Getting to Know God

Recently, going through old newsletters and other things I’ve written, I came across this article I wrote years ago. I’ve adapted it a bit and I think the thoughts are still valid.

One Sunday I was sitting in the sanctuary before service and I had a really wonderful experience. My mind was wandering (I shouldn’t admit this ever happens, but it does) and I started looking at the people around me. I realized that I had some sort of special connection with just about everyone there! I saw coworkers (former and present), classmates from Bible Study, special Sunday School and VBS leaders who have taught my children, friends who have helped and encouraged me in many different ways. My list just kept growing and I know each of you could compile your own. I guess that’s what gives a congregation that “family” feeling.

I also realized that this sense of warmth and belonging doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and effort; a willingness to get involved and stick with the process of getting to know one another and become part of each other’s lives.

Isn’t that true of our relationship with God as well? If we want to feel close to God, to know His will for us and be comforted by His presence in our lives, we need to devote some time to building a relationship with Him. One way to do this is by studying His word.

Most churches offer a number of opportunities to do this. For example:

*Pick up a copy of a monthly devotional if your congregation makes one available. Portals of Prayer is an example.

*Go to Sunday School — it’s not just for kids! You’ll get to know fellow members and God better.

*Join an evening or daytime Bible study, or even start a small group study yourself.

*Volunteer to teach — teachers must first be learners!

For more information on getting to know God through study or educational offerings, speak with your Pastor or someone on your church education committee. They will no doubt be excited by your interest and glad to help you!

90 Days with The God Who speaks –Book Review

This little book published by B&H was created from content used in their Gospel Project curriculum.  The curriculum was developed to provide study material that is both theologically and biblical based.  90 Days with the God who speaks allows readers to go through the material in three months, using a devotional style.

The basis for all the lessons is the idea that God continually speaks to His people.  Beginning in Genesis, it describes the general revelation of creation, moves on to the specific revelation of Scripture, and finally Jesus who correctly interprets and applies God’s Word for us.  The Old and New Testaments are clearly linked.  Different genres used in the Bible — historical narrative, wisdom literature, prophecy and letters are presented and explained.

This book would make a good gift for a confirmation student or new Christian.  It would also be useful for someone looking for a quick overview of the Scriptures and how they are connected.

VERDICT:  4 Stars.  Not exceptional but basic and biblically sound.

If you would like to purchase this book, follow the link below:

https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/90-days-with-the-god-who-speaks-P005793751

For more devotionals by B&H see these posts:

On-The-Go Devotional by Leslie Hudson — Book Review

Women of Courage: a Forty-Day Devotional — Book Review

Big and Little Coloring Devotional – Book Review

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.  Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR part 255.

 

The Insanity of Sacrifice by Nik Ripken — Book Review

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways. This is the Lord’s declaration.”  Isaiah 55:8

I have thoroughly enjoyed this 90 day devotional.  It is not only biblically sound, it is challenging.  I have already used some of the daily readings for openings at our church committees and Bible studies.  In fact, I liked it so much that I have already ordered a previous book by Nik Ripken, “The Insanity of God”  from our local library.

Ripken’s point is that God’s ways are so different from ours that what he asks of us might actually be considered insane, by human standards.  God is different, and we, as His followers, should also be different.  We are called to love the world and sacrifice for its’ people in a way that is extravagant and outlandish.  Can you do this?

Maybe you think you’re not qualified.  Well, think again.  God takes pleasure in calling people who are inadequate.  You may be unqualified — but God is able and He wants you to be part of His work in the world.

Through his writing Ripken seeks to lead readers to:

  • Consider the story of God encountered in Scripture
  • Learn that God is still very much at work today
  • Give voice to God’s clear demand for obedience that applies to EVERY PERSON who follows Jesus — yes, that means you and me!

VERDICT:  Definitely 5 stars.  I highly recommend it.

If you would like to purchase this book, follow the link below:

The Insanity of Sacrifice

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255

 

Zip It by Karen Ehman–Book Review

For many Christians, sins of the tongue are the most difficult to avoid.  Critical words, unkind words, even curse words flow out of our mouths willy-nilly because we often speak without thinking.  Sometimes we offend others with our speech without even realizing what we’ve done.  It’s important to remember that all of our words are a witness to Christ, and should edify and encourage, not tear down or feed our own ego.

Zip It: The Keep It Shut 40-Day Challenge

I wish I had discovered this little book earlier this year.  Subtitled “The Keep it Shut 40-Day Challenge, it includes daily devotions, take-aways, a specific Bible verse to contemplate, and a closing prayer.  It would be perfect to use as a spiritual discipline during the 40 days of Lent.  Even better would be using this book with a small group that provided accountability in following the many good suggestions for “taming the tongue.”

Karen uses both Biblical and personal stories to illustrate important points including::

  • The power of our words
  • The heart-mind-mouth connection
  • Taming out tempers
  • When to be silent and when to speak up
  • How God’s Words affect our words

and more.  Reading this book carefully and prayerfully will surely result in better habits of speech.  I recommend it, and would like to get a group together and give it a try.  It would be a big help in teaching us to love one another in word and deed.

“You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day,

By the things that you do and the words that you say.

Others will read what you write, whether faulty or true.

Say, what is the gospel according to you?”

VERDICT:   5 stars