Atonement Is in Our Blood

This article makes a great point of showing how sacrifice for the benefit of the greater good is a part oflife and nature. From The Gospel Coalition………………

Rest for the Soul

Just this title conjures up feelings and images that makes me feel refreshed and renewed. We all could use some rest for our souls, and the Shepherd of our souls provides that rest! From the Mental Health Grace Alliance……………..

What Can We Learn from the Roman Centurions in the Bible?

There are some very interesting insights in this article from Crosswalk.com! Here is a tidbit: “In Matthew 8 this centurion understands that Jesus is a man of great power and authority. He has faith that Jesus is able to speak a word and his servant will be healed. This is rather astonishing because up to this point in the narrative Jesus has not healed anyone from a distance. But this centurion seemed to know and believe that Jesus could accomplish whatever He desired.” From Crosswalk.com……………..

https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/bible-study/what-can-we-learn-from-the-roman-centurions-in-the-bible.html

THE PARABLES: Jesus’ Friendly Subversive Speech by Douglas d. Webster (Published by Kregel Academic: 2021)

A BOOK REVIEW

The Parables: Jesus’ Friendly Subversive Speech is a new book designed especially for pastors to get deeper insights into how Jesus used His parables to communicate the gospel message to His listeners during His earthly ministry. However, this book is written in such a manner that Sunday school leaders, small group leaders, and others who engage in teaching the Bible will gain much wisdom and helpful suggestions in how to make the parables more meaningful to others.

As suggested by the subtitle of the work, Webster posits the view that Jesus used parables to communicate the gospel to the crowds on two levels: On one level, they were entertaining stories that drew in the listeners and made immediate impacts on their hearts because Jesus drew the stories from everyday life and situations. But on a deeper level, these parables could teach the subversive truths of the gospels in ways that sophisticated listeners like the Pharisees could take as insults, but the spiritually hungry in the crowds could take as a balm for their souls.

Webster states that many commentators tend to be too analytical in their analysis of the parables and thus miss the impact of the parables on their original audiences. So, he aims to be mindful of the pastor in the pulpit and the person in the pew to bring out the meaning and applications of the parables that he covers in this book. And Webster has chosen to cover the parables that appear in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke because these two accounts are the most systematic in using the parables of Jesus to illustrate His teachings on important topics; such as the true nature of salvation and discipleship, the kingdom of heaven, perseverance in faith, the value of hospitality, and the importance of the inclusion of women and the poor in the kingdom.

This volume is written in a straightforward and easy-to-follow manner that will prove useful and valuable to both clergy and layman alike. Highly recommended!

** A free electronic copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review of the contents. **

Discerning the Presence of the Spirit — Dallas Willard

The Presence of the Holy Spirit

The presence of the Holy Spirit can always be recognized by the way He moves us toward what Jesus would be and do (John 16:7–15). When we inwardly experience the heavenly sweetness and power of life—the love, joy, and peace—that Jesus knew, that is the work of the Spirit in us.

From The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship. Copyright © 2006 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Spiritual Formation is When the Student Grows to Resemble the Master — Dallas Willard

The student resembles the master

Spiritual formation in Christ is the process through which disciples or apprentices of Jesus take on the qualities or characteristics of Christ himself, in every essential dimension of human personality. The overall orientation of their will, the kinds of thoughts and feelings that occupy them, the “automatic” inclinations and “readinesses” of their body in action, the prevailing posture of their relations toward others, and the harmonious wholeness of their soul—these all, through the formative processes undergone by his disciples, increasingly come to resemble the personal dimensions of their master. “A pupil is not above his teacher,” Jesus said, “but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40).

From Renewing the Christian Mind: Essays, Interviews, and Talks. Copyright © 2016 by Willard Family Trust. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Becoming a Good Person — According to Dallas Willard

Becoming a good person

How do you become a really good person? You place your confidence in Jesus Christ and become his student or apprentice in kingdom living. That amounts to progressively entering into the abundance of life he brings to us. You learn from him how to live in the kingdom of God as he himself did. There is much to learn after you enter. To go through the door is not necessarily to live in the house. Our confidence that Jesus is “the One” leads us to go constantly to school with him, taking our whole life with us, and it is in so doing that love comes to pervade our life to such an extent that we are unmistakably his students. He said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). He can impose this challenge upon himself as teacher because he knows no one else can produce the human transformation he has in mind

From Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge. Copyright © 2009 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Our God Knows Our Pain

Here is a nice little article from The Navigators on how God can be trusted because He understands our struggles in life. Here is a takeaway for me: “God has entered the trenches. He has eaten the same food and been struck by the same bullets.