At Chapter 4, the tide turned. I started to see some writing that I could embrace, and the Frank started to enlighten me and highlight Scripture that I was reading in a new light. He pointed out some things that were hard for me to embrace, not because I disagreed, but because I found myself realizing I had accepted some of Satan's lies about me. He presented our role to Christ in a way that I could identify with and I found hope and love in the final pages of that chapter. I wrote at the end of Chapter 4 that I loved the thought of the "church" (believers) clothing ourselves for Christ (the church being the bride of Christ.) I love that analogy because I can remember my wedding day, I can relate to trying to make yourself perfect and lovely for your beloved. And I can translate that feeling to trying to make myself as lovely and radiant as possible for the Great Lover, Christ! I can internalize the feeling of wanting to be perfect, not because that will make my Love love me more, but because He already loves me with a love so perfect and pure that I want to give back to Him. It's not that different from the way I feel about my husband. He does SO much for me, loves me so well, provides so perfectly and completely for me and the ones I love that I want to be a more perfect wife for him. But wife seems to be a word that (maybe the world) has become a drudgery.... BRIDE, on the other hand, depicts a passionate love, doesn't it? I want to continue to be my lovers BRIDE... and I want to be the bride of Christ too.
Chapter 5 Review:
This is where I started to have trouble with the lies I have bought from Satan. This is where Frank starts to talk about how we are perfect and undefiled. But I feel so defiled by this world. I feel that our culture is sordid and ugly and pervasive. I feel a film of grime on me from living IN this world, even as I strive not to be OF the world. I know that there are some things that I have normalized that aren't normal, aren't acceptable, and that need to be cut out of my heart, but God just hasn't chosen this time to root them out of me... yet. So, here was another time where I started to believe that Frank had it wrong, but then in the same page, sometimes in the same paragraph, he would remind us that we are perfect, we are flawless, we are beautiful to God because of CHRIST! I know these things intellectually, but reading them in this light made me realize that I have not accepted them. I don't consider myself flawless, beautiful, blameless, worthy... and that is a sad reality because Jesus paid such a high price so that I COULD be blameless in the sight of God. Nevertheless, I am righteous in His sight, whether I accept it or not. Christ assured it on the cross. The work was done already and requires nothing of me to be true.
It's as if Frank knew what we would be thinking and how hard it would be for us to accept what He had been highlighting about Truth. He says on page 59, "What you believe about yourself and how others have described you is the real lie." He also points out in this chapter that because of the work that Christ performed on the cross, we actually have no RIGHT to our self-debasing attitudes, our guilt, our shamefulness. It's not our right to continue in that sinful view of ourselves because it's practically rejecting what Christ did for us. It drives us further from our great Love, not closer.
As with practically everything in my life, I start to draw analogies that draw me back to orphans, or at least poverty. The same is true here. I found myself thinking of places of great poverty and how these places are more perfect in their reflection of Christ than we are, in all our abundance. That's mostly, I believe, because they are filled up with Christ, not filled up with the world and the things of the world. The Bible says that the love of the world and our "wanting, wanting, wanting, suffocates the pursuit of the Lord."
This is where it gets really good... gripping even. I have to first quote a paragraph from the book: "I would like to ask you to pause and think of the most horrible day you ever lived. The day when you did something you deeply regret. You can take great comfort in this one fact: Your heavenly Father saw that day WHEN He chose you in His Son before time. He saw you and He saw me live our most regrettable moment on that non-day before time when He chose us in Christ to be part of His much-loved bride. What a wonderful Lord! If that's not good news, I don't know what is." (read Psalm 139 for proof that this is Truth!) I practically wrote an entire blog post in the margin of the book that day. This is staggering truth to me! If I'm honest I will tell you I can't even actually recall my most regrettable day. I can only allow myself the knowledge that it existed. To actually recall my most regrettable acts are too disgusting, too painful, and too shameful for me now. I'm certain that my sins are so much worse than anyone else's. And you know what, that's exactly what Satan sold me.... he probably sold it to you too! He had me actually believing that my sin was so gross that it separated me from God, I was like Adam and Eve in the garden, naked and ashamed. But the truth is, God saw those sins, that "most regrettable day" BEFORE He chose me to be His.... that reminder alone made the book worth the read. The lies Satan sells us are all meant to keep us from intimacy with God. And your enemy knows you well. He knows you better than you know yourself. He's studied you and he wants you to buy what he is selling... and what he's selling is a shame and a guilt that keeps you from believing the voracity with which God loves you. He wants you to forget the perfect goodness of your Father and believe that you are the one sinner whose sins are so great that Jesus blood couldn't cover them.
In this chapter, Frank also explains something I've always sort of wondered about. In 1 John 4:19 "We love Him because He first loved us." I have always struggled with this verse. It seemed like John was saying that we love God out of obligation because He loves us. But the way Frank describes it is this... we are ABLE to love God because He loves us. We wouldn't be capable of love without Christ, because love is not a "worldly" emotion. It's of Christ, it's of God, and His love for us and in us is what allows us to be capable of love. We are REFLECTING Him when we love, and that's what the verse means, in Frank's explanation.
I'll leave the rest for you to read yourself. There are just too many things that I highlighted and commented on in the margins of the book for me to write it all here. Overall, I'd say that the book is worth the read. I am sure that you will find other points that echo truths for you and your individual situation. I wrote alot of notes about how my love for my children should reflect certain characteristics of the love God shows for us. I noted things about my marriage and applied some of the things Frank wrote to interactions with other believers. In the end, this book turned out to be one that I used for morning devotional and quiet time with the Spirit. It helped me to accept some things I hadn't realize I was rejecting, it explained a few things I had wondered about or misunderstood in the past, and it was a sweet time to explore with my Lord and ask Him to teach me what He wanted me to know from these chapters.
"Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16
The following bloggers are posting a review or Q & A with Frank Viola on his bestselling book FROM ETERNITY TO HERE today, Tuesday, July 21st. You may order the book at a discount at http://www.frometernitytohere.org/ – it’s also on audio book. Free discussion guide, sample chapters, interviews, and a free audio of the first chapter are available on that site also.
Here are the bloggers who are participating:
Jay Becker - http://www.jaybecker.org/
Igniting Hearts - Kimber Britner - http://www.ignitinghearts.blogspot.com/
Karyn - http://tiger-kar.blogspot.com/
Barefoot Preacher - http://thebarefootpreacher.blogspot.com/
Every Day Angels - http://www.weareeverydayangels.com/
FaithEngineer - http://www.faithengineer.com/
Kristen Schiffman - http://dancinginthemargins.typepad.com/
CrossPointe: The Church at Bevo - http://churchatbevo.blogspot.com/
Crazy Love for God - http://crazyloveforgod.blogspot.com/
Amazima Ministries - http://oatsvallteam.blogspot.com/
Down to Write Honest - http://downwritehonest.com/
A Beautiful Mess - http://blnorth1105.blogspot.com/
The Blakes on a Mission - http://www.theblakesthailand.blogspot.com/
Words by Jud Kossum - http://judkossum.blogspot.com/
Eric Jaffe - http://www.ericjaffe.org/
Reconnect with God – http://www.reconnectwithgod.org/
2nd Cup of Coffee - http://www.2nd-cup-of-coffee.blogspot.com/
Nolan Bobbitt Website - http://www.nolanbobbitt.com/
Klappyanne - www.xanga.com/klappyanne
Daveingland - http://www.daveingland.com/
Randi Jo Rooks - http://seedsinmyheart.blogspot.com/
Michael Bayne - http://www.michaelbayne.net/
Encounter Church Helena Blog - http://encounterhelena.org/
Thoughts B4 Conviction N2 Action -http://tsharrison.blogspot.com
Edevotion - http://www.e-devotion.blogspot.com/
Seeking After - http://seekingafter.blogspot.com/
Eric Powell - http://www.encounterhelena.org/
Borrowed Light - http://fbcnewlondon.blogspot.com/