Grace Creates

I recently learned an interesting fact regarding the history of the Omega Seamaster collection. The Seamaster and Seamaster Planet Oceans that we know today are hardy tool watches suitable for diving, James Bond, and overall feeling like high-function instruments that is made really well. You'd think these pieces started out as serious dive watches. That isn't the case actually. When the first Seamaster watches came out, Omega had other pieces in its collection that were more focused on sport. The Seamaster was meant to be a fashionable watch that one could wear up in the Hamptons while playing with their kids and not worry if it got splashed on. It was meant to be a luxury watch from day one. Overtime the Seamaster became an icon and important watch www.attrinity.com for Omega - especially as the brand continued to focus on a range of important high-intensity activities from racing to diving, and everything else where sturdy and reliable watches were needed (not to mention space travel). Flash-forward to now and we have an incredibly wide range of Seamaster watches, and its higher-end cousin the Seamaster Planet Ocean. For review I am checking out two 2011 Seamaster Planet Ocean Co-Axial Chronometer watches which well represent where the collection and brand are at today. In short the Seamaster Planet Ocean Co-Axial Chronometer of today comes in over 20 references, is available in 42mm wide or 45.5mm wide cases, and is available with blue or black dials with various color differences. Inside is an in-house made Omega movement, and it is a comfortable beauty on the wrist. The "Co-Axial Chronometer" part of the watch name replica omega Seamaster separates these Planet Ocean watches from others that do not contain the Omega produced caliber 8500 movements. The other new Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean watches with in-house made movements are the Seamaster Planet Ocean Co-Axial Chronometer Chronograph watches that contain Omega's caliber 9300 automatic chronograph movements. Those are excellent pieces, with fantastic movements, but I personally like my dive watches three-handed. For a super chrono, Omega has the Speedmaster which now also comes with the 9300 movement. I got to visit Omega and see the caliber 8500 movements being produced. Debuted in 2007, these large diameter movements are made for big watches and are amazing instruments that come from one of the most sophisticated timepiece movement assembly lines ever created. The need for such a production line is due to the fact that Omega must (relatively speaking) mass produce these - but with a very high quality output. They use a very cool automated assembly line that combines mostly human labor with robots that help with precision tasks. It takes about a full day to assemble and test just one 8500 movement. The movements are then sent to COSC for Chronometer testing, which takes another three weeks.

You Can Trust God

Posted on: August 31st, 2012 by Chris | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

By Jon Walker

“For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.” (Psalm 33:4-5 NIV)

If we doubt God, the issue is not over God’s ability to support us. He clearly can do that.

God is the sovereign, supreme ruler of the universe, powerful enough to overcome any problem or defeat any enemy: “Everything comes from him; Everything happens through him; Everything ends up in him” (Romans 11:36 MSG).

God is love (1 John 4:16), so we know he is patient and kind. He’s never rude or self-seeking; he’s not easily angered, and he keeps no record of wrongs. He does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. He never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

God is always fair (Deuteronomy 32:4); he’s pure and honest (Hebrews 6:18). He cannot break a promise (Numbers 23:19), never fails to fulfill a promise (Joshua 21:45) and is trustworthy in everything he does (Psalm 33:4).

The issue, then, is not if God can be trusted; the issue is with your ability to trust.

Talk About It

What adjectives would you use to describe your attitude when you focus your attention on God? What about when you focus your attention on yourself?

God gives peace to all who trust in him (Isaiah 26:3). Pray for each other, that you would learn to trust more and receive God’s peace.

Jon’s new book is Breakfast with Bonhoeffer.

Jon is managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Hope Devotionals and the author of Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship.”  This devotional © Copyright 2013 Jon Walker. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author: Chris

Jon Walker’s new book, Breakfast with Bonhoeffer.: “Gut-wrenching honesty, real world faith, not just another 'feel good' Christian story". This devotional © Copyright 2012 Jon Walker. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

What Do I Do With This, God?

Posted on: August 30th, 2012 by Chris | Tags: , , , , ,

By Jon Walker

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8–9 NIV)

When we confess our belief in Jesus as the Holy One of God, we often assume our lives will become easier. It doesn’t help that many people with good intentions teach this as biblical truth.

Certainly Jesus taught that his yoke is easy (Matthew 11:30), and the apostle Paul spoke about the Sabbath rest of God (Hebrews 4:9), but both these examples teach the need to develop a deep trust in God and not that following Jesus is easy. We’re to step into the will of God and stay there, trusting he has our best interests at heart (Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28).

With God’s Spirit working in us and through us, we can get through what we’re going through. The apostle Paul says this is the very time we can learn to trust Jesus: “Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am” (Philippians 4:13 MSG).

If we want to make a significant contribution to the Kingdom of God, we cannot sidestep the difficult seasons of life. Like Paul, we can watch God keep us from being crushed when we’re under pressure, give us hope when things don’t make any sense, reveal his presence when we are rejected, and pick us back up when we’re knocked senseless to the ground (2 Corinthians 4:8–9).

Getting through what you’re going through requires a shift. Instead of asking, “Why me?” ask, “What do I do with this, God?”

Talk About It

  • Why wouldn’t God take away all our problems when we commit our lives to Jesus?
  • What do you think God would do if you prayed, “Lord, help my unbelief?”
  • Where are you saying “Why me?” in your life? What do you think will happen if you ask instead, “What do I do with this, God?”

Jon’s new book is Breakfast with Bonhoeffer.

Jon is managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Hope Devotionals and the author of Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship.”  This devotional © Copyright 2013 Jon Walker. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author: Chris

Jon Walker’s new book, Breakfast with Bonhoeffer.: “Gut-wrenching honesty, real world faith, not just another 'feel good' Christian story". This devotional © Copyright 2012 Jon Walker. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Your Sacrifice Is a Fragrant Offering to God

Posted on: August 29th, 2012 by Chris | Tags: , , , ,

By Jon Walker

“Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:2 (NIV)

When Mary used her hair to rub perfumed oil down between her Savior’s toes, the disciples only whiffed the aroma of waste: “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor” (Matthew 26:9 NIV).

But Jesus suggested such a great sacrifice leads to great influence: “Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her” (Matthew 26:13 NIV).

Perhaps Jesus could smell the sweet fragrance of Mary’s sacrifice because he knew that love finds meaning in sacrifice: “We understand what love is when we realize that Christ gave his life for us. That means we must give our lives for other believers” (1 John 3:16 GWT).

Perhaps, in Mary, Jesus could smell “a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God,” a life “poured out like a drink offering” (Ephesians 5:2; 2 Timothy 4:6 NIV).

The Holy Spirit presses us toward the realm of grace, where we are transformed into seeing opportunities to love where others see wasteful sacrifice. Instead of the odor of waste, we learn to breathe deeply within God’s bouquet of grace, where, like Jesus, we are prepared for burial, ready to be “crucified with Christ,” so that “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Matthew 26:12; Galatians 2:20 NIV).

You may be hitting one of those “I can’t do this” moments, but our brother Paul reminds us that God gives us the grace required to become living sacrifices, and he places the Holy Spirit in us to make us holy and pleasing to him.

“Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2 NIV).

Is there a part of your life that requires sacrifice, and you find yourself resenting it? How would things change if you began to see it as “a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God”? Ask God to help you move from smelling the odor of waste to the bouquet of grace.

Jon’s new book is Breakfast with Bonhoeffer.

Jon is managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Hope Devotionals and the author of Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship.”  This devotional © Copyright 2013 Jon Walker. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author: Chris

Jon Walker’s new book, Breakfast with Bonhoeffer.: “Gut-wrenching honesty, real world faith, not just another 'feel good' Christian story". This devotional © Copyright 2012 Jon Walker. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Jesus Cleanses and Calls

Posted on: August 28th, 2012 by Jon | Tags: 

By Jon Walker

“‘Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips … and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.’ Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal … which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’ Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” (Isaiah 6:5–8 NIV)

One of the most effective tools the enemy will use to keep you from serving God this year is convincing you that you’ve either messed up too much or that you must clean up your life before you can get God’s attention. When these thoughts pop into your head, sniff the air for the scent of sulfur because they are lies straight from the fires of Hell!

God’s intention when he convicts us of our sins is not to condemn us; rather his breath of life disperses that satanic smoke the father of lies uses to keep us on the run from God.

If you follow the sequence of Isaiah 6, you’ll see how God initiates the process that brings you into his holy presence and purifies you to remain in his presence, and that your new guilt-free, sin-atoned status will compel you and prepare you for the unique mission God sets before you.

Isaiah reports that God’s fire is a cleansing fire that burns your guilt away and purifies you from sin, sealing within you the work of Jesus Christ. The prophet also suggests God’s ultimate purpose for cleansing us is to prepare us for mission: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” (Isaiah 6:8 NIV)

Prior to God taking the initiative to cleanse Isaiah, the prophet felt overwhelmed and unprepared for any mission on God’s behalf.

After the cleansing, Isaiah is energized with a desire to serve God.

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, God has done the work of preparing you for whatever task he will ask of you. How will you seek God and his mission for you this year?

Jon’s new book is Breakfast with Bonhoeffer.

Jon is managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Hope Devotionals and the author of Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship.”  This devotional © Copyright 2013 Jon Walker. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author: Jon

Jon’s new book is Breakfast with Bonhoeffer. Jon is managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Hope Devotionals and the author of Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship.”

Clinton: Religious liberty ‘sliding backwards’

Posted on: August 27th, 2012 by Jon |

By Tom Strode

WASHINGTON (BP) — Religious freedom around the globe is “sliding backwards,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said upon the release of her department’s annual report on the issue.

Speaking July 30, Clinton said of the current state of international religious liberty, “More than a billion people live under governments that systematically suppress religious freedom. New technologies have given repressive governments additional tools for cracking down on religious expression. Members of faith communities that have long been under pressure report that the pressure is rising. Even some countries that are making progress on expanding political freedom are frozen in place when it comes to religious freedom.”

Clinton offered her remarks on the same day the State Department released its latest religious freedom report, which covered 199 countries and territories for the calendar year 2011.

In response to the report and Clinton’s speech, expressions of both commendation and criticism came from religious liberty advocates.

Speaking in Washington, the secretary of State affirmed religious freedom for the United States as “a cherished constitutional value, a strategic national interest and a foreign policy priority.”

In seeking to influence other countries, Clinton said, America “will continue to try to push and prod and persuade and then, if necessary, look at ways to use consequences that can send a very clear message that we believe that you will not be successful, you will not be stable, you will not be secure, and you will certainly not have a sustainable democracy .”

During her speech, she addressed the challenges facing various governments on the issue of religious liberty.

In Egypt, Clinton said she “heard from Christians who want to know that they will be accorded the same rights and respect as all Egyptians in a new government led by an Islamist party. They wonder, understandably, will a government looking explicitly to greater reliance on Islamic principles stand up for non-Muslims and Muslims equally?”

“If you’re in Iraq, you need to be protecting every community, not just one or maybe two at the most,” Clinton said at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “If you’re in Lebanon, you need to be standing up for the rights of everyone in the community, every confession. And similarly in Egypt or Pakistan or Indonesia or China or India or anywhere, leaders need to be out front saying that, and then acting on it.”

Thomas Farr, the first director of the State Department’s office of international religious freedom (1999-2003), commended the report as “the world’s gold standard for a comprehensive catalogue of repression, discrimination, and persecution on the basis of religion.” He also described Clinton’s address as “her strongest speech to date on why religious liberty is important.”

There are problems, however, with the State Department’s approach to the issue, said Farr, the current director of the Project on Religious Freedom at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs. He said in a blog post at National Review Online:

— Suzan Johnson Cook, the ambassador at large for international religious freedom, “has little authority, few resources, and a bureaucracy that is — notwithstanding the secretary’s fine words — largely indifferent to the advancement of international religious freedom.”

— A brief review of the report’s policy sections “will tell you that we have little in the way of coordinated strategy for these countries.”

Farr said, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that this issue is not a priority for this administration, except perhaps for the speechwriters (who are doing an outstanding job).”

One of Congress’ leading advocates for global religious liberty, Rep. Chris Smith, R.-N.J., chided the Obama administration for its failures on the issue.

“The real question is, what will the administration do differently than simply dialogue with abusers? Under , it can and should move quickly to designate Countries of Particular Concern and attach appropriate sanctions,” Smith said in a written statement. “Unfortunately, despite Secretary Clinton’s words today, this administration has for almost four years shown very little commitment to promoting religious freedom.”

The administration should apply new sanctions in response to religious liberty violations rather than redesignate ones already in existence, Smith said. It also should tie foreign aid to a country’s religious freedom status, he said. Congress attached such conditions to $1.3 billion in aid to Egypt, but Clinton waived them this year, he said.

Katrina Lantos Swett, chair of the bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, commended the report, adding, “The next step, and real challenge, is convincing policymakers that prioritizing religious freedom through our bilateral and multilateral relationships is both a moral imperative and serves our national interests. The other challenge is convincing foreign governments to make needed improvements.”

Swett echoed Smith’s request for the State Department to designate “countries of particular concern (CPCs)” quickly. For now, the State Department continued with the same CPC list announced in September of last year. The eight on the list are Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan. CPC designation is reserved for the world’s worst violators of religious liberty.

In the report’s executive summary, the State Department included the following observations regarding religious freedom in 2011:

— Governments such as those of Bahrain, Iraq, Nigeria and Russia reacted to conflict by failing to “distinguish between peaceful religious practice and criminal or terrorist activities” and thereby limited religious liberty.

— Authorities in such countries as Indonesia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia “increasingly used blasphemy, apostasy, and defamation of religion laws” to restrict the rights of religious minorities.

— A “rising tide” of anti-Semitism afflicted such countries as Egypt, France, Hungary and Venezuela.

President Obama and other administration officials urged governments to protect religious freedom — and sought to assist them — in countries such as Burma and Egypt that underwent political change last year, according to the report.

Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.

This article comes from Baptist Press. Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press. Used by permission.

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Author: Jon

Jon’s new book is Breakfast with Bonhoeffer. Jon is managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Hope Devotionals and the author of Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship.”

Jesus Empowers You to Tell Others About Him

Posted on: August 27th, 2012 by Chris | Tags: , ,

By Jon Walker

“When Jesus heard this, he said, ‘Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.’ Then he added, ‘Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: “I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.” For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.’” Matthew 9:12-13 (NLT)

A friend of mine once belonged to a cult, and he told me he never once felt fear when he told people about the things he believed. But, after becoming a Christian, he said he was filled with fear when he began sharing his faith.

It’s a powerful reminder that we do not struggle “against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12 NIV).

The enemy doesn’t want us to share our faith, and so he fights us with fear. But God does not give us his spirit to make us slaves again to fear; he fills us with his spirit to show us we are his children and that he is “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15-16).

Some interesting research by Sam Rainer of Rainer Research suggests that only five percent of the unchurched in America are likely to be highly resistant to the Gospel, antagonistic toward Christians, or belligerent in their conversations with and about Christians. At five percent, Sam says these “hardcore unchurched” account for about 8 million people, but he estimates the other 152 million who are unchurched are far more open to hearing the Gospel.

That being the case, we’re more likely to find people open to the Gospel than not, and the things we often fear will happen will only happen — if they happen — with a very small minority of those outside the Church.

When it comes to reaching those most resistant to the Gospel, Sam says we need to be prepared to defend our faith and to deal directly with misperceptions about Christianity. We also need to be sensitive to their hurt and anger.

Most of all — and this is true with anyone we want to talk to about Jesus — we have to develop relationships with those outside the Church. When the religious leaders expressed a concern that Jesus was making friends with the unchurched, Jesus said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. . . . For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners” (Matthew 9:12b, 13b NLT).

During your prayer time today:

  • Ask God to reveal to you two people he wants you to talk to about Jesus.
  • Ask him to prepare their hearts for hearing the Gospel.
  • Also, ask him to prepare your heart for talking to them.

Then, in faith, step past your fears and believe Jesus is already at work creating a “divine appointment” for you to talk to them. Now, watch for the way he answers your prayer.

May God anoint you this week as you share your faith.

© 2013 Jon Walker. Used by permission.

Author: Chris

Jon Walker’s new book, Breakfast with Bonhoeffer.: “Gut-wrenching honesty, real world faith, not just another 'feel good' Christian story". This devotional © Copyright 2012 Jon Walker. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Responding to the Holy Spirit

Posted on: August 24th, 2012 by Chris | Tags: , ,

By Jon Walker

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 NASB)

God wants you to trust his guidance, so he sent you a Guide.

When you became a believer, God placed the Holy Spirit within you, and he’s been teaching you ever since to listen and respond to the Holy Spirit’s counsel. The Holy Spirit is your Guide, one who walks with you along the way. He knows every step of the journey and understands the blessings and dangers ahead. He knows where you’ve been and where you’re going, and he knows the best path to take.

This is an important issue to understand, because God never intended for you to figure out the steps of your journey without him. In truth, how you get on mission and how you succeed at your mission are God’s responsibilities. Your responsibility is to seek his guidance and obey his directions.

Your job is to trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. His job is to set your path straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). You don’t have to know the reason for everything, and there’s no requirement that you figure it all out before you complete your mission. You just need to trust and obey.

Talk About It

  • God says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you” (Psalm 32:8 NIV). Think of the last time you felt led by the Holy Spirit. How does the Holy Spirit work in your life to show you which way you should go?
  • What plans for your journey indicate you may be attempting a self-guided tour as opposed to relying on the experienced Guide, the Holy Spirit?

Jon’s new book is Breakfast with Bonhoeffer.

Jon is managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Hope Devotionals and the author of Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship.”  This devotional © Copyright 2013 Jon Walker. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


Author: Chris

Jon Walker’s new book, Breakfast with Bonhoeffer.: “Gut-wrenching honesty, real world faith, not just another 'feel good' Christian story". This devotional © Copyright 2012 Jon Walker. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

About Jon

Jon Walker has worked closely with Rick Warren for many years, first as a writer/editor, later as vice president of communications at Purpose Driven Ministries, and then as a pastor at Saddleback Church.

He's also served as editor-in-chief of LifeWay's HomeLife magazine and founding editor of Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox.

He is the author of Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship. His articles have appeared in publications and websites around the world. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

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