Thursday, May 18, 2017

Book Review: Beyond Suffering Bible

"But if we share in his glory, we must also share in his suffering."

This year I have been reading the Beyond Suffering Bible during my Bible study time in the morning. I received a free copy through the Tyndale Blog Network, and I am loving it! The Beyond Suffering Bible is a new study Bible from Tyndale and Joni and Friends. It was created specifically for those who suffer from disabilities and chronic illnesses and for their caregivers. 

The Beyond Suffering Bible is an encouraging and helpful resource. If you are wondering what the Bible says about suffering, disabilities, illness, and healing, but aren't sure how to look for answers, this study Bible is a good place to start. It is filled with study notes, devotions, profiles of individuals who have suffered, and many more resources.

Beyond Suffering Bible

As I have been reading the Beyond Suffering Bible this year, I have been reading through various whole books of the Bible, plus the study notes and devotions contained within those pages. But if you wish to follow a reading plan or a topical guide, those are available too.

The Beyond Suffering Bible has ten different five day reading plans on various topics such as:
  • Comforting Those Who Mourn
  • Disability and the Image of God
  • The Role of the Church in Suffering and Disability
  • Praising God through Suffering

There is also topical guide that will help you find devotions, profiles, and study notes on the specific topics you wish to study. This Bible has very nice maps, a concordance, recommended resources, pages for notes, and several articles to aid in your study of suffering from a biblical perspective.

overview of the book of Matthew in the Beyond Suffering Bible

There is a one page overview of each book of the Bible that explains the suffering and disability themes found in that book.

Tychicus Profile in the Beyond Suffering Bible

One of my favorite features in the Beyond Suffering Bible is the profile feature. The profile in the picture above is about Tychicus, and there are many more profiles featuring other people from the Bible. Some of the profiles feature people who are living today with disabilities or people from the past who faced suffering.

Connection Points study note on 1 Samuel 24:17 in the Beyond Suffering Bible

The connection points are another favorite feature of mine. These study notes are scattered throughout the pages of this Bible that help you connect what you are learning to your life affected by suffering and disability.

The Beyond Suffering Bible

Here is Joni Eareckson Tada to tell you more about this new study Bible. If you are reading this in an email, you will need to click over to the blog to see the video.

"Each person retains inestimable value because we are all created in God's image."

I am enjoying the Beyond Suffering Bible, and it is one I plan to keep in my library for a very long time. I received a paperback copy of this book, but I would not recommend the paperback version. The paperback cover is too thin and flimsy for such a big book that will be used often. If you are looking to buy a copy of the Beyond Suffering Bible, I would recommend getting either the hardback or one of the leatherlike bindings.

I received a complimentary copy of The Beyond Suffering Bible from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Raised in Glory

sunrise in the mountains

So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power… Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.  
1 Corinthians 15:42-43, 49
My children never knew me when I was healthy and able-bodied. I have been chronically ill since before they were born, so all they have known is a mom who is tired, weak, and needs to rest in bed for most of the day. When they were young, this seemed normal to them. As they grew older, they began to see that other moms could go on walks with their children, take them to the playground, and spend more time working and playing at home.

It saddens my children to have to miss out on doing many things with me, and it grieves me as well. This struggle has provided wonderful opportunities to talk with my children about Heaven, the New Earth, and the life that awaits believers there (Revelation 21). My children and I grieve the things we cannot do together today, but we also dream about things we will one day be able to do together on the New Earth. We have plans for camping, hiking, climbing mountains, playing at the beach, and more!

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. When Jesus died on the cross and rose again, He secured for us salvation from our sins, eternal life, and the redemption of our bodies. Christ rose from the dead, and one day we will be raised too. What great hope this gives to all who believe!

While on this earth, we groan and grieve as we experience suffering caused by disabilities, illnesses, and special needs. Maybe you have a child with special needs, and you hurt to see the struggles your child faces in life. Perhaps you are caring for aging parents, and you are saddened by the increasing weakness and frailty they endure. Maybe you live with a disability, and you dream of the day you will be able to walk or use your hands again in Heaven. Maybe you look forward to one day being able to speak or hear or see.

We currently live in bodies affected by the curse, and we await the redemption of our bodies. One day all who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ will be raised in glory, just as Christ was raised from the dead on Easter Sunday. These bodies that are now filled with weakness will one day be raised in power (1 Corinthians 15:42-43).

The hope of resurrection is one of the things that encourages my family and me to persevere through the hard days of disability. This suffering in bodies affected by illness and disability will not last forever. The redemption of our bodies is coming (Romans 8:23)!

What encourages you on the hard days of disability? How does the resurrection give you hope? What is something you want to do someday in your resurrected body on the New Earth?

This article was originally posted on The Irresistible Church.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Oh My Soul

About a month ago I was having more bad days than good days. My body was exhausted, and each day was a fight to keep moving. I was growing weary of the constant battle with fatigue. During an especially challenging week, a friend sent this song to me. The video has a lovely depiction of beauty in the ashes. The song encouraged me, and I hope it encourages you today too.

If you are reading this in an email, please click over to the blog to see the video.

Oh, my soul
Oh, how you worry
Oh, how you're weary, from fearing you lost control
This was the one thing, you didn't see coming
And no one would blame you, though
If you cried in private
If you tried to hide it away, so no one knows
No one will see, if you stop believing
Oh, my soul
You are not alone
There's a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down
'Cause you're not alone
Here and now
You can be honest
I won't try to promise that someday it all works out
'Cause this is the valley
And even now, He is breathing on your dry bones
And there will be dancing
There will be beauty where beauty was ash and stone
This much I know 
Oh, my soul
You are not alone
There's a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down
I'm not strong enough, I can't take anymore
(You can lay it down, you can lay it down)
And my shipwrecked faith will never get me to shore
(You can lay it down, you can lay it down)
Can He find me here
Can He keep me from going under
Oh, my soul
You're not alone
There's a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down
'Cause you're not alone
Oh, my soul, you're not alone

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Christ Is Risen

stained glass window picture of empty tomb

Happy Easter! He Is Risen!

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened. 
Luke 24:1-12

Christ Is Risen, He Is Risen Indeed
(If you are reading this in an email, you may need to click over to the blog to see the video.)

How can it be, the One who died,
Has borne our sin through sacrifice
To conquer every sting of death?
Sing, sing hallelujah. 
For joy awakes as dawning light
When Christ's disciples lift their eyes.
Alive He stands, their Friend and King;
Christ, Christ He is risen. 
Christ is risen, He is risen indeed!
Oh, sing hallelujah.
Join the chorus, sing with the redeemed;
Christ is risen, He is risen indeed. 
Where doubt and darkness once had been,
They saw Him and their hearts believed.
But blessed are those who have not seen,
Yet sing hallelujah. 
Once bound by fear now bold in faith,
They preached the truth and power of grace.
And pouring out their lives they gained
Life, life everlasting. 
The power that raised Him from the grave
Now works in us to powerfully save.
He frees our hearts to live His grace;
Go tell of His goodness. 
He's alive, He's alive!
Heaven's gates are opened wide.
He's alive, He's alive!
Now in heaven glorified. 
by Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Ed Cash

Friday, April 14, 2017

It Is Finished

Today is Good Friday. It is the day that we remember the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The Lord "laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus suffered the wrath of God in our place. His suffering and death brought about great good - the salvation of all who believe!

Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all. 
Isaiah 53:4-6

"Tetelestai" - It Is Finished

Photo Credit: Full of Eyes
The Crucifixion 
So they took Jesus, 17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. 19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” 
23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic.[d] But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, 
“They divided my garments among them,
    and for my clothing they cast lots.” 
So the soldiers did these things, 25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. 
The Death of Jesus 
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. 
John 19:16-30

Sung by Caitelen
Animation by Full of Eyes

If you are reading this in an email, please click over to the blog to see the video.
It Is Finished 
See the God-man in the garden
Calling, "Abba"
The cold set in as his weary friends
could not keep watch 
His hands, they were open
And his heart willed to obey 
So they took him
and they struck him down
And they mocked him
with a thorny crown 
But his hands remained open
praying "Father, forgive them" 
Betrayed with an unholy kiss
Our curse became his heaviness
The Father's wrath upon his only Son
They pierced his side, blood and water flowed
The curtain tore and they laid him low
The sky went black, but darkness had not won 
It is finished!
It is finished!
Hallelujah! It is finished
It is finished! 
by Caitelen Schneeberger

Jesus bore the wrath of God so that you might never have to. Do you know Jesus as your Savior? If not, I'd love to talk to you about how you can be saved from the wrath of God and receive eternal life. 
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