How to Rid Yourself of Faults

I came across this quote in my daily devotional. John Ruskin (8 February 1819 – 20 January 1900) was an English author, philosopher and art critic. His thoughts about eliminating our sins is spot on.

“You will find it less easy to uproot faults, than to choke them out by gaining virtues. Do not think of your faults; still less of others’ faults. In every person who comes near you look for what is good and strong: honor that; rejoice in it; and as you can, try to imitate it. Your faults will drop off like dead leaves when their time comes.”

I agree that everyone, even those we dislike, has something to teach us, something we can strive to emulate. When we focus on that we can be grateful even for our enemies and begin to love all others as children of God.

For another quote by John Ruskin see:

Truthful Words

For more about loving our enemies see:

Praying for Enemies?

Honor Everyone

Make Somebody Happy!

It’s really not hard to make somebody happy — read this quote by Frederick Wm. Faber (1814-1863), a noted British theologian and hymnist. Then go out and spread some happiness today!

“The worst kinds of unhappiness, as well as the greatest amount of it, come from our conduct to each other. If our conduct, therefore, were under the control of kindness, it would be nearly the opposite of what it is, and so the state of the world would be almost reversed. We are for the most part unhappy, because the world is an unkind world. But the world is only unkind for lack of kindness in us units who compose it.”

For more about kindness see these posts:

A Kind Word

Dare to be Kind by Lizzie Velasquez–Book Review

Deep Kindness by Houston Kraft–Book Review

Song of Creation by Paul Goble — Book Review

Adapted from The Book of Common Prayer, this book for children age 5-10 is beautifully illustrated by the author, Paul Goble. With bright, delightful pictures that youngsters and parents will love, Goble shows every element of creation — birds and animals, day and night, ice and cold, sun and moon, winds and water, plants and air –worshipping and glorifying God, the Creator of it all. It’s a good reminder that God’s presence is all around us.

Each page includes a few verses in smaller type, reminding the reader that they can add verses and ideas of their own.

Children will enjoy and quickly pick up on the liturgical statement that is repeated over and over:

bless you the Lord: praise Him and magnify Him forever.”

However, parental involvement will be needed to unpack the meaning in a way children can understand.


For more books for children see:

The Promises of God Storybook Bible by Jennifer Lyell–Book Review

Great and Small Prayers for Babies — Book Review

God is Hope by Amy Parker–Book Review

When to Doubt Your Religion

Hugh Black (March 26, 1868 – April 6, 1953) was a Scottish-American theologian and author. He was quoted in my daily devotional reading.

“We have cause to suspect our religion if it does not make us gentle, and forbearing and forgiving; if the love of our Lord does not so flood our hearts as to cleanse them of all bitterness, and spite, and wrath. If a man is nursing anger, if he is letting his mind become a nest of foul passions, malice, and hatred, and evil wishing, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

For more about forgiveness see:

The Opportunity of Forgiveness

A World Without Forgiveness

Forgiveness: It Does a Body Good

What My Faith Means to Me

My husband recently retired, and we’ve been sorting through old papers and pictures, trying to decide what we want to keep. I came across this paper in a file — it was written by one of our daughters (although I’m not sure which one, maybe they will both read it and let me know!) when she was confirmed. She would have been about fourteen. I found it touching, and maybe you will, too. If only we could all keep that accepting, childlike faith throughout our whole life!

Wouldn’t it be a good journal question for each of us? Think today about what your faith means to you, and if you have time, write it down!

I have faith in many things. They range from very small things to something as large and important as Jesus. I have faith that He will be there for me when I am in trouble, listen to me when I have no one to talk to, and forgive my sins.

From the time I was baptized I have been accepted as one of God’s children. Being accepted into His family, I have been given a path to follow in my life. It is a path that will eventually lead me to his kingdom. To follow this path, I need to trust, and have faith that He will help me climb over the mountains of sin and carry me over the ruts and ditches that block my way in the path.

Many things cause me to stray from the path in my everyday life, but with God’s help, I am constantly being put back on the path, becoming stronger in my faith than I was before.

I sometimes wonder where I would be without Jesus. The answer is nowhere. I would have nothing to live for and nowhere to go.

Having faith in God makes all my problems seem easier to overcome and all the work in my life worthwhile. That is why what my faith means to me is EVERYTHING.

For more on the topic of faith see:

Victorious Faith

The Right Kind of Faith

This Is Your Brain on Faith

Spiritual Friendship — What is it?

I’ve been spending some time lately sorting through old letters, photos and papers, and it has reminded me of the gift of Christian friendship I’ve enjoyed over the years. Why not give thanks today for all who have befriended you in your journey with Jesus. Here are some quotes to help!

Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire? – C.S Lewis

He is your friend who pushes you nearer to God. – Abraham Kuyper

A true friend is the greatest of all blessings. – Francois de La Rochefoucauld

There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship. – Thomas Aquinas

And finally, when you remember what your friends have meant to you, do this!

If You Know People In Your Church Or Your Neighborhood That Are Facing Adversity, I Encourage You To Offer A Hand Of Friendship To Them. That Is What Jesus Would Do. – Jonathan Falwell

As they tell us in Via de Cristo, Make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ.

For more about spiritual friendship see:

Remembering Old Friends

Friends in the Lord

Walking Together

Pure In Heart by J. Garrett Kell–Book Review

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8

Author J. Garrett Kell connects this promise from the Beatitudes to the need for sexual purity, a sin he has struggled with himself. He uses real life examples to illustrate how both men and women are tempted and need help resisting the sorts of sin that our society not only tolerates, but often condones.

Pure in Heart

The first section of the book is entitled “The Promise of Purity” and deals with the basics — who God is, what He promises us, and why maintaining sexual purity is difficult. The second section, “Pathways to Purity“, offers strategies for pursuing purity and resisting temptation. The author emphasizes that there is no quick-fix– this is a lifelong process.

There is an appendix with discussion questions, so the book could easily be used in a small group setting. There is also a section with suggestions for those who need help with this issue right now. It would be a good resource for pastors to have on hand.

This book is basic and biblical. If you are familiar with the Scriptures there are no surprises. Like other sins, sexual temptations need to be faced and confessed. We should avoid or flee from situations that are problematic and seek support and prayer from Christian friends. Ultimately, we must rely upon the strength of God.

VERDICT: 3 STARS. While there is nothing wrong with this book, the examples given were addressed in a superficial way. I also believe that being “pure in heart” encompasses so much more than sexual purity.

If you would like to purchase this book follow the link below:

The Lutheran Ladies received a free e-copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review. Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CPR 255.

For more about resisting sexual sin see these posts:

Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges–Book Review

real sex — Book Review

Gay Girl, Good God — Book Review

Fish Out of Water by Eric Metaxas–Book Review

Fish Out of Water: A Search for the Meaning of Life by [Eric Metaxas]

Eric Metaxas is known to many for his biographies of Martin Luther and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In this new memoir, he turns to his own life for material. Starting at a young age, Eric feels like a “fish out of water” — he never quite belongs. His mother is German and his father is Greek — so he does not completely fit into either community, and as the son of immigrants he never feels entirely “American” either. He skips a grade early in elementary school, becoming for years the smallest boy in his class. He is the working class boy at an elite college (Yale) and finally an evangelical Christian who is misunderstood by both his Greek Orthodox family and his intellectual friends.

Metaxas writes well and with great humor and candor. However, I have to admit I was often bored with the details of his childhood and family history. After 100 pages, I was close to giving up, because I still hadn’t gotten to what for me was the “good” part — his conversion and spiritual life. In fact, there isn’t much about that until the last few chapters. He admits that “The rest of the story–and the many stories–of what happened to me after my dream in 1988 (his conversion experience)–must be told in another book.” I’m assuming there will be another book, and I’ll probably enjoy that one much more.

There are some interesting observations about our secular society and the things that we really worship. In that respect, it reminded me of another book I read recently — You Are What You Love by James K. A. Smith–Book Review I also admired the author’s openness and ability to appreciate different kinds of people, even those with whom he disagreed strongly– maybe that was because he often felt different and unaccepted himself.

VERDICT: 3 STARS. In his own words, this book is “only the first part of my story, ending with my crossing the starting line of my life with God.” I’m looking forward to the next installment.

For more spiritual memoirs see:

Where the Light Fell by Philip Yancey–Book Review

Nothing is Wasted by Lore Cottone–Book Review

Suffer Strong by Katherine & Jay Wolf–Book Review

Don’t Forget!

I’ve come to the last chapter of 2 Peter in my lectio divina study. What stands out for me in this reading is near the beginning and it’s very simple:

“... you should remember…” 2 Peter 3:2

Peter is telling his readers to remember the predictions of the prophets of the Old Testament, as well as the commandments of Jesus they have learned through His apostles. We should remember those things as well, and continuing to read and study the Scriptures will help us to do that. As we grow older, we each have individual memories to cherish as well– memories of the different churches we have attended, each one with a special history and beauty; memories of Sunday School lessons and teachers; pastors who have encouraged us; brothers and sisters in the faith who have helped us bear our burdens and mature as believers. These people and places make up our personal “cloud of witnesses.” When I remember them, I’m comforted and consoled. Looking back at my own life, as well as the Scriptures, I can clearly see how God has been at work, and is still at work. I’m part of His story and so are you. He’s not done yet!

For more about remembering see:

Remembering What We Are

Remember the Gospel

Remembering the Important Things

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger–Book Review

This is a book about loss and healing; forgiveness and acceptance; faith and pain. It’s the story of one summer in the life of a young teenage boy named Frank– a summer when several people die violent deaths, one of them his older sister, Ariel. This death shatters the family and the community in which they live. The mystery of who is responsible slowly unravels until Frank and his younger brother Jake discover the truth. Secrets are revealed and painful growth results.

Ordinary Grace: A Novel

Central to the story is Frank’s father, a Methodist minister, whose calm faith holds his family together as they navigate the process of grief. Even in the worst moments of despair, Frank and his family encounter small, “ordinary” miracles that lead them to God’s grace. Through the love of family and friends, God’s truth expressed in a sermon, the simple act of giving thanks, they begin to release their hurt and anger and continue living.

Well written and realistic, this book will likely become a favorite. It’s an easy read, but one that will make you grapple with important issues of the faith.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. I recommend it.

For more book reviews of fiction see:

Beyond the Storm by Carolyn Zane–Book Review

white picket fences by Susan Meissner–Book Review

The Moonflower Vine by Jetta Carleton–Book Review