Valiantly taking your stance is courageous, for creating a legacy takes sacrifice and substance. Through grace, the rugged terrain of my heart has become adorned with the wildflowers of surrender and miraculous manifestation.
Hope watered the barren places, creating an apothecary of healing waters. In the winding roads of my heart, the allure of a mysterious victory exists where tragedy becomes a triumph. For amidst the struggle, a curious abundance remains.
The Way Home Bible study: God’s invitation to New Beginnings by Tessa Afshar
Tessa Afshar’s new study, The Way Home is based on the book of Ruth. This six week study brings the book to life in a revelatory way, weaving the cultural backdrop and highlighting the spiritual progress of each character. You will come to adore and understand the familiar actors as you navigate their struggles and victories.
Naomi and Ruth experience a profound sense of hopelessness that comes from deep loss. However, the state of Israel at the time of the book of judges, which immediately precedes the book of Ruth, was one of utter despair and political upheaval.
The book of Ruth is about new beginnings. Despite Ruth and Naomi’s ethnic differences between Gentile and Jew, the stark evidence of God’s love and hand is tenderly visible. The heart of God for reconciliation between Jew and Gentile is highly apparent.
The study starts with the backdrop of famine, emphasizing the lack and emptiness present in Ruth, recently widowed and Naomi’s lives.
Ruth’s decision to operate out of hope and love demonstrates the power of personal choice. Her loving actions bring the same blessing of a new beginning to Naomi, her mother-in-law, and to Boaz, whom she marries after moving to Jerusalem with Naomi.
My favorite part of this study, as with all of Tessa’s writing, is the depth of her historical research. There is so much wisdom to glean from putting the familiar Bible stories in their historical context, which is something that enriches all her texts.
I encourage you also to purchase the video series along with the study as I found them indispensable as I navigate and continue to study this inspiring study.
May you have your threshing floor today and find abundance where they has been lack in your life by following the Father’s voice into your land of new beginnings.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the way home bible study as a member of the launch team per Moody publishers. I did not receive any compensation for my review.
Turning away our faces from the divisive hatred still prevalent in hearts today, words of unity can only go far to bandage the pain of any forms of supremacy and racial division, which still forms the foundation of the not so “united” states.
If love is the way to tear away the veils of hatred than George Floyd’s murder this past week by a Caucasian cop in Minnesota may have torn the veil of complacency covering the eyes of the American public of the darkness that still prevails over this land.
As voices scream for the injustice that has sent shock waves through the Christian community, the topic of racial intolerance has surfaced once again.
Will the passionate pleas turn into conviction for the lack of love in our hearts or will these words remain as a forgotten hastag to be replaced by a new one next week?
As Christians should mourn the loss an innocent man, let us remember to pray fervently for George’s grieving family. George leaves behind a legacy of hard work, kindness and a respected community leader.
As America wrestles with sleeping giants of racial and political divides among a global pandemic, the state of Minnesota grieves the loss of George Floyd’s life amidst the havoc of a city in ruins post rioting.
Broken hearts lay amidst the ruins of broken dreams of many as the riots have trampled upon the hard work of innocent bystanders. For revenge is a fire that doesn’t burn just one individual, it consumes and spreads to others quickly destroying all in its ravaging path.
What can you do to break down the walls of division in your community? What can you do to become more aware of other cultures and close the racial gap? Are you willing to examine any stereotypes you may need to release?
Anne Bogel presents a compilation of strategies to equip readers who struggle with overthinking.
Overthinking has implications for productivity, mental health, and relationships. This book provides concrete steps towards freedom from cycles of overthinking to the joy that comes from making simpler decisions.
This book will spur you towards personal growth and help you harness the gift of making decisions from a posture of peace.
Fear is not the channel that helps build healthy choices; peace and love are the healthy avenues needed to make impactful decisions yielding lasting change.
In a simple conversational style, Anne narrates examples from her own life and provides practical implications that have the power to transform your life. Pick up a copy of this book today to infuse your life with subtle prompts to steer you forward into progress in your projects.
As my eyes tried to adjust to the stubborn haze, I realized this journey felt familiar.
Years ago, as a new believer in Christ, my spiritual vision was dim. As I made attempts to make sense of Christianity and aspects of the gospel, I often had the sense of stumbling my way forward without clarity.
This new world seemed to hold promise although I didn’t understand how to tap into the promises of God or how to process what my senses were awakening to.
My faith muscles were about to be stretched. Abraham knew what it felt like to follow God into unknown territories leaving behind a world of comfort and familiarity. My journey began to take on a similar route.
As I felt the fog began to lift, I felt more relaxed and it became easier to navigate my trip.
Spiritual vision becomes acute with intentionality and depth in the context of relationships.
As Job states, “ I had heard of you only by the hearing of the ear, but now my spiritual eye sees You.” -Job 42:5
Similarly, as I began to grow in my faith walk, details became magnified as I noticed budding beauty all around me with a fresh perspective.
Jesus engages the senses to make each moment resplendently glorious resurrecting the wonder in each of us again.
John 9 tells the parable of a blind man and his encounter with Jesus.
Jesus creatively used spit to bring vision, turning the mundane into the miraculous.
It is interesting to note, that Jesus restored sight to a man who had never seen.
Stones adorn the nook and crannies of this world, adding diversity to the existing beauty of flora and fauna.
If you take a walk or hike, you will see stones adorning the rugged worn-out paths aching to be seen and held. All too often, they are overlooked by passersby.
So often, familiarity can lead to a lack of appreciation for what is right in front of our eyes.
Some stones, such as gemstones sparkle and glisten with glorious reflections and are often highly valued for their exquisiteness.
Other stones look plain and may be useful for landscaping buildings and homes. Even these are visually appealing when used strategically in patterns.
Sometimes, stones such as those worn on rings or collected while on vacation hold sentimental value.
Regardless of the outward appearance of stones, plain, smooth, jagged, or full of brilliant luster, each one carries intrinsic value as God’s creation.
The year 2020 began like every year, promise ringing far and wide. There was no indication of the messy prolonged middle to come.
The Israelites also faced a prolonged plot twist in their story, remaining lost in the wilderness forty years longer than anticipated. With no GPS to guide them, their hope was obedience and the past reliance on God’s faithfulness in bringing deliverance.
The world has never seemed as collectively still as it does right now.
The world holds many stories of market crashes, terrorism, and outbreaks. Each period is fashioned with its language, brimming with emotions and human experience.
Sometimes, being still can help one listen more intently.
Information is not the only goal in listening but rather, wisdom.
Stories carry wisdom, wisdom that many others need to flourish, gained from an alternative perspective.
During this global pandemic, the economy has fluctuated with job losses and economic upheavals, changing the landscape for all of 2020 and perhaps forever.
The rubric of our world has changed externally and internally, potentially forever. While many are struggling mentally and emotionally, we all have voices that carry energy.
Your voice can release grace and truth to hungry hearts and empty souls.
Paul, the apostle, was familiar with a voice he heard on the road to Damascus. The voice, accompanied by light, transformed his life forever. Although he had a life-changing experience, he still battled blindness and darkness for three days. -Acts 9:3-9. There are seasons where darkness can follow illumination but it imperative to remember, the darkness will not last.
There is hope on the other side for brighter reality. One that needs our voice to usher in the brilliance of hope.
Bread of Angels is based upon chapter 16 of the book of Acts and chronicles the story of Lydia, the seller of purple cloth. She was the first convert in Europe and a female business owner, a rare combination historically.
The novel brings Lydia to life Lydia giving her quirks and passions become quickly evident through this enchanting tale.
Lydia faces upheaval from her hometown as she faces the pain of betrayal, yet she finds a loyal friend despite the pain. She is left to flee Thyratira with her basic belongings and the arsenal of her Father’s secret dye. Rebekah, a single Jewess, discovers a place in Lydia’s heart as they connect as kindred companions. Rebekah begins to plant the seeds of faith into Lydia’s cracked soul.
Lydia’s character is endearing and easy to relate to; she experiences a host of emotions as she attempts to navigate unexpected change. The seeds planted by Rebekah began to take root, and Lydia’s growing faith enables her to overcome the challenges that come her way through reliance on Christ.
I had a hard time putting this novel down. I felt like I was apart of the story traveling from Thyatira to the northern city of Phillipi along with Lydia.
I found myself savoring the flavor of her words, inhaling the content of engaging banter colored with well researched biblical gems.
I also truly enjoyed delving into Lydia’s time with Paul. Reading about Paul makes me want to read more about his accounts in the new testament scriptures and glean from the depth of his wisdom.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, I do feel like the ending was slightly abrupt, and I would have liked to hear more about the unexpected budding romance that Lydia found, narrated in greater detail.
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
“The way of Jesus worked in the opposite direction. It gave without asking for impossible assurances. It gave the way Jesus had, loving to death, knowing he might not be loved back.”
“Dare to try, knowing that you will make mistakes. You will fall short again and again, because there is no effort without error. In the end, you will either know the triumph of high achievement, or if you fail, you will fail while daring greatly.”
“I sometimes fancy that the completed work of the cross casts its shadow on other parts of my life too. Because Christ has finished the most crucial work on earth and in heaven, something of that completion covers all the unfinished parts of my life. What remains undone in me, through me, finds a resting place in Jesus’ finished work.”
As you pick up this novel, you will find yourself immersed in the daily reality in which the book of Acts took place. You will experience the beauty of an ancient city your senses in an enthralling fictional voyage. I found this novel refreshing, and I think you will, too, by how the power of deep reliance on God can turn even our most deep-rooted fears into victory beyond imagination.
Case for grace chronicles Lee’s journey of interviewing various individuals to see how grace has impacted their lives. From a homeless orphan to a murderer on death row, these heartwarming stories share a common thread. Lives transformed by the freedom that only grace can usher.
Lee manages to paint portraits of how grace has transformed lives skillfully. Each story is so diverse, yet grace is an unapologetic celebration of divine acceptance.
God celebrates each of us through adoption as children and also celebrates our revelation of freedom in Christ.
This book is crafted with delightful candor, insight, and is brimming with redemption. It is one of my favorite books by Lee Strobel and one that I genuinely wish I had encountered during the early days of becoming a believer.
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of adoption. Of all the gifts of grace, adoption is the highest.” ― J.I. Packer, Knowing God