From Want to Plenty: Thanksgiving (& Update)

Thanksgiving is this week, and so many times we can rush past this time of thankfulness without considering why we celebrate Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims who landed the Mayflower at Plymouth Rock and then worked hard to start their new lives in America went through times of want, and they celebrated Thanksgiving to thank God for all their blessings, whether they had plenty or not. They gave thanks for what they had, changing their mindset of want to plenty.

Psalm 9:1 ESV – “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.”

Today, we have so much and typically live in a state of plenty. However, there’s also many that live in a state of depression, even in the midst of plenty. What’s the solution? For somethe solution is to give thanks for what we do have.

Philippians 4:6-7 ESV – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I can sometimes struggle with loneliness as a single woman. Most of my friends are married or are engaged, and all of my close friends from high school and college are living at least 30 minutes away from me. So, even though I have friends, I can go through times when I don’t hear from them, which can be discouraging. But giving thanks for those friends and what I do have is a way to get over the blues.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV – “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Another thing that helps me is sponsoring children because I can give someone else more so they can go from want to plenty. By helping others, more can go from want to plenty.

Colossians 3:17 ESV – “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

For example, sponsoring children means that they can get food, even when they’re in the midst of a drought. Just think of what gratitude happens because they have something to eat and clean water to drink. But not only that, they can hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and go from want to plenty of faith and salvation!

1 Chronicles 16:34 ESV – “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!”

Also, update: Burusi’s picture on Compassion was updated! He almost doesn’t look like the same child. On the left is the picture from roughly May 2016, and the one of the right is the updated picture.

I praise God for Burusi and all of my sponsored children. They are my friends far away, but we celebrate our friendship together in Christ.

Romans 11:36 ESV – “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.”

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Book Review: The Spurgeon Study Bible

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The Spurgeon Study Bible is a book edited by Alistair Begg and published by Holman. This Bible is written in the CSB translation, and it includes sermons and notes from Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the prince of preachers. This Bible features Spurgeon’s actual handwriting, which I find to be really cool. The Bible has color maps, a concordance, and two ribbon bookmarks.

I really like the font size; it’s very easy on the eyes. The page thickness is just about right, so the text on the previous page doesn’t bleed through much while the page is flat. I think the introductions for each book of the Bible are very helpful; they include the “circumstances of writing,” the “contribution of to the Bible,” structure, and Spurgeon’s take on that book.

One question that I have about this Study Bible is: Did Christian George, who is a “Spurgeon-ologist,” have any work on this book, or did Alistair Begg work on this on his own? I think the contribution from Christian George would have been very helpful. However, this is still a good study Bible. (More information on Spurgeon and Christian George here: https://www.spurgeon.org/)

Overall, I give The Spurgeon Study Bible five out of five stars, and I do recommend this for others who want to learn more about Charles Spurgeon and his sermons. I believe that preachers looking to learn from Spurgeon would benefit from this study Bible. I am a B&H blogger, and I received this book for an honest review.

Letter from Midkenson in Haiti

Midkenson sent me a letter with help from his grandmother. He called me Mom!!!!! Ahh! He’s so cute! Okay, so the news from the letter is that he bought new shoes with his birthday gift.

His dream for his life is to be a pastor. So his prayer request is that he learns more and gains knowledge so that he can be a pastor and tell others about Jesus Christ.

I’m not sure what the drawing is, but it looks like snow men. However in Haiti, they don’t have snow. So, unless someone has told him about snow, it’s got to be something else in the drawing. Maybe it’s people.

Please pray for Midkenson and his family to believe in Christ, to receive solid Biblical teaching, and to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. And please consider sponsoring a child through one of the many organizations, such as Compassion International, Haiti Outreach Ministries, Eden Ministries, or Zimbabwe Outreach Ministries.

Book Review: Classic Hymns

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Classic Hymns is a book published by B&H Books and is filled with devotions using the many hymns that the Church has sung for years. Each hymn is paired with Bible readings, reflection questions, journal prompts, and prayer prompts. The cover is a beautiful, royal blue. The book includes 90 hymns. The premise of the book is to reflect on the words we sing in the hymnody of the Church, which is important so that we don’t sing empty words not based on Biblical doctrine.

Some of my favorite hymns included in this book are:

– A Mighty Fortress is Our God

– Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

– I Surrender All

– Joy to the World! The Lord is Come

– Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

– O Come, All Ye Faithful

– O Worship the King

I rate Classic Hymns five out of five stars, and I hope they come up with a volume two because there’s so many more hymns that could be included. This would be a great gift for the musician or singer in your family who would like a tool to reflect on the many songs we sing in Church.

(I received this for an honest review from BH Bloggers, and this doesn’t change my view of the book.)

 

Book Review: The Apologetics Study Bible – a helpful resource for sharing and defending the Gospel

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The Apologetics Study Bible is an edition of the Christian Standard Bible version, a newer translation of the Bible made by Holman. The Apologetics Study Bible  (ASB) is one that I would recommend to those leading others to Christ and to those looking for direct answers on hot topics related to the Christian faith and the culture around us.

The ASB is available in multiple colors; the one I received is dark gray. It includes a ribbon bookmark and a dust jacket. There are beautifully colored maps in the back of the ASB that add to the information presented. The ASB includes a concordance and an annotated bibliography for more resources to consult for information on related topics.

The pages of the ASB are a little thin because you can see through them to the next page; however, it is still legible. The font size is very nice and easy to read, and this makes me probable to use this Bible more than others. The articles on Apologetics and related topics in the ASB are very relevant and useful. The ASB also explains what other religions believe, which is helpful to knowing the difference between religions.

Overall, I would give the Apologetics Study Bible four out of five stars. I would definitely recommend this Bible to others. I am a B&H blogger, and I received this book for an honest review.

 

Small Gestures Create a Caring Community

Have you ever had someone do something nice for you and for you it was big, but it seemed like nothing to them? Recently my Dad had emergency surgery and during the most stressful parts of his healing process, members of my church and family sent him cards and letters that they were praying for him. It only takes a few minutes to send a card and pray for someone, but the effects it can have ripple through the rest of someone’s life. Dad still had tough days but he knows that people care about him. Small things, like cards, letters, and prayer, can help reinforce and build community, especially among Christian believers.

So if you’re looking for a way to share the love, consider sponsoring a child in a different country. Through sponsorship and letter writing, we can make a difference in another person’s life. The child you sponsor will know that someone cares about them, and that care will ripple through their family and community.

Resources for sponsorship:

P.S. I just received my first letter from Joseph in Kenya!

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Book Review: Reformation 500 – a Book of Church history and the Reformation

I was drawn to this book, Reformation 500 by Ray Van Neste and J. Michael Garrett, because it celebrates the Reformation; while there were multiple reformations, the main and most renowned reformation discussed in the book is the one begun by Martin Luther.

The ultimate question explored in the book is: Is the Reformation still relevant today? The answer is simply yes. This book clearly explains why we should still celebrate the Reformation after 500 years – the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ shared throughout the world, Bible translations, etc. This is to be celebrated because it reformed the Church as well as brought the Gospel to the forefront again. Another wonderful byproduct of the Reformation was the increasing focus on the need for Biblical literacy (and literacy for the general public); once the translations of the Bible began, it made sense that the Church members whether rich or poor needed to be able to read it. Eventually it meant that schools would teach more and more students – that process is not discussed in this book, but it’s something to celebrate as an outcome of the Reformation.

Ray Van Neste and J. Michael Garrett edited this collection of essays. Some topics within the Reformation explored in this book include: The Lollard Movement, Anabaptists, Baptist origins, John Calvin, Martin Luther, the marks of the True Church, Augustine, the Lord’s Supper, preaching in the English Reformation, how the Reformation affected literature, worship music, Rembrandt, contemporary higher education, and more.

I give this book five out of five stars. This book opened my eyes to things I didn’t know before about the Reformation, and I would recommend it for others to read (especially those interested in the Reformation and Church history. I am a part of the B&H bloggers, and I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

New Sponsored Child!

Kevin and Susan Fry from Eden Ministries in Zimbabwe, visited my church on Sunday, and they spoke about their children’s stories. All of the children who live with Eden Ministries have experienced trauma and loss. So, I chose to sponsor Blessed, a girl in the fifth grade.

Blessed in my now seventh sponsored child. I am able to send letters and even gifts to her when the shipping container is available. Child sponsorship is a great blessing in my life, and it blesses both the children and the sponsor!

Blessed

Blessed

Age: 11
Birthday: September 17
Country: Zimbabwe
Grade: 5th grade

More children, like Blessed, need a sponsor.

  • Sponsorship through Eden Ministries looks like:

Child Sponsorship

Commit to Monthly Support

Enable Eden to provide for all the needs of a child holistically in Jesus’ name. You help provide surrogate parents, homes, education, medical care and opportunties that these children lost when their parents died.

Come Visit your Sponsor Child

We welcome and encourage each Sponsor to come and see the reality of the life you’ve impacted through your sacrifice and obedience to Jesus. Come meet the kids, see their faces, hear their laughs and feel their love. You’ll never be the same!

Be Intimately Involved in your Sponsor Child’s Life

We strive to create a deep, real relationship between each of our children and the wonderful people who support them. We long for each child to know God has created love in people across the ocean to take care of their needs and life!

.” (via their website)

Please consider sponsoring a child from Zimbabwe, where Blessed lives, through Eden Ministries.  They are also on Facebook! Please pray that more children from Zimbabwe would be sponsored.

Trusting God in the Storm

This past week and a half has been very stressful for my family. My Dad got sick and had an emergency surgery. We brought him to an inpatient therapy place near our home last night, and Mom texted me a few minutes ago that he’s being sent back to the hospital. So this is a prayer request as well as a blog post.

It’s scary to think what could happen, but at the same time, God is in control. God is sovereign over all. God is working all things for the good of our salvation, which is stated in Romans 8:28.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28, ESV

No matter what happens, we can trust God with our grief, fear, sadness, and any other feelings we have. God can take care of that too.

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” – Jeremiah 32:27, ESV

This past week and a half has been great to see so many of our family, church family, and community pray for Dad and our family. Thank you for praying. And thank God for helping us this far and all of what’s left that He will do. ❤

Pray for Steven, 11 year old attacked in Ecuador

Steven, 11 year old boy

Steven, 11 year old boy

On a recent Sunday, an 11 year old boy in Ecuador was walking home from church when some teens ambushed him, tied him up, doused him with gasoline, and lit him on fire. He ran to a local river to put out the fire, but he is suffering from many burns. That 11 year old boy is Steven, a Compassion International sponsored child, and he needs your help.

Ways to help:

  • Share his story with others on your social media.
  • Pray for Steven and his family.
  • Consider donating money to help cover his medical bills, which, as of June 29, 2017, are $250,000.

For more information about Steven and where to donate, please see this link: https://www.compassion.com/medical-emergency.htm