He Chose The Nails by Max Lucado

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I just recently finished my Thomas Nelson complimentary copy of “He Chose the Nails” by Max Lucado.  (I am part of their blogger group called BookSneeze).  Anyway,  I love the way Max Lucado writes.  His books are so easy to read and they make me laugh and they make me think.  This one was no different.

It’s a wonderful book that tells the story of what Jesus did for me and for you and for everyone else.  He chose the nails.  He chose to die on a cross so that we could be forgiven and so that we could have a relationship with God.  A close and loving relationship with our creator.  

He dedicates this book to Jesus.  I love it.  In the front of the book where most authors dedicate the book to their wife, or their mother, or the children, Lucado has dedicated this book to “To Jesus Christ, Because you chose the nails”.  

The entire book is written to help you grasp and truly understand how much Jesus loves us. He tells some funny and entertaining personal stories along the way, but makes his points beautifully.  This would be a great book to read with your family right before Easter.  He even has a Study Guide in the back of the book.

This book is about redemption and understanding that no matter what you’ve done, Jesus died on the cross so that you are now forgiven (if you accept this gift and follow Him). It’s about using your mistakes, your tragedies and your struggles for good.  And it ends with a chapter titled “What Will You Leave at the Cross?”  

We are reminded that we can let go of past hurts, regrets and guilt and leave it all at the Cross where Jesus always intended us to leave it.  

I would highly suggest reading this wonderfully written book as a reminder of Jesus’ love for you.

 

The Passion of the Christ

I finally watched “The Passion of the Christ” two nights ago with a friend and with my daughter.  We wanted to watch it right before Easter weekend.  This was the first time I had seen it.  I have no idea why it took me so long to watch it.

Wow.  I was blown away.  I, of course,  know the story, I’ve read it many times, but watching that movie somehow made me feel the love of God even more than I did before.  Not only did Jesus endure the pain and suffering, but his Father in Heaven watched as His own son was tortured.  All because they love me and wanted me to be in Heaven with them for eternity.

It’s an incredible story.  It’s the best story there is.  It’s the Great News!

My daughter had a lot of questions after watching the movie, so we talked and we looked up verses in the Bible.   I originally had some fear in her watching the movie.  She did turn away quite a bit, but I came to the conclusion that if this story is burned into her memory for the rest of her life, Hallelujah!   I want her to remember all the pain and torment that Jesus went through just for us, because He loved us.  Because He loves her.

Worth It All

God has really been pressing into my heart lately.  I feel him stirring my desires for something big.  Something big for Him. I feel like He is preparing me for something that He is going to ask me to do, and He knows me so well, that He knows I’ll be scared.

He is putting all of these people, and writers, and singers, and pastors, and books, and verses in my path to speak His truth to my heart to push me into a place where I’m able to accept His call for my life.

I know He is asking me to step out on that limb, the one I’ve been so scared to step out on, but I HAVE to live my life for Him.  There is no other choice.

I’ve been spending a lot of time with Him lately, a lot of much needed catch up time.  It’s so tender and gentle, yet encouraging and incredibly convicting.  I know I have to obey, so why don’t I?  Every. Single. Day.  Why?

Jesus is speaking to me in so many different ways right now, and I know I just need to trust Him, and obey Him.  That’s it.  He’s got the rest.  It’s never up to me, and it never will be.

In light of all of this, a friend posted this song on Facebook tonight and it really touched my heart.  Jesus wanted me to hear it tonight, because after all…He IS worth it all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=dg7h6GiNTLg

Stuck

A group of 5 of my friends and I just finished Stuck by Jennie Allen.  It was such a real, and honest and deep study.  The group that God brought to my house each Thursday to go through this study was a precious gift.  We all had many places we wer stuck and together we worked through them.  This study is beautifully written and really digs deep into those places you don’t always like to go, but need to!

Jennie is so real and transparent, and extremely passionate about God.  She is completely honest about her struggles and that makes her so easy to relate to.   She is truly a gifted writer that God is using to penetrate the hearts of women who are stuck for one reason or another.

The topics each week hit home with all of us, I think we all struggle with each one in some form or fashion.  The two that hit home the most with us were Mad and Overwhelmed.  With those we spent extra time digging deep and letting God work and reveal our sin.    Jennie has some powerful concepts and new ways of thinking about, and understanding God’s word.  I find myself thinking back to her words often.  Especially her words in the Mad chapter.   Not only does she tell some great stories, provide Bible verses to back everything up, but she asks some very hard questions.  She gets right to the point and digs deep to the source of our “stuck” places.  

You will be inspired and challenged and comforted all at once. 

We used the discussion cards each week to allow each of us time to open up and become more transparent.  We could also see God’s work over the weeks that we met. During our last meeting (last week) we shared what God had done within us and what He is continuing to do.  Jennie has lit a spark in each of us, and through her words God is healing our stuck places and leading us closer to Him.  It was a great journey for all of us and we can’t wait to do another one of Jennie’s studies!!

10,000 Reasons

I love love love this song.  We sang it today at church, and then Rainey and I heard it on the way home from San Antonio tonight.  When we got home we pulled up the video below and sang along together.  After we said our prayers and I tucked her in, I shut her door and a few minutes later heard her singing it to herself.  :)   That makes a momma proud.  Enjoy it, it’s a powerful one.

 

Fear

I’m actually going through two Bible Studies right now.  This week’s chapter in each study was on Fear.  I think God is trying to tell me something.  In fact, I know He is trying to tell me something.  While working through Fear, I came across this awesome video by Francis Chan.  I’ve seen it many times, and you probably have too.  But it’s SO good and so inspiring.  Please watch it again.  I do NOT want to cling to the balance beam my whole life.   I want to actually use the skills that God gave me,  and dismount with confidence when it’s time for judgement.  How about you?

Idols

God is doing some work on me right now.  It’s good.  It’s a little scary and painful, but good.   I’ve been asking Him for a few  years to help me dig up those things in my heart that do not please Him.  Well, He took me seriously and He is doing it. 

Right now at church we are in a series, called Counterfeit Love.  It’s based on the book “Counterfeit Gods” by Tim Keller.  Our small group is reading the book along with the sermon series and then discussing it every two weeks.  It’s been extremely eye-opening to me.  Not only am I going through this book and the sermon series, but I’m also going through Jennie Allen’s “Stuck” Bible Study with a group of my friends.  All of these things combined are proving to be God’s tools in continuing to shape of my character. 

I think God was tired of seeing me struggle and complain, when He knew the root of the problem all along.  I havent’ been trusting  Him enough, believing Him enough, pursuing Him enough and worst of all, I have been putting other “idols” above Him.   Yuck. 

And the thing is, my heart has been pretty sneaky.  All the things I worry about and focus on are not bad, so they disguised themselves as maybe things I should worry about and should focus on.  It’s all been a lie. 

Now a moment of transparency.  I worry about the silliest things.  I worry that my to-do list hasn’t been done and that bugs me.  I want all of my “to-do’s” done for the day and when they are not, I get uncomfortable, uneasy, frustrated and sometimes a little depressed.  I’m serious.  I have valued myself, to this point, by how much I can get done and accomplish in a day.  If I feel I’ve tackled most of my to-do’s, and the house is clean, and everyone has clean underwear and dinner is ready and tasty, then maybe, just maybe I will feel good for the day. 

Again, not bad things, but the wrong things.  I can search and search, but I do not think I’ll ever find a verse in the Bible that says “Follow Jesus, but first make sure all your to-do’s are finished, the floor is swept, and all the laundry is done and dinner is cooked”.  So why have I been living that way?  I want to control my day and when it doesn’t go how I think it should go, I get upset, and sometimes I take it out on those I love the most.  That’s messed up. 

So the journey continues and God and I are working on getting this idol of control out of my heart.  I am praying like crazy, reading His word and asking Him every morning to help take this junk out of my heart and to replace it with Him.  I am looking at my to-do’s and understanding what is motivating them, and why I want to accomplish them.  I’m trying to let God lead. 

This is not going to be easy, we are talking about years of a bad habits ingrained in my being.  Thankfully, God is strong enough to help me overcome this.  I just have to let Him.

Obeying Because I’m Accepted

I’ve heard this phrase a few times in a training we are going through right now at our church.  “I don’t obey to be accepted, I obey BECAUSE I’m accepted”.   That statement sticks in my head and is really the basis for how I explain my attempt to always obey God.

I don’t feel obligated, I don’t do it because I fear the wrath, I don’t do it because it’s a list I need to check off, I don’t do it to feel good about myself and I don’t do it so people or God will think I’m “good”.  I do it because I’m so grateful to God for accepting me into his family.  Even after all the things I’ve done in my life to try and screw things up, He was always there waiting to accept me.  He loves me so much and that is why I obey.

I still screw up daily, but on a much smaller scale than before I began a relationship with God and started following Jesus.    Before I became a Christian, I remember thinking that I wasn’t sure I could follow all the Christian “rules” and that it seemed boring.  Ha!  God was probably laughing, because what He has shown me since is how boring and empty my life was before Him.  I was so focused on myself, and what society thinks, that I never felt happy or joyful inside.  I searched and searched for something or someone to make me happy.

There is only one way to find true joy, and that is through Jesus Christ.  He is the only way.  I have learned that from my own experience, not because someone told me, or because I read it in the Bible.   I’ve experienced the love, acceptance, forgiveness and Grace of God through Jesus and I’ll be eternally grateful.

It’s through that complete gratefulness that I CHOOSE to obey God.  In doing so, He reveals Himself to me in ways I never would’ve imagined.

The Christian way of living, following Christ is ANYTHING but boring.

Busted Heart

I know I haven’t written in awhile and I’m not really writing today.  I’ll get back on track soon, I promise.   I really don’t have any good excuses…but I have been “busy” whatever that really means. :) 

I had to share this song.  I absolutely love it!  See what you think.  It has a great message and I can feel God speaking to me with the lyrics.  I desperately want God to always “hold onto me” and “never let me go”!

Loving Others Radically

What does that look like?  Loving others radically.  It sounds a little overwhelming and intimidating if I’m honest.   But I want to live that way.   Last week our Bible Study challenged my small group college girls to go out and love others radically.  Last night they came back with some great and inspirational stories.

One of the girls just started talking to a guy in her dorm that was always alone.  She said he seemed a little different and was never really talking to anyone else.  He plays the piano, so one day she just started talking to him and he invited her to come sit down and listen to him play the piano.  They are now friends, so the speak, and she says hi and makes a point to talk to him.  Who knows what that has done for him, but she made the effort and got uncomfortable to make someone feel loved.

Another one of the girls saw a woman crying  in a parking garage and just went and sat by her and asked the woman if she could pray for her.  The lady was an older woman, maybe in her 50’s and told this young lady she was surprised to hear that from someone so young.   They prayed together and then parted ways.  Only God knows how that affected that woman, but it might have been just what she needed.  Instead of just avoiding the lady and staying comfortable, this young lady did something, she didn’t say no to the Holy Spirit.  She loved someone radically right where she was.

We have to remember that God loves us radically and through that we need to be sharing that love with others. Every single day.  I know I need to work on this.  I need to search out those opportunities and just let the Holy Spirit lead me.  That is how we glorify God and further His Kingdom.