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.

5 years healed!

Guitar KiteA stranger walked up to me and gave me this heavy kite.

 
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:28-31
When I was 19 and in the hospital, a Methodist minister blessed me by introducing me to Isaiah 40:31. It soon became my life verse. It became God’s promise to me as I struggled with an unknown disease. In 2001, I learned that it was celiac, and I am able to control it through diet.
Unlike the celiac, when fibromyalgia was triggered in my body around 1995, I was unable to control the symptoms. Fibromyalgia is a savage condition. It zapped my energy, stole my memory, and smacked me with pain.
I went from one doctor to another, from pills to injections, from diet cures to supplement cures. I was sustained for awhile, but in 2010, I deteriorated to the point where my doctor wanted me to go on disability, but I refused. He then reduced my work week. I continued to get worse.
I prayed, I cried, I questioned, I read.
Father, I thought You had work for me to do in my job! I can’t do the work like I am.
Silence.
Okay, Father, I’ll resign myself to bed. You must want me to suffer graciously and be a testimony that way.
On Saturday, November 20, 2010, I gave up. I decided to resign from work.
On Sunday, Keith drove us to church. Head on the headrest, I turned my face toward him.
There’s that healing service tonight. Want to go?
Sure.
No discussions followed.
Our church and another church sponsored the event; we were church leaders, so we went.
The praise music was incredible, and the Holy Spirit blessed the people tremendously.
The minister called for those with hearing problems to come forward for prayer. One of our friends came back crying … his deaf ear now heard.
The minister called for those with sight problems to come forward for prayer. One of our church members returned seeing perfectly, although she was scheduled for cataract surgery the following Tuesday.
When the minister called for those with chronic pain to go forward, Keith grabbed my arm and marched me right up to the front.
God used that man’s touch to pour His peace, His healing into me and onto Keith.
Five years ago today, the Lord worked a mighty miracle in my body and my spirit, confirmed a miracle by my doctor.
Five years ago today, I received a new life, a new freedom, a new peace, and new strength.

Four gifts God gave me on November 21, 2010

  1. New life. I told someone yesterday that I was always “pretty puny … until now.” I was limited by my sicknesses. Today, I am only limited by self-inflicted limitations. My God is limitless.
  2. New freedom. Since I was healed, God gave me the freedom to be bold about proclaiming His goodness, His works, and His promises. He has given me the freedom to recognize the works He is doing in others and the opportunities to point them to Jesus. My God frees me to be bold.
  3. New peace. The Lord’s healing filled me with His peace, a peace beyond understanding, a peace in the midst of the storm. My God pours out His peace.
  4. New strength. On January 1, 2011, just five weeks after the Lord’s healing, I ran on the beach flying a heavy kite that a stranger walked up to me and gave me a kite. Six months after the Lord’s healing, I climbed half-way up the Great Wall of China (half-way due to lack of time). My God restores strength.

God answers prayer in His timing. Wait upon the Lord expecting Him to act, and He will work wonders beyond your imagination in and through you.

My prayer

Father, thank You for answering the prayers of Your children. Thank You for working in our lives, for restoring our strength, pouring out Your peace, freeing us to be bold, and showing us our self-limiting attitudes. Bless these readers with Your healing touch that strengthens their lives, their dreams, and their intimacy with You. We love You, Lord.

This week, ask God to free you to be bold for Him.

Please share how God is working in your life with readers.

Hiding in the Light – Freedom in Jesus

9781601426963

Hiding in the Light reveals the life of one young Muslim woman as God takes her by the hand and leads her through the valley of the shadow of death in the presence of her enemies and ushers her into His pure Light.

God worked in a child’s life, and she trusted that He would protect her and keep her whatever came her way. With each trial, God proved Himself to her, and her faith grew to an uncommon depth.

Rifqa Bary leaned on Scripture in times of trials and terror.

“The LORD will give strength unto His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace.” Psalm 29:11

Bary pursued freedom … freedom from abuse and freedom to worship God. “Jesus is freedom and forgiveness, hope and love, peace and purpose, plain and simple.”

With God’s help, she came to know the freedom to forgive.

May you know the healing that comes with the freedom of forgiveness, hope, love, peace, and purpose that comes only through a deep faith in Jesus.

This book is an inspiring testimony of God reaching into an unlikely person’s life and using that person to capture the world’s attention and challenge an easy-faith approach to Christianity.

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

Author’s page

My prayer

Father, thank You so much for Riqfa Bary and her faithfulness to Your Word and leading. Thank You, for the brave Christians who helped her as You sent them to You. Thank You for Your guidance as you led everyone in Your will. Father, we pray for Riqfa and other young women like her. Fill them with Your Presence. Thank You, Father, for this inspiring story. We love you.

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.

4 years healed … 4 years of grace

Eagle in Alaska

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
His understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might He increases strength.

Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;

but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the Lord’s healing. On November 21, 2010, the Lord miraculously healed me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

I had come to the end of what I could do for myself and what the doctors could do. I had even come to the end of pleading for healing. My desire had changed … I wanted more of God.

My Father honored that desire for more of Him. That would have been enough, but He had more in store for me;  He healed me.

My LORD took this pain-stricken, exhausted woman who had come to the conclusion that she would honor God from her bed and healed her. Healed her for a purpose … to live the story of His great grace and love, to proclaim His goodness and works in today’s world.

I recently participated in the Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes. I ran part of the walk. A nurse who had prayed with me during my pain and suffering saw me run and marveled. I hadn’t seen her while I was running, but a week later, she told me how much that had meant to her.

My prayer.

Father, You renewed my strength. You have enabled me to soar to new heights and empowered me to swoop down into new depths with You. With You, I will not grow weary or faint. In Your grace, I have been healed for Your work. Thank You for Your grace, love, and power.

Are you waiting on the Lord?

 

 

40 days towards Greater

Greater

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. John 14:12

Greater Devotional challenges the reader to believe John 14:12 and to act upon this promise of Jesus. Steven Furtick asks the reader to dream of greater works but to start with the small things, the foundational things that build toward the greater.

This devotional takes the reader from “The Muck of Mediocrity” to “Great Calling, Great Cost” in 40 days. Each day has a Scripture reading, a reflection, and a prayer focus. Unique to this devotional, each day includes a pithy tweet, like “God has to bruise you before He can use you” or “Every step you take is a victory. A chance for celebration.”

This book came to me at a time of bruising. I was able to recognize the small steps that had been taken and the greater impact that they had together. Through reflection, I celebrated the small steps.

The call to be greater is the call to walk with God Himself.

I highly recommend this book for those who are ready to grasp the promise of Jesus to do greater works.

Steven Furtick urges us to

Dream big.

 

Start small.

 

Ignite God’s vision for your life, starting today.

Won’t you take the challenge?

Read Chapter One

Author Bio

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