Tag: pastoral care

NLT Life Recovery Bible Review

NLT Life Recovery Bible Review

The Life Recovery Bible is one of my favorite Bibles from Tyndale House Publishers. I have the 1st Edition in hardcover and burgundy bonded leather, the KJV Edition in hardcover, and the 2nd Edition/25th Anniversary Edition in a large print hardcover format.  Now we are reviewing the 2nd Edition in a brown leatherlike cover and large print hardcover

 

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Note Tyndale House Publishers sent each Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review; my opinions are my own.  

 

The Life Recovery Bible is a joint venture between Tyndale House Publishers and New Life Ministries.  

 

Product Description from New Life 

The Life Recovery Bible is today’s #1-selling recovery Bible and is based on the 12-step recovery model. It was created by two of today’s leading recovery experts, David Stoop, Ph.D., and Stephen Arterburn, M.Ed., to lead readers to the source of true healing—God himself. 

Designed for both the Christian who is seeking God’s view on recovery and the non-Christian who is seeking God and answers to recovery, the Life Recovery Bible will lead readers to the source of true healing – God himself. 

The features of this best-selling Bible include: 

 

8.5 point text, standard size and 10.5 point text for large print

Double-column format 

Book introductions 

User’s Guide 

Life Recovery Topical Index 

Index to recovery profiles 

Index to Twelve Step Devotionals 

Index to Recovery Principle Devotionals 

Serenity Prayer Devotionals 

Index to Recovery Reflections

*Now with new video introductions (online via QR codes) to each of the 12 Step Devotionals featuring Stephen Arterburn, and a topical Bible Verse Finder to help the reader quickly find what the Bible says about common issues. 

 

Special Note: the 1st and 2nd editions of the Life Recovery Bible have the same pagination so that group members can follow along regardless of which they use. The KJV Edition, however does not have the same pagination. 

 

Translation Choice 

The Life Recovery Bible 2nd Edition continues the tradition of being offered in the New Living Translation. There was a special edition offered in the KJV but, to my knowledge, it did not do as well as the NLT edition.  

 

New Living Translation (NLT) is very much a meaning-based translation. It is designed to help us approach the Bible in the same manner as the original hearers would have done. The reading level is around sixth grade, the idea being that the simple and approachable language will make the Bible more accessible to disciples.  

 

Cover and Binding 

Life Recovery Bible is available in hardcover, soft cover (paperback), and brown imitation leather. As far as I can tell, the paperback edition has a glued text block where the hardcover certainly looks to have a sewn text block.  

The hardcover is composed of standard book board.Tyndale’s Imitation Leather is rather convincing. It is quite soft to the touch and there is not a ton of distinguishing tactile difference between the imitation leather and a genuine leather.  

 

Layout and Font 

The text is laid out in a double column paragraph format. We have a black-letter text, ideally suited for full color annotation.  

 

Notes are also in a double column format and the devotionals are given a separate call out box. 

 

Content 

Recovery Notes–Placed throughout the Bible text, these notes pinpoint passages and thoughts important to recovery.  

 

These notes are very application based. It is important to remember that a 12 Step Recovery Program is a discipleship program designed to help us apply the soul freeing truths of the Scripture to our lives.  

 

Twelve Step Devotionals–A reading plan of 84 Bible-based devotionals tied to the Twelve Steps of recovery and placed throughout the Bible text. 

 

Some form of meditation is often used in 12 Step Programs and these devotionals go a long way toward helping us to meditate on the Scriptures. Ultimately, it is the internalization of the Scripture that makes us successful in recovery.  

 

Serenity Prayer Devotionals–Based on the Serenity Prayer, these devotionals provide an additional resource fo meditate on the Scripture.  

 

Recovery Profiles–Key Bible characters are profile,  and important recovery lessons are drawn from their life lessons.  

 

Recovery profiles are critically important to those of us in recovery. So often, we are tempted to view the men and women of the Bible as larger than life, perhaps even models of Christian perfection and we forget that the Bible’s Characters dealt with weaknesses and sins just the same as we do.  

 

Recovery Themes–Prominent recovery themes are discussed at the openings of various Bible books. Specifically, they show which topics are handled by each book of the Bible.  

 

 

Is this a niche Bible? 

That answer depends on how you define a niche. I do not find this to be a niche Bible simply because every human is affected but the terminal illness of sin and Christians are recovering, so to speak, from our defections from God and His holiness.  

 

The Life Recovery Bible in Real Life 

Does the Life Recovery Bible only speak to addicts? Nope. Persons who have friends and family in recovery will benefit from the Life Recovery Bible as they try to help guide their loved ones through the recovery process.  

Spiritual Renewal and Recovery Themes in Revelation

Spiritual Renewal and Recovery Themes in Revelation

Redemptive History reaches its final culmintation in the Book of Revelation and it is here where God gives us our final lessons on being renewed and restored to relationship with Him and our final lessons on recovering from our sin…

 

God Rules Over All

God is sovereign. He is greater than any other power in the universe. Nothing and no one can compare to him. When we look at the turmoil in the world today, the problems we face, the pain we have suffered or the pain we have caused others, we may wonder whether God will really be able to right all the wrongs. But John wrote this book to assure us that though evil may seem to win today’s battles, God is all-powerful and will assert himself for his people. In the end, all things will be made new in Christ.

God Is the Source of Hope

The book of Revelation reveals to us the ultimate source of hope—Jesus Christ. He is coming again and will deal with the problems of our sin-scarred world, restoring what is broken and dealing with the injustices around us. Life is never hopeless, regardless of what has happened to us or what we have done. We can focus on God’s love, grace and forgiveness. He has made our restoration possible in Christ, and Christ will return to complete his task of renewal throughout all creation. If we are looking to Christ, we can hang on to our hope despite the difficult circumstances that we may face.

The Pain of Consequences

Every one of us cries out for justice. When evil and injustice prosper, we begin to feel angry. It often appears that people get away with their selfish and wicked deeds. But in reality God will judge all wicked actions. Those who openly defy him will ultimately face the awful consequences of their sin. Those who turn to God in repentance for forgiveness need not fear the future day of judgment. Judgment is an awful thing, and the pain of sin’s consequences should motivate us to turn our lives over to God and obediently follow his plan.

Justice Belongs to God

Being in recovery does not release us from our sense of justice. As we deal with the wrongs we have done, we may feel that others are not dealing with theirs and that we have legitimate grudges to harbor. While these feelings are natural, they are not godly and endanger our recovery. The book of Revelation makes it clear that justice belongs to God; he alone has the right to avenge the wrongs of others. What’s more, he alone has the power to change their lives. Anger and bitterness make recovery more difficult than it already is. Part of giving our life and our will over to God is releasing the bitterness we feel toward others.

**This lesson is adapted from the NIV Spiritual Renewal Study Bible and the KJV Life Recovery Bible**

12 Blessings of Life Recovery

12 Blessings of Life Recovery

There are 12 gifts/blessings from God for those who are in recvoery. This lesson is excerpted from the KJV Life Recovery Bible

 

THE TWELVE GIFTS OF LIFE RECOVERY

These twelve attributes are not just results or outcomes for people in recovery, but truly gifts from God. They show that recovery doesn’t merely provide escape from a destructive problem. It also points toward the possibility of a new and exceptional life.

  1. Hope—“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:3-5).

  1. Power—“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

  1. Character—“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

  1. Clarity—“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

  1. Security—“The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil” (Proverbs 19:23). “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32).

  1. Abundance—“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

  1. Wisdom—“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).

  1. Self-Control—“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you” (Romans 8:9). “But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . temperance” (Galatians 5:22-23).”

  1. Freedom—“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).

  1. Happiness—“Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight” (Psalm 119:35). “Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.” (Proverbs 10:2).

  1. Serenity—“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come” (Romans 8:38).

  1. Peace—“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).”

12 Mistakes Made in Recovery (an excerpt)

12 Mistakes Made in Recovery (an excerpt)

The 12 mistakes listed below are common among people in recovery. This lesson is excerpted from the KJV Life Recovery Bible

 

THE TWELVE LAWS OF LIFE RECOVERY

These laws highlight irrefutable truths that you will discover in yourself as you experience recovery while following the Twelve Steps. They provide evidence of the progress you have made and highlight places where growth is still needed. As you experience these laws, you will find—perhaps to your surprise—that the laws of life recovery often give back what they initially seemed to take away.

  1. Powerlessness will result in STRENGTH.

We struggle with the feeling of powerlessness because it feels so much like we are helpless. But God often works healing in our lives through what to us is weakness. It is paradoxical that as we experience recovery in our lives, we will find there is great strength in recognizing our powerlessness.

“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:25)

  1. Humility will result in HONOR.

In our journey of life recovery, it is easy to take pride in the positive changes we are making in our lives. But in God’s plan, honor is not something we should seek. It is something we receive as we learn to live in humility. Humility is the path to being honored by God and by others.

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:10)

  1. Connection will result in LOVE.”

We all long to be loved, but we overlook the fact that being loved always takes place in an emotionally connected relationship. Prior to our recovery, we lived in emotional isolation from others. But God designed us for connection—for relationship. That’s the only context in which we can experience true love.

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. . . . Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:7-8, 11-12)

  1. Willingness will result in GROWTH.

There is the childlike part within all of us that wants to say, “I can do it on my own,” and “I can do it my way.” But true recovery in our  lives begins when we are willing to do it God’s way. That’s not easy, but without a willingness to be open to God’s plan, we will limit our growth. It all begins with a willing and open heart.

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” (Colossians 3:23)

  1. Sacrifice will result in FULFILLMENT.

Before we started on our recovery journey, it was easy to think and act as if fulfillment came from getting, or from what we owned. But again, God’s ways are mysterious and not our ways. We learn in our recovery that sacrifice—doing good and sharing with others, not getting—is the true path to fulfillment.

“But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16)”

  1. Faith will result in HOPE.

In God’s plan for our recovery, problems and trials are a part of the path that leads to a hope that will not disappoint us. It is all in how we handle our problems and trials. When we endure the hard stuff, we build strength of character, which then builds our faith. It is that faith which leads to a hope built on knowing we are loved by God.

“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

  1. Surrender will result in VICTORY.

James describes surrendering as being “easy to be intreated.” Here willingness is coupled with surrendering. When we truly surrender ourselves, we are saying to God,  “Your will, not mine.” And a truly surrendered life is a life lived out as a celebration of our victory.

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17)

  1. Service will result in REWARD.

Our acts of service are not to be done in order to gain a reward. They are done out of obedience to what we are learning as we are equipped to do the work of ministry. We are God’s hands, feet, and mouth. As we are faithful in our service, the reward is the peace and satisfaction that comes as the result of our obedience.

“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12)”

  1. Forgiveness results in FREEDOM.

We are called to be forgiving people. When we hold a grudge, we are in bondage to the person we refuse to forgive. We forget that forgiveness involves only us, and that the person we need to forgive really isn’t part of the process. So there is no real excuse for not being obedient and forgiving others as we have been forgiven by God.

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14)

  1. Confession will result in HEALING.

You may have wondered why it is so important to confess your inventory to another person as part of your recovery. Healing comes  as a result of confessing. We experience something powerful when we confess our shortcomings and failures not only to God but also to another person.

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)

  1. Restitution will result in CLOSURE.

Not all acts of restitution are financial repayments, although that can be a very effective way in some circumstances to make restitution. But we need also to make restitution for emotional hurts, or for other non-financial issues. Until we explore ways to make all kinds of restitution, we will struggle with moving on and experiencing closure.

“Then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and he shall recompense his trespass with the principal thereof, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed.” (Numbers 5:7)

  1. Responsibility will result in SECURITY.

This is one of the most obvious results of our experiencing life recovery. We have not only made restitution; we have also begun to act responsibly in all areas of our lives. Responsibility is living up to our part of life, not blaming or expecting someone else to make up for our lack. We experience a genuine sense of security when we are doing our part—living responsibly in our everyday lives.

“And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; every man child among you shall be circumcised.” (Genesis 17:9-10)”

12 Laws of Recovery (an excerpt)

12 Laws of Recovery (an excerpt)

The following was excerpted from the KJV Life Recovery Bible and is used by permission

 

THE TWELVE LAWS OF LIFE RECOVERY

These laws highlight irrefutable truths that you will discover in yourself as you experience recovery while following the Twelve Steps. They provide evidence of the progress you have made and highlight places where growth is still needed. As you experience these laws, you will find—perhaps to your surprise—that the laws of life recovery often give back what they initially seemed to take away.

  1. Powerlessness will result in STRENGTH.

We struggle with the feeling of powerlessness because it feels so much like we are helpless. But God often works healing in our lives through what to us is weakness. It is paradoxical that as we experience recovery in our lives, we will find there is great strength in recognizing our powerlessness.

“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:25)

  1. Humility will result in HONOR.

In our journey of life recovery, it is easy to take pride in the positive changes we are making in our lives. But in God’s plan, honor is not something we should seek. It is something we receive as we learn to live in humility. Humility is the path to being honored by God and by others.

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:10)

  1. Connection will result in LOVE.”

We all long to be loved, but we overlook the fact that being loved always takes place in an emotionally connected relationship. Prior to our recovery, we lived in emotional isolation from others. But God designed us for connection—for relationship. That’s the only context in which we can experience true love.

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. . . . Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:7-8, 11-12)

  1. Willingness will result in GROWTH.

There is the childlike part within all of us that wants to say, “I can do it on my own,” and “I can do it my way.” But true recovery in our  lives begins when we are willing to do it God’s way. That’s not easy, but without a willingness to be open to God’s plan, we will limit our growth. It all begins with a willing and open heart.

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” (Colossians 3:23)

  1. Sacrifice will result in FULFILLMENT.

Before we started on our recovery journey, it was easy to think and act as if fulfillment came from getting, or from what we owned. But again, God’s ways are mysterious and not our ways. We learn in our recovery that sacrifice—doing good and sharing with others, not getting—is the true path to fulfillment.

“But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16)”

  1. Faith will result in HOPE.

In God’s plan for our recovery, problems and trials are a part of the path that leads to a hope that will not disappoint us. It is all in how we handle our problems and trials. When we endure the hard stuff, we build strength of character, which then builds our faith. It is that faith which leads to a hope built on knowing we are loved by God.

“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

  1. Surrender will result in VICTORY.

James describes surrendering as being “easy to be intreated.” Here willingness is coupled with surrendering. When we truly surrender ourselves, we are saying to God,  “Your will, not mine.” And a truly surrendered life is a life lived out as a celebration of our victory.

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17)

  1. Service will result in REWARD.

Our acts of service are not to be done in order to gain a reward. They are done out of obedience to what we are learning as we are equipped to do the work of ministry. We are God’s hands, feet, and mouth. As we are faithful in our service, the reward is the peace and satisfaction that comes as the result of our obedience.

“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12)”

  1. Forgiveness results in FREEDOM.

We are called to be forgiving people. When we hold a grudge, we are in bondage to the person we refuse to forgive. We forget that forgiveness involves only us, and that the person we need to forgive really isn’t part of the process. So there is no real excuse for not being obedient and forgiving others as we have been forgiven by God.

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14)

  1. Confession will result in HEALING.

You may have wondered why it is so important to confess your inventory to another person as part of your recovery. Healing comes  as a result of confessing. We experience something powerful when we confess our shortcomings and failures not only to God but also to another person.

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)

  1. Restitution will result in CLOSURE.

Not all acts of restitution are financial repayments, although that can be a very effective way in some circumstances to make restitution. But we need also to make restitution for emotional hurts, or for other non-financial issues. Until we explore ways to make all kinds of restitution, we will struggle with moving on and experiencing closure.

“Then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and he shall recompense his trespass with the principal thereof, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed.” (Numbers 5:7)

  1. Responsibility will result in SECURITY.

This is one of the most obvious results of our experiencing life recovery. We have not only made restitution; we have also begun to act responsibly in all areas of our lives. Responsibility is living up to our part of life, not blaming or expecting someone else to make up for our lack. We experience a genuine sense of security when we are doing our part—living responsibly in our everyday lives.

“And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; every man child among you shall be circumcised.” (Genesis 17:9-10)”

KJV Life Recovery Study Bible

c.1998,2017 Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved

A Sermon for Brian and Jayson

A Sermon for Brian and Jayson

The recent suicide of a colleague got me to thinking about the despair and depression that many face and it took me back to 2005 and the death of an old friend’s younger brother. This is the sermon I wish I could have been there to preach for Brian and I wish I could be there to preach this for Jayson. I could not, in either case, be there but I want to share their sermon in hopes that it will provide comfort for those who are newly grieving or are grieving still…

There exist what I call Psalms in the Key of Mourning. Let us look at one:

Psalm 88

Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out before you day and night. May my prayer reach your presence; listen to my cry.

For I have had enough troubles, and my life is near Sheol.
I am counted among those going down to the Pit. I am like a man without strength, abandoned among the dead. I am like the slain lying in the grave, whom you no longer remember, and who are cut off from your care. You have put me in the lowest part of the Pit, in the darkest places, in the depths. Your wrath weighs heavily on me; you have overwhelmed me with all your waves. Selah

You have distanced my friends from me; you have made me repulsive to them. I am shut in and cannot go out. My eyes are worn out from crying. Lord, I cry out to you all day long; I spread out my hands to you. 10 Do you work wonders for the dead? Do departed spirits rise up to praise you? Selah
11 Will your faithful love be declared in the grave, your faithfulness in Abaddon? 12 Will your wonders be known in the darkness or your righteousness in the land of oblivion? 13 But I call to you for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer meets you.
14 Lord, why do you reject me? Why do you hide your face from me? 15 From my youth, I have been suffering and near death.
I suffer your horrors; I am desperate. 16 Your wrath sweeps over me; your terrors destroy me. 17 They surround me like water all day long; they close in on me from every side. 18 You have distanced loved one and neighbor from me; darkness is my only friend.

 

We can relate to the psalmist, can’t we? What should we learn from the psalmist?

Cry out to God, He is there

In the blackest midnight, God is there. Another Psalm teaches “Even though I walk through the darkest valley of death’s shadow, I do not fear for You are with me.” God the Son, incarnated in the person of Jesus Christ, walked through the same valleys we walk. That is why we do not fear. The LORD has walked the path ahead of us, and guiding us by the hand, leads us along our paths.

He is El Roi (Pronounced as El Roe-ee), the God who sees.

Genesis 16:13, NASB: “Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, ‘You are a God who sees’; for she said, ‘Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?’

El Roi is best translated, “You are the God who sees me.” He is the God who is watching us and will tend to our needs.

There are times when we refer to YHWH Shammah, the Lord who is there. In those references, we are referring to God being in the midst of His holy people, the redeemed.

God understands your deepest pain and there is rest planned

Revelation 22:1-5

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

In the words of the song, “No more dying there, we are going to see the King.”

No longer will there be any curse-All of the attendant griefs and struggles that come with our fallen nature will be, in that moment, gone. When we shall see the King of Mercy, every tear is promised to be gone.

Revelation 21:4 (ESV)

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

My dear friend, indeed you weep for the moment and my heart breaks for your pain so that I weep with you. But that weeping cannot last forever, God has promised not to allow it.

 Grieve the darkness

Weep and mourn; the Lord draws near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). The Lord God, Himself binds your wounds. The very One who cried out that God had forsaken Him can understand your despair and will pour oil on the wound and bind it up so that your hurt can heal.

Trust the Savior, he is an immovable rock

I have dealt with deep depression, though I do not share it much, and I want to share two verses from Isaiah the Prophet that have always been a comfort to me in the darkness of depression.

Isaiah 43:11 (KJV)

11 I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no savior.

Isaiah 44:8

Do not be startled or afraid. Have I not told you and declared it long ago?
You are my witnesses! Is there any God but Me? There is no other Rock; I do not know any.

Like Spurgeon, I have learned to kiss the waves that cast me upon the Rock of Ages. A final verse for your comfort:

Malachi 3:6 (KJV) I, the Lord, change not.

God will not change. His promise to be with His people forever and death will not change that. Death is no more than God’s butler; he will show us to the King’s Throne Room.

Let us pray:

Almighty and most merciful God, we call out for your comfort. Our hearts grieve with words we cannot express. We can only groan in our despair but You search the heart and know our pain. Would you bind up our wounded hearts and minister peace to us? Amen

 

The Bible on Comfort

The Bible on Comfort

In an effort to minister to troubled hearts, we are bringing you this Quick Scripture Reference Guide on Comfort. We pray that, as you study, the Holy Spirit, who is the God of all comfort, will minister peace to your soul.

Friends should comfort each other (Job 2:12-13)
God comforts us (Isaiah 40:1-11)
God promises to comfort those who mourn (Matthew 5:4)
God’s Holy Spirit is our Comforter (John 14:16)
Jesus has overcome the world’s troubles (John 16:33)
God comforts those who are hurting (2 Corinthians 1:3-11)
Christians should comfort each other (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
All pain will end (Revelation 21:3-4) [(2013). 

Peirasmos (Word Nugget)

Peirasmos (Word Nugget)

We are currently living in a time of testing and so I thought this word nugget might be helpful. It is a word familiar to all the Apostles and indeed Christians throughout the ages.

 

peirasmos:

Original Word: πειρασμός, οῦ, ὁ
Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine
Transliteration: peirasmos
Phonetic Spelling: (pi-ras-mos’)

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon:

peirasmos

1) an experiment, attempt, trial, proving

1a) trial, proving: the trial made of you by my bodily condition, since condition served as to test the love of the Galatians toward Paul (Galatians 4:14)

1b) the trial of man’ s fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy

1b1) an enticement to sin, temptation, whether arising from the desires or from the outward circumstances

1b2) an internal temptation to sin

1b2a) of the temptation by which the devil sought to divert Jesus the Messiah from his divine errand

1b3) of the condition of things, or a mental state, by which we are enticed to sin, or to a lapse from the faith and holiness

1b4) adversity, affliction, trouble: sent by God and serving to test or Proverbs one’ s character, faith, holiness

1c) temptation (i.e. trial) of God by men

1c1) rebellion against God, by which his power and justice are, as it were, put to the proof and challenged to show themselves

This word is used 21 times by the New Testament Writers:

  • Matthew 6:13: “us not into temptation, but deliver us from”

  • Matthew 26:41: “ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing,”

  • Mark 14:38: “lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready,”

  • Luke 4:13: “devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.”

  • Luke 8:13: “and in time of temptation fall away.”

  • Luke 11:4: “us not into temptation; but deliver us from”

  • Luke 22:28: “me in my temptations.”

  • Luke 22:40: “that ye enter not into temptation.”

  • Luke 22:46: “lest ye enter into temptation.”

  • Acts 20:19: “with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the”

  • 1 Corinthians 10:13: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God”

  • 1 Corinthians 10:13: “but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye”

  • Galatians 4:14: “And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised”

  • 1 Timothy 6:9: “be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many”

  • Hebrews 3:8: “in the day of temptation in the wilderness:”

  • James 1:2: “when ye fall into divers temptations;”

  • James 1:12: “is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive”

  • 1 Peter 1:6: “need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:”

  • 1 Peter 4:12: “concerning the fiery trial which is to try you,”

  • 2 Peter 2:9: “how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto”

  • Revelation 3:10: “from the hour of testing, which shall come upon all”

Testing/Temptation/Tribulation is assured (John 16:33, James 1:2) We may take comfort, however, in the fact that God has made a way of escape for us.

Temptation is always only a single inducement-the Tempter comes to get us to charge God with being insufficient. Sometimes we will fail and give in to that temptation and other times we will answer, as Jesus did, with “it is written.” In between testing’s we may rightly pray, “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Truly, no Christian wants to pass through the furnace of trials but therein our faith is refined like precious metal. We can paraphrase Spurgeon, “I have learned to kiss the waves that smash me upon the Rock of Ages.

Spiritual Renewal Themes in Revelation

Spiritual Renewal Themes in Revelation

Revelation is one of the more complex books in the Bible but at the same time, we see principles for Spiritual Renewal and we also see the restoration of the creation during the Millennial Kingdom

God Rules Over All
God is sovereign. He is greater than any other power in the universe. Nothing and no one can compare to him. When we look at the turmoil in the world today, the problems we face, the pain we have suffered or the pain we have caused others, we may wonder whether God will really be able to right all the wrongs. But John wrote this book to assure us that though evil may seem to win today’s battles, God is all-powerful and will assert himself for his people. In the end, all things will be made new in Christ.

God Is the Source of Hope
The book of Revelation reveals to us the ultimate source of hope—Jesus Christ. He is coming again and will deal with the problems of our sin-scarred world, restoring what is broken and dealing with the injustices around us. Life is never hopeless, regardless of what has happened to us or what we have done. We can focus on God’s love, grace and forgiveness. He has made our restoration possible in Christ, and Christ will return to complete his task of renewal throughout all creation. If we are looking to Christ, we can hang on to our hope despite the difficult circumstances that we may face.

The Pain of Consequences
Every one of us cries out for justice. When evil and injustice prosper, we begin to feel angry. It often appears that people get away with their selfish and wicked deeds. But in reality God will judge all wicked actions. Those who openly defy him will ultimately face the awful consequences of their sin. Those who turn to God in repentance for forgiveness need not fear the future day of judgment. Judgment is an awful thing, and the pain of sin’s consequences should motivate us to turn our lives over to God and obediently follow his plan.

Excerpted from the NIV Spiritual Renewal Study Bible c.2005 by Zondervan

The Bible’s Answers to Fear

The Bible’s Answers to Fear

This is a season when many are in fear and so we are providing this Reference Guide on Fear in hopes it will help you.

 

  • God promises to protect us (Genesis 15:1)

  • God will not forget us (Genesis 46:3)

  • God leads us through the dark, frightening valley (Psalm 23:4)

  • The Redeemed have no need to fear any longer (Psalm 27:1)

  • God is our source of strength (Psalm 46:1-3)

  • We need not fear darkenss nor violence (Psalm 91:5)

  • We need not fear bad news (Psalm 112:7)

  • Nothing is outside God’s control (Isaih 46:9-10)

  • God does not chnage so we need not fear (Malachi 3:6)

  • We are seald in the hands of Jesus (John 10:28)

  • We are secure inthe Holy Spirit until the Day of Redemption  (Ephesians 1:13, 4:30)

  • Love drives out fear (1 John 4:18)