faith, trust, Uncategorized

BOOK REVIEW: “SHAKEN” BY TIM TEBOW

In Tim Tebow’s latest book, Shaken, he writes of his time in the NFL as a quarterback. He has dreamed of being a quarterback all of his life. Yet, his dream never came to full fruition. Yes, he played for the Patriots. And the Broncos. And the Jets. And for one game, the Eagles. With honesty and vulnerability, Tim talks about his disappointments after each trade, of the incredibly critical and very ugly comments made, and of the media who dogged his every step.

Shaken is not a rehash of Tebow’s experiences in the NFL. He uses those situations to talk about his reactions-what he did, how he felt, what he thought. And more importantly, what he learned about himself and about God.

With a deep and profound insight, Tim demonstrates to the reader how to discover, and hold onto, their true identity even in the midst of life’s cruelest times. He does this not only by sharing his experiences but also by using relevant Biblical scriptures and stories. He poignantly relates stories of people who have discovered their true identity while they are literally in a fight for their life. Their stories will make you smile, move you to tears and remind you how life is more precious than you think.

I believe Shaken is one of the best books in this decade on finding your true identity. I highly recommend you read this book. It has the power to change your life.

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A Tiny, Itsy-Bitsy Amount of Faith

“Another story by way of comparison He set forth before them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. Of all the seeds it is the smallest, but when it has grown it is the largest of the garden herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and find shelter in its branches.” (Matt. 13:30-32 Amplified Bible)

So, just how little is that mustard seed?  “A grain of mustard seed is really small. One grain is 1 or 2 millimeters in size. That’s tiny. A mountain, on the other hand, is huge. I took a look at one mountain in Israel, Mount Hermon. Mount Hermon is in the Galilee so Jesus’ disciples would have been familiar with it. Mount Hermon is 1,804 meters higher than the land around it and 2, 814 meters above sea level.”

Jesus goes on that if we have a tiny, itsy-bitsy amount of faith – 1-2 millimeters of faith – we can speak to mountains, tell them to move, and they will move. So why don’t we have that much faith? And how does Jesus define faith?

“What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead.” (Hebrews 11:1 The Living Bible) (emphasis mine) I love this verse. We have the confident assurance that something we’ve prayed about will happen.

So again, I ask the question – why don’t we have that much faith? I think there can be several, perhaps many, answers to that question. The one I think is most common is when you’ve prayed for something for a very long time but your prayer has not been answered. You’ve decided that God is not going to answer your prayer so why bother. But the Bible says “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me.” (Psalm 138a:8 KJV) In other words, He will answer my prayers. As I’ve said many times in previous blogs, our timing and His timing are not the same. Yet, His timing is perfect. He knows our future so he knows when the best time is to answer our prayers.

Be encouraged today. Go out and plant your mustard seed – your tiny, itsy-bitsy amount of faith and trust God that He will answer – in His time.

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Day Seven: The Gift of Grace

THE GIFT OF GRACE

When I unwrapped today’s gift, it was almost like coming home…or sitting by a peaceful stream.  Even the vowel “a” has a long, soothing sound to it. But grace is much more than sounds and feelings.

God’s grace refers to the kindness of God toward the undeserving. His mercy focuses on our helplessness or our suffering, but His grace focuses on our unworthiness.

God’s grace is completely opposite to works.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Eph. 2:8-9) We cannot “earn” our way into heaven by doing good works. We cannot “earn” blessings by doing good works. Salvation is given to us freely because of the grace of God.

As with the other wonderful characteristics of God, His grace is boundless and never ends. But where sin increased and abounded, grace (God’s unmerited favor) has surpassed it and increased the more and super abounded, (Romans 5:20, Amplified). The amount of God’s grace far exceeds the depth of our sin.

God’s grace works in us to help us grow to spiritual completeness and maturity. “The God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you. (I Peter 5:10)

My grandfather, Papa Evans, set the bar high for his children when it came to living a Christian life. Even though he died when I was ten years old, he was a great influence on my young life. His favorite hymn talked about the “marvelous grace…that exceeds our sin.” Below are the lyrics. May you be blessed with God’s grace as you read these lyrics and may you pay His grace forward to everyone you meet.

Grace Greater Than Sin

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Refrain

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Refrain

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.

Refrain

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?

Refrain

*Words: Julia H. Johnston, in Hymns Tried and True (Chi­ca­go, Il­li­nois: The Bi­ble In­sti­tute Col­port­age As­so­ci­a­tion, 1911), num­ber 2.

Abba Father, Today, I thank you for my Papa Evans who, because of the way he lived his life and the example he set, raised all of his children to live for you. And because of that, his grandchildren know you, too. Thank You for Your grace. Thank you Father that You give us Your grace so that we may have grace towards others. AMEN.