“Always be kind and courageous.”- Cinderella
I was blessed to be invited to see Cinderella with my daughter and two of my grand daughters last Tuesday. Young and old alike with starry eyes came eagerly anticipating a new production of an age old story perhaps proving eternity has been set in our hearts…
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy], yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11
…to be sons and daughters of the Most High God with an inheritance so much greater than any story mankind could ever create! Maybe all of the attempts at fairy tales throughout the generations are just small glimpses of a much bigger, much better plan that our Creator first set into place.
For the last six weeks my husband and I have been quite focused on getting to know two special groups of people. We were asked to lead a connect group at our church along with many others so that all the connect groups were in unity as we did a study called Making Room for God. Our friends John and Amanda agreed to co-host with us and before hand we begin to pray for God to put together the group of people He wanted for our group. We determined to stand in faith, especially considering most of the people we knew were already in a Tuesday night group we meet with or just live too far away to invite. Amanda was led to invite few couples, two had confirmed. We continued to pray and trust God as the first gathering approached. Yet, I must confess we were concerned at times and had to remind ourselves to be courageous and trust God had this.
When week one came, we had no idea what to expect, but we were prepared. This group is amazing! We have met four wonderful new couples and re-connected two other people over these six weeks. Our Tuesday night group has also grown and we have met some really great people! Come to find out, some of them also had some trepidation about being in a connect group. We have learned there is nothing like meeting with a group of people and seeking our Heavenly Father, opening the Word of God, reading and discussing what the Word means to us, and praying for each other’s needs. I think what I have enjoyed most is watching God bring this group together. We are all different ages and in different stages in our lives, yet we have many things in common and much we can learn from each other.
One of our desires as we began this journey was for all who came to feel welcome, comfortable and feel that it was a safe place for them so everyone would be free to interact during our discussions. I understand how important this can be because I am somewhat of an introvert myself. I am so thankful! From the very first night, everyone has joined in the discussions even as others have joined us in later weeks. Because of this, I believe we are all richer today than we were six weeks ago. I know I am. Richer for having courage despite concerns; for trusting God; for praying with and for each other; for discussing God’s Word; for hearing each other’s stories; seeing how precious each one is to me and especially how precious they are to God. What a great blessing it is when we walk in faith, taking that first step of obedience often inspite of our concerns or fears. With each step we become stronger. We become more confident when we walk in faith; first in God’s faithfulness but also in our strength to face the uncertain with confidence that He is with us, for us and will not forsake us!
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Deut. 31:6 (NKJV)
Courage is being scared to death…and saddling up anyway. John Wayne
When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? Psalm 56:3-4
Courage is grace under pressure. Ernest Hemingway
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Courage is to never let your actions be influenced by your fears. Arthur Koestler
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. 1 Cor. 16:13