Wednesday, August 7, 2013

ReFocus: Living a Life that Reflects God's Heart - Book Review and Selected Quotes

I enjoyed Jim Daly and Paul Batura's ReFocus: Living a Life that Reflects God's Heart. I bought it at a Barnes and Noble with a gift certificate and will be passing it on to my Mom now that I'm done with it. It was interesting to see a bit inside Jim's mind and good to have many Christian concepts reinforced. I also learned a few things, which is always nice. Below you'll find 16 of the quotes from ReFocus I decided were worth typing up for future reference and worth sharing here. I pray one or more will bless your heart! I have a long way to go before I can say I'm fully living these out but God is working on me and hopefully with each day I'll come closer to where He wants me to be. Each quote starts with the page number from which I derived it.

24 “May the Lord bless and guide your thoughts as we confront one of the greatest tests of our time - the challenge of refocusing our efforts on living in such a way as to invite others to experience the love of Jesus and come to know him as their personal Savior.”

28 “God loves you just as much as He loves me. Do you know that?”

34 “My role... I was a resident of two places, earth and heaven. While on earth, I was to be a good citizen, and in whatever I did, I was to do it joyfully and bring glory to God in the process.

51 “We are not called to be successful; we are called to be faithful. As a famous poet once aptly put it, “Do thy duty, that is best; leave unto thy Lord the rest!” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in The Theologian’s Tale: The Legend Beautiful

72 “The distinguishing mark of a Christian, said the famed British preacher Charles Spurgeon, is their confidence in Christ’s love for them and the offering of their love to Christ. Because Jesus Christ has conquered sin, it’s not up to us to conquer but instead to live in such a way that those within our sphere of influence know that Jesus Christ not only loves us but that He loves them too.”

113 “When was the last time you stopped to ponder in wonder and awe at the promise of life eternal for those who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior?” He quotes the lines of a George Beverly Shea hymn, The Wonder of It All “But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul is the wonder that God loves me.”

137 “If we are going to reclaim the essence of the gospel and change public perception about what it means to be a Christian, it will take a lesson in communication. It will require a willingness to have a conversation... It will mean active and respectful listening. It will involve not only thinking before we speak but also praying before we think.”

143 “The Pharisees consistently wanted to make godliness about what one does. Jesus consistently made it clear that godliness is about why one does what one does. People focus on externals; God focuses on our hearts.” … “We must consistently pause to listen to our Father’s voice... I wonder if it would serve us well if we were to pause when we come to a place of potential conflict, look to our heavenly Father for guidance, and then listen to Him, as well as those across the tracks from us. Too often we lower the crossing gates and sound the alarms, determined to segregate ourselves from the viewpoints of others instead of realizing that neither of us has to be thrown in front of the train.”

143-144 “Our communication about anything related to our faith - and therefore, about everything - must begin with the sound bite of silence. We must be consistently still before God and acknowledge our awe at who He is, what He has done for us through Jesus Christ, and what He continues to do through His Spirit.
146 “God does not want us to become pleasant, passive and accepting of everything as we interact with and speak to the world around us. Nor does He want us to be obnoxious, antagonistic and judgmental. God only asks us to speak His truth from hearts grounded in love. “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6).

150-151 As followers of Christ we are called to be supermodels - not glamorous stars walking the runways of fashion but flesh and blood men and women walking the streets of daily despair with the good news of God’s love. Our lifestyles, decisions, and actions must exemplify and align with our thoughts, words and beliefs. To live out this authentic faith, we must integrate our minds, our hearts and our actions.”

151 “Our spiritual growth is tied directly to these three - our beliefs about, our awareness of, and our obedience to God.”

169 “My calling is to engage people, to express a biblical perspective on an issue, to show others the love of Jesus, and to trust the outcome to Him.”

172 “By listening to God’s Word first thing in the morning, my perspective is rightly ordered for the remaining hours of the day. It gives me perspective. To the best of my ability, I can try to put God first by disciplining myself to think of His instruction before considering any of the day’s assignments. I like the late Dr. Adrian Rogers’ take on this challenge of prioritization. ‘If I put things between me and Christ, it is idolatry,’ he once stated. ‘If I put Christ between me and things, it is victory!'"
191 “At the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, Jewish parents would typically teach and recite with their child a single prayer at bedtime - Psalm 31:5: ‘Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth.’ I found it interesting that Jesus’ final statement on the cross was the very same prayer parents were saying with their children - only with the word ‘Father’ added to it. This fact prompted theologian William Barclay to observe that ‘Jesus died with a prayer on his lips.’”

198 I thought this was an excellent summary of the book and, appropriately, it was the last sentence of the book: “The Lord wants us to draw nearer to Him and to live lives that reflect His heart, not the ways of the world.”

May God bless Jim Daly, Paul Batura, Focus on the Family and may He bless you too!

Disclaimer: This post is my own opinion and I wasn't asked or paid to write it. I am not affiliated with anyone mentioned in the post except as a voluntary donor.

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