April 14, 2014
Is God dead? That’s the question debated in the new movie, God’s Not Dead. If you haven’t seen it, you can view the movie trailer here. People may answer that positively or negatively, strangely enough, according to their past or present experiences with a living God.
The debate is not a new one. For centuries people have chosen to believe or disbelieve in a God who not only rules the Universe, but One who offers a personal, loving relationship with the ones He created.
After viewing the movie–and I do recommend you see it–I think our capacity to believe may have to do with stones. Ones like the massive stone in front of Jesus’ tomb. That’s why I decided to share this post again with you this Easter. I hope it challenges you–and helps you find freedom to believe. And before you leave today, read to the end and think about joining me below in a powerful Easter Declaration! Read more
April 7, 2014
Rebecca Barlow Jordan
They did not see Him coming. Not Him. They saw a hope re-kindled, an end to their injustice, an easier path to follow.
They waved their palm offerings, laid down their finest clothes, but they saw only a temporary king, not a Suffering Servant. Read more
March 24, 2014
Character of God
February 24, 2014
Book Review: A Look at the Painful “But if not’s” of Life
Carol Kent’s new book, Unquenchable, takes a hard look at the fiery struggles and trauma in the lives of believers who have walked through the painful, “but if not’s” of life. With transparency and honesty she identifies with those who have faced crises of belief, sometimes questioning God’s actions and their own faith as a result of difficult, life-altering events. Carol shares even more insights from her own personal journey involving her incarcerated son as well as other experiences from her own life and family members. Read more
February 17, 2014
“How does a young man in the prime of life deal with an incurable disease, loss of strength, the news that he cannot be a father, and the likelihood of a shortened life-span?”
Today’s guest post by Fran Sandin will challenge you to rethink your capabilities, refill your hope tank, and encourage you to discover God’s incredible plan in the midst of impossible circumstances. It’s not only a story of hope; it’s a testimony to God’s continual faithfulness.
Be sure and read to the end to discover how you can enter today’s book giveaways.
His Journey of Hope Begins
At the age of 29, our son, Steve, began a journey we never expected. After completing his Master of Physical Therapy degree, he began working at a hospital and soon became ill with pneumonia. His doctor said, “Steve, I believe you have cystic fibrosis,” Two positive tests confirmed the diagnosis, and he began respiratory therapy that he would need the rest of his life.
He Became His Own Caregiver
My husband, Jim, and I, were shocked as no one else in our family had his genetic disease. About 10% of CF patients are diagnosed in adulthood because one of the parents carries a mutation of the CF gene; and tests verified that truth for us. Cystic fibrosis destroys the lungs by clogging them with thick secretions and causes other organs to malfunction. Digestion is also affected, so Steve also began taking digestive enzymes. No cure is available for cystic fibrosis. As part of his physical therapy training, Steve had learned how to treat patients with CF, but he had no idea that he would eventually become his own caregiver.
Hope Finds a Permanent Home
The shock of this news had barely become reality when Steve almost died with kidney failure due to IGA nephropathy, a separate autoimmune disease. Added to his respiratory treatments, he then needed three trips a week to the hemodialysis clinic. Still, he continued working part time in home health PT. After three years, he switched to peritoneal dialysis that allowed him to use a computerized machine at home where he dialyzed at night. Finally he did not have the strength to continue his profession, but he used his time to begin a home-based business.
Steve lived every day with HOPE. As a child he had received Jesus as his Savior, and he continued growing in faith throughout his years. He prayed daily for healing, and believed that God could completely heal him, if it was His will. But one day Steve said, “Mom, I know God can heal me, but if He doesn’t heal me on earth, I know I will be healed in heaven.” His ultimate healing came following much suffering at his last hospitalization when irreversible complications of CF accelerated; and at the age of 43, Steve moved peacefully to heaven on Sept. 22, 2012.
God’s Incredible Faithfulness
My son taught me many lessons about courage, faith, perseverance, and hope. Between numerous hospitalizations in 2005 and 2008 he wrote two books. One day he said with a wry grin, ‘Mom, God has given me a project and I’ll let you know when I’m finished.’ I had no idea he was writing a book until one day he showed me the manuscript for Jesus Really Said It. He searched the four gospels and categorized the words of Jesus to address forgiveness, healing, faith, deliverance, relationships, conflict resolution, and more. He wanted to reach people who might not pick up a Bible but who would read a book addressing topics of interest to them.
He later wrote another book using Proverbs and addressed subjects of guidance and instruction, wisdom, warnings, finance, words, children, anger, pride, joy, mercy, and others. Make the Right Choice: A Personal Decision Guide, is a great resource for young people–or for anyone seeking wisdom for life’s decisions.
Steve didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for him and he did not openly discuss his physical limitations. However, he attended church and Bible studies when possible, and often asked for prayer. Many, many people prayed with Steve and for Steve’s healing. About two months before he passed away, Steve wrote a tract with the title, So What Happens Next? in which he addressed the subject of eternity. To date approximately 8,500 tracts have been distributed in the U.S. and beyond.
A Legacy of Hope and Inspiration
Although Steve lived in a townhouse about an hour away from our home, I helped him regularly and stayed with him during his hospitalizations and recouperations. Just a few days prior to his last hospitalization, Steve said, “Mom, you know I’ve been sick for a really long time.”
“Steve,” I said, “God will not take you home until your work on earth is done.”
Now breathing the breath of heaven, Steve has left behind a legacy of hope and inspiration for anyone who is facing life’s disappointments and physical limitations.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15: 13 NASB).
You can find Steve’s books here and find out more about talented author and speaker Fran Sandin at her website here. Like her son, she is a tender, compassionate woman of incredible courage and faith. Steve’s books are not only personal hope-lifters, but they are great resources for individual studies.
What About You? - Book Drawing Giveaways
Fran is offering both of Steve’s books in our book/drawing giveaway. We will draw one name for each book. The giveaway will end in two weeks. To enter, please leave a comment below answering either of the two questions:
Why would you like one of the books?
How has God has given you hope in hopeless situations?
It’s Your Turn
Please leave your comments below. Your words might encourage someone today. You won’t be hounded, prodded, or automatically added to my mailing list if you leave a comment. Feel free to email this Christian blog to someone or to re-post on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media, using the buttons below, or to “like” it below or on my Facebook networked blog. If you want to re-post any of my blogs on your own blog or website, please contact me for permission first. And I’d love for you to sign up for my blog/newsletter and updates at the top of this website page/sidebar if you’ve not already done so. That way, I can drop this encouraging blog into your e-mail box weekly, as well as notify you occasionally of any new updates, specials, contests or book giveaways.
February 3, 2014
Triumph over Tragedy
I love stories about triumph over tragedy. One Light Still Shines, by Marie Monville, wife of the man who committed the Amish Schoolhouse massacre, is that kind of story.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
On October 2, 2006, Marie’s husband of ten years entered an Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and did the unthinkable. He shot ten young girls, five who died. And then he turned the gun on himself.
Secret of Marie’s Triumph over Tragedy
Most of us probably heard about the tragedy and grieved with the Amish families who lost precious children. Since that time, people have asked 28-year-old Marie how she could possibly emerge and move forward from such a tragedy with so much triumph.This devoted woman of God shares her ”secret” in the prologue of her book:
No matter how tragic your circumstances, your life is not a tragedy. It is a love story. And in your love story, when you think all the lights have gone out, one light still shines.1
A True Love Story
Indeed it does. Especially in the life of Marie Monville. February is the month we emphasize “love.” But this is one love story that’s not fiction, but a true story based on one woman’s courage and faith. I encourage you to read her book. It’s not a story filled with trite phrases or glib responses, but it shows a soul wrenched by tragedy, yet drenched by the unspeakable love of God.
Her Story Is About Your Future
Her story is one of love and forgiveness, of hope and mercy, sometimes from the most unexpected places. It’s a remarkable story. But Marie would not say it’s because she is remarkable, but that her God is. Her book cover quotes her own words, “My story is not about my past, but about your future.
We All Have a Love Story Being Written
Marie is right, you know. Life is not a tragedy. And we all have a love story being written in our own lives. You may think the lights have gone out in your own life. But just like in Marie’s heart, we, too, can choose to let that one Light still shine. If we follow that Light, one step at a time, we’ll discover that love story for which we were all made.
You can read more about Marie’s book here. I discovered this book recently and couldn’t wait to write this review of her story.
1 Marie Monville, One Light Still Shines (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013).
What about You?
How has God helped you triumph over tragedy? I’d love to hear your comments.
It’s Your Turn
Please leave your comments below. Your words might encourage someone today. You won’t be hounded, prodded, or automatically added to my mailing list if you leave a comment. Feel free to email this Christian blog to someone or to re-post on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media, using the buttons below, or to “like” it below or on my Facebook networked blog. If you want to re-post any of my blogs on your own blog or website, please contact me for permission first. And I’d love for you to sign up for my blog/newsletter and updates at the top of this website page/sidebar if you’ve not already done so. That way, I can drop this encouraging blog into your e-mail box weekly, as well as notify you occasionally of any new updates, specials, contests or book giveaways
December 23, 2013
This is the 23nd in a series of daily Christmas blogs: 25 Christmas Prayers celebrating the names of our precious Lord. Featured today is Light of the World. I hope these simple prayer blogs will enrich your Christmas season and draw you close to the One who is the true reason for Christmas. (I’ll return to my regular, weekly blogs after Christmas).
Day 23 – Light of the World
Jesus, how many times have we stumbled through the dark in the middle of the night trying to find our own way? Why would we choose to go through life the same way? You are the Light of the World, shining in the darkness. Read more
December 19, 2013
This is the 19th in a series of daily Christmas blogs: 25 Christmas prayers celebrating the names of our precious Lord. Featured today is Jehovah Shammah, The Lord Is There. I hope these simple prayer blogs will enrich your Christmas season and draw you close to the One who is the true reason for Christmas. (I’ll be returning to my regular, weekly posts after Christmas).
Day 19 – Jehovah Shammah, The Lord Is There
Lord, when our hearts are failing, where can we go? You are our source of strength. You will hold our hand when our steps falter. In the midst of danger, persecution, or emotional confusion, You are there. Read more
December 16, 2013
Today is the 16th in a series of daily Christmas blogs: 25 Christmas Prayers celebrating the names of our precious Lord. Featured today is Jehovah-Raah, The Lord Our Shepherd. I hope these simple prayer blogs will enrich your Christmas season and draw you closer to the One who is the true reason of Christmas. (I’ll be returning to my regular, weekly posts after Christmas).
Day 16 – Jehovah-Raah, the Lord My Shepherd
December 15, 2013
Today is the 15th in a series of daily Christmas blogs: 25 Christmas Prayers celebrating the names of our precious Lord. Featured today is Jehovah-Jireh, The Lord Will Provide. I hope these simple prayer blogs will enrich your Christmas season and draw you closer to the One who is the real reason for Christmas. (I’ll be returning to my regular, weekly posts after Christmas).
Day 15 – Jehovah-Jireh, The Lord Will Provide
Lord, how foolishly we worry about what we’ll eat, or what we’ll wear. At times we allow the future to loom as a threat and not a joy. Read more