Posts Tagged ‘faith’

What's the Difference Between Grace and Karma?

I sat at a table of friends as one relayed her experience with road rage. She told how she absent-mindedly merged into traffic and almost hit an oncoming car. The driver of said car then lashed out with a tirade of abuse and obscenity. Once the traffic cleared the car sped past her, still yelling abuse.

Funnily enough, a few minutes later my friend noticed the abusive driver pulled over by highway patrol.

Someone at the table piped up and said a word I hate to hear, “Karma,” – the insidious, normalised, celebrity-endorsed worldview that what you put out comes back to you.

You don’t have to go far to hear people refer to karma – on reality television, the radio, in conversation. Regardless of its Buddhist and Hindu origins, karma has seeped into our Judaeo-Christian society. Like its cool. A new standard.

In reality is is neither.

Karma is not Biblical nor is it life according to the New Testament. God’s kingdom operates by grace.

And grace is very different to karma.

What’s so amazing about karma? 

Karma refers to intentional actions that impact one’s future. It is a key concept in many world religions, including Sikhism and Taoism. Our western understanding of karma is the doctrine of inevitable consequence, where whatever you do is returned to you.

And there is nothing amazing about it.

Karma teaches you get what you deserve. Worse still, it teaches you get what your past deserves, even if it isn’t your past.

In modern society people rejoice when the wicked get what they deserve in the form of financial hardship, health issues or relationship struggles.

While many people – including those who have no other association with Eastern religion – live by karma, there is a higher way.

Looking for Grace

The Bible does not teach karma. It teaches grace. Grace is where you get what you don’t deserve.

Grace is unmerited favour. It is love and mercy bestowed upon us by God because He desires us to have it. As you can see, very different to karma. More like polar opposites.

It was grace, not karma, that rescued the Baby Moses from death. It was grace that allowed Queen Esther to plead for the survival of her people. Grace helped Nehemiah rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Grace appeared face to face with Saul on the Damascus road.

Grace reached out to you and me while we were sinners deserving death and took our place.

Grace. Amazing grace.

And it disappoints me that we have forgotten. It disappoints me we are more inclined to look for karma than we are to look for grace.

In the book, Bono: iIn Conversation with Mishka Assayas, Bono commented, “I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge… I’m holding out for grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross…”

If the world knew the magnificence of God’s grace they would be holding out for it as well. Because I’ve got a feeling society doesn’t need more karma but a whole lot more grace.

If there was more grace there would be less road rage.

If there was more grace there would be less divorce.

If there was more grace families would talk to each other.

If there were more grace there would be less racism.

If there were more grace there would be less violence.

If there were more grace there would be more kindness.

More love.

Getting what you deserve is horrible because if we’re honest, we all deserve a rotten life. Getting what you don’t deserve is some kind of wonderful. And it is all around us. If we opened our eyes we would see grace working on the planet each and every day.

It was grace that got my sister-in-law an upgrade to business class on her trip from London to Australia. It was grace that caused a stranger to give my children free tickets to the zoo. It was grace that delivered groceries to single moms on Christmas Eve. Grace was the parking space at the Mall. Grace was the out of the blue phone call from a friend. Grace was the smile of a child. Grace was the not so random act of kindness you received.

Grace. Pure grace.

Getting what you don’t deserve. A gift from God.

Let’s look for the incorruptible, glorious gifts of God’s grace working through and around us in everyday life. No one deserves the consequences of karma. We all need amazing grace.

Sarah Coleman

Author

http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/what-s-the-difference-between-grace-and-karma.html

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Overview

Bath, England 1810

At twenty-eight, Alethea Sutherton is past her prime for courtship; but social mores have never been her forté. She might be a lady, but she is first and foremost a musician.

In Regency England, however, the violin is considered an inappropriate instrument for a lady. Ostracized by society for her passion, Alethea practices in secret and waits for her chance to flee to the Continent, where she can play without scandal.

But when a thief ’s interest in her violin endangers her and her family, Alethea is determined to discover the enigmatic origins of her instrument … with the help of the dark, brooding Lord Dommick.

Scarred by war, Dommick finds solace only in playing his violin. He is persuaded to help Alethea, and discovers an entirely new yearning in his soul.

Alethea finds her reluctant heart drawn to Dommick in the sweetest of duets . . . just as the thief’s desperation builds to a tragic crescendo . . .

Prelude for a Lord  -     By: Camille Elliot

 

Zondervan Publishing 

Paperback, 352 pages

Prelude for a Lord is a Regency-era Christian novel. Author Camy Tang provided me with an autographed copy (Jer 31:3) that I’ve enjoyed immensely. At first, I was intimidated by the size (as in number of pages) of the book and speculated if I was actually going to like all of it. With mystery, friendship, romance, and faith, I enjoyed the story/characters as I read from chapter to chapter. The two main characters grew in their relationship and reliance on God. The book’s spiritual message is that you are not alone, God loves you, and He will take care of you. I enjoyed it from beginning to end.

Read a little bit about the author, Camy Tang. More at Camy Tang, Romance with a kick of wasabi

I am a fourth generation Japanese American married to a third generation Chinese American (hence my Chinese last name). I grew up in Wahiawa, Hawai’i, a small town right in the center of the island of O’ahu.

When I first started writing, I didn’t know if God was going to allow my novels to be published, but the entire experience has taught me more about entirely, completely, totally depending upon Him, and submitting to Him aspects of my life that I never realized I was trying to keep control over. A lot of that struggle is mirrored in my characters’ struggles in my books.

Now, I try to trust in His plans for me—I know that what I write is for Him to use for His own agenda. He knows how He wants to use me, so I just need to go with the flow.

A complimentary copy was provided by the author for review purposes. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

 

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Classic Bible story with vibrant art and lyrical rhyming text from established and successful author Rhonda Gowler Greene.

“Ninety-eight…ninety-nine…” The faithful shepherd realizes that one of his one hundred sheep is missing and sets out to find it. In playful rhyme, prolific author Rhonda Gowler Greene retells Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep that loses its way on the mountain side. Under brambles, behind rocks, the shepherd looks until he finds it again. Children will delight in this fun and engaging tale illustrated by Margaret Spengler as they learn that God, like the faithful shepherd, will never let them stray.

Super cute picture storybook written by Rhonda Gowler Green, illustrated by Margaret Spengler, and published by Zonderkidz.

A good listen-to story for children ages 4-8 on the parable of Luke 15:3-4. Easy enough for beginner readers, too. I like the story’s flow with a bit of  rhyme and rhythm. The illustrations are soft and fuzzy looking (like a woolly sheep) with attention-keeping details such as cute emotions on the little sheep faces.

The point of the parable – God cares for you. He is earnest in bringing the “lost sheep” i.e., sinners, back to Him. He saves us and our redemption brings great joy. 

Luke 15:3-4 

So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? (ESV)

BookLook Bloggers provided this complimentary copy for review purposes. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

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Polar Bears - 1 John 3:18

Love expressed in words only can leave you feeling cold. Love expressed in deeds brings warmth and fulfillment. 

What are Joyful ‘toons? 

Joyful ‘toons are cartoons that are based on verses from the Bible. Each cartoon consists of a verse  and a cartoon illustration. It is my prayer that they be used to exhort and encourage Christians in their walk with the Lord, and also that they be used to reach out to those who don’t know Jesus as Lord and savior. joyfultoons.com/faq/

About the Cartoonist

I began drawing cartoons based on Bible verses in the 1990′s. I have always loved drawing cartoons, and one day the idea came to me for a cartoon that would illustrate the relationship between faith and grace. Not long after, an idea for a second cartoon came to me. I noticed that the back page of the weekly bulletin at my church was often blank, so I approached the pastor with the idea of using my cartoons to fill that space, and he agreed to my proposal. After that, ideas for other cartoons started coming to me, and they became a regular feature of the church bulletin. I then thought of sharing the cartoons, which by this time were called Joyful ‘toons. joyfultoons.com/about/

This Polar Bear Joyful ‘toon was created by Mike especially for my blog. 

THANK YOU, Mike!

Joyful ‘toons are posted on Notes From Dawn with permission from Mike Waters. 

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No Cape Required: A Devotional

52 Ways to Unleash Your Inner Hero

Kristen Parrish

Paperback by Thomas Nelson. 256 pages.

Book Description

What do Katniss Everdeen, Spider-Man, and Huckleberry Finn have in common? They’re heroes—and you can be just like them.

As children, we dream of throwing on a cape and changing the world. Then we grow up, we learn to see the flaws in our movie stars and athletes, and we accept that true heroism is not possible in the real world. You continue to dream, though. Isn’t that why you still love watching heroes on the big screen? It’s more than just wish fulfillment. You resonate with Superman’s justice and Dorothy’s courage because you have those same qualities within yourself.

In these pages, Kristen Parrish looks at the qualities of fifty-two heroes, and then shows how you can acquire every one of those qualities. No gamma rays or radioactive spider bites are needed. You can unleash your inner hero through prayer and practical action.

Men and women, boys and girls alike, will find role models within these pages. While others watch and dream on the sidelines, you can step out in faith, learning from heroic examples and praying for God’s help to make you who you were meant to be.

The Holy Spirit enables us to do great things. Find out how. No cape required.

This book contains 52 quick-read devotions. Each devotion describes an attribute of a different hero; 60% of the heroes were familiar to me. Children would even know some of the characters like Superman and Belle. Each hero/attribute example was brief and very simplistic; cute but limiting in what could be gleamed from the content. The characteristic of the particular hero was fine although I could think of additional “good” qualities aside from the one the author highlighted. This book might be useful in a group setting where a discussion on each hero/attribute could be expanded.

BookSneeze provided this complimentary copy for review purposes. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

 

 

 

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Katherine Reay’s debut novel is terrific!

Dear Mr. Knightley

The story is entirely told through letters. Mostly the letters of Sam, the main character, to the anonymous Mr. Knightley. It is a super book with humor, romance, tenderness, honesty, forgiveness, love, acceptance, and all that. Quotes from the classics, like Jane Austen, are written in Sam’s letters; there’s usually a bit of an explanation that goes with it so that an unfamiliar reader understands what she is referencing. Katherine Reay wrote a novel with quality characters and a believable story. I’d recommend Dear Mr. Knightly for anyone who loves a good story. And I’m looking forward to reading more from Katherine Reay. 

Katherine Reay has enjoyed a life-long affair with the works of Jane Austen and her contemporaries. After earning degrees in history and marketing from Northwestern University, she worked as a marketer for Proctor & Gamble and Sears before returning to school to earn her MTS. Her works have been published in Focus on the Family and the Upper Room. Katherine currently lives with her husband and three children in Seattle. Dear Mr. Knightley is her first novel.

Overview

Samantha Moore has always hidden behind the words of others—namely, her favorite characters in literature. Now, she will learn to write her own story—by giving that story to a complete stranger.

Sam is, to say the least, bookish. An English major of the highest order, her diet has always been Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare. The problem is, both her prose and conversation tend to be more Elizabeth Bennet than Samantha Moore.

But life for the twenty-three-year-old orphan is about to get stranger than fiction. An anonymous, Dickensian benefactor (calling himself Mr. Knightley) offers to put Sam through Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.

As Sam’s dark memory mingles with that of eligible novelist Alex Powell, her letters to Mr. Knightley become increasingly confessional. While Alex draws Sam into a world of warmth and literature that feels like it’s straight out of a book, old secrets are drawn to light. And as Sam learns to love and trust Alex and herself, she learns once again how quickly trust can be broken.

Reminding us all that our own true character is not meant to be hidden, Reay’s debut novel follows one young woman’s journey as she sheds her protective persona and embraces the person she was meant to become.

Dear Mr. Knightley is a stunning debut—a pure gem with humor and heart.” —Serena Chase, USA Today

Includes Reading Group Guide

Plus Bonus Material: Q & A with Katherine Reay and Sam’s Reading List

BookSneeze provided this complimentary copy for review purposes. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

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Lock, Stock, and Over a Barre
l (Dear Daphne Series #1)

Melody Carlson

B&H Publishing Group

2013

paperback, 320 pages

Book Description

With high hopes, Daphne Ballinger lands her dream job at The New York Times. But it’s not long until writing about weddings becomes a painful reminder of her own failed romance, and her love of the city slowly sours as well. Is it time to give up the Big Apple for her small hometown of Appleton?

When her eccentric Aunt Dee passes away and leaves a sizeable estate to Daphne, going back home is an easy choice. What isn’t easy is coming to terms with the downright odd clauses written into the will.

Daphne only stands to inherit the estate if she agrees to her aunt’s very specific posthumous terms — personal and professional. And if she fails to comply, the sprawling old Victorian house shall be bequeathed to . . . Aunt Dee’s cats.

And if Daphne thinks that’s odd, wait until she finds out an array of secrets about Aunt Dee’s life, and how imperfect circumstances can sometimes lead to God’s perfect timing.

I loved this book! Lock, Stock, and Over a Barrel is an entertaining Christian novel. Interesting characters and story made it a lighthearted read that I’d recommend for girls of all ages. (teens – seniors) There are ten discussion questions at the end of the book.

By the end of the story, Daphne has become hopeful, encouraged, and confident with her “second chance”. The ending is not so much of a conclusion to the story as it is a to-be-continued ending. I’m looking forward to the next book!

Disclosure of Material Connection: This book was provided by the publisher, B&H Publishing Group, in exchange for an honest opinion. No other compensation was received. 

 

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