August 23, 2017

The Greatest Story Ever Told

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Some days your own resolve is strong
And other days you bend
It’s two steps forward, one step back
And a stumble now and then
You wonder if you’ll ever really make the difference
You’ve prayed that you will
Well, I know that prayer will be fulfilled ’cause

Your life woven day by day
Is a new design of the glory God displays
On the canvas of creation
Through the poem of history
In the pattern of redemption
Running through the tapestry
Your life in Christ can be
The greatest story ever told

You cannot see the hands of God
Or feel the grace that flows
From Him through you to those you touch
In ways you’ll never know
You cannot measure worth by human standards
That’s always a lie
Oh, you have to see through Heaven’s eyes how

In the light of eternity
Standing face to face you will finally see
For the very first time you’ll understand
Your perfect place in the Master’s plan and how

Avalon
written by Bill Gaither and J.D. Miller
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Yet LORD, You are our Father;
we are the clay, and You are our potter;
we all are the work of Your hands.
Isaiah 64:8

I love art.  Especially when I can take something that is broken into pieces and make a creative design.  Like a mosaic!  All the pieces are different shapes and colors; they are from different pieces of pottery that have been special to me in some way.  To someone else, they look like broken pieces of glass…until they are placed in plaster and set to dry.  Then…tada!  You have a table top, or a vase, or a trivet.  Whatever you want to make!

God makes broken things beautiful.  He is the Master Artist and He takes the hardest, most broken parts of us making out of them the most beautiful masterpiece.  We all have a story.  And if we let Him, He can make it His story and it can help countless people just by sharing it.  God then gets the glory for the redeeming and the restoring of you!

Maybe you are walking in freedom from addiction and have a story that will give other women and men hope that they, too, can be victorious. Maybe you are a child of divorce and can give someone the assurance that Jesus can help them through anything.  I don’t know your story…but God does.   He is so full of joy over you and He wants the world to see what He has done in you.

‘So what do we do next?’  you ask?  We have to be willing to do whatever He asks and go wherever He tells us to go and share with whoever He knows needs to hear our hope story.  And always remember that we couldn’t succeed on our own and that only One gets the glory for it all…Jesus!

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Let us pray: Dear Lord, You are the Master and we are Your clay—mold us and make us the way that best glorifies You, oh God!  Thank You for each one of these stories today.  Thank You for giving us victories over our trials and for allowing us to be a part of the greatest story ever told.  And for those still struggling today, give them the strength to ask for help and put someone in their lives that can help them through because of their own experience.  We worship You and we praise You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Captivating: Chapter 12 – “In The World” – “Do Not Give Way to Fear” (pgs 212-215)

People always talk about their “calling.” It’s such a Christian-ese phrase.  “So what led you to that decision?” “Well, I believe it’s my ‘calling’.”  Now, I’m not trying to put down anyone who may have used this word.  In fact, I use the word often.  Typically, after frustration grips my emotions, I cry to God, “LORD, WHY CAN’T YOU JUST TELL ME WHAT MY CALLING IS! TELL ME WHERE YOU WANT ME TO BE! OPEN THE DOOR ALREADY!”

Once I lose the anger, I remind myself of the truth.  And the truth is this: much like the reasons God allows bad things to happen to us, He may have us in a place we aren’t “called” to be right now because He is preparing us for His plans that are to come.

We can’t see the big picture, but God can.  He has you right where you are for HIS reasoning.  It’s also similar to why you may be single and lonely right now.  God has a reason.  God is preparing you for your “calling” every single day you awake.  He’s preparing your heart for something that is to come that will be so worth the wait, the patience, and the persistence!

So the question remains: how do you find your “calling?” In an effort to help you find that answer, our authors pose the following questions: What is it you yearn to see happen? How do you long for the world to be a better place? What makes you so angry you nearly see red? What brings you to tears?

The answers to those questions are different for each person – praise God! And those answers are the desires within our hearts, desires that God set within us even before we were born. Those answers are invitations.

“They are invitations to bring your heart to your Lover and ask Him to clarify, to deepen, to speak to you about how and when and with whom.”

I am reminded of this passage in Matthew 6:

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet Your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (verses 25-33).

So maybe you know a few answers to the questions above.  What’s keeping you from pursuing them? What’s keeping you from action? For me, Stasi and John hit the nail on the head when they discussed that terrible four letter word: F.E.A.R.

Fear of failure, fear of disapproval, fear of rejection, fear of vulnerability…I could go on.  But all of these fears have one thing in common—They are not from God.

As we have journeyed this book together, I pray that each of you has found who you are in Christ.  You are a strong warrior princess made to share in an adventure, made to serve and to love.  But no warrior princess can realize her own strength and purpose if she hides away in the castle her whole life.  No, we are called to take risks!  Risk the failure, risk the disapproval, risk the rejection, and risk the vulnerability.

Jesus did that.  And if we are called to live like Him, we must live radically, fully entrusting our lives to Christ. One of my favorite authors and inspirational speakers, Bob Goff, states in his book Love Does:

“Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It’s not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us. God asks what it is He’s made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made. And then, leaning over us, He whispers, “Let’s go do that together.

Ladies, I pray that each of you will live, breathe, and act that verse. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!

2Tim1_7

Praise Him,

Carissa

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Let’s Pray:

Father, I thank You for the life You’ve given each of us. I thank You that You have promised each of us a purpose and to use us to further Your great kingdom.  Father, in our days of doubt, remind us that You use all things (and situations) to Your glory.  Lord, draw close to us, reveal Your plans for our lives to us.  We want to know You and serve You more. Father, in Your time, give us the courage and will to pursue those desires You’ve set deep in our hearts.  We love You so much! In Your precious Name, Amen.

Your Assignment:

Spend time in prayer today, drawing closer to God, asking Him to deepen your desires and reveal His plans for you. He is faithful; He will answer.