Growing up, my father would always encourage my sister and I that work was good for the soul. He modeled for us what it looked like to work diligently in all areas of life. While I learned a lot from my father in terms of working hard, I really struggled with viewing work as good and good for the soul.
The fact is that my father was not far from a biblical truth that begins in Genesis. Work is good for the soul, because God made mankind with the purpose of doing fruitful work and labor in his garden, but man's sin made our work toilsome and difficult, and now we're longing for the redemption of all things, including work.
James M. Hamilton explores this idea of work in his book Work and Our Labor in the Lord. A short but helpful book, Hamilton explores four aspects of our work: creation, work after the fall, redemption, and restoration.
I've been thinking a lot about work and calling over the past few months and have read several books that focus on why we were made and how we should live out our calling and be good stewards of our callings (Made for More, You Are Free, and What's Best Next). However, this book gives a great introduction to why God made work, why work is good for us, why work is so hard, and how work can and will be redeemed or restored through Jesus.
Here are some standout quotes:
“Work is neither punishment nor cursed drudgery but an exalted, Godlike activity”
If you're looking for a book with a helpful biblical perspective on work and how work will be redeemed, Work and Our Labor in the Lord should be on your list.
The Work of God's Fingers
Confessions of A Creative Christian
Shadows of Heavenly Things
The Amazon links to the books mentioned above are affiliate links. If you click on the links and purchase any of the books, this blog is supported at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting She Laughs Without Fear!
I received a free copy of Work and Our Labor in the Lord in exchange for an honest review from Crossway.
Several bloggers that I follow shared about this book (You Are Free) by Rebekah Lyons a couple months ago, sharing that it encouraged them in thinking through what it means to walk in freedom. I'll admit, I was skeptical about this book. Sometimes I avoid books if they seem like they might be "fluffy". This book was definitely not fluffy, but it's also not what I expected.
When I see a book labeled You Are Free with a foreword written by Ann Voskamp, I expect the book to be the working out of deep theological truths a la the Book of Romans style. I expected to read a book that seeks to help women understand what it means to walk in the freedom of Christ as described in so many different passages of the Bible. What I found in this book was different from what I expected, but no less helpful.
You Are Free is not a book that takes specific passages and shows their implications to our lives and how the Bible itself can help us to walk in freedom. This book is one woman sharing vulnerably about the areas in her life where she was not walking in freedom in the identity that she has in Jesus Christ, and some of the ways that the Lord worked in out in her heart. This book is primarily an autobiography of what it looked like for one woman to grow in her relationship with Jesus.
I appreciate learning from other women as they live our their faith in their day to day life, but I did not expect this theme to be the main thrust of the book. While I'm sad that there weren't more practicals or Scriptures in the book that might encourage women to see the ways that they are not walking in freedom from sin, I did appreciate Rebekah Lyons prose and sharing specific things that God has been teaching her about living in freedom. Here are some takeaways that I had while reading this book:
Remember the Joy of the Lord
Rebekah takes a chapter to talk about how she realized that she had lost her joy. In doing, doing, and doing, she no longer felt the joy of the Lord in her life, and her children saw it in their mother's smile. Reading this chapter was like an alarm, and I found myself thinking and praying through, "Am I intentional in remembering the joy that I have in Jesus?" The answer is that I often do not take the time to remember the joy of my salvation and the joy that I have in Jesus.
This chapter made me think through and evaluate whether I make intentional space in my life for thanksgiving and offering prayers of thankfulness to God. It made me think through the ways in which I can enjoy Jesus more. It made me think through whether my prayer focus for May should be thinking through the things that rob me from my joy in the Lord.
As an added bonus, when my joy is in Jesus, it is easier for me to walk in freedom from sin, because when I give into sin, I believe the lie that it will satisfy me or bring me more joy than Jesus. And it never does. Thinking through what it looks like to put my joy in the Lord is immensely helpful in terms of living free and remembering who I am in Jesus.
Short Prayers Can Be Powerful
Rebekah shared a number of prayers that she wrote in her journal as she was working through walking in freedom from anxiety and depression and panic attacks. I really appreciated her sharing these short prayers. Something as simple as Lord, please show up in my sleep has a lot of power. It made me realize how often I forget to pray or talk to the Lord and I can simply talk to Him, even if it's a short prayer like Lord, please help me to remember who I am in Jesus.
The Lord Sets Us Free So That We Can Help Others Walk In Freedom
Something I appreciated about Rebekah Lyons' testimony in this book is how the Lord setting her free from anxiety and panic attacks has actually allowed her to love and care for others and point them towards the freedom that they can have in Jesus. She shared a story in which she was on a plane and a woman started having a panic attack. God used that as an opportunity for her to love and care for that woman and walk her through the panic attack and then even share about Jesus with her. She is now able to use her freedom as a means to help others to walk in freedom as well.
When it comes to recommending this book, I would recommend this book to women that enjoy reading about someone else's walk of faith. I gleaned a lot of nuggets from Rebekah Lyons and her relationship with Jesus, and there is much that we can learn and be encouraged by from other followers of Jesus. However, I would not recommend this as the first book someone should read if they want to walk in freedom from sin or want to know what it means to be made free by Jesus Christ.
For someone that wants to walk in freedom and know what it means to be free, I would recommend reading Romans 6 or Colossians 3 or both of those books of Scripture in their entirety.
If you want to learn more about the book or even read the first chapter, you can do so here: You Are Free.
The Amazon links to the book mentioned above are affiliate links. If you click on the links and purchase any of the books, this blog is supported at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting She Laughs Without Fear!
I'm learning that the greatest thing I can do with my time is love God and find ways to love my neighbor. The heart of what I write and share is to love others. I pray that these curated finds bless you on the journey.
For those of us that are thinking through resolutions for the New Year: One Big Tip to Make Your Resolutions Stick.
For those of us that are looking to grow over this next year: Here I Raise my Ebenezer: How This Discipline Buoyed My 2016.
For those of us wanting to grow in self-control and avoid distraction: Lord, Deliver Me From Distraction
For those of us that struggle with giving up our preferences to count others as more significant: Lay Aside the Weight of Selfishness
For those of us that want to grow in God's grace and enjoy Jesus more (one of the best books I read this year): Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines.
For those of us that want to know how to love God more: FLASHBACK: Loving God
Note: The Amazon link to the book mentioned above is an affiliate link. If you click on the link and purchase this book, this blog is supported at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting She Laughs Without Fear!
Have you ever thought about how God is different from you? If you're like me, you've recognized that there is a sure-fire difference between your finite, messy, and limited self and an infinite God, but have you ever taken time to think about the specific ways that God is different from you and been left in awe of His glory? Whether your answer is yes or no, I want to share a book with you that will make you think about these things.
When a book comes across my path that broadens my understanding of God through His Word, I can't help but share about it and recommend it to others. None Like Him by Jen Wilkin is one such book. If I could encourage you to read one book this year, other than well... the Bible, it would be this book.
Throughout the book, Jen lays out 10 character traits that make God different from us and what that means for our lives in light of God's character. On her website she shared that her purpose for writing the book was to show people how "meditating on God's character enriches our understanding of Scripture" and how "meditating on God’s character is intensely practical."
The gist: meditating on God's character affects our lives.
Here are the ten character attributes she touches upon in the book:
I wish that I could sit down with each of you over coffee or tea (or your hot drink of choice) and just talk about these different attributes of God, because they really leave me in awe of Him. I could talk about each of these attributes, and I'd love to devote a few blog posts in the future to them, but for right now I'll focus on one.
Jen takes a chapter to focus on one attribute at a time, and when I started reading the chapter about God's limitlessness, I was blown away. I often live my life as if I'm limitless - I try to accomplish all of the things on my list, try to keep up with all of my friends, or take care of all of the house chores. I live my life thinking that I'm limitless, in my pride, I try to rival God. There is no one like God though, and I am reminded daily that I am so limited. God has placed healthy boundaries over our lives, like sleep. However, He is not bound by the same limits that we are bound by.
How does this knowledge of God's limitlessness affect my life? Well, it gives me peace in the moments when I try to live like I don't have limits. When I feel overwhelmed by the amount of things I try to accomplish, a phrase enters my thoughts: You are limited, Madi, but God is limitless. It really frees me to submit to the boundaries God has placed in my life, like getting enough sleep, saying "no" to good things that hinder the best things, and guarding time for rest. Knowing that only God is limitless frees me from trying to rival God, and it makes me want to glorify and worship Him in the midst of my limits.
This is just one example of how this book has impacted me, and I could share more about the other attributes, but I want to leave you wanting to read this book for yourself and to explore the ways that God is different from us and why that is most certainly a good thing. So if you're looking for an excellent read, None Like Him by Jen Wilkin is definitely a book to add to your list.
The Amazon link to the book mentioned above is an affiliate link. If you click on the link and purchase this book, this blog is supported at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting She Laughs Without Fear!
I believe that sharing insightful blog posts is caring, so I like to devote posts specifically to sharing things that I've read that have been encouraging, inspiring, insightful, or helpful. Here is this week's round-up:
For those of us that desire to blog and are not sure whether we should write on a personal blog: Is Blogging Dead?
For those of us that struggle with exercising and finding joy in the discipline of exercise: Do You Exercise Like a Nonbeliever?
For those of us that want to read a book that will help us to be in awe of God: None Like Him.
For those of us that want to make changes to our bodies: Five Lies About Your Body
For those of us that have felt the sacrifice of loving others: On Sacrifice and Greater Love
May these articles encourage you on the journey.
A big theme of this 31 day series is that God's kingdom is more about His kingship and reign than a realm. As such, we've been focusing on how God is the King of this world, and what this entails. As I've been sharing what I've been learning, I also want to share with you what others are learning. Here are some more posts from Desiring God that fall in line with this series...
We Need a Real King
Happiness Honors the King
The King We Needed, But Never Wanted
The King of Every Subject - Even Math
You Obey the One You Fear
I was thinking the other day about how the friendship between Elizabeth and Miss Clara in the movie War Room is a great example of discipleship. While the film's primary message is the power of prayer and intercession, the film has a strong focus on discipleship. I thought about sharing about the principles of discipleship found in War Room, but then I found that a blogger from The Overflow Blog already wrote a great article highlighting the principles of discipleship found in the film.
The writer of the article, Allision Whisler, highlights these 5 principles:
Read the post to learn more about these principles: 5 Discipleship Principles to Learn from War Room
I'd also recommend watching the film too, as it gives a great example of discipleship and the power of personal prayer, which is a topic that this blog will focus on coming up in the next two weeks. Stay tuned to find out what I've got cookin' for the blog in October.
This week's links are all about God's Word, which is a spiritual feast that I don't partake in as often as I would like. Enjoy some links that encouraged me to delight in God's Word more and that I hope will encourage you.
Treat Yourself To The Voice of God - David Mathis
God's Word is a treat and a delight that we often don't take enough delight in.
You Need To Hear Directly From God - Knowable Word
Two analogies for why we need to hear from God daily and spend time reading the Bible
How Does God Speak to Me Today - Tim Challies
"The conclusion is that the Bible speaks to us today. The Holy Spirit speaks to us today in the Bible. The Son speaks to us today through the Holy Spirit in the Bible. If he doesn’t, if he doesn’t actively speak to us, the whole letter to the Hebrews is a waste of time; it’s just a history lesson. But, of course, that can’t be. The Bible is not just about what God has said, but what God is saying."
Helping You Delight In God's Word - Erik Raymond
A tip to help you take delight in God's Word and remember what you read.
The Morning I Heard The Voice of God - John Piper
"It has increased my love for the Bible as God’s very word, because it was through the Bible that I heard these divine words, and through the Bible I have experiences like this almost every day."
Something beautiful happens when August tip toes into September. Long, hot summer days draw to a close and give way to the shorter brisk days of fall. Technically speaking, fall does not begin until September 22nd, but the first day of September usually announces fall's impending return with the smell of pumpkin spice lattes.
I'll admit that I'm not the biggest fan of the original pumpkin spice latte, but there's just something about the smell of pumpkin spice and the thought of pumpkin everything that brings me joy. In fact, today I made pumpkin mac and cheese for dinner and pumpkin pop tarts for dessert. The taste and smell of pumpkin brings back a lot of memories of beautiful fall days, and it makes me praise God for making something so delicious and with "smelly-goodness".
As I've been thanking God for pumpkin and pumpkin spice and the return of a such a beautiful season, I stumbled upon an article called "Thank You Jesus for the Smell of Pumpkin Spice." If you too like the smell of pumpkin spice, you will enjoy reading this article about how our sense of smell can lead us to worship God.
"I was struck by the significance of smell to the human experience. God created our bodies not to restrict us, but to allow us to experience him and his creation physically as well as spiritually. No wonder so many church traditions include an aspect of the olfactory experience in worship or contemplation. Do this to remember me, Jesus says, over the table. We smell, we taste: yes, Lord, we remember. With our whole selves, we remember."
Check out the rest of the article: Thank You Jesus for the Smell of Pumpkin Spice
We can find glimpses of God's grace in something as simple as being able to smell wonderful smells. Want to find glimpses of God's grace and kingdom in the ordinary and everyday? Subscribe to receive new posts from this blog via email below.
"Meditate on Jesus, who is the ultimate meditation of God. Look at him loving you. Look at him dying for you. Look at him rejoicing in you. Look at him singing over you (Zephaniah 3:17). Look at all that, and he will be a delight to you, and then the law will be a delight to you, and you will be like a tree planted by streams of water. You'll bear your fruit in season, and no matter what will happen, your leaf will not wither."
Tim Keller from Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God
Here are some links for your weekend. I hope they encourage and bless you abundantly.
Miraculous In The Mundane
I'm learning a lot about seeing the miraculous in the ordinary and everyday moments of life.
What Would God Say to Your Anxiety
This is for my friends and for myself - as we struggle with anxiety, there is a God who is sovereign over our circumstances.
Take This Slowly
This song is connected to the post above, but a great song focused on trusting God in the midst of unforeseen circumstances.
How True Change Happens
True change can happen, and here's how.
One Very Good Reason To Read Your Bible
Who are you reading your Bible for?
Shalom! I'm Madi, a laughter-loving, movie-going, spontaneous-dancing, follower of Christ. Join me as I seek glimpses of God's grace in the ordinary and everyday.
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She Laughs Without Fear