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Will You Take The Risk?

I heard John Ortberg on Focus On The Family today. He was talking about how much easier it is to like/love those who are like us. It can be much more difficult to love someone to whom we can easily relate and who is predictable. Allowing ourselves to open up to someone new, or someone with different interests or a different bent can be risky, and may cause us to step out in faith. It is much easier to stay in our comfort clan, so to speak and not reach out. But something John said really made me think. I wanted to share it with you:

We can only be loved to the extent we are known…and
We can only be fully loved if we are fully known.

This is true in relationships for sure. Reaching out to others toward a complete relationship means allowing them to see the ‘real’ us. It’s not enough to only serve on church committees, chat with the other parents at soccer games or lend a hand to a neighbor shoveling snow. If we want to make lasting friendships with people who will love us fully we must be willing to open ourselves up and be vulnerable, both to  rejection and acceptance. We need to be willing to be consistent with others, allowing them to see the real us – our hopes and fears…and our faults, along with the positive, happy parts of us. This can be difficult, and scary, even for adults!

heart mittens

Do you realize there is one who already loves you this fully? We never need to fear rejection from Him no matter what is in our mind or heart. He will always welcome us and we can be certain His actions will be consistent every time. The love we get from God is not always ooey, gooey love that makes us feel all warm inside. Sometimes He loves us enough to discipline us, allowing us to face consequences for our sins. But even in the midst of hard times and hurting, the depth of His love never fades.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8:38-39

Just as in building and growing relationships with others requires consistency from us, so does our relationship with God. We can only know Him fully when we consistently open ourselves up to Him, honestly sharing our heart, our faults and our fears. We might feel like we’re taking a risk to spend time with Him every day and open ourselves up to Him at all times – not waiting until we feel all cleaned-up and ready to talk to Him. When we take those steps of faith we’ll find Him waiting for us, arms and heart open wide.

Growing relationships with other humans can be risky. It’s important to be sure before we allow someone else to know us fully that they are someone God has put in our path who can love us fully and not someone who will take advantage of our vulnerability. This takes prayer, time, and a little testing of the waters. Thankfully growing our relationship with God is never truly risky. God is a solid rock on whom we can depend to never leave us and never let us down.

You keep him in perfect peace
    whose mind is stayed on you,
    because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
~ Isaiah 26:3-4

Take the risk and get to know Him better today. You’ll be glad you did!

blessings and peace as you step out in faith…
Paula

 

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Standards ~ Do You Measure Up?

Comparison begins when we are very young. We think our friends have more toys than us or are more talented, can run faster or are more popular. Healthy comparison can make us better athletes, musicians, students or entrepreneurs. But sadly even in childhood we can be bombarded with the idea that our classmates are smarter or our friends are prettier, more talented, etc. This unhealthy comparison can bring us to a place of unhappiness, anger and fear. Sadly this pattern doesn’t change when we hit adulthood. Instead we are faced with a brand new set of standards and if we let the world around us set them for us we will never measure up!

I realized the other day that becoming a Christian doesn’t instantly change our tendency to compare. Too often we wish we could sing like our worship leader or teach like our pastor. Or we long for the gift of hospitality when we’ve burned every batch of cookies we’ve baked! Maybe we even compare our testimony to someone else’s and feel like we don’t measure up.

As I’ve been pondering all of this I came to the determination that it must make our Lord very sad. Consider this scripture:

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 4:10-11

Each of us is created uniquely to accomplish something for God that no one else can. Your blending of gifts and talents is different from mine so we can connect with different people and reach more for Him. Above all we are to use what God has given us to bring Him glory and point others to Him. I am convicted about time I’ve wasted comparing myself to others or whining over what I didn’t have instead of asking God to show me what’s next. I’m going to work on this!

I hope comparison isn’t a pit you fall into often! Hopefully you measure yourself by what God says about you instead of listening to the discouragement and lies of the enemy. If you aren’t sure how God wants to use you, spend some quality time in prayer. He will meet you there and pour out His plans for you.

The next time we begin to compare ourselves to someone else let’s compliment them, thank God for them, then thank Him for what He’s created us to do…then get at it!

blessings and peace to you along the way…

paula

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Walking Out of the Grave ~ HE IS RISEN!!

Reading: Matthew 28:1-8

“He is not here; He has risen, just as He said…”  

Matthew 28:6a

Sabbath was over and the women just had one thing on their minds. They must prepare Jesus’ body for a proper burial. They left quietly as the men had finally fallen asleep after hours of discussion, debate and devastating sadness over the loss of their leader and friend. The women were also mourning but right now they had to set their grief aside for this important task.

They walked to the grave carrying spices and discussing how they would gain access to the body. A huge stone had been rolled in front of the entrance and sealed with the Roman seal. Even if they could get past the stone, breaking that seal would mean certain death for the women.

As dawn broke and they reached the tomb they stopped in amazement. The tomb stood wide open, seal broken and stone rolled away. Frightened and concerned that someone had taken Jesus’ body the women rushed ahead and found an astonishing sight inside the tomb.

Jesus body was gone!

Before the women could process the thought they noticed there was someone there.

Two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them the men said to them, Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:  ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’

Then they remembered his words.   Luke 24:4-8

And they believed!!

The women didn’t stop to ask questions or wonder where Jesus was. They ran back, woke the men and told them the good news!!

Jesus is Alive!!

 Jesus is Alive!!

The men followed the women back to the tomb and saw for themselves that Jesus’ body was gone, but the cloths He had been wrapped in for burial remained.

Their sadness turned to wonder and hope that Jesus was truly alive!

A short time later Jesus appeared to His friends, confirming the truth that He had walked out of the grave and conquered death. I pray that this Easter you will allow Jesus to walk into your heart. Whether for the first time or as a renewal of your faith I pray you will know the hope of His gift for us on the cross and allow Him to bring you the joy of His resurrection not only today but every day of the year.

 

 Prayer

 My Savior and my God!! You walked out of the grave and beat death so that I can walk into Heaven with you someday. My hope and joy is renewed on this Easter day each year as I celebrate with others this incredible gift.

Lord, this year may the joy and hope not end with the celebration of this day. As Spring turns to Summer and days turn into weeks and months help me to keep the gift of your resurrection in the forefront of my mind. Help me to remember that each day is a gift give to me because of Your life on earth, death on the cross, and Your walk out of the tomb.

And may my joy and hope be contagious, bringing others closer to You.