My husband and I were gifted a great set of good quality Food Network forks, spoons, & knives. Nothing is worse than dull knives and forks that melt in your dishwasher. Plus, you are going to use these every single day so I would definitely splurge.

5} Ah, my favorite items in the whole kitchen: our coffee mugs. There is just something romantic about matching coffee cups. I may be crazy. My husband and I have a tradition of buying a new coffee mug in every new state or country we visit so it’s safe to say that our cabinets are filling up quickly. I highly recommend buying mugs that are dishwasher safe. Coffee mugs are just a fun thing to have around the house. They have become a staple for us every early morning and they have created many sweet talks and devotion times with each other & God. I think coffee just draws people together. You can find out favorite here! {it has our pictures on it!}

6} I love our set of glass containers. Ours have  little cute chalkboard fronts on them so I have “pasta”, “sugar”, and “brown sugar” written on ours. They are so handy, so helpful, & can be a cute little decoration to your countertops. Sometimes when I am feeling silly, I will write things like “pour some sugar on me” on the containers. You may think that’s weird but it creates a laugh or two from my husband and our guests that stroll through our kitchen. Hey, cooking can be fun.

7} I cannot stress enough how IMPORTANT a good, solid cutting board is. In my own opinion, GET PLASTIC ONES… not bamboo ones! Although they may look classier, I made the mistake of cutting raw chicken on my bamboo cutting board and the smell lasted for weeks. I eventually had to throw it out. Which was sad because it was good quality but it just wasn’t for me at all. Plastic cutting boards are dishwasher safe {a huge plus for us} therefore I can rest knowing that there isn’t bacteria growing on them from raw foods. It’s smart to get multiples so that you can use certain ones for certain foods. I like these.

8} And last but certainly not least, good cookware. The cookware shown in the picture is the exact cookware we use. It was gifted to us by my dad & stepmom and I LOVE it. It’s Paula Deen’s Aqua Speckle 15-pc. Signature Porcelain Nonstick Cookware Set. I highly recommend getting non-stick cookware that isn’t stainless steel. This is, of course, simply my opinion. But, we had stainless steel and everything I cooked in it pretty much ruined the cookware. It stuck to the bottom & wouldn’t clean off. It also left water stains  Of course, it depends on the quality but you are better off getting porcelain over stainless steel simply because it’s dishwasher safe unlike stainless steel. The last thing I want to do is stand for an hour scrubbing the heck out of every thing I cooked with. Plus, you can get cute colors to match your kitchen. So, go for the non-stick & porcelain over the not-non-stick & stainless steel. You will thank me!

I hope you found a renewed love for all things kitchen & even have a few new ideas!

You are loved

Katie

Linking up with: Let’s Be Friends Blog Hop

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& Hump Day Happenings!

A savory Feast

Summer Bible Study: Romans // TEN

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Hey there! Have you enjoyed studying Romans? I sure have! God has shown me many different things about what righteousness and faith really look like. More than that though, I feel as if I am in a season of the testing of my faith right now. So many things are bidding my action to faith and it has been a beautiful mess learning to have faith in all things, good & bad. I love that God doesn’t leave us alone to deal with our problems. He is with us and speaks right to us with His Word and I’m thankful that He has been doing just that while studying Romans. He is teaching me to truly live out what I study even if I fall a thousand times in the process. What has God been teaching, showing, or challenging you with through the study of Romans? Let me know in the comment section below!

Today, we are in Romans 10; a short yet powerful chapter of salvation for all people.

 

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Romans 10:1-4

What is this passage saying?

Paul is expressing that his heart’s desire and prayer to God is that the Jews who were placing their faith and hope for salvation in their works would come to know Christ, be saved. He says that they have that zeal yet they are ignorant of the true salvation that Christ bestows. The Jews that Paul is talking about were so focused on doing good works in order to become righteous, right before God. They didn’t accept the truth that Jesus had just paid their debt in full on the cross. Like we have talked about so often in the former chapters, that is true faith, believing in Him who paid our ransom for sin and made us righteous through His blood.

How can we practically apply these truths to my life?

Zeal, or passion, and true knowledge of salvation go hand in hand in knowing God and serving Him. We can’t simply have passion without knowing anything about Jesus because that just makes like any other person without Jesus. We can’t only have knowledge since passion is what moves us to desire God. Head knowledge doesn’t mean salvation. You have to have the heart behind it. You must be moved {zeal for God} to repentance {knowledge of your sin & Christ’s forgiveness}. Passion & wisdom, zeal and knowledge. They go hand in hand!

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Romans 10:5-13

What is this passage saying?

Paul is quoting Moses from back in the OT {Leviticus to be exact} about how right standing before God is impossible if based only on the law. “To hope for a righteousness based on obedience to the law requires perfect conformity in every detail–an utter impossibility.” In verses six and seven, Paul speaks of righteousness by faith as if it were a person asking a question which is actually a quote from Deuteronomy 30. Isn’t he a pretty cool writer? “Do not say in your heart, “who will go into heaven?” that is, to bring Christ down or, “who will go down to the abyss?” that is to bring Christ up from the dead. On the contrary, what does it say? The message is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.”    He is meaning… you do not have to go on a soul-searching adventure to find salvation, Christ. It is right here. Right in front of your face. It has clearly been revealed by God to man through His Word. It is by faith alone that you are saved.

How can I practically apply these truth to my life?

This is the message of faith, the gospel, the salvation of mankind: if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe with your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. {v. 9} Salvation is by faith in Jesus alone. You cannot earn your way to new life, freedom from sin, and eternity with Jesus. You can only have faith in Him for those things. Have you repented of your sin and asked for forgiveness? Do you really believe? Salvation is more than words. It’s a total giving away of your self to Jesus. It’s confessing that Jesus is Master over your life and you choose to give away your rights to Him. That’s what it means to confess that Jesus is Lord. It’s a way of life. It’s a daily pick-up-your-cross-and-follow-Jesus kind of decision.

One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.” {Rom. 10:10}

This salvation is available for all people. The white, the black, the rich, the poor, the needy, the prideful. All ages, all races. God is holding out in Hand for all of mankind.

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Romans 10:14-21

What is this passage saying?

God uses people, you & me, to make His name known to all the earth. There must be messengers for Christ going to the lost and unbelieving. Without messengers, people won’t hear. And those people hearing must be paying attention and believe. We, mankind are just like Israel. We are God’s children, chosen and loved. Yet, we continually choose our own way. We choose our own way. Some ears are bent on not listening. The point Paul is making is that we are all disobedient, whether we “look” good on the outside or not. Jew or Gentile, we are all in need of Christ.

How can I practically apply these passages to my life?

Thankfully, God is in control and we are not. He does the sending, the convicting, and the heart-changing. But as Christ followers, we have responsibility. Jesus has called each one of us out of the boat, out of our comfort zones, out of the norm to take the message of salvation to the ends of the earth. How are you on mission in your life for Christ?

 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” {Matthew 28:18-20}

When I was younger, I remember someone in my church asking a question that has stuck in my heart through all those years.

“Who is your one?”

We need to have at least one person in our life who we are doing life with, leading them to the Lord we follow. There doesn’t have to be anything fancy or formal. Just an intentional relationship where Jesus is the center and purpose. We are all called to lead others to Christ and you can do just that without going across the ocean to a third world country. Get out a piece of paper and start writing down people who come to your mind. Is it a family member, a neighbor, coworker, the girl in your class, a fellow new-mom, a church friend?

Let me ask you, who is your one? Your two, your three? Are you spreading the love of Christ?

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:15b

You are loved

-Katie

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hot-Tea-And-The-Empty-Seat/481525375276865

 

Keeping Up with Katie // Grace Upon Grace

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{I am also linking up with She Who Fears for Grace upon Grace, a community of fellow believers seeking unity & Jesus! Here are more than 4 evidences of God’s great grace in my life lately! The link is at the bottom!}

Making | homemade coffee creamer. want the recipe?! comment below & let me know!
Cooking | fresh, homegrown veggies straight from my grandma’s garden back home. YUM!
Drinking | caramel vanilla hot coffee in the mornings & icing it in the hot afternoons!
Reading | Love Does by Bob Goff, Total Forgiveness by RT Kindall, & The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller
Wanting | time to slow down! Our one year anniversary is in 5 day. cue the box of Kleenex
Looking | at Penny sleeping on our couch with all 4 paws in the air
Playing | corn hole in our backyard, the perfect summer past-time
Deciding | what I will wear on our upcoming beach trip!
Wishing | I would get up & start P90X!
Enjoying | the past two days spent with my wonderful mom & brother. lots of shopping, laughing, & relaxing
Waiting | for my husband to get home from work
Liking | this amazing video – watch it now! it’s on the blog of one of my favorite speakers so check him & his wife out while you’re there!
Wondering | what the weather will be like in South Carolina?!
Loving | my sweet husband who is as great as it gets

 

Pondering | this season of life that God has blessed me with. It’s abundant with time to write, create, & serve my husband in our home.
Considering | what genuine faith in God really looks like
Watching | dawn of the planet of the apes…
Hoping |  to see rise of the planet of the apes with my hubs tonight
Marveling | at God’s faithfulness in my life. Take a moment to remember all that God has brought you through. It will create a renewed sense of gratefulness & thanksgiving in your heart.
Needing | to seriously stop being so lazy in my workout time. anyone have any good work out routines?!
Smelling | this morning’s breakfast
Wearing | the lovely Express white lace dress I totally snagged for $12! Express for $12! My, oh my.
Following | this lady – she inspires me to dream big & live even bigger!
Noticing | the sweet bird’s nest nestled in the corner of our front porch
Knowing | God has great plans for my husband and I !
Thinking | about Australia…
Admiring |  all turban headbands // this Etsy shop has some great ones!
Sorting | through my to-do list for the week!
Buying | must-haves for the beach! blog post on this to come!
Getting | excited to celebrate ONE YEAR with my amazing husband. whoa!
Bookmarking | this page of monogrammed baseball caps // maybe next summer
Disliking | that it’s already half way through JULY. summer, where did you go?
Opening | {excited to open} the anniversary gift from my hubs. it’s been sitting on the counter for a month tempting me!
Giggling | Mom’s Night Out movie. I could watch hilarious movie this over & over
Feeling | blessed beyond belief

 

This idea of keeping up with me came from Rachel’s “Keeping Stock” blog post over at Our Yellow Door!

Stay tuned for this week’s Wifey Wear Wednesday, our review over our Romans study on Thursday, & much more!!

You are loved

-Katie

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Summer Bible Study: Romans // Ch. 4

I truly hope that each one of you have been having a great week. Insert honesty here: This has been the most difficult week mentally speaking for me that I have had in months. The enemy of our souls has been on my back all week, y’all. I hope you haven’t gotten tired of the past couple of boasts being all about my mess & bad days. I just know that I could sit here and type about how everything in life is always going to be rainbows & butterflies but y’all, that’s just not truth. Thank God for His supernatural strength & GRACE. Can I get an amen?! Needless to say, I am so excited for the weekend to jump off tomorrow.

I look forward to this time with you all every week. I hope that you have been learning much but more than that, you feel closer to God. If you’re not there yet, please hear me out: WE NEED HIM. Desperately. Without Him, all is darkness. In fact, life just isn’t bright without His presence. He is light after all. I pray that as you read and study Romans with us, light will sneak into your heart a little more & more each day. He is good.

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Paul spends time in chapter four remembering men of great faith in God. Can you recall any beloved friends or family members who have left a great impact on your life for the cause of Christ? Do you know anyone who has great faith in God? God uses people with great faith in Him to encourage others. God wants you to have great faith in him! He wants to use you in ways both small and large to impact others!

Romans Chapter Four {verses 1-8}

What is this passage saying?

First up is Abraham. Paul used Abraham’s life and testimony to emphasize the great impact & significance of faith in God. Abe dude was a man of faith in a great God. Abraham was also a man who went through a lot of crazy circumstances. Sometimes, he failed and other times, he succeeded. Regardless of how many times he failed, he was still righteous in God’s eyes. Because Abraham had faith in GodFaith alone in God dubs you and I righteous. It is not by works like Jews believe.

I love verse five. “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.” Paul also reminds us of David’s words in Psalm 32, “blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”

How can I practically apply these truths to my life?

We are righteous, right with God, through faith in Him ALONE. It is not through how good we are or how many times we pray, help others out, or memorize scripture that we find our salvation. It is through faith alone. I believe that God wants us to write this on our hearts & mind since it has come up in scripture over these past four chapters. But there is more! I am reminded by the Holy Spirit that faith in God is just the start. Faith in Jesus Christ is the solid rock on which we stand. True faith in God is LIVING. God uses James to tell us that faith without works is dead. {James 2:26} Works are the natural by-product of faith. A genuine faith stirs the heart to glorify God through practical actions!*

Do you consider yourself a woman or man of faith in God? I encourage you to ask God to strength your faith in Him. He is faithful to answer that prayer!

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verses 9-12

What is this passage saying?

Paul writes a lot about circumcision. Honestly, I’ve never studied a lot about this topic & the reasons about why it was so important to ancient believers. Although it seems somewhat “old school”, I trust that God can still use it to speak Truth into our hearts. Do not be quick to look over certain things in the Bible if it looks impractical. I can promise you that God has purpose for everything! I do know that circumcision was a sign of the covenant between God and Israel in the Old Testament days; a religious ritual.

“Circumcision was a physical sign or seal of the covenant between God and His chosen nation (see Genesis 17) But God did not give Abraham this sign of the covenant until Abraham was 99 years old (Gen. 17:1-14) Many years prior to that time,  Abraham had responded to God in faith and received right standing before God. He was justified before he was circumcised. (Gen. 15:6)” This is from my NKJV study bible commentary. It is eloquently conveyed to us & easy to understand.

Paul reminds the readers of this specific letter to remember that their righteousness has nothing to do with outward deeds, appearance, or rituals. It’s a heart issue. It’s about faith.

I hope that you learned something new as I did today! Now, what can we do with this new truth?

How can I practically apply these truths to my life?

“circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.”

Today, if you have been saved by the blood of Jesus & have been born again through faith, you are “spiritually circumcised”. Christ’s holy spirit & presence replaces your sinful spirit & nature!

To better explain, let me send you over to Colossians 2. Paul explains how circumcision still spiritually applies to you today!

In Him, you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the circumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven all your trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”

Colossians 2:11-14 {bold, italics, ul mine}

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verses 13-25

What is this passage saying?

Paul recounts the story of Abraham and Sarah. A beautifully broken story of infertility, hope, hardship, & faith. You can read it all in Genesis 15 but I’ll sum it up in a few sentences: Abe & Sarah are married & old {like in their 90’s, old.) Sarah is way past her prime to be childbearing. But, God promised Abraham that he would have kids one day. Unfortunately, Sarah was a little impatient. Because she thought she would never be able to birth children for her husband, she told her beloved husband to sleep with their servant girl. Things start going downhill when Abraham agrees. Welcome to the world, little Ishmael. But what’s this? Sarah is pregnant! Just as God had promised.

Paul recounts this in Romans 4 yet leaves out all the dirty details. Why? Because Abraham had faith in God despite all that had happened & that’s all that matters. I believe that it represents God’s thoughts towards us. Despite our imperfection, He always honors & remembers our faith.

Paul tells us that those who trust and have faith in God are following in Abraham’s footsteps of true & genuine faith in a great God.

How can I practically apply these truths to my life?

How can we have faith in someone we hardly know? Get to know God by being in His Word and letting His Word penetrate your heart. Pray to him. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Spill your heart to Him. Thank Him. Praise Him. Ask Him questions. Each time you do, you draw closer to Him & He draws closer to you! {James 4:8}

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Next week, we will be studying chapter 5 AND 6! So, come read to study Romans chapters five AND six!

Meet me back here at this time next Thursday with your favorite treat, journal pages full of questions & remarks, and an open heart! See you then, friend!

YOU ARE LOVED!

-Katie

 

he makes me beautiful.

God cares so much about you. More than you will ever comprehend.

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I was having another bad-mood morning when I opened my bible in desperation to get out of this rut. The maroon marker was holding my spot in Psalms and I flipped there to soar back in time to David’s days. I love his honest and raw heart. Sometimes I can quiet my mind for a minute and worship with him as He declares the goodness of God and I can relate to his brokenness when he pleas with the King of kings to rescue him.

This morning as I was in my mess of self, I started to read Psalm 47. God sure knows how to make you smile, even when you don’t want to.

“Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples!

Shout to God with the voice of triumph!

For the Lord Most High is awesome;

He is a great King over all the earth.”

And that was only the first two verses! God can rejuvenate our souls if we are open and honest with Him about the mess we find ourselves in. Just four chapters earlier, David was pleading with God to deliver him from the hands of the enemy. His soul was downcast & he was in mourning. But not anymore. Whether it is straight up sin we find ourselves tangled in, a bad mood like I have been dealing with this week, or complete despair wondering where God is in our lives, Be real with Him and He will prove to be GOOD. And PRESENT. And FOR US.

This morning, as I was reading this chapter, I had Pandora humming in the background. I was just telling my Heavenly Father how much of a mess I am when I heard this..

“I am a sinner
If it’s not one thing it’s another
Caught up in words
Tangled in lies
You are the Savior
And you take brokenness aside
And make it beautiful
Beautiful”

God reminded me through the song “Brokenness Aside” by All Sons & Daughters that He takes my brokenness and makes it beauty. I am beautiful in His eyes. He understands and gets my mess but He never leaves me in it. In His presence, when I chose to lay aside my feelings and bask in His glory even for a minute, He transforms me into beauty. And in an instant, my bad mood can be lifted. Circumstances may not change for a while if ever, but God can change our heart so completely, that we end up being beautiful during our mess.

God cares about us. And He is ready & willing to turn our brokenness, our bad attitudes, selfish motives, fearful thoughts, insecurity, and all of our faults into beauty!

So, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph!

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Katie

Summer Bible Study: Romans // CHAPTER 3

It’s that time again!! Before we get started…

Hey friends! I feel as if I haven’t been able to catch a break this week. Father’s Day weekend, my mom was admitted into the hospital the day that both families were supposed to come to visit us and have a cookout for Joe’s birthday. Joe’s family was still able to come and visit which was great! Still, we ended up traveling back to our hometown on Father’s Day to see my mom & help with my family while she was sick. Thankfully, she is doing lots better & is back at home, continuing to heal! Praise God! Yesterday was my sweet husband’s birthday. I surprised him with tickets to the Atlanta Braves v. Phillies baseball game! It was a blast. It was such a relaxing and sweet time together. Unfortunately, I have let these things get in the way of my time studying Romans as much as I wanted to or normally do. But, I am trusting that in my weakness, God will work in a mighty way!

How has your bible study been? Creating time throughout the day to dig in? Have you been asking God to reveal Himself to you? He is so very faithful to reveal Himself to us when we read His Word because He yearns to be in intimate communion with His children! I encourage you to keep pressing on, keep praying, keep studying, keep seeking God.

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Let’s jump right in…

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{{Chapter Three}}  verses 1-4

What is this passage saying?

Paul starts out by explaining to his readers that the Jewish nation has special benefits {old testament times} like possessing the oracles of God. This privilege of old carries heavy responsibility to live a life pleasing to God. Paul encourages his readers right off the bat that even if someone doesn’t believe God’s words doesn’t cancel out the faithfulness of God. God is not dependent on man’s opinions. His words are always truth no matter what. This is encouraging yet challenging since our culture says that we can act & think however we think is right or correct.

How can I practically apply these truths to my life?

What culture doesn’t let us in on is that when we live in such a way that pleases us and us alone, it ultimately leads to destruction. “For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away…” This is from 1 John 2:15-17. BUT, John goes on to say that “he who does the will of God abides forever.” {17b} God has given us His Word for a reason. We are commanded to share His love, His truth, & His life with others. Is there someone in your life whether it be a family member, a friend, a neighbor, or a coworker who you can share this Truth with? Get in contact with them this week. Call them up, pray for them, and even plan a time to get together if that’s possible. All throughout scripture, the Jewish nation has been given faithfulness, grace, & special blessing. Today through Jesus, God gives, without measure, the same blessings. Share them with someone!

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verses 5-7

What is this passage saying?

At the end of verse 3, Paul states, “What then? If some did not believe, will their unbelief cancel God’s faithfulness?” I love that. No matter how unfaithful I am to God, He will never be unfaithful to me. It’s a grace-filled promise that I hold on to. We must be careful, though, not to take His faithfulness for granted. Like Paul goes on to explain through verse 8, we should never use our short comings as excuses. God’s truth will not increase through our lies or evil ways. {v.7-8}

How can I practically apply these truths to my life?

When we focus our words around Christ & His righteousness, we will stay away from such unfruitful speech. We must be intentional about speaking to others in love and in God’s truth.

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verses 9-26

What is this passage saying?

The law does not save. Paul tells us that both Jew and Greek are under sin. So, although the Jews had this special ordinances and laws from God, it wasn’t their salvation. No one in and of themselves is righteous. All have sinned. There is no fear of God before the eyes of those who live and thrive in sin. We know that we are guilty of sin because of the law of God. It reveals to us our sinfulness. There is only one way to be righteous. Righteous being blameless in the sight of God. And that is through the One who has been and always will be blameless, Jesus Christ the Son of God. Through faith in Him, we are deemed righteous. This pretty much rocked the Jewish people’s worlds. They were so used to striving to simply be good enough. Their reputation and outward appearance was squeaky clean but their heart, their soul was dead and dry.

Do not be discouraged. There is good news. Praise God that He doesn’t leave us in our sinfulness….

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a propitiation through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. God presented Him to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus.” {v.23-26}

How can I practically apply these truths to my life?

  If you can relate to the Jews who strive and strive and work and work hard as they can to please God but always fall short, let me encourage you to let go. Christ died to set you free from living a mechanical life simply going through the motions. If you haven’t asked God to cleanse you of your sin, do it now. “Then, go and sin no more” {John 8:11} It starts with giving yourself over to Jesus. Realize that you can look perfect and do everything by the book and even LOOK like a Christian yet be dead inside if you haven’t humbled yourself before the Lord and asked for forgiveness. God is faithful to forgive you of your sins. You don’t have to keep pretending. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” -1 John 1:9

If you follow Christ, be encouraged to push even deeper into your relationship with God. You can never be too close to Him. This walk with Christ isn’t about only doing good deeds. If we spend all of our days doing good deeds yet neglect our relationship, we are missing out on fellowship with our Father. Take some time out of each day to simply sit in silence in the presence of God. His Word says that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. {James 4:8} So often we take on the “Martha” role in life, hurrying through our busy days even doing good yet forget to take time to be like Mary and sit at the feet of Jesus, listening intently to every life-giving word. It’s not about works, it’s about faith in Jesus.

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verses 27-31

What is this passage saying?

 Paul is no dummy when it comes to works and righteousness. He knows all too well that when we, mankind, focus on what WE DO– we get a big head. We boast in how well we do things. We boast in how smart we are or righteous we are. We forget that all wisdom and every good gift is from God.

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” {v.28} Justified means to be in right standing with God. This standing can never be earned. It is a free gift from God. {Romans 6:23}

It is through faith in Jesus Christ alone that you are right before God. That goes for every Jew, every Gentile, every Greek, every American, every human on earth.

How can I practically apply this to my life?

Take some time right now to thank God for The Way to Him. That is, Jesus and faith in Him. The cross. I think about the way my life used to be before I accepted Jesus and starting walking with Him in faith. Back then, at times, I was trying my hardest to work my way into heaven. I was living like the law could make me righteous. I was dead inside. I was working to please God and I would fail every. single time. At other times, I was living so selfishly for myself, indulging in whatever I thought was right and whatever felt good to me. I thank God that in His unconditional love & grace for me, He saved me.

He stretched out His hand and in faith, I took hold of it. In faith, I believe that Jesus Christ was the one and only perfect sacrifice needed to please God, to look over my sin–to take it away! In faith, I walk with Him daily. In faith, I believe that He has a plan for me. In faith, I trust that whatever we walk through, His hand will never slip away. In faith, I wait. I wait for the day that my faith will be my sight!

He is faithful. You can trust Him.

Whattya say?

His hand is stretched out for you!

How did God speak to you while reading chapter three? I want to hear what you are learning!

-Katie