Today’s Reading: Exodus 19; Luke 22; Job 37; 2 Corinthians 7
The more I’m around kids the more I realize growing up is difficult. There are so many things you think you have control of that you really don’t. Depending on your circumstances having confidence in God, yourself, or others can be slim or obsolete. Four years ago (while on vacation) I laid in a hospital bed with my wife sitting by my side and our 1 year old walking around the room touching everything possible that a baby probably shouldn’t be touching. As the doctor came in, she stood next to me and proceeds to tell me that they are going to need to have surgery and that with any kind of big stomach surgery there is a chance that I won’t make it. (wow) As I swallow the knot currently in my throat, I think about my wife breaking down in tears as I struggle to catch my breath while wiping tears grasping for air. I wished I never came in. I lacked faith. I lacked faith in many things but mainly God. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
In this moment I wish I could tell you I gave it all to God but I know I didn’t. God’s grace that I didn’t deserve poured over me and provided the strength to make it through the surgery. Another chance to live for Him and share His love with others. My stomach was healed but there was still more work for God to do. I lacked confidence in God and myself. In 2 Corinthians 7 Paul encourages the Corinthians to make room in their heart for him. He understood the importance of fellowship among believers. This also holds true with us today. God has divine appointments planned all the time if we keep our eyes open.
While recovering from surgery in Florida we got a call that our house we had put up on a whim had sold and we would need to find a place. Our frantic 2 day online search followed by a packed 1 day search around Bloomington landed us right across from a couple who were Christ followers and attended Eastview. They then invited us to small group one night. We had been to Eastview before but never allowed ourselves to get connected. Long story short this offer turned into us joining their group and getting to know some fellow believers that have helped change our lives. Thank you to the couples that open their hearts to us. They have helped build up our confidence in the Lord. Small group allows you to move from a surface level relationship into holding each other as accountability life partners. Living life together where we are in His Word, laughing, loving, have crucial conversations, holding each other accountable, raising children, and following Jesus together. We are blessed by our small groups and by the amazing other Christ followers we have met through Eastview. As I reflect on this weeks message I’m reminded how church has helped us to see His essential light, opened our ears, and shown us the path to “Follow Him”. I thank this biblejournal group of believers that share their daily insights into the Word and help others build the confidence that Jesus is all we need. “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
Like Paul who was sharing his joy with the Corinthians for opening their heart and repenting, I feel this same joy when as a group of believers we do the same repenting. Often in our small groups we allow our vulnerability to come out. We share our true selves asking for repentance in addition to encouraging and praying for each other to keep faith and confidence in God. If you currently are not in one please contact me and no matter the distance we can look to start one. It will help with personal discovery, smaller communities can be more effective, deeper friendships, and maximum participation.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
~ Thank from the bottom of my heart everyone has has shared scripture, love, and encouragement along the way. Without your genuine care I would not be here today. When your confidence comes from God, no matter how unstable things in the world may get, you will always remain rock solid and secure in faith.
I rejoice, because I have complete confidence in you. 2 Corinthians 7:16
I pray for complete confidence in you and your will every moment of my life. I turn it all over to you. Whenever I am at a loss and don’t understand why certain things happen let me close my eyes and turn it all over to God since I know that He knows everything and will guide my heart. Throughout my day fill me with your love and guidance so that when I start to rely on my own selfish ways I turn to you in prayer and repentance. Help me build confidence and show ridiculous love and be a dangerous witness to others for your Kingdom.