Thursday, February 20, 2014

Change in the midst of all circumstances.

I have been thinking and writing on the subject  of change -- especially  change resulting from a "significant event" in our lives

One of my friends  provides a daily quote  to is intended to challenge our complacency that as Christians we have "all the answers".

Recently he posted this quote which addresses an important (to me) point: Do we   need to wait for a major event to cause changes that make our lives better change to fully live" or  does  Christ give us the ability to change to live fully in whatever circumstances exist in our life?

"Elisabeth Elliot (in her book Keep a Quiet Heart   (see Amazon)  wrote, 'The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.' The bigger story of our life begins the moment we understand this truth. Life does not begin when you get married, land your dream job or board a plane to travel the world. It is found in the beautiful, powerful love of Christ, which changes us in the midst of all circumstances, especially the ones we find most difficult."(Cara Joyner)

Elisabeth Elliot (née Howard; born December 21, 1926) is a Christian author and speaker. Her first husband, Jim Elliot, was killed in 1956 while attempting to make missionary contact with the Auca (now known as Huaorani) of eastern Ecuador. She later spent two years as a missionary to the tribe members who killed her husband. Returning to the United States after many years in South America, she became widely known as the author of over twenty books and as a speaker in constant demand. Elliot toured the country, sharing her knowledge and experience, well into her seventies.

Cara Joyner is a freelance writer and stay-at-home-mom living on the East Coast with her husband and two sons. After years of working in student ministry, she has come home to raise her boys and pursue her Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The above quote by Joyner  which includes the Elliot quote is from an article "Life won't begin at your next milestone" in Relevant magazine 

This quote caught my attention because

1) It seems to fit with Phillipians 4:8-13 where Paul writes:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Paul tells us to be content in whatever circumstances -- not to wait until circumstances change and somehow that changes us. It is clear however that being  content doesn't mean complacency -- it  means accepting that the Spirit can work  with us to make us more Christ-like no matter  our circumstances. 

2) The second reason this "resonated" with me is that I believe that in our prayers (for ourselves and for others) we need to focus on the "grace" to  experience God's strength, to be peaceful and love-filled  in whatever the circumstances --  of course we can also pray fervently for change in circumstances but our faith and connection  with God is not dependent on  that change.

So  as I think about change I don't want to miss the blessing of God's love in the here and now and in my current "messed up" state.

God Bless

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