Friday, January 11, 2019

A time to read

As each year ticks by I find more and more snippets of discretionary time.

When I worked full time while homeschooling our older three kids, had two more preschool age kiddos and a puppy, I had very little time to shower let alone anything resembling "free" time. In those days I soaked in God's Word in the morning through half open eyes and enjoyed read alouds as part of school.

Just this past year, I have rediscovered my love of reading and made it a little more of a priority in my schedule. While I used to be lucky to finish 2 books of my own choosing in a year, in recent months I have maxed out my monthly hoopla 5 book limit.

A little bit of what I have finished recently:

Precept Bible studies have had a huge impact on my spiritual growth in the past year and a half. This study on the Sermon on the Mount nourished and challenged and was absolutely beautiful. I know this isn't a book in the traditional sense, but I highly recommend Precept studies and this one in particular. It has inspired a few of my recent blog posts, and I love the richness of just settling in face to face with God's Word.

Perfectly timed read as it coincided with my study of Matthew 6 and Jesus's own teaching on treasure. It put into words so much of what I hunger for in stewarding my resources. Could I possibly regret having given more? Have I truly chosen God over money/material goods? Stabbing into the heart of the matter and relentlessly scraping away any bit of self that keeps me holding on to anything but Him.

Stirring a fresh desire to show grace. To fully recognize and meditate on the grace that God has generously poured out on me, and then, as He wants, to send it off in torrents to those around me. Understanding grace, recognizing grace, and practicing gracious living. A story early on sums it up well -- when a hurting, homeless woman was approached by a volunteer and asked if she had stopped in at the local church to ask for help the woman looked shocked. "Why would I ever go to a church? I already feel miserable enough!" Yet, they ran to Jesus. Flocked to him in droves seeking his love and grace. That's my model.

Although I grew up in a far less liturgical context than the author describes, I could still relate to the need for recognizing the spirituality of daily obedience to God. All of life is worship, and Warren paints a Norman Rockwell picture of that concept lived out. Not a perfect life, but a faithful one. Not holy, pious routines, but visually, constantly surrendered to His agenda. On a side note, it made me want to visit an Anglican church sometime. Made me thankful I don't attend one regularly, but intrigued by the liturgies and symbols that show up regularly in their services and throughout their sanctuary.

Next on my list . . . 

Just a Minute by Wess Stafford
The Life Giving Parent by Sally Clarkson

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