Hey there boy and girls of all ages and abilities! Access-Life ministry intern Hannah Spradling bringing the March 3 in 3! We have lots of great ministry happenings in the next few weeks with the Central Florida Spring Fling tomorrow and Belize April 12th-17th.
Please pray for all the ministry events going on and everyone involved. We hope if March has brought anyone winds that April showers wash those away just like Jesus’ blood washed away our sins! Have a blessed day!
Now Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
In my quiet times this week, I’ve been thinking about faith a lot. What is faith? Do I actually have any? It got me thinking about a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” I replayed these words in my head over and over. And then I suddenly began to think about the verse that I emphasized from Hebrews chapter eleven.
I have a hard time trusting God when answers don’t appear in obvious ways. I like to brace myself for whatever lies ahead and that is obviously difficult to do when I am unaware of what is coming around the proverbial corner. My fear of the unknown becomes the loudest voice in my head. Because of this fear, I often would prefer to stay on the step that is known rather than continue to progress and journey with Christ. It feels safer to live that way.
Even though I know it feels safer to stay on a metaphorical stair that I am comfortable with, I also have to trust God in the midst of fear. Having faith, to me at least, doesn’t mean that fear is non-existent, it means clinging to Christ while I am afraid of the unknown. I don’t minimize the fact that I am afraid, but instead, I take a step while scared and unsure. That is what faith looks like to me.
So, as I continue growing and developing, I want to be someone who takes a step while I am afraid and unsure. And may that step be rooted in a trust in the reality that Christ will always take care of me.
Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Tell Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel with this special blessing: ‘May the LORD bless you and PROTECT you. May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you. May the LORD show you his favor and give you his peace.’ Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.” Numbers 6: 22-27
These verses are absolutely beautiful. It’s a beautiful blessing from God to the people that God has cared for over a long period of time. You can hear the genuine love overflowing from God’s heart. And think that these words reflect God’s heart for us today as well. Protect, smile, gracious, favor, and peace. These attributes are so wonderful.
As I have been thinking through these verses, I thought about how God doesn’t just have attributes, God is what God has. God doesn’t just give love, God is love. The same is true for the attributes mentioned in Numbers chapter six. God is our Protector. God delights. God is our Provider. God is the embodiment of Peace that surpasses all understanding. These aren’t just things that God has, this is who God is.
When looking at my own life and my interactions with God, I need to stop asking for attributes. I don’t just need protection, grace, or favor. I need Jesus. Christ has to be my first and foremost desire. Yes, of course, it’s not bad to desire protection, grace, favor, or peace, but those things can’t be more important than the Source of those attributes. But, more often than not, I get too focused on God giving the things that I think I need rather than God’s presence. This is ultimately a reflection of my lack of trust in who God is. I am afraid of getting hurt, so it’s easier to ask for things instead of relationships.
As I continue to walk with Jesus, I want my prayers and my desires to be centered around God, not just what God can give me. I don’t just need protection, a divine smile, grace, favor, and peace. I need Christ.
Happy Valentine’s Day from Access-Life! We really wanted to spread some LOVE today so what better way than to do the February 3 in 3 about God’s LOVE with some LOVELY jokes and ministry news done by our LOVING intern, Hannah Spradling. So checkout the video, enjoy the day and even laugh a little. #Godislove
The Access-Life Belize mission trip and outreach got a big boost from our good friends at Moody Radio South Florida with a live interview on the morning show with Eric and Bridget! Attached is the audio link so check it out and find out more about Belize. Thank you so much friends at WRMB for your many years of support!
“I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” -Isaiah 46:4
I struggle with allowing people to carry me. And, as someone with a physical disability, people offering or attempting to carry me happens more often than most, I’d assume. This struggle is that I like to do things myself. On the surface, I don’t think that this desire is bad or wrong but the reality is that this desire of wanting to figure things out myself has bled into my relationships too.
I don’t want to be carried or sustained by those around me because I am afraid that I will inevitably be perceived as “too much” or as “a burden” by those that are in my world. I’m afraid that people will get tired of needing to carry me at times, and as a result, they will eventually leave. So, I try to carry the load myself so that I don’t have to deal with being seen as a burden or deal with abandonment. I convince myself that putting everything on my own shoulders is ultimately better because it (in my estimation) won’t lead to loneliness.
This mentality isn’t limited to my relationships with other people, it is very much a factor in my relationship with God as well. I am afraid that God will see me as a burden and want to spend time and energy on a better option. Of course, this is an unhealthy and incorrect view of myself and of God. I can’t allow my own insecurities to dictate how I understand God’s love and the love of other people, for that matter. I have to push through my own fears of abandonment and allow myself to be loved, or as the verse says, be carried and be sustained.
Can I trust God’s love to carry me and sustain me? Can I push through insecurity? Can I trust that God won’t let me go? And can I trust that others around me will reiterate the love that God has shown?
The first Access-Life “3 in3” of 2023 is here! Happy New Year! You want to know more about jewelers and New Year’s Eve, how many good days it takes to make a good year, who can make any day a good day and all the good God has planned for the ministry in 2023? Then check it out, be blessed and HAPPY GOOD DAY. :)
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
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.
So what is one of the best things to do during the Christmas season? Party! That’s right. I mean the whole reason we celebrate Christmas is because of the birth of Jesus. It’s Jesus’ birthday. And what do you do on birthdays? Throw parties. :)
That’s what we do at our Access-Life Christmas Jingle and Mingles each year. We invite individuals and families living with disabilities to come and do crafts, games, share food, fellowship, sing carols and tell the nativity story for starters. We have a birthday party for Jesus!
For some attendees it is the first time the make the connection between Christmas and Jesus’ birth for others it is a time where they can express their joy for God’s great gift. We even give out gifts at our Jingle and Mingles. After all God started the tradition with Jesus and the wise men followed suit with gifts for the Christ child.
All in all, our East Tennessee Jingle and Mingle held up this birthday party tradition well and everyone was blessed by the knowledge that Jesus was born for them.