The New Living Translation
It’s All About Grace

I once heard a pastor start a sermon by asking the question, “When you look in the mirror, do you see a forgiving person who extends grace to people in their presence and in their absence, or do you see a person who speaks negatively of people, holds grudges, and makes sure people know you are not extending any grace to them because they have wronged you in some way?

The question pierced me.

The pastor challenged those of us in attendance to listen—really listen—to the benediction given at the end of each service, the common one Paul often used in his many parting words in his New Testament letters: “May the Lord be with you in spirit. And may his grace be with all of you” (2 Timothy 4:22). This is the benediction we all respond to weekly with a hearty “amen.” Perhaps you do, as well.

But how many of us carry God’s grace into our classrooms and workspaces and homes? We blame. We accuse. We hold grudges. We judge people’s decisions. We let pass opportunities to make someone feel good. We seek out and spread gossip about people instead of empathizing with their plight and losing sleep over how to help them.

But do we consciously look for ways to show grace to others daily in and out of their presence? In Colossians 4:5-6, Paul encourages Christians to “live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”

We show grace to others because Christ first showed grace to us. Ephesians 2:4-10 says, “But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

This last line resonates in me. God created us “anew” in Christ Jesus. He created us and then he created us “anew” through Jesus’ death and resurrection—kind of like an upgrade. We are renewed and as Christians are filled with the Spirit. Spirit-filled people extend grace to others. They forgive them. They honor them. They encourage them. They build up their reputations. This is called kingdom-building.

The second half of this sentence is also significant: “…so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” God has a plan for your life. He gave you grace and he offers you his Holy Spirit so he can use you to build his kingdom. It’s as simple as that. We do it in our neighborhoods and schools and workplaces. We do it in our families.

As part of the practical application of the Christian Journey column, I would like to defer to Barbara Pachter, author of “Power of the Positive Confrontation,” in which she outlines ways we can employ Paul’s wisdom in Colossians when he urges Christians to allow their conversations to be gracious. Pachter outlines six ways to verbally show grace under pressure at our workplaces:

Let It Go. Understanding that people are under a lot of pressure can allow one person to cut another some slack. Sometimes it can be best to do or say nothing—just listen. Often the other person later will apologize for the outburst.

Agree with the Comment. A good defense is the best offense. People can agree with what someone says but add additional information that turns the comment around, such as, “You’re right. We did put a lot of people on this project because it’s important to get this information out to our customers at this time.”

Ask for Clarification. Ask questions or make comments to get more information: “Why are you saying that?” “Help me to understand what you mean by. . ..” “Tell me more about your concern.” “Are you saying it was. . .?” Probing makes someone less likely to appear wounded by the attack, and it also buys the person time to calm down and collect his or her thoughts.

Acknowledge What Has Been Heard. First, acknowledge what was said: “I understand your frustration” or “I hear what you are saying.” Then use the word “and,” not “but,” to provide clarifying information, because using “but” negates what comes before it. A defusing statement such as “There may be some truth to that, and we are looking at the numbers” or “That’s interesting, and you may not realize that we’ve been looking at those numbers,” can also let the person know that he or she has been heard.

Respectfully Disagree. Be polite but firm. Someone can say, “I disagree, and here’s why . . .”

Postpone the Discussion. Sometimes it is best to talk to the person privately. Say something like, “You obviously have strong feelings. Let’s get together after the meeting so we can discuss this issue in more depth.”   Get more articles to help you live out your faith, check out our free e-devotions, discover the NLT, and find just the right Bible at http://www.newlivingtranslation.com.

Ron DeBoer is a writer and educator who lives near Toronto, Ontario.

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Why Does Theology Matter?

The first day of the semester in my New Testament classes (a general education requirement), I am greeted by upwards of 25 pairs of deer-in-headlights gazes and dropped jaws. My best efforts to alleviate their fear of diving into deep theological waters about a faith many of them have grown up with fail miserably. Yet we trudge on.

The difficult journey over the course of the semester is worth it. Many preachers and theologians will talk and write about the value of studying theology as making sure we believe the right things. I also want my students to understand the Gospel.

Theology by definition means, “what is said about God.” Within Christianity, there are many theological systems: Reformed/Calvinism, Arminianism, Wesleyanism, Liberation, Orthodox, and Charismatic/Pentecostal are some of the main ones. Unfortunately, my students’ journey of theological study, like others’ is marked with obstacles put in place by well-meaning theologians and staunch adherents to any one of these theological systems. Preachers and authors will make significant efforts to draw distinctions between their position and the rest, often mischaracterizing them.

The theological discipline does help us distinguish what is true. In Paul’s day, there were what he calls “false teachers” who distorted the truth of the gospel. Knowing Christian theology—what Jesus and the eyewitnesses to his life, teaching, death, and resurrection say—is the gospel. It is the Good News of God’s love for us when we were far from him, as illustrated for us in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), demonstrated by Jesus, and explained in His and other New Testament writers’ teaching.

After years of studying theology formally and serving with people from several of the major traditions, I’ve discovered this: On major issues, they agree. They may use different language to interpret and explain them, but they believe the same thing. Unfortunately, we have allowed secondary issues to divide us.

In addition to helping us understand the gospel clearly, studying theology also provides a window into the holiness of God and the sinfulness of humanity. We like to focus on behavior when we talk about sin. According to the Bible, sin is born in the heart. When done well, studying theology takes us beyond simply learning new words and concepts. As a means of discipleship (following Christ), it has the potential to help us better reflect the image of Jesus in our attitude, choices, and actions toward each other.

The third benefit to studying theology is to discover how God desires us to live as the community of faith. The hard work of loving each other and staying focused on God’s mission of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world sounds like a grand adventure, and it is. However, it’s difficult and costly.

Theology matters not just for seminaries and pastors. It’s critical for the church—that all of us—may deeply know God who calls us according to his purpose (Romans 8:28), to learn his ways, and after counting the cost, to live by them.  Get more articles to help you live out your faith, check out our free e-devotions, discover the NLT, and find just the right Bible at http://www.newlivingtranslation.com.

Jack Radcliffe is a husband and father of four, coach (www.redwoodcoach.com) ministry trainer and speaker, dean of the Youth Ministry Institute of the Tennessee Conference UMC, and adjunct professor of educational ministry at Martin Methodist College. He has an MDiv from Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio and a DMin in Practical Theology, Adolescent Development, and Culture from Fuller Theological Seminary.

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How Did We Get the Bible?

God used quite a variety of writers and circumstances to compose what we now call the Bible. God took his time. In fact, at least 1,500 years passed between the writing of the earliest books to the writing of the last books of the Bible. Yet despite the passage of generations and nations, the message of the Bible maintains a startling consistency. Dozens of writers contributed to scripture, yet they present a unified voice—God’s Word. Many minds went into the writing; one mind provided the inspiration—God’s Spirit.

The apostle Peter summarized the process when he wrote: “Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophets’ own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:20-21). The apostle Paul offered the best known statement regarding the Spirit’s work behind the scenes in creating the Bible: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right” (2 Timothy 3:16). Only God could have brought into being this amazing book we now get to hold in our hands.

Jesus Christ is the focus of Scripture. Walking the road to Emmaus on the morning of his resurrection, Jesus gave two disciples a survey of the Bible: “Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). The Scriptures to which Luke referred in that verse were the Old Testament writings. If the ancient Hebrew Scriptures were all about Christ, then certainly the New Testament has the same central figure and purpose—Jesus.

In answering the question, “How did we get the Bible?” we need to remember that the process had those two major steps. (1) The Old Testament represents God’s Word delivered to and through the Jewish people before Christ, and (2) The New Testament represents God’s Word written by Jesus’ followers during the first century.

In the majority of the New Testament books or letters, we have a pretty good idea who those writers were. The main principle that emerges is the fact that the authors had personal knowledge and contact with Jesus. As to how we ended up with twenty-seven “books” in the New Testament, it’s important to realize that no individual or small group or church council ever sat down and sorted through a huge stack of “possibilities” from which they selected the “books” of the New Testament. The role of individuals and groups in the formation of the New Testament had more to do with recognition than choosing.

At certain key points, believers gathered and confirmed the fact that a collection of writings had demonstrated a unique and shared tone, content, background, and power that set them apart as “volumes” in God’s Word. There’s a lot of history and many opinions about the process, but in the end we are face to face with a collection of books that speak in harmony about God’s work in history and God’s dealings with his creation, centered on his own visit to the world in Jesus Christ. God inspired all of scripture (2 Timothy 3:16), and his character pervades every verse.  Get more articles to help you live out your faith, check out our free e-devotions, discover the NLT, and find just the right Bible at http://www.newlivingtranslation.com.

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Teen Slimline Bible NLT Giveaway!

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The popular Teen Slimline Bible in the New Living Translation is now available for the first time with thumb indexing to help teens find passages quickly. The presentation page and cover design creates an overall theme using 1 Corinthians 13:13. Includes a 53-page dictionary/concordance that helps teens locate passages on various topics, 8 pages of full-color maps, pink ribbon marker, and thumb indexing tabs.  Click here to check it out for yourself.

Want to win a copy for yourself or a friend?

 

We’re giving away 25 copies, and it’s easy to enter!

Fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Follow the directions for sharing to earn extra entries. We’ll choose 25 winners on July 20th and contact them by e-mail.

 

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Little Things Matter
“Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage. But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!'”
2 Kings 5:12-13, NLT
In 1962, the Mariner I space probe was scheduled to travel to Venus and provide information to NASA scientists. It never got there, as it plunged into the Atlantic Ocean four minutes after takeoff. An investigation was launched into the cause for the crash and was later traced to the computer program directing the spacecraft. It turned out that somewhere in the program a single minus sign had been left out.For some people, living out the basics of the Christian faith isn’t exciting enough. Too insignificant. Not brave enough. However, the way a follower of Jesus handles small things, both in attitude and execution, determines to a large extent how they will handle larger things.Naaman learned a lesson about this in today’s passage. He was a mighty warrior of Aram but had leprosy. After getting permission to visit Elisha the prophet, he planned out in his mind exactly what would happen: Elisha would meet him, wave his hand, and call on God to heal him.

Instead, the prophet sent a messenger to Naaman, who told him to wash in the Jordan River seven times. Naaman was upset with this cure. He wanted something with a little more fanfare. But his officers called him on his attitude and encouraged him to take Elisha at his word. When Naaman decided to bathe in the Jordan, his small act of obedience cured him of his leprosy.

So take the time to get to know God through consistent prayer. Read about the characters in the Bible and their triumphs and failures. Make the most of the opportunities the Lord presents, no matter how insignificant they may seem. After all, little things do matter.

Source: Free Leadership Devotional. Find an e-devotion that’s right for you at  http://www.thenlt.com/06devotionals/

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The Two Cures for Discouragement

Failure often gets us down, but have you noticed how we can also get discouraged after we’ve been successful? The Bible teaches that discouragement has two sources because we have two problems:

  1. The world is damaged. God says, “The ground is cursed because of you” (Genesis 3:17). Just as thorns grew up to frustrate Adam’s work, much of our work, our parenting, our relationships—even our worship—results in discouraging failure.
  2. We are damaged. We misplace our priorities. Instead of seeking God himself, we stuff our souls with career or family or a love life or church involvement. But success in these things still leaves us empty and discouraged. The Teacher in Ecclesiastes confesses, “As I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind” (Ecclesiastes 2:11).

Non-religious people tend to respond to discouragement by saying, “Learn to love and accept yourself.” But this only addresses emotions. Religious and moral people tend to say, “Work harder and do better.” But this behavior-based approach leads to more failure and deeper discouragement. The Good News of Jesus is that God defeats discouragement. Jesus people look beyond superficial behavior or emotions. We rewire our hearts to deal with both sources of discouragement:

  1. Faced with failure, we remind ourselves that Jesus died for us so that we may surely share in every blessing of God and in the new earth, free of frustration, that God is creating.
  2. Faced with success, we work with God’s Spirit to reorient our priorities around Jesus, who said, “Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).

Full healing won’t happen in this life, but Jesus is a true fix for discouragement because he offers heart-level change punctuated by joy in our acceptance by God. Along the way, God offers gifts that help with discouragement. The Bible sets joyful, godly priorities and tells of God’s unshakable love. “The Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled” (Romans 15:4). So we must read the Bible. Worship and the sacraments are the Spirit’s tools. God says of his worshippers, “I . . . will fill them with joy in my house of prayer” (Isaiah 56:7). So we must attend church. Community lets us share struggles and burdens. The Bible tells us to “encourage one another” (Hebrews 10:25). So we must commit to share often and honestly with other believers. Along with all this, God offers himself. The Father communes with us in prayer, the Spirit enters our hearts, and Jesus the Son emptied his life for our sakes. God has invested himself totally, that we may praise and enjoy him. So be encouraged. Jack Klumpenhower is a freelance writer, communications consultant, and church curriculum writer living in North Carolina.

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What Keeps Us from Trusting God

This morning while reading Jeremiah 4, I didn’t get very far before having to stop—at verse 1. “If you wanted to return to me, you could” (NLT). We often approach God and faith as a fix-all for what ails us. We look to the Bible and maybe to people who are close to God to diagnose our problems and prescribe the solution.

For others, the Bible can become to us an instruction manual that we pull off the shelf to use when we need to troubleshoot life. Or, for the more cerebral of us, it is a science project that requires academic tools to dissect it in order to discover what makes us tick. All of these approaches leave us well short of one of its intended purposes: to know and trust its author.

So when we read a simple verse like Jeremiah 4:1, we’re caught off-guard. Our usual uses of faith and the Bible are confronted here with clarity. We don’t have to try to fix life’s brokenness or get to the bottom of what the Bible is really saying. If we wanted to return (and turn) to God to receive life, we could. If we wanted grace and repentance to be more than concepts, we could experience them. The opportunity is there. So why don’t we want to?

Jeremiah’s audience had grown impatient with God and decided that the religions of surrounding countries were worth a try. They traded devotion and loyalty to God for these other religions’ statues (idols) and practices. They didn’t believe that God would care for and protect them, and, in general, have their best interests at heart. They became dependent on them even though they did them no good.

Reflecting on the state of Western Christianity, it’s not difficult to find glaring similarities. Our attitudes and actions tell the story. We’ve become dependent on political powers, charismatic personalities, economies, and even church systems, and it’s hard to let go. They protect the brokenness and pain we continually seek healing for. They keep the truth of the gospel at a distance—nothing more than something to learn about. Their role in our lives keeps us from deep intimacy with God and experiencing the full and whole life he desires us to live.

Jeremiah 4:1 goes on to say, “You could throw away your detestable idols and stray away no more.” Oh, we have a choice? Yes. And it’s easier than it seems. In leadership coaching, when people get stuck in a pattern of thinking, attitude, or actions despite all their attempts to change, it’s almost always because they don’t have something to move toward. Ours is a culture where we work hard at eliminating our weaknesses. Try as we may, we fail. As Peter Drucker said in the 1970s, we make ourselves mediocre.

We fail because we’re only trying to say no. Only saying no keeps us captive to the idols. Having something else to grab onto makes it a lot easier to let go. The journey to the full life we seek involves saying “Yes” to and clinging to Jesus and his gospel.   Get more articles to help you live it now, check out our free e-devotions, discover the NLT, and find just the right Bible at http://www.newlivingtranslation.com/.

Jack Radcliffe is a husband and father of four, Coach (www.redwoodcoach.com) ministry trainer and speaker, Dean of The Youth Ministry Institute of the Tennessee Conference UMC and adjunct professor at Martin Methodist College. He has an MDiv from Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio and a DMin in Practical Theology, Adolescent Development and Culture from Fuller Theological Seminary.

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How to Read the Bible

What is the Bible all about? Do you have questions about life, friends, family, God, or your future? If so, the Bible is for you! Thousands of people just like you find their lives more meaningful because of the Bible’s message. People all over the world turn to it to find answers to questions like: Does God really care about me? What does God expect of me? Can I really make a difference in the world? Is it really possible to live forever? Is there really a hell? Is heaven for real? Does God really listen when we pray? What should I do with my life? But the Bible is more than an answer book to turn to when the pressures of life are overwhelming. It is really a library of books. It’s filled with stories about real people. It has great poetry and beautiful songs. It has prophecies and promises. But most important, it is the true story of God’s visiting our earth through his Son, Jesus Christ. As you read about him, you will discover the most terrific friend you could ever have—someone who’s around twenty-four hours a day, any time you need him! So take some time each day to read the Bible. It could be the most important and life-changing step you will ever take. The Message of the Bible The Bible begins by telling how the eternal God created the world and everything in it. He gave people a beautiful place to live and supplied everything they needed. Best of all, he was their friend. That glorious beginning, however, was ruined when people disobeyed God and plunged into rebellion and sin. This broke humanity’s relationship with God and brought judgment and death to the earth, its creatures, and humanity itself. Even so, God did not abandon his disobedient creatures. He set out to reclaim fallen people, much as a shepherd sets out to restore lost sheep to the fold. The Old Testament provides many references to a special individual who would provide salvation for his people. That special individual, the Messiah, was not to be merely a man, however. The Messiah was to be “Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14; 8:8), which in Hebrew means “God is with us.” The Messiah would be both God and man, and those prophecies were fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.When Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sin, he also removed all guilt produced by that sin and restored the broken relationship between God and humanity. Furthermore, he lives today and speaks continually to God on our behalf. “Therefore he is able, once and for ever, to save everyone who comes to God through him” (Hebrews 7:24-25). He gives eternal life to all who trust in him. How to Study the Bible To get the most out of this Bible, you will need to study it on a regular and orderly basis. You may, however, have some questions. You may wonder, Where do I begin reading? Or, What do I need to know before I start? The following paragraphs and features will help you get started and give you some important hints and information to help you begin an effective study of the Bible. Pray for Wisdom and Understanding The most often overlooked and undervalued aspect of Bible study is prayer. Yet prayer is essential to gaining wisdom and understanding when you read God’s Word. Through prayer, you can approach God and acknowledge your incomplete knowledge of his Word, as well as your need for him to open your heart to his instruction. So determine to begin each time of study with prayer. Only God can give you the wisdom to understand his Word. Read in an Orderly Manner If you receive a letter from a friend and read only a few sentences here and there, the letter will not make much sense. But sadly, this is how many approach their study of the Bible. They read a portion of Matthew, a story from Daniel, a verse or two from Exodus, and then a chapter or so from Revelation and wonder why they don’t have a clear understanding of God’s Word. They often misinterpret the meaning of a passage because they fail to grasp the larger context from which the passage or verse comes. To avoid such pitfalls, you need to discipline yourself to read the Bible in an orderly manner. One way to do this is to use an established reading plan. A reading plan lists Scripture passages to be read in a certain order. Many of the existing plans were created with a goal in mind. Some plans break the whole Bible down into 365 daily readings. Others help you read through the Bible in the order that the events actually happened. We have included several reading plans to get you started. One such reading plan is based on fifty-two great Bible stories that all Christians should be familiar with. This plan touches on great accounts of God’s work in history, giving you the large sweep of the contents of the Bible. Another reading plan, the one-year New Testament reading plan, will lead you through the entire New Testament in a year. In this plan, you will read through the gospel accounts of Christ’s life and study God’s wisdom for believers in the letters to early Christians. Some of you may prefer a more topical approach to your Bible study. In the following topical indexes, the truths of the Bible are related to real life issues. You may want to look for topics that are of special concern to you and study the related Scriptures to see what God’s Word has to say. Finish What You Start In life, the benefits of doing anything are often not realized until the task is completed. The same is true when reading a book from the Bible. Once you choose a book to read, read it from beginning to end. Although you may benefit spiritually by reading a verse from one book or a story from another, you will benefit more by reading the entire book from which the verse or story came. Reading the entire book puts each verse and story in its proper context. Thus, you will have a better understanding of what each verse and story means. In addition, by reading books from beginning to end you will become more familiar with the Bible as a whole. You may even discover passages that will one day become your favorites. To get a quick summary of each Bible book before you begin reading it, look it up in the feature called Overview of the Bible Books. Meditate on God’s Word Thinking or meditating about what you have read helps you to discover the importance of a given passage. It also helps you to examine your life in light of what God reveals in his Word. One of the best ways to begin meditating on God’s Word is to ask questions. Here are a few questions to help you get started: What is the main subject of the passage? To whom is this passage addressed? Who is speaking? About what or whom is the person speaking? What is the key verse? What does this passage teach me about God? To see how the text might apply to you personally, ask yourself these questions: Is there any sin mentioned in the passage that I need to confess or stop doing? Is there a command given that I should obey? Is there a promise made that I can apply to my current circumstances? Is there a prayer given that I could pray? Invest in a Few Good Resource Books The Bible alludes to many ancient customs that are unfamiliar to us today. So the subtle meaning behind such allusions can easily be lost to us. To understand the culture in which the Bible was written, you may want to purchase a few good biblical resource books. There are two types of resource books you should look into purchasing: first, a one- or two-volume commentary on the whole Bible; and second, a Bible dictionary. Most one- or two-volume commentaries are concise. They give you the necessary information on important words, phrases, and verses from the Bible. They will not give you commentary on each verse, and they will not go into detailed explanations on any one verse. But they are good resources to help you begin to understand God’s Word in its ancient context. The price for such a commentary can range from fifteen to thirty-five pounds per volume. Bible dictionaries contain short articles (in alphabetical order) on people, places, and objects found in the Bible. Most Bible dictionaries also contain maps, diagrams, and pictures of biblical cities, regions, and artifacts. Bible dictionaries also cost between fifteen and thirty-five pounds. You can find these resources wherever Christian books are sold. —————- If you apply these practices to your daily personal Bible study, you are bound to develop habits that will help you grow in your faith. – See more at: http://www.newlivingtranslation.com/04exploringchristianity/howtoread.asp#sthash.NXh4lfL4.dpuf

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Living for God

Lately I’ve been thinking about the early days of my faith formation. When I was a young Christian—in age and in faith—I had the privilege of being part of a community of Christians where grace flowed freely and the Bible came alive. I was enthralled by the experiences of God’s holiness we shared that led to confession and healing. We felt free and full of joy. We couldn’t get enough, wanting to keep doing the things that connected us to God in this powerful way. This life in God couldn’t have been better. Difficulties were faced with confidence that God would overcome them for our good. We always seemed to have a deep awe and appreciation for Christ’s suffering and dying for us. Because of it, we could experience these deeper things of God. We wanted to live for God, to be with him and the people with whom we shared these experiences. Over time I realized that something was missing. The realization started to set in that God wanted more for me than experiences of him. With others, I learned that God not only wanted for me to experience his holiness, he wanted me to live in it. Sounded great to me! Exploring what it means to live in God’s holiness entailed looking beyond the experiences I wanted so that my attitudes and priorities could be challenged. It was not easy to do. To this day, holiness for me begins there, and it’s just as difficult. According to 1 Peter 4:1-2, Jesus’ willingness to endure physical suffering and pain demonstrated a readiness to suffer in other ways as well. Peter uses a military metaphor to call his readers to prepare mentally for action. He says to “arm yourselves” by preparing to suffer for doing good so that a clean break can be made with sin. What does this mean for us? Attitude accompanies action. It is the attitude rather than the actual action that leads to growth in holiness. It changes us. Preparing to take it on the chin for obedience to God redirects our desires. No longer do we seek to fulfill ours; rather, we become eager to do God’s. That was Peter’s hope for his readers, among whom we are included. How will you prepare to suffer for doing good? Jack Radcliffe is a husband and father of four, coach (www.redwoodcoach.com), ministry trainer and speaker, dean of the Youth Ministry Institute of the Tennessee Conference UMC, and adjunct professor at Martin Methodist College. He has an M.Div. from Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio and a D.Min. in Practical Theology, Adolescent Development and Culture from Fuller Theological Seminary. -

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Girls Slimline Bible NLT – 25 copy giveaway

Win it Before You Can Buy It

978-1-4143-9767-2
This adorable edition of God’s Word for girls features the easy-to-understand New Living Translation text with a soft-fur, bright-neon LOVE design and silver glittery lining. The BOLD FAITH design on the back cover encourages girls to live out their faith in ways that bring God glory.

This hardcover deluxe edition also features purple page edges, neon orange ribbon marker, special presentation page, 8 pages of full-color maps, and a 53-page dictionary/concordance to help locate passages on various topics.

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Enter to win a copy!

We’re giving away 25 copies of the Girls Slimline Bible NLT. Just fill out the form below and follow the instructions. We’ll pick 25 winners on June 12th!

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