I have discovered over the years, that life can be challenging. God desires to sustain us as we look for "splashes of His grace" every day. My desire is that through posts, or book reviews, you may find something that points you to the grace of God, and that He ultimately will make a difference in your life.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ask and You Shall Receive

It's almost here. There are only two more weeks until Christmas! With all the ice we've had over the last five days, many people are frantically trying to figure out how they will get their last minute shopping done. I'm one of those people, not only because of the ice, but because my children still haven't given me a lot of ideas. I want to know what they need -- even what they want, but they just can't seem to come up with much.

I guess in one way, that's a good thing. They are not greedy kids. They are content with what they have. They would just as soon receive a little money so they can put it toward things they may need through the year. But I still want to buy them gifts that will excite them -- like the Digimon toy that had Daniel jumping up and down and screaming when he was seven.

I know the real meaning of Christmas. Jesus came to earth to ultimately go to the cross. I know Christmas is not about gifts, and Santa, and material things in life. But there is something about seeing the excitement and joy in a person's eyes when they unwrap a gift and get something they've been dreaming of or needing!

I had been thinking about these things this week and then I saw a video posted on Facebook this morning. It was something WestJet Airlines did for Christmas. Watch the video below for yourself:


There were many different reactions to what WestJet did. Some people commented about how terrible it was to promote commercialism at this time of year. Others saw it as a great marketing ploy. Still others saw the sheer delight it brought to children of all ages! I tended to be in that last group. (Though I did feel really bad for the guy who said all he really needed were socks and underwear -- but hey, that's somewhat of a tradition at our house too!)

That's when it hit me. We love and serve a "giving" God.  No, he's not "Santa Claus" who waits for us to sit on his lap and tell us all the grand and glorious things we want him to bring us, yet He is a God who desires to give us what we need (and even sometimes what we want, if it would be good for us). He did give us His best when He gave us His Son, Jesus!

We all have needs. Some of our greatest needs don't have anything to do with material things. We have emotional and spiritual needs that sometimes overwhelm us. Do we even take time to ask God to give us what we need for those situations? Do we settle for socks and underwear when He's willing to offer us a "spiritual" big screen TV? Do we really believe He can provide us everything we need to make it in this life?

Matthew 7:7-11 tells us:
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!"  
Notice, the child in this passage didn't ask his father for a fancy new car, or a home in the Hamptons. He asked for things he truly needed. Just as an earthly father meets the physical needs of his child, Jesus tells us that our Heavenly Father knows how to give good gifts to His children. He desires to meet our needs. I am as far as you can get from the health/wealth, name it and claim it gospel! This passages doesn't give us liberty to be greedy or selfish. I do not believe we are promised a life of luxury and ease. I've been to India and seen Christians who are persecuted and have nothing and yet are joyful! But I do know God is willing and able to give "good gifts" to His children.

                    Need Peace?    ASK!
                              Need Hope?    ASK!
                                             Need Joy?    ASK!
              Need Forgiveness?    ASK!

Ask and you will receive.  You don't receive because you don't ask!  Believe that you serve a good and gracious and giving God who desires to give good gifts to His children. Ask for what you need and who knows, He may just give you above and beyond what you could even ask or imagine! He's waiting to hear from you!
Are you willing to ask Him for what you need?


Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Wayfinding Bible

I enjoy traveling. I like to go places I've never been before, but I also like returning to places that hold special memories. What I do not enjoy is getting lost on the way.  It's always helpful to have a GPS, map, or someone who has been there before, to help guide the way. In a sense, that is what the Wayfinding Bible is all about. As you venture out on your journey of faith, it is a resource to guide you as you make your way through the Bible.

The Wayfinding Bible is set up with three options for your Bible readings. You can choose the route you'd like to take. There are three options: The Flyover consists of 54 readings. It hits the highlights in the journey from Genesis to Revelation, and gives you a chronological overview of events in the Bible. If you prefer to go a little more in depth, you can take The Direct Route. This plan includes 215 readings and gives you a deeper perspective of how the Bible works together and offers more of the events and stories of the Bible giving you a greater understanding of God and events of the Bible. Finally, if you really want to get the most out of your Bible reading, you may choose The Scenic Route. This option contains 386 readings which takes you through well known and not so well known Bible passages and gives you the most comprehensive and complete journey through God's Word.

Each route is color coded at the top of the pages. You simply follow the route you've chosen throughout the Bible. Sometimes you will jump to another book, or flip back to where you once were, but it tells you exactly what page number your next reading will be on. As you complete your reading you are encouraged to read the "Observation Point" and "Exploration Point" which give you further information to think about - almost like devotional thought.

To make your journey even more interesting, there are helpful features throughout the Bible. There is an introduction to each book of the Bible to give you a general overview of the book, it's place on the biblical timeline, and also to show you how Jesus is seen in that particular book.  As you make your way through the readings, you will find other features like "Getting Your Bearings," which allow you to see exactly where you've been and where you are going, "Historical Markers," which give you further information about locations and fill in background information about the passage, "Scenic Overlooks," which give you an opportunity to pause and take the time to gain further insight about the location, history, people, and God's Word, and "Side Trips," which are topical studies. All these features enhance your understanding of Scripture and makes your time in God's Word even more interesting.

As I reviewed the Wayfinding Bible, I chose the Flyover Route. It hit the highlights, but also had to skip over some important biblical events, simply because of the limited number of readings. For someone new to Bible reading, this route may be less overwhelming, giving them the "basics" and pointing them ultimately to Christ.

With all the options included in this Bible, it may appear a little more confusing than it actually is. The best way to understand how this Bible works is to just use it!  Choose a route, follow the reading plan, and as you read through the Bible, pause and read the supplemental material found in the added features. I really liked how the book introductions showed how Jesus can be found in each book of the Bible. It was also helpful to read the background information about a location. The pictures, maps, and charts are all very colorful, which adds interest. The Bible uses the New Living Translation, which is a version that uses clear, contemporary English. This version is especially helpful for those who are new to the Bible.

Overall, I think the Wayfinding Bible can be a wonderful tool as you navigate through God's Word. The only real downside I would say would be the paperback cover, but it does come in a hardback version at a very affordable price. I would recommend this Bible for those new to the Word as well as for those who have been believers for some time. It could be a wonderful daily reading Bible for the new year!

Simply click here to see a short video about the Wayfinding Bible. It will help you see it in action!

I received this Bible through the Tyndale Blogger program in exchange for my personal, honest review.