Favorites from the Book of all Books: God’s Word

It’s always fun to talk books. Fun to share what we’re currently reading, fun to tell what our favorites are, and fun to pick up some great recommendations for future reads. Today let’s talk about the Book of all books—the Bible, also known as the Word of God.

As I tell the little ones in my nursery-age Sunday School class, the Bible is a special book. In fact, it’s the most treasured book I own, as well as my absolute all-time favorite to read. When it comes to other books, even the ones I fall in love with or am blown away by, none stay as close to my heart as the Bible. After I read others, I put them on a shelf and only think of them occasionally. I might pick them up again and reread them years later, but they don’t impact my life every day.

Not so with my Bible. I read it daily. I even try to memorize verses I especially need or love. Not only is the Word of God “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16) in my life, it breathes fresh life into me like nothing else can do. It comforts me, guides me, encourages me, and gives me truth I can offer to other thirsty souls. To put it like the Bible itself does, “the word of God is living and active . . .” (Hebrews 4:12)

I’m sure the Bible is life-changing and precious to many of you as well. So today let’s share some of our “favorites” from it. What’s your favorite book within the Bible? Favorite story? Favorite verse? I hope you’ll take time to leave a comment and answer any or all of the questions. It’ll be fun to hear what’s especially meaningful to others, won’t it?

I think my favorite book has to be Psalms—maybe because I love poetic writing and music, but it’s also so full of refreshment and encouragement. My favorite story is the Christmas story. For me, it’s just hard to top the angel’s announcement of a Savior born to us all. And favorite verse? That’s a hard one. So many mean so much to me. But one I come back to time and again is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (NKJV)

Okay, it’s your turn. Tell us your favorites from the Book of all books!

“They are not just idle words for you—they are your life.” Deuteronomy 32:47 NIV

*The current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Savio SebastianCreative Commons License

Blessings in the New Year for the Mother of the Bride

As a new year begins, Mother of the Bride, may I pray these blessings from the Word of God (NIV version) over you? I want the very best for you this year as you prepare for one of the best days in the life of your family. So from me to you —

“‘The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.’” Numbers 6:24-26

“May the LORD answer you when you are in distress . . . May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” Psalm 20:1, 4

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14

“May the God of peace . . . equip you with everything good for doing his will . . .” Hebrews 13:20, 21

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way . . .” 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Amen and amen. Have a blessed 2019, Mother of the Bride, and a blessed wedding celebration!

*You might also like to read Mothers of the Bride Need Prayer and Wisdom and Encouragement for the Mother of the Bride.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early February. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Flickr photo by LadyDragonflyCC – Tinsel Time!!!Creative Commons License

How We Can Be Happy Anywhere

6481715361_5595056efc_zDo you ever long to be somewhere other than where you are right now? Maybe live in a different locale or a different home? Work a different job? Maybe even be in a different stage of life or out from under certain family obligations? If you haven’t felt this way in your life yet, chances are you will at some point. I think we all do.

The good news is we don’t have to let our current circumstances dictate our happiness. God can give us a different outlook if we take our eyes off the things we are unhappy about and instead look to him and his Word for peace and joy.

Here are a few things to remember directly from the Word of God that show us how and why we can be happy anywhere, in whatever situation we find ourselves. May we all be blessed, encouraged, and strengthened by the reading of God’s Word today!

“Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge.” Psalm 119:54 NIV

“‘. . . Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’” Joshua 1:9 NIV

“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.” Psalm 139:7-10 NIV

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5 NIV

 “. . . for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11b-13 NIV

*Which of these speaks to you most powerfully today? Can you think of any other scriptures to add?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a Starbucks gift card and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by mike hamerton, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: Secure in God

Mount Moran from Oxbow BendMuch can happen in our lives to shake our security. On a national front, terrorists seek to steal any sense of security and safety we as Americans may have as we live our daily lives. On a personal front, serious losses can rock us to the core. Loss of a loved one, loss of a job and steady income, loss of good health, loss of a marriage. Rejection, failure, and betrayal can all leave us trying to make our way through life on wobbly legs.

What is the answer? Our only certain security lies in God, in depending on and trusting in him. With God by our side, we can indeed experience peace, rest, and joy as we depend on him, when we follow him and allow him to be our strength.

So what are we waiting for? Let’s place our trust in God. Let’s rest secure in him.

“I have set the LORD always before me,
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,” Psalm 16:8-9

*What do you do when you feel your sense of security slipping away?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*My photo (Mt. Moran in Grand Teton National Park)

Guest Blogger RJ Thesman: Finding the Shepherd within Alzheimer’s

1206975922_bff23dabc7_z

While visiting my mother at the assisted living facility, we decided to go to “church.” A visiting pastor would present a brief service and offer encouragement – making Sunday a special day at the “home.”

Although Mom is now in Stage Five of Alzheimer’s Disease, that sacred place within her where God resides has not been forgotten. So she picked up her Bible and we walked down the hall to the reception area.

I wondered how many of the residents would gain anything from the service, but I watched as they sang some of their favorite hymns, their faces aglow with the memory of other places and decades past when they sang with their families sitting next to them in wooden pews.

The pastor asked if the group would help him recite Psalm 23. I suppressed a snicker, certain that none of these folks, including my mother, would remember an entire Psalm, much less be able to recite it. Alzheimer’s is, after all, the memory thief.

But I didn’t realize how deep that sacred place is that resides within the soul, how the word of God digs in so intensely that not even a brain disease can disrupt it.

So I watched and listened as these dear souls, in various stages of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s Disease recited the Shepherd Psalm.

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.”

They quoted the King James version, with none of them missing a beat.

“He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul.”

How many of them prayed that God would restore their lives, do a miracle in their bodies and release them from this disease, this long and tragic goodbye?

“He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

A righteous life includes reading the word of God and hiding those words in their hearts so that when the end of life comes, when those final years flip over onto the calendar, they hang on to what really matters.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; they rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

These saints understand better than I because they live in that valley. I could see it in their eyes, in the faces accessorized with various shades of gray hair, the shining baldness of the men. This valley they knew and only God could help them walk through it unafraid.

“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.”

Food no longer provides comfort because the appetite is gone, the taste buds have forgotten a favorite flavor or the joy of family meals. Yet smiles surfaced around the group – maybe a dim remembrance of God’s anointing on a life, the cup of joy that once ran over and now waits for its fulfillment.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life….”

My mother, her voice clear, her eyes bright – solid in her faith and waiting for her timeline to end.

“And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Amen.

RJT - pic for 2nd book (3)RJ Thesman writes as a daughter whose mother is disappearing into the shadows of Alzheimer’s Disease. The Reverend G trilogy, published by CrossRiver Media, uses a fictional story to encourage caregivers and help readers understand how the Alzheimer’s patient might be thinking as she journeys through the Long Goodbye. Thesman’s books are available from her publisher at CrossRiverMedia.com and also on Amazon and Kindle. You can follow Thesman’s blog and sign up for her newsletters at RJThesman.net.

*The Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is underway. Details are in my Oct. 19 post and sign-up is to the right under “Free For You.” Deadline is 6 p.m. Nov. 11. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

*Flickr photo by Jon Ragnarsson, Creative Commons License