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Labeling Each Other

“Labeling each other makes the shine of the silver hard to see. It directs attention to the tarnish. Labels encourage us to believe that our problems define us. Of course our problems are never pretty. So we either use them to manipulate people into taking care of us or we hide who we mistakenly think we are.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, The Safest Place on Earth, “It Takes an Armando”
Page 34

Questions for Reflection:
• Who have you labeled so that you can avoid loving them?
• Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see that person as He does, to repent as needed, to forgive as needed, to confront if appropriate, and to love in whatever way best releases His truth and grace into the life of the one you’ve wanted to avoid.
• Is there anyone whom you’ve manipulated or with whom you’ve been dishonest that the Holy Spirit is prompting you to repent to?

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Like Tarnish On Silver

“We are not our problems. We are not our wounds. We are not our sins. We are persons of radical worth and unrevealed beauty. If we face ourselves fully, we will be broken by what we see, by the selfishness and fear and rage and lust that cover our spiritual beauty like tarnish on silver. But the silver is there. Something brilliant and intact gleams through the stain of our brokenness.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, The Safest Place on Earth, “It Takes an Armando” Page 34

Questions for Reflection:
• Do you see a connection between our resistance to facing ourselves honestly and our preoccupation with our problems, pain and sin?
• Since Jesus, Who knows the truth of our hearts, has promised rest for those who come to Him, what hope are we being offered in His invitation to come honestly into His presence?
• Ask the Holy Spirit to give you eyes to see all that He has created you for and called you to so that neither your struggles, nor your potential, but rather His life poured out through you is your focus today.

Where Souls Connect And Are Forever Changed

“There are many paths through life, some well-traveled, some that attract only a few pilgrims, but there is only one that leads to true community, to the safest place on earth where souls connect and are forever changed.

We’re told to think hard about that path and where it takes us.”

The Safest Place on Earth, “Let’s Turn the Chairs” Page XV

Questions for Reflection:
• As this new year begins, what do you see as the primary blocks in your life to spiritual community and deep connection?
• How much consideration do you give to the nature of the path that leads to true community?
• Are there any changes you find yourself wanting to make to nurture deeper spiritual relationships?

The More Clearly You See Christ

“Because of My Son, no failure of yours can block My plan for your life. But you must see My Son so clearly, so up close and personally, that you realize that He is worthy of your losing everything you value in order to know Him, to serve Him. The more clearly you see Christ, the more willing you will be to suffer any loss for His sake. Kingdom living consists of radical servanthood (the end of entitlement to personal comfort) and self-denying suffering with the hope of joy forever.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, 66 Love Letters, “Love Letter Forty-One: Mark,” Page 214-15

Questions for Reflection:
• As 2017 draws to a close, what failures are you tempted to believe have undermined God’s plan for your life?
• Take some time to confess this to God, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you a vision for what He desires to do in and through you as you begin 2018.
• How would your life change during this coming year if your primary focus is to draw near to God in everything and to view all of life as a means to know Him more deeply and to reveal Him to others more selflessly?

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

“God’s glory, advancing the kingdom, future hope, gospel love, biblical truth, other people’s well-being, less suffering in the world – they’re all facets of one brilliant diamond: the revelation of God by the Spirit of Jesus. And that revelation is a story, the greatest love story ever told, the story every self-aware heart longs to hear.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Real Church, Page 124 (Chapter 20)

Questions for Reflection:
• As Christmas approaches, how will you prepare your heart and guard your time so that your focus is on seeing the revelation of God through Jesus and hearing His story?

Pleasing Me Will Bring You Great Joy

“A plan is unfolding that you cannot clearly see. If you could see it as I do, you would still hurt, but you would not lose hope. You would gladly remain faithful to Me in the middle of the worst suffering. I guarantee you the power to please Me, not to have a good time. But pleasing Me will bring you great joy.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Shattered Dreams, “Jesus Speaks,” Page 43

Questions for Reflection:
• During this season of Advent, consider the lives of those living under Roman conquest in the months before Jesus was born.
• How might their perspective on their joys and heartaches have been impacted had they known the redemption that God was working through His Son?
• Since we have the same promise that God is weaving redemption in our current joys and struggles, take some time today to open your heart to the Spirit’s work and the hope that His plan is moving forward, for good.

See My Son

“My Son is the only human being who was with Me before He was born. He came to reveal all that He knew of Me that you could absorb or imagine. He came to ‘exegete’ Me – that’s the word in John 1:18 translated ‘made him known.’ It means to make visible what could be seen in no other way. See My Son.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, 66 Love Letters, Page 226-227

Questions for Reflection:
• Take some time this week to read the Old Testament Scriptures that foretell Jesus’ coming.
• How was the heart of God revealed in these prophecies leading up to Jesus’ birth?
• As we enter this season of Advent, how are you planning to make space both in your schedule and in your heart to see Jesus with fresh vision?