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Tag Archives: Amy Carroll

  • Building on the Past's Foundation

    Posted on January 9, 2015 by Family Christian

    Amy Carroll JANUARY 9, 2015

    Building on the Past's Foundation
    AMY CARROLL

    "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV)

    Each year as the New Year arrives, I feel the familiar conflict … make resolutions or avoid them? On one hand, there’s the excitement of starting fresh and the hope for better outcomes. Most of the time, however, I don’t feel expectancy at all. Instead, I’m overcome by the fear of failure and the "what ifs" of trying again.

    This year, I found a principle in Scripture that helps me approach resolutions with anticipation instead of dread. Today’s key verses show us how to plan our future with a focus on thankfulness. They help us plan for the future from a past with a solid foundation and a present pattern of growth.

    "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." (Colossians 2:6-7, emphasis added)

    When I think back over the years, it’s amazing to look back at how life changes once we’re dedicated to Jesus as Lord. Through mountaintop experiences, the thrill of learning new truths, and the shaping of hardships, we become rooted and strengthened. Jesus builds a foundation in us that can’t be shaken, so we can thank Him for the past.

    Today, in our present, He calls us to "live in him." With all the demands of life around us, we can struggle to concentrate on living our life in God, but His benefits — peace, guidance, love and forgiveness — are the valuable payoff for our focus. He has given us the precious gift of living in Him, so we’re thankful to Him for our present.

    As we remember the past and intentionally make Him the most important part of our present, we will be "built up in him." Here’s where it gets exciting for the future! The Greek word for "built up" here means "to increase the potential of someone or something, with focus upon the process involved."

    It’s amazing and true. God created each of us with a well of talent and budding gifts. Scripture says that God has good works created for you in advance (Ephesians 2:10), so plan away for the New Year! Ask God to build you up in 2015, revealing the potential He’s embedded in you. But as you look toward the future, don’t forget the past or the present — cover it all with a blanket of thankfulness.

    This morning I sat in silence watching the first rays of dawn creep into my windows. There was no fanfare or pageantry. It was a humbling moment brimming with deep peace and overwhelming gratitude, so …

    I thanked God for my past:

    My parents who raised me in a home where we loved God.

    All the hard times and bad decisions that have made me see my need for Jesus.

    The Sunday school teachers and Bible study leaders who have taught me.

    Blessings He poured out along the way: family, jobs I’ve loved, jobs I’ve disliked, home.

    Then I moved on to simple, present gifts:

    The steaming mug in my hands.

    A fire warming the room.

    My little, red dog snoring on the coach.

    Companionship of friends who fully know me and yet love me.

    Love and kindness from my husband.

    Laughter from my boys.

    Grace poured on me by my Creator.

    Finally, I thanked God for 2015 with all its possibilities:

    For lessons yet to learn.

    For dreams yet to be fulfilled.

    For growth experiences.

    For all the things unknown.

    Now it’s your turn. Even if 2015 hasn’t started out the way you wanted … be thankful. Dream. Plan. Make resolutions built on the foundation of your past and the abiding of your present. I’m anticipating the rest of what God has in store for you in 2015!

    Lord, we thank You for this new year and new beginnings, and we also praise You for the present moment. God, use pieces of the past and gifts of the present to build the future You have planned for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Colossians 4: 2, "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." (NIV)

    Psalm 28:7, "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him." (NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst can help you make wise decisions in the midst of endless demands.

    Visit Amy Carroll's blog for more about dreams for the future.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    What are you thankful for in 2014? Write your list in a journal or on a piece of paper to post in your home.

    Spend time in prayer thanking God for all He did in your life last year.

    Ask Him to help you set divinely-inspired goals for 2015.

    © 2015 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

     


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Amy Carroll, Proverbs 31

  • Love Rest

    Posted on December 7, 2012 by Amy Carroll

    Amy Carroll

    "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love." John 15:9 (NIV)

    I read books about it. I listened to sermons about it. I wrote about it. I sang about it. I thought about it. I was completely immersed. So why couldn't I get it?

    God loves me.

    It's a simple truth. How could a 44-year-old woman who has loved Jesus since she was 10 not feel loved by God?

    Deep down I was going through the motions of believing ... hoping ... but truthfully, I had fallen into the mindset of working for God's love and acceptance. I could have given a theological dissertation on grace and salvation by faith, but my perfectionistic, I'll-do-it-myself attitude blocked a full, heart-changing understanding.

    One day I blurted out to a dear friend and mentor, "Why can't I feel the love of God? I'm working so hard!"

    She let the silence sit before a big grin spread across her face. "Did you hear yourself?" she asked.

    "You can't work to know the love of God. You need to rest in the love of God." Then she encouraged me to relax and pray, asking God to reveal His love to me in a deep, transforming way.

    Several months later, still in the midst of my wrestling match to understand God's lavish love, my eyes drank in the site of a bent and wrinkled woman wearing a bridal veil and carrying a tattered bouquet of silk flowers as she hobbled down an aisle of women. I was in Kolkata, India, helping with a mock wedding at a women's conference. Although the atmosphere and the message on being Jesus' bride was largely celebratory, tears streamed down the old woman's face.

    The scene gripped my heart. Here was an elderly woman who, because of the fear and superstition of her native religion, missed the love of God most of her life. He, however, had loved, drawn, and wooed her heart. She had resisted until the onset of sickness and the pronouncement of her numbered days spurred her to abandon everything to take hold of His love.

    As she walked feebly down that aisle, His love healed her of a lifetime of hurts and made her radiant and strong, despite her fragile frame.

    As I watched her weep, something broke inside me. I found myself kneeling on the cold, concrete floor sobbing.

    In John 15:9, Jesus tells His followers, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love."

    Growing up, I learned of His love every day as my mother and father watched me mature from an infant to an awkward teenager. But I didn't stay and rest in His limitless love that had surrounded me from birth to adulthood.

    I had walked into a place of self-sufficiency that left me with a weary hollowness that only God's presence and love could fill.

    Seeing an impoverished, old woman who had little left to give to God be fully encompassed in His love illuminated truth like a piercing ray of sunshine through a foggy morning.

    It's a simple truth. He loves me, not because I have anything to give Him, but simply because I'm His. God doesn't call me to manufacture a feeling but simply to rest in His love and remain it.

    He loves you too. Limitlessly. Profoundly. Lavishly. Relax, rest and bask in His love today.

    Dear Lord, Your very nature is love. You surround me and fill me with it just because of who You are. Help me to rest and remain in Your love instead of walking in the exhaustion of my own efforts. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Crazy Love by Francis Chan

    Reflect and Respond:
    What makes you feel loved? Reflect and journal about times that God has revealed His love for you in these ways.

    Pray and ask God to help you remember evidences of His love and to see new ones today. Relax and watch.

    Power Verse:
    Jeremiah 31:3, "The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.'" (NIV 1984)

    © 2012 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with John, Amy Carroll, Love

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