The Secret of Rest

Feel like you’re jammed in traffic all the time? You’re going here and there. There’s no time to rest, no time to enjoy this life you’re living?

You’re busy doing good. Maybe you’re taking care of the kids or grandkids, and there’s soccer practice, homework, dance lessons, dinner, lunches to pack, science project, and in between you’re getting groceries, cleaning the house, doing laundry and helping the neighbor with her sick mom.

You’re visiting the sick, delivering meals to shut-ins, and teaching a Bible study.

You’re busy doing good at work. You are tied to your phone and your computer. There’s the social media for work and for yourself. You need to write that report, and the meetings take the day away. When you get home, you cook dinner, help the kids with homework, bathe them, put them to bed, snuggle with your husband, put him to bed, then you settle in to get the work done for the next day at the office.

The “To Do” list is 10 sheets long and growing.

Continue reading The Secret of Rest

3 Gifts of God That Make All the Difference

Grace, love, and fellowship from the Prince of Peace, Mighty God and Eternal Father, and our Wonderful Counselor – for you and me!

Grace bestowed upon us from Jesus has been described as God’s riches at Christ’s expense. Grace flows from Jesus on the cross to wash our sins away with His blood. Grace that cost everything!

Love gave the Father’s only begotten Son to become my sin, your sin upon the cross, so that you and I might have life everlasting in the presence of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Love that surpasses understanding!

Fellowship breathed into those who trust in Jesus – an eternal fellowship of grace and love through the Holy Spirit. Fellowship that lasts forever! Continue reading 3 Gifts of God That Make All the Difference

A Review of Max Lucado’s New View of the Old Rugged Cross

“God does what we cannot do so we can be what we dare not dream: perfect before God.” (p. 71)

Max Lucado has compiled over 30 meditations from his books to help readers focus upon God’s great grace in The Gift for All People. As Christians around the world are focusing upon the cross, it is the perfect time to read this devotional. It may give you a different perspective on Jesus’ sacrifice for the world.

If you love Lucado’s poetical style of writing, you will be pleased with this book.

Lucado wrote “My prayer is that through these pages you’ll see his gift like you’ve never sent it.” I sensed that the book has been bathed in prayer.

This book is a must read in any season, and yet, a special gift in the weeks leading up to the sorrow of Good Friday and the joy of Resurrection Sunday.

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

My prayer

Father, thank You for Max Lucado and his passion to worship You through his writing. We are so blessed by his writing. Empower readers all over the world to understand You more as a result of his books. Father, glorify Your name. Your grace is truly great, and we magnify Your Word.

 

 

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.

Grace race or rat race?

CCB Cross - 1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

What if we were to approach our Christian walk as an athlete? Would we lose some weight, get some lighter running shoes, schedule hours each day to work on our technique and form? Christians are athletes to a certain extent. Some of us are balance beam experts. We have one foot on the world’s beam and one in the air towards heaven.

I don’t know about you, but my technique needs some work. I’m running the race, but sometimes, it’s the rat-race instead of the grace race.

Keith and I are going through the Your Sacred Yes Workbook and DVD by Susie Larson, and I’m learning to get rid of the weights that aren’t on God’s plan for me. It’s difficult, but as an athlete adjusts her diet, focuses upon the end result, the medal or prize, I am trying to look towards Jesus and the prize, eternal life with Him, the joy set before me.

Jesus focused on the joy that was set before Him, looking at the cross and shame to His place seated at the right hand of the throne of God. That joy was χαρά, gladness, calm delight, blessedness.

Matthew Henry writes of the joy of Jesus:

He had something in view under all his sufferings, which was pleasant to him; he rejoiced to see that by his sufferings he should make satisfaction to the injured justice of God and give security to his honour and government, that he should make peace between God and man, that he should seal the covenant of grace and be the Mediator of it, that he should open a way of salvation to the chief of sinners, and that he should effectually save all those whom the Father had given him, and himself be the first-born among many brethren. This was the joy that was set before him.

Suffering was part of the race of Jesus. Although He prayed that there was another way to accomplish the joy that was set before Him, there was no other way, and he accepted the pain of the cross, the shame, the isolation for an eternal moment. He knew what was waiting for Him, and it was worth it. It was joy unspeakable.

Imagine, the Author and Finisher of our faith, our Creator, our Comforter, our Savior, loved us so much that He set aside His glory, and suffered pain, shame and His Father turning away from Him for an eternal moment, all for us!

Let’s rid ourselves of anything that holds us back from the race that God has planned for us, and let’s train like we’ve never trained before. We have the joy of the Lord set before us.

My prayer

Jesus, thank You for Your great love, for Your endurance, for Your focus upon the joy that was set before You. Teach us how to be so focused that we will run the race You have given us with endurance, looking to You and the joy set before us. We love You, Jesus.

Tell us about your grace race

Christ in You, a Book Review

ChristinYouEric Johnson has written a powerful book that Christians need to read, with Berean discernment, searching the Scriptures as they read this book. Johnson examines the last section of Colossians 1:27, “Christ in you” sometimes adding “the hope of glory.”

Johnson’s premise is that Christians limit themselves because they do not understand the depth of what it means that Jesus dwells in them. Healings, miracles, and mighty works should follow Christians as they followed the early church.

Johnson writes,”After you turned your face to God, you were grafted into His bloodline and became His son or daughter. So rather than saying, ‘I’m a sinner saved by grace,’ a more accurate statement would be to say something like this: ‘I was a sinner, and grace is what has transformed me into a saint.'”

John writes to Christians, saints who have been saved by grace in 1 John 2:1: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” I wonder how Johnson would respond.

Yet, there is great truth in Johnson’s book. We sometimes define ministry as the work done through “the church” rather than considering our professions as a venue for ministry. He urges us to remove the compartments of our lives and consider it all ministry.

Johnson writes that our Christian walk is like setting a person with musical talent in front of a piano. Before that musical talent is manifested, the person must practice hour upon hour, month upon month, and year upon year. Finally, the person is playing at Carnegie Hall. Finally, the Christian is doing greater works that she ever imagined.

“When you realize who lives in you, you will be shocked at what can take place because you are not limiting yourself to what you think you can do.”

Johnson urges readers to consider their position in light of the fact that Christ lives in them, and to step out in the power of Jesus working through them.

I recommend the book to those readers who will search the Scriptures as they read it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Chosen, for an honest review.

My prayer

Father, thank You for Pastor Johnson and his desire to free Christians from the limitations that they have placed upon You and upon themselves. Guide readers as they ponder Your greatness and their walk with You. Thank You for loving us and for dwelling within us.