“Through pain, joy emerged.”-Jacqui Huxford
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“Through pain, joy emerged.”-Jacqui Huxford
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“One day, while changing his diaper, I felt such sorrow in that moment. I knew it would mortify him to know that what was happening if he were in his right mind. I couldn’t help but ask myself, ‘Is this what the rest of our lives are going to be like?'”-Jacqui Huxford
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At the beginning of this chapter, Dr. Crabb writes,
In our efforts to change, no question is more important than the obvious one: What exactly is wrong? What is going on in us that leads to depression, worry, sexual perversion, hostility, and a host of other concerns that plague us? Is there something in our own deceitful heart that a sincere commitment to follow Christ and renewed determination to live as we should simply do not reach? Do most counseling efforts miss a central problem that must be corrected if change from the inside out is to occur? (pg. 185)
He goes on to write,
Problems are everywhere… Sometimes the reality of human suffering seems just to much. Everyone has his or her story to tell… (pg. 185)
Under Facing Our Sin on page 187-188, he has additional words of wisdomwhen he writes this-
As we try to understand the process of change, we must realize that deep change comes about less because of what we try to do and how hard we try to do it, and more because of our willingness to face realities of our internal life. Personal integrity, a commitment to never pretend about anything, is a prerequisite for change from the inside out.
Do you feel the words piercing right through you as do I? For Jesus Christ, in John 17:1-26, prays to God the Father and for all believers to protect us from the evil one (John 17:15, NIV). That is why one of my favorite verses comes from a man who denied knowing Jesus not once, not twice, but three times in a span of just a few hours; it is 1 Peter 2:21 which says,
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you may walk in His steps. (ESV)
As I have said before, think about it and act.
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“I would have flashbacks to when moments and memories when he was home, normal, himself. I longed for those days and, at times, had to remind myself that I don’t get to wake up from this nightmare. This our new reality. I must trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding.”-Jacqui Huxford
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“I sorted through his personal items they had sent home with me: cut-off underwear and shorts, hid wedding ring, his socks and shoes, nail clippers, lip balm, and a pocket knife. I sobbed as I allowed gravity of what had happened hit me like a ton if bricks. I had never felt so alone in all my life. Yet I knew that God heard my cries. I knew he would never leave me or forsake me. I knew he was working. Those comforts are what finally allowed me to sleep. I know God is working even when we perceive that he is silent. He is with us, comforting us, working in our lives, and working all things together for the good of those who are in Christ Jesus.”-Jacqui Huxford
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“Free.” We all like the word “free.” such as the “free” knife set that you get from a purchase that you have made or for a subscription to a culinary magazine. Personally, I’ve seen “free” chairs, couches, gym set on the side of the road outside of someone’s driveway. Or you have your typical yard sale in which at the end of it you start offering stuff for free. I get that especially in America where you are in a time of “need” for a very short time only to be replaced by “needing” something more in this technological age we Americans find ourselves in.
For, typically getting something nee but quickly becomes old means that someone has got tired of using it so they offer whatever “it” is. You just want it out of your personal possession so you offer it up for “free” so we can make room for the “new” stuff even though it may cost you a small fortune when you originally. I, by far, have fallen into this trap like a slippery slope.
Yet, Jesus Christ offers you the gift of protection from eternal death financially free! Oh yes, it’s FREE!! 🤗🤗🤗 (John 3:16; 17:3) And although it’s financially free, to truly live to walk in His steps (1 Peter 2:21), it is going to cost you something. You may lose family members and friends. Depending on how hard of a stand you make, you may be ridiculed; you be alienated by some people, or you know that feeling you get when your core beliefs differ than of people in your sphere of influence.
Even Christians can be somewhat of a negative influence. With the Christian faith being broken up by Catholicism and Protestantism. Under Catholicism, you have the two biggest ones-Catholicism and Roman Catholicism. Under Protestantism, you have too many denominations to be counted. But I digress…
This article was supposed to be talking about the subject of free. And to be worth any value, the prize has to cost the owner much more. It is like the American military offering freedom for free. Some of us can’t, won’t, even refuse the idea of serving in the military, though the people in it have to fight in order to maintain our freedom. Jesus Christ, who died for the sins of the world, offers you such freedom if you would only accept Him and walk as Jesus would have you walk. Jesus has even provided Himself as an example (1 Peter 2:21).
Think about it and act!
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On page 163, he begins the chapter off by writing,
Doing good things does not automatically turn us into good people. Spending hours in Bible study, witnessing regularly, avoiding worldly amusements, and generously giving time and money to the Lord’s work are godly things to do, but they are not sufficient in themselves to produce deep change.
Dr. Crabb goes onto say that
Exposure is no easy matter. The deceitful character of our heart helps us believe that things are quite a bit better than they really are. No matter how sincerely we want to identify the wrongs in our life, we still have a hard time seeing the subtle way a demanding spirit infects our style of relating. (pg. 163)
OUCH!! That hurts. Under the heading of SEEING OURSELF CLEARLY, Larry Crabb writes
We must learn to evaluate the things we do and say as we interact with people to see where the disease of demandingness has spread. … The sole value of an inside look is measured by its helpfulness in moving us toward greater love, both for God and for others. (pg. 165)
This comes after he writes,
In speaking to the Pharisees, Christ ruthlessly exposed the sinfulness clothed in their fine speech when He said, “How can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks … But I tell you that men will have to give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words, you will be condemned” (Mathew 12:34, 36-37).
The point is clear: If we are to love genuinely, we must first pull up the evil root of self-protection in our sinful heart: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). (pgs. 164-5)
Instead, we must work hard at being a Christian, for
The Bible is not a vending machine that reliably yields the product we request. (pg. 174)
The God that I worship requires something more than that. He requires that humans will be like His Son according to 1 Peter 2:21. That is the heart of God which is to be like His Son who is already in heaven waiting for the proper time from God the Father to rapture His church.
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“I had to be strong for my kids, but I also didn’t want to lie to them and act like everything was okay. Daddy was hurt, and I needed them to be praying for him just as much as I was. We were a family, and we needed to stick together.”-Jacqui Huxford
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“After multiple fruitless attempts to call and get more information about Jeff from the hospital, I decided to wait to hear the news once I arrived. I believe this was God protecting me from having my mind run wild if the doctors actually told me what was going on and how severe his injuries were.”-Jacqui Huxford
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Change from the inside out requires that take a disturbing look at the ugly parts of our soul. In the minds of many, that look means nothing more than confessing a tendency toward impatience or a sometimes critical spirit. Most Christians rather easily acknowledge there’s more to their sinfulness than specific behaviors that violate clear standards. Of course, we battle with “deeper” issues, selfish motives, and the like. But the matter is sometimes left there, at a level of non-convicting generality. (pg. 141)
That’s how Dr. Crabb writes the beginning paragraph of chapter 8. If you have a soul that is always concerned with the heavy burden of representing Christ, this bothers you. Yet, along with Christ, this is Dr. Larry Crabb’s assertion, so much so that you change in order to be more like Christ. I try to clothe myself in Christ’s righteousness in order so that I can fulfill 1 Peter 2:21 which says,
For to this, you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you may walk in His steps. (ESV)
On page 143 Dr. Crabb addresses our spirit of demandingness when he says in one of the last paragraphs that
Weighed tightly in our thirsty soul is the ugly disease of a demanding spirit. Change from the inside out requires that we our problem of demandingness and do something about it. The spirit of demandingness must be identified, recognized in all of its ugliness, and abandoned in repentance. Think with me about the problem from three angles: (1) how God views the problem, (2) how the problem develops, and (3) what God does with it. (pg. 143)
He addresses the 3 angles from Scripture, from one of the five books of the law, Numbers, to mostly concentrating on the life of Job. If you are not familiar with the life of Job, let me feebly try to retell his story in a few sentences. God was pleased with the way Job was conducting his life knowing that Job always put God first. Satan goes before God and said the only reason why Job blesses You is because You have made everything good for him, but the moment Job experiences trials in his life, then he will turn from You. So God gives Satan permission to make life extremely difficult for him, except that Satan can’t take his life.
It is during this process that Job loses sons and daughters, his wife isn’t helpful at all because it was her recommendation to curse the Almighty One and die, right down to his closest friends who misunderstood God’s purpose for Job’s suffering.
We are told that Job repented. Of what? Job abandoned his demand for relief, realizing it was uniquely unbecoming to demand anything from God.
How does one repent of a demanding spirit? What does it mean to trust God with our thirst and to abandon our self-protection? Before we examine these questions in Part Four, perhaps a further discussion of what it takes to expose the dirt inside the cup and dish is in order (Matthew 23:26).
Links to the story of Job:
“I would not proceed to guess what his (Jeff’s) injuries might include. I would remain rational and calm. It was the only way I could keep myself from spiraling out of control. I would trust God had this all under control.”-Jacqui Huxford
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“I had forgotten to put my wedding ring on that morning, and as weird as it sounds, I was insistent that we needed to go back to the house and get it before heading to the hospital.”-Jacki Huxford
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Jacqui Huxford, Jeff’s wife, has an important but different view of things surrounding Jeff’s almost fatalistic car accident. As she faced breaking the news of the car accident to their kids, she didn’t know what to do except for having the Holy Spirit guide her into it just like the Holy Spirit guided Jesus into the temptation.–
“Something inside me told me I needed to have my kids with me. What if the news was bad? What if they needed to say goodbye to their daddy today? I had to bring them bbecause I couldn’t live with the guilt of not having them around me if something went wrong.”-Jacqui Huxford
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Under A Clearer View of Sin, Dr. Larry Crabb pens,
To more fully grasp our Lord’s teaching we need a clearer understanding of sin, especially the sin that stains our heart. For ease of discussion, divide the problem of sin into two categories: (1) visible acts of transgression against clearly written Biblical standards and (2) subtle violations of our Lord’s command to love. When the second category is poorly understood, people expend all their spiritual energy in carefully defining Biblical standards and working hard to keep them. The usual result is pharisaical righteousness- or guilty frustration. Dealing with the first category of sin will not lead us to change from the inside out. (page 125)
How true! Even in my own life, I can see “more righteous than that person” attitude in my life. Don’t you dare think that “one and done” philosophy that has so much a part of our society. Instead, I let the Holy Spirit work inside of me to route out all the ways I am not like Christ. Let’s go on.
Under Our Styles of Relating, he says,
A person’s style of relating is like a proverbial snowflake-no two are exactly alike. The design reflected in all of them is the underlying motivation of either self-protection or love. … Remember an important principle: When people deny their thirst, they cannot the function of their relational style. But when their thirst is acknowledged and self-protection is unmasked, then trust in Christ can become more profound and repentance complete. … Progress is slow (real progress usually is), but change is real.” (pages 129, 135-6)
As I look over my life, taking a real hard look at it, I can see Chhrist in my life in the things I believe and do (James 2:14-26). However, if you asked me that question while I was going through one of the trials in my life, I don’t think I could say with absolute certainty that I was acting like Christ, putting my belief in Him, first.
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“As we look back on the spec of eternity that was the history of this planet, we will be impressed, not by its importance but by its smallness. From the viewpoint of the Andromeda galaxy, the holistic destruction of our entire solar system would be barely visible-a match flaring faintly in the distance, then imploding in permanent darkness. Yet, for this burnt out match, God sacrificed Himself.”-Philip Yancey
(This will be my last quote from this amazing book. I hope you get it, but first the Holy Bible in whatever version you can understand. 🙏)
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As some of you already know that John 11:35 is the shortest saying in the whole Bible-“Jesus wept.” And it is very easy to miss, and all of humanity is included in this.
We have to look for the “why” in John 11:35. I think we are to busy with maintaining our lives is why we are so caught up. Friends, families, acquaintances, even enemies are enough to keep us busy. Then for some of us, you throw in work and maintaining that mess. You may have additional stressors added to your life as we all do.
If you can indulge me for a minute, then that would be great and of eternal significance. You have to go back to the surrounding sayings that cry out, “Jesus wept.” His friends, Mary and Martha, sent word to Jesus, a miracle worker, that Lazarus, one of His best friends, was dying. Obviously, Jesus and His posse was not anywhere close to the village where Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were staying because “When Jesus heard this, He said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it” (11:4). But, Lazarus dies by the time Jesus got to him. In fact, Lazarus physical body had been dead for 4 days, enough for the smell of rotting flesh to overcome anyone.
And so, “Jesus wept” (11:35). Even though He knew what was going to happen, it didn’t stop that salty substance emanating from Jesus’ eyes. I could take many directions from this passage, but I will only take one: if you choose to start a relationship with Jesus Christ and you really take it as a relationship where you get to know Him, then He is a personal God who desires to be shared. Jesus wept over Lazarus which shows that He is personal even though He knows what is going to happen.
The same thing goes for you; Jesus Christ wants to start a relationship with you and keep the relationship growing.
Really think about the words that I am sharing, and then act upon it!
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From the chapter, “This Isn’t Normal,” Jacqui Huxford writes,
“Sometimes when things go wrong, you just need a hug and someone to tell you they love you.”
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