Tag Archives: grace

Forgiveness: Making Space for Grace

Forgiveness is often spoken of, attempted by many, occasionally understood. Nan Brown Self unlocks the secret to experiencing and practicing this fundamental key to walking in freedom from our past offenses in her newly released book Forgiveness: Making Space for Grace (Brown Books Publishing Group, March 2017).

Nan has a passion for applying the teachings of Scripture to everyday life and has taught on the subject of forgiveness for over thirty-five years. But it was her own exhaustion and load of emotional baggage carried far too long that brought her to the foot of the Cross. “Why do you continually bring your burdens of unforgiveness but never leave them there,” she sensed the Lord saying. In seeking to answer His question, she found fresh perspective on one of the most fundamental teachings of Scripture and more importantly, experienced the grace of forgiveness that left her “past” where it belonged ­ at the Cross with Jesus.

Lana Bateman, president and director of Philippian Ministries states, “Nan Brown Self has given us a treasured gift in her book, Forgiveness: Making Space for Grace. She helps us understand how the grace of forgiveness brings peace and harmony to our souls. Open your heart now to God¹s amazing love as you learn to make space for the grace of forgiveness. It can set you free!”

Now everyone has the opportunity to truly understand and experience this same grace of forgiveness through Nan’s latest work. Forgiveness: Making Space for Grace is profoundly practical. With biblical insight, Nan helps the reader identify the roots of unforgiveness, experience healing of old wounds, begin the journey of restoring relationships, and maintain their walk in peace and freedom. Each chapter concludes with practical questions, a worksheet, and a prayer, making it ideal for study groups or private devotionals. Drawing from her personal encounter with the grace of forgiveness and the immutable truth of God’s Word, Nan charts the course to freedom from our past grievances and offers a prescription to maintaining that freedom on a daily basis.
“Forgiveness is the gift of grace from the heart of Jesus,” states Self. “He carried your sins to the cross and bore the pain of those sins so that you might be pardoned from their binding power and consequences. Through His grace, you receive a release from sin that you have not earned or deserved. In order to receive this gift, you need to accept His forgiving grace.”

From the moment I picked up Nan Brown Self’s book, Forgiveness: Making Space For Grace, something wonderful began to occur. I became keenly aware of the power of forgiveness and how much God wants us to be free of the guilt and shame of the past. If you need to forgive someone, including yourself, this book offers real hope, help and healing!

– Babbie Mason, award-winning singer, songwriter and author

www.ForgivenessByGrace.com

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Q&A with James E. Ward Author of Zero Victim Part One

It is critically important to acknowledge the absolute probability of experiencing victimization. – James E. Ward

ZV-CoverPicChances are, most people will encounter unfair circumstances at some point in their lives. Explain the difference between being the victim of injustice and adopting a victim mindset.

Actually, those chances are 100%! It is critically important to acknowledge the absolute probability of experiencing victimization. I describe the world to be a hostile place that is perfectly designed to make victims out of us. Through years of counseling, pastoring, and coaching, I discovered that because challenges are sure to come, the people who do well in life are the people who learn to manage their challenges well. Failure to mentally prepare for unfair circumstances is really unwise. By preconditioning our minds to strategically and intelligently mitigate the inevitable pitfalls of injustice, while anticipating their arrival, we protect ourselves against adopting a victim mindset. Once an individual adopts a victim mindset, they significantly reduce their chances of successfully navigating their way out of the undesirable circumstances they’re facing.

To better understand the benefit of anticipating injustice, think of the relationship between a pitcher and catcher in baseball. From the catcher’s perspective, it is not a matter of “if” but “when” the next pitch will be thrown. He understands that a 100-mph fastball can be life threatening. To lessen the possibility of him being seriously injured or even killed, he wears the proper equipment to protect himself. You must think of injustice as a 100-mph fastball coming your way. Similar to a catcher in baseball, a Zero Victim Mentality equips you to protect yourself from the danger coming your way and to then “catch” it successfully. Once you mentally prepare yourself to address injustice beforehand, you will be no more surprised by its arrival than a catcher is by a pitched ball.

In your book, you point out that the difference between forming a victim mindset or a zero victim mindset is often shaped by your childhood. Tell us about your own childhood. How did your experiences and your response shape your own “zero victim” mindset?

One day the thought hit me like a bolt of lightning. “I am as smart as any other student in this classroom, boy or girl, black or white!” In an instant, my mentality changed forever. At eight years old, I realized that the color of my skin or growing up on the black side of town held no connection with my ability to succeed in school. I understood that my success in life was not about comparing myself to others or competing with them but about doing the very best that I could. I discovered that I ultimately controlled my destiny.

You point to Jesus Christ as the greatest example of a zero victim mindset. What are some simple lessons we can learn from His example?

o Jesus taught a Zero Victim response to injustice—to not retaliate.
• Matt 5:38-42 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.”

o Jesus commands us to respond to our enemies with a Zero Victim Mentality.
• Matt 5:43-45 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven;”

o Jesus forgave, even while experiencing the greatest injustice ever of being crucified as an innocent Man.
• Isa. 53:7 – “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.”
• Luke 23:34 – “Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

o Jesus commands us to practice the “Golden Rule.”
• Matt 7:12 – “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

The Bible also provides some examples of the victim mindset at work. Tell us about the man at Bethesda. What were the factors that contributed to his victim mindset, and how do those issues affect people today?

The sick man at Bethesda clearly possessed a mentality of defeat from which he desperately needed to be liberated. Four key factors contributed to the sick man’s victim mentality:

• He settled in the wrong environment and maintained relationships with the wrong people. – The sick man resided in the company of sick people for thirty-eight years. I don’t want to seem insensitive to people experiencing health challenges, but this man lived in an environment for thirty-eight years where sickness was normal. When everyone in a community suffers from the same negative condition, dysfunctional behavior becomes normalized, and functional behavior becomes abnormal. When individuals live in an environment where undesirable conditions such as poverty, broken families, and crime are “normal,” they tend to become accustomed to those environments and see themselves as victims of their surroundings.

• He subscribed to time delay. – Over the years, the sick man had become programmed for delay. He never anticipated nor prepared for a specific moment when his condition would permanently change and he would be free from his infirmity. He became a victim of time by becoming complacent in his condition. The sick man became accustomed to waiting instead of taking control of his circumstances. Ongoing deferred hope can eventually become hopelessness.

• He lacked genuine desire to see his condition changed. – Jesus asked the sick man, “Would you like to get well?” The man never answered Jesus’ question. We want him to say with confidence, “Yes! I want to be made well!” Yet he doesn’t appear to have a firm desire to be healed. Victim mentality encourages tolerance of undesired circumstances, which eventually breaks an individual’s will to change. In some cases, victims actually prefer the comfort of the familiar, choosing to keep things the way they are as opposed to the discomfort of making things better.

• He made excuses to justify his undesirable condition. – Though the sick man did not respond by answering, “Yes!” he did respond with three excuses that justified his condition: 1) he didn’t have anyone to help him; 2) he needed to wait for the water to be stirred before jumping in; and 3) someone else jumps into the water before him (the people believed that when the water began to stir, the first person to jump into the pool would be healed). A victim mentality perpetrates the idea that someone else—a parent, spouse, boss, church, or the government—must do for you what you are unable to do for yourself. This man believed that someone getting into the pool ahead of him caused his condition, making him a “loser” to those competing against him. As a victim, their win meant his loss.

For more about Pastor James E. Ward and his book Zero Victim visit

www.jamesewardjr.com

ZeroVictim.com

Pain is Inevitable. Suffering is Optional.

262_James_Suit_-_BlackThe Zero Victim Mentality Offers Hope and Healing.

We are all destined to confront pain in our lives. Some of us experience unspeakable tragedy, while others are subject to ridicule, discrimination, mockery, or even violence. At times, the ones we love the most treat us with scorn and disrespect. But have you noticed how some people rise above their victimization while others sink into mental and spiritual defeat? Despite their similarity, some people thrive while others wither away.

In Zero Victim, author and corporate executive James Ward shows how repeated victimization can destroy your positive outlook by permanently creating negative memories and damaged emotions. Victim mentality is a conditioned mental tendency to regard yourself as a victim of the negative thoughts, actions, and ideas of others. Ward reveals that this damaged outlook, not your set of unfortunate circumstances, is the real problem standing between you and a better life.

“Let’s face it. We live in a hostile world where imperfect people develop imperfect systems. We all endure difficulties at no fault of our own. Each of us has been a victim in some way. Many people allow that victimization to define their future,” Ward says. “But that doesn’t have to be your story. What if you could immediately and permanently improve every area of your life, regardless of the hardships and injustices you have suffered? Imagine a life filled with satisfying relationships, in which you are more effective and productive in everything you do. Yes, it is really possible when you apply the Zero Victim principle to every area of your life.”

Drawing on real world examples and his own experiences growing up in the era of school integration in the South, Ward outlines the process of developing a programmed mindset to overcome injustice and recognize victory in every situation. His revolutionary “Zero Victim Mentality” will set readers free from their days of fear, depression, and discouragement. Topics covered include:

• When bad things happen to good people—confronting the universality of injustice
• How the victim mindset threatens family relationships
• The power of negative words to perpetuate the victim mindset
• The link between the victim mentality and personal character and morality
• Practical steps that will liberate anyone from the victim mindset

Ward’s challenging message directly contradicts the culture of blame that has become a hallmark of American society. “The victim mentality produces a perception that a set of circumstances, particular person, or group of people is holding you back,” Ward says. “I wrote Zero Victim to equip people with the tools necessary to control seemingly uncontrollable events. When you control your mentality successfully, the way you experience life will immediately change for the better.”

Zero Victim
James E. Ward
Sunesis Publishing | ISBN 978-0-692-29583-0
www.ZeroVictim.com

The One Campaign

The ONE Campaign is working with Roger Thurow to produce series of materials to help guide Churches through issues surrounding hunger in Africa (the paradox of the ‘hungry farmer’, food aid, agricultural development for smallholder farmers, etc.) and the implications this has for people of faith.  These materials are for churches that want to devote a service to the issue (bulletin inserts, sermon starters, suggested hymns, children’s activities) as well as a 6 week, in-depth guide accompanying the book, ‘The Last Hunger Season’, suitable for an adult-led class or small group. Incorporating biblical texts and principles as well as elements from the up-coming documentary, the guide is designed to encourage discussion and to deepen the participants understanding of how these issues are directly relevant to each of us.

For more information contact rebecca@claphamgroup.com .

“I wrote The Last Hunger Season because I wanted to take readers through a year in the lives of four Kenyan farmers and their families.  I decided to follow farmers because I saw in them a desire to improv­­­­e the quantity and the quality of the food they grow. I wanted my readers to see what I saw, to see the desire, the willingness, the yearning not to be lifted up, but to be given the opportunity to lift themselves up.  Farmers throughout Africa are so willing to do their part, but they can’t do it without the support of their governments through increased investments in agriculture.”  

– Roger Thurow

To learn more about The Last Hunger Season and the documentary film it inspired, please visit: http://www.WeHaveDecided.org

Thurow’s blog: http://GlobalFoodForThought.typepad.com

or www.TheLastHungerSeason.com

Suppa’ time…and I’m Hungry for more than food

“Everybody eats when they come to my house…”

My great grandmother sure would agree, with honey rosemary friend chicken, biscuits, gravy, corn, all the works! This evening though, I’m hungry for more than her homemade food…I have a different kind of craving.

Here’s a flip through my dinner read selection this evening,

“I wrote The Last Hunger Season because I wanted to take readers through a year in the lives of four Kenyan farmers and their families.  I decided to follow farmers because I saw in them a desire to improv­­­­e the quantity and the quality of the food they grow. I wanted my readers to see what I saw, to see the desire, the willingness, the yearning not to be lifted up, but to be given the opportunity to lift themselves up.  Farmers throughout Africa are so willing to do their part, but they can’t do it without the support of their governments through increased investments in agriculture.”  

– Roger Thurow

What’s my pray to say grace before my meal? This disease of the soul will always be with me. This is one kind of disease I think needs to spread. There may be some who do not want to deal with this issue, but if we can inform others and have them embrace the issue in an optimistic way, we can really begin to see an end to world hunger. When enough people stop and realize it doesn’t have to be this way and that it is up to us, then that’s when it will stop. When enough people have been stricken by this disease, then world hunger will end. I would like to think my writing is one of the contagions that will spread the disease to others. That is my hope and prayer.

www.PublicAffairsBooks.com      www.TheLastHungerSeason.com

http://GlobalFoodForThought.typepad.com

silhouettes of what’s R E L E V A N T

Ever feel confused about why God lets man starve to death when He was suppose to offer eternal life? There’s hope. He always has a way. Here’s an invitation to how you can play a part.

What’s Relevant?

www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/books/reviews/29504-review-the-hunger-season

silhouette |ˌsilo͞oˈet|
noun
the dark shape and outline of someone or something visible against a lighter background
• a representation

“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
-1 Corinthians 13:12

“The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.”
– G.K. Chesterton

“I wrote The Last Hunger Season because I wanted to take readers through a year in the lives of four Kenyan farmers and their families.  I decided to follow farmers because I saw in them a desire to improv­­­­e the quantity and the quality of the food they grow. I wanted my readers to see what I saw, to see the desire, the willingness, the yearning not to be lifted up, but to be given the opportunity to lift themselves up.  Farmers throughout Africa are so willing to do their part, but they can’t do it without the support of their governments through increased investments in agriculture.”  

– Roger Thurow

To learn more about The Last Hunger Season and the documentary film it inspired, please visit: http://www.WeHaveDecided.org

Thurow’s blog: http://GlobalFoodForThought.typepad.com

or www.TheLastHungerSeason.com

The Largest Little Word in All the World

In his latest devotional, author Robert J. Morgan assures readers of God’s purposes, power and grace with  All to Jesus.

“Cast all your cares on him.” “Love the Lord with all your heart.” “I can do all things . . . .” Most would be surprised at how often the word “all” appears in the Bible—literally thousands of times. And with each description of God’s comprehensive promises, each reminder of our complete blessing in Christ, each appeal for our full and total surrender, His reputation grows larger before our eyes. We see again what He can do. We see again who we can be.

Based on the Bible’s sizeable emphasis on this tiny yet powerful word “all,” best-selling author and pastor Robert J. Morgan has created a remarkable 365-day spiritual growth experience in his new devotional, All to Jesus: A Year of Devotions (B&H Books, October 2012). A choice sampling of the Bible’s most “all”-encompassing statements, All to Jesus will surround believers each day with inspiring stories, personal reflections and the encouraging assurance that they are cared for in ways they never imagined.

For more info, visit http://www.robertjmorgan.com