Of the 12 books in my Beach Retreat 2013 stack, I’ve ventured into three, plus the Bible. The first was a nonfiction about a lit professor who hosted Jane Austen book clubs throughout Latin America over the course of a year. Her commentary on reading’s benefits and luxury makes me appreciate that I have the time, means, and ability to read and read and read in the days ahead.
Gratitude was a good setting for my heart to process deeper things from A. W. Tozer on spiritual lethargy and Richard Stearns on living for God’s kingdom rather than one of my own making. And truths I’m reading from the Bible—in Romans 5, Luke’s Gospel, and various Psalms—all point to the miracle that God has loved us and pursued relationship with us throughout the ages, finally secured by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus: “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).
I see common threads in all I’m reading, and these threads weave a glorious tapestry of God’s love for me, for others. And because of this great love, I can approach the throne of grace and boldly ask for Him to speak, to break my heart, and to send me out to love as He does. Here’s the highlight reel:
Word of God Speak | a personal prayer for more than the status quo
Give me a hearing heart, a heart that hears, for I long for the Great Whisper—the Voice!—to reach my ears, my mind, my soul. Speak of Your love that reaches the outcast, Your mercy that comforts the brokenhearted, Your wisdom for the double-minded, Your peace for the unsettled, Your power for the oppressed, Your healing for the sick. May I follow the sound of every word You say, chasing You into the darkest places where hope is scarce, where I can be Your hands and feet to those who need Your presence.
Break My Heart | The Dangers of a Shallow Faith: Awakening from Spiritual Lethargy, A. W. Tozer
“It is not by reading the Scriptures in the original languages or in some contemporary version that makes us better Christians. Rather, it is getting on our knees with the Scriptures spread before us, and allowing the Spirit of God to break our hearts. Then, when we have been thoroughly broken before God Almighty, we get up off our knees, go out into the world and proclaim the glorious message of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.” (22)
Put Me to Work | Unfinished: Believing Is Only the Beginning, Richard Stearns
“We are indeed trying to topple the prevailing regimes that have oppressed the human race since the fall, those based on power, money, oppression, corruption, and falsehood. And we are seeking to replace them with the good news of God’s rule, based on truth, love, forgiveness, compassion, and justice.” (165)