4 New Ebook Bundle Deals to Build your Relationships

Leading up to Valentine’s Day, Vyrso has put together four ebook bundles to help guide, strengthen, and counsel relationships. You’ll find resources packed with biblical advice and support on marriage, healing hurt relationships, counseling others, and more. These bundles are available for a limited time only, through 2/15!

Add all four ebook bundles to your library!

Healing & Marriage Bundle

Healing & Marriage Bundle

This bundle features two ebooks focused on healing for a hurting spouse and how to seek redemption and romance in a married relationship. Add this bundle to your digital library for just $5.99—that’s 78% off!

You’ll get Marriage Triage: A Guide to Healing for the Hurting Spouse by Stephen Goode and Choosing Him All Over Again: A Story of Romance and Redemption by Juana Mikels.

In Marriage Triage, Goode writes to tend to the wounded Christian whose marriage is in crisis. When the biblical model of marriage has been broken, Marriage Triage will encourage the hurting spouse to make biblical choices when tempted to give in to emotional decisions.

In Choosing Him All Over Again, Mikls uses her own story of marriage and redemption to help others looking to reconcile their marriage. Mikels tells of her leaving her home, husband, and friends to seek peace and happiness—instead she found Jesus. As her faith grew, God rekindled a longing for her to be reconciled to her husband. See how it all plays out in Choosing Him All Over Again.

 

Military Spouses’ Bundle

Military Spouses' Bundle

Military families and the spouses of those who serve in the military experience a whole different set of challenges and stressors than a non-military family. With this bundle, you’ll get two helpful and encouraging resources to provide some extra guidance on living apart from family, reintegrating after a homecoming, and more, all from an author who has first-hand experience in the matter.

You’ll get two ebooks from Carrie Daws, a writer and military spouse—Reintegration: A Military Spouse’s Biblical Guide to Surviving After the Homecoming and Your Extended Family: A Military Spouse’s Biblical Guide to Surviving Within and Without Your Family. Add this bundle to your digital library for just $1.99!

In Your Extended Family, Daws writes on what the Bible says about dealing with and how to live apart from family, and provides practical answers to the realities of loneliness and depression that can take over with the stress of deployments and more.

In Reintegration, Daws addresses how families left behind best deal with the transition of a military spouse before and after deployment. Daws says that while the Bible doesn’t specifically mention reintegration, God still gives great advice on preparing our hearts and minds so that our marriage can thrive even through reintegration.

 

Counseling & Relationships Bundle

Counseling & Relationships Bundle

Get two ebooks packed with help to overcome anger and resentment in relationships and advice on counseling couples.

You’ll get Overcoming Emotions That Destroy: Practical Help for Those Angry Feelings That Ruin Relationships by Chip Ingram and Dr. Becca Johnson and How to Counsel a Couple in 6 Sessions or Less by Dr. H. Norman Wright. Add this bundle to your digital library for just $5.99—that’s 79% off!

In Overcoming Emotions that Destroy, Ingram and Dr. Johnson guide readers through dealing with anger and help readers identify whether they are “spewers, leakers, or stuffers.” Readers also learn the difference between good and bad anger, how to gain control of their anger, and how to direct it toward constructive ends. The authors cover solid biblical principles as well as the psychological aspects of our emotions, showing readers how they can actually be constructive tools used by God to transform lives and relationships.

In How to Counsel a Couple in 6 Sessions or Less, addresses major marital issues of communication, family issues, decision making, and more. This highly-practical resource for pastors, or anyone in ministry, can be a helpful tool for working to diagnose problems and refer couples to a professional, if necessary.

As Long as We Both Shall Live & Study Guide Bundle

Get As Long as We Both Shall Live: Experience the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted by Dr. Gary Smalley and Ted Cunningham along with the study guide for just $9.99—that’s 72% off!

This paired collection is a great resource for anyone—pastors, small groups, couples—seeking to learn more about building and sustaining a healthy marriage and what the Bible says about marriage.

Smalley and Cunningham show couples how to defuse the ticking bomb of unrealistic expectations and arm their marriage with healthy communication and honest intimacy.

———

Hurry, these bundles are available for a limited time only, through 2/15!

Add all four ebook bundles to your library today.

Comments:   |  Leave a Comment...

Divine Affection: An Excerpt from Beth Moore’s, Audacious

Beth Moore's Audacious

What does it mean to audaciously love Jesus? Beth Moore, in her latest book, Audacious, seeks to explore this question. In this exclusive excerpt from Audacious, you’ll find inspiration on how to love God and people, as addressed in Mark 12:28—31. Don’t miss your chance to win one of five signed copies of Audacious—this giveaway closes February 5.

————————————————————

One of the scribes approached. When he heard them debating and saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked Him, “Which command is the most important of all?”

“This is the most important,” Jesus answered:

Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

“The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.” (Mark 12:28–31)

The tendency of our human nature—at its best—is to reverse the order and make the second command first and the first command second. In other words, first love the ones you can see, then love the One you can’t. It seems perfectly reasonable but, in the exchange of places, we choke the supply and toss the filter. The irony is that the second most important command cannot displace the first without robbing itself. To love God more is never to love people less. It’s to love people best. It’s to relieve them of the responsibility of being your false Christ. It’s to keep their sins against you from being unforgivable and your sins against them from being ignorable. It’s to guard them from our mean-streaks and strong human tendencies to respond to disappointment with punishment. It’s to keep the people close by from cutting their wrists on the razor-sharp blades of our insecurities. It’s to dull the edge of our cravings to be adored. It’s to untie the double knots of codependency. It’s to let the affirmations of others be the overflow and not the essential source of our emotional survival. To love God is to guard man.

Divine affection is a floorless wellspring with the capacity to water every inch of ground your life will ever cover. It makes you capable of loving someone you can’t and appreciating someone you don’t—and not because God suddenly gives you a case of cataracts to keep you from seeing what drives you crazy. God’s love is not blind. Divine love outsourced to human hearts is smart, knowing, and discerning. It is not capped but it is also not easily conned. True love sees. You set your sight with laser-thin focus on Christ alone and, suddenly, your peripheral vision tears wide open and, there, staring straight ahead, you catch a glimpse of an entire vista.

For with You is life’s fountain. In Your light we will see light. (Ps. 36:9)

The catch is, you plant your feet on a land of these wonders only on the other side of faith. We are called by Jesus to jeopardize everything we have and everything we are on this one supreme love, counting all else as loss for the surpassing value of knowing Christ. Only after the risk do we discover the reward: with Him came everything else of ultimate value. Jesus gave voice to a promise in Matthew 6:33 that we can press against our pounding hearts when we fear what we could lose:

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.

To clip the concept in this chapter into its simplest terms, to audaciously love Jesus Christ is not only the best thing you could ever do for yourself. It’s the best thing you could do for those around you even if, at first, they beg to differ. Every relationship in your life stands to benefit from your bold, adventurous affection for Jesus Christ [Click to tweet!], not because you will run them down with a gospel eighteen-wheeler, but because you will walk the gospel out right in front of them. Audacious is not obnoxious. If our spiritual fire burns people instead of warming them, we have zeal without knowledge. When time affords us the luxury—and it doesn’t always—the most effective gospel is show and tell [Click to tweet!]. You share Jesus with your heart by the way you love, with your hands by the things you do, and, yes, of course, you share Jesus with your mouth. Sooner or later, you won’t be able to keep from it. Audacious love unties the shiest tongue.

Comments:   |  Leave a Comment...

5 Biblical Truths on the Importance of the Body God Gave You

What Does God Say About Your Body?

In the Christian church, we spend a significant amount of time caring for our spiritual health. We focus on creating prayer habits, we engage in the church community, and are intentional about reading the Bible. It’s clear why these things matter. But does God care about how we care of our physical bodies, how healthy or in shape we are? Learn from Rick Warren in this excerpt from The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life.

The Christian family I grew up in attended church services every week. I have listened to thousands of sermons on what God has to say about our souls, our minds, our wills, and our emotions. But not once had I ever heard an entire sermon on God’s view of our bodies. The subject was completely ignored. This is why most people still have no theology of health. While our culture is obsessed with physical beauty and sexy bodies, many believers ignore their bodies as if they don’t matter. But they do.

God has a lot to say about the importance of the body he gave you. It is talked about through the Bible. But for the sake of brevity, let me show you just one chapter of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 6:12 – 20:

“I have the right to do anything,” you say — but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” — but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! …

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Wow! This is definitely an in-your-face, tell-it-like-it-is, no-holds-barred description of what God considers to be the right and wrong use of our bodies. In this and other passages of Scripture we learn five radical truths about our bodies that run counterculturally to everything you hear today.

1. My body belongs to God. It is his property, not mine. I don’t own it, God does. He created my body, and he expects me to use it the way he intended for it to be used. Now we naturally rebel against this idea. Our culture teaches us, “My body is mine to do whatever I want to with it.” But God says, “No, you’re wrong. It’s not your body, because you didn’t create it. I made it, and I loaned it to you to live in while I put you on earth, and I expect you to take care of my creation.”

The fact is, everything you can see on earth was created by God. He made it, and he owns it. What you think you own is really on loan. The Bible says, “The body … is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body” (1 Corinthians 6:13).

Today we make the same common mistake Greek philosophers did thousands of years ago. Aristotle, Socrates, and Plato believed in dualism,4 which included the idea that your mind (or spirit) is important, but your body isn’t important spiritually. They devalued the body. In fact, some Greek philosophers taught that your body is evil, so it really didn’t matter if you messed it up.

The Bible tells us the exact opposite. Your body is holy because God made it, and everything God makes has a purpose. We are to bring glory to God with our bodies, so we can’t compartmentalize our lives and think that we can divorce our bodies and live as if only our spirit matters. [Click to tweet!] God owns your body!

2. Jesus paid for my body when he died for me on the cross. As we saw earlier, 1 Corinthians 6:19 – 20 tells us that our bodies have been bought!

Millions of TV viewers love watching American Pickers andPawn Stars because it’s fun to guess how much old items are worth. The owners often think something they own is more valuable than it really is. But the reality is that something is only worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it! You may think your house is worth more, but it’s really only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it.

God has never made a person he didn’t love. If you want to know how valuable your life is to God, just look at the cross. With his arms outstretched, nailed to the cross, Jesus was saying, “This is how valuable you are to me. I love you this much! I’d rather die than live without you.” You are priceless.

Now, if you are worth dying for, don’t you think God wants you to take better care of yourself? If you bought a million-dollar race horse, would you feed it junk food and keep it up all night? Of course not! You would protect your investment. The fact is, Jesus has made an investment in you. He paid for your life with his life, and he expects you to take care of his investment.

3. God’s Spirit lives in my body. When you say yes to God, accepting by faith what Jesus did for you and trusting his grace and forgiveness to save you, then God puts his Spirit inside you as a guarantee of your salvation. The Bible says it like this: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

When God puts his Spirit inside you, your body becomes a temple of God, a residence for his love. So let me ask you this: If you saw someone vandalizing or damaging a temple dedicated to God, wouldn’t you consider that a crime? Of course! But you abuse and vandalize God’s temple, your body, when you deprive it of rest and sleep, overeat, put too much stress on it, and fail to take care of it.

4. God expects me to take care of my body. I am not the owner of my body, but I am the caretaker, or manager, of it. The word formanager in the Bible is steward. Taking care of my body is an issue of spiritual stewardship. In fact, God tells me that one day I will have to give an account for how well I managed everything he gave to me, including my body. I will stand before God and have to answer the question, “What did you do with what I gave you?”

In The Purpose Driven Life I explain how your life on earth is a test, a trust, and a temporary assignment. This life is preparation for our next life, which will last forever in eternity. God is testing you on earth to see what he can trust you with in eternity. He is watching how you use your time, your money, your talents, your opportunities, your mind, and yes, even your body. Are you making the most of what you’ve been given? God isn’t going to evaluate you on the basis of the bodies he gave to other people, but he will judge what you did with what you have been given.

5. God will resurrect my body after I die. God never wastes anything. He gets themaximum use out of all he creates. Right now you are living in the 1.0 version of your body. You will get the 2.0 version of your body in heaven. The Bible says, “By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also” (1 Corinthians 6:14).

We don’t really know what our resurrected bodies will be like, but we do have a few clues. We know that after Jesus came from the grave, he walked around Jerusalem for forty days in a resurrected body. He was seen multiple times by many different groups of people, including one event where more than 500 people saw and talked with him. So we know that other people will still recognize you in the new 2.0 version of your body in heaven, but there will be one major difference: in heaven your body will be perfect, with no blemishes, no broken parts, no wounds, and no pain.

Did you notice the phrase by his power in that last Bible verse? This is what makes The Daniel Plan different from other approaches. It is built on trusting in God’s power to help you change, not merely your own willpower. Let’s be honest. Willpower works for a few weeks, or maybe a month or two at best. This is why New Year’s resolutions never last. Trying to change by willpower alone is exhausting. You can keep it up for a while, but it feels unnatural and stressful to force yourself to be different simply on the basis of willpower.

In The Daniel Plan you will learn the power of prayer, the power of faith, the power of letting God’s Spirit refocus your thoughts, the power of fellowship and community in a supportive small group, and most of all, the power of God’s Spirit inside you, helping you to make the changes God wants you to make and you want to make.

————————————————

Join Rick Warren, Dr. Daniel Amen, and Dr. Mark Hyman in The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life and learn how to optimize your health in the key areas of faith, food, fitness, focus, and friends. Through 1/12, save on companion devotionals and ebooks to The Daniel Planget The Daniel Plan Jumpstart Guide: Daily Steps to a Healthier Life for just 99 cents and The Daniel Plan 365 Day Devotional: Daily Encouragement for a Healthier Life for $1.99!

Comments:   |  Leave a Comment...

Discipleship: It Looks Like Jesus

Discipleship: It Looks Like Jesus

Today’s guest post is Rebecca Davis, collaborating author of Tear Down This Wall of Silence: Dealing with Sexual Abuse in Our Churches (an introduction for those who will hear.) She is an author and editoe with a passion to help the oppressed, and is currently on  the advisory board of Speaking Truth in Love Ministries.

 

What does discipleship look like if you have a painful past?

It looks like Jesus.

What does discipleship look like if you’re interacting with people who have painful pasts?

It looks like Jesus.

Sometimes Jesus did things that left his friends’ mouths hanging open, not just with his miracles, but the scandalous ways he berated the scribes and Pharisees.

But more often, the discipleship of Jesus took place in the simple nitty gritty of life.

You need faith like a grain of mustard seed.

Follow me.

Why is that storm making you afraid? (Hear the gentle voice.) Where is your faith?

Follow me.

Hold my commands in your heart if you love me. Then my Father and I will love you, and I will reveal myself to you.

Follow me.

One of the ways we follow Jesus is in the way we treat his fellow disciples. [Click to Tweet!] He is our Example in discipleship, as in all of life.

Jesus knew his destiny. He had been given authority over all things.

We as Christians know our destinies. We’re seated in the heavenlies with him.

Jesus knew where he came from. He had come from God.

We know where we’ve come from. We’ve been lifted out of the pit, and now our feet are set upon the solid rock of Christ.

Jesus knew where he was going. He was going back to God.

We know where we’re going. We’re headed toward an eternal glory with him.

And so . . . and so . . .

Jesus took the position of the lowliest of the lowly and washed his disciples’ feet.

When we’re grounded in the faith of Christ, we’ll happily take the lowliest place and wash the feet of others.

Because it’s what our Savior and Master did.

It’s what disciples do.

Not because we’re obligated. Not because it’s on a ‘List of Things to Do.’

But because by faith we know who we are. We know where we came from. We know where we’re going. We know who our savior is.

In the down and dirty, the nitty gritty, and painfulness of life, we’ll wash the feet of others.

Because we love as Jesus loves.

***

You can get Rebecca Davis and Dale Ingraham’s ebook, Tear Down This Wall of Silence: Dealing with Sexual Abuse in Our Churches on Vyrso today. The ebook provides—through personal memoir, voices of authoritative professionals, and the words of abuse survivors themselves—a foundational explanation of the problem of sexual abuse in churches and its aftermath, and offers hope for real change.

Comments:   |  Leave a Comment...

Resurrecting Clay

getting-through-what-you-cant-get-over-moving-past-your-pain-into-lasting-freedom

Today’s guest post is by Anita Agers-Brooks, author of Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over: Moving Past Your Pain into Lasting Freedom available for pre-order on Vyrso. Agers-Brooks is also an inspirational business and life coach and an international speaker.

We live in a world of makeovers. People, relationships, homes, careers—it seems there’s nothing reality TV won’t reconstruct. By the numbers of viewers, it seems everyone wants a change. But no one wants transformation to take place through pain.

This makes me think of Christ’s plea in Luke 22:42. As he anguished in the Garden of Gethsemane, I imagine his knees ground so hard into the dark soil that his imprints remained once he stood. His eyes looking to heaven. His hands gripping his scalp as he cried out, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

And yet, without his death, there could be no resurrection.

According to Merriam-Webster, to resurrect is to bring back to life, to cause (something that had ended or been forgotten or lost) to exist again, to be used again, etc.

As defined by the dictionary, how many of us long for a resurrected life? A transformation? A makeover? But what are we willing to give up in order to receive it?

Just over a decade ago, I went through a period I call my Jobette years. Think female version of Job. Near death, betrayal, financial challenges, prodigal child, loss of my eyesight over an extended interval, a tsunami of painful events that threatened to break me. But I have a confession.

Prior to the start of this deeply painful period, I had offered a prayer. “Lord, I know I fail you. You are the potter and I am the clay. Too often I don’t look like someone made in your image. Please break me down and remold me.”

Yes, I now know—be very careful what you ask for.

But I also know something else:

  • The power of complete and total submission to God’s will
  • The transformational ability of Jesus’ saving ability to transform the ashes of our lives into a crown of beauty
  • The comfort available through the supernatural touch of the Holy Spirit

In the midst of my sorrows—mask off—I cried out in raw and honest anguish, much like Christ did in Gethsemane. My prayers were a bit different, but the core message was the same.

One night in my living-room floor, I fell to my knees and prayed, “I know I’m supposed to forgive, but right now I really don’t want to. I need you to rip the roots of bitterness out of my heart and plant flowers of forgiveness in their place.”

Another time, as a thunderstorm raged around me, and rain pelted my face, I stood in my front yard, arms raised in desperation, and said, “I know I’m supposed to thank you in all things, but I can’t imagine how I’ll ever be able to thank you for this.”

Though there was no instant flash of healing or magic wand–waving improvements, God absolutely heard my cries.

Over time, He corrected my want to.

Then He taught me to forgive.

And today, I not only thank Him for every experience, but I praise Him for resurrecting my life through them.

Today, the messages that resonate the most with audiences I address, come from that excruciating period. My latest book, Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over, was born out of my sufferings, and the true stories of many others who endured things many can’t imagine. We each discovered purpose through our pain.

It’s interesting that Job received a double portion blessing after going through multiple tragedies. I’m sure he would not have chosen that path. I wouldn’t have chosen mine either. But today, I am grateful.

In the final chapter of Getting Through, I share many key things I’ve learned from enduring things I’ll never get over. One is a Twelve-Step map I follow today.

Number three says this: “Take a risk and believe God. This is different from believing in God.”

Jesus demonstrated more than belief in God, he showed us what it looks like to trust Him. To die to self. And as a result, Christ was raised from the dead to do greater things.

One day, our troubles will become memories of the past. If we allow Him, God the potter can take the dust of our pain, mixed with tears from our sorrow, and remold us.

Our pain is not wasted. It is the foundation for transformation. It’s true we may go through things we’ll never get over, but with Christ, we will be made new. God is still in the business of resurrecting clay.

* * *

Want to read more from Anita Agers-Brooks? Pre-order her new ebook—scheduled to ship April 1—Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over: Moving Past Your Pain into Lasting Freedom for just $9.74 on Vyrso.

Comments:   |  Leave a Comment...

Top 4 Bundles from the 24 Days of Vyrso

If you haven’t had a chance to browse our selection of titles available during the 24 Days of Vyrso, there are some awesome deals you won’t want to miss. We have exclusive savings on the titles you love! Through January 9, you can save upwards of 65% on ebooks by Kevin DeYoung (Day 6), Thom Rainer (Day 7), Greg Laurie (Day 9), and Josh & Sean McDowell (Day 10 & Day 23). To help you find our most popular bundles, here are four of our best sellers so far!

Top 4 Best-Selling Ebook Bundles:

Day 11: John MacArthur Jr. Bundle—get it for $13.99!

Learn from John MacArthur Jr. with three ebooks for just $13.99! You’ll get Our Awesome God, The Keys to Spiritual Growth, and Truth Endures. Each resource ispacked with MacArthur’s in-depth focus on unpacking scripture. Save $25 when you download this ebook bundle.

 

Day 19: Shepherd Press Bundle—get it for $11.99!

Our Shepherd Press Counseling Bundle is filled with small booklets aimed at helping you equip, encourage, and counsel those around you. Whether it is an ebook for yourself or one that might help you answer a friend’s questions, the Shepherd Press Counseling Bundle is a helpful companion to dealing with debt, cancer, depression, terminal illness, and many other difficult topics. We’ve discounted this bundle for just $11.99—you’ll save $25.82!

 

Day 15: Men of Character Bundle—get it for $41.99!

This 12-ebook bundle by Gene Getz examines role models of the Old and New Testaments in situations relevant to modern times. You’ll get ebooks on the Apostles, Nehemiah, David, Moses, Jacob, Joseph, Abraham, Paul, Joshua, Elijah, Samuel, and Daniel. Download all 12 for just $41.99, saving you over $77.89!

 

Day 12: Pastoral Leadership Bundle—get it for $13.99!

In The Pastoral Leadership Bundle, you’ll get Pastor’s Handbook, which is helpful in handling real life pastoral issues (“things that might have fallen through the cracks in seminary.”) The Empowered Leader by Calvin Miller shows how following David’s example can turn you into the leader you can be, the leader God wants you to be. In Season of a Leader’s Life, Jeff Iorg identifies Peter from the Bible as someone who lives through all three phases of a leader’s life—learning, leading, and leaving a legacy. Finally, Deacons by Henry Webb deals with every aspect of the roles and offices of deacons in the church. Get all four for just $13.99 and save $27.97!

***

Explore all of the 24 Days of Vyrso deals by scrolling through the full selection on vyrso.com/24days! But hurry, all bundles expire January 9 at 11:59 p.m. (EST).

 

Comments:   |  Leave a Comment...

5 Tips for Praying with Your Family

iStock_000005342281XSmall

While contemplating what it means to be a leader in the home, I remembered a post that my friend Jayson wrote in 2012, 5 Tips for Praying with Your Children. Many of you might have missed the post two years ago, and I felt that this previous content would fit well within our leadership theme this month. Here are 5 tips for praying with your family:

1. Plan Your Prayer Time

If you don’t plan for prayer time with your family, it just isn’t going to happen regularly. It is amazing how life can get in the way of something that is so important. By the time you get dinner, bath time, and all of the other daily details taken care of, an evening can really get away from you. Make a plan for prayer time—even if you don’t have kids—and stick to it.

 2. Take Advantage of Impromptu Opportunities to Pray

Don’t compartmentalize prayer and the chance to lead. The more we can communicate that prayer and our relationship is something we set aside time for and a natural reaction to daily events, the better your family will understand their relationship with God. So when you’re on the way to Grandma’s and you pass an ambulance with its lights on, take a moment to pray for the people involved. When your child is having a hard time with another kid at school, take a moment to pray about the situation.

3. Make a List of Things You Can Pray for with Your Family

Get a little notebook and ask your family what you should pray for—even if it is just you and your spouse. Not only will it help them keep focused, it makes a wonderful keepsake that you can pass along to your kids or grandchildren.

4. Discuss Answers to Prayers

When you keep a regular list of things you’re praying about, you see God at work. Going over things you have been praying about regularly enables your entire family to see the different ways God answers prayer. The point isn’t to tell everyone how God is answering prayers but for your kids, your spouse, anyone to tell you. It’s spectacular to see your family growing more aware of God’s hand in their lives.

5. Incorporate Scripture into Your Prayers

Does your family have a memory verse this week? Are there some verses from your devotions that you can pray about? Help you and your family internalize God’s promises and character by praying those things back to Him. Encouraging your family to pray the Scriptures is a powerful way to make the Bible come alive.

 

What does praying with or for your family look like? Share your thoughts in a comment!

Comments:   |  Leave a Comment...

The Power of Story

fear-has-a-name-a-novel

The following guest post is by Creston Mapes, author of the inspirational thrillers Sky Zone, Poison Town, and Fear Has a Name. He has written for some of the world’s most recognized corporations, colleges and ministries, and has ghost-written seven non-fiction titles. His early years as a reporter inspire many of his novels.

The following excerpts are reprinted with his permission from the novel Fear Has a Name.

***

The husky man lurking outside the front door of Pamela Crittendon’s house carried a black leather satchel, like a doctor’s bag.

His face was hardened and pasty, with tiny eyes and a thatch of curly red hair. He wore all black, from his T-shirt and leather vest to his jeans and cowboy boots. And he stood uncomfortably close to the door.

The doorbell rang a third time.

Pamela’s head buzzed.

He clamped the doorknob. “Open!”

The hardware made a sickening racket.

“Get out of here!” Her stomach turned. “I’m calling the police!”

She rushed for the phone in the kitchen.

Boom!

Pamela halted, turned toward the noise at the door, and gawked in horror as the stranger bent over and drove his shoulder—the size of a medicine ball—into the door, splintering the wood frame.

BOOM!

• • •

After the home invasion, from which Pamela and her children escaped, the following conversation ensued between Pamela and her husband, reporter Jack Crittendon.

“I want us to get a gun,” Pamela said.

Jack’s face fell.

“How else will we defend ourselves if he comes back?”

Jack’s mouth sealed and his eyes narrowed.

“We can’t count on a patrol car coming by here once every few days,” she said.

He still didn’t speak.

“Your dad had a gun,” Pamela said. “Mine has one.”

“Does that make it safe?”

“Safe? Let’s talk about safe! There’ll be nothing left to keep safe if he comes back!”

Pamela waited, resolute.

“Look,” he finally said, “his coming back today raises the stakes, I admit it. I just think that before we buy a gun and learn to use it—which we can certainly do—we need to ask ourselves if that’s the best choice, the wisest choice. Is it what God wants? If it is, great; we’ll do it.”

Pamela’s head dropped into her hands. She didn’t want to talk about what God wanted. Not now. She knew what she needed and that was all there was to it. Her mind and body and spirit felt utterly spent, and the day was only half over.

“I understand you felt helpless,” Jack said. “We just need to make sure we both agree completely before we decide to keep a weapon in this house that can take someone’s life . . .”

• • •

In my book, Fear Has a Name, there’s been a home invasion. Time reveals that the young wife and mother in the book, Pamela Crittendon, is being stalked by a former classmate. She wants a gun in the house to defend herself and her children in case the fiend returns. Her husband feels they need to discuss some important issues — would it be safe to have a gun with two girls in the house; would you be willing to use the gun and shoot to kill; is this something God wants for us?

Gripping fiction can cause readers to think about things from a perspective they never had before, and perhaps even explore the issues in greater depth once they’ve put the book down.

One of my intentions when writing fiction is to cause readers to stop and think, and to contemplate controversial issues they may have never come to terms with before. All six of my books have reflected what God was doing in my life at the time of writing.

One of the biggest questions I was wrestling with when I wrote Fear Has a Name was, why do terrible things happen to good people, especially Christians? Why does God allow such trials for His children? This was burdening me. Here is a quote I found that we inserted at the beginning of Fear Has a Name, reflecting on those same weighty questions:

 “It’s a very long story, but the short version is this:

I realized that I could no longer reconcile the claims of faith

with the facts of life . . . I could no longer explain how there can be a good and

all-powerful God actively involved with this world, given the state of things.

For many people who inhabit this planet, life is a cesspool of misery

and suffering. I came to a point where I simply could not believe that there is a

good and kindly disposed Ruler who is in charge of it.

Bart D. Ehrman

Indeed, are we Christians supposed to skim over unfairness and atrocities — purposefully squelching any thought of them? How do we reconcile events like 9-11, the Holocaust, the ISIS beheadings, and things like home invasions, kidnappings, and random rampages?

I still don’t have a concrete answer. These things grieve me. My heart mourns for the people impacted. But, somewhere deep down in my soul, I know my Maker reigns. And that became the overarching theme of Fear Has a Name: “No matter what — even the unthinkable — God is in control. He is bigger. Mightier. On His throne. And I can trust Him; I must trust Him. Who else can I turn to in my distress, but the Maker of heaven and earth?”

We ended the book with several thought-provoking statements that I found in my research:

“Evil is a departure from the way things ought to be.

But it could not be a departure from the way things ought to be unless

there is a way things ought to be. If there is a way things ought to be,

then there is a design plan for how things ought to be.

And if there is such a design plan, then there is a designer.”

R. Douglas Geivett

 

“Thus it is not like a child that I believe in Christ and confess him.

My hosanna has come forth from the crucible of doubt.”

Anne Fremantle

I wonder if a fictional story has ever had a profound or life-changing impact on you? If so, we would love to hear from you — on that, or any other thoughts or opinions this blog may have brought to mind.

Comments:   |  Leave a Comment...

Simply Trusting: The Story of Lysa Terkeurst

Blog_400x400

Recently, we had the privilege of interviewing Lysa Terkeurst about her new book, and her insight into making wise decisions. Her powerful message helps free Christians who are trapped by indecision and burdened by choices. Now, she’s on the cover of the next issue of Bible Study Magazine!

Subscribe to Bible Study Magazine today, and save over 32% off the cover price!

God doesn’t make mistakes

Check out this excerpt from the cover story:

“When Lysa TerKeurst—author, speaker, and mother of five—began working for Proverbs 31 Ministries, she felt ‘like God made a mistake in calling me because I was hyper-aware of my imperfections.’ Then, through a friend’s Bible study, TerKeurst discovered ‘the concept of my identity being in Christ—that I was a dearly loved child of God, and his love is not based on my performance.’ Now, ‘reading God’s Word is exciting because I need it. I am so desperate to know how to do life in the way God wants me to.’”

BSM is full of articles and tools to help you grow in your faith. Along with a fantastic article on Lysa Terkeurst, the September-October issue digs into The Gospel through Oppression and Freedom with Pastor Gelu Paul-Faina, and explores 1–3 John with “Not Your Average Bible Study.” You’ll also find D.I.Y. Bible study tips, thoughts from the Church fathers, things they don’t tell you in church, and more.

Subscribe to Bible Study Magazine to get the Lysa Terkeurst issue. For more from Lysa Terkeurst, check out her new book, The Best Yes, available now!

Comments:   |  Leave a Comment...

Developing a Lifelong Marriage

the-mountaintop-of-marriage

A lot of people discount V-Day as just a “Hallmark Holiday.” While the naysayers may be on to something, I still choose to celebrate the day with my wife. I don’t go over the top; I try to keep it simple and focused. I’ll write her a letter, buy her flowers or chocolate, or maybe make a special dinner—who wants to fight the crowds? The key isn’t to focus on one single date, but to continue these acts of simple love and affection throughout the year.

I do all of this to celebrate the love we share, encourage my wife, and continue a lifelong marriage. When over 50% of marriages fail, I think it takes something special—more than a spark: a lasting flame—to keep a marriage going.

A flame needs three things: oxygen, fuel, and a spark. If there isn’t a spark or enough oxygen and fuel, the fire can’t brighten the spirits of those around it. A marriage is very similar, especially for Christians. It needs more than that first spark. If we don’t include God in our marriages, the fire can’t be sustained very long; pride, selfishness, and society will quickly extinguish the flame. If both partners aren’t willing to serve, the marriage will eventually fizzle.

If you feel like your marriage is fading, or you simply want to keep building it up, let me encourage you with two ebooks’ worth of wisdom:
1) Lifelong Love Affair by Jimmy & Karen Evans, discounted to $4.99 today only
2) The Mountaintop of Marriage by Marriage Today, exclusively marked down today to $5.00

What are some of the ways you care for your spouse or significant other?

Comments:   |  Leave a Comment...

Copyright 2016 Faithlife / Logos Bible Software