Kids’ Visual Study Bible (BookLook)

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Visual BibleMy friends, the greatest gift we can give to our kids is – the Word of God.

As we sit and share our hearts for Jesus, we are giving them a special gift. Let’s present Jesus to them through our words and a Bible of their very own. Something that will help them learn about our great God and His love for them.

The Treasure –

The NIV Kids’ Visual Study Bible: Explore the Story of the Bible—People, Places, and History is an amazing Bible. One of my favorite aspect of this Bible is – the fact that it is a study Bible. In the margins, we can find insight we might otherwise miss. Plus: This Bible is colorful; this is where we find beautiful photographs woven into the Bible – which reminds us of God’s handiwork. There are over 700 photographs in this special Bible!

This is a special gift, which will allow our children to open the wonder of God’s Word – and discover who He is – for themselves. The goal of this Bible is to present our Lord Jesus Christ and His truths to the children in our lives.

My Concluding Thoughts –

I absolutely love this Bible. I am looking forward to reading it with my niece, but also to have for myself. The study notes, in particular, are a needed thing, because sometimes we just need a little (or a lot) of help learning to understand what God is teaching us through His Word – the Bible. God will definitely use this Bible to encourage many, to keep drawing near to Him.

Friends, I am excited about the possibilities. This Bible with added features can help our children become closer to the Lord. I am thankful for this Bible and the opportunity to review it. I am so excited to see how the NIV Kids’ Visual Study Bible will encourage my niece in her own relationship with the Lord.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through BookLook’s blogger review program, in exchange for a honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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Week 3: 1 Thessalonians 3:7

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Welcome, my friends, to week 3 of our study! I am so glad you are here. Thank you for taking a few moments out of your day to read today’s blog entry in your email or possibly on the website. You will not regret taking this time to invest in your relationship with God through Jesus Christ. He is the source of all hope and comfort.

The Scripture –

While I am limited in sharing at this moment due to circumstances, I want to be able to share with you our new weekly memory verse.

In the middle of our trouble and hard times here, just knowing how you’re doing keeps us going. Knowing that your faith is alive keeps us alive (1 Thess. 3:7, MSG).

The Truth Revealed –

As I face my own troubles, I can relate a bit with Paul. Honestly, the great “longing exchange” (where the longing for a close friend is mutual) is a tremendous comfort in hard times. When you are in desperate need and alone, quality companionship is one of the top desires one troubled friend could have.

When we are going through hard times, we just need someone to be there for us. . . someone who will lead us straight to Jesus Christ. It’s the exact medicine we need.

We learn a few things about Paul and the Thessalonians –

  • Paul’s Heart: Longed for the Thessalonians, and bombarded with troubles.
  • The Thessalonians’ Heart: Longed for Paul, and continually sought Christ. . . resulting in much spiritual growth even during persecution.
  • Resulting in much comfort, especially for Paul in his time of need.

Hearing others’ stories of faith in Christ makes everything much better. While the circumstances may not change, our heart are uplifted versus drowning. Our perspective changes – because we receive comfort from friends. . . friends who treat our friendship in a godly way. Encouraging us to keep pressing into Jesus, praying over our circumstances, and helping us to hold onto our faith in Jesus and His Good News.

Biblical Friendship

While we may not choose our times of suffering, God can use this time to be encouraged (or encourage others) by others’ faith and show us the kind of friends we have (or are).

The Thessalonians and Paul had biblical friendships. They sought the Lord Jesus to be honored in their lives. They wanted to help encourage one another, pray together, and continue to live out their faith in Christ.

Biblical friendships are hard to find, but are what makes the lasting change in our spiritual lives.

Jonathan and David are a classic example of biblical friendship (see 1 Samuel 23:15-18). They loved each other in a godly friendship; Jonathan made sure to be there when David needed him the most (click here to listen to a sermon on the topic). Likewise, the Thessalonians would have send word back conveying how much they care for Paul and miss him.

Biblical friendships make the difference in our Christian walk, and an important tool in our transformation.

“[Thessalonians’] steadfastness was a great source of comfort to [Paul] in his trials. . . In the inevitable trials of the ministerial office there is no source of comfort more rich and pure than this (Albert Barnes Commentary).”

Job 32-37; Psalms 28-32

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Assigned Reading: Psalms 28-32; Job 32-37

Psalm –

Chapter 28: Not only did David declare that God was his Rock, he proved it by crying out when it mattered the most. We need to cry out to God in this way, and seek His mercy. He is our Shepherd and will carry us.

Praise be to the Lordfor he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him (Ps. 28:6-7).

Chapter 29: Let us worship the Lord and give Him the honor due to Him. The voice and hands of the Lord speak loudly over everything. He is good. He is powerful. When the voice of the Lord speaks into our situations, all things can be changed and nothing is off limits.

Chapter 30: One thing God’s people need to fathom is – God will answer the prayers and heart cries of His people. He may not heal us or the circumstances the way we anticipate, but He does heal. So, why are we silent? Let’s sing the praises of our great God.

Chapter 31: When despair takes over our lives, we need to keep our trust in the Lord our God. We are encouraged to stay strong and keep hoping in God. How are we practicing these truths today?

Love the Lord, all his faithful people! The Lord preserves those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord (Ps. 31:23-24).

Chapter 32: God is our hiding place, and the One who forgives our confessed sin. God is that good. He will forgive us, when we have wronged Him. He promises to be our sanctuary right when it matters most. Our Protection and Deliverance is what God is, to us who are called His people.

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered (Ps. 32:1).

Job –

I highlighted in my YouVersion app a lot for this portion of Scripture. There is a lot of rich things that we can find, as Elihu talks to Job.

Certain aspects of this talk by Elihu I enjoyed –

  • He is younger and waited until the older men spoke (I need to be more like that…).
  • He is blunt. He isn’t afraid to call Job’s words arrogance.
  • He shares a lot of good truths as he tries to relate to Job.

I couldn’t have predicted the level of struggle I would have with the book of Job. My emotions have even tossed back and forth with Elihu, but I am thankful for the highlighted portions of Scripture – that I can go back and reread this weekend. I am thankful for the truths found here, many of which I need to take to heart.

In chapters 32-37, we find wisdom, truths, bluntness. The preparation we are given, before Job heard directly from God. After all of his storming Heaven demanding God to show him what wrong he has done, God is going to answer him.

The Gift of Self-Control

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lysaI am coming to realize my need for self-control. It keeps me from flying off the handle at anyone and everyone. I am noticing it is a daily thing that spares me from unnecessary situations and consequences that I desperately want to avoid.

Self-control.  Just like God’s grace, it is something God uses to hold me together—even in my most broken of places.

Life in general can make us lash out even at those we love. Sometimes, we may even feel like they somehow deserve it. It doesn’t make our actions any less important. It doesn’t even excuse what we do. We are still just as accountable to God, than if it just randomly happened with absolutely no trigger.

What are our triggers that make us lack self-control?
Can you list two to three triggers?

Think of your last few days. It doesn’t take too long to
recall of an instance where you almost forgot about the gift that God
through His Holy Spirit has given you—self-control.

Can’t think of anything?
Wait until you finish reading this post, and
life comes at you in a matter of minutes.

Take note of those triggers. If you are anything like me, you have many triggers. Not feeling well, emotionally overwhelmed, bad news, what I like to refer to as an introvert crisis, and  much more.

Even though we may almost fly off the handle, we can choose differently. It is because of God and His rich grace, that we can make different choices. It’s by His grace (not ours) that we are saved. We will have our days filled with flaws, where we will say and do things we shouldn’t. It doesn’t excuse those moments, but God’s grace is so rich. We can come boldly to the throne of God and ask for His forgiveness. Right there, we are forgiven.

I can choose to use that gift from God through His Holy Spirit to help me make wiser decisions. It is in these wiser decision-making moments, that I can share God’s grace and aim to be a light to a darkened world.

As I contemplate what I could possibly share from my awareness of God’s gift of self-control in my life, God’s grace is brightly shining in my face as I look past my yesterday’s and look onward toward tomorrow. In God’s rich mercies, I am given so much. Not only am I given much, I can also pass that on and share much. I can choose to listen to others when they interrupt my quiet world. I can choose to pray for someone, instead of screaming my lungs out at them (it’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for). I can choose to give love through my actions, versus going through the motions. I can take a step back, so I may offer encouragement—even when I feel like my needs are ignored. I can choose to offer my gifts or time to others, rather than keep them to myself.