Wednesday, June 29, 2011

God's Law vs God's Grace

Recently I have been thinking a lot about the grace of God.  I guess the reason is because I am having some difficulty embracing God's grace and love for me personally.  I have no problem believing it for others, but when it comes to me, well... that's another story.

I also realized I have a bad habit of condemning myself.  Whenever I do something wrong or make a mistake, I beat myself up for days about it.  The concept of grace, forgiveness and love seems to go out the window.  How can this be? 

Why is it that I can embrace God's law and judgment so easily, but when it comes to His grace and love, I have so much trouble?  I can go about telling others about how much Jesus loves them, but when it comes to me, I have no mercy. 

Something tells me I'm not alone either.  I think there are many of us walking around like this; broken, hurt and unable to receive His love and grace too.  For all I know it could be you? 

You know what I'm learning, when Jesus came to earth He set up a new covenant, by which we are no longer bound by the law. (Hebrews 9:15)

But I have a hard time reconciling this in my mind.  God's law vs God's grace.  The old covenant vs the new covenant.  Yes, we need the law, but we also need grace.  There has to be a balance.

When there is too much focus on the law, there is the rigidity of legalism. I honestly find more legalism expressed by believers toward one another than love.  I am guilty of this too, as I practice the art of legalism on myself.  It may have something to do with how I grew up, it's sort of an ingrained pattern of perfectionism and cycle which just repeats itself.   But I'm realizing that the Lord wants to set us all free of this bondage. 

My prayer has been to have a personal revelation of God's love and to be able to receive and accept His grace too.  I believe that by having a personal touch from Him will allow me the ability to see myself and others differently. 

We can never truly love ourselves or others if we don't experience His love for us first.  We can never truly forgive or extend grace toward others, if we don't fully accept His forgiveness and grace toward us first.  This is the truth.

My prayer is that the Lord reveals His love and grace to us today.  That He will touch us all in a very special way.  That He will change our hearts and lives to radically serve and love others, the way Christ loves us.  That can receive and embrace His free gift of grace and love through His Son Jesus Christ by His Holy Spirit and be set free.  In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

I end this with a song about Grace:

Friday, June 24, 2011

Tyndale House Book Review: "Making the Best of a Bad Decision" by Erwin W. Lutzer

Erwin W. Lutzer is senior pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago. A graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and Loyola University, he is the author of numerous books, including the Gold Medallion Award winner Hitler's Cross and the best seller One Minute After You Die. He is also a teacher on radio programs heard on more than 700 stations throughout the United States and the world, including Songs in the Night, The Moody Church Hour, and the daily feature Running to Win. He and his wife, Rebecca, live in the Chicago area and have three married children and seven grandchildren.

I am so honored to be reviewing my first book from Tyndale House.  They were kind enough to send me a complimentary of this book for review purposes. 

Have you ever asked yourself these questions (I know I have): "I made a mistake that changed my life forever.  What do I do now?"  "Is there a way to move past what happened and start again?"  "Will my situation ever get better, or have I missed my chance at a great future?"  Well then, this book is for you. 

It definitely was for me.  I can admit that I have made some bad decisions in my life and reading this book really helped me.  Erwin W. Lutzer touches on various topics, for example, "When You've Married Trouble -- You regret that foolish vow" or "When You're in the Wrong Vocation -- You hate going to work." 

All I know was that by the time I hit Chapter 3, I couldn't put the book down and just began underlining.  I equated this book to a counselling session.  It was that enlightening, helpful and informative. 

Erwin Lutzer does a brilliant job articulating different scenarios, using biblical references and offering practical advice throughout his book. By the time I finished reading it, I was left with hope.

I guess if there was one word I could use to describe this book, it would be "surrender".  Surrendering to God's will and not my will; which is a big one.  I learned that most of my bad decisions or choices have been connected with not surrendering to God in my life.  So that was something that this book help me realize and understand fully.

I really enjoyed reading this book because of the fact that it was so revelatory and full of wisdom.  There were points while reading this book where I had to stop and ask the Lord for forgiveness. 

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is struggling in their life right now.  If you are living with regret or guilt as a result of bad decisions you have made in your life, I would strongly encourage you to get this book.  It is a must have!