February 28, 2014

Every Dream in the Bible

Friday's Thought:

It's extraordinary to see how God has worked through dreams in Scripture.

I recently saw this infographic over at the Overview Bible Project blog and thought I'd share it here today.




Infographic: Every dream in the Bible (and what they mean)

Every dream in the Bible (and what they mean)

Sometimes in the Bible, God communicates to people in dreams. Some of them are symbolic (like the dreams in Daniel), and some involve explicit instructions from God.

Dreams fascinate me, and I figure they’re interesting to you, too. Since God has revealed some of His word through dreams, I thought it might be cool to find all the dreams in the Bible.

So, I Bible-geeked out and made this for you.


Infographic: every dream in the Bible (and what they mean)

So just to recap (because some of you will want to copy-paste this), the 21 dreams in the Bible are:
  1. Abimelech’s warning
  2. Jacob’s ladder
  3. Jacob’s call home
  4. Laban’s warning
  5. Joseph’s gran
  6. Joseph’s stars
  7. The cupbearer’s grapes
  8. The baker’s baskets
  9. Pharaoh’s cows
  10. Pharaoh’s ears of grain
  11. The runaway barley loaf
  12. God’s offer to Solomon
  13. Nebuchanezzar’s statue
  14. Nebuchadnezzar’s tree
  15. Daniel’s four beasts
  16. Backstory for Joseph
  17. The magi’s warning
  18. An angel directing Joseph to Egypt
  19. An angel telling Joseph to return
  20. God telling Joseph to steer clear of Judea
  21. Pilate’s wife’s nightmare

 A few takeaways:

  • Although the symbolic dreams from Genesis and Daniel are most memorable, the majority of these dreams are direct, explicit messages. “Go to Egypt.” “Now go back.” “No, not that way!” There’s no ambiguity in most of these. 
  • The text for the barley loaf dream in Judges is just too awesome not to share:
    And he said, “Behold, I had a dream; a loaf of barley bread was tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down so that the tent lay flat.” His friend replied, “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given Midian and all the camp into his hand.” (Jdg 7:13–14)
    Seriously? This guy wins the “Best at Connecting Dots” award for all time.
  • Lots of these dreams are just people being told to go different places.
So there we are: every dream in the Bible. Of course, there’s a lot more to those symbolic dreams that I couldn’t fit here. Maybe I’ll do a piece on those individually sometime in the future.

February 25, 2014

The Cadence of Grace Series



You never know what you're going to get when you decide to read a new author, especially when it's their first book or series. Sometimes it's hard to get through a new author and other times you can't put the book down. These books are the latter. I loved them all so much!

The Cadence of Grace novels are now a huge favorite of mine.

The characters go through some odd trials throughout the series, but realistic non the less. I really loved them all in these novels. Especially Gideon. His faith journey was not your average predictable journey, but rather a very moving and genuine one.

So what are these books about?

Lonnie, while walking home gets caught talking to Gideon who tries to steal a kiss. Her father is outraged and insists they marry. The first book goes through their struggles of being married to someone they don't even know.

HERE is my more in depth review on the first book... Be Still My Soul )

They finally start to fall in love, but then in book two there's a shocker...Gideon has been married before and unbeknownst to him, still is! He is forced to return to his first wife and the emotional part of this situation had me stressing along with the characters. The author did a wonderful job of drawing me into their lives and to feel what they were feeling.

Book three continues Lonnie and Gideon's story, but I won't say what happens, other than this is the book Gideon finally surrenders to the Lord. It's written beautifully. Again I felt the characters deeply and will miss them now that the story is over.


If you like reading love stories with the Lord at the center, I think these books will fit the bill. With a beautiful setting in the Appalachian mountains, at the turn of the century, you're sure to enjoy all the descriptive writing of this time and place. As well as all the wonderful characters within it's pages.


Buy Book 1 HERE on Amazon
Buy Book 2 HERE on Amazon
Buy Book 3 HERE on Amazon

February 21, 2014

Beautiful Winter Photos

Friday's Thought:

I love gardening and I often visit Carolyn's blog (Aiken House & Gardens) where she shares her Prince Edward Island garden with her readers.

It's absolutely gorgeous!!

I'm really looking forward to spring and digging into my garden, but as I wait it's fun to see the beautiful photographs Carolyn shares on her blog.

This post is of some winter scenes not far from her home... A Winter Tour

Here's a sneak peek:



February 18, 2014

A Quick Lesson on Dying to Self

"The old self-sins must die, and the only instrument by which they can be slain is the cross." A.W. Tozer

How do we die to self?

Andrew Murray says in his book 'Humility':

"Humility is the path to death, because in death it gives the highest proof of its perfection. Humility is the blossom of which death to self is the perfect fruit.

Jesus humbled Himself unto death and opened the path in which we too must walk. As there was no way for Him to prove His surrender to God to the very uttermost, or to give up and rise out of His human nature to the glory of the Father, but through death, so it is with us, too. Humility must lead us to die to self."

Jesus said:

"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me." Luke 9:23

And later Paul said:

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20


But still how do we do this?

Murray writes:

"Nature can never overcome nature, not even with the help of grace. Self can never cast out self, even in the regenerate man.

Praise God! The work has been done, finished and perfected forever. The death of Jesus, once and forever, is our death to self. And the ascension of Jesus, His entering once and forever in to the Holiest, has given us the Holy Spirit to communicate to us in power, and makes the power of the death-life our very own."

"By one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." Hebrews 10:14

Murray continues:

Believer, claim in faith the death and the life of Jesus as yours. Enter, into His grave, into the rest from self and its work - the rest of God. With Christ, who committed His spirit into the Fathers hands, humble yourself and descend each day into that perfect, helpless dependence upon God. God will raise you up and exalt you.

Jesus says:


“All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.


Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  Matthew 11:27-30


*All quotes from Andrew Murray's book 'Humility: the path to divine growth and true nobility' unless otherwise stated.

Buy it HERE on Amazon

 

February 14, 2014

For God So Loved The World...

Friday's Thought:


Jesus said:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.

But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
  
                                                                                     John 3:16-21

February 11, 2014

Out of a Far Country

This was such an inspiring book. A story of a mother and son who God called and brought to Himself.

Kay Warren says in the forward of the book:

"Out of a Far Country speaks directly to anyone who has wandered for any length of time. It's a blindingly true story that will resonate with prodigal sons and daughters, and with the parents of prodigals. This story is sometimes heartbreaking, and it's often raw in its honesty. The battle that is waged over a person's soul is lengthy and hard fought, and the outcome is not known until after wounds have been suffered."

This is what I loved about this book. It's raw honesty. No political agenda, no religious jargon, just the love of God calling his children to Himself in a powerful and beautiful way.

This story is told through exchanging chapters between mother and son. A gay son and a broken mother. God calling them both and restoring their lives.

Two things really stood out to me. Firstly the love and dedication of Angela, the mother. After putting her trust in Jesus her whole life changed. Her marriage was restored and her desire to know the Lord grew. She began praying for her son in earnest, setting up a prayer room.

I loved what she said here:

"...I had prayed specifically that God would do whatever it took to bring my son to Him - not to us, not out of drugs, not out of homosexuality...but to the Father."

This is the most important prayer a mother or father can pray...God bring my child to You. God will then sort out all the rest.

Christopher and his mom, Angela
Secondly, was how God called Christopher.

After years of promiscuous sex, drug use and dealing, and excessive partying, Christopher came to the end of himself in prison. There he gave his life to Jesus and was changed.

He then wanted answers to what a Christian homosexual looked like. So he visited the prison chaplain and shared his story, asking for advice. The chaplain gave him a book which said the Bible did not condemn homosexuality.

Christopher took the book, but says he couldn't even get through the first chapter before the Holy Spirit convicted him. Christopher says of the book: "the assertions from that book were a distortion of God's truth." He then turned to the Bible.


He says here:

"After that, I turned to the Bible alone and went through every verse, every chapter, every page of Scripture looking for biblical justification for homosexuality. I couldn't find any. I was at a turning point, and a decision had to be made. Either abandon God to live as a homosexual - by allowing my feelings and sexual passions to dictate who I was. Or abandon homosexuality - by liberating myself from my feelings - and live as a follower of Jesus Christ.

My decision was obvious. I chose God."

This really moved me, as one who has a loved one who is gay, I've been to that place where I've questioned what the Bible really says about homosexuality. There is so much pressure, even in the church, to put God's Word aside and try and make sense of this on our own. But in the end there is a choice to be made. We must trust God.

Christopher says he really struggled with who he was. He'd always thought of himself as a homosexual to his core. It was who he was. He asked: "Did I have an identity apart from my sexual orientation?"

He goes on to say:

"...I really believed that God had created me this way - gay. I had told myself over and over, I am gay. I was born this way. This is who I am. I never chose to have these feelings. But now, as  I searched the Scriptures for the way I should live, I began to ask myself a different question: Who am I apart from my sexuality?

As I continued to read the Bible, I realized that my identity shouldn't be defined by my sexuality. Paul said in Acts 17:28. 'for in Him we live and move and have our being.' 

Christ should be everything - my all in all. 

My sexual orientation didn't have to be defined by my feelings or sexual attractions. My identity was not 'gay' or 'homosexual,' or even 'heterosexual,' for that matter. But my identity as a child of the living God must be in Jesus Christ alone.

God says, 'Be holy, for I am holy.' I had always thought that the opposite of homosexuality was heterosexuality. But actually the opposite of homosexuality is holiness. God never said, 'Be heterosexual, for I am heterosexual.' He said, Be holy, for I am holy."

This is what this book is all about. Learning to be holy, because God is holy. And to know that you are beloved by a God who will never give up on you.

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.



Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."  
                                                                                  Romans 12:1-2

These events happened over 10 years ago and since then Christopher and his parents have had a ministry leading others to the Lord. You can check it out here:  christopheryuan.com

If you have questions, it would be best to e-mail Christopher here: info@christopheryuan.com


*Warning - this book is somewhat graphic in the telling of Christopher's story.

Buy it HERE on Amazon




February 7, 2014

Drinking, The Internet, Baking Soda and Gifts

Friday's Thought:

 Today I thought I'd share a few links with you.
 
All of these caught my attention and I enjoyed reading them.

Firstly:
  
The day I realized I had a drinking problem is from Emily Wierenga over at 'Prodigal Magazine.' This is a really beautiful post.

Here's a quote from it:

"...And I realized it wasn't about the drinking. It was about me needing the drink in a way that I should only need Jesus."

And I realized it wasn’t about the drinking. It was about me needing the drink in a way that I should only need Jesus. - See more at: http://www.prodigalmagazine.com/i-had-a-drinking-problem/#sthash.fyf8oQr5.dpuf
And I realized it wasn’t about the drinking. It was about me needing the drink in a way that I should only need Jesus. - See more at: http://www.prodigalmagazine.com/i-had-a-drinking-problem/#sthash.fyf8oQr5.dpuf
And I realized it wasn’t about the drinking. It was about me needing the drink in a way that I should only need Jesus. - See more at: http://www.prodigalmagazine.com/i-had-a-drinking-problem/#sthash.fyf8oQr5.dpuf
Secondly:
 
10 ways to protect your children on line is from Courtney over at 'Women Living Well.' She gives some great advice on keeping your kids safe from the evils lurking on the web.

Here is her first tip:

"Be aware - If we don’t protect them who will?  It is our job as parents to know what our children are doing and to set boundaries.  We need to monitor their video games, movies, television, apps, twitter, facebook, instagram, youtube, texting and the list goes on! This is a TALL task…I admit that already at the young age of my kids (8 and 10) I find it hard to monitor it all perfectly.  We have to be vigilant and intentional – don’t forget there is an enemy who wants us to not care or be naive –assuming our kids are fine and trustworthy."

Thirdly:

60 ways to use baking soda is from Denise over at 'Little House on the Valley.' Some great ideas on the benefits of baking soda!

Here's the first few:

1. Make your own “Soft Scrub”: Create a paste of baking soda and water, then add a bit of salt to  baking soda paste. Add a drop of lemon essential oil and scrub the counter tops and sinks until they shine. The salt won’t scratch surfaces since it’s gentle, and the lemon will make everything smell fresh.

2. Clean jewelry: Make your rings sparkle by scrubbing then with some baking soda on a wet toothbrush.

3. Take out fish smell: If you have fresh fish, baking soda helps to reduce the fish odor if you marinate the fish in it for an hour before cooking.

4. Soothe insect bites and bee stings: Create a paste with baking soda and water and pat over the affected area. It will create a cool relief and draw the sting out...

Fourthly: 

Ideas for fun items to send your sponsored child is from Compassion International's website. These are some fun ideas that are sure to put a smile on your sponsored child's face. : )


*Make sure to click the light pink links to read the full posts and enjoy!

February 4, 2014

Survivors: True Stories of Children in the Holocaust

We recently went to see the movie The Book Thief...

And it was another reminder of the monstrosity that took place during WWII.

But more importantly it was a reminder of how each life has a story and how each one of us has a purpose and meaning in this world.

This book (Survivors) also reminded me of this.

It has eight extraordinary stories of Holocaust survivors who were children during WWII.

Each story is told from the survivors point of view and also lets you know what their lives are like now.

These stories will move you, anger you and you'll want to thank God for those who risked their lives to help them.

The photo on this book is of a little girl from the first story, a photo her parents forgot to take down...

Here are the Chapter headings:

1. What will happen to me now that the Nazis are here?

2. Is there no country in the entire world that will take us?

3. So this is where I'm going to Die

4. How can the stars seem so happy in this horrible place?

5. I am somebody!

6. If they find us, they'll kill us

7. I am a partisan now!

8. No wonder they call this a death march

You can't help seeing the hand of God in these remarkable survival stories. There's just to many coincidences.

Even though this book was written for children to learn about the Holocaust, I as an adult, also learned a lot.

I highly recommend this book for all ages.

Buy it HERE on Amazon



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