Seven Things I Learned in April

Dolly Lee Book Reviews 0 Comments

Happy Monday, May 1st!

Seven Things I Learned in April

Some serious, some funny, all created in me a grateful heart:

  1. Reminder: What I focus on will determine my perspective (for better or worse).

God kept inviting me to turn or return my focus to Him and his promises, instead of people and circumstances, over and over.

Did you notice a repeated theme or message this past month? (If you journal and review it, you may see a trend.)

Almost daily when I read this devotional, it felt like God read my journal before I wrote in it.

Concentrate on doing your everyday tasks in awareness of My Presence with you. . . Thus, you invite Me [Jesus] into every aspect of your life.Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, April 13 reading

2.  Thanks to Lisa Murray for reminding me: you can’t sidestep grief if you want to fully heal.

“We are all eager to move past the heartaches of life quickly. They are desolate and painful places. They can prove too much, even for the strongest among us. Yet we will never successfully move past our despair, past the pain of broken dreams if we do not heal the wounds they have yielded.

God didn’t design our hearts to simply ‘get over it.’ He created the grief process with intention and perfection as the process of healing in our lives, so that we can successfully deal with all the heartaches and struggles life will bring, gather understanding and wisdom, and successfully move forward to seize God’s best in our lives.”

I love how Lisa points out that grief is a path toward moving “forward to seize God’s best in our lives.”

Read the rest of Lisa Murray’s post here.

3. Sleep is the first step in soul-training to be more like Christ in heart, word, and deed (or Christian spiritual formation) according to James Bryan Smith (author of The Good and Beautiful God).

Surprised? Me, too. Read more here.

The number one enemy of Christian spiritual formation today is exhaustion.James Bryan Smith, The Good and Beautiful God
I’ve encountered more near misses than success, on my way toward my goal of being in bed by 10 p.m. (re-inspired by Smith) but I’m not giving up.
What soul care goals are you working on this month? (Please share. I love hearing from you.)

4. When I study a commentary explaining the life, language, and cultural context of a book in the Bible, it makes a passage more meaningful.

For example, when Paul tells Timothy to flee “youthful lusts,” Timothy isn’t a teenager.

Back in the first century, if you were under forty, you were considered “youthful.” Some scholars estimate Timothy was probably around 35-38 years old, and Paul, his “spiritual father,” was in his sixties.

5. God’s Word can transform a person across gender, age, racial, and socioeconomic lines.

Tom Boyle experienced and encountered God’s Word as transformative. I relate though we’re very different.

“Humility is not something to be conceptualized and affirmed in my mind, but is something to be embraced and experienced in the heart. I needed to trust that He [Jesus] had dealt with my sin once and for all, and it is not something for me to work hard at “managing [emphasis added].”

Notice how Tom contrasted his mind and his heart (see Paul’s prayer in Ephes. 1:18-19).

The mind is important but the heart reigns when it comes to experiencing God. (I am for loving God with our minds and hearts.)

Read more of Tom Boyle’s story here.

6. This comedy sketch by Gemma Arrowsmith on paying bills with “exposure” may resonate with performers and writers.

What do you think?

7. God delights in us more than we can imagine.

As I read this book for Lent, Robert Mulholland Jr. reminded me of how as a Christ-follower, my life is hidden with Christ in God (see Colossians 3:1-4).

God sees me in Christ because I received the gift of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection on my behalf, therefore God delights in me.

The unfathomable depths of our belovedness is revealed in the cruciform love of God in Christ.M. Robert Mulholland Jr., The Deeper Journey, 119.

Mulholland reminded me why the Gospel is good news. It isn’t only about an eternity with God (which is awesome), but it is also about learning to live with and in God now, in the midst of daily life, work, and relationships.

I read and re-read certain paragraphs and pages because of the depth of insight and wisdom contained in Mulholland’s book The Deeper Journey. Highly, highly recommend.

It’s a slow read if you want to simmer in the complex flavor-thoughts created by his words.

What did you learn last month? Or what resonated with you from my list?

Thanks for being here!

P.S. Next post, I will start a series incorporating elements from The Good and Beautiful God (which I’ve read and will re-skim/read) but it won’t be a strict book club where we discuss each chapter.

Instead, I will create a hybrid of the practical with the theological. My prayer, hopefully.

No FB group. If you expressed an interest in a closed FB group, I sent you an invite to another FB group I run.

The photo was taken at The Gamble Garden Center.

Linking with encouraging Holley and Jennifer.