Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines  -     By: David Mathis
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Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines

Crossway / 2016 / Hardcover

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Three seemingly unremarkable principles shape and strengthen the Christian life: listening to God's voice, speaking to him in prayer, and joining with his people as the church. Though often viewed as normal and routine, the everyday "habits of grace" we cultivate give us access to these God-designed channels through which his live and power flow--icluding the greatest joy of all: knowing and enjoying Jesus.

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Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 208
Vendor: Crossway
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 8.00 X 5.25 (inches)
ISBN: 1433550474
ISBN-13: 9781433550478

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Publisher's Description

This book explores how Bible reading, prayer, and fellowship with other Christians—three foundational "habits of grace"—have the power to awaken our souls to God’s glory and stir our hearts for joyful service.

Author Bio

David Mathis serves as the executive editor at desiringGod.org, a pastor at Cities Church, and an adjunct professor at Bethlehem College & Seminary. His articles regularly appear at desiringGod.org/mathis. David and his wife, Megan, have three children.

John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is the founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He served for 33 years as the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is the author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God, Don’t Waste Your Life, This Momentary Marriage, Bloodlines, and Does God Desire All to Be Saved?

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  1. Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Habits of Grace
    March 14, 2016
    Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5


    We refer to them as spiritual disciplines, and then we stiffen our upper lip all the while fumbling tentatively for our boot straps. Then, we proceed to dismiss the more rigorous of the lot (fasting, meditation) as pertinent only to high-power spiritual giants, and it turns out that weve got the wrong idea after all, says David Mathis in Habits of Grace, in which he examines the spiritual disciplines as a means of enhancing the believers enjoyment of Jesus, a gift that comes through these grace-empowered practices.

    With a goal of simplifying his readers approach to the pursuit of holiness, Mathis organizes habits of grace according to three broad principles by which one may walk in the path of Gods grace:

    1. Hearing Gods Voice;

    2.Having His Ear;

    3.Belonging to His Body.

    Hearing Gods Voice can involve a limitless array of potential practices reading, studying, memorizing, or meditating on Scripture. However, rather than offering formulaic advice, David Mathis invites the reader to find a regular time and place, to block out distractions, and to put your nose to the text. I appreciated the advice to go for breadth in reading covering the biblical landscape on a regular basis but to go for depth in study by asking questions, stopping to ponder, and consulting resources. At this point, study may segue into one of the mightiest means of Gods grace for His people: meditation or deep thinking on the truths and spiritual realities revealed in Scripture for the purposes of understanding, application, and prayer. The helpful pattern offered for application of Biblical truth is to read for understanding of the words as they were received by the original audience, to consider how they relate to Jesus person and work, and only then to make personal application.

    Because I am so thankful for the impact that Scripture memorization has had on my own spiritual journey, I loved the authors description of this habit of grace:

    When we memorize lines from the Bible, we are shaping our minds in the moment to mimic the structure and mind-set of the mind of God.

    It is at this point that spiritual disciplines become a spectrum of relating to God at each level: read, study, memorize, meditate, and by resting the mind on the things of the Spirit, the gap is bridged between hearing from God and speaking to Him.

    Enjoying the gift of Having Gods Ear emphasizes the truth that the speaking God not only has spoken, but He also listens. We set our sights far too low in prayer, asking for things, when God wants to give us Himself. Relating to Him in terms of who He is will have a momentous impact on the praying life:

    He is holy, and so we worship (adoration).

    He is merciful, and so we repent (confession).

    He is gracious, and so we express appreciation (thanksgiving).

    He is loving and caring, and so we petition Him for ourselves, our family, our friends, and our world (supplication).

    Prayer is prescribed as the perfect remedy for a lack of desire for God, for prayer is the context for relationship in which we come to God not as servants, but as friends.

    Fasting is included under the principle of Having Gods Ear, because, as Matthew Henry has said, fasting serves to put an edge upon devout affection. Basic to Christianity, fasting intensifies prayers earnestness: We fast from what we can see and taste (food, media, etc.), because we have tasted and seen the goodness of the invisible God and are desperately hungry for more of Him.

    Journaling can be formal or informal, an aid to prayer or a record of study and meditation, but primarily, it is a way of slowing life down for just a few moments, and trying to process at least a sliver of it for the glory of God. Silence and solitude are also habits of grace that enhance listening to Gods voice and responding to Him in prayer.

    Belonging to His Body is commonly referred to as fellowship, but is far deeper and more purposeful than the casseroles and hot wings that first come to mind. This partnership in the Gospel and speaking truth into the lives of fellow believers is a means of grace and is best practiced within a body of committed members in the local church. Worship, an end in itself, is most magnificent when it happens in corporate preoccupation with the risen Christ, His person and His work. Mathis unpacks Psalm 73 in a stunning call to the church to press into corporate worship as a means of fulfilling the souls search for joy.

    With clarity and grace, David Mathis upholds the Sunday sermon and the ordinances of baptism and communion as events that bring Gods presence near to His people. I was challenged to open my mind to the role that rebuke plays in the life of sisterhood that it is a reciprocal blessing spilling over onto giver and receiver alike!

    Finally, the trio of mission, money and time reveals the object of our hearts affection with uncomfortable clarity. We manage all three only as stewards under the God who dispenses grace to and through us in their employment.

    Habits of Grace is unlike other books I have read about the spiritual disciplines because David Mathis, with elegant prose, has managed to do away with the check-list and bring the practice of godliness into our everyday life along with the cluttered desk, the sticky kitchen table, the overflowing inboxes, and the cranky toddlers (or teens). We never arrive in our journey God-ward, and it is in practicing the habits of grace that we become most aware that even in this small and tentative movement toward righteousness, we are fueled by Gods empowering grace.

    //

    This book was provided by Crossway in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
  2. Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Great resource
    February 27, 2016
    Jessica
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    We dont like the word discipline. Spiritual disciplines have a way of sounding time consuming, strict, and boring. David Mathis, in an attempt to simplify and help us find joy in Christ through spiritual discipline, has given us this short book. In it, he explains that daily habits of grace such as Bible reading are disciplines that will draw us closer to God.

    Mathis says that all spiritual disciplines can be sorted into at least one of three categories: Hearing Gods voice (His Word), having His ear (prayer), and belonging to His body (fellowship). The book is divided into these three sections, and each chapter into specific disciplines. Just a few of the disciplines discussed are Bible study, meditation, prayer, fasting, journaling, and baptism.

    Mathis admits that this book could have been much longer. His goal is not to give us detailed practices, but to give us an overview of the joy in Christ that can be gained from practicing each of the disciplines discussed. He does give a few examples of how to practice them, but it is by no means an exhaustive list.

    It is, however, a great introduction (or refresher) on how spiritual discipline should work in our lives.

    I received a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes from Crossway.
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