Monday, March 19, 2012

What Kind of Father Do You Have?








Guest blog about the new book “Lazarus Awakening”

Now a man named Lazarus was sick.
He was from Bethany, the village of
Mary and her sister Martha. This Mary,
whose brother Lazarus now lay sick,
was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord
and wiped his feet with her hair.
So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

John 11:1–3

What Kind of Father Do You Have?

So much of our understanding of God’s love is shaped by what we’ve
experienced in life. Those who are abused or misused as children often
struggle with the thought of God as a loving Parent, and even those
raised in healthy homes can have distorted views of their heavenly Father.
Which of the following misrepresentations are you most likely to struggle
with?

Abusive Father: You never know what you are going to get with
this kind of father. Will he be nice when he walks in, or will he hit
you upside the head first chance he gets? His love is determined
by his moods. You avoid him as much as possible.

But your true Father is “gracious and compassionate, slow to
anger and rich in love” (Psalm 145:8).

He Loves Me…He Loves Me Not

You would think after accepting Christ at a young age and being raised in a loving
Christian home with a loving, gracious father, I would have been convinced from the
beginning that my heavenly Father loved me.

Me. With all my faults and failures. My silly stubbornness and pride.
But those very things kept me from really knowing Christ’s love for the majority
heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable
than they?” (Matthew 6:26).

Biased Father: You know this father loves you—or at least you think he
does. But he seems to shower affection and gifts on all the other kids,
leaving you with leftovers and hand-me-downs. Bottom line: he has
favorites, and you’re not one of them. You had better get used to it.
But your true Father “does not show favoritism” (Romans 2:11).

Demanding Father: Perfect in nearly every way, this father demands
that you be perfect as well. No matter how hard you try, it’s never
enough. While there are moments when he seems proud of you, they
are few and far between. Instead, you carry a heavy sense of his
disapproval.

But your true Father “has compassion on his children…for he
knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust”
(Psalm 103:13–14).

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
1 John 3:1

Monday, March 12, 2012

Waiting It Out

Dear Friends,

How do you deal with the waiting periods of your life – the periods of great loss or sickness or waiting for a job, a spouse, a baby, or some great deliverance in your life? How do you wait before God brings about any resolution?  The best thing we can do is to go on with our lives.  There are some things we can do during these dark periods that seem never-ending.

Keep up your routines.

Satan would paralyze us with the pain of waiting and whisper in our ears, “Wait until things are back to normal before you get back into your routine.”  But life doesn’t work that way.  We still have the intact parts of our lives demanding our attention.  Maybe we’ve lost a spouse, but we have the children to tend to.  Maybe we’ve lost a job, but there’s plenty to do at home as we job-hunt.  And no matter what we’ve lost, there is the day-to-day upkeep of our bodies and our homes.

I know that hobbies help me at such times.  Choosing to do something that has been an important part of my life and schedule – something that I enjoy doing – can relieve stress and begin the healing process.

Plants, for instance.  During particular periods of stress in my life, I’ve found myself attacking the job with added ferocity.  I repot, prune, water, and manure with frantic energy.  A friend dropped by to see me on one such day and asked, “Where is that neat tree that stood by the door?”  I pointed to the bush that sat meekly in the same place! “Stressed?” my friend inquired sympathetically, gazing at what was left of the tree. “Stressed,” I replied.  “I’ll pray for you,” she promised.  Routine helps to reestablish normal patterns of life for us and makes us feel a little bit more secure.

Keep up your relationships.

Sometimes people cannot cope with other people’s pain because they don’t want to confront their own mortality.  At other times they feel helpless or don’t know what to say, so they just keep out of the way.  For whatever reason, sometimes when we suffer, alienation comes along with it.  Are we able to wait out these difficult seasons in our relationships?  Or when we get no response, do we throw up our hands in frustration and say, “This takes too much energy. If that’s how they want it – that’s the way they can have it?” As far as it is up to us, we need to reach out and maintain our relationships.

Keep the faith.

It isn’t easy to continue going to church or do ministry during, or immediately after, a period of pain and suffering – and yet there is healing if we do so.  I know how difficult it can be to go to a worship service and hear everyone singing happy hymns.  One more happy chorus and I’ll scream! you think.  But there is a certain therapy in worship and service.  Not the least of it because in ministry we often meet a lot of people a whole lot worse off than we are.  It’s like the old saying, “I was sad because I had no shoes—until I met a man who had no feet!”  In Christian service we usually bump into a quite a few people who have no feet!  In helping and encouraging them, we find a measure of relief ourselves.

What did Jesus’ follower do while they were waiting for the Comforter to come after Jesus had ascended into heaven?  “They all joined together constantly in prayer” (Acts 1:14).  They waited in faith. During their wait, all they knew to do was pray and stay together –and that’s what they did.

While I’m in God’s waiting room, I can realize that my character is under divine reconstruction.  I can try to normalize my routine (with lots of English cups of tea and a big pair of pruning shears or similar helps).  I can continue my religious disciplines, whether I am feeling “connected” or not, and keep up whatever ministry is feasible for me.  I can also try to mend whatever fences I can and try not to worry too much about the ones that only God can mend at some future date.  Persisting in all of this will help me regain my spiritual perspective.

Are you in God’s waiting room?  Are you waiting for a baby to be born?  a prodigal to return home?  a spouse to reconcile?  Are you waiting for someone to share your life with?  For a job?  for a cure?  Wait on the Lord and not on the answer.  Try to concentrate on His person, His plans, and schedule – His business.  Your growing faith will not stop the agony, but it will help you find a measure of productivity in your life.


Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine



Monday, March 5, 2012

Zondervan using Facebook to find Everyday Moms to Become Devotional Authors

Guest Blog


Grand Rapids, Mich., March 1, 2012 – Zondervan is updating the successful NIV Mom’s Devotional Bible, originally written in 1996, and is looking for everyday moms to add their voices to this work.  The NIV Mom’s Devotional Bible is due to release in spring 2013.


Interested contestants need to submit their 250- to 300-word original devotion at Facebook.com/MomsDevotionalBible. The submission must be based on one of the five following passages from the Bible:
·         Deuteronomy 6:6–9
·         Proverbs 22:6
·         Proverbs 31:10–31
·         1 Corinthians 13:4–8
·         Ephesians 2:8–9


The devotion should be written from the perspective of a mother and be encouraging or inspirational in tone. Authors of the winning submissions will have their devotion printed in the NIV Mom’s Devotional Bible, along with a short bio. The deadline for entries is March 14, 2012.


Please click here to read more:





This devotional bible is designed to be a trusted source of wisdom to help the reader as they learn how to be the kind of mom God wants them to be. It offers a year’s worth of weekday and weekend devotions that are full of good advice and encouragement from Elisa Morgan, President Emerita of Mothers of Preschoolers, International (MOPS), as well as from other notable contributors. Each day’s inspiring devotion will help readers understand and delight in their vital role of raising children. Readers will also find resources that offer insights into mothering and information about where to turn when faced with the many special challenges motherhood presents. The NIV Mom’s Devotional Bible can help moms be the very best mom they can be.



About Zondervan


Zondervan, a HarperCollins company, is a world leader in Christian communications and the leading Christian publishing brand. For more than 75 years, Zondervan has delivered transformational Christian experiences through general and academic resources by influential leaders and emerging voices, and has been honored with more Christian Book Awards than any other publisher.