Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Epitome of Fall

Pumpkin chocolate chip bars and hot tea….plus an arrangement of fresh roses. This was the morning after an evening of fellowship with some beautiful sisters in Christ as we wrapped up a 10 week study on the Fruit of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

As I enjoyed my fall treats the next morning, I thought back over the last several weeks of the study and how blessed I am to have been invited into this group for a time of studying God’s Word and developing friendships. God calls us to live a “one another” life, meaning that we aren’t to go it alone, but we are to connect with others in many ways:

Accept one another: Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. – Romans 15:7

Admonish one another: Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. - Colossians 3:16

Bear one another’s burdens: Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2

Care for one another: so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. – 1 Corinthians 12:25

Comfort one another: Therefore encourage one another with these words. – 1 Thessalonians 4:18

Confess our faults to one another: Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. – James 5:16

Encourage one another : Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Greet one another: Greet one another with a holy kiss – Romans 16:16

Be honest with one another: Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices – Colossians 3:9

Honor one another: Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

Be hospitable to one another: Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. – 1 Peter 4:9

Be kind to one another: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

Love one another: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35

Pray for one another: Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. – James 5:16

Be of one mind with one another: May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 15:5-6

Serve one another: serve one another humbly in love. – Galatians 5:13

Spur one another on: And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds – Hebrews 10:24

Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. – Hebrews 10:25

As I was relishing our time together in this study and thinking about the upcoming holiday season, my thoughts turned to Thanksgiving and I was reminded of Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. This book has made a tremendous impact on me this year. In it, Ann reminds us to be thankful in all things. Even those things we think are setbacks, upheavals, pointless disturbances and tedious annoyances. She reminds us to see them for what they really are: the will of God. We tend to curse the things we don’t understand because our spiritual senses are impaired and we must tune our senses to the grace of Christ.

The amazing thing here for me is that I prayed for God to send me godly girl friends who I could really trust and connect with, but it was through an injury of sorts that the blessing of this wonderful group of women came into my life. I was quite annoyed with the fact that I was having some issues that led me to the chiropractor. I thought, “what a hassle, I have to go week after week and get these adjustments”, and honestly, it got a little worse, before it got better. But, God had a plan in place for me to meet a wonderful new friend who invited me into this Bible study and through what I considered a setback, He brought tremendous blessing.

As Ann says in her book, “we must change not what we see, but how we see” and “the discipline or the practice of giving thanks is the way to joy, the way we enter into God, the way we practice the presence of God”.

Sometimes the Lord has to break us down at the strongest part of our self-life before He can have His own way of blessing with us. Wrestle to see the blessing and all faces become the face of God. (see Genesis 33:10)

The secret to joy: keep seeking God where we doubt He is. – Ann Voskamp

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