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inward, outward, upward

The email I sent out at 5:30am:
With our youth pastor’s challenge at yesterday’s 2pm meeting for us to set aside time each day for some one-to-one time just for God in the next two weeks, I thought I’d share with you what He taught me today.  God is always speaking to us, it is just a matter of whether or not we take the time to hear what He has to say.
Today the key passage in the devotional that I’m using to aid my quiet time with God was: Jeremiah 31:18-19.
Here is the NLT version that always speaks to me so much more profoundly:
“I have heard Israel saying, “You disciplined me severely but I deserved it.  I was like a calf that needed to be trained for the yoke and plow.  Turn me again to you and restore me for you alone are the Lord, my God.  I turned away from God, but then I was sorry.  I kicked myself for my stupidity.  I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.”
For me, this could have been my own words for the personal trials that I’ve been through in the past 12 months.  I hope to elaborate more as I know many who have yet to hear the whole story, some not even aware because I just haven’t felt that it was the time to share yet… but I soon will :).

Anyway, the topic for today spoke of how there are only three ways to look in life: INWARD, OUTWARD and UPWARD… and trials can help us (cause us) to look in all three directions.

Looking INWARD, we can check our response to the trial.
Looking OUTWARD, we can see how our response is impacting others.
Looking UPWARD, we can renew our faith in the One who causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).

So my encouragement to you, UTMOST, is that if you are going through a trial or a test today or in the future, look in all three directions.  What you will discover, as I have, may become a blessing OR possibly a correction you hadn’t anticipated.

My prayers for you comes from Paul’s prayer for the Ephesus church:
“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how WIDE, how LONG, how HIGH, and how DEEP his love really is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it.  Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.  Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.  May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages.  Amen.” – Ephesians 3:17-21 (NLT)
As we all go on this two-week journey of getting to know our God better, I encourage you to keep a notepad/journal and pen next to you as you spend time in God’s Word and write down what He is speaking to you.
♥ Ames
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