Saturday, March 31, 2018

Fullness Overflowing from All Around (3-31-18)

The calendar says it's time for Easter and spring, but the weather has had us a little unsure lately. (There's even a chance of snow predicted for Easter Sunday evening!) But Good Friday provided a little respite from the rain, clouds, and more rain with a beautiful day of sunshine, so I couldn't resist a praise walk and a little extra time at the lake after a morning of prayer and communion at church... Thanking God for many blessings!

Here are a few encouragements that have been speaking into my life lately-- I hope you can find some that are touching to you as well.

For reading...

The Silence of Saturday by Max Lucado-- This post is a few years old, but I come back to it every Easter weekend. Because it seems there's always a quiet waiting we wish we could skip between death and resurrection...

For listening...

So many podcasts are feeding my soul right now, it's hard to narrow them down. I'm providing links below, but if you're new to podcasts, you might want to note that you can also use the podcast app on your phone to search for the podcast name and play it directly from there instead. That makes it easy to listen while driving, going for a walk, doing chores around the house, or whatever else you might find fitting. These episodes are definitely well worth the listen:

** That Sounds Fun Podcast (Annie F. Downs) with Tauren Wells-- Oh my goodness. Even if you aren't into music or don't know who Tauren Wells is, this podcast is filled with so much great conversation about a life of walking with God, navigating transitions, seeking His will, and more. I listened to it while driving but had to go back through part of it again later so I could take notes. Here are a few highlights:
  • Faith is doing what God has asked me to do before I see why He's asking me to do it.
  • Obedience in the process is more important than the destination.
  • Trust God with the pace... Rush always leads to ruin.
  • If I trust God with the pace, then I can actually live from rest, and I can get to the reward that God has promised me, which by the way is always Jesus.
Wow, so much timely truth for me to remember. But it's even better in context, and Annie is great at making conversational-style interviews so fun even as they're packed with deep insight, so I hope you can listen to the whole thing as well.

** That Sounds Fun Podcast (Annie F. Downs) with Cory Asbury-- Ok, another one from Annie Downs, but I can't leave it out, as this conversation is amazing, too! First of all, if you haven't heard Cory's song Reckless Love, be sure to click this link to check it out as well.
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God.
Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found. leaves the ninety-nine.
I couldn't earn it, I don't deserve it,
Still You give Yourself away.
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God.
Then you can listen to his interview with Annie Downs as he shares about his heart in worship, songwriting, parenthood, and so much more. (And messages about God's timing appear to be a theme for me lately...)

** The Glorious in the Mundane Podcast (Christy Nockels): An Easter Invitation-- Christy is one of my favorite worship leaders, as her heart for worship and relationship with God shines through everything she does. So I also love her podcast, where she shares stories from her life and devotional thoughts to help us see the glorious of the kingdom of God in the midst of the mundane in our everyday lives.

Her episode this week in preparation for Easter was especially touching to me in several ways. I loved her reminder as the seasons are changing that winter, while feeling void of life, can really be like a "cocoon of hope," preserving something valuable and waiting to reveal its beauty until just the right time. And her exhortation that "spring beckons, but winter says don't forget," resonates deeply with me as well. I'm almost afraid to say it "out loud," but in the depths of my heart, I'm sensing signs of spring in certain areas of my life after what has felt like such a long winter. I am so grateful and so prayerful, but I also want to never forget the lessons and grace God has shown me in the depths of winter. I kept pausing the podcast as I listened to Christy's sweet encouragement to relate it to my own life, thank God for His kindness and faithfulness, and seek Him in the season ahead.

Christy also shares much about the picture of abiding in Christ day to day. So often it seems for those of us who have come to Christ and received His grace for salvation, we then turn and try to live for Him by our own efforts as if it's something we can accomplish in our own strength. But she exhorts from Andrew Murray in Abide in Christ, "No, wandering one. As it was with Jesus who drew you when He said, 'Come,' so it is Jesus who keeps you when He says, 'Abide.' The grace to come and the grace to abide are both from Him alone."

I want to keep that reminder close to my heart, grateful for His grace to keep me in Him.

A little something fun...

I'm on the launch team for Bob Goff's new book, Everybody Always, so I'm getting a sneak peek at the first five chapters and am definitely loving it. If you've never read his first book, Love Does, I highly recommend it-- you'll wonder if anyone can really live like he does, but you also just might be inspired to live a "secretly incredible" life yourself in some way, too. (And if you've never read my post from his conference I attended, you can check it out here.)

If you'd like to preorder Everybody Always and get some extra goodies, here's the link for that as well.

I was definitely convicted by Bob's social media post on Maundy Thursday-- "If I had just one last meal, I wouldn't spend it with a person I knew would betray me."

Wow. And Jesus washed his feet, too. I think I have a long way to go in that "everybody always" pursuit... but I'm so thankful for the love of Jesus. If He can love me, He can love you as well. Let's receive His grace and live from His love a little more every day.

Thanks for reading, friends! I hope you've found at least one bit of encouragement to uplift your heart today. And remember to thank God, who from the fullness of His grace keeps pouring out one blessing after another. As we focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ this weekend, my heart has been pondering this verse, too:

"He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all--how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?" -Romans 8:32 (NIV84)

His love is truly overwhelming and more than I can fathom. I'd love to hear from you in the comments how God has blessed and encouraged you recently as well!

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