Our Sunday night small group is reading through Thom Rainer’s newest book, “I Will.” Tonight’s chapter focused on small groups and the importance of being in a small group. He says that if we are not involved in a small group we are just marginal church members. Since we have been active church members we have always participated in Sunday school which qualifies as a small group according to Mr. Rainer, but I have always longed for the relationships that are built from a smaller group of people that meet regularly outside of church. Our church building is great but to me it can be a bit sterile as opposed to the warmness of someone’s home.
Part of our discussion was about why people don’t want to meet in homes anymore. Have we lost our sense of hospitality? Is the church building a safer place to meet? Is there something about being in someone’s home that causes people to think that they must let down their guard and be real?
I will be the first to admit that I have to really trust someone before I will open up and share what’s on my heart. It can be scary to think that you might open yourself up to someone who may not understand your situation, judge you, or worse shatter your trust by sharing information with others.
Regardless of where we choose to meet, does the chance that someone might hurt you override the chance that you might develop a relationship that brings you joy, someone who will pray for you, hold you accountable and stick with you for a lifetime?
I think we need to give ourselves grace and those we seek to develop a lasting relationship with grace to take that chance to be real.
I was listening to thepointedlife.com this week on Periscope and she made a comment that really hit home with me. “Be the spotlight, not in the spotlight.” For many years I have based my worth on good works, my accomplishments and what I can do in my strength. This is what Christine Hoover calls the goodness gospel. But God is working on my heart and slowly teaching me that I only need to be a spotlight for Him. It’s not about me, but about glorifying Him in how I live my life, how I relate to others and others see Jesus through me.
Today is what shereadstruth.com calls a grace day. I am sure I will have a couple of these over the course of the month. I’m going to be ok with that.
I am in a season of my life where I am not sure where I fit in. Sometimes I wonder if God is making life uncomfortable because He wants something different from me. I don’t know.
I have really struggled with where He wants me to be right now…where I can make a difference. I have shared previously that I heard Him loud and clear tell me what He didn’t want me to do in some areas. But I hadn’t heard anything about my job outside the home. We have gone through a pretty major reorganization and it hit me today that I don’t know where I fit in anymore here either. I have worked at the same place for 25 years and the last 13 in the same position and I’ve always felt like I made a difference. The change has been hard and today was probably the worst. I don’t feel like I am making a difference, just really going through the motions.
So what do you do when don’t feel like you are making a difference? Is it God showing me that it’s time to move on or is He trying to humble me to take the focus off of me? Is my unhappiness a result of self-focus? Am I really glorifying God in all I do?
I’ll keep praying and asking for His wisdom and guidance as I seek to give Him glory in whatever I do and I know He will continue to cover me in His grace.
“When the mask of self-righteousness has been torn from us and we stand stripped of all our accustomed defenses, we are candidates for God’s generous grace.” -Erwin W. Lutzer
Today my oldest son is 19. I am not sure where the time has gone. He graduated from high school in the spring and started college in August. I remember vividly bringing him home from the hospital and all the newness of being a first time mom…no sleep, putting him in the swing in the middle of the night just so I could close my eyes for a minute. I remember thinking that if I could just get through that season everything else would be a breeze. Then he became a teenager and worse than that a driving teenager. I went from a physical tiredness to a mental tiredness. I worried (and still do sometimes) when he is behind the wheel. Praying that he will make good decisions and most importantly that he will love Jesus and make Him first in his life.
There are so many things I didn’t do right as a mom. But then I remember God’s grace that covered me over the times of heartache and over the times I just knew I was messing him up for life. As a mom, I can’t fathom that God loves him more than I do. But I trust His Word and I have faith that He does indeed love him to the moon and back.
I am a perfectionist and anything worth doing is worth doing with excellence. Good is just not good enough. And I would expect others to have my same work ethic and I just couldn’t understand why they didn’t. To be honest, I had been establishing my worth on what I accomplished. Based on my schedule a few months ago (and the last 10 years) my worth was off the charts! Not really.
God is teaching me that my worth is not based on what I do but who I am. When I take on tasks that He hasn’t assigned to me, well, I’m just miserable. I’m pretty hardheaded and it has taken a long time for Him to get through to me. But His grace proves true everyday and for that I am thankful.
“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6 ESV
Who doesn’t like to get gifts? Gifts let us know that people care about us, whether it’s Christmas or a birthday or maybe an anniversary. It makes us feel special and loved. We didn’t have to do anything to receive those gifts. We accept them with no questions asked.
What if we accepted the free gift of salvation from God? For those of us who are saved, we know that the gift is free, but do we live like it? Do we continue to try to earn God’s love and grace through our good works? Sometimes our good works can become idols. We might be looking for recognition and approval from others. We might want others to think we are important. But when we do this we are putting the glory on ourselves and not God.
God saves us by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Nothing we do can save us. God designed it that way so He would receive all the glory, not us. Let everything we do be for the glory of God.
I had decided to choose “intentional” as my topic for this challenge because it is the word God laid on my heart for 2015 via the One Word 365 challenge. But on Thursday morning, God changed the topic to grace. I didn’t know why at the time and I may not even completely understand by the end of October but I will take any confirmation He gives me.
That first confirmation came on Friday. I was able to attend the Extraordinary Women’s Conference this weekend in Roanoke. There’s something about being in a coliseum with 10,000 women all there to praise, worship and learn. To hear all these women singing praise & worship songs together brings me joy.
I bought my ticket in February and really hadn’t given much thought to who the speakers were. I knew Angie Smith would be there but I didn’t check the schedule until I looked at the program Friday night. It wasn’t until after the first three worship songs, which were all about grace, did I realize that the theme of this weekend was “Amazing Grace.” All of the speakers touched on grace but Angie Smith’s talk really struck a chord. She taught on Acts 3:1-10 about the lame beggar who sat at the gate Beautiful everyday begging for alms. Peter and John pass him one day and he asks them for alms. Peter tells him that he doesn’t have alms but that he can give him healing through Jesus Christ and the beggar is healed.
She shared how we ask the Lord to get us through the circumstances or outcomes of whatever holds us in chains, but we don’t ask Him to deliver us from the bondage. She used the example of her fear of flying. She said she prays on take off that God will just get the plane above the clouds. And on landing, she prays that God will just get the plane below the clouds when she should be praying that God will deliver her from the fear she holds onto.
God showed us how much grace He has for us by sending His Son to die on a cross for our sins. He has delivered us from the pits of hell if we choose to believe and follow Jesus. There is nothing He can’t deliver us from if we choose to believe.
In her words, grace makes no sense…we don’t deserve it but oh to have the faith to know that God, our Father can deliver us from anything if only we ask.
And just because she’s so stinking cute I will share this…