Monday, January 27, 2020

All my friends have issues REVIEW

Recently we hosted a #giveaway in the Christian nonfiction lovers book club on Goodreads. Our book of the month was Amanda Anderson's book All my friends have issues.

All my friends have issues was released in 2019 by Thomas Nelson Publishers. In our Goodreads club, we asked members to enter the giveaway by simply writing about a special friendship in two or three sentences.

Hey, it doesn't hurt to sharpen our writing skills when discussing books.

I personally enjoyed reading Amanda Anderson's book for several reasons. First of all, because it has a healthy dose of humor and that always helps when tackling serious topics. Serious yes, because friendships can enrich our lives or make our lives difficult.
Amanda Anderson

Second, because the book is loaded with life stories. Amanda has a way of telling great stories. She paints pictures of daily life that are colorful, fun and sometimes even hilarious.

And third, the author offers many practical tips. Good friendships are hard to come by and hard to keep, so it wouldn't hurt to read a well-balanced book about this topic. All my friends have issues is such a book.

I found the chapters a little long for my taste, but that probably tells more about my reading style (not wanting to put a book down in the middle of a chapter) than her writing style.

I could buy a bookmark of course :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

My #oneword for 2020

In general, I do not participate in online games and hypes, but I do like the #oneword challenge. In the past, I posted about my words, thoughts, and experiences and it was always a good experience. However, in recent years I did not give myself the time to think about a word or to wait for a word (recognize this?).

At the beginning of this new year, however, I did get a very clear word for 2020 on my heart (from the Holy Spirit): expectation. The questions I asked myself were: do I still pray with expectation, expectation that God will do something, that circumstances will change and people will be touched? Do I still expect new things in my work, my family and my calling?

The scripture that came to my mind was Psalm 5: 4: Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. How about that? Bringing our requests before Him in the morning and then what? Wait with expectation!

I sense, I have to learn again to pray like this, with the expectation that something will actually happen. I'm happy with that word for a new year, it triggers something, it stirs up something...

Do you have a word for 2020?

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Light of the world (4)

In my previous blog I mentioned the song of Simeon. In this song, he referred to the words in Isaiah 49: 6, where God himself speaks. I will also make you a light for the Gentilesthat my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

A light for all nations, till the ends of the earth, not just for Israel. This clearly points to Jesus. He came for the whole world, for all people. The first followers of Jesus understood very well that they had the task of telling not only their Jewish friends but the whole world about that light. Just read Acts 13:47 where Paul and Barnabas are speaking: For this is what the Lord has commanded us:‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.' And with those words, they quoted Isaiah 49: 6.

Pooh well, you might say, this is quite a difficult assignment, because the world is rather dark. Didn't Jesus make it sound a little too easy when He told people you are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). How can we effectively spread that light, how can we be that light in this world? Personally, I think the first followers of Christ had questions about the practical side of being light-bearers as well, but they came to a discovery that I would like to share it with you:

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4: 6). God wants to shine in the darkness of our hearts, if we allow that of course. Invite Him to do so if you have never done that. Come on, just ask Him.

Then, we can actually proclaim 'For I was once darkness, but now I am light in the Lord' (Ephesians 5: 8).

Friday, January 10, 2020

Light of the world (3)

'Light shines in the darkness, we certainly do our best with all our lights and candles during the dark winter season. But let's not forget, the One who can truly take us out of darkness (enlighten us), the real light is Jesus! With those words I ended my previous blog.

How wonderful when a person receives that revelation. Let's take a look at someone who experienced that a long time ago ...

A certain Simeon lived in Jerusalem. He was a good and honest man and he deeply respected the law of God. He was full of the Holy Spirit and lived in the firm expectation that the Christ would soon come. When he saw the child Jesus in the temple he began to shout to God: ... my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentilesand the glory of your people Israel (Luke 2: 30-32).

Simeon saw the prophetic words from Isaiah literally fulfilled and it made him sing for joy. It's going to happen, God has kept His word. The light is here! Can we sing like he did? Do we dare to sing like Simeon because we actually believe that Jesus Christ is the light for the world?

When Jesus grew up He confirmed that truth: As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world (John 9: 5).

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Light of the world (2)

'The Bible frequently speaks about light in darkness', I wrote in my previous blog. As a matter of fact, this already starts in Genesis 1 where we can read that darkness was over the surface of the deep... until God spoke: "Let there be light." And there was light.

Light in the darkness, we can also read about this in the first chapter of the Gospel of John. Kind of a recurrence of Genesis 1, but with a profound truth revealed:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

That creation story, ➽ light in the darkness, keeps coming back in the Bible. The prophets understood it, just as the disciples did. In Isaiah 42: 5-7 it is written like this: This is what God the Lord says—the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentilesto open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darknessGod gave Jesus as light to the people of Israel and then also to the other nations.

Light shines in the darkness, we certainly do our best with all our lights and candles during the dark winter season. But let's not forget, the One who can truly take us out of darkness (enlighten us), the real light is Jesus!

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world (John 1: 9).