Monday, March 12, 2018

From the Book Shelf ~ Running Scared
Recommending Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest by Edward Welch. It was required reading for a counseling class, and I'm ever glad it was! Welch is writing from experience and wisdom. A brief excerpt from the preface:
Like most writing projects, this book is aimed squarely at myself. Although I can be angry or melancholy, I am a fear specialist. In this I have found that I am not alone. Not everyone is a fear specialist, but there is no doubt that every single person who ever lived is personally familiar with fear. It is an inescapable feature of earthly life. To deny it deny it.
Welch discusses how natural fear and worry can be and shows us how to recognize it. He says there are themes that run through our fears, and he gives instruction on how to face them. Danger and vulnerability are key aspects, and this is where spiritual realities come to light. Welch shows us how to turn to God when fear and worry prevail, how we can find freedom and have peace reign in our hearts and minds.

I have only one negative about the book--I don't particularly like the cover design. Kind of petty, I realize. I had seen the book before, but I was put off by the cover. That was not a good decision. I would have missed Welch's deep insight. Goes to show that you can't judge a book by its cover. I should have looked beyond the cover because anything written by Ed Welch is a treasure trove of wise counsel. However, I would recommend a new cover design on the next edition. :-)

Sunday, March 11, 2018

I Will Bless the Lord

I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth. 
My soul will make its boast in the Lord;
The humble will hear it and rejoice. 
O magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.

Psalm 34:1-3 

Image Created by Montypeter 
via permission

Friday, March 9, 2018

Button Up Your Lip,_1892.jpg

Button up your lip securely
'gainst the words that bring a tear.
Be swift with Words of COMFORT,
Words of PRAISE, and Words of CHEER.
~ unknown 

Image ~ The First Grief, Daniel Ridgway Knight 1839-1924 
public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Thankful Thursday ~ We Can Go Peacefully

We found a dead cat on our porch yesterday. Where it came from, we do not know. Why it chose our porch for its last breath, we do not know. It appeared to have died peacefully, though, perhaps full of years.

Death eventually comes to all of us. I'm thankful that we can die peacefully, if not full of years. Peacefully. We can, but not all do. It's best to be prepared for it, to give it some thought.

Some fight death because they don't know what comes next. Even if they think nothing comes next, there's the uncertainty that drifts through the mind, like fog on a moonless night, stroking the tombstones through the cemetery.

What if they are wrong? I'm sure they don't want to be. They aren't prepared to be wrong. What causes people to cling to hopelessness? Death is not dying. The body, yes. The soul, no.

Jesus said to his disciples, "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going" (John 14:1-4).

Those who follow Jesus know where they are going when they die. He awaits them. Is He awaiting you?

The one who doubted said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going, how do we know the way?" Jesus said to Him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14:5-6).

Peacefully, through the door that leads to eternity.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Children's Books for Easter
Sharing a delightful website with you today for those of you who have an influence with children, which is just about everyone! It's the Read Aloud Revival with Sarah Mackenzie. It was introduced to me by a friend who has several children at home of all ages. It's been very helpful as I think about books for my grandchildren.

Sarah is very enthusiastic about reading aloud and has a podcast that will draw you into the adventures and benefits of reading aloud to children. Sometimes she interviews the authors, which is always an interesting discussion.

Sarah's latest podcast is a discussion about books for Easter in which she has recommendations for differing age groups. Our grands will be coming for a visit the week after Easter, so I'm looking for something that will encourage their faith and reinforce God's love for them.

To go to Sarah's website, just click on the book image. I've linked it to her current podcast, but do explore the site while you're there!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

A Thought on Suffering
A comment was made in class discussion forum today that many struggle with God's goodness in the face of their suffering. I offered a few thoughts in that regard....

Sometimes the suffering is so great, and our minds are so bewildered, that we struggle with making any kind of sense as to how it squares with God's goodness. And sometimes we tend to do the defining of what God's goodness is and us. This is one area where I think the '5 love languages' have lead us astray. We tend to interpret God's goodness and love toward us with how we want to be shown that love, and whether or not we'll accept it as such.

I think suffering is a watershed experience. What has gone on before in our heart and mind about God has much to do with how we respond/react to it. It's much to our benefit to understand suffering before it befalls us. But then again, sometimes we have no inclination that we need to know.

I understood just enough to know that in my own "momentary affliction," I was wrestling with God. The one thing that I understood was that I didn't understand. It's more difficult for those who shadowbox their misunderstandings. I think some sufferings make us angry and hurt so deeply because they are so painful, and we despise them. It is only God who can mend a broken heart. I am so very thankful that He pulled me closer and closer to Himself as I was searching for reality.

I think the one thing that I did know and that kept me hopeful was that God is love. That is the first thing children learn about God, if they learn about Him. For those of you who have children, bless and benefit them with an understanding of God's great love. They will need it when it is their turn to face suffering. I couldn't get away from that truth, even though I didn't understand how it fit. It took me a few years to see more clearly, but I understand so much more about God in the aftermath.

So very thankful that God continues to redeem and rescue!

Image ~ The Sick Girl, Michael Ancher 1849-1927
public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, March 5, 2018

From the Book Shelf ~ Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness
Recommending a book to you today that I read in the past that was a great benefit to me as I was going through a time of struggle. It has recently been updated with more current and relevant examples and retitled just a bit. It was required reading in a class I just completed on depression and anxiety, and it was good to read through and absorb once again, to refresh my mind and heart.

Ed Welch knows depression, and his winsome way of walking us through it, either for ourselves or for understanding someone we love, is rich in the grace of the gospel. The outstanding takeaway for me was that we need to consider the reality of God, because it is at the intersection of one's belief and daily life that responses to trials meet. An understanding of Jesus' compassion, of God's attention to needs, and of His goodness are all essential. Welch builds upon these foundational truths to help those who suffer in this way to look up from the stubborn darkness of depression.

Welch explains the scope of depression and gives direction to those who are caught in its despair, as well as direction to those who want to help them find a way out. He presses the point throughout the book that how one thinks about God is the key issue from moving from hopelessness to hopefulness.

Ed Welch is a licensed psychologist and biblical counselor for Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF). To watch a brief youtube video clip of Welch discussing depression, you can click here.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

This I Recall
I finished a class paper today on a case study. Part of the assignment had to do with specific truths to share so as to give hope when we are downcast.

I recall several years ago when I was going through a grievous situation and felt pretty hopeless about it, that I had made a list of passages that gave me tremendous hope as I meditated on them. I'm glad for the course assignment that I just finished, and will keep it at-the-ready for easy reference when such a time arises again. I don't think I'm finished with occasionally feeling hopeless and helpless, and probably won't be this side of heaven, but I know where my hope lies and His grace is sufficient. 

I share a few of these verses and thoughts with you today, with a prayer that you may find them breathing fresh hope into your own soul...if you are now where I sometimes am.....

I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope (Psalm 130:5). I framed this verse and kept it where I could see it daily. I found that I was waiting and hoping for the wrong thing--for my wish to come true. The less probable that became, the more hopeless I became. As I began to be in the Word more, my affection began to grow for God and His ways. My hope turned to His grace working in my life, to be filled with gratitude for His sufficiency. My situation wasn't changing, but my heart was.

... Jesus Christ, who is our hope (1 Timothy 1:1). Without Jesus, we have no hope. 

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13). I found that being in the Word daily prepared my mind to resist the temptation to dwell on what I did not have and wanted so badly. As I look back on it now, what I wanted would not have satisfied. Instead, God gave me a severe mercy and fixed my hope on His grace.

I will exalt you Lord, for you have lifted me out of the depths. (Psalms 30-34) These are recently fresh psalms to me that we've been studying in our women's Bible study group. They have increased my understanding of the character of God and continue to build my confidence and trust in Him.

.. through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:2-3). Oh, what amazing grace! We exult in hope of the glory of God! Hope doesn't lie in our feelings, but rather, in what God does in and through the tribulations we face. Perseverance in working through life's difficulties build character, increasing hope as we move forward with God's enablement. And so we....

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4). Our various trials test our faith and produce many beneficial results, when our focus is changed from we lack to what we have gained. 

This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.

The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

"The Lord is my portion," says my soul,
"Therefore I have hope in Him."

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.

It is good that he waits silently
For the salvation of the Lord.

Lamentations 3:21-26

Therefore, you too, have hope, dear one. If our paths do not cross this side of heaven, may we meet when we get there and rejoice together in the hope we have found in Him. If you aren't sure that you'll be going there, you can learn how to go at I do hope you're going.

Image ~ The Letter, Haynes King 1831-1904 
public domain via Wikigallery

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Some Thoughts On Anger

Anger. But not the righteous kind. A friend mentioned to me today that she was recently told by an acquaintance that she needs to control her anger. As my friend explained it, it was a situation that could provoke anger in many people. But the anger helped no one.

As I've thought about this through the day, though, I think it may have helped my friend to have had someone she doesn't know well to confront her about her anger. I think she was surprised that the gal wasn't just absorbing the anger coming her way. It was a wake up call to my friend on how others view her. I don't think she liked the picture she saw.

Where does anger come from? Why does it rise to the top so quickly?

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.
Matthew 15:18

Anger comes out of the mouth because it's in the heart.  It lodges in the heart and grows deep, ugly roots. It defiles.

Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools.
Ecclesiastes 7:9

Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, 
but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
Proverbs 14:29

Anger is the fruit of a fool. It's a fruit from its root. It often grows from fear. What or who do we fear? What or who do we fear that we can't control? What are we not getting that we think anger will get us? What are we willing to sin to get? Why are we thinking so much about ourselves? What or who should we be thinking about instead? Is our anger moving the kingdom of God forward? Our answers reveal our heart.

This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
James 4:19-20
Image via freepik w/ permission
Created by Mrsiraphol -

Monday, February 19, 2018

From the Bookshelf ~ Jesus 365
One of my desires is to know more of Jesus, so for the past few years I've been choosing a book about Him to read as we approach Resurrection Sunday. Our daughter gave My Beloved Jesus 365 a couple years ago for Christmas, and this year I pulled it off the bookshelf to read myself. It's a devotional book compiled by Ed Stewart of the account of Jesus while He was here on earth. I'm not reading it as a daily devotional, but rather reading several entries at a sitting. There are notes along the way with insights into the cultural and historical context of the time.

The subtitle is Experiencing the Four Gospels as One Single Story. It's a chronological blending of the actions of Jesus, written in narrative form that walks with Him through His earthly ministry, crucifixion, resurrection, and His ascension back to the Father.

Jesus knows where His path is taking him. The blending and chronology of the book gives broader insight into what His walk has given us.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...