So he who had received five talents came
and brought five other talents,
saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents;
look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’
His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant;
you were faithful over a few things,
I will make you ruler over many things.
Enter into the joy of your lord.’
Matthew 5:20-21, NKJV
In case you forgot, I love to read. Stacks of books seem to pile up all over the house — most of them half read. Other women buy shoes; I buy books. For 2012, I am purposing to be a bit more intentional about my reading plan. I hope to read 12 books and post a “Net Out” here on the blog using a format similar to Michael Hyatt’s.
Made to Crave by Lysa Terkerurst challenges the reader to establish healthy patterns of eating and exercise that are linked to our spiritual walk of obedience. Lysa contests that the key to maintaining healthy eating patterns lies in examining our souls, applying the truths of Scripture to our hearts, and the and laying our flesh down on the altar. Using personal examples and Scriptural evidence, this author passionately provides the key to life change — we must crave Christ above all else, submitting every desire to Him.
Here are some “take away” truths that captured my attention:
- Saturating our minds in Scripture is a key to victory in the area of eating and exercise: “Eve was saturated in the object of her desire. Jesus was saturated in God’s truth” (p. 23).
- Making healthy choices is yielding to the Spirit and will draw us closer to God: “Being ruled by something other than God diminishes our commitment and will make us feel increasingly distant from Him” (p. 66).
- Securing the victory in this area will require God’s help as we make hard choices rather than yielding to compromise: “Weakness is hard, but weakness doesn’t have to mean defeat. It is my opportunity to experience God power firsthand. Had i said yes to that one bite that first night of our vacation, there wold have been more compromises. Compromise built on compromise equals failure. Instead, resisting temptation allowed promise upon promise to be built up in my heart, and that created empowerment. This is God’s power working through my weakness” (pp. 103-104).
- Craving God above all else will help shift our lives from overindulgence to obedience: “Whatever the situation, I keep asking God to be my daily portion — of companionship, provision, patience — over and over. And one day I will find victory over those things instead of just looking back over a pile of tears and cake crumbs” (p. 133).
- Ensuring victory in this area will require continual self-examination and dedication to an ongoing, daily lifestyle change: “But victory isn’t a place we arrive at and relax. Victory is when we pick up something healthy over something not beneficial for us. And we maintain our victories with our next choice… It’s about whether or not we’re positioning ourselves to live the kind of God-honoring lives in which, by God’s strength, sustained discipline is possible” (p. 170).
Lysa’s book provides a clear road-map for effective life change. I am so thankful that I read this book. The powerful principles provided here applied rightly will yield fruit the remains. Friends, please pray for me — that God will help me flesh this out in my life. I encourage you to pick up a copy (if you dare!).
Up next will be God’s Story, Your Story: When His Story Becomes Yours by Max Lucado, a book that makes the connection between God’s eternal, divine purposes as the Master storyteller and our day to day lives here on earth. Want to read it with me? I will be posting about it on April 27th.
I would love to hear about what you are reading. Feel free to share in the comment section below to be entered in a Giveaway — I will be giving away a copy of each of these 2 great books.
One additional entry can be earned for each of these:
- Follow @3dLessons4Life on Twitter. Leave a comment indicating that you did.
- Tweet or Retweet about this contest giveaway. Leave a comment indicating that you did.
- “Like” 3dLessons4Life’s Facebook page.
- Use the box on the top of the sidebar on this page to subscribe to this blog. Leave a comment indicating that you did.
- Grab the 3dLessons4Life button from the sidebar and add it to your blog. Leave a comment with a link to your blog so we can connect!
Just make sure to enter on or before April 6th to participate. Thanks for stopping by!
UPDATE: Congratulations to “Axegirl” (Made to Crave Winner) and Jennifer H (God’s Story, Your Story Winner).
I will never forget the experience. My husband walked with me one bright summery day along wooden bridges — paths through the sanctuary. I saw wounded birds — birds that might never take flight again, with crippled wings and cavernous, empty eyes. Here, they found respite from the dangerous wild, generous provision, and compassionate care. Without this place of rescue and healing, rehabilitation would not be possible.
Who cares for our wounded? Is not the church a sanctuary? So often, we put on our Sunday best and walk through the doors with plastered smiles, but underneath, our wings are clipped with spirits in need of some serious restoration. A friend recently confided that God has breathed fresh life into her family by bringing her to a safe haven — a new church home that has allowed her to worship with transparency and truth. A healing balm has been applied to her dry soul.
This week, as I was digging “Into the Word,“ I re-discovered this truth in the beauty of Psalm 27. Here the word “tabernacle” is translated beautifully as “sanctuary”:
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble?
2 When evil people come to devour me,
when my enemies and foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
3 Though a mighty army surrounds me,
my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
I will remain confident.
4 The one thing I ask of the Lord—
the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
delighting in the Lord’s perfections
and meditating in his Temple.
5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
He will hide me in his sanctuary.
He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
6 Then I will hold my head high
above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
singing and praising the Lord with music. (vs. 1-6, NLT)
I love how Matthew Henry’s commentary introduces this Psalm: “God is a Light to His people, to show them the way when they are in doubt, to comfort and rejoice their hearts when they are in sorrow.” Where did the weary warrior, David, seek refuge? David understood the source of his strength was connecting with God — delighting in Him, meditating on His Word, and worshiping freely.
I am thankful for the safe haven of my church family —
…for caring friends who speak life over my spirit and pray me through
…for sound spiritual nourishment that encourages me to keep fighting
…for the refreshing touch of His healing presence discovered as we lift our voices in praise
How has the church been a sanctuary to you? Are you a wounded bird now flying? I would love to hear about your healing. Feel free to share in the comment section below.
Linking up with a like-minded sisters at Faith Filled Friday, Thought-Provoking Thursday, Good Morning Girls, God -Bumps and God-Incidences, Soli Deo Gloria @ Finding Heaven and “Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday!”
The day held promise. I had managed to get on the road in record time, and traffic was light. I pulled into the parking space at work armed with a briefcase and determination to attack my long to-do list. I swung the car door open, planted my feet firmly on the pavement, and stood ready to face the day.
And then it happened. Out of nowhere. Rain. Hard rain. With no warning. Sure, it was a little cloudy, but before a heavy deluge, you expect some wind and thunder. Not on this day. Caught off guard, I ducked into the car, head first — a girl must protect her hair. Then, when the storm picked up, I sort of tucked myself into the car — in the fetal position sprawled across the front seat. I started digging for the umbrella, which was buried under mounds of junk in my bag. Frustrated, my mood quickly shifted from happy to harried. This downpour quenched my spirit.
Has it ever happened to you? You are singing a happy tune when suddenly
…you receive a phone call with gut-wrenching news
… the transmission goes out on your car while you are running an errand
…the washer decides to stop working in the middle of the rinse cycle.
How do you handle unexpected rain? So often, my soul drops to the floor in the fetal position crying out to Him — Why, Lord? Why today? What now?
This week, as I was digging “Into the Word,” my Abba Father gently reminded me that rainy days do not lack purpose. He uses the downpour to purify and strengthen our faith (I Peter 1:6-9). The Master of Wind and Rain calls us to partner with Him so that we can be a light bearer in the stormy darkness:
Remember, our Message is not about ourselves;
we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master.
All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you.
It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!”
and our lives filled up with light
as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ,
all bright and beautiful.
II Corinthians 4:5-6, MSG
When we choose to look up to Him during an unexpected rain, the glory of the resurrected Christ radiates in and through us, all bright and beautiful. The watching world will see His light shine in the midst of our stormy season. The Creator God walks with me through the torrential downpour.
I would love to chat with you about how Christ has walked with as you have faced an unexpected rain. How has He been a bright and beautiful light to you in the stormy darkness? Feel free to share your heart in the comment section below.
Linking up with a like-minded sisters at Faith Filled Friday, Thought-Provoking Thursday, Good Morning Girls, God -Bumps and God-Incidences, Soli Deo Gloria @ Finding Heaven.and “Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday!”
In October, we visited my sister-in-love’s house in North Carolina and enjoyed her front porch with spectacular mountain views. Our natural eyes could not clearly distinguish the structures on the side of the giant slope, so my husband pulled out a pair of binoculars to put things into sharper focus. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I wish I could pull out a pair of magical binoculars that helped me put the “fuzzy stuff” in life into clear perspective.
In his book Scripture by Heart: Devotional Practices for Memorizing God’s Word, Joshua Choonmin Kang likens God’s Word to spiritual binoculars:
Scripture memorization helps us examine
the true focus of our hearts
and enables us to know our true selves.
How about you? Are you ready to step up to the spiritual viewfinder through Scripture memorization? Let’s hold each other accountable by Hiding 20 in 2012. In the comment section below, write out the verse you will be working on for the next two weeks. Make sure to include your first name, your home state, the verse’s address/location, and the Bible translation:
Lyli from Florida:
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves
to think of anything as being from ourselves,
but our sufficiency is from God…” (2 Corinthians 3:5, NKJV).
Here’s a little play on words for all you Pinterest Fans. Rather than ‘Pin it,” let’s purpose to “Hide it.” I will end each post with a “Hide it” Suggested Verse.
“A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”
(Proverbs 11:25, NIV).