What’s Next, Lord?! {{Trials Tuesday}}

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Earlier, I read something that struck a chord with me.

My times are in Thy hands. I’ll always trust in Thee. And after death at Thy right hand, I shall forever be (Hymnist William Lloyd).

Like a child, I need to come to our Abba – Father, our great God, asking deep questions. I am pondering the future and what it may include. It’s hard. I don’t know what the rest of this year holds in store, but I wish I did.

Thankfully for us, there is a Scripture on this exact thing –

My times are in Your hands; Rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from those who pursue and persecute me (Ps. 31:15, AMP).

God’s Word even tells us that our days. . . our lives are lovingly placed in His hands. He is the One who can turn everything out for good. He is the One who needs to lead us.

Choosing to Draw Nearer

Friends, let’s keep drawing nearer to our King Jesus and see what He tells us. Very much, He wants to speak to us one on one about our difficult situations. I don’t know what you are facing, but thankfully our Risen Lord does!

Let’s recall what His Word says –

Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in your book and planned before a single one of them began (Ps. 139:16, CSB).

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28).

You yourself have recorded my wanderings. Put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Then my enemies will retreat on the day when I call. This I know: God is for me (Ps. 56:7-8).

Our grace filled heavenly Father is for us, and knows what is going on behind the scenes. He sees us in the midst of our trials, and He knows the good things He has planned for our lives. He knows how the trials will bring out good things in the long run, even if we are utterly convinced that no good can come from it.

Come, Friends

Come to Him as His dearly loved children, my friends. God is our good Father. He absolutely sees us and has great purpose for us. He loves us and wants to experience an intimate relationship with us – through His Son Jesus Christ. This is why He came.

I don’t know how God will turn out things for my good, but I do know that He is good. Even if I get tempted to think He won’t work things out, deep down I know He is good. Sometimes, I just need to take a step back and remember He is good. He is really good, and knows what He is doing.

Friend, just keep drawing nearer to our Lord Jesus. Don’t be afraid to ask Him the big questions in prayer, but ask the seemingly small ones too. Our God is a Mighty God, and He is able!

Asking Him,

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Taste and See (A Blogging-for-Books Review)

taste and seeJohn Piper, a theologian, is a man of God who has written over fifty books. His book, Taste and See, has a reprinted edition – which is the book I am bringing before you all today. In Taste and See, Piper promises to deliver quality devotionals to his readers. Piper faithfully delivers, and leaves us with soul-stirring thoughts on the Word of God – calling us to go deeper in our Christian Life.

The Impact of Piper’s Work

I love Piper’s work. Some of the most convicting things I read, happen to be found on Desiring God (which is founded and taught by Piper). This book is no exception. The Holy Spirit will stir your heart, as you read, contemplate your love relationship with Jesus Christ, and look to savoring your Savior.

About Taste and See

Taste and See is the home of 125 daily meditations. Through them, he teaches us to savor all that our beloved Savior is. As I begin to taste and see, I see that Piper is right.

“The best writers intensify our taste for the Bible, and especially for God himself (p. 11).”

Piper explores what we can find in Taste and See.

“We taste the sweetness of God as He meets us in the Word. What I have written here is partly meditations on biblical reality and partly applications to contemporary life. I hope that what pervades all of the readings is a savoring of the supremacy of God.” 

The Questions We Ask

Piper asks the hard questions, that often we have ourselves. This book is a spiritual tool, designed to help us hunger after God’s Word. Even with our questions, we can use them to savor our Lord. Piper explores many of these questions. Questions like –

  • Do people go to the Grand Canyon to enhance their self esteem?
  • Does God have civil rights?
  • Can joy increase forever?
  • Can you be worthy of God?
  • What is the Christian Gospel?

Recommend This Book!

This is one of those books to keep on your nightstand, as you scroll through its wealth of godly wisdom. Piper can be a source of encouragement to many, as they learn to live by faith and enjoy God. God can certainly use this book, as a spiritual tool to lead us closer to our beloved Savior

Have you heard of the American theologian, John Piper? How has Piper and DesiringGod, spurred you on in your Christian faith?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the “Blogging for Books” book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive 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.

Taste and See: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life
(Please note: My blog is given a small earning, when you use this link to make any purchase. This is a wonderful way to continue supporting this blog.)

ICB, Princess Bible (A BookLook Review)

princess bibleOriginally, I requested this particular Bible for my niece. I knew she would love it. I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I do. I love the helpful tips. I love the translation. I absolutely love the highlights, that help me to grasp the Scriptures – for myself!

The design for this Princess Bible is just – beautiful! The crown really sets the stage, for what the Bible is all about.

As God’s daughters, we truly are princesses who have a King that loves them dearly. This is the message we want to send to our daughters, nieces, and friends. We want to see them touched by the heart of the King.

As with other Bible reviews, I have done. I will highlight certain features in the Princess Bible that I think – help enhance this time spent with the Word of God.

Top Three

So, let’s get started. Here is what my top three features of the Princess Bible include –

The Highlights:

Perhaps the quality I most appreciate as a seasoned Bible reader is the highlights. Throughout the contents of the Bible, there are Scriptures highlighted for our young readers. For example: In Psalm 121, the editors have added a highlight for verses 7-8. This is important for me , because I can have the added help. This is particularly helpful if I were to study the book of Proverbs with my niece, where there are many truths in one small passage. I don’t have to wonder “where do I start?!?”. Because, I have been given help.

The Translation:

It uses the International Children’s Bible.

I love the ease of the translation. It gets directly to the point. If I have trouble understanding what I am reading in my own personal Bible, I know I can have clarity added through the Princess Bible. God has gifted us with a Bible just for kids – and – it will help them understand His Word at their own level (and even help us adults, grow in our understanding of God’s Word).

The Inserts:

There are a variety of colorful inserts in this Bible. These are Bible Study helps that can be utilized by young readers or new believers of any age.

The Questions:

Throughout the Bible, there is a feature where others have answered questions regarding the Bible to help our young readers understand the importance of the Bible for their lives. For example: How Do I Know Jesus Loves Me?

Miracles of Jesus

The one I have to mention, aside from the questions segment, is the “Miracles of Jesus” – which is found at the end of the Bible. This is again very important, because it shows us how the power of God has taken place in the lives of others. As we see how He has changed others’ circumstances (and lives), we can learn that there is hope in the Resurrection Power of Christ.

In Conclusion –

I would recommend this particular Bible to my readers. Truthfully, you cannot beat the price for this Bible. Bibles are expensive, and they shouldn’t be. But, this one is a good Bible filled with God’s beautiful truth, provides some helpful tips, and is very reasonable in price. While the list price is $19.99, Amazon has it for $16.25 at the moment.

Just a reminder, I was given a free copy by the publisher, Thomas Nelson, through BookLook Bloggers Program, in exchange for a honest review.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through BookLook’sblogger 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.

IIWK15: I Fight for Understanding

This week is Invisible Illness Week. I have debated about how involved I would be, but I have composed a two-part-blog-post-on-understanding-and-its-counterpart-support. This is what I fight for.

I Fight for Understanding

When you face chronic, invisible illness, one of the most evident blessings is understanding. There is comfort in knowing others understand, or are pursuing understanding.

Understanding invisible illness is not an easy task. It is not a skill you can develop in school or pick up on a whim. It takes deliberate action. Understanding places us in the place of choosing to stay by our friend’s side and understand what they face – as much as we can.

Understand allows us to know how to be there for our friends. As we fight for understanding, I have compiled a short list of things we can immediately put in action – to help and be there for those we love who face illnesses that might not be highly noticeable to the outside world.

Typically, for me, you probably wouldn’t know my struggles…

Unless you visit my blog

Unless I confide in you about them.

Tips on Understanding

These are strictly understanding tools. When we know what their ailment is called, we can research it. If we don’t understand, we can ask questions. Most people, well I know for me, I love it when people ask me questions.

When you ask me questions, you show you care!

Research

We are blessed to live in a time, where medical information is literally at-our-fingertips. When we learn that our good friend has been diagnosed with something, we can go on a venture to learn more. Why, learn more? When we know what our loved ones face, we can know how to offer them support.

A Played-Out Example

An example would be good, right? Okay, so I have what is called Neuro-Cardiogenic Syncope. We will refer to it, as NCS for short. When I share my struggles with people, they have no idea what NCS is. It’s sorta like, “N.C – what?!?” “NCIS?” Um, no. NCS (which I mistakenly refer to as NCIS when I am incredibly foggy in thinking). When people know my struggle, it won’t come as a surprise to them when my best friend is salt and caffeine. I have had others who haven’t understood that.

So, this is why understanding is a part of my fight – gaining awareness to help my friends know my battle… Because when I have friends that take the time to understand the mechanics of my condition (NCS, for example), it is comforting to me. They have taken the time to know what I face, and it is written all-over-our-friendship that they deeply care for me and my health.

Ask Questions

**This is likely the most lengthy part of this post. Bear with me. Or, come back when you have the time**

Questions. Hmm. What kind of questions are the best to ask someone who faces a life and health that is likely different from your own?

We want to ask questions that are geared toward understanding their battle a bit more. The best way to do that, is to focus on our hearts/attitudes and then the questions.

Here is a list of questions to break the ice in your conversations with those with invisible illnesses.

  1. What is the hardest part of your health struggle?
  2. What do you wish you knew earlier in your struggle?
  3. What do you wish your friends and family knew?
  4. Can you share more about your health issues?
  5. Do you have to follow a specific diet, because of your health issues?
  6. How has your faith in God given you hope in the midst of your trials?
  7. Is there a specific Bible verse you cling to, more than most?
  8. What advice would you give to sufferers?
  9. What advice would you give to those seeking to be a support to sufferers?
  10. What resources are out there for those with loved ones who are sick?

Q~&~A

For fun, I have decided to just take the extra time (and making this an unexpected lengthy blog post) to answer the questions that I want people to ask me. I am not answering all of them, because some are a one-on-one kind of answer. I openly share with others, but sharing on a blog post – kinda different.

What do you wish your friends and family knew?

I wish they knew how much I need them to reach out, and keep encouraging me in life and my walk with Christ.

How has your faith in God given you hope in the midst of your trials?

My faith in God has grown through my trials. God is the One who keeps me going. These past several months, He has shown me that He alone is the One who continually sustains me. He is my purpose and reason to keep going. His will doesn’t pass over me, just because I am sick. God continually uses me, and that’s part of my testimony.

Is there a specific Bible verse you cling to, more than most?

There are a few Scriptures I like to hold onto. Mark 5:1-20 and John 9:2-3 are among the top ones. It just reveals to me that it is for His glory, and how much God cares. Even when I feel like I am going crazy during my time of sickness, Jesus is there and cares deeply!

What advice would you give to sufferers?

You may not feel or see it, but God is exactly there with you in your time of struggle. He is with you, ready to be your ever-present-help. Turn on praise music and draw near to Him. Try and find a way to get in the Word (the Bible), even when it is difficult. Even if you can only read one small verse, do it. Focus on Him and how He is working in and through you.

What advice would you give to those seeking to be a support to sufferers?

Continue to be present in their lives, and show them you truly care. For sufferers, they can friendships dwindle away due to their affliction. Just be there. Check on them. Find ways to offer support.

What resources are out there for those with loved ones who are sick?

I highly recommend Rachel Lundy’s Chronic Illness and Friendship.

“In This House, We Will Giggle”

In This House, We Will Giggle is a new book by popular blogger, Courtney DeFeo. In this book, DeFeo explores how she can have the house and family life that she longs for: instilling values and Christ centered living, while giggling along the way. In each chapter of her book, she explores one specific virtue and shares activities that have helped her and her husband instill that virtue into their young daughters. Her suggestion is to focus on one virtue per month. Alongside each chapter on a specific virtue, she includes a section for how we can instill that virtue into our family. It can help us in finding answers for questions such as these:

  1. What kind of questions can we ask?
  2. What is one Scripture we can focus on this month?
  3. What kind of activities can help me teach my children about the Fruit of the Spirit and God’s love?
  4. How can I make it fun?

With 12 virtues, we can take the opportunity to invest in our children’s lives – helping them experience and grow in this specific virtue. Say for January the focus is on love. We can take the time to focus solely on instilling into our children – how to love and about the infinity of God’s love for us as His creation. As we focus on one principle per month, we can go deeper than the surface level we might otherwise “be stuck” with (hold onto that thought for a second).

For me, this book will help parents and families to focus on one small piece of what we want to instill in our (or someone else’s) kids through our interaction with them. Instead of being overwhelmed and stressed by the entire puzzle of what we hope (and need) to instill in our kids, we can focus on one key section at a time. God can use this book for His glory, and give us answers to the questions we have been asking.