Thursday, February 7, 2013

Wednesday, February 6th

The women at Norfolk Garden are doing a bible study by Beth Moore on the book of James - Mercy Triumphs. We are taking it slow -- as we meet on Weds evenings from 7-8. The first week is the video presentation, then the next week we do Days 1-3 and the following week we finish Days 4-5 and any other extra material that we have time to cover. Last night was our culmination of the first lesson. In the three weeks it took to digest all of the preliminary work of getting to know James, the brother of Jesus, his role in the Jerusalem church, his Jewishness as a believer, it makes the words on the page come to life.
On my ride from Newport News to Norfolk last night Chuck Swindoll was discussing the debate in the early church about Gentiles and circumcision from Galatians. The last day of our study concerned a similar passage from Acts with the leaders of the Jerusalem church and Paul. As Judy spoke about the difficulty of the Gentiles and Jewish Christians uniting and the cultural chasm that needed to be crossed, the line from Dr. Swindoll, "Peter you have ham on your breath!" came to mind and was shared with the ladies. It is so easy to become a legalist and deny the work of grace. The Bible has many gray areas which can be interpreted in different ways based upon our conscience and the leading of the Holy Spirit. When we make our sanctification a matter of denial of self rather than the liberty of Christ we cheapen the Cross of Christ.

Soulprint by Mark Batterson

WOW! I have read two of Mark Batterson's previous books, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day and Wild Goose Chase but my favorite has to be his new book, Soulprint. The book is broken into seven sections: the opening, five scenes and the closing. In order to make an easy transition from what is communicated to application to our own life, Mark uses the life of David from shepherd boy to warrior king with examples from his life as comparison. There are moments in our life that will define our destiny, but they must be contemplated and mulled over.

We are God's individual masterpiece that he has placed in a particular place and time to accomplish a dual purpose. First, to be conformed to the image of Christ and second, to fulfill the exquisite course God has planned for each of us. In each of the sections there were numerous statements and questions worth highlighting because they were thoughts to ponder and consider at further length. This book presents truths in ways that hit you between the eyes with their simplicity as well as their depth. Examples:
You are unlike anyone who has ever lived. But that uniqueness isn't a virtue. It's a responsibility.
It's hard to truly get to know others if you don't even know yourself.
Our strengths are hidden within our weaknesses. Our advantages are hidden within our disadvantages.
You never know what skill God will use for His purposes so don't underestimate the strangest of skills.
There are questions to be asked to discover our true identity and destiny. At the end of the book there are questions for discussion and reflection based upon each of the sections of the book as well as group activities.

Since a new year brings with it introspection and the desire to move ahead, this book would be an excellent springboard to examine what has gone before and the path ahead. It is a quest to discover who you really are and what God has destined you to become.