Tag Archives: Easter

Free Kindle Book: STARTING OVER…a look at the forgiveness of God

Free Kindle Book

FREE Kindle Book

Free Kindle Book. There’s no better time to release a new book about Starting Over than on Easter. Jesus came, died, and was resurrected so we could all start our lives over. And there’s no better way to introduce a new book than by giving it away for free!

Starting on Easter, through Tuesday, my new book, Starting Overfinding God’s forgiveness when you find it hard to forgive yourself, will be a free Kindle book at Amazon.com. If you attend one of our services at Cedarbrook Church, it will be given away in paperback.

From the Back Cover of Starting Over

You are perfect in God’s Eyes. Impossible? Not if you understand what Jesus did for you. Many people talk about God’s forgiveness, but few understand how radical it really is. Instead, they climb onto the hamster-wheel of performance, working to please God, while unresolved guilt eats away at them. Sound familiar?

Loved this book. It’s a fast read and made me take a more biblical look into God’s forgiveness instead of being left to dwell on my own guilt and shame.

To counteract this common mistake, F. Remy Diederich has written, Starting Over...finding God’s forgiveness when you find it hard to forgive yourself. The book lays out how God made you perfect in his eyes, as well as how being forgiven impacts your life.

With twenty brief meditations, the author hopes to convince you of God’s unquestionable and unfathomable forgiveness. His goal is to help you move past your regret and start living the new life that God has for you.

If guilt and regret have pushed you away from God, Starting Over might be the next book for you to read.

Can You Help Promote Starting Over?

I write books so people will read them. I know, crazy idea. But, the truth is: most books on Amazon.com aren’t read. They just sit there like orphans. If you want your book to get read, you have to ask for help. So, that’s what I’m doing! I’m hoping you will do me a favor, well, actually a few:

  1. Go to Amazon.com and search in “Books” for “Forgiven.” Currently my book is listed on page 5. Click on my book and “buy” it for free. Searching this way will help the book move toward the first page of ranking.
  2. Read the book this week (it will take you just over an hour) and post a review on Amazon.com. That helps A LOT. People decide whether to buy books based on reviews. The more reviews I get the higher the book ranks on their search engine.
  3. Post the link to the book on your Facebook page and let people know that it’s free.

That’s it. Those three things will make a big difference. If you believe in the message of Starting Over (God’s radical and unconditional forgiveness) it’s an easy way to spread the message.

So far the reviews are super positive. For example, one person wrote:

Loved this book. It’s a fast read and made me take a more biblical look into God’s forgiveness instead of being left to dwell on my own guilt and shame. You can read it as a daily devotional, but I couldn’t put it down and read through the whole thing in one sitting.

Enjoy the free kindle book. I hope to read your review of it soon!

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The Meaning of Lent and Exile

It’s interesting how many religious holidays we celebrate that we don’t understand. Lent is one of them. Most Christians could probably tell you that Lent has something to do with the weeks leading up to Easter. They might add that it’s a time of fasting and reflection. But beyond that, Lent is a bit of a mystery. They don’t know the full meaning of Lent.

The Meaning of Lent

The meaning of Lent is simply “spring”.  It got the name “spring” in the Middle Ages because spring time was when the church remembered the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness fasting and being tempted by the devil. The 40 days led up to Easter. Over time, the 40 days and springtime became synonymous.

The Meaning of Lent and Fasting

Why do people fast (not eat meat or chocolate or whatever they choose to skip)?  They are following Jesus’ lead. But do you know why Jesus fasted?  Jesus went into the wilderness and fasted to acknowledge the 40 YEARS when the Israelites wandered in the desert. It was one of the many ways he showed that he was Israel’s messiah. Israel failed their time of exile in the desert. But Jesus fulfilled it. He didn’t need food or water to survive: only the Word of God.

Lent Dramatizes Exile

Jesus’ time in the wilderness was like a dramatization of our lives. Life is a wilderness wandering. Or another way to put it: life is a form of exile. Exile is a season in life when you feel cut off from your community or sense of purpose. Exile happens for five reasons:

  1. Rebellion – The Israelites were sent to exile in Assyria and Babylon for rejecting God.
  2. Unbelief – The Israelites wandered for 40 years after refusing to believe in God’s goodness.
  3. Bad Choices – Exile isn’t always about unbelief or rebellion. You might just chose poorly and end up in a dead-end.
  4. Bad Luck – Some times bad things happen that are unrelated to anything you did.
  5. Calling – Some times God calls us to a hard place. Abraham was called into exile in Canaan. Jesus was called to endure the cross.

No matter the reason, exile is a lonely place. We all end up there.  You often feel misunderstood. Out of step. Disjointed. the meaning of lentIt’s a “desert place” that you long to leave but feel stuck. Figuratively it’s a place of “hunger and thirst”…a place of dissatisfaction and unfulfillment. You might even fear that God has left you.

The word for “exile” in Hebrew also means “to expose” or “lay bare”. I think that’s a great picture of what happens in exile. When you go through hard times your heart attitudes are often exposed. Hard times bring out the worst in us. And that leads me back to the meaning of Lent.

Why do we fast during Lent?  To earn brownie points with God?  No. We fast to create an “exile experience” for ourselves. We fast to surface our dark side. We want to “expose” our dark side: “lay it bare” so we can invite God into our lives and renew us.

God Provides a Way Out of Our Exile

I love the words of Psalm 107. They are written about people who walked in exile. They were hungry and thirsty and cut off from their community. But then it says:

…they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. vs. 6-9

You might be going through your own exile today: a relational break down, financial loss, bad health, a dead-end career, etc. God doesn’t abandon you in exile. He wants to satisfy you with good things. You could say that he offers us a “resurrection”. Something to consider this season of Lent and Easter.

 

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Guilt That Leads Away From God

Guilt that Leads Away From God

Guilt that Leads Away From God

Did you know that there is a guilt that leads away from God?

In Henri Nouwen‘s daily devotional called “Show Me the Way” he speaks about two kinds of guilt; one that leads you to God and one that sends you away. He says…

There is an awareness of sin that does not lead to God but rather to self-preoccupation. Our temptation is to be so impressed by our sins and failings and so overwhelmed by our lack of generosity that we get stuck in a paralyzing guilt. It is the guilt that says: “I am too sinful to deserve God’s mercy.” It is the guilt that leads to introspection instead of directing our eyes to God. It is the guilt that has become an idol and therefore a form of pride.

…The question is: “Are we like Judas, who was so overcome by his sin that he could not believe in God’s mercy any longer and hanged himself, or are we like Peter who returned to his Lord with repentance and cried bitterly for his sins?”  

The Peter/Judas contrast is striking to me. Peter went on to lead the church. For some reason he was able to tap into the true essence of God’s mercy and forgiveness and it was life changing. But Judas let his sin and guilt crush him.

How do you handle your guilt? Does it lead you to God or away from him? My prayer for you is that you, like Peter,  might find God’s life changing mercy and forgiveness for your past and rise to fulfill your God-given purpose.

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