- Sociologists have a theory of the looking-glass self: you become what the most important person in your life (wife, father, boss, etc.) thinks you are. How would my life change if I truly believed the Bible‘s astounding words about God‘s love for me, if I looked in the mirror and saw what God sees?
- Christians are not perfect, by any means, but they can be people made fully alive.
- Faith is not an insurance policy. Or as Eddie Askew suggests, maybe it is: insurance does not prevent accidents, but rather gives a secure base from which to face their consequences.
- God dispenses gifts, not wages. None of us gets paid according to merit, for none of us comes close to satisfying God’s requirements for a perfect life. If paid on the basis of fairness, we would all end up in hell… In the bottom line realm of ungrace, some workers deserve more than others; in the realm of grace the word ‘deserve’ does not even apply.
- We tend to think, ‘Life should be fair because God is fair.’ But God is not life. And if I confuse God with the physical reality of life – by expecting constant good health for example- then I set myself up for crashing disappointment.
- Grace, like water, flows to the lowest part.
- One who has been touched by grace will no longer look on those who stray as “those evil people” or “those poor people who need our help.” Nor must we search for signs of “loveworthiness.” Grace teaches us that God loves because of who God is, not because of who we are.
- Grace does not depend on what we have done for God but rather what God has done for us. Ask people what they must do to get to heaven and most reply, “Be good.” Jesus‘ stories contradict that answer. All we must do is cry, “Help!”
- Imperfection is the prerequisite for grace. Light only gets in through the cracks.
- When Jesus came to earth, demons recognized him, the sick flocked to him, and sinners doused his feet and head with perfume. Meanwhile he offended pious Jews with their strict preconceptions of what God should be like. Their rejection makes me wonder, could religious types be doing just the reverse now? Could we be perpetuating an image of Jesus that fits our pious expectations but does not match the person portrayed so vividly in the Gospels?
- God wants us to choose to love him freely, even when that choice involves pain, because we are committed to him, not to our own good feelings and rewards. He wants us to cleave to him, as Job did, even when we have every reason to deny him hotly.
- Power, no matter how well-intentioned, tends to cause suffering. Love, being vulnerable, absorbs it. In a point of convergence on a hill called Calvary, God renounced the one for the sake of the other.
- The solution to sin is not to impose an ever-stricter code of behaviour. It is to know God.
Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace?
I just love to read. Sometimes I read two books at the same time. I can’t help it! I get bored that easily; sometimes I think I have ADHD! So when Scott Berkun made this a topic, you can just imagine how giddy I was. 🙂
Here are 5 books that have influenced me the most:
1. Boy Meets Girl by Joshua Harris
I used to be jaded with men. Seriously. So when I broke up with my long-time ex-boyfriend, I decided it was time to kiss dating goodbye. I was really focused on the Lord that I never really thought I would want to be in a relationship again. I read this book during the days when I wasn’t really looking for someone but I was expectant that in God’s perfect time, the right man for me will come. This book just brings out the hopeless romantic in me. It made me excited for my “future” (now I’m on it) relationship. It is a book for biblical courtship. Boy meets girl is definitely a book for those who are waiting for God’s perfect timing, or for those who already found “the one”. Simply put, it’s a book for everybody.
2. What’s So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey
Sigh. Grace. I don’t think I can ever get enough of it. I AM A CERTIFIED GRACE ADDICT! During the lowest point of my life, (I just got out of a bad relationship, I was hurting and very much angry at the world), this book helped me a lot. It helped me release all the angst and it helped me extend forgiveness to those who’ve hurt me, and most especially, to myself. It’s a blessing! God’s grace is indeed amazing.
3. Extravagant Worship by Darlene Zschech
When I was 21, the Lord called me to become a worship leader. Leading worship is such a huge ministry, and in this book, Darlene Zschech shares of her experiences in being a worship leader and of what it means to be an extravagant worshiper. This is a must-read book not just for worship leaders but to all worshipers in general.
4. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
I am a huge fan of Mitch Albom. I mean, who isn’t, right?? His books are all very inspiring. The Five People You Meet in Heaven is just very refreshing. It’s not just a book about death. For me, the book tells more of forgiveness, family and love.
5. Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen
Joel Osteen is a blessing. When I started having my quarterlife crisis (I did not know what to do next, I was getting depressed because there are things that I know I can do but I cannot), this book encouraged and reminded me that the Lord has so much in store for me and I should not sit passively anymore. It is time to start declaring God’s favor in my life.
I blame my good friend Paula for my obsession on this book.
What are you going to do with your life?
In one way or another it seemed that people had been asking her this forever; teachers, her parents, friends, at three in the morning, but the question had never seemed this pressing and still she was no nearer an answer. The future rose up ahead of her, a succession of empty days, each more daunting and unknowable than the one before her. How would she ever fill them all?
She began walking again, south towards The Mound. ‘Live each day as if it’s your last‘, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if ir rainerd or you feel a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard at… something.
Change live through art maybe.
Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well.
Experience new things.
Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.