It is strange that as people we so fear change; I suppose it is because we were made to live in the likeness of a never changing God (Malachi 3:6). Yet perhaps due to our sinful hearts and circumstances, or simply because the Lord gave us freedom of choice we all are always changing, we cannot help it. Every piece of information that enters our mind, transforms our pattern of thinking, be it ever so slowly. You need not be studying books, contemplating deep truths or hearing complex lectures on matters beyond yourself to be learning, to be conforming, to be becoming different… no, we are always changing. It’s whether we are changing for the good, becoming more Christlike, and growing in love that’s the question. For I believe these things rarely happen without some form of conscious and continual effort on our part, taking captive each thought, decision and moment and making it obedient to Christ (Rom12:2; Mk 12:30; 2 Cor 10:5). Lord, as I grow, as I change, may I grow in your likeness. Xo JQ

10 Things to love

As I walked away from Life Group on Monday Night I felt like a new person, I LOVE such amazing times like what I experience on a Monday Night with the girls. Its hard to explain the value of Life Groups but let me share quickly just 10 things I love about my Monday Night Chicks group:

1. I know Im going to have a genuine God encounter, in fact I prepare myself for going each week with anticipation of meeting God in a special way, whether it be through a devotion, an act of love, some testimony or discussion about Gods word, God makes Himself known in a very real way.

2. Its a lot of fun. We all have a lot of laughs at life-group, at ourselves mostly, but its a real place of joy.

3. Growing closer. There is such an amazing group of girls in the group and each week we are finding more about each other and the people in our lives we love. As a group we started probably a little slowly but now we are growing close as a family and its nice having such amazing people in my circle of friends.

4. Growth. Its so exciting to see a new face at life-group because they are embraced as a part of the group the moment they walk in the door. Its not exclusive. We do fun stuff and invite others along, and I know with such a friendly loving group of girls that no matter what condition we or our friends may be in, we simply love them all the same, genuinely wanting the best for each person.

5. We are all so different. As we discuss issues, although we all get along great, we are all coming from different angles and its eye-opening to see God at work from another point of view. We all take turns of running sections of the night, and it is beautiful to hear and see what you normally may miss in the life of another. I learn a lot!

6. Food. between Bonneys baking, welcomers being lavish and lollipops all round there is always a nice feast to be had. Although some consider it a trivial point of a group, food and fellowship go beautifully together.

7. There is a sence of accountability with meeting in a small group- if you said you would make changes in the week, you will be asked about it the next, it wont just fall away. If you are not there, you have people wondering where you are, and its much more difficult to float away in your relationship with God when you have the constant drawing back to Him for who He really is, on a weekly basis.

8. Its a place to discuss questions about God, and the passage preached on that week. There are no assumptions about what you know, or what you must know, there is no attitude about certain views or judgement about opinions, its just about digging into the truth of God’s word and finding out what it has to say about our daily life and walk with Him

9. Having a life-support partner for accountability, support, and just great friendship is such a blessing. Doing life with another Christian is a breath of God breathed air, and its is exciting to see my life-support partners belly grow bigger each and every week (because she is pregnant, not because of the snacks).

10. As I leave each week, pumped for what God will do through my freshly renewed life, I get excited knowing that we will be back again next week for more amazing times with my life-group to make a difference in the world of my life group, and the world which we live!

Of course, there are things that I have missed on this list and there is still so much goodness to encounter in my life-group, but these are just the first 10 things that come to mind. Experience it for yourself! 

Are you in a life-group? If so, what do you love about your group? If not, get involved in one today.

Making a change

In some ways there are few things more satisfying than scratching an itch, yet tearing shreds off my poor feet each night is in actuality, disgusting.

Despite how gross it is, it has become somewhat of a usual occurrence at my place. I am allergic to grass, and have been all my life, yet despite knowing this, each and every morning I have been strolling around my backyard with no shoes on, only to find myself with sore, itchy feet later on in the day. All it would take is for me to put some shoes on and my poor feet would catch a break, yet in the moment it seems like too hard a task and I go for it, perhaps thinking that this time the reaction would be better – is that not the definition of insanity?

James talks about the foolishness of someone looking in a mirror (the word of God) and forgetting what they look like (and need to change) the moment they look away. Proverbs similarly speaks of a man ‘returning to his folly like a dog to its vomit‘ (Prov 26:11). When we come face to face with who we are in the presence of God and His word, it is not unusual to walk away knowing there is a particular thing in our life needs to change – either something we need to stop doing, or something we need to start doing (in the power of God). If we dont change, the result is pain, but so often we go right back to our old ways. The Old Testament actually becomes somewhat repetitious and frustrating to read because the Israelites do this very same thing – ‘repent’ from idolatry, oppression, and evil only to go right back to it again.

I have finally made the decision to put some shoes near the back door so putting them on in my way out is easy (I can’t believe I hadn’t done it before, it would have saved me so much pain!). Something that can assist us to make the transition to change is to put boundaries or helpers in our own way and this premeditated step can help us do the right thing in the moment. Helpers in our spiritual life can be physical reminder notes around the place (for example I have a prayer list on my bathroom mirror), accountability partners, reminders on our phone, or having our bible sit right next to our bed. Boundaries on the other hand can be places you decide you will not go, conversations you will not have, things you will not look at or listen to, situations you will not get into, things you will not buy. Prevention is better than cure, and usually so easy – we just need to find what works best for us.

What ‘helpers’ or boundaries do you need to put into your life today?

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do. James 1:22-25