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A Better Hope Rather Than A Better Life

“The former arrangement of doing good to secure God’s blessings has been replaced by a new arrangement. The Law of Liberty has been established as the way to a better hope rather than a better life. That better hope is intimacy with God. In any circumstance, in any condition, we can draw near to God, and from Him draw our identity, find the strength to persevere, and experience the joy of anticipation, with an occasional taste of what’s coming.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, The Pressure’s Off, Page 27

Questions for Reflection:
• As you consider your current set of circumstances and honestly ponder your heart regarding them, what is the promise of intimacy with God, at this moment, offering you?
• What changes take place within you as you ponder the invitation to draw near to God in this present moment?
• Is there anything you realize that you can let go of attempting to manage or figure out since God really is with you?

The Spiritual Journey Is Rooted In Liberty

“The secular journey is rooted in linearity, the bondage of control: do this and that will happen. That’s how things work. You can have the life you want if you live wisely and well.

The spiritual journey is rooted in liberty, the freedom of grace: Come as you are, trembling, and learn to rest. Then go out into life doing what’s right because you’re privileged to do so, because you want to be holy, not because doing right is the way to a pleasant life. Life may provide rich blessings. Or it may not. Either way you can know God.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, The Pressure’s Off, Page 26

Questions for Reflection:
• Does the realization that you can know God, regardless of whether things are going well in your life or are currently very challenging, bring you hope, or do you find yourself seeking a way to use God to improve your circumstances?
• Are you embracing the peace of God that is available to those who rest in Him or are you waiting for your circumstances to change in order to live with contentment?
• Take some time today to come as you are before the Lord, and ask Him to stir in your heart a hope that is rooted in His character above all else.

The Greatest Need In Modern Civilization

“The crisis of care in modern culture, especially in the Western church, will not be resolved by training more therapists….It will be worsened by moralists who never reach deeply into the hearts of people in their efforts to impose their standards of behavior on others, even when those standards are biblical.

The greatest need in modern civilization is the development of communities—true communities where the heart of God is home, where the humble and wise learn to shepherd those on the path behind them, where trusting strugglers lock arms with others as together they journey on.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Connecting, Introduction pg xvi-xvii

Questions for Reflection:
• What would community look like for a group of people who are convinced that “the heart of God is home”?
• In your sphere of relationships, with whom has God given you the opportunity to “lock arms” and to companion on a journey marked by humility and wisdom?

An Invitation To Life

“I am for you. My Son is with you. My Spirit is in you. Never forget that as you hear My instructions. My instructions are always an invitation to life:

Fight the good fight now. Enjoy the good life forever.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, 66 Love Letters, Page 297

Questions for Reflection:
• Is there anything God’s been saying to you lately that you’ve been resisting?
• If His instructions are always an invitation to life, what is your opposition to His instruction costing you and those around you?
• Take some time in God’s presence to confess your unwillingness to trust Him and ask Him to give you His eternal perspective regarding the area you’ve been resisting.

Entitlement Or Truth?

“Live for your relational comfort, and your joy will be shallow and temporary.  It will not free you to love.  Live to know the truth of My story of forgiving love, and you will be deeply unsettled by how profoundly you need forgiveness.  You will then suffer the slow death of your entitled demand that you be treated well.  But you will discover, slowly but surely, the power of My ongoing forgiveness and Presence to change you into a person who loves.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, 66 Love Letters, Page 252

Questions for Reflection:
• Take some time to consider what “your entitled demand that you be treated well” has cost your relationships with God and others.
• What desires for change are awakened in you as you ponder the intersection of God’s forgiving love and the impact of your own selfishness?
• Confess to God your need for grace and ask Him to guide you into a deeper intimacy with Himself.

The Impulses That Energized Jesus’ Life Are In Us!

“When God forgives us for violating his design, he pours his life into us; and that restores our capacity to connect, first with him, then with others. He makes us alive with the actual life of Christ. The energy with which Jesus heard and obeyed the Father, the impulses that lay behind everything he did – his tenderness with the lame man, his indignation with the moneychangers, his patience with Philip, his red-hot scorn of the Pharisees, his love for children, his resolve to endure injustice without complaint – are in us. The impulses that energized Jesus’ life on earth are actually in us. That’s part of what it means to be alive in Christ.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Connecting, Page 36

Questions for Reflection:
• When you consider the reality that, as a believer, you are “alive in Christ,” what comes to mind – going to heaven when you die, being a child of God, having access to God through prayer, etc?
• In what ways does being “alive in Christ” have the potential to impact the way that you engage others?
• Ask the Holy Spirit to deepen your understanding of what it means to live as one alive with the very life of Jesus today.

I Trust God’s Work In You

“Admonishment to do right becomes ugly pressure when it is not preceded and liberally accompanied by an attitude that says, ‘I cannot make you do anything.  But I believe there is something in you that wants to do right.  I believe in that life within you.  I trust God’s work in you.  And more than anything else, I want you to enjoy a taste of God’s gracious, loving heart in your relationship with me.'”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Connecting, Page 33

Questions for Reflection:
• Think of a time when you’ve attempted to control another in the name of right.
• What was really motivating the pressure you were exerting?
• How might an unselfish love have instead invited needed change with strength, passion and without compromise?
• Take some time to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart and to lead you into repentance and reconciliation as needed, celebrating His grace.

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