Uninvited

My favorite author, Lysa Terkeurst has done it again! She just released her new book in August and it is phenomenal!

IMG_0433

My August book recommendation is her new book, “Uninivited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely.” The main point of her book is Living Loved during these hard times of life!   There is so much great truth in this book that I highly recommend it! I read this at the beginning of the month and could not put it down! I literally read it in a couple days and was so excited to share it with all of you!

However, since finishing the book, I have had a very difficult month as I lost one of my dear friends to pancreatic cancer. I don’t want to let the month go by without sharing this book with you but if I am completely honest, I don’t feel like I am in a place to write a book review either.

However, God is so good! This morning, I opening up my email and read the devotional from Proverbs 31 ministries called “The Crushing Times. It is written by Lysa Terkeurst and it is from her new book. Actually, it is one of my favorite parts of her book- the olive tree!   So, I have decided to let her own words by what I share with you about the book! Hope it brings you encouragement as well as gets you excited to read her book.   It truly is wonderful and will touch your heart!

Love, Jodi

From: Proverbs 31 Ministries <devotions@proverbs31.org>

Subject: The Crushing Times {Encouragement for Today}

August 25, 2016

The Crushing Times
LYSA TERKEURST

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV)

No one wants to have their heart crushed. But being wounded in deep places happens. Sometimes it just seems to be part of the rhythm of life.

And when these hard times come, we feel it all so very deeply. And we wonder if others have these hard, hard moments. After all, we don’t snap pictures of the crushing times and post them on Instagram.

We just wonder if we have what it takes to survive …

… when the doctor calls and says he needs to talk to me in person about the test results.

… when the teacher sends one of “those” emails about my child.

… when someone I love closes their heart and turns their back on me.

… when I feel so utterly incapable and unable and afraid.

I suspect you know the tear-filled place from which I speak.

So, let’s journey to the olive tree and learn.

To get to the place I want to take you, we must cross the Kidron Valley in Israel.

John 18:1-2 tells us, “When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it. Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples” (NIV).

Jesus often met in the shadow and shade of the olive tree.

The olive grove mentioned above is the Garden of Gethsemane. This garden is where Jesus, just before his arrest, said to Peter, James and John, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” (Mark 14:34, NIV).

Jesus knew the crushing-heart feeling. He felt it. He wrestled with it. He carried it.

And I don’t think it was a coincidence the olive tree was there in this moment of deep sorrow for Jesus.

The olive tree is such a picture of why our hearts must go through the crushing times.

The crushing times are necessary times.

First, in order to be fruitful the olive tree has to have both the east wind and the west wind. The east wind is the dry hot wind from the desert. This is a harsh wind. So harsh that it can blow over green grass and make it completely wither in one day.

The west wind, on the other hand, comes from the Mediterranean. It brings rain and life.

The olive tree needs both of these winds to produce fruit — and so do we. We need both winds of hardship and relief to sweep across our lives if we are to be truly fruitful.

The crushing times are processing times.

Another thing to consider about the olive tree is how naturally bitter the olive is and what it must go through to be useful. If you were to pick an olive from the tree and try to eat it this month, its bitterness would make you sick.

For the olive to be edible, it has to go through a lengthy process that includes:
washing,
breaking,
soaking,
sometimes salting,
and waiting some more.

It is a lengthy process to be cured of bitterness and prepared for usefulness.

If we are to escape the natural bitterness of the human heart, we have to go through a long process as well … the process of being cured.

The crushing times are preservation times.

The final thing I want to consider about the olive is the best way to preserve it for the long run. It must be crushed in order to extract the oil. The same is true for us. The biblical way to be preserved is to be pressed. And being pressed can certainly feel like being crushed.

But what about our key verse, 2 Corinthians 4:8, where it says we are “pressed … but not crushed”? Let’s read verses 8 and 9 in the King James Version: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; …”

This was one of the biggest “aha” moments for me standing in the shadow of the olive tree: crushing isn’t the olive’s end.

Crushing is the way of preservation for the olive. It’s also the way to get what’s most valuable, the oil, out of the olive. Keeping this perspective is how we can be troubled on every side yet not distressed … pressed to the point of being crushed but not crushed and destroyed.

I think I need to revisit these truths often:

When the sorrowful winds of the east blow, I forget they are necessary.

When I’m being processed, I forget it’s for the sake of ridding me of bitterness.

And when I’m being crushed, I forget it’s for the sake of my preservation.

I forget all these things so easily. I wrestle and cry and honestly want to resist every bit of this. Oh, how I forget.

Maybe God knew we all would forget.

And so, He created the olive tree.

Dear Lord, I’m so thankful that on the other side of the process of being broken and waiting is a useful heart free of bitterness. Help me to hold fast to You when the days are especially hard. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (NIV)

I love how Eugene Peterson describes those same verses, “You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (MSG)

RELATED RESOURCES:
If you enjoyed today’s devotion you will love seeing Lysa TerKeurst teach in the Garden of Gethsemane in her Uninvited Bible Study. Filmed on location in the Holy Land, this curriculum will speak powerfully to any group! Find out more information here.

Learn how to overcome the heartbreaks that have been holding you back with the FREE “Untangle Hurt from Your Heart” 5-Day Challenge. Sign up here!

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Are you walking through a difficult season? Look back on the points Lysa made. Write out how your situation may fall into one or all of these categories.

© 2016 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

The Entitlement Cure

My July book recommendation is “The Entitlement Cure: Finding Success in Doing the Hard Things The Right Way” by Dr. John Townsend.

IMG_0030

I bought this book because our kids are growing up in a world where entitlement seems to be the new thing and I wanted to find a way to help them.  Interestingly, as I read the book, I found it shed light on many of my relationships not just my kids!  The book was very insightful and I learned so much from it!  I highly recommend reading this book!

The book starts out with defining entitlement.  He says,  “Entitlement is the belief that I am exempt from responsibility and I am owed special treatment.”  Then he talks about the solution to entitlement which he calls the Hard Way.    Here is his definition of the Hard Way: “The habit of doing what is best, rather than what is comfortable, to achieve a worthwhile outcome.”  The first half of the book then goes deeper into these two concepts and how we can help someone who is entitled.   The second half of the book takes some big ideas and then looks at them from the Entitled vs. the Hard Way.  These chapters were full of practical and helpful insight!   I have listed the chapters below:

Change “I Deserve” to “I Am Responsible”

Entitlement mantra is “I deserve to be provided with a good life.”  The Hard Way Mantra is “I am responsible for creating a good life.”

Do the Hard Things First:

Entitlement mantra is “The next hard thing is too difficult, so I’ll just do something else now.”   The Hard Way Mantra is “Today I will choose to do something that helps resolve my obstacle and I’ll feel better.”

Keep Inconvenient Commitments:

Entitlement mantra is “If a commitment is too hard, let it go.”  The Hard Way Mantra is “Do what you say you will do, the way you say you will do it, when you say you will do it.”

Respect the Future:

Entitlement mantra is “Ignore the future and focus on today.”  The Hard Way Mantra is “Respect the future and let it guide today’s experience.”

Say “I Was Wrong”

Entitlement mantra is “I can’t admit fault, I would look weak and ashamed.”  The Hard Way Mantra is “I need to admit wrong readily, because it will set me free.”

All of these chapters were amazing but I am going to focus today on the chapter saying I was wrong.   In my quest to “own my part”, I found this chapter fascinating.   I think the reason this chapter was so fascinating is that I realized that I use to say I was wrong but then add the word but after it and then plead my case of why I did what I did.  I thought I was giving a valid apology but then I realized that adding a but after means you are not really owning your part fully.  Listen to this quote from the book, Dr Townsend was counseling a couple and he was offering some advice to them. “When you’ve hurt someone’s feeling, the last thing you should do is explain why you did it, as if that makes it better.”  He goes on to say that what you need to do is say you were wrong and mean it.   He says at some point it may be helpful to hear the why but not during the apology.  WOW- how many times have we said sorry and then added the word but I was only….  If we are honest, I think we all have done it.  In this chapter, he also says, “You can never fix what you don’t confess.”  I love this!  He says, “When neither side “owns their stuff”, be it selfishness, withdrawal of love, control, judgementalism, deception, or irresponsibility, the relationship simply has nowhere to go and nothing they can fix.”  Again, it goes back to owning your part fully so there can be healing.  This is something I am trying to teach my kids.  Listen to his parenting advice, “But one of the jobs of parenting is to help kids grow out of the blame game so that when bad things happen, the first thing out of their mouth isn’t a reactive, “not me” but a thoughtful, “Let me think what I might have contributed to this mess.”   This is a goal in my home!  I don’t expect perfection from my kids because none of us will be perfect but I do expect them to own their part and not blame others.  Such a hard thing to do but so important!  Finally, he ends with this thought, “Saying “I was wrong” is the end of things but the door to new things because nothing substantive happens in our lives until we humble ourselves enough to say the words, “I was wrong,” whether it be about how we fail ourselves or fail others or fail God.”  He encourages us to make I am wrong a normal part of our vocabulary!   I know that this is something I need to continue to work on so let me pray for all of us.

Dear God,

We all make mistakes!  We all say things we regret or do things that we wish we did not do.  I pray that we can make “I am wrong” a normal part of our vocabulary.  Help us fully own our part and not blame others.  Help us teach this to our kids too!  God, thank you for your forgiveness!  Amen!