Oh, you guys, I’m so excited about my new book which will be released in just three weeks! Ruthless: Knowing the God Who Fights for You is a book about God. His character. His goodness. His reality. It’s also a book about us. Our heartache, our questions and our secret doubts.
Here’s what I think this book can do for you:
- Give you a fresh, deep understanding of the character of God.
- Help you know with certainty that you are not alone or abandoned in the fights you face.
- Help to identify the hidden (or not-so-hidden) doubts you have about His goodness that might be holding you back from a Big Win.
- Give you courage to really, truly and fully trust that God is fighting for you and not against you.
Maybe you can think of three or four people right now who are facing a fierce fight and would benefit from thirty days studying His character and grace. Perhaps you’d even like to give them a copy of the book for Christmas but have run into this inconvenient little truth: it’s not going to be out by Christmas (the release date is January 7).
Fear not, excellent friend! I have the answer for you. We have created a handy, dandy printable for you right here to slip beneath the Christmas tree for those you love.
Here are the instructions:
- Pre-order the books at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. You can enter your friend’s shipping address when you order or have the books sent to you so you can forward them to your friend(s) when they arrive. (helpful hint: buy three books at either site and shipping is free!)
- Print the Ruthless Postcard on whatever paper you prefer and cut them apart as indicated. (Each page prints four cards.)
- Sign and slip the card in an envelope or put a ribbon through it and hang it on the tree for a fun surprise.
Presto! You’ve given your friend the gift of a revolutionized relationship with God for under ten bucks! Also, should you find yourself short a gift on Christmas eve, my blog is always open – you’re just one click away from having a gift-in-hand.
Life is funny, you know? This, the hardest season I’ve ever known, has wrapped itself into words I would never have written otherwise. It has expanded my heart and hope and endurance. It has cemented the certainty of God’s goodness into my spirit so I don’t have to shake through every storm. I’m so thankful, and I hope this book does the very same thing for you.
Whew! Last week was a doozy, I tell you. It was a good doozy, but a doozy nonetheless. I’m so thankful for every opportunity we have had in the past three years to tell the story of how God has moved into our neighborhood, into our heartache, into our suffering. I cannot begin to articulate how beautiful His mercy has been in the middle of the mess. This weekend, I spoke honestly about our story at Westside Church and I can’t quite stop praying that it comforted those who are deeply hurting and challenged those who are perfectly happy. No message has ever meant more to me than this one.
So, I’m sharing it with you on a snowy, frigid Monday, hoping it might encourage and challenge you or maybe someone you love who is going through a sorrow-storm at Christmastime.
I love you. I do. And I am thinking of this beautiful blog community as we all live in a world that feels far from home. Immanuel has come. To us. And He is enough.
P.S. That’s my handsome son-in-law, Corey, leading worship. He’s really great!
And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord. Luke 1:45
Blessed is she
The one who paces through the night, pouring out faith and frustrations, believing that, though it seems to have no heartbeat, her marriage will live again
Blessed is she
The one who weeps herself empty over the tattered photo of a child who is wandering far from God and far from home, believing for the day his heart will turn toward hope.
Blessed is she
The one who logs hours in hospital rooms and doctor’s offices, learning the names of conditions and prescriptions she never wanted to know, yet still believing in the One name that is over them all.
Blessed is she
The one who spends money she doesn’t have on people she doesn’t know, believing her drop in the bucket might just create ripples that echo into eternity.
Blessed is she
The one who breathes through the pain and hopes against hope and stands in the storm, not because she’s strong enough, but because she believes He has spoken and she knows in her marrow that He will perform it.
Blessed is she who sees the promise on the other side of the problem clearly enough to put the muscle of her faith into the fight of her life.
Blessed is she.
Well, hello there Monday. Just when I thought the wonderful holiday weekend might last forever, you peeked around the corner of 5:30 a.m., reminding me that time keeps moving and a new week is right here, right now.
I typically love Mondays because I generally love new. This particular Monday, however, came toting a suitcase full of stress with it. In fact, as soon as my first coherent thought formed this morning, I felt my heart rate spike with the reality of the week ahead. A short list of stressors:
- Seven speaking gigs in the next nine days.
- I have been putting off bill-paying for way too long. It’s not that I don’t have the money, it’s that I’ve chosen to sink my energies into other things I like better. Simply put, I procrastinate on the things I should be doing in lieu of the things I like to be doing (decorating a Christmas tree for my home office, for instance.) Now the bills have catapulted themselves from the “Should Do” list to the “MUST do” list. Blech.
- I have a sicky, sicky boy. And while I hate for any kids to be sick, the danger of his flu germs migrating in the direction of his dad makes the whole thing weightier than an ordinary sick day.
So, these are some of the things on my list. I bet you have a list, too. In fact, I just read a few status updates on facebook that put my list to shame – someone lost their home in a fire, someone lost their sweet baby to a mysterious illness, and for every story told in social media, there are a million more that are untold. We live in a difficult, demanding world and giving into the stress of it makes us unhealthy which makes the whole thing even more stressful. Vicious. Cycle.
I turned to my Bible this morning, looking for help and hope and for my word for the week. I’m still going through this advent devotional, and this morning the verse was Matthew 1:23. Get a load of this beautiful thing: See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him Immanuel, which is translated, “God is with us.”
God is with us.
God is with me.
God is with Bo.
He came to live in this world and in this week. He came to live with me as I balance unruly checkbooks and unwieldy schedules and ubiquitous flu germs. He came here. To us. Because He loves us.
For the umpteenth time today, I’m reminded that Jesus is not afraid of my mess or my stress and in fact, invites me to bring my suitcase to His presence and move right in. To abide in Him. To rest in the fully-finished work of salvation and trust Him with the ongoing work of sanctification. Because Immanuel was not a one-time, short-term, quick-fix visitor to our world; He came to dwell with us.
The word of the week, therefore, is dwell. Our great God led the way, coming to dwell with me and I am longing to dwell with Him – to gather all of my life and dreams and decisions and to-do lists and hoist them onto His big shoulder. If He is strong enough to carry the whole government, He’s certainly strong enough to carry my heart.
Question for you today: what is your word for this first week of Advent?
P.S. This weekend, I’ll be speaking at Westside Church about how God has come to dwell in our suffering. I’d love to see you there, or you can catch the message online here.
Well, the word for this week is gratitude. Because, duh – it has to be. It’s Thanksgiving and our world is awash in thankfulness. Even facebook is thankful, for goodness sake, so that is the word for the week.
But lean in close because I need to whisper this next part: I didn’t really want to choose it. I did not. In fact, I kept avoiding it this morning because I felt it was being foisted upon me by unseen forces led by Abraham Lincoln, whose responsible for this whole situation and it’s hard to say no to honest Abe.
I could list out my laments here, but you’ve already heard most of them. I could explain again that holidays are tricky in the Shadowlands; so tricky, in fact, that it’s always tempting to shush them a little. But, here I sit on Monday morning, choosing a word and the word is: gratitude, darn it. I will choose to be thankful this week and you, dear reader, may hold me to it. In spite of the things going bump in the night of my life, I am hoping to be intentionally thankful for the amazing stuff that I can see with my own two eyes and hold in my own two hands. Because gratitude is powerful. Because it changes my perspective. Because it makes me better to be with (and all my family said “Amen. So be it.”)
Here’s my short list.
- I’m thankful for my health; especially because other people depend on it now, I’m endlessly grateful to have it.
- I’m thankful for my husband. Quite honestly, I didn’t think he’d be here this year and he is very here. Still talking. Still eating. Still very wonderfully Steve.
- I’m thankful for the family who will gather around my table. They are the people who add the color into my life. They are my happy.
- I’m thankful for hope. Sweet and sovereign, hope stretches out in front of us and though I can’t catch it in a bottle or capture it with words, I know it’s there and it gives me the strength to be thankful for the blessings when my heart keeps wanting to veer off towards the disappointments .
I could list food and friends and clean air and a thousand other things, but I fear that if I go too wide I won’t go deep. I really do want to live this word out well in the beautiful and in the battle. That is, after all, the whole point. Thanksgiving was created for recognizing God’s goodness in a battle-weary land. Check out these fierce, fantastic words from President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Declaration:
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.
Yes. My life – in battle and out - proves the watchful providence of Almighty God. And so my gratitude, while sometimes reluctant, is still very real.
And now unto the One who is able to keep us from falling: endless, eternal thanks,
P.S. What’s YOUR word for the week?