Esther’s Cirlce – Love Does Chapter 13

Esther’s Circle is a wonderful group of Christian women that I have the honor of meeting with on a regular basis to share yummy treats at one another’s homes and share the love of Jesus Christ and when time allows, discuss the book we are currently reading.  It is difficult to describe the joy I receive when we are together, it’s like going home…that familiar feeling that you belong, in many ways our lives are distinctively different but we are united in our hearts.  This group is a blessing, an answered prayer and a gift all wrapped up in one!  I have been searching and looking for “something” and God has been leading me to these women and my church to fill the void that has been in my life for many years.  I have tried to fill the void with so many things, nothing seemed to fit, I was trying to put circles into squares…that doesn’t work out so well.  My life is so full, I am overflowing with the goodness of God.  Psalms 23 (NIV)” The Lord if my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside the still waters, He refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for His names’ sake.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  I am so thankful that God never gave up on me, I am truly blessed.  This brings me to the book Esther’s Circle is reading, Love Does by Bob Goff.  We just finished a discussion about chapters 13, I would recommend the book and although some of the stories seem unbelievable, God can do the unbelievable so here we go…. In the 13th chapter Bob starts off talking about a game I have never heard of but I trust my friends when they told me it was a real game.  The game is called “Bigger and Better,” the idea is to start out with a relatively small item and the person goes from house to house or person to person asking them if they would trade the item you have for something they have,  this process continues until you have found the ultimate “thing!”  The story starts out with a dime and ends with a truck.  Okay, here’s question one from the study guide, “Bob draws a connection between the dime in the Bigger and Better game and our pride and self-preservation.  What’s an example of a dime you’re holding on to rather than trading up?”  Wow, that’s a big question!  Actually, it’s an easy one for me, FEAR…although I am learning to step forward in faith, I still have a lot of fear.  Fear that who and what I am is not enough, not enough to stand alone and speak truth, to simply be 100% transparent.  That is my pride and self-preservation.  I want to add, with my friends, family and church community I am trying to be authentic, the person God created me to be and to live into the purpose He has for me.  I have just answered the second question, “What specially keeps you holding on to that dime in your life?”  The third question, “What’s the difference between sacrificing something for God and trading up for Him?”  Trading up (for me) means getting something else, not necessarily better and possibly not bigger, only different. Sacrificing is surrendering something, as a Christian I surrender myself to Jesus Christ and that I am not able to save myself, only through the Grace,  Mercy and Unconditional love of God through the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus are we able to have a personal relationship with God and the opportunity to spend eternity of Heaven.  While, I may say I am sacrificing things, I am human and I will continue to sin as we all are sinful in nature; however, I do challenge myself to be less selfish, to train my actions and reactions to be more loving, more accepting and less judgmental.  Okay, funny story, kind of…I like to play solitaire on my smart phone, if I miss a play I force myself to start a new game, I feel like I’m cheating if I “undo” a play and if I were to win the game it would not mean as much to me because I know that my score could have been better if I had not cheated.  Correcting or at least paying attention to this small act, teaches me good values that will benefit me when I am faced with greater issues in my life.  Another, silly thing I do is, I like to start my day with devotions Monday-Saturday and if for some reason, I am hurried and leave home without doing it, I used to just double up the next day…but I don’t do that anymore, if I miss a day, I will make myself go back to whatever day of the week it was I missed, I believe that I can learn something new that I didn’t get the week before.  I trust God to speak to me and I try to be the person He created me to be.  As Christians, daily we strive to sacrifice/surrender our sinful actions and although we may succeed in many ways, we cannot be perfect and sinless, we need God’s forgiveness and a desire to be sinless.  It is difficult to understand God’s unconditional love because we are surrounded by everything “conditional” in this world.  Trust in God, He will never leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)”Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”  I am grateful for having you read my blog entry today and I want to share one of my favorite verses with you, John 14:27 (NIV) “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” ~Blessings and Peace~