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Understanding The Nature of True Love

“No one understands the nature of true love without feeling the agony of betrayal and the hatred it releases.  Only then will the true nature of love reveal itself beneath the hurt and anger.  Real love, the only kind capable of building enduringly rich relationships among fallen people, draws its passion from the character of the one who loves, not the one loved.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, 66 Love Letters, Page 140-141

Questions for Reflection:

• What opportunities for growing in love might be present amid pain you’re experiencing because of another’s failure?
• Ponder the love of God expressed to us through the cross.   If your love for another is not based on the other’s character but on the life of Christ at work within you, what kind of holy passion do you long to offer the one who has injured you?

It Causes Great Delight!

“Spiritual friends see a facet of Christ in us and bring it out as no one else can….When they see what is unique about us, it causes them great delight; and then, giving way to the powers of daring imagination, they envision what we could become. The vision excites them – with Paul, they see us where we are and feel pains of labor till Christ is formed in us (Gal. 4:19).”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Becoming a True Spiritual Community, Page 172

Questions for Reflection:
• What role has a vision for God’s glory played in your conversations today?
• How might you delight in the Spirit’s work in the life of a friend who is still struggling deeply?

To Trust, Or Not To Trust

“The change I bring about comes slowly. The more you attempt to hold on to your confidence in the goodness of the story I am telling while at the same time acknowledging all that is bewildering and maddening and shatteringly disappointing in this life, the more you will be confronted with the ongoing moment of decision, to trust or not to trust. Only in dark nights will hope burn bright enough to sustain your faith and release your love.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, 66 Love Letters, Page 247

Questions for Reflection:
• What “ongoing moment of decision, to trust or not to trust” are you facing today?
• If God is ultimately telling a good story, how does that reality impact your decisions in the hard parts of today’s chapter?

Teeming With Passionate Desires For Fullness

“I do not believe that we hear Papa’s voice until we discover an empty, desolate void within us that is teeming with passionate desires for fullness. Until we cut through all the legitimate happiness and pleasure in our lives, until we look beneath every sorrow and heartache that comes from living in this world, and until we enter the deepest space in our hearts that is painfully, horribly empty, we will not discover the beautiful sound of our Father’s voice. At least not as clearly as we want to.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, The PAPA Prayer, Page 144-145

Questions for Reflection:
• What pleasure or sorrow is distracting your attention currently from feeling the depth of your hunger for God Himself?
• Take some time today to sit with God and offer to Him all that you are, to enter that deepest place of emptiness before Him and to wait to hear His voice.

Jesus Revealed His Highest Dream

“Jesus revealed His highest dream for all His followers when in prayer He defined the true abundant life in these words: ‘that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.’ (John 17:3)

The exact center of Christianity is the opportunity it provides to enjoy God, to be more satisfied with Him than with anyone or anything else.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Shattered Dreams, Page 174

Questions for Reflection:
• How have you been defining “abundant life”?
• What might change if you instead embrace the truth that enjoying God above all else is abundant life?

Where Are You Looking For Evidence Of God’s Goodness?

“If you look for evidence of my goodness in what you see around you and inside you, you will reach a terribly wrong conclusion. You will conclude that sometimes I am good and sometimes I am not. But if you look for evidence of my goodness in the way things will be one day, if you are willing to believe that I am at work now to prepare for that day, and if you ponder the meaning of my death, then you will realize that all the badness in the world…can no more conquer my goodness than a child can outwrestle a man.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Finding God, Page 189

Questions for Reflection:
• In what ways have current or past struggles distorted your view of God’s goodness?
• How does pondering Christ’s death impact the way you experience the challenges you are facing today?
• Take some time to consider the eternal hope that is ours in Christ. What promises anchor your soul as you wait for the day when He has made all things new?

Looking After Ourselves

“Because we live with imperfect people, we assume that total trust would equal suicide.  Devoting priority energy to looking after ourselves seems necessary and, therefore, moral.  Our sinful commitment to looking after ourselves is always a more serious problem than the wounds we suffer at the hands of others.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Understanding Who You Are, Page 10

Questions for Reflection:

• Do you agree that devoting priority energy to looking after yourself is a more serious problem than the wounds you suffer at the hands of others?

• How does following Jesus both collide with your self-protection and provide hope for transformation?

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