Grace & Freedom when we Lay It Down!

Freedom. Freedom to be what God intended us to be. Freedom to rest in Him. Freedom to let God work. Freedom.

Lay It Down is about Gospel freedom.  Lay It Down is not about performance … it’s about freedom to live abundantly in all that we were created to be … it’s about freedom to live in Christ Jesus.

Bill Tell, a leader in The Navigators for decades, writes of his walk from burnout to freedom in the Gospel. Tell had to unlearn certain beliefs he had about the Gospel, and in his reconsideration, he found the true grace of the Gospel.

He found that

… the Son of God lived and died so we could begin experiencing the glories of eternal life now and the radical life-changing freedom of the gospel today! It is a freedom that changes everything about us; it’s a change we desperately need. p. XV

Tell writes of three miracles about our relationship with God.

  1. The unconditional Good News. God views His children differently. That means that our performance does not win God’s love. God views us through the performance and sacrifice of Jesus. God views us differently than some have been conditioned to view themselves.
  2. The transformational Good News. God makes His children different. His children are free to obey, love, and bear fruit. 
  3. The relational Good News. God relates to His children differently. Because God’s children are free from shame, they are free to be loved and to accept that love.

In Lay It Down, Tell demonstrates what Jesus told His disciples.

I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5

Those who belong to Jesus, must lay down their performance, their independence, their shame, their ego, and let Jesus work in them.

My prayer

Father, thank You, that You have completely taken care of the Good News and that there is nothing that we can do except lay down our performance, our shame, our brokenness at the foot of the cross. Thank You that You have delivered us from our sin, and You have transformed us to live in Your freedom of the Gospel. Lord, bless Bill Tell as he points people to You.

Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of Lay It Down: Living in the Freedom of the Gospel for my honest review.

The Gospel of Happiness, a review

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In The Gospel of Happiness, Christopher Kaczor writes, “I hoped to write a book that would be helpful for Christians by providing a glimpse into an exciting new development called positive psychology which can significantly enrich their lives and provide surprising new justifications for practices recommended by Jesus himself.”

In 1998, Martin Seligman, president-elect of the American Psychological Association, launched a new movement called “positive psychology.” Instead of focusing upon people’s problems, Seligman sought to focus upon what makes people happy and more resilient. For example, scientists have discovered that those who practice religion experience less depression.

Kaczor explores the principles of “positive psychology” that parallel Catholic practices and Scripture. In addition, he discusses empirical studies that support the teachings of Jesus.

  • A Stanford University study found that flyers detailing the consequences of binge drinking were less effective than flyers that identified those who binge drank with a group of students who were “social lepers.” The dormitory where the identity-based flyers were displayed (naming the group of “social lepers”) experienced 50% less drinking than the dormitory that featured the flyers detailing the consequences.
  • Kaczor relates the outcomes of this study to Jesus identifying types of people in His parables: “Lazarus and the rich man, the tax collector and the Pharisee, the persistent widow and the unjust judge.” The Good Samaritan parable is used elsewhere in the book.

Although Kaczor acknowledges that God can bring growth from negative experiences and the fact that there are unhappy Christians, he emphasizes that happiness is a natural outcome of Christian practice and that “positive psychology” can provide powerful techniques.

Kaczor points out that perfect happiness is the result of a perfect relationship with God and only possible in heaven.

Interestingly, Kaczor does not discuss the Beatitudes, Jesus’ teaching to His disciples on blessedness or happiness.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:3-12

Jesus was a “man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,” Isaiah 53:3, and yet, Jesus endured temporary unhappiness for the joy set before Him Hebrews 12:2.

Kaczor has written a practical book that blends portions of psychology with the principles of the Christian walk, and “… many of the findings of positive psychology can aid a Christian in living a Christian life by suggesting new empirically tested ways to practice forgiveness and gratitude, by providing empirically tested ways to increase happiness by forgiving those who have trespassed against us, by exploring the power of prayer, and by helping to strengthen willpower.”

First, the Gospel of Salvation, a Gospel defined as “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: And that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; 1 Corinthians 15:3-6a. Then flows the happiness or blessedness that Kaczor describes.

My prayer

Thank You, Jesus, for dying on the cross for our sins and for conquering death through Your resurrection. Through Your pain and sorrow, through Your great sacrifice, we experience Your true love and blessedness. You have shown us that through all our efforts, we cannot achieve ultimate happiness. You alone give it to those who are called Your followers. Thank You for Dr. Kaczor and the practical helps he has provided. Fill him with Your perfect wisdom and guide him as he teaches others Your principles.

I received a complimentary copy of The Gospel of Happiness from Blogging for Books for my honest review.

Possess heaven

Cooking Class - 1

Ever step back and question what an instructor is saying?
Ever question God’s outrageous promises?

He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 5:2-3

Continue reading Possess heaven

The Holy Land Key … A review

HOLYLANDKEY

 

 

In The Holy Land Key: Unlocking end-times prophecy through the lives of God’s people in Israel, Ray Bentley brings to life end times prophecy like no other pastor I’ve encountered. He shows us his friends and colleagues in Israel who are living it out.

“For Jews living in Israel today, prophecy is their present as well as their future.”

Stories of divine appointments, struggles, successes, and defeats make the prophecies come alive. I connected in a personal way with the individuals Bentley shared.

Bentley shows us the patterns God ordained from the beginning of the world. Patterns that are displayed first in the natural visible flesh, and then revealed in the spiritual realm.

Bentley weaves the seasons and Feasts of the Lord, the riddle of the Sphinx, the Gospel displayed in the Zodiac, and current events into a tapestry filled with rich colors, intricate patterns, and layered meanings.

He reveals a role in end-times prophecy for America. Christopher Columbus believed that his voyage to discover America was his mission. In his Book of Prophecies, Columbus claimed that the discovery of the New World was “the fulfillment of what Isaiah prophesied” in Isaiah 24:15 and 60:9.

Unlike many end-times prophecy books, The Holy Land Key offers more than in-depth revelation; it calls the reader to action and gives practical steps and resources available to enlist readers to get involved.

This is a book that I will refer to again and again. This is also a book that has spurred me on to learn more about the Gospel revealed in the Zodiac.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for an honest review.

 

My prayer:

Father, You are such an awesome God, revealing Your patterns and prophecies to those who love Your coming. Thank you for Ray Bentley, his Jewish friends, and all who contributed to the publication of The Holy Land Key. Bless the ministries mentioned in this book, and bless Israel and Your chosen people. Surround Israel with Your grace, love, and protection. We look forward to the fulfillment of Your Word.