Christy

Genius of Generosity Book: Lessons from a Secret Pact Between Two Friends

Genius of Generosity Book: Lessons from a Secret Pact Between Two FriendsGenius of Generosity Book: Lessons from a Secret Pact Between Two Friends by Chip Ingram
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chip Ingram describes learning about generosity as a young pastor. An elder in his church, who was a prosperous executive, fed money into an account and asked Ingram to give the money away to people who needed it most. One of them had resources and the other had contacts with needy people. The secret pact began. They met quarterly to discuss results and replenish the fund for the next quarter.

From this experience, Ingram learned the meaning of being a steward of someone else’s money. His task was to give away money that belonged to someone else. In reality, we are each stewards of God’s money and He is willing to keep funding our account if we will give it away.

By couching his message in his experience as a pastor giving away someone else’s money, his teaching points were believable, real, and desirable.

Supported by scripture, the lessons the author learned about generosity come across naturally and not heavy-handed (as giving messages often come across). Moreover, he explains how giving isn’t just something we have to do; it’s the smart thing to do, hence the book title, The Genius of Generosity.

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Christy

BeScrooged: Imagining a Full Life of Generosity

BeScrooged: Imagining a Full Life of GenerosityBeScrooged: Imagining a Full Life of Generosity by Gordon MacDonald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Part storybook, part devotional, and part Christian teaching, this book is a fast-paced, enjoyable read with a serious message. BeScrooged follows the transformation of Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. At each stage in Scrooge’s development, the authors provide Christian teaching on the subject of “full-life generosity” and devotional readings focusing on specific people in the Bible who exemplified either stinginess or generosity (or the struggle in between).

According to the authors, we each need to reach our personal crisis that brings about life transformation, a point at which we have been BeScrooged. Just as Scrooge had a drastic and total transformation of his outlook on life, we each need to experience a similar moment that forever changes our hearts and lives.

Full-life generosity is not just about money; it’s about having a generous spirit. Full-life generosity gives a kind word, a helping hand, and all sorts of generosity. This type of transformation can only come from within.

The authors describe a ladder of generosity where readers can evaluate where they might be in their current level of generosity. But they did admit that we all tend to move up and down the ladder at different times in life. Still, they suggested that periodic appraisal was a worthwhile way to check our hearts.

I enjoyed reading the devotionals most of all. Each one focused on a different person in the Bible and I thought some of the points drawn from these examples brought about several fresh insights for me.

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Christy

Where Did You Get the Idea for Your Most Recent Book, Chosen?

When most people read the biblical narrative of the birth of Christ, they see a perfect, holy family fulfilling God’s perfect plan.

When I read the biblical narrative of the birth of Jesus, I see a teenage girl who got pregnant and everyone thought the worst about her. Her own boyfriend assumed she’d been unfaithful. The gossip and public shame became so great the poor girl left town to visit her cousin. She stayed with her cousin three months.

An angel helped straighten things out between the engaged couple, but then they were called upon to travel several days to Bethlehem at the very time Mary was to give birth. They were poor and the town was full because of the census. They had to give birth in an unsanitary barn.

Then, to make matters worse, an angel told the young family to flee to Egypt because this newborn baby was on Israel’s Most Wanted List. King Herod had it out for the infant because the wise men recognized the baby as a king. Herod had to destroy any competition for his throne.

Because my perception of the Christmas story was so different from the ways others seemed to portray these events, I wanted to write a book demonstrating that just because we are chosen by God and fulfilling His plan, doesn’t mean things will be perfect and easy. Quite the contrary. God has chosen us to do difficult things, including sometimes bearing the hurt and shame associated with doing God’s will. Life will be inconvenient, such as having to flee in the middle of the night at God’s bidding. There will be scary moments such as death threats, undesirable circumstances such as delivering a baby in a barn, and more.

I have bipolar disorder and I’ve often heard Christians say or imply that somehow I’m out of God’s will. I’ve examined that idea for years now. It simply isn’t consistent with the biblical narratives. God doesn’t expect us to have perfect, well-ordered lives. He expects us to live in our broken, undesirable, and inconvenient lives by depending on Him to lead, guide, and restore, as He desires.

Chosen: A 31-Day Christmas DevotionalSo I wrote Chosen to express the biblical concept that being in God’s will doesn’t mean we will be healthy, happy, and whole. Rather, God wants to work in the messy details of our lives to accomplish his will. The birth of Christ was a messy ordeal, but it all happened in God’s perfect plan and those messy details fulfilled multiple Old Testament prophecies predicting the birth of the Savior. Don’t let anyone shame you for being broken. Instead, let God fill your brokenness and keep following his lead.

 

Chosen: A 31-Day Christmas Devotional is available in paperback, Kindle, or ePub.

Christy
The Psalms of Asaph by James Watkins

Why? Why? Why? Guest Post by James N. Watkins

James N. Watkins is a leader in Christian publishing and the most encouraging editor I’ve ever worked with. But he’s also so funny I snort my Coke in my sinuses (Coca-Cola, not the other coke). I love to laugh, minus the burning sinuses, and I love to make other people laugh, so he’s been a role model for me.

I’m excited about the new book by James N. Watkins, The Psalms of Asaph: Struggling with Unanswered Prayer, Unfulfilled Promises, and Unpunished Evil. These are issues I’ve struggled with and I know others do, too. I’ll let James N. Watkins introduce you to his book in today’s guest post.

 


 

The Psalms of Asaph by James WatkinsIf you have children, nieces and nephews, or younger siblings, you know that a three-year-old’s favorite word is why.

“Johnny, hold my hand while we cross the street.”

“Why?”

“Because I don’t want you to run out in front of a car.”

“Why?”

“Because if a car hits you, you’ll be hurt or killed.”

“Why?”

“Because if it’s a contest between a thirty-five-pound boy and a three-ton SUV, the truck is going to win every time.”

“Why?”

“Because the laws of physics state that mass plus momentum equals . . . Just take my hand!”

And on it goes-right into adulthood!

“Why didn’t God heal my friend?”

“Why do bad things happen to good people?”

“Why do I still have acne at 50?”

I’ve worked up way too much spiritual perspiration trying to answer why my second-grade Sunday school teacher committed suicide, why I was laid off from the perfect job in publishing—twice—or why bad things happen to such good people as you and me.

I have learned that while why is often a futile question, God is more than willing to answer other questions. But, like the popular game show, Jeopardy, the answers are in the form of a question.

What can I know?

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:5-8).

So, while I’ve struggled with hundreds—probably thousands—of questions about God’s workings, I have grown in my knowledge of who he is. While agonizing about an estranged relationship, I burst into tears—for God. I had described to a friend my pain: “It feels like my heart has been cut out with a chainsaw, run over by a logging truck, and then fed through a wood chipper.” If I was feeling this excruciating pain for one broken relationship, how was God feeling about billions of heartaches? It was one of the few times I actually felt I understood God.

I can also find the answer to . . .

How can I grow?

I’ve always leaned into Romans 8:28:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (NIV).

But what is that “purpose”? The very next verse answers: “To be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). So do other verses:

“And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image (2 Corinthians 3:18b).

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1).

That’s our purpose! So ask, how can I grow more like Christ through this difficult time.

Who can I show?

Second Corinthians 1:3-6 has become one of my favorite passages in encouraging me while I’m going through terrible times:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer” (NLT).

The Greek word translated comfort isparaklesis. It is a calling near, summons for help; a prayer, a plea; exhortation, admonition, encouragement; consolation, comfort, solace, refreshment; or a persuasive speech, motivational talk, instruction. And it’s feminine case. No one comforts like a mother.

We offer our best comfort to those experiencing what we have personally gone through.

So, sorry, we can’t always answer the why questions, but we can answer these three.

Condensed from The Psalms of Asaph: Struggling with Unanswered Prayer, Unfulfilled Promises, and Unpunished Evil by James N. Watkins. Browse and buy at jameswatkins.com/asaph/

 

 

The Psalms of Asaph by James Watkins

Christy

Just in Time for the Holidays -> Chosen: A 31-Day Christmas Devotional

I’m pleased to introduce my new devotional book, Chosen: A 31-Day Christmas Devotional. As I worked on these devotional messages, I found myself moved by some truths I have struggled with over the years. I hope you’ll feel the same way when you read them.

Instead of telling you about the devotional, I want you to experience it for yourself. Enjoy a couple of samples from the book.

 


 

Chosen: A 31-Day Christmas Devotional

Available in paperback, Kindle, or ePub (Kobo, B&N, Apple, and others).

 

 

 

 

 


 

December 3: Well, That’s Awkward

Scripture

This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

Matthew 1:18-19

 

Reflection

After Mary’s visitation from the angel, she rushed to tell Joseph she was pregnant. One can imagine his reaction.

“What? You’re kidding me, right?”

“No, Joseph, an angel visited me and told me I will conceive and give birth to the Son of the Most High.”

“But I didn’t. We haven’t. Who is the father if not me?”

“Joseph, I am faithful to you. I promise.”

“Well, there has to be a father. That’s how you got pregnant. If I find out it was your friend, David.”

“Joseph, please. Listen. That’s not what happened. Believe me.”

Joseph had a difficult time accepting her story. Who wouldn’t? The miraculous nature of Mary’s conception was . . . inconceivable!

Just as God chose Mary, God chose Joseph. The Son of God needed a stepfather to raise him in the ways of the Lord. Joseph was in an awkward position. Mary claimed to be pregnant. She appeared to have shamed him by being unfaithful and lied to him.

Joseph cared for Mary, but once people discovered Mary’s pregnancy, she faced public humiliation and gossip. What could he do to protect his honor and her dignity? He intended to break up with her as quietly as possible so as not to put her to public disgrace. It’s easy to see why God selected Joseph.

God selected you, too. Things might appear confusing or even hopeless. Nothing is hopeless in God’s plan. He can turn around any circumstances.

God put Joseph in an awkward place but that night God’s answers unfolded to Joseph.

If you’re dealing with uncomfortable circumstances, lean into God. He will allow you to struggle, but he will show you the way.

 

Prayer

Lord, I can’t do this alone. My life and circumstances don’t make sense. You have chosen me for a purpose. I have a role in your story. But what is it? Help me make sense of the rubble in my life because it certainly doesn’t feel like a glorious purpose. Give me eyes to see you at work in my life and ears to hear you guiding me along the way.

 


 

Chosen: A 31-Day Christmas Devotional

Available in paperback, Kindle, or ePub (Kobo, B&N, Apple, and others).

 

 

 

 

 


 

December 5: Whispers. Gossip. Want to Get Away?

Scripture

A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”

Luke 1:39-45

 

Reflection

It had only been a few days since the angel appeared to Mary. Joseph didn’t believe her and was thinking about breaking up. Her parents may not have believed her either. After all, it was an incredible tale—“an angel told me I’m pregnant with the Son of God.” Yeah, right.

People may have accused her of making up an incredible lie to cover her misdeed of getting pregnant before marriage. Some may have accused her of blasphemy for bringing God into her cover-up. People around town were beginning to whisper about her. She couldn’t help but notice. She needed to get away.

The angel had mentioned her cousin Elizabeth was pregnant after years of barrenness. She would go see her. If Elizabeth was with child, as the angel claimed, it would confirm the whole event. She needed that bit of confirmation because life was falling apart. One day she was happily engaged to be married and the next day everyone was accusing her of misconduct.

We’ve all felt the sting of other people not believing us. We’ve experienced the shame of other people gossiping about us. No wonder Mary wanted to get away. Don’t we all feel like that at times?

Elizabeth was overjoyed to see Mary. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth poured out a loving blessing to Mary that must have soothed and healed Mary’s concerns. Elizabeth said the baby in her womb jumped for joy when she heard Mary’s greeting.

So it was true. Elizabeth was pregnant, as the angel told her. This confirmed the words of the angel. She, too, must be pregnant, as the angel said.

Girl talk ensued. Elizabeth told the tale of the angel appearing to her husband, Zechariah. He had been speechless ever since. Hearing of someone’s angelic visitation assured Mary that her own experience was real. She wasn’t going crazy after all.

When Mary arrived, Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy and Mary stayed for three months, which means she stayed with Elizabeth until the baby was born. They named him John.

Mary did more than run away from her problems and the troublesome responses of her friends and family. She didn’t just escape; she sought friendship and comfort. She sought out someone who would understand without judging her. She needed a friend to encourage her when she felt like she was at a breaking point. And she spent her time being productive by helping someone else instead of focusing on herself.

God has chosen you, but that doesn’t mean everything will be roses along the way. People may not believe you. They may question your motives. They may even abandon you. But God has chosen you to follow this path and he will work through you to accomplish his purposes. He will also give you the support you need along the way, such as a good friend, a chance to get away for a time, or a period of refreshing before the next hard thing. Look for the blessings God leaves you to refresh you along the way.

 

Prayer

Lord, I have experienced some of what Mary experienced. Some people haven’t believed me or have questioned my motives. Others have broken up our relationship. I’ve experienced gossip and shame. Sometimes I just want to get away from it all, but I know you have chosen me to walk this path. You have a purpose for my life and a role for me in your story. Give me the support I need. Heal the wounds inflicted by those closest to me. Make my heart glad, even as I endure difficult things. Thank you for being with me, for living in me, and for living through me for your glory.

 


 

May these devotional readings give you hope and courage to face the challenges God has placed in your life. Have a wonderful Christmas!

Don’t miss what God wants to do in your life this Christmas.

If your heart is tugging at you, click on the link below to purchase it on Amazon.

 


 

Chosen: A 31-Day Christmas Devotional

Available in paperback, Kindle, or ePub (Kobo, B&N, Apple, and others).

 

 

 

 

 


Christy

Guest Post: MUST We Dishonor One Another Based on Political Beliefs, Or Is There a Better Way? by Mark Virkler

Submitted by Mark Virkler on November 3, 2017

 

Right now, the amount of dishonor, disdain, demonization and divisiveness amongst people over politics has reached epidemic proportions. Fifty-eight percent of Americans have political opinions they are afraid to share.  Wow! So much for freedom of expression and free speech!


The healing of this problem is to implement the Biblical mandate, to “honor all people” (1 Pet. 2:17). It appears to me that the Lord has to speak this as revelation knowledge into one’s heart before it can become a reality. I mean, I read the verse and knew it for years, and yet still judged and dishonored those whom I disagreed with.

This blog on How to Move from Judgment to Compassion details what Jesus taught about judgment, and that He did not come to judge, but to show compassion and heal (Jn. 12:47; Matt. 14:14).

I think that is a good mandate for us to be following at this time. I received an email this morning asking if I was a Republican or a Democrat, and why. Guess what? I was afraid to answer. So I provided my stock response:

Paul, that is a big question needing a big answer. Not able to do it justice in a few sentences. My basic philosophy is to vote for the one who most lines up with biblical teachings, so that God can bless our nation. I am pretty sure that the only thing that can preserve our nation is a revival, and I believe teaching people to hear God’s voice is key to revival, so I am giving my time to that end.

Joshua, my son, was going to offer blogs on God and government, but once we stated our intention to do that the reaction was so strong, Josh decided against it.

Summary: Let us be the people who are peacemakers, who honor all people, and love all people, and being moved by compassion, heal those whom we touch (Matt. 14:14). I find that I need to lay down my judgments if I am going to love the person next to me and reach out with a healing touch. Just because I have not judged him, does not mean I agree with him or approve of his positions or behaviours. It just means I have chosen compassion over judgment. Read this blog on what Jesus taught about judgment.

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to DO justice, to LOVE mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

MUST We Dishonor One Another Based on Political Beliefs, Or Is There a Better Way? Submitted by Mark Virkler on November 3, 2017. Originally posted at www.CWGministries.org, © Mark and Patti Virkler. Used by Permission.

 

Personal Note from Christy:

I, for one, had a severe anger problem. But God used the teachings of Mark Virkler to bring about inner transformation in my life. Everyone needs healing in some area, so I encourage you to experience the blessing of a healed heart by taking courses such as Hearing God’s Voice, Prayers That Heal the Heart, and Counseled by God. It’s time to admit we cannot, by our own effort, change ourselves. We must allow God to change us from the inside out. Only then can we release God’s love to other people.

If you’re not sure if one of these courses are right for you, I’m pleased to be able to offer you a free course sampler from Christian Leadership University’s School of the Spirit.

Christy

Guest Post: How to Move from Judgment to Compassion by Mark Virkler

Submitted by Mark Virkler on November 1, 2017

 

Jesus, moved by compassion, healed (Matt. 14:14). I, moved by judgment, don’t heal.

What can I learn from Jesus’ teachings  about judging which can help me move from my tendency to live in judgment toward myself and others to living like Jesus and expressing compassion? Let’s explore Jesus’ words on judging so we can learn to live as Jesus did, Who was moved by compassion and healed.

 

Four things Jesus taught concerning judgment

  1. Jesus came to save, not to judge: God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him… the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. (Jn. 3:17; 12:47,48)
  2. Judging hurts the judger: Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. (Lk. 6:37; Matt. 7:1)
  3. I overcome judgment by being a peacemaker: For while you are going with your opponent to appear before the magistrate, on your way there make an effort to settle with him, so that he may not drag you before the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. (Lk. 12:57-59; Matt. 5:25)
  4. True righteous judgment comes from the Father by the SpiritI did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak … the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” (Jn. 12:47-50; 5:30; 8:16)

 

True righteous judgment is not…

  • According to outer appearance or things I can see: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” (Jn. 7:24)
  • From the flesh: “You judge according to the flesh; I am not judging anyone. (Jn. 8:15)
  • Before hearing directly from the person: “Our Law does not judge a man unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it?” (Jn. 7:51; Ex. 23:1)

 

Summary

Since mankind was created to live out of communion with God (Gen. 3:9,10; Jn. 5:19,20,30), any judgment must flow from His Spirit within, as we are walking and living by the Spirit (Gal. 5:25). Any judgment which comes from my mind means I have fallen for satan’s lie that I can know – apart from God’s revelation (Gen. 3:5).

If I fall for satan’s accusative judgments against myself or others, and 1) believe them, 2) emotionally feel them (rejection/fear) and 3) confess them with my mouth, I draw these judgments to myself (Lk. 6:37; Matt. 7:1). I unleash demonic forces which promote destruction. I have birthed the kingdom of darkness out through the creative capacity of my spirit by:

  1. Speaking: Life and death are in the power of the tongue (Prov. 18:21)
  2. Feeling: What a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Prov. 23:7). “Heart” is “nephesh” which includes the meanings of “desire, emotion, passion.”
  3. Believing: According to your faith so be it unto you (Matt. 9:29).

God has spoken directly into my heart the following: “Minimize judging;” Honor all people;” and “Ask for and receive My compassion, so My mercy and grace may flow through you to others.

How to Move from Judgment to Compassion Submitted by Mark Virkler on November 1, 2017, Originally posted at www.CWGministries.org, © Mark and Patti Virkler. Used by Permission.

 

"Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!" - Jesus (John 8:7)

 

Mark Virkler is a gifted teacher. I’m pleased to be able to offer you a free course sampler from Christian Leadership University’s School of the Spirit. Beyond the course sampler, I heartily recommend his course on Hearing God’s Voice.

Christy

Five More Goodreads Giveaways for Crossword Bible Studies

Free books? Yes, please.

Well, I can’t guarantee you’ll get a free book, but you can enter these five Goodreads giveaways for a chance to win one of my Crossword Bible Studies. Hey, it’s worth a shot!

In case you missed it, go grab the links to the first five giveaways.

 

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Crossword Bible Studies - Genesis by Christy Bower

Crossword Bible Studies – Genesis

by Christy Bower

Giveaway ends November 19, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Crossword Bible Studies - The Gospel of Matthew by Christy Bower

Crossword Bible Studies – The Gospel of Matthew

by Christy Bower

Giveaway ends November 19, 2017.

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at Goodreads.

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Crossword Bible Studies - The Gospel of Mark by Christy Bower

Crossword Bible Studies – The Gospel of Mark

by Christy Bower

Giveaway ends November 19, 2017.

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at Goodreads.

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Crossword Bible Studies - The Gospel of Luke by Christy Bower

Crossword Bible Studies – The Gospel of Luke

by Christy Bower

Giveaway ends November 19, 2017.

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at Goodreads.

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Crossword Bible Studies - The Gospel of John by Christy Bower

Crossword Bible Studies – The Gospel of John

by Christy Bower

Giveaway ends November 19, 2017.

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at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

I can guarantee one thing . . .

You won’t win if you don’t enter.

Christy

Five Goodreads Giveaways for Crossword Bible Studies

Are you on Goodreads? Do you like free books? I’m making it easy for you to win free books.

I created giveaways on Goodreads for five of my new Crossword Bible Studies. These are the links to each of the giveaway pages. If you’re a Goodreads member, entering is as simple as a couple clicks.

(If you’re not a Goodreads member, you’re missing out so sign up today!)

 

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Crossword Bible Studies - Books of the New Testament by Christy Bower

Crossword Bible Studies – Books of the New Testament

by Christy Bower

Giveaway ends November 13, 2017.

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at Goodreads.

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Crossword Bible Studies - Books of the Old Testament by Christy Bower

Crossword Bible Studies – Books of the Old Testament

by Christy Bower

Giveaway ends November 13, 2017.

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at Goodreads.

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Crossword Bible Studies - Daily Proverbs by Christy Bower

Crossword Bible Studies – Daily Proverbs

by Christy Bower

Giveaway ends November 19, 2017.

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at Goodreads.

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Crossword Bible Studies - Top 40 Classic Songs in Psalms by Christy Bower

Crossword Bible Studies – Top 40 Classic Songs in Psalms

by Christy Bower

Giveaway ends November 19, 2017.

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at Goodreads.

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Crossword Bible Studies - The Birth of Jesus by Christy Bower

Crossword Bible Studies – The Birth of Jesus

by Christy Bower

Giveaway ends November 13, 2017.

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at Goodreads.

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Christy

Ninety-Five Affirmations for a Life Empowered by Grace

Five hundred years ago, a young monk struggling to reconcile church practice with what is actually found in Scripture, nailed to the church door a document containing ninety-five statements he was prepared to defend from Scripture. Martin Luther’s 95 Theses began to shake things up in the church. In today’s vernacular, Luther posted his manifesto on social media for public debate.

Posting these statements in public opened a dialogue that ultimately changed the course of church history and marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. While the Catholic Church promoted the idea of performing good works to earn eternal life, the Protestants maintained that grace alone was necessary for salvation. Protestants began to break away from the Catholic Church to form private churches.

Because Martin Luther opened a discussion that changed the course of history, we commemorate the day he posted his 95 Theses as Reformation Day. This year marks the 500th anniversary of Reformation Day, October 31, 1517 – October 31, 2017.

 

Honoring 500 Years 1517 - 2017

 

In the spirit of Reformation Day, I’m posting my own set of statements. Just as Martin Luther shined a spotlight on the biblical message of grace forgotten by the church, I want to highlight the message of grace for us today. Grace is for more than just salvation. It’s a life empowered by God and overflowing to others.

 


 

Ninety-Five Affirmations for a Life Empowered by Grace

 

  1. I am right in God’s sight because His grace freed me from the penalty of my sin (Romans 3:24, Ephesians 1:7).
  2. I experienced a changed life when I understood the truth about God’s grace (Colossians 1:6).
  3. I believe God called me by His grace (Galatians 1:15).
  4. I receive God’s grace as a gift (Ephesians 2:8).
  5. I am right in God’s sight because of His grace (Titus 3:7).
  6. I can stop trying to get right with God (Galatians 5:4).
  7. I understand the value of grace, bought by Christ’s life (Galatians 2:21).
  8. I believe people are saved by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus (Acts 15:11).
  9. I have right standing with God because of His grace (Romans 5:21).
  10. I receive the gift of forgiveness through God’s grace (Romans 5:15).
  11. I believe the Spirit alone gives eternal life and human effort accomplishes nothing (John 6:63).
  12. I believe God exists and He rewards those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).
  13. I began my Christian life in the Spirit and I will continue to live in the Spirit (Galatians 3:3).
  14. I praise God for the grace he has poured out on me (Ephesians 1:6).
  15. I accept my circumstances and experiences as part of God’s grace for me (1 Peter 5:12).
  16. I am thankful in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
  17. I depend on God’s grace, not my own human wisdom (2 Corinthians 1:12).
  18. I honor the Lord by the way I live because of the grace of God (2 Thessalonians 1:12).
  19. I come to God whenever I need grace to help me (Hebrews 4:16).
  20. I receive grace, generously given by God (James 4:6).
  21. I am built up by the message of grace (Acts 20:32).
  22. I am who I am because of God’s grace working through me (1 Corinthians 15:10).
  23. I grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
  24. I receive God’s grace and live in triumph through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17).
  25. I receive grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father (2 John 1:3).
  26. I receive more and more of God’s grace and peace (2 Peter 1:2).
  27. I experience strength from God’s grace, not from following rules (Hebrews 13:9).
  28. I live under the freedom of God’s grace, not rules (Romans 6:14).
  29. I follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of my life (Galatians 5:25).
  30. I rely on the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:4).
  31. I let the Holy Spirit renew my thoughts and attitudes (Ephesians 4:23).
  32. I let God transform me into a new person by changing the way I think (Romans 12:2).
  33. I let the Spirit control my mind, leading to life and peace (Romans 8:6).
  34. I am radiant, filled with the light of God (Luke 11:35-36).
  35. I take pleasure in my weakness because God’s power works through me (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
  36. I live my life as a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God (2 Corinthians 2:15).
  37. I am a fragile jar containing God’s power (2 Corinthians 4:7).
  38. I trust God to finish the work in my life (Philippians 1:6).
  39. I trust God to produce His righteous character in my life (Philippians 1:11).
  40. I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ (Philippians 1:20).
  41. I rely on what Christ has done for me and put no confidence in my human effort (Philippians 3:3).
  42. I seek the Kingdom of God above all else, trusting Him to provide (Luke 12:31).
  43. I am prepared to explain my Christian hope (1 Peter 3:15).
  44. I find my life has value when I am telling others about God’s grace (Acts 20:24).
  45. I have the privilege of serving God by spreading the Good News about grace (Ephesians 3:7).
  46. I show compassion to others and release God’s love to flow through me (1 John 3:17).
  47. I have been blessed to be a blessing to others (Genesis 12:2).
  48. I have freely received from God so I can freely give to others (Matthew 10:8).
  49. I use my worldly resources to benefit others and make friends (Luke 16:1-9).
  50. I have everything I need and plenty left over to share with others (2 Corinthians 9:8).
  51. I share with those in need (Hebrews 13:16).
  52. I receive God’s blessing when I give something as simple as a cup of cold water (Matthew 10:42).
  53. I share God’s abundance as He increases my resources to produce generosity in me (2 Corinthians 9:10).
  54. I am blessed so I can be generous (2 Corinthians 9:11).
  55. I give generously because the amount I give determines the amount I receive (Luke 6:38).
  56. I give spiritual riches to others, even if I have nothing else to give (2 Corinthians 6:10).
  57. I speak words of blessing into the lives of others (Numbers 6:24-26).
  58. I speak good and helpful words that encourage those who hear them (Ephesians 4:29).
  59. I build others up and encourage them (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
  60. I always bless others. How can I curse someone made in the image of God? (James 3:9-10).
  61. I speak and act as a representative of the Lord Jesus (Colossians 3:17).
  62. I love all people because each person is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).
  63. I love others and show it by my actions (1 John 3:18).
  64. I repay insults with blessing (1 Peter 3:9).
  65. I bless those who persecute me and pray God will bless them (Romans 12:14).
  66. I am patient with those who oppose the truth because they have been held captive by the devil (2 Timothy 2:25-26).
  67. I befriend those who cannot personally benefit me (Luke 14:12-14).
  68. I forgive others because Christ has forgiven me (Ephesians 4:32).
  69. I make allowance for other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends me (Colossians 3:13)
  70. I accept others just as Christ accepted me (Romans 15:7).
  71. I enjoy the company of ordinary people and live in harmony with others (Romans 12:16).
  72. I serve needy people because I see Jesus in them (Matthew 25:31-46).
  73. I am rich in good works, generous to those in need, and ready to share with others (1 Timothy 6:17-19).
  74. I work for the Lord rather than for people (Colossians 3:23-24).
  75. I work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically (Romans 12:11).
  76. I think of others as better than myself rather than trying to impress people (Philippians 2:3).
  77. I take an interest in others rather than looking out for myself (Philippians 2:4).
  78. I proclaim God’s Word without regard for personal profit (2 Corinthians 2:17).
  79. I promote Jesus Christ rather than myself (2 Corinthians 4:5).
  80. I live for Christ and no longer live for myself (2 Corinthians 5:15).
  81. I am Christ’s ambassador, urging people to come back to God (2 Corinthians 5:20).
  82. I seek the approval of God, not people (Galatians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 2:4).
  83. I proclaim Christ with pure motives, not selfish ambition (Philippians 1:17).
  84. I share the burdens of others because I’m not too important to help someone else (Galatians 6:2-3).
  85. I leave my work in the Lord’s hand and trust Him for my reward (Isaiah 49:4).
  86. I use the gifts God has given me to serve others (1 Peter 4:10-11).
  87. I use my freedom to serve others in love (Galatians 5:13).
  88. I motivate others to acts of love (Hebrews 10:24).
  89. I honor those who give me spiritual guidance (1 Thessalonians 5:12).
  90. I delight in honoring others (Romans 12:10).
  91. I respect everyone (1 Peter 2:17).
  92. I submit to governing authorities because God placed them there (Romans 13:1).
  93. I submit to the government in obedience (Titus 3:1).
  94. I intercede on behalf of all people and give thanks for them (1 Timothy 2:1).
  95. I intercede for political authorities so we can live in peace (1 Timothy 2:2).

 


 

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