|I just wanted to share how God blessed me today. We finished up the Beth Moore Bible study, Living Beyond Yourself, and ended it with a pot luck soup and salad lunch. During this time we were allowed to share what God has done in our lives during the study. I pointed out that this group of women has been an incredible source of spiritual blessings for me. When I walked through those doors three years ago I was still a mess, hating God and struggling with a lot of questions. Between them and Pastor Don, I began to learn what it meant to be loved by God, and to walk in faith. Beth Moore studies are a great catalyst to growth. One of the women got up and started crying, for she remembered when I first came to the group, and what a testimony it was that God had done so much in my life. God really gets the glory, for He truly did what His word says, to restore what the locusts ate. But I have also seen a tremendous work of God in all of the women that are in this group. We do not meet over the hard part of winter for snow days would make schedules impossible, so in March we will be doing the Daniel study. I cannot wait.
What is neat about this group of women is they are from several area churches and different denominations. This adds such a blessing to our groups, for the perspectives they bring add depth to the discussions. How wonderful that there isn’t division, just a love of God in the group.
I finished reading the Jarrett Stevens book, “The Deity Formerly Known As God.”
The second half starts describing God as He is, not as we perceive Him with our baggage from the Past.
The first has to do with the Parable that Jesus spoke about the neighbor who needed bread for his guests and knocked on the neighbor’s door until the neighbor came and gave him bread. That God is this “Late-Night Neighbor”, every ready to help us when we call upon Him.
pp 102 “To know this God is to know that he is good. He is incomprehensibly good. Good beyond reason. Good beyond measure. Good beyond words. Good beyond what we deserve. And yet, maybe, for you, embracing the goodness of God proves to be more difficult than accepting the reality of the very existence of God”
P. 102 “A God who may not always give us what we want, but who will always give us what we need.”
I had problems years ago with statements like the last one, because I would ask, who needs abuse, who needs pain and suffering….It took me a long time to realize that it wasn’t God who did those things to me, but our enemy who was seeking to drive a wedge between me and God and used pain and suffering to do it. God does not want that for us, and He is there with us in the midst of it. And He will take it and turn it around into something that is good, but we have to give Him a chance to do that.
p. 103 “Because of who he is. Because of His great love. Because of what He has done. Because of what He promised He will do. Because of what the Bible tells us to be true. Because of all of this, you can come…even at midnight… and ask.”
Then Stevens mentions “The Lord of the Boardroom” He talks about the Trump reality show, and how the people worked themselves to gain acceptance and approval. And how we sometimes come to God figuring that we have to do enough, be enough, and then He will accept us, not fire us. And that in reality, He accepts us just as we are, as we were, and as we will be. He loves us, not for what we do, but because of who He is. p. 116 “This is the moral of our story, that in a world filled with pain and fear and confusion, there is a God who is more good, more generous, and more full of grace than we could possible imagine. And as wildly as he offers himself to us, so should we offer ourselves to him, no longer living in the risk-free distance of all our assumptions., but up close and personal, so we can see just how good and generous this King truly is.
Then the “Green-thumbed Gardener”, who started out His gardening planting Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. This relates to the parable of Jesus, I am the vine, ye are the branches, and the Father is the gardener who prunes the dead branches off so that the vine bears much fruit. Stevens mentions that God cannot garden at a distance, it is totally hands-on.
P. 125 “Our job couldn’t be any simpler; All we have to do is stay. It’s amazing how I struggle and strive and stray when all I’ve ever been asked to do is stay. The promise is clear–stay with me, connect to me, drawing your life from me, and you will not only grow, but you will bear fruit. You are supposed to bear fruit. You were created to grow and bear fruit. You have something of worth and wonder to give to this world. You are not supposed to be the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow—that’s God’s job. Your job is to grow and give yourself the life that has been given to you.”
P 125-126 “Connectedness starves our selfishness. Our self will and determination will always believe that we are better on our own, away from the confines of the garden, free from the hand of the gardener. Our self-centeredness will always convince us that it is all about us. Instead of offering the fruit of our lies to the world, we will take whatever we think we need from whomever we think we can get it. Left to ourselves, we will break off from the vine, inch away from the gardener, and go outside the garden…where we will die.”
This is very poignant and true. When I think of how I thought that it was all about me, that I was god, that I was in control of my universe, and in reality I was slowly dying and spiritually dry. How glad I am that God pursued me.
I am going to save the best chapter for tomorrow, the shepherd. Just thinking about Jesus, our Shepherd brings tears to my eyes.
Hoping you have a blessed day.
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