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The Power Of Hell Cannot Destroy Them

“I sent My Son to destroy the devil’s work [1 John 3:8-9]. And He did. He has taken over. You ask what difference He has made. There is now a community of people who, though their souls may feel empty, are filled with My Spirit, a people whose lifestyle is giving from trusted fullness rather than grasping for demanded fullness. They are My people. I am their God. They are My Son’s church, His bride and body, and the power of hell cannot destroy them. They are the army I have raised up and equipped to represent Me and to advance My purposes in this world.”

Dr. Larry CRabb, 66 Love Letters, Page 208

Questions for Reflection:
• As we approach the celebration of Christ’s birth, consider the ways that Jesus’ coming did not match the expectations of those awaiting the promised Messiah.
• Are there ways that your expectations of how God “should” work may be keeping you from seeing Him revealed in the world and in His people and in your own life?
• Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you today—regardless of felt emptiness or fullness—into faithfully representing Christ and advancing His purposes in the world.

Death Of Brokenness Happens Only In Safe Community

“Spiritual community is a reality. It can be our experience, perhaps for the first time, more often and intensely if we’ve already tasted it.

But it begins in brokenness. There is no other way. In God’s economy, death always precedes resurrection. And the death of brokenness happens only in safe community. We hit bottom only when we find the safest place on earth.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Becoming a True Spiritual Community, Page 163-164

Questions for Reflection:
• How do you typically respond to someone who is on the messy journey into the brokenness that involves not simply grief over losses but also repentance over sin?
• Does your response offer a safe place for the death that precedes resurrection to occur, or does it attempt to avoid death or to press for a premature resurrection?
• Ask the Holy Spirit to deepen your own hope of and confidence in His resurrecting power so that you can provide a safe place for another’s brokenness.

Safe Place To Embrace Our Brokenness

“Perhaps that’s a good definition of spiritual community – ‘a safe place to hit bottom.’

We all need a place safe enough to embrace our brokenness, our failure, and our inability to cope, and, in the midst of torment, a place to again discover life.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Becoming a True Spiritual Community, Page 161

Questions for Reflection:
• When have you experienced “a safe place to hit bottom”?
• What made it safe?
• How has this kind of community enabled you to rediscover life?
• How can you offer that kind of community to those around you?

Like A Coiled Snake Ready To Spring If Disturbed

“To be broken in the midst of spiritual community brings a quality of rest and hope that cannot be duplicated. Feeling in control, of course, brings its own kind of peace. But it’s never a giving peace. And it leaves a latent terror asleep, like a coiled snake ready to spring if disturbed.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Becoming a True Spiritual Community, Page 162

Questions for Reflection:
• Are you currently experiencing a sense of peace?
• Is it the kind of peace that comes from having life “under control” or from hope that reaches beyond your own resources?
• Have you ever known the kind of peace that comes from being surrounded by genuine community while deeply facing your own failure and grieving its impact on others?
• How did being loved by others amid your brokenness impact you?
• Do you know of anyone struggling to whom you can currently offer that kind of hope?

Living In The Tension Between Evil That Prospers, And My Plan

“I required Habakkuk, as I require you, to live in the tension between the evil that prospers, whether in the church or in secular society, and My plan to restore the beauty of My character in this world. It is that tension that shifted Habakkuk’s focus away from frustration with what he saw in the world toward the mystery of how I execute My plan [2:1]. With that shift, Habakkuk was silenced and I spoke.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, 66 Love Letters, Page 171

Questions for Reflection:
• In what ways are you experiencing the tension between evil prospering and God’s plan to restore the world to reflect the beauty of His character?
• Take some time today to voice to God the struggles that your heart is having with the gap between what you would do if you were God and what’s currently taking place.
• Keeping in mind the work of His Son on the cross, are you willing to embrace the mystery of His ways amid that tension?

The Mystery of My Silence

“Habakkuk prayed for brokenness in his people and revival through My Spirit. He saw neither.

…I permitted Habakkuk to continue in the mystery of My silence until he was worn out. Only when false hope is abandoned will My strange but true hope be embraced [Habakkuk 1:2-4].”

Dr. Larry Crabb, 66 Love Letters, Page 171

Questions for Reflection:
• Is there something you’re praying for that seems to be met with God’s silence?
• Take some time to read Habakkuk today.
• What is God speaking to your heart as you read of His conversation with Habakkuk?

The Journey Toward Christ–Don’t Do It Alone!

“The journey toward Christ is intended to be a group expedition where we walk together as honest strugglers who believe the end point is worth any hardship. We share the life of Christ together and are called to nourish that life in one another; but we must also resist the urges of sin together. We must not be alone when we enter the death experience of discovering that our flesh-inspired strategies no longer work. During those times, connecting provides hope that there is life after death and gives us the courage to mortify the flesh, to further abandon our efforts to find life apart from Christ.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Connecting, Page 99-100

Questions for Reflection:
• Have you experienced community’s role in helping you to resist sin?
• How has connection with fellow strugglers offered you hope that there is life after death to self?
• To whom can you provide the kind of connection that strengthens the desire to resist seeking life apart from Christ?