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Nothing Takes Me By Surprise

“I’m a romantic. I have a plan. But I’m also a realist. The plan unfolds slowly and not without what seems to you to be irreparable glitches. But know this: nothing takes Me by surprise, and nothing can stand for long in the way of My plan.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, 66 Love Letters, Page 242

Questions for Reflection:
• What situations in your life right now seem to be “irreparable glitches,” either due to your own failures or challenges in your circumstances or the impact of another’s decisions?
• In light of the reality that God is not caught by surprise regarding the difficulties you’re facing, what hope is available to you?
• Take time to invite God into your current situation, and ask Him to open your eyes to the opportunities He is giving you to know and reveal Him in your present circumstances.

He’ll Change Us Completely

“I want to be part of a group of Christians who pretend about nothing, who are painfully honest and realistic, authentic with at least one other person about all that happens in them as they follow Christ….In the church I want to be part of, I will swap personal stories with men and women who are grateful and broken, filled with longing and hope. They will know that formation takes a lifetime, that Jesus meant it when He said, ‘Be perfect!’ and that by His Spirit, He will move us in that directions as far as He can until, in one final moment, He’ll change us completely and then go on delighting us more, endlessly.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Real Church, Page 139

Questions for Reflection:
• In what ways are you pretending, rather than offering authenticity to others?
• What do you fear most about being honest and facing reality in your own life and in your relationships with others?
• How might you instead see facing those fears as God’s invitation for you to know Him more intimately and to offer Him to others more powerfully?
• Are you willing to rest in Him, accepting the reality that being changed into Jesus’ likeness takes a lifetime?

Calling all WOMEN!!

Join Rachael Crabb on Thursday, April 23, 2015 for a women’s event in Asheville, NC at the Billy Graham Training Center titled Listen In: Building Faith and Friendship Through Conversations That Matter.

The Bible says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21, NASB). Did you know God can use your conversations to change lives through the power of Scripture and spiritual community? Deep faith requires rich friendship and rich friendship requires conversations that matter. Come find what it looks like for one person to journey into another’s soul. Gain the courage to be relationally intimate and the wisdom to know what it means to put Jesus on display by how you relate, no matter the cost.

Based on Rachael’s recently released book Listen In (co-authored by Sonya Reeder and Diana Calvin). To Register or additional information, go here.

Emptying Our Lives Into The Lives Of Others

“Godly character requires knowing God firsthand. The route to knowing God eventually passes directly through the valley of profound loneliness. It is in the times when there is no one but God that we learn to know Him most fully. Those times – those moments of utter aloneness – come only from emptying our lives into the lives of others.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Encouragement, Page 69

Questions for Reflection:
• Take a moment to consider recent relational interactions.
• In what ways do you see yourself grasping for others to fill your emptiness?
• How might God be giving you an opportunity in your own loneliness to know Him more deeply by revealing His heart to others?

Will We Find God?

“We will not find God by detaching ourselves from the ugly, painful realities of the world around us or within us. When we refuse to own all that is happening in our lives, when we never ‘tell our stories’ to one another, our pursuit of God is reduced to an organized set of activities energized only by the proud passion of discipline.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Finding God, Pages 161-162

Questions for Reflection:
• In what ways have you been avoiding rather than engaging the pain in your own heart or in the lives of others lately?
• What do you fear might happen if you stopped trying to manage your brokenness or that of another?
• Take some time today to sit quietly before the Lord and tell Him your heart’s true story, where you are at this moment.
• Invite Him to meet you where you are now, not where you wish you were, and ask Him to give you a clearer vision of Who He is.

Only Holiness Brings Joy

“Know this: holiness and only holiness brings joy. No problem in your life, whether difficult problems such as disadvantages and loss or agreeable problems such as wealth, can stop My plan. Faith and hope together release love. And love is holiness….no matter how dark the world around you, no matter how difficult the world inside you, My plan overcomes all obstacles to holiness.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, 66 Love Letters, Page 36

Questions for Reflection:
• What disadvantages in your circumstances (a dead-end job, an abusive childhood, academic struggles, racism) have seemed more important to overcome than the battle with self-centeredness in your own heart?
• What shattered dreams have brought such overwhelming pain into your life that it’s difficult to trust God’s goodness and yield to His work to make you like Jesus?
• What material or relational blessings do you enjoy make it easy for you to give with a non-sacrificial generosity that can disguise devotion to your own self-interest?
• Where are you turning a blind eye to others’s needs, needs that would take you beyond your comfort zone, should you choose to respond relationally?

The Happy Ending Is Only For The Holy

“My plan has a happy ending, a wonderful finale far better than you can imagine, but the happy ending is only for the holy. I am committed to your holiness at any cost to Me, required by My nature, and at any cost to you, required by yours, and on whatever timetable is necessary.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, 66 Love Letters, Page 34

Questions for Reflection:
• In what areas of your life are you experiencing conflict that reveals your commitment to self-interest above loving as self-sacrificially as Jesus does?
• Do you sense the Spirit of God exposing self-protection that you have justified to yourself and which is a quiet refusal to surrender to dependence on Him?
• In what ways has your current challenge stirred anger or despair, revealing the idols of your heart?
• Do you believe that God truly is always at work for your greatest joy?
What would repentance that embraces His joy look like today?

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