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Joy That Nothing Else Can Bring

“My Son has set you free to love, to believe I am good and that the good story I am telling is unfolding under His control. Faith in Me and hope for tomorrow frees you to love today. And loving with divine power releases a kind of joy into your soul that nothing else can bring.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, 66 Love Letters, Page 259

Questions for Reflection:
• What sources of comfort or satisfaction do you typically pursue when life is hard and relationships are tense?
• Does that source of comfort or satisfaction strengthen or undermine your opportunity to live in God’s story in a way that brings Him joy?
• How would you like to express your love for Jesus today, amid the challenges you face and the relationships that are wearying?

LAST MINUTE

1) LAST MINUTE June 15-22 School of Spiritual Direction openings and financial aid are now available!! Our June SSD has a few openings due to some student schedule changes. Please join us next month in Colorado Springs for what many have said is a ‘life changing’ week.  For more details or to register please click here.

‘SSD was discovering that I could swim…new thoughts about relationship with God and others, new ways to relate in deep and authentic ways, new challenges to get closer to God and put on the mind of Christ!  NextStep was being thrown into the pool and actually swimming!  Without a doubt, the most Spirit-filled and empowering week of training I’ve ever experienced!’ Dub A.

2) The NextStep School of Spiritual Direction to be held Nov. 10-17, 2015 is officially open to all SSD alumni for registration. Please click here for more details or to register.

Hope our paths cross,

Andi
Director of Operations and Conferences

What Will Work To Make Things Better?

“When things go wrong in your life, or when you fear they might, you’ll be tempted to sacrifice ethics for pragmatism. You’ll hear your heart asking, what will work to make things better? You’ll not as clearly hear yourself asking, what is holy in this situation that will please the Lord?”

Dr. Larry Crabb, 66 Love Letters, Pages 37-38

Questions for Reflection:
• In what ways are you currently more focused on making a difficult situation better by asking God what to do, rather than seeking to draw near to God and give Him pleasure?
• How are you protecting yourself, rather than loving others authentically, out of fear of what actively loving others might cost you?
• In pursuing your own safety as more primary than seeking to reveal God’s glory by loving others well, what invitation to fellowship with Jesus might you be missing?
• Take some time to ponder the reality that God’s call to obedience is a call to our greatest joy ,and ask Him for a vision of the opportunities for deeper intimacy that He’s already giving you.

Authenticity or Vulnerability?

“Define vulnerability as making something known to another with a spirit of entitlement that obligates the other to respond well to your concerns. Define authenticity as making something known to another that reveals where you are on your journey toward Christ-likeness and invites (neither expects nor demands) another to walk together with you toward a mutual goal of maturity. With those definitions in mind, pursue authenticity, not vulnerability, in what you choose to share.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Encouragement, Page 51

Questions for Reflection:
• Think of interactions you’ve experienced that left you feeling pressured to respond to another person’s demands (spoken or unspoken).
• Can you recall people who, without demanding that you meet their own needs, have shared their own struggles very openly with you in ways that invited you to walk more deeply with Christ?
• As you consider recent conversations in which you have shared your struggles with others, was vulnerability or authenticity the primary motive behind what you shared?

Speaking Hard Words

“Never speak hard words to someone unless your love for that person has formed a vision for who that person could become, a vision that generates tender feelings for the other.  And never speak hard words if you discern that you are demanding a change in another for your sake.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Encouragement, Page 51

Questions for Reflection:
• Is there someone in your life to whom you may feel the need to speak strong words?
• Have you taken time to allow the Lord to sift your heart of anger or other hidden motives that pursue your own agenda, instead of God’s?
• What life and freedom would you love to see God create in the life of that person?
• Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your conversations, whether comforting or painful, so that you can offer an invitation for the other to move more deeply into the likeness of Jesus.

A Fear Of The Wrong God

“…Only when I am freed from the fear of losing a relationship will my motivation approach the reality of love….Notice the paradox: To love people, I must be willing to lose my relationship with them. Dependently holding onto anyone or anything but God is, in its final form, idolatry. Idolatry is at root a fear of the wrong god.””

Dr. Larry Crabb, Encouragement, Page 92

Questions for Reflection:
• To whom have you been clinging out of fear or need, instead of enjoying as a gift?
• What are you seeking from them that you don’t trust God to provide?
• Ask the Lord to show you the impact your use of others has had on them.
• How might your relationships change if you depended on God and simply enjoyed those He has placed in your life as gifts?

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.

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