January 23rd, The Annex at
Lifepoint Church - Wilmington, NC
The #LivingFree Team Invites you to Join Us for a
"The Secret to Spiritual Health."
Facilitated by: Andy Lee
Author of A Mary Like Me and The Book of Ruth: Bible Study
Find her at: www.WordsbyAndyLee.com
Happy 2017 Internet Kin!
January's sure are a crapshoot, aren't they? You just never know how the New Year will roll in - forget the predictions, life's fickle! If you're anything like me, the "shiny" wears away a little as each year passes.
Don't get me wrong, I love a good shrimp cocktail, a reason to change out of my reindeer jammies, and a chance to visit with neighbors! It's just that the previous sense of "new" is replaced with an awareness of repetition, a seasonal rhythm.
Maybe you're jazzed this month - super motivated to tackle new challenges and you already have a plan established for the journey. Kudos!
On the other hand, you may have that nagging feeling that some of the old issues of 2016 are lurking around, just waiting to surface under the right conditions. Here we go again... And before long, you're caught up in the same tired problems like before.
In the book of Romans, Apostle Paul nailed it when he said this:
"...I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?
Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison.
What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary...
And if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions...
It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?
The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different."
(The Message 7:14-25, Paraphrased for length)
What's the jist of Paul's impassioned observation? Simply put, left to our own self-discipline, ways of thinking, and reliance on worldly fixes, we fall back into old habits. We do what we know.
This year, the theme here at the Gritty Pearl can be summed up into one little word:
Every email sent, post written, and workshop provided will be chock-full of encouragement to help you do just that - move - in your faith walk, thought life, relationships, workplaces, and communities.
Our God doesn't require perfection. He doesn't insist that we throw in the towel at the first sign of a failed New Years Resolution. He only asks that we keep putting one foot in front of the other - trusting Him to lead the way. It's a lifetime journey.
Cheers to another Beginning,
Believer. Wife. Mom. Writer. Marriage and Family Therapist. Accidental Speaker. Crossfitter and Total Book Nerd.
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PEOPLE I FOLLOW:
BECAUSE I LEARN:
BECAUSE I LAUGH:
Elizabeth Laing Thompson
Liz Curtis Higgs
BECAUSE I ADVOCATE:
Juli Slattery at Authentic Intimacy
BECAUSE I CRY (HAPPILY):
Inspiring Writing Groups:
Suzanne Eller's #LiveFreeThrusday
Holley Gerth's #CoffeeForYourHeart
Kelly Balarie's #RaraLinkup
Jennifer Duke Lee's #TellHisStory
Susan Mead's #DanceWithJesus