Posted in Book Reviews, Life as it happens.

Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges {A Review}

51JAXctyoTL._AC_US218_The late Jerry Bridges is known for authoring many books on our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. His books include: The Practice of Godliness,  The Pursuit of Holiness, and many others.

I had not read any of his works before reading Transforming Grace. I might have to change that.

Transforming Grace is simply the best book I have read on the topic of God’s Grace toward us.  I have read many books on the topic of grace by many different authors, but none hold a candle to this one. So much of the book resonated deeply in this heart.

If you want or need a good book on the topic of God’s grace go to your local Christian bookstore and purchase this one. An added bonus there is a study guide in the back of the book. This book would work well for an individual, personal study of grace or it could be used in a group study.

Jerry Bridges, as much as any man could, had a handle on grace. He tenderly teaches us that our salvation is all Jesus and not at all us. It’s isn’t Jesus + Whatever I do, but it is simply Jesus and His great Grace.

A few of my favorite quotes from the book:

“This instantaneous act of God by which He beings sanctification in us is just as much a gift of God’s grace as justification. God does not wait until we ‘surrender all’, make a second commitment to Christ’s lordship, or anything like that. God give sanctification by His grace.” (page 117)

And another one.

“Our love for God, expressed through obedience to Him, is to be a response to His love, not a means of trying to earn it.” (page 92)

One last one.

“God is worthy of my loving obedience because of who He is, not because of what He does.” (page 89)

What did I love about this book? In short, everything. It put into words what my heart believed and couldn’t articulate. So many times I was inwardly shouting, “YES! This is exactly right!!”

It opened my eyes and brought out many questions, hard questions that I needed to answer.

What did I not like about the book? Nothing.

Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges will change your life and is a necessary addition to your library. It is published by NavPress and is available through your local Christian bookstore or your favorite online seller.

 

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of review. All opinions are my my own.

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Posted in Jesus, Life as it happens.

A little Grace

Recently we were dining out, it was a Sunday afternoon and the restaurant was busy. We had about a 15-minute wait. Once at our table our server came by to take our drink orders and almost immediately she returned with them. After she took our orders she said she was going to go put them right in and we should have our meal in no time.

We enjoyed our appetizer and didn’t notice that it had been quite awhile since we had ordered, our server goes by and says she’s going to check on our meal. A few minutes later she comes to our table and tells us she had forgotten to put our order in right away, and she offered to get her manager so they could do something with our bill.

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All of our eyes are on this girl, brave enough to face hungry people and say “I screwed up.” Her question of getting her manager just hung there over our silent table for a pair of moments while we all looked at her, not quite daring to breathe.

Was it okay? Was it okay with us, the hungry family, that she had failed to do as promised?  Was it okay?

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I thought of every time I’ve screwed up. And I remembered the cross on my wrist. The cross I’ve been inking into my flesh for months in hopes of reminding myself to live cruciform.

Live all give out in the shape of a cross.

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Live all give out when someone else does something that isn’t okay.  Live as Jesus lived when I’m inconvenienced or kept waiting.

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I found myself saying, “You know what, we all screw up. It’s okay.”

Because it is. It really is. We do all screw up. Your screw ups are no worse than my screw ups. Jesus’ love covers mine as well as yours. His grace is deep enough to cover them all. And if I’m truly living as a conduit of His grace, I have no choice but to extend it to you.

Jesus didn’t call us to be grace hoarders.
He called us to be grace givers.

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Those chosen people who exhibit His grace and His character in all of our activities. Even those that squeeze us, inconvenience us.

Maybe by showing His grace and extending His grace is how we know we are given grace. Maybe that is how we feel grace. Maybe that’s why He requires it of us. Because He knows we’re nothing but grace beggars and if the broken hurting world is going to see His grace it’s only when we extend it.

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We’re all beggars when it comes to grace. In myself I have none. None for me and definitely none for you. But in Jesus…in Jesus is found all the grace we could ever need. And He gives it freely to us.

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So we can give it freely to others. It’s living in His grace.

So we can give it freely to others.

Posted in Jesus, Life as it happens.

Something To Be Thankful For

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“You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you.”(Ezekiel 28:15)

We were created blameless –perfect. Our default was righteousness.

But sin changed that. Sin brought shame, condemnation,  separation,  death and unrighteousness.

But Grace changes that! Grace brings healing, salvation, restoration,  covering, togetherness,  freedom and righteousness restored.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Posted in Jesus, Life as it happens.

rantings of a poor woman

Just a completely selfish post asking someone, anyone to, please, say something nice or good about me to me. I’m so tired of thinking, believing and hearing of my very many horrible mistakes and screw-ups. Of hearing how horrible I am.

Fallen so short of grace.
The very grace that reaches deep
Is very much out of reach.
To a girl like me.
Who screws up,
Messes Up,
Makes the wrong choice,
Says the wrong thing
All the time.
The wrong thing.
She rushes ahead
When she should be still
She is still
When she should be moving.
Talking when she should be silent,
Silent when she should be talking.
Will I ever get it right?
This dance of Good
This frolic of might.
Is there grace for me?
True grace?
For a Jesus screw-up like me?

Surely I’m good for something more than making coffee, right? I mean is that really all the good I have?

I know, girls like me aren’t supposed to ask these questions. They’re supposed to know the Truth and the Light and walk in His ways always. And that is my heart’s very deepest desire, but sometimes sin creeps in and takes my heart by surprise. I have my doubts that I’ll ever measure up to what He wants for me to be.

And then I know that I don’t have to measure up. Because in God’s economy I already do. He knows my doubts, my failings and He has taken them up on Himself so I don’t have to bear them anymore.I can walk free. Unchained. Unfettered.

But still the struggle remains. As long as I walk in this fleshly abode, I will question, I will doubt. I will weep. I will wail. I will cry for the injustices done to my soul. I will cry for His grace,

The very grace that right now seems so out of reach,
Just beyond my grasp,
Grace, grace, grace that reaches this leach
Grace that I can clasp
To my very soul, And remember
Jesus died for each
Doubt and Fear
That I clutch tight
In my fist
In my fight
For protection of myself.
Oh Jesus, let me let go of
Self. and Selfishness.
Be the only Truth
In my sense of helplessness
Let me give in to
Your grace
That flows over me
And makes my heart race.

Posted in Jesus, Life as it happens.

Warm thoughts on a cold morning.

Happy 2015. Currently, the house is quiet except for my fingers clicking on the keys and the furnace ensuring we stay warm another day.

Or second at least.

I’ve been on a self-imposed hiatus from all things Facebook.  I wanted to spend more time with my family and friends in my day-to-day life, friends I could laugh with, share coffee with, not the friends who live inside my computer. It was good. It is good.

It is also January 1, 2015. I can’t believe it. I know to many New Year’s Day is a holiday, Mr. FullCup is off work, as are many people. But to me it’s just a regular day.

A regular day to watch football. all. day. long.

This year I don’t care at all about who wins the national title in college football. Unless it’s Ohio State. I’m sure that is the only game I’ll be watching.

We’ve been invited to friends for the day, I’d like to knock off some more painting. But really, football and friends will win. I can paint tomorrow.

I have learned over the years that the new year will come whether or not I’m awake to see it. I’ve adopted the habit of getting up around 5:30 every morning, which means I go to bed around 9:30. Needless to say, I was too tired to live last night. I fell asleep watching Holiday Inn, and finally went to bed around 11:30. I was done. So was Beanie.

So here’s to 2015. What will the year bring? What joys, what surprises, what happinesses, what tragedies, what sorrows, what troubles?

It doesn’t matter. We have been given grace-gifts and we will be given grace-gifts. Little gifts of His grace to praise and bless Him.

Posted in Book Reviews

Cafe Chocolate…Where Women Delight in God’s Grace

All of this comes in the kit!
All of this comes in the kit!

What woman doesn’t like chocolate? I know there are some out there but for the most part women love chocolate. Maybe at some times more than others but for the most part we all think chocolate is  our friend.

Speaking of friends, we all also love our friends. What is better than chocolate with good friends? Especially if you’re meeting your friends over chocolate and God’s Word. We all like that.

We all need that. Just like we all need Grace, God’s grace but also grace from other people. We also need to extend that grace to others, but it is only when we are fully aware of the grace lavished on us can we extend it to those around us.

Group Publishing has come out with a “Retreat-In-A-Box” that incorporates all of the above. Cafe Chocolate is a new retreat “where women delight in God’s Grace”.  The Director’s Kit has everything you will need to put on a top-notch retreat for the women of your church, community, or Bible study group.

It is not “video-driven”, but you don’t have to be a super-talented speaker to make your retreat a great one. Group provides everything you need to say.

Session 1 is on God’s grace is Extravagant. Other sessions teach us that God’s grace is for our friends, our enemies, people we don’t know yet. Session three is special in that it is a service project.

There is a leader guide for your worship leader or if you don’t have one you can just sing along with the music CD.  The music CD is a good mix of peppy songs and slower songs. All of them are ones you probably sing in church.

This retreat would work great in any format, one day, weekend or even stretched out over a week.  Or you could even tailor it to fit any need and time slot you might have.

I look forward to the possibility of doing it at my own church.

 

(I received a free Director’s Kit from the publisher for the purpose of review.)

Posted in Book Reviews

Grace, Grace

Grace.

A girl’s name. A book’s title. An attribute of God. A character trait we all need. Something we extend to others because God has extended it to us.

Max Lucado has written, and Thomas Nelson has published, a book entitled simply, Grace. It’s subtitle is: More than we deserve. Greater than we imagine.  You have to believe me when I say this book is phenomenal and a must read for everyone who names the name of Jesus. Those who need need grace and those who revel in it’s power in their life.

This book revolutionized my life and my thoughts on grace. I’ve heard about grace, I’ve sung songs about grace, but I’m not sure I spend much time contemplating what grace really means. I know I haven’t given near enough thought on how I can use grace in the lives of other people.

I learned things like:

  • When grace happens, Christ enters.
  • Grace is everything Jesus.
  • Grace is a God who stoops.
  • The fruit of grace: saved by God, raised by God, seated with God.
  • Jesus Christ is what God does, and the cross is where God did it. (Frederick Buechner)
  • Sin is not a regrettable lapse or an occasional stumble.
  • Sin tells God to get out, get lost, and not come back. Sin is insurrection of the highest order, and you are the insurrectionist.
  • Grace is not blind.
  • Grace is simply another word for God’s tumbling, rumbling reservoir of strength and protection.
  • When grace happens, generosity happens.
  • Trust God’s hold on you more than your hold on God.
  • Grace fosters obedience.

Eleven chapters. One conclusion. Profound thoughts. Simple thoughts. Amazing grace.

I loved this book because while the concept is complex, the words are simple. Max Lucado put grace in words we can all relate to and understand. He peppered each chapter with personal stories and anecdotes these increased my understanding of grace.

There is a study guide at the back of the book that would be very helpful whether you are doing the study alone or with a group.

My prayer for me is that I will allow the truths of this book and THE Book to infiltrate my heart and become such a part of who I am that when others see me, they really see the God who gives grace.

To read more of my thoughts on this book, click here.

(I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson publishers for the purpose of review.)