Counting Blessings, Finding Healing

This one little book turned out to be the most fruitful Christmas gift I received in 2012. It’s a best-seller by Ann Voskamp. Have you heard of it?

highly recommend One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

When I received it, I wasn’t sure I was going to read it. I was overwhelmed by the “things to do of Christmas.” But I found myself drawn to it. I opened the book and started reading at Chapter 8. – Yeah Chapter 8, don’t judge me – consider me very flexible in my routine. ha

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Bring on the Breakthrough

In the fall of this year, I experienced a dream come true. I attended a Brooklyn Tabernacle Tuesday night prayer service.

I’ve read Pastor Jim Cymbala’s books for years:

And before I knew about his books, I was listening to the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir led by his wife, Carol.

The experience was so powerful. The music, the people, the testimonies of answered prayer, and the message. Pastor Cymbala taught from Psalms 67:

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The 7 Letter Word that Demolishes Everything

There is one 7 letter word that will complete the following sentences. Can you fill in the blanks? 

____________ is the inner disease of those who need stability and order to function. It’s the shiny little idol we worship without noticing.

____________ is the untamed beast, particularly when we leverage it to manage our own public relations firm.

It is impossible to ____________ how other people view us.

____________ keeps us distant from our hearts, our pet sins, and those things we hide.

Our need for ___________ shoves away God’s ownership in our lives and it keeps us at the helm.

In relinquishing ___________ growth flourishes.

Have you guessed the word yet? The word that we easily see in the behavior of those around us but rarely see in ourselves. The word that we don’t want to hear others use to describe us.

Read those sentences again using the word “control”.

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Are You Wonderstruck by God?

wonder:

“being filled with admiration, amazement, or awe” and “to think or speculate curiously.”

Margaret Feinberg, author of the upcoming release Wonderstruck, explains,

those definitions come together beautifully in our relationship with God. That’s why I define the wonder of God as those moments of spiritual awakening that create a desire to know God more.

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An Invitation to Be Brave

There is a new word for stepping out of your comfort zone and serving those with BIG needs. Jeff Goins calls it “wrecked’.

Thanks to ChristianAudio.com, I listened to Jeff’s book, Wrecked,  as I traveled between Missouri and Louisiana.

The book is an invitation to lead a wrecked life—one that is shaken up but transformed by confronting the world’s most difficult challenges. Goins wrote this book in hopes that ….

1. you  and I recall making a choice that caused us to step out of your comfort zone, that allowed us to move past selfishness and find a life worth living.

2. we are faced with a sacrificial decision we have ve yet to make, one that we may be avoiding or procrastinating

3. we respond to that voice inside of us that says “give more, get less”

4. you and I realize the “somebody” the world is deferring to is us.

We read the Biblical account of the Good Samaritan and we cringe thinking “no way, they couldn’t just leave him there!” We see video clips on the news or internet of someone who chose to capture the video instead of help the person being attacked. We (and I definetely mean me) can get so absorbed in our online connectedness that we miss the incredible opportunity to serve the person in front of us.

Goins writes, “Our brokenheartedness at the injustices we witness is what gives us compassion. So when we rush past these messy and uncomfortable moments, we take away the experiences that teach us mercy.”  Have you given mercy lately? Not felt it – given it?

Are you the hero of your own story?

Stepping into a “wrecked” life means being brave enough to go where you know you don’t have the answers. It takes courage to step out of our own self-controlled and self-orchestrated lives, and into someone’s pain. We have to be willing to SEE their pain. AND we have to trust that the Holy Spirit in us will deliver. Deliver what? Whatever God knows is needed at that moment.

We may avoid someone because we know we can’t afford to buy what they need. We may not look at their pain because it feels too much like the pain we’ve stuffed into the closet of our hearts in hopes to never look at it again. We avoid. Our natural selfish nature avoids.

But God.

God was brave. He knew that He and His son would suffer for us – giving up everything: royalty, wealth, perfection of every kind. And God chose to send Jesus anyway. And Jesus chose to go anyway. Let yourself see them leaving home to go to you right now. Close your eyes and see their compassion for you.

It was perfect love. Brave love.

The love that casts out all fear. (1 John 4:8)

It was also the knowledge of God’s power to meet needs. We have to live by faith that God did meet needs and still does. We have to believe in God’s supernatural ability. Faith is believing, remembering, and going knowing that God will show up.

This audio book opened my eyes to myself and to God. It was a wonderful reminder and call to step out of myself and my own limitations. God used Wrecked to remind me that faith is brave. Faith  – that He can do more than I can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). And He will use my mind, my body, and my mouth to do it because Jesus’ Holy Spirit lives in me waiting to continue His work.

We are not the heroes of our stories.

God is.

Truth, Lies & Pesticides

I used to believe things about myself that were as harmful to my body as drinking pesticide. Fear of failure plagued me from the time I learned to make my bed. I perceived conditions on my value. My mood, my relationships, and my physical health were all affected.

liar liar oook

My perceptions based on what I thought someone thought about me equaled truth to me. Can you relate?

Whose opinion of me was truth? The world is full of well-meaning people who have no idea what their own value is. So their truth is skewed and their perception of me and you is skewed as well.

Why am I rambling on and on about this? Because I believed a BUNCH of lies about myself. I agreed with something I thought others thought.I was MESSED UP! I was basing my choices on other’s words. It was a ridiculous as grabbing a bottle of Sevin Dust and drinking a swig every day for good health. [Read more…]

I Recommend – Everything!

You’ve heard it said “You can’t have it all!” As Christians that is true. But what can you have when you give your life to God?

You’ve probably heard me mention the new book Everything lately. My new friend Mary DeMuth has written a book that I really want you to read. It’s called Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus.

excellent christian inspiration book by mary demuth

Why I Recommend it

Mary shares real wisdom in a comfortable conversation that leaves you more peaceful, relaxed, and yet inspired. In this book, Mary is teaching me important lessons about living – the valuable life changing lessons that you and I would both pay $90 an hour for time with a respected Christian counselor. As I highlight, circle, and dog-ear page after page, the Holy Spirit whispers to me – “YES – This is Truth!”

Mary teaches core principles that make a difference in our everything! The book is divided into these three sections:

Head – What We Think

Heart – Who We Are

Hands – How We Live

I will share with you from these chapters soon:

Live the Six Letter Word that Changes Everything

Lean Into Brokenness

Reconcile the Paradox of Failure

Forsake the Seven Letter Word that Destroys Everything

Excerpts to Savor

“The Gospel of Jesus should be simple and profound. Simple in it’s beauty but profound in the life change it should bring…. We are to live like Christ –  self-sacrificing, loving to a fault, humble, empowered, fully-alive. ”

“The gospel isn’t a life management program. It shouldn’t merely be the crutch we fall on when life gets ugly. It should be the legs we walk on and the air we breath.”

“Our task shouldn’t be punishing the villains in our lives, but enlarging the God who heals us from all wounds.”

Reflections that Lead to Change

Each chapter ends with powerful questions. I’m learning to ask God more questions these days. It’s a new level in my growing relationship with Him. The discussion questions in Everything are helping me talk to Him about these things: [Read more…]

the Idol of Self-Protection

Last week I posted a video introducing the book Everything by Mary DeMuth. The book is not out yet, but I got the chance to read it in advance as a member of her launch team.

Mary does such a great job of being herself as she writes. As I read, I feel like I’m sitting with her and hearing her story for the first time. And realizing much of my story can be found in hers. Here are a few lines from chapter 3 – Discern the Vow Factor that are resonating with me.

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When Jesus Became My Everything

Two things I love to talk about – Jesus and books. Books about Jesus. Ok – yeah – I’ll help promote that book.

So there’s a new book coming out by the name of Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus by Mary DeMuth.  I got an advanced copy when I met Mary at the International Christian Retailing Show in Orlando this summer. She’s a friend of an online friend and I was so excited to make an “in real life” connection with her there. Fast forward to the day I saw Mary announcing she was creating a launch team for this book. I applied and YAY! I got chosen to be on the team.

Mary asked the questions, “When did Jesus become your everything?”. I’m going to answer her question in the form of a video. In the video, I’m hanging out in the basement on the bow flex I haven’t used in way too many months. It seems like a random spot for a video unless you think about what you do with Jesus.

I have access to work out equipment just a few steps away from me every day. It’s waiting there to help me be healthy and strong. I do use the treadmill and the elliptical somewhat regularly, but not the bow flex.

My relationship with Jesus was once very similar to my relationship with the bow flex. I had one, but I didn’t do much with it. But that changed, and Jesus became my everything. Here’s a quick glimpse at how that happened in my life.

Living Still…..Are You?

I’m in a constant state of learning about the stillness necessary for me to be present in the moment. I’m getting less panicked about needing to be physically still in order to be with God, aware of God, in a relationship with Him.

One of the reasons I’ve grown in this area is Abby Lewis’ book – Living Still. Abby explains:

Living still is not adopting a life of inactivity or solitude; rather, it is choosing to live in tune with the voice of God in the midst of the inevitable noise around us.  Living still is recognizing that without God, we cannot experience the fullness of life. It is choosing to trust God more than we trust ourselves. Living still is learning to rest in God’s perfect love for us. It is taking the time to listen to His still, small voice with the expectation that He will lovingly guide us, one step at a time, toward freedom. The practice of living still works. Learning to live this way delivered me from the pit and continues to transform my life each day.  And, I am confident that living still can change your life too.

Read Abby Lewis’ powerful, life changing story, in her new book Living Still.

For a limited time, download the Living Still e book for FREE.

Click Here to Look Inside Living Still

Click Here to Read Reviews on Living Still

Click Here To Download Your FREE Copy

 

Be still and know that I am God.  Psalm 46:10