I was having a lunch meeting with some friends and co-ministers when the subject of Gathered Under Grace came up. One of my friends asked me why I had changed the format for the devotional? I have to say my mind went quickly to a problem with the website and how the formatting was displaying. I had recently spoken with another friend and reader, who had been having trouble viewing the devotional from her phone. We had diagnosed and corrected the issue by clearing her internet cache. I quickly realized that my friend meant something entirely different. She was referring to my recent switch to moving through the Book of John. She spoke about how much she missed the everyday context of the Gathered Under Grace devotionals that had spoken to how Jesus in reflected in our everyday lives and situations.
I must admit that I too have had some misgivings about the switch. When I write, the words tend to flow from my fingers. Sometimes, even I, the writer, must go back and read with I have written. A few weeks ago, in ‘John and the Beginning’, the devotional ended with ‘let’s read John together’ and the switch happened. It seemed right and the switch began from that moment. As time has passed, the writings have begun to transform into what most would consider a Bible study. That was not at all what I imagined, but obviously, it was a plan prompted by the Holy Spirit.
As our lunch/meeting conversation continued I realized that the switch transformed the devotional from what had been intended as a devotional into a study. I believe that God has a plan and purpose for our lives. Our lives may take turns that we do not expect, and we may end up in places that we had not anticipated at all. That doesn’t mean the plan has changed, it means that we got there in a different way than we thought we would. Today marked one of those turns. My friend confirmed and encouraged me, and she also prompted me to have a conversation with Jesus.
If you’ve been keeping up with the John study, then you know that the term ‘have a conversation with Jesus’ is prominent in the context of the writings. Here is a prime example of the need to speak and discuss options with Jesus. He is after all, the author and finisher of our faith. The best part of God working in us, is that He leads, and we follow, not the other way around.
1 Chronicles 29:17 MSG
“I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there. You know I have done all this with good motives, and I have watched your people offer their gifts willingly and joyously.”
Just as this verse speaks to good motives, and a willing and joyful spirit, I know in my knower that this prompting was intentional on the part of the Holy Spirit. I now understand and recognize that His prompting was to begin something new, not instead of. A new move towards a new tab, not a redo of the original concept. Yikes…better late than never. I am truly humbled by God and His willingness to correct with love and encouragement. The take away is that even when we think we are listening closely, we may not hear correctly. Fear not, God will always lend a hand as needed, and steer us back on course.
As of today, I am going to begin creating and transferring the ‘Book of John’ writings to a new tab on the website. It may take a few days to set up and complete the transfer, but I will continue going through the Gospel of John until we have completed the entire book. The Bible Study, however, will not come in the regular subscriber’s email or on the Gathered Under Grace social media platforms. For now, if you would like to continue with the study of ‘John’, readers should go directly to the Bible Study tab on the website on a regular basis, while keeping in mind that I will need a few days to get it all set up and running smoothly.
As I continue to write what God has instilled in me, I pray that you too, will be anticipating the new move, on a new tab, while continuing to look forward to the Gathered Under Grace Devotional returning to its roots. As I have said many times, I look forward to your comments, feedback and encouragement in the website’s comments section. I just have to say it again ... The best part of God working in us, is that He leads, and we follow, not the other way around (even when we take an unexpected detour) and conversations with Jesus are incredibly powerful.