Fanning the Flame #15 –Getting Good

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already obtained. Philippians 3:12-16

A book I read recently stated  that “getting good” at any complicated task takes about 10,000 hours of practice.  Now this author wasn’t speaking about the living the Christian life, but I imagine it still applies.  So if you want to “get good” at being a Christian, simply sitting in the pew won’t cut it.  At the rate of one hour per week, “getting good” will take approximately 192 years!  In case you haven’t noticed, none of us have that long!  To really mature as a Christian, we need to put in the hours –hours of prayer, Bible study, service and more.

This is exactly what the Fanning the Flame process is teaching us.  As a team, we are learning to be more disciplined in our prayer life;  to discover and use our spiritual gifts;  to repent of our sins;  to remember God’s promises;  to study His Word;  to fellowship with one another, and so on.  Hopefully, as we mature in our faith, we will influence others within the congregation to do the same.  We’ll be stronger, better witnesses.

Will we ever achieve complete sanctification?  Lutherans don’t think so.  However, like Paul, we need to press on and do what is in our power to become worthy followers of the gift we have already been given.  Christ died for our sins so that we could be reconciled with God and live with Him in eternity.  Is it enough to plunk ourselves down in the sanctuary once a week, sing a few hymns and drop a few dollars in the offering plate?  Is this a show of true gratitude, or is it just a pious habit we’ve developed over the years?  We can’t stand still in the life of faith, we have to practice.  We have to get good.

 

 

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When We Say Father – Book Review

As Lutherans, we ray the Lord’s Prayer every Sunday – But do we really understand or even hear what we are saying – the power and reverence?  This book explains the power of prayer and what each line means.

I enjoyed this book and felt it gave great examples of how to construct our own prayers through the model of the Lord’s Prayer.  This book is written so that anyone wanting a more detailed explanation and help can follow along.

As always, I really liked the author’s personal experiences that relational to the passages.  I am a firm believer in “connection through confession” with others through our own experiences in the faith

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars – it is well written and easy to understand.

You may purchase this book at the link below

https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/when-we-say-father-P005796873

Saint and Sinner? Really?

Yes, we Lutherans believe that we can be sinners (duh, of course) and at the same time saints, as part of Christ’s body the church.  This is one of the great mysteries of the faith, and part of our justification through the death of Jesus on the cross. We have been freed from the penalty of our sin.  Isn’t this reason enough to repent every day?  Shouldn’t we try to live up to the gift we’ve already been given?

You know you're a Lutheran when... you are saint & sinner and okay with that. #lutheran #humor

Big and Little Coloring Devotional – Book Review

First and foremost, I do not color, I have to start this review off honestly.  Rather than taking the time to sit down and color, or a lot of times just “be still”, I can usually find about a thousand other things to do.  That being said, I liked this book and I actually did do some coloring to try it out.  The book overall is well done and put together nicely.  The devotionals are easy to relate to and the illustrations definitely project the image the devotional is portraying.  I feel motivated to sit down a color occasionally.

I enjoyed all the devotionals but I do have a few favorites

  1.  Psalm 42:1 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.
  2. Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God
  3. Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. I connected with the hamster on the wheel in this one a lot.

Overall, I am going to give this book 5 out of 5 stars.  The author and illustrator did a great job of working together to give devotionals that are relevant today and a picture that tied in nicely.  Great job ladies, I will be recommending this to others.  You can purchase through the link below.

 

I was given a free copy of this book for an honest review.

 

https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/big-and-little-coloring-devotional-P005794600

To return, or . . . not to return.

Hosea 14:1-2

“Return, Israel, to the Lord your God.
    Your sins have been your downfall!
Take words with you
    and return to the Lord.”

When we sin, when we mess up and we really know we did . . . we want to do better. Most of us want to “fix” it. And maybe that can be okay if we keep our eyes on God in doing so. Because while work can never save us, wanting to try, to get up and do, or even the action of stopping a behavior because we know it’s wrong-is the beginning (action of) repentance.

“But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” -James 2:18

In other words he has the desire to do good. To work, share, help, save, obey, because he has faith. Faith brought on by the hearing of God’s word which tells us we need to repent. We need to stop the bad that we do and return to our Father in heaven. Not only for our good but for the good of others.

Return with apologetic words and then words of encouragement, because the law meant to guard us. To keep us from certain death.

Galatians 3:24 “So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.”

If we ever wonder why we have a conscience, this would be the reason. It’s our flashing yellow light. When it goes off we have a choice to keep going, or return.

R.C. Sproul on Repentance

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R. C. Sproul was not a Lutheran, but this sounds quite a bit like Martin Luther’s First Thesis, doesn’t it?
Confession should be a daily activity for the Christian, whose entire pilgrimage is characterized by the spirit of repentance. —R.C. Sproul

More Grace

I receive morning devotionals every morning from several sources.  One is from a pastor that I’ve known for years and he is the one that married my husband and I, and baptized both of our children.  I enjoy hearing from him every day.

The thought for today included this:

There is an infinite depth in our Lord that can never be exhausted. The excitement continues as the Lord draws us closer to Himself. Continue to read, think, and pray. There is always more grace, truth, and real excitement in walking day by day with Jesus Christ.

Wow, just wow.  This really hit me.  We cannot run out of His Grace, we can always receive more.  There is no “getting there”, we are always moving closer to our Lord.

As usual with me, when I think of things like this, a song came to mind.  Enjoy.