Merry Christmas from Leanne, me, Hannah Spradling and Access-Life! We could not figure out a gift that we could get everyone so here is the December ministry 3 in 3 to hopefully bring a smile to your face, a little bit of Jesus to your hearts and some nosy news for your brain. LOL we all hope you have a very, very, very merry, merry, merry Christmas, Christmas, Christmas! #Jesusisthereasonfortheseason
Words of encouragement, support and blessing for individuals and families living with disabilities
Access-Life Presents “Real Life” by Chad Van De Griek: December 22, 2022 – Love Came to Us
1 Cor 13:7: “It [love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes always perseveres.”
As we collectively find ourselves in the heart of the Christmas season, a verse like the one previously emphasized feels particularly impactful. It’s beautiful to think about how God’s love always protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres. As I let these words stay in the forefront of my mind over the last day or so, I noticed myself gravitating toward the end of the verse that talks about how love always hopes and always perseveres.
Love always hoping and always persevering has been a theme of mine during this Christmas season. Life can be difficult, and that difficulty can eventually create a feeling of hopelessness. When that is the case in my own life, I remember that I have to cling to something that is more stable than my own circumstances. Circumstances change, but time and time again, I see that God’s love is unending. God’s love is something that I can confidently put my trust in, even in the midst of difficulty. Christmas reminds me that not only does God love me, but that God’s love is not fickle love. It is worthy of my trust.
Christmas also reminds me that, like the verse says, God’s love is willing to persevere. This attribute is especially noticeable when I think about the incarnation or the idea that God came to Earth and put on a human nature. Fully God and yet fully human. How much does God love humanity? Enough to be willing to live the life like we live. God was willing to persevere through things like fatigue, stress, heartbreak, and pain because of God’s endless love. That is a deep kind of love.
This reality is what often draws me back to God’s heart for me. God sees me and knows what it feels like to be in a limited body. God knows what it feels like to be rejected. And yet, God’s love perseveres. This pattern of perseverance is not just seen at Christ’s birth, but it continues throughout Christ’s life and is culminated at Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. How much does God love us? Enough to persevere through the struggles of life and even through death itself.
God’s love for us is unending. God’s love for us was and still is willing to push through any difficulty. That is what I hope to remember as Christmas continues to draw near. I pray that we all can remember that. God sees us. God loves us. God came for us.
Access-Life 2022 Fall Newsletter – Fall for Jesus because He never Leaves
Our final Access-Life newsletter of 2022 went into the mail this week and since we cannot “snail” mail it to all of the ministry family and friends, we thought we’d share it digitally, too. :) It covers the big Fall Farm Day we had in East Tennesse and our new Volunteer Spotlight Section! So, check-it out, enjoy the pictures, be blessed by the words and know that God is still doing good things out there in the world. #JesusStrong, #waymaker, #promisekeeper, #miracleworker, #lightinthedarkness, #DisabilityMinistry
Access-Life “3 in 3”: November 30, 2022 – THANK YOU!
Ok. Our Access-Life “3 in 3” for November is here! As you would suspect it is about being thankful but maybe not in the way you might think. So, check it out and may God bless you richly in this wonderous season of gratitude to God for His many good blessings [THANKSGIVING] and giving from God of the very best gift [CHRISTMAS].
Happy Thanksgiving to all of our Access-Life family and friends. We hope your day has been filled with thanksgiving to our heavenly Father for the many good gifts that he has bestowed upon us this year! We pray that you all enjoyed time with family and/or friends being blessed by each other’s company. Plus, of course some wonderful food. :-) Please know that Leanne and I are so thankful for each and every one of you who are involved in the ministry through prayer, giving, serving, and participating. We are all blessed to be a blessing to each other and that is a truth regardless of your abilities or disabilities. May God bless each of you richly in this holiday season of Thanksgiving and may we all continue display that spirit of gratitude to our heavenly Father for all of the good gifts that he has given us [“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17]. We hope this simple picture I drew back in 2019 along with the eternal truth of the verse included will rise up hope in your heart of all of the blessings that are being poured out upon us daily. :-)
Access-Life Presents “Real Life” by Chad Van De Griek: November 22, 2022 – Enjoy God’s Blessings
“There, in the presence of the LORD your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the LORD your God has blessed you.” Deuteronomy 12:7
There is something beautiful about knowing that you are seen and wanted, and when I look at the verses surrounding the verse previously emphasized, I hear God communicating that very idea God has a deep desire to be with those that are near to God’s heart, both back in antiquity and today as well. God wants to be with us!
However, the conversation doesn’t end there. Not only does God want to be with us, but God also wants us to reflect that same type of love and generosity to those around us. As followers of Jesus, we have an opportunity to be people who walk alongside others, love them deeply, and always point back to Jesus and what God has done in our lives. When we are in community with others, we are able to have moments like one that is described in Deuteronomy 12. We are able to thank God for what we have and for the people that have been placed in our lives. As a community, we can celebrate together and point each other to the God who loves us, blessed us, and wants to be with us.
I did want to make sure that I took the time to say that I know that there are many parallels between this conversation and upcoming holiday celebrations, especially Thanksgiving. The fact is that for many of us, the upcoming holiday season can bring forth a lot of emotions, many of which aren’t incredibly positive. If you find yourself reading a verse that discusses topics like eating and rejoicing with family and find yourself struggling, know that you aren’t alone. God sees us where we are and wants to be with us even in the midst of incredible difficulty. Not only that, but God has also placed people in our lives to help us feel loved and understood.
Access-Life “3 in 3”: October 30, 2022 – Speak Up for God!
Words, words, words! What’s the big deal about words? Check out this month’s Access-Life 3 in 3 to find out and even catch some birthday surprises.
Access-Life Presents “Real Life” by Chad Van De Griek: October 20, 2022 – There is Always HOPE with God
Romans 12:2: Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
As I write this blog post today, I find myself reeling after a couple of really difficult weeks. Difficult losses, unmet expectations, inconvenient logistical changes, and other unfortunate circumstances have left me in a really tough place physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. All of these realities have made writing a difficult endeavor. I was unsure of what exactly I wanted to say or how I wanted to say it. But, as I reflected on the highlighted verse from Paul’s letter, I realized what I wanted to talk about.
When I would think about Romans 12:2 in the past, I would usually view it as a commentary on how we, as followers of Jesus, should interact with temptations or desires that go against what God has asked of us. And, while I don’t view that as a wrong interpretation, I will say that the past few weeks have made me look at Paul’s words in a bit of a different light.
When dealing with things that weigh on our minds and hearts, I believe that followers of Jesus have an opportunity to be different. When we have a down week, or multiple down weeks, we can trust that we are still held tight in God’s steady hands and that there is hope even in the darkest and most difficult of circumstances. To be sure, this doesn’t exclude us from feeling grief, or deep sadness, or any other emotion, but rather, walking with Jesus helps us have the confidence to face those feelings and emotions and trust that we are not alone in the fight. It’s not up to us to carry all of these emotions ourselves. We have hope when there seems to be no hope and a firm identity when everything that we cling to seems to be fading. So, even in the midst of the hardest challenges, we can have hope and face it all because of the God that is in us and the people and resources that God puts in our lives.
Access-Life “3 in 3”: September 26, 2022 – Get some Sonshine!
Fall is here but never fear as the Access-Life September #AL3IN3 video is here, too! Enjoying some Florida Sunshine in our yard under the trees with a great Sun joke, verse on good things from God and update on the good things God is doing thru the ministry. Check it out and we pray you are encouraged and blessed. :)
Access-Life Presents “Real Life” by Chad Van De Griek: September 15, 2022 – God is Running After You!
Surely your goodness and faithfulness will pursue me all my days, and I will live in the LORD’s house for the rest of my life. Psalms 23:6
Verse six of Psalm 23 is a passage of scripture that I often forget about. It’s an aspect of this well-known Psalm that I overlook. When reading King David’s words, I find myself focusing on the other verses in Psalm 23 that talk about God being my shepherd and how God is with me as I walk through the darkest valley, but verse six feels different
I love the idea of God’s goodness and faithfulness pursuing me. It’s a different thought process than I am often used to. When I think about my relationship with God, I often view myself as the one who pursues, I am the one who has to earn God’s goodness and faithfulness. But, this is, of course, an incorrect and unhealthy view of the Good News of Jesus.
God pursues me. It’s never been the other way around. God shares goodness and faithfulness with me, not because of anything I have done, but of God’s consistent character and vast love. It’s all because of Christ.
Sometimes when writing articles like this, I try to have deep and profound statements to share. But the beauty of the Gospel is its simplicity. Because of Christ, we can come boldly before God and experience an unending amount of goodness, faithfulness, and love.
God pursues us, God loves us, and God wants to be with us. That’s the Good News. King David worded it better than I ever could, surely God’s goodness and faithfulness will pursue me all the days of my life. I never want to forget that, and I want to always be someone who reminds others of it as well It’s simple, yet profound. It is the Good News.
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