Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Cost of Non-Discipleship

I came across this quote from Dallas Willard (quoted in my Renovare devotional from Willard’s The Spirit of the Disciplines page 263) about the cost of non-discipleship. Wow - this really resonates!
The cost of nondiscipleship, on the other hand (as opposed to the cost of discipleship) is the life we sacrifice if we pursue our self-centered, narcissistic ways. As Dallas Willard puts it, “the cost of nondiscipleship is far greater – even when this [earthly] life alone is considered - than the price paid to walk with Jesus. Nondiscipleship costs abiding peace, a life penetrated throughout by love, faith that sees everything in the light of God’s overriding governance for good, hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging of circumstances, power to do what is right and withstand the forces of evil. In short, it costs exactly that abundance of life Jesus said he came to bring (John 10:10)” The cost of nondiscipleship is the cost of not living our lives from Jesus, choosing this life of worldly insecurity instead of living the life of eternal security that begins the moment we submit ourselves to the life Jesus Christ has waiting for us……Nondiscipleship costs us “the life that really is life” (1 Tim. 6:19b)

Buy the Renovare Devotional here

Buy Dallas Willard's Spirit of the Disciplines here

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Banner Year

In early January, my pastor and dear friend, Mike, sensed God saying that this would be a banner year for our community! He has continued to have that sense throughout this year. I was reflecting on my last post and realizing that even though this year hasn't been the "banner year" I would have dreamed of - it has, indeed, been a banner year!
It's just like God to surprise us! To provide a banner year in unexpected ways. If you would have asked me what my hopes were for a banner year back in January, it would have gone something like this - my sweet Hannah would be home with me in early Spring and I would have spent the Spring and Summer bonding with her - enjoying being a mom. This type of banner year did not materialize for me - God had other plans.
Here's a few highlights from the type of banner year He had in mind for me...
  • I had the privilege of being foster parent to two sweet little girls for the month of January
  • In March, when it became clear that adoptions would not resume anytime soon, God put it on my hear to pray that Hannah's family would return for her so that she would not miss anymore of her childhood in an orphanage and that she would not have to be moved to the older kids orphanage on her 4th birthday in July.
  • In May I received that call that distant relatives had returned for sweet Hannah and she had gone to live with them as her forever family. I rejoiced in the answered prayer and sobbed over my own personal loss - I really wanted to be her mama!
  • In May I had the opportunity to spend 4 days with my dear friend, Elisabeth, hanging out in Virginia Beach - God was near.
  • In June I spent a wonderful long weekend with two dear friends in San Diego - as I mentioned in my last post - letting life "unfold" - what a wonderful place of rest!
  • In July I served with WOTH for a week - ministering to missionaries home on furlough! An amazing privilege! I will never forget it and hope to serve with them again!
  • Throughout these months I have learned to be "more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him" (see Phil. 3:10)
  • I have learned to more "fully rely on Him" (see 2 Cor. 1:8-9)
  • I have clung to the truth of who I know Him to be in spite of my circumstances which would lead me to believe otherwise! (see the packet of verses on 4x6 index cards that I now carry everywhere with me)
  • I have experienced a community that fully accepts, loves and supports me even when they don't quite get what God might be up to in my life!

And these are just a few of the ways it's been a banner year - plus....the year isn't over yet! How has it been a banner year for you? Leave me a comment - I'd love to hear!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

An Amazing Summer

Tonight, as I swam laps outside - only a few more days to do this :( - I was thinking about what an amazing summer it has been. I have many things to be grateful for.
It started off in early May as I took a trip to visit a dear friend near Virginia Beach. I had several opportunities to sit on the beach for extended times with the Lord. Praying, listening, reading, writing, considering all that He has been doing in and through me this past year. It was very refreshing. I didn't so much hear specific directions, which I admit I was hoping to hear, instead I heard words of comfort and peace and acceptance - I sensed I just needed to rest - Matt. 11:28-30.
In June, I had the opportunity to spend a long weekend with two dear friends from Seminary days at a condo, on Pacific Beach, in San Diego. I absolutely love both of these women - they love Jesus, they are real, they are single and know what that path is like, neither has kiddos and both know the pain and the joy of that. It was good to just be with them and, as dear Delene says, "let it unfold". I felt refreshed and encouraged. We laughed, swam, enjoyed a few margaritas and rested.
In July, I was privileged to serve with Women of the Harvest on their Furlough Retreat. It was one of those experiences that I find myself saying "Lord, THANK YOU that I didn't miss it!" It started out as a commitment to serve as a counselor for missionaries who are home on furlough and before it was over I was the worship leader and a small group leader as well. In my mind, it was too big a task (and it was, for me, but not for God) and I have to admit I thought about saying "no", but I am so very grateful that the Lord didn't let that happen, because I treasured each of the roles I had the opportunity to play as much as the I treasured the women that I had the chance to get to know.
August has been a blur - lots of swimming outside (I LOVE, LOVE LOVE THAT!) and dossier prep for my third try at International Adoption.
Abba, thank you for the many gifts of your presence this summer in such varied ways!