"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." ~ from ISAIAH 61 Bible verse for this Blog

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

STUMBLING INTO GRACE:Confessions of a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Woman

written by Lisa Harper


STUMBLING INTO GRACE: 
Confessions of a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Woman 
written by Lisa Harper

... seems to have had me "stumbling" through the pages for far too long of a time, relating to the stories of Lisa's life in a diary like devotional, humorously written or profoundly inspiring as she connects her life situations to Jesus' encounters in the New Testament in 3 parts: Real Life, Real Gifts and Real Growth. 

This is my first time reading any of Lisa Harper's books and I have not had the privilege to hear her speak in any Women of Faith Conference, but she writes in such a way that you feel like she's talking to you. One way that she does this is by opening each chapter with... "So, today I’ve been thinking about... " and after she walks us through the chapter, we enter the study part with a beautiful prayer that she calls "Living in Light of His Story" followed by wonderful personal reflection or discussion questions and a journal entry for us to write... "So, today I’ve been thinking about the ... " focus point of that chapter, helping us to apply this to our lives. 

In the REAL LIFE part, we look at scary things, binding things, fattening things, dangerous things and sweet things. First with a personal life story, then Jesus story, followed by a teaching on "the heart of His story", "the hope for our ongoing story" and ending with the above personal journal part. It's the sharing of Lisa's personal experience, Jesus' experience and then our own application to our experience with a study guide right in each chapter. I love that part! It had me going back and reading again just to be sure I didn't miss anything or because I was able to connect. Lisa makes it REAL!

The REAL GIFT is my favorite part and this is where I began to "stumble into grace"... and although Lisa continues in the same witty style, I am now ready to deepen my spiritual relationship and walk with Jesus and the gift of forgiveness, touch, good humor (which Lisa has plenty to share), community and rest. This is where Lisa's book becomes REAL to me. God's Word becomes alive and REAL!
She uses many scriptures and stories that we are familiar with and makes them relevant to our lives.

Finally, the difficult part and perhaps why it took me so long to "stumble" through this, besides my real life messing me up since I began reading this book... the part on REAL GROWTH allowed me to see God's aMazing Grace much more clearly and personally. As Lisa now takes us through chapters of seeing how Jesus helps us become less critical, more content, more honest, more dependent, more grateful!

And I am, for having had this opportunity to read "Stumbling into Grace ... " which Lisa sums up best in her honest, opening with this:

"God doesn’t just see us; He gazes adoringly at us. He doesn’t simply notice us; He moves heaven and earth on our behalf. That’s the thesis of Stumbling Into Grace."

Lisa Harper succeeds with doing what she sets out to do: "describe God's unconditional and miraculously accessible love for us through the life and ministry of Jesus Christ" and hers to us, as Lisa writes to empower us and help us "lean further into the strong, safe embrace of Our Redeemer". She wrote that this was an incredibly lofty goal to accomplish, but she hopes and prays that it may come close... for me, it does. Since I realize that I am a flawed sinner, saved by grace, with the scars from the many stumbles I've taken, and so blessed to be able to hold on to the Holy Spirit within, to stand up again and again, as Lisa wrote to "exemplify the redemptive power of His divine grace!" Lisa's words encourage me to get back up and keep walking in faith, no matter how many times I've stumbled or stumble, I'm on the winning side and "His Grace is sufficient".

The best way I know this, is as I daily stumble and share on a blog called "aMazing Grace ~ Mazes, Messes and Miracles", I have seen God reveal how miraculous and restorative His awesome love and amazing grace REALLY is in my life through His Holy Spirit. No matter how many times the enemy tries to discourage me or confront me or throw another glitch for me to stumble over my past failures and mistakes, to stop believing, to question, or give it up and quit sharing how good God is... I reach up and find myself able to take one more step with more confidence and perhaps a little less clumsy, closer to that final victory that Jesus already won. "So today I've been thinking about" that victory and looking forward to sharing this in a small group women's Bible study perhaps.

Disclosure of material connection:
I received this book free from the publisher Thomas P. Nelson through the BookSneeze.com book review blogger's program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
Thomas Nelson Product Page



APOLOGY

On July 18, 2017, I drafted almost 3000 blog posts that I had published since 2008 when I began blogging rather than edit each one. So if you clicked from somewhere and ended up here and the post was unavailable, I am sorry. It would be too much work for me to go back through each one and fix. I guess I'm still learning. I apologize also to anyone who subscribes that perhaps received many old ones in your email. There's somewhat of an explanation on 7/19/17.
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