GIVE JESUS YOUR WORRIES (AND DON’T TAKE THEM BACK!) 

I know that I should give my worries to Jesus, and I really do try to do that, but I often just wind up reaching back for my worries a few minutes or hours later afterwards! How to stop? This article doesn’t exactly answer that hard question, but it does exhort us to not look to take those worries away from Jesus once they are handed over! From Core Christianity……………..

WHAT THE APOSTLE PAUL TEACHES US ABOUT SUFFERING

Although the Apostle Paul had a special, unique assignment of suffering for the Gospel from Jesus, yet all believers can learn from Paul’s sufferings when we face our own set of sufferings and trials. This article discusses this is some depth. Here is a tidbit: “Paul proclaimed a message of hope in the midst of hopelessness. He knew that God never loses his bearings, no matter how bad things may seem, and that God would not promise what he could not do. And God did as he said, for God sovereignly controls all of life’s storms. He can–and ultimately will–see his people safely through even the worst storms.” From Core Christianity………………

What the Apostle Paul Teaches Us About Suffering

Burn the Ships

Here is a thought-provoking devotional from pastor and author Mark Batterson. Here, he talks about the reason that many people experience failure, or at least settle for something less than what God might have planned for them — because they did not burn their ships. What doess this mean? Read the article!

The Whisper of God

This article is for anyone who may be hurting and in need of encouragement from their heavenly Father, written sensitively by someone who has walked a path of pain and suffering. Here is the takeaway for me: “Whatever your circumstance, however dire, there is a way out. There is always a way with God.” From Duncan Edward Pile………………

BOOK REVIEW: FREE TO THRIVE — How Your Hurts, Struggles, and Deepest Longings Can Lead to a Fulfilling Life 

by Josh McDowell and Ben Bennett (Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2021)

The authors, well-known author and apologist Josh McDowell, and pastor and speaker Ben Bennett have joined forces to examine why so many Christians struggle through life rather than thrive as children of God. Due to their own experiences and their years of ministry, they believe most believers are suffering due to unmet needs in their lives.

McDowell and Bennett make the case that God has designed all people with seven basic needs:

  1. Acceptance — to be included and approved of, as you are, no matter what.
  2. Appreciation — the longing to be thanked and encouraged for something we have done.
  3. Affection — the longing to be cared for with touch and genuine emotional engagement.
  4. Access — the longing to have the consistent emotional and physical presence of key persons.
  5. Attention — the longing to be known and understood by someone who enters into your world.
  6. Affirmation of feelings — the longing to have our feelings validated and confirmed by others.
  7. Assurance of safety — we need to feel protected and provided for emotionally, physically, and financially.

The authors contend that hurting Christians with unfulfilled longings suffer because they try to satisfy those longings themselves or with other earthly things or people. But God placed those longings in us so that we might always go to Him with our needs.

McDowell and Bennett are unusually open and honest in sharing their own unmet longings and the adverse effects those had in their personal lives and ministries. Writing as fellow strugglers, they encourage readers to understand that they are not unusual in trying to satisfy their longings without God and give practical steps to begin looking to God for help and comfort. The book concludes with helpful appendices of the Longings Table and websites and books for further ongoing support. I heartily recommend this book.

Learning to Live in the Reality of Heaven Now — Dallas Willard

Learning to Live the Reality of Heaven’s Rule

As disciples (literally students) of Jesus, our goal is to learn to be like him. We begin by trusting him to receive us as we are. But our confidence in him leads us toward the same kind of faith he had, a faith that made it possible for him to act as he did. Jesus’s faith was expressed in his gospel of heaven’s rule, the good news of the “kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 4:17). Heaven is a deeply significant word. From Abraham (Genesis 24:7) onward, it signified to the people of Israel the direct availability of God to his children, as well as his supremacy over all that affects us. From heaven, “the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry” (Psalm 34:15; also 1 Peter 3:12).

Jesus was concerned to pass on to his followers this reality of heaven’s rule that undergirded his life. When he sent his twelve friends out on their first mission, he told them it was like sending “sheep in the midst of wolves” (Matthew 10:16). It would be butterflies against machine guns. Nevertheless—imagine sheep being told this!—there was no need for them to fear. Two sparrows cost a penny. Yet not one falls upon the earth “apart from your Father.” Heaven is so close that even the hairs on our heads are numbered. “So do not be afraid,” Jesus tells us. “You are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29–31).

From The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship. Copyright © 2006 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

How Do I Know that God Will Help Me When I’m in Trouble?

In our heads, we know He is supposed to, but in our hearts, we might lay awake at night and tremble in fear. This article reminds us not to be afraid that God will forsake us in our times of need. Here is a takeaway for me: “We tend to live by faith in visible things. Like with our idols (money, skills, other people, etc.) we want to trust in a salvation we can see. However, the promise that God is always watching over us is invisible. I cannot see the Lord’s protection and help, but that does not mean that it is not there.” From One Degree to Another………………..

Praying the Names of God: Maon — Dwelling Place

I love the tidbits of information and insight provided in these articles from author and Ann Spangler! Here is a takeaway for me: “The Hebrew Scriptures reveal a God who dwells with his people—first in a tent in the wilderness and then in the Jerusalem temple. The New Testament takes this idea of God’s dwelling place on earth a giant step further by revealing a God who wants to dwell not merely with his people but within his people. Occasionally, Scripture reverses this imagery in a wonderful way by picturing God himself as our Dwelling Place, or Maon (ma-OHN).”

Maon — Dwelling Place

3 Biblical Images of Shelter on Our Spiritual Journeys

I enjoy reading these little articles from Crosswalk. This one focuses on the image of shelter we can find in the Bible. Here is a takeaway for me: “When our journeys are difficult and our bodies remind us that this earth is not our permanent home, God does not leave us without help. He is always available to be a shelter for us to offer protection and grace.”

https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/bible-study/biblical-images-of-shelter-on-our-spiritual-journeys.html