8 Favorite Quotes From the Book “Sacred Endurance” by Trillia J. Newbell

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I’m doing a giveaway tomorrow so stay tuned on this blog. This raffle is exclusive to Philippine residents only. What am I giving away? Watch out my big reveal and enjoy the SPURGE! This giveaway is sponsored by Lifeway.

Anyways, here’s some quotes from the book, Sacred Endurance by Trillia J. Newbell published by InterVarsity Press. If you like these quotes please get the book by clicking here.

” There’s nothing and no one who compares to our God. And this truth provides strength to our hearts. Our flesh may fail, our hearts may fail, but we will endure because God is the strength of our heart.”

“Troubles are part of the Christian life, but we’re instructed to take heart. How do we keep our hearts from being troubled? We believe and trust in God.”

“So how do we fight for truth and love in a world of hurt and rage? One way is to be subversive. We need fighters, but not the kind that burn down the nation. We need people willing to keep doing good. Yes, overthrow the culture with good. We need warriors willing to do good to their neighbors—as Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor.”

“Endurance that lasts can come only out of motivation marked by grace, faith, love, and God’s glory. Accompanied by the right motivations, living by grace sounds a lot like freedom, doesn’t it?”

“You and I are going to get this wrong again and again. We’re going to turn our anxious thoughts to inadequate things to give us security. We’re going to be tempted to lean on our own understanding. That’s because we have a battle with sin. But God, being rich in mercy, has given us a way of escape through his Son. And God doesn’t condemn us for our weakness; instead he invites us to come to him.”

“Our motivation comes out of our faith in a God who will never fail us. All others in our life might, but not the Lord. To fail us would go against his very character. So to be motivated by faith is to be motivated by the very character and trust­ worthiness of God.There is no foundation as sure as him.”

“The world tells us to follow the motivations of our hearts—in other words, to do whatever we want. In contrast, Scripture gives us boundaries that aren’t meant to stifle us but instead to help us to walk in the freedom of Christ.”
“The Christian life is a race that will have an end. One day we’ll be complete in glory and with Christ. We’ll receive a prize when this race is finished.But until that time, we must learn to run, endure, persevere, and finish.”

(Review copy of Sacred Endurance was provided by InterVarsity Press)

5 Confidence Boosters for 2016 (and 4 Ways To Thank God For It) Part 3

The best way to thank a gracious God is through our godly actions that will make a difference in our lives and to others. Here are 4 of them that will not only thank God but cultivate a grateful heart towards Him.

  • Flee from idols and false gods

“To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? An idol! A craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and casts for it silver chains.” Isaiah 40: 18-19

 

Never lower your view on God. We may not worship carved images but we can put an idol aside from God on the altar of our hearts. Knowing that the God of the Bible is the true God flee to the gods of our own devices.  Follow the God of the Bible that gives true and lasting confidence.

  • Incline to His counsel always

“Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge,and showed him the way of understanding?” Isaiah 40: 13-14

 

Remember that human knowledge is limited and changeable. But God’s wisdom stretch from age to age. Seek His counsel that He is willing to give when we come to Him.

(to be concluded next week…)

5 Confidence Boosters for 2016 (and 4 Ways to Thank God for It) Part 2

Continuing last weeks list of confidence boosters that are God given, here are numbers 3 to 5. Next week we will conclude it with 4 ways to thank God for these awesome confidence boosters
3.) On God’s Word
A voice says, “Cry!”And I said, “What shall I cry?”All flesh is grass, and all its beautyOr all its constancy is like the flower of the field.The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it;surely the people are grass.The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”
– Isaiah 40: 6-8
The Bible is not a catalog of do’s and don’ts. It is the God’s Word. And since its from God, it is dependable. As we glance back to the verse, we can see that His words will stand forever. Man’s words may falter but the message of the Bible will not. Therefore it’s dependable.
4.) Proclaiming the gospel
Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news;Or O herald of good news to Jerusalem lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah,”Behold your God!”—Isaiah 40: 9
We have confidence that in sharing the love of Christ to others our labor will not be in vain. All of it is gain even if we face rejection. We don’t however gain anything if we don’t tell the gospel and lose the rewards God will give to us. The gospel is powerful because it came from God. For those who accept the gospel it is an eternal blessing. Rejecting this message of love leads to eternal condemnation.
5.) In God
“Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”—Isaiah 40: 10-11
One might complain that the God of the Old Testament is one unloving God. But Psalms 23 dispels that notion. And so are these verses. God is shown as a compassionate shepherd that tends His sheep. He “tends”, “gather the lambs in his arms”, “carry them in his bosom” and “gently lead those that are with young.” Its one thing to get a confidence boost on the promises of God in His Word and its another thing to lean to God Himself. The God of eternity to eternity gets personal with His elect. Getting personal has been a reputation of God. He has done that when he walk this earth 2,000 years ago. He will do it again soon.
(to be concluded next week…)

5 Confidence Boosters for 2016 (and 4 Ways to Thank God For It) Part 1

For this new year, nothing beats some encouragement that will sky rocket our confidence as we look forward to the things this year have in store to us. Thank God there are confidence boosters that will enable to lift us up and walk for Him that will fuel us till December. This God given confidence will also give us an extra mile as we make a difference in our church, family and community. As we read Isaiah 40, we see that in the midst of being unfaithful of Israel, God extends His loving hands to them. When someone gives you something to hold on to, it gives us confidence in our life. God can only provide such confidence and beyond. Now let us list down 5 of them and see how gracious God is to us.
1.) Salvation
“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” Isaiah 40: 1-2
Nothing in this world can give us great confidence that salvation. When God mercifully gives you the faith to believe the gospel, it doesn’t just give us the assurance of heaven but also the promises of God to us. It gives us peace (Romans 5: 1), adoption as sons of God (Ephesians 1:5 ) and many other privileges He provides.
2.) Sanctification
A voice cries:”In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 40: 3-5
Holiness is not some walk in the park thing. It takes lots of effort to yield to be godly and not to mention temptations abound. Like an ambassador or emissary visiting a country in Bible times, the paths should be clear and clean. We also as Christians should clear and clean our very lives as we intend to make an impact to others. And we can do that because of how God set us for our santification. He started it (Ephesians 2:100 and He gives abundant grace in everything to enable us to do it (2 Corinthians 6:8). So we wont feel that we walk in this world alone in doing His will but an assurance He is their for us.

Words of Discouragement Part 2 (Isaiah 36 and 37)

This week we continue our look at different ways we get discourage. Our next in the list of ways that we get discouragement is:

By bringing up our limitations. 

“Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them. How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master’s servants, when you trust in Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?” Isaiah 36:8-9

Taunted by Rabshaken, we see that the Israelites are short in numbers to protect themselves thats why they cling to the Egyptian. Knowing our limitations brings insecuries. We might say “If only I’m tall enough, I might get the basketball scholarship” or “If only I’m pretty enough I could be accepted in a group.” Limitations drags us down.

By humiliating us.

“Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the Rabshakeh, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it. Do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” But the Rabshakeh said, “Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the men sitting on the wall, who are doomed with you to eat their own dung and drink their own urine?” Isaiah 36:11-12

Next week we will continue this study with #4 and #5 of the methods of discouragements that is thrown at us.

(To be continued next week…)

Grace for Kids: Delighting Grace Interviews Grace D. Chong

First saw Grace Chong in person in last years Manila International Book Fair and recently I read her children’s book. Her books truly hits not just the heart of a child but to others who are kids at heart. No wonder she received awards and recognition for her craft. But most importantly, she delivers God’s grace in books she wrote. In celebration of National Children’s Book Day, Delighting Grace brings you Ms. Grace as she talks about her books, crafting a good story, and many more:

Delighting Grace: Ms. Grace what makes a good story kids will love? You do have a knack for kids.

Grace Chong: Any story that is within the realm of the kids’ experience and imagination, if presented in a unique, fresh, and fun way in their language, can be appreciated by the readers. 

Delighting Grace: How did you start writing books for children?

Grace Chong: My mother wrote in my Baby Book that I started writing stories when I was five.  Maybe as early as then I already had the passion to write stories. But I took my first-ever win in the Palanca Awards 1999 (The Boy Who Had five Lolas, first prize) as an affirmation of the new direction I wanted to take after leaving the workplace–to pursue my love for writing. 

Delighting Grace: Your children’s book is every entertaining. How do you get inspirations for your stories? I’m impress that some are really enjoyable and full of actions.

Grace Chong: I can get inspired by everything, everyone, and anything that I see around me.  That may seem to be a cop-out, but that is how it is. I am touched by every little act of kindness, or unkindness, and I see gems in mundane things. These I translate into stories that readers can identify with.     

Delighting Grace: One book or books worth mentioning is your Oh Mateo! series. Who is Mateo in your life? You gave him a series and I thought hey this must boy must have a special part in Ms. Grace’s life?

Grace Chong: Mateo is the name of my dad, my brother (Mateo Jr.), and my nephew (Mateo III). When I created the character, I was looking for a Filipino name and I didn’t need to look far. In my family, I learned great life lessons from my dad, rib-tickling humor from my brother, and thrilling adventures from my nephew.  Each had been a rich resource of ideas for the series.  

Delighting Grace: Wow thats great. Any book you wrote that is near to your heart?

Grace Chong: Every single one of my books (37 for children and 12 for adults as of this date) is close to my heart. My favorite is usually what I am currently writing, till the next one comes along. 

Delighting Grace:  You have other books that are not childrens book. But your are known for your children’s book. How do you want to be remembered in terms of being an author?

Grace Chong: I like to think I am not typecast as a writer for only one genre. The readers of my books for adults are often surprised that I write children’s books. Likewise, the readers of my children’s books react the same way about my books for adults. 

My writing is not about me–it’s about giving honor to the Author of life, the Source of my ideas and words.  

Each book is written for a particular audience, not for being remembered as an author. I write about Christian values and God’s grace or I don’t write at all. And I pray that readers (adults or children) remember God’s message and appreciate the grace they received through the book.      

Delighting Grace: Does it give you a lot of pressure in writing when you receive an award for your work?

Grace Chong: Not pressure, no, but resolve to keep writing. 

Delighting Grace: How do we cultivate our love for children specially for us who want them to know the gospel?

Grace Chong: Matthew 19:14 (NASB) always enthralls me, “But Jesus said, ‘Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'” 

Our Lord and Savior loves children and to them His kingdom belongs! How can we ignore them, how can we not love them just as much? We need to let every child know this truth. 

Delighting Grace: Any advice to budding writers who want to try writing children’s book?

Grace Chong: Please read as many children’s books by other authors as you can. Immerse yourself in the world of children–study how they act, react, talk, walk, laugh, think, cry, play, or even throw temper tantrums.  In short, know your young reader inside out. And keep the child in you alive. 

Here is the link to my blog on creative writing:
http://leavesofgrace.blogspot.com/2007/01/creative-writing.html 

Delighting Grace: Thank you for your time Ms. Grace. Kindly invite our readers to check our you books and your blog.

Grace Chong: If you are looking for books that speak to you about God’s amazing grace, please visit:  
My blog — leavesofgrace.blogspot.com or omflit.com.

Delighting Grace: Yes children’s books not just written by Ms. Grace but with God’s amazing grace. Thank you Grace Chong. God bless you!

Book Review: Running on Empty by Jill Briscoe

A book that lets you go dive in to the lives of Biblical personalities and how God dealed with them in their predicaments. You might find the usual characters like Elijah, David, Moses and Jonah but added some interesting figures like Leah, Naomi and Habakkuk. “Running on Empty” tackles aspects of the Christian life were we think we feel we are giving up. Have you been rejected, burned out, busy, or suffering? This book shows how God lovingly touches us in situations that we cant seem to get up. Jill Briscoe did a lot of justice on bring these character to light for Christians to see themselves to them. Added to the already great book are lovely poems by Jill Briscoe that are in line with the theme. The poems are like foam on your coffee which make its special.

As I thumb through the pages, the book and the theme reminds me of Chuck Swindoll’s study guides or Woodrow Kroll’s messages. Well the Briscoes do have this similarities to Swindoll or Kroll their writing ministry which equates an easy to understand and practical book. So expect that this book will be like that.

So guys if you’re running out of gas, heres a book that will fuel you up with God’s important lessons to go on. Running on Empty provides that extra mile for people who are at the end of their ropes. A recommended read for those who are willing to lets go of their strength and let God in the driver seat. Get this book at the nearest CLC Bookshop, PCBS or National Bookstore. You can buy in online at http://www.clcphilippines.com. Happy reading guys!

Marianito “Nitoy” Gonzales is a 34 years old introvert who’s passion is to proclaim the bad news about God. He’s a goverment employee but his church and digital life is more colorful because of Christ. You can reach him at his Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram.

5 Essential Things to Do to Finish Reading a Book

Some of us are struggling in finishing a book. At first we got fired up in reading a new book. But as we go through a few chapters, our flame diminishes. The book could be boring, very long or we already know what the book is leading us. In any rate, before the fire of reading goes out, here are five things to do to finish devouring a book:

1.       Randomly pick chapters or sections to read- chapter or section jumping is very helpful especially if the book’s chapters and sections are stand alone. Select parts of the book that appeals to you first. Read shorter sections or chapters. As you read this way you’ll finish the book in the breeze.

2.   Have a reading buddy or participate on blog “read together” method– asks someone to read along with you. It will be encouraging to have a friend sharing a book. He may tell the content of the book to you and create an appetite for you to read the book for yourself. Also there are blogs who are having a “read together” campaign that encourage followers of a blog to read a chapter of a book and have a weekly discussion on it online. Tim Challies has one on his blog and fans of his blog read classic Christian works with him which is cool. He also provides beforehand where to get the book and what format it is available. Try to find blogs with similar scheme.

3.   Read positive things on the book- check the blurbs, reviews, interviews, book trailer or additional resources of the book. It will ignite you passion over and over again to go on reading it.

4.   Listen or read sermons and articles the book came from- Christian books sometimes evolved from a smaller work of an author. Try to find sermons and articles which are tidbits of the book. It will give you a push to read to till the end. It also may help you read the book easy because you already know some parts of it.

 5.  Read it in an unusual pace and place- you don’t have to set a specific time and place for reading a book. Don’t read it every day do it every other day. Try to squeeze it in your idle time. Get out of the school library or your reading den (if you have one) try reading it while riding a bus, waiting for someone or eating a snack at a convenient store.

 

Any more you could add? Please include it on the comment.