Community. How do you define it? I thought about defining the word “community” as a group of incredible individuals who value each other so much that they are willing to be honest with each person instead of sugarcoating the truth. Something seems to be missing from that definition though. What about defining community as “a unified body of individuals” (which is one of the ways that the Merriam-Webster dictionary begins to define community)?
The second half of Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV) states, “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Now regardless of your interpretation of this portion of scripture, I think this phrase gives some insight into the power that comes with connecting with others. So, one more attempt at defining community. Community is a group of people who either intentionally or unintentionally have their lives intersect directly or indirectly. That is about as specific, yet broad, as I’m going to get right now.
I know that 2018 just started, but I have a testimony. God is amazing! Something happened that should have brought me to (unhappy) tears. I lost my purse. I know that my purse and the items in it are just things. I know that things can be replaced. I know that there are bigger issues than me losing my purse. However, I really want my purse and its contents back. Where does the amazingness of God come in? Well, keep reading.
Gideon was an unlikely leader. He was in the middle of “threshing wheat in a winepress” to hide it from some folks (Judges 6:11) when an angel of the Lord called him a “mighty warrior” (NIV)/ “mighty man of valour” (KJV) in Judges 6:12. That same angel also told Gideon that the Lord was with him. Gideon’s response to all of this? Questions. The Lord responded with some “big picture” action items, but also reminded Gideon that He (the Lord) was with him. Gideon’s response? More questions and doubt. Gideon even threw in some excuses. Here God was calling him to be a leader in a battle, and Gideon’s excuse was that the people in his group were weak and he was the “least” in the family. The Lord responded again stating that He was with Gideon and also gave Gideon a glimpse of what was going to happen…and it was major. Gideon’s response? He asked the Lord to give him a sign to make sure it was really the Lord talking to him. The Lord gave Gideon a sign and even gave him more information about what was to come – that Gideon wouldn’t die in all of this. God told Gideon to do some more things in Judges 6:25-26. Gideon’s response? He did what God told him to do, but did it at night because he was afraid of his family and townspeople. (Spoiler alert: The people found out it was Gideon who did it anyway.) Gideon went on to ask the Lord for a few more signs. The Lord gave him the signs.
This smile tells of a joy, a journey, and a destiny
This smile is evidence of growth, hope, and gratitude
This smile continues because even the greatest of pain can’t minimize God’s limitless ability
This smile tells of an investment God made in me and will see through to completion
This smile embraces the battle scars that remind me of what God brought me through
This smile is a release, a realization, and a choice
This smile is recognizing that it’s not my strength I walk in, but His (God’s)
This smile is a product of God’s grace and mercy
God is in control, so this smile shall remain
2017 copyright by PurposeOverFear
*Picture in this post is from pixabay.com.
How are you letting your impatience redirect your path? Perhaps you can relate to this. God led you to do something. You are walking along in what God called you to do and then you get to a point where you’re so frustrated, exhausted, and/or confused that you want to quit. You were on board for following God when the calling was fresh, new, and exciting. You were on board for walking in your purpose until all that stress, anxiety, and strain continued knocking at your door. You were on board with walking by faith until what you saw was seemingly so far removed from what God promised you that you couldn’t see the connection. (Side note: Remember God really does keep all of His promises regardless if you think it will take a miracle or not. God has ALL power.) You were on board until things seemed to be taking longer to accomplish, move, create, build, grow than you wanted to wait.
Have you ever prayed for something? I mean really, really prayed hard for something. You already knew exactly what you wanted God to do to answer your prayer. You knew what you wanted that answered prayer to look like. After faithfully praying, the answer God actually gave you didn’t quite match what you envisioned His answer would be.
Let’s spend some time focused on some questions. The goal is to build a community where we move beyond the surface and dive into some real conversation.
We don’t know everything. That can be pretty difficult to hear, but it’s an honest statement. God knows all. We fall short of being all-knowing. The exciting part is that there is always room for us to grow and learn.
Below are some books that I’m in the process of reading (or just finished). Also, I’ve listed some artists and podcasts that have pushed me to grow. Perhaps the words, lyrics, and teachings will be meaningful to you.