Monday, March 31, 2014

Are You Craving Grace?

[Be sure to enter the Free Book Giveaway below: “Craving Grace” by Ruthie Delk.]

Jerry Bridges is one of our favorite guest speakers. He comes to our church often, and he even dedicated one of his books to us! We love Jerry Bridges and his teaching. 

And one thing we will always remember about Jerry Bridges is what he constantly tells us: “Preach the Gospel to yourself every day.”

But how? If it’s that important, how do we do it?

In the book Craving Grace, Ruthie Delk shows us how. She grew up with Jerry Bridges’ teaching. She loved his books and even attended a class he taught when her husband was in seminary.

She was raised in a missionary home. Knew the gospel. Knew it was important to everyday life.

But she still found herself asking these everyday questions:
        If I believed God’s love was unconditional, why did I feel loved on the days I ‘got it right’ and feel abandoned on the days I ‘got it wrong’?
        If I really believed God was in control, why was I so fearful?
        If I really believed He was with me, why did I feel so alone?
        If I really believed His grace saved and forgave me, why couldn’t I extend that same grace to others? (p. 11)

She often wondered why the gospel wasn’t making a difference in her everyday life.

In a diagram she calls “The Gospel Eight,” Ruthie Delk shows that we live in one of two camps:
We live like spiritual orphans.
Or we live like God’s child. 

We define ourselves by our past and our circumstances.
Or we find our identity in Christ.

We resist the gospel through self-reliance, blame, and propping ourselves up with false gods, like approval and good works.
Or we rest in the finished work of Christ and find restoration and freedom in the Cross.

Reading this book, you will discover which camp you fall in.

The place we find ourselves in is an indication of where we are in relation to the Gospel.

Like me, you may discover you’re craving grace. 

The Gospel is grace embodied in a message we need every day.

A message of identity—a message that identifies us with Christ who dealt with our sin forever, accomplished what we could never perform, loves us more than we comprehend, and offers grace to those who are craving it.

Preaching the Gospel to ourselves is running to Christ and the cross. Running there, not wallowing in the camp of mis-identity.

Find the pathway of the Gospel through Craving Grace.

“In repentance and rest is your salvation;
In quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)

Enter your name below for a free copy of Craving Grace!!!
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Monday, March 24, 2014

How to Discover Who You Are

What is it that defines you? Gives you worth? Or puts a stamp on who you are?

Typically, we define each other by what we do.

If you write, you’re a writer.
If you run, you’re a runner.
If you nurse people, you’re a nurse.
If you mother, you’re a mom.

But what happens if those things change?

You grow old, and you no longer write.
You get sick, and you no longer run.
You retire, and you no longer practice nursing.
Your children grow, and you no longer mother.

Who are you then?

Thankfully, who you and I most deeply are has nothing to do with what we do, but with Who He is.

Ruthie Delk, author of Craving Grace (and stay tuned next week for a free book giveaway!) gives this helpful chart:

God is . . .
Therefore I am . . .
Under His control
The One Who Sees
Cared for

We can apply this to so many attributes of God.

Because He is Forgiver, we are forgiven.
Because He is Healer, we are being healed.
Because He is . . . on and on and on . . .

He delights to BE for us.

He is . . ., so that we can be . . .

Then, when we discover we are redeemed, safe, peaceful, loved, forgiven . . . and ONLY then . . . we can offer peace, forgiveness, love, and all the rest to others.

The best way to discover who you are, is to study Who God is—especially Who He is in relation to you.

These truths will never change—no matter how old, how sick, how different life becomes for you.

You are, based on who HE is for you.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Why We're Told Not to Fear

There is much in the world that tempts us to fear.
Fear is typical in a world like ours.
Fear is a response that comes naturally.
But we’re told 365 times in Scripture to “Fear Not!”


Why are we told not to fear?

Because of who our God is.

·         Jesus told us we’d have tribulation in this world. But we're to be of good cheer. He has overcome the world (John 16:33).

·         Nations are like a drop in a bucket and dust on a scale (Isaiah 40:15). He is mightier than all the world’s nations combined.

·         He spoke and everything was created. Everything. All He did was speak a word. Is there anything too hard for Him? (Jeremiah 32:17)

·         The “kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). We are on the winning side.

·         The Lord our God in the midst of us is mighty (Zephaniah 3:17).  In our midst. Not sitting on the sidelines, cheering us on or hoping we’ll make it. His might works in our midst.

·         He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). The most repeated promise in Scripture. We have never been abandoned by our God and never will.

We serve a God who has a mighty hand on an outstretched arm that is not too short that it cannot. . .

No wonder He tells us 365 times to “Fear not!”