Habits of Grace

For help keeping grace in mind and practical ways to dig deeper, check out David Mathis’ book habits of grace. 

I love that this book is all about enjoying Jesus in our real lives. Mathis’ focus is three-fold:

My translation…

  • Read his word, remembering that he wants to speak to you
  • Use what you’ve read to speak to him, believing that he wants to hear from you too
  • Ask others about their struggles and joys in seeking him through these “means of grace,” not to compare, but to listen and to learn more about who Jesus is 

“Means of grace” as a choice

I had a different experience with French than piano. See I still wish I could play, but not enough to put in the time. When I stopped taking French, however, I missed it, and when I returned to taking classes, I knew it was my choice.

The Word was like that for me too. I knew it was important, but I didn’t really want it enough to commit to it regularly. I felt guilty and I couldn’t make myself be consistent.

And then one day, I decided that I was going to be disciplined about it because either it was important or it wasn’t and there was only one way to find out. I knew God was asking me to trust that his ways were worth it.

That was 15 years ago, and over this time, God has developed in me a love for these means of grace because they have become essential habits that have taught me more of who he is. He honors the tiniest acts of obedience, yet we are often more focused on the big questions than the ordinary moments.

What small thing is God asking you to do, right now, today? And will you do that? What are you afraid of in pursuing or not these paths?

Anti-spiritual disciplines

How do you feel about spiritual disciplines? Perhaps you cringe at hearing that question?

Can you relate to either of these concerns?

  1. Spiritual disciplines are religious and the opposite of the grace that is what the gospel is all about.
  2. I’m in a season of life that doesn’t seem to lend itself to any type of routine.

In light of these concerns, perhaps it will be helpful to hear that author David Mathis’ calls them “habits of grace.” Not convinced that’s any better?

Indeed, habits require practice and so at first sounds like an odd word to pair with grace. Like anything worth learning though, perhaps we have to decide if the benefit outweighs the cost.

  • I hated practicing piano so I never learned to play.
  • If I’m thirsty, I can say it 100 times, but if I’m standing next to the faucet, and don’t actually drink, some may doubt how thirsty I am.

Mathis says God’s “grace is essential for our spiritual lives, but we don’t control the supply,” and “There are paths along which he has promised his favor.” He continues: “We cannot earn God’s grace or make it flow apart from his free gift. But we can position ourselves to go on getting as he keeps on giving.”

So in response to the above concerns, if you are struggling to feel like these habits are determining his favor, maybe stop doing them. Rest in the fact that you don’t have to AND consider that anything worth fighting for will require sacrifice and effort.

What are you giving up by not pursuing opportunities that God has promised will lead to your good? Is it possible that God loves us enough that we really have choices about how to spend our time? Is it possible that he will use some “regular channels” to teach us to seek after him?

What about you? What concerns do you have about spiritual disciplines? 

Next up: “Means of grace” as a choice

Paul Tripp on Marriage

Everyone took notes on Paul Tripp’s marriage conference, except me. I’ve been doing so much learning I felt like if I took notes I’d be grumpy, but now I wish I had some to look back on b/c it was so good! Tripp has a number of books out and they all sound interesting, but this conference was from his book What did you expect? Here is my summary-

  • Our marriages live in a broken, imperfect world.

How do you respond to the sin, weakness and failure of your spouse?

Do you see moments of conflict as moments of opportunity?

  • Every moment is either about the kingdom of God or the kingdom of self.

Is your marriage growing in trust & vulnerability?

  • Commit to trusting one another.
  • Commit to a grace-filled marriage.

How do you respond to the sin, weakness and failure of your spouse?

Good principles for other relationships too!

 

 

 

An IF detour

Any March Madness fans out there? Gonzaga barely won yesterday, but they persevered!

Todays’ post is the continuation of my learning from the IF conference last month. We took a detour from Timothy into Hebrews 12.

Perseverance (Christine Caine) – Hebrews 12

-marathon, not a sprint

-not about what’s happening around us, but who is on the throne

-witnesses (let us also, skin in the game), not commentators or spectators

-the pressure of our generation – what gospel will we pass down?

-your turn to carry the baton, what will we do?

-Israelites complained and only their children made it to the promised land…

-we can call sin what it is b/c there is a cure! The blood of Jesus sets all free.

-fix our eyes & throw off whatever is dragging you down

Learning Deluge

Do you ever feel like your in the wilderness?

Living on just enough manna to get you to the next day?

A lot of this past year has felt like that…

More recently, I’ve felt like I’m back in college! The opportunities to learn – to intake information – have been raining, so quickly that I have not been able to digest it all before more arrives.

For some maybe this learning deluge may sound terrible, but for me, it’s been an overwhelming reminder that God has been with me this whole time. He has seen; He knows just what I need. After the wilderness comes abundance.

Abundance in a way that I am uniquely wired to be fueled by… how are you wired? what is in your life that is challenging or encouraging you this season?

because maybe what seemed like not enough… or what seems too lavish… might both be exactly what He knows we need today.

Four Years Ago Today…

we agreed to become forever friends!

It was a day as cold and blustery as late winter in the Northwest usually is…

yet he convinced me that a walk was still a good idea.

He had casually suggested earlier in the week that we should visit our first meeting place over the weekend, and because it was not out of character for him, I did not think twice about it.

Suddenly, finding myself back on the bridge where we had first met, despite the brutal wind, I had a surprising thought…
I wish he would propose…
but we had not known each other long, and I was certain my grandmother’s ring was in my jewelry case at home.  So my thinking continued…
but he can’t, because he doesn’t have the ring.
Then, he was on his knees, giving a speech that ended with “Will you marry me?” and holding the ring! I blurted out the first words that came to mind:
“Where did you get that?!”
To which, he anxiously grinning replied: “Is that a yes?”
Oh! Right… Yes!!
P.S. Special thanks to Laura for helping Jeremy find the ring, and to everyone else who knew before I did for keeping the secret, barely!! I thought you were acting strange 🙂

What I Took Away from IF: 2018, part 3

On Power, Love and a Sound Mind (Rebecca Lyons)

-power = light

-Over time our chains (weaknesses, failures, fears, wounds) become our identity, and then, we believe whatever it is can’t ever change. It affects how we run our race – can you picture running in chains?

-So we have to know what’s true – don’t say, “well I don’t know, that sounds good, could be…” b/c it’s a NARROW way

-Allow yourself to heal as a daughter so we don’t either abdicate our roles nor resent sons (co-heirs)

-Will you step into your role as a mother of our generation?

-Chase the kingdom (always opposite of the kingdom of man where we are temporarily residing)

-We all have equal access to the throne. We all hear from  God so you likely already know what to do. The question  is: do you trust Him?

-Confession always begins w/ repentance and ends w/ a declaration of praise

-Pray out whatever  (lie, wound, confession, condemnation) is holding you back by using the only offensive weapon which is Sword = Word

The rest of the armor is for defense – not bathrobe of God  – b/c it is a fight

-Ask others to pray, confess, declare truth over you, but also confess with your own mouth the things that are true

Phew! That wasn’t even all of the first evening so you see why I said long! 🙂 All of these ladies have written at least one book (which I would now like to read) so google them if you’re interested in learning more!