Tag Archives: God

A Father’s Love

Some time ago while trying to park my car “exactly right” in my doctor’s lot, I heard the horrible crunch of metal on metal. I had backed into a pickup truck. The truck suffered a couple scratches on the side of the tailgate; my little car took the brunt of the damage with a smashed taillight, and severely dented side panel.

The truck driver came out of the doctor’s office; I told him what happened; and I reported the accident to my car insurance company. I was so upset, and I remember the insurance representative calming me down over the phone, saying, “You didn’t mean to do it. That’s why it’s called an accident.”

A couple weeks later I drove to work thinking about the accident and feeling low. Inwardly, I quivered at what my father would have said about it. First, it would have started with, “How could you be so careless?! Why didn’t you let the car stay where you had it?” From there on in, it would have been all downhill. Finally I prayed and asked God for His perspective, for His help, because I couldn’t stand how I was feeling any longer.

He quietly asked, “What criteria did you use in your thinking right before you started feeling “ashamed”, “stupid”, and of low self-worth?” I said, “Umm, I guess performance.”

He replied, “That’s not the way I value your worth in My Kingdom. The world values your worth by your performance, but if you want to be in MY Kingdom, you have to look at things the way I do. You have worth to Me because I love you; I created you, and My Son died for you. That’s where you get your worth. Performance is not a good way to value yourself. You will never be able to do everything perfectly in this world—there’s just too much. If you use how you do or don’t do things to measure your worth there will always be something that can cause your sense of self-worth to plummet. But if you value yourself as I value you, that will not be an issue.”

©P. Booher

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From the DVD Shelf–A Review of The Book of Daniel

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Recently I watched the PureFlix film, The Book of Daniel. Although the events depicted occurred thousands of years ago, you can’t help but make some connections to today’s cultural climate.

The Book of Daniel is an Old Testament book of the Bible. It tells of real people—particularly Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah—who were captured during the fall of Jerusalem and sent into slavery in Babylon, hundreds of miles away in geography, and an alien world as far as religion was concerned. Whereas Daniel and his friends served God, the Babylonians did not know God. They served idols, in many cruel and perverse rituals.

Some takeaways from the movie and the book:

  1. Daniel and his friends were always respectful of the kings (rulers in authority). You didn’t see them in any protests against the government; they didn’t try to change the politics, society, or the culture, which was foreign to them.
  2. Although in captivity, they still served God. They made up their minds to do this and they stayed the course. Surrounded by people and circumstances they never would have chosen on their own, they served God by serving the rulers, except when whatever king was in power (notably King Nebuchadnezzar, the most powerful king in the world) demanded they worship someone or something other than God. Then they quietly, respectfully refused, knowing they could lose their lives for doing so, but also knowing their lives were ultimately in God’s hands.
  3. Loyalty to God wins respect.
  4. Daniel and his friends were committed to the truth. Telling the truth could have easily cost them their lives, but they told the truth anyway.
  5. God’s sovereignty over the world’s rulers is clearly shown.
  6. God hates pride. Pride leads to a downfall, sometimes quickly. 
  7. God honors humility and faith in Him.

What impressed me the most about the movie is that it demonstrated the quiet power of trusting God in situations you don’t really want to be in. This is a movie I will watch again. Interesting fact from “Behind The Scenes”: The lions are real, not computer-generated!

Running time (movie only): 88 minutes.

Special Features: Behind The Scenes, Actor Interviews, Trailers, Spanish Subtitles

©P. Booher

 

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A New Faith-Based Resource for those with Chronic Illness

Since arthritis grabbed my attention a few years ago, I’ve been searching for materials which bring faith in God into the equation. I bought one booklet, but kept looking. 

Recently I came across Chronic Illness—Walking By Faith. After reading an online excerpt, I realized this 31-day devotional by Esther Smith is more what I had in mind, so I ordered it. Esther Smith was diagnosed with lupus and hypermobility syndrome; she knows what it’s like to live with chronic illness. She knows how one day you can be fine, and the next day you can barely function, or are somewhere in between. She knows how people say you look fine, but you know you’re not. She knows how symptoms can vary from one day to the next, or even from one hour to the next hour.

Esther writes with compassion and empathy, tempered with a dose of reality. While you won’t find quick answers or guarantees of healing, you will find much encouragement.

Each two-page devotional begins with a Scripture verse, followed by a reading relating to the verse. The devotionals end with questions for reflection and an action prompt, whether to pray for renewed faith, or another suggestion.

I am a week into this devotional, and am glad I found it. I recommend it to anyone fighting a battle with chronic illness who wonders where God is, if He knows, or if He even cares.

©P. Booher

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Diving Into A Sea of Books–One Shenandoah Winter

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As an avid reader, I get excited about the great number of books out there to read, either for entertainment, education, inspiration or with some books, all three. The quantity available reminds me of the vast amount of life in the oceans, so I call these book reviews “Diving Into A Sea of Books”. As with diving into an ocean looking for interesting objects, diving into books means you come across mixed results: over here, a book you don’t bother to finish, over there, a “treasure”—one you like so much you can’t wait to reread it, and over there, a book you read and think, “Meh”.

In the novel One Shenandoah Winter, author Davis Bunn brings together:

Two people gripped by rage so deep they don’t know how they can free themselves from it. 

One town, tucked away among the hills and valleys of Virginia, in desperate need of a doctor.

A pastor whose baby is seriously ill.

A couple determined to marry despite their age difference.

An old man living up in the hills who knows the secret of living and dying.

 

Davis Bunn weaves in historical references, topographical descriptions, language expressions and mountain customs to draw the reader into 1961 Virginia. As I read, I felt the characters’ anger or sorrow, or joy. I bounced along in Connie’s old truck as she drove on hilly roads, some little more than ruts. I saw the poverty of some of the people, reflected in their clothes or their homes; I also saw their innate dignity, regardless of how much or how little they had. I experienced joy when people gave sacrificially to give joy to someone. 

One Shenandoah Winter illustrates the possibilities when I choose to let go of trying to control what was never mine to control anyway. “Let go and let God”

Note: Faith in a personal God is displayed in the book: the pastor preaches, a man makes up his mind to follow Christ. But none of this is done in a judgmental way. The pastor is compassionate, never condemning. Everything happens in a natural, not forced, way.

One Shenandoah Winter is a novel I found hard to put down. The words flowed, making it easy to keep reading. This is a “treasure” for me.

Title: One Shenandoah Winter

Author: Davis Bunn 

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

©P. Booher

 

 

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Christmas Reflections

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Jesus,

I stand in awe that You chose to leave heaven and voluntarily give up the prerogatives You had. You chose to come to earth as a helpless baby. I believe You were glad to do it, because You love us so much. You would rather do that and give us the chance and the choice to live eternally with You, than see heaven without us. In giving up much, You gave us much. Thank You.

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman,…” Galatians 4:4 (KJV)

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…” Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)

“Christ Jesus…made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men…” Philippians 2:5-7 (KJV)

©P. Booher

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From the DVD Shelf–Review of “Walking With God In The Desert”

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A desert is hot, dry, and extremely uncomfortable. Until I watched the DVD “Walking With God In The Desert” I didn’t realize how much a desert can be a teacher.

In “Walking With God In The Desert” Bible teacher and historian Ray Vander Laan walks in the Negev and other Middle Eastern deserts. He offers parallels between those deserts and our personal ones—those hard times of unemployment, disease, loss of loved ones, and crises of faith. Those parallels include:

  • solitude—in both the geographical and the personal desert, there is silence.  Normal routine is shut down or greatly lessened. In that solitude there is a sense of only God and you, and without the distractions of normal activity you can be more receptive to hearing God speak.  Ray says he went through a “desert” when he had a coronary bypass. He was very weak and couldn’t do anything. But during that time he had an awesome awareness of God’s closeness. It deepened his relationship with God.
  • help—in the Negev and other deserts, there are places where trees such as the acacia and broom tree grow. They provide welcome shade, wood, and even medicinal help. In the personal deserts, God provides help when you cry out–sometimes miraculously, sometimes not. But there is help.
  • God is here—in the geographical and the personal deserts. You are not alone, even when it feels like it. You can cry out to Him and be heard

I bought this DVD several years ago when I was part of a Bible study group. I watched it again earlier this year and thought how timely the lessons are. This DVD is definitely worth repeat viewing.

Divided into seven lessons. Running Time: 175 minutes.

Note: The back of the DVD case says it is designed for use with the Faith Lessons, Walking with God in the Desert Discovery Guide, which is sold separately. I gained a lot from just watching the DVD.

©P. Booher

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Lesson I’m Learning: Circumstances Can’t Be Used to See God

For some reason, I used to think of God through the circumstances of my life. For example, in school I was teased a lot. Being a bit too sensitive for my own good, I took the teasing and non-invites to school dances and events as rejection. It was easy for me to think that if my peers were rejecting me, God was rejecting me too—for what, I couldn’t figure out.

Years later, I realize that circumstances and what people do or don’t do are poor ways of looking at God. If you try it, bitterness, resentment, anger, hatred, and prejudice will lodge in you and eat away at you. Throw in some depression and a lot of fear as well, and you’ll see why viewing God through the circumstances around you is an unwise, unhealthy choice.

Now, God’s grace enables me to think of Him through the lens of His Word—the only sure way to see and think of Him. Circumstances make shaky ground for anyone to pin a thought or belief on; God and His Word are stable, and solid. Circumstances can change quickly; God doesn’t change. As the Bible says, “…the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17b, KJV)

Tonight, by God’s grace, I know God doesn’t reject me. That false belief is washed away by verses such as: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16, NIV) Another verse: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (I John 4:10, NIV)

If you feel as though you need more stability in your life, consider looking into God’s Word. Ask Him for help. He’ll be glad you asked!

Further resources: God’s attributes: I Corinthians 13:4-8; God’s love as shown by Christ’s death: Romans 5:6-11

©P. Booher

 

 

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Keeping a Blessings Journal

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“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”(Philippians 4:8, KJV)

Many times in the Old and New Testaments God urges (and sometimes commands, as in Joshua 4:5-7) us to remember His blessings and what He has done. King David had many low moments, but came out of them by remembering God’s mercies and blessings to him and Israel. Remembering how God acted in the past gave David renewed faith and courage for the challenges ahead.

Some years ago I began keeping a blessings journal. I bought a 4″x6″ notebook and recorded blessings—like the time I was driving and almost caused an accident (the “almost” is the blessing part), the time I was standing outside a local store, waiting to cross the road, when I felt something brush the back of my leg. I thought it was a bug. Instead, it was the tail fin of a 1960’s-era car! I could have been run over! But I wasn’t hurt at all. I wrote about other events that “almost” happened and would have been disastrous, but they didn’t happen—blessings to me.

I wrote about things that did happen, like getting together with friends. Just last fall two of my friends and I went to a nature reserve and walked on one of the trails. We meandered around, listening to the birds, watching the fish in the pond, and enjoying each other’s company. Then we went to a restaurant to eat. My friends didn’t realize it, but that day was the day before my birthday. I knew I’d be working on my birthday, so I hadn’t planned anything, but just being with my friends was celebration enough.

I keep my little journal in my purse. I look at it when I have a few spare moments—on break at work, or even right before I go to bed. It reminds me of the many times God has blessed me. Taking just a few minutes to reflect on God’s goodness to me helps me combat worry and anxiety. God does not change; He has helped me before, He can help me again.

Resources: Psalm 63 and Psalm 142, among the many psalms David wrote, are especially timely.

©P. Booher

 

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God in the Darkness

A couple months ago the pastor of the church I attend suggested reading and dwelling on Psalm 139. Since then I’ve been reading and re-reading this Psalm. It’s one of the passages that’s been drawing my attention lately.

The writer, King David, asserts God’s knowledge and interest in him. He says that he cannot flee from God’s Presence, no matter where he goes, he finds God there. He writes, “If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” (Psalm 139:11,12, KJV)
These verses provide comfort to me. They tell me that even though dark, uncertain circumstances bother me, they do not bother God. He knows where I am, and what I am feeling. I can cry out to Him and know that He knows and cares, and will act in some way on my behalf. The darkness is never too great for God, since darkness and light are the same to Him.

starry sky

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A Sky so Blue, (new)

Photo Credit: Author

©P. Booher

 

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Fighting a War Against Fear

“What if this happens?????? What if that happens?????? What happens then??????” What will I do??????”

These are the questions that popped up in my mind often, even in little situations. You know what’s behind those questions? FEAR. Fear nearly drove me crazy; I mean to the point of losing my mind. What was worse was I knew I didn’t have the answers for those questions.

Last year, after a bout with painful, limited mobility, and depression, I finally said I’ve had it. I couldn’t take any more of the barrage of questions in my mind, or the heavy feeling of responsibility, so—I gave them to God. (I pictured myself giving a huge, car-sized box of fear, anxiety, and blackness to Jesus) I told Him, “Lord, I give this to You. I can’t handle it.” I pictured Him taking the heavy box as though it was a light feather. He said, “Trust Me. It’s OK. I can take it.”

Since then, when FEAR attempts to make an entrance and take over my mind, I picture a soldier standing guard with a spear. The soldier growls, “Don’t even think about it.”, and lunges at the fear-thought, which hastily retreats.

I thank God I don’t have the fear/panic cycle anymore. I’m free, and it’s such a relief; I can just live my life, and let God handle the “What ifs?” etc. He alone is big enough to do it; I’m not.

If you are in the middle of a fear cycle, consider doing as I did. Tell God you can’t do it anymore; give it to Him, and see what He does.

Some resources for fighting fear—please note: the Bible has a lot more.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6, KJV)

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7, KJV)

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”  (James 1:5, KJV)

“Casting all your care upon him;  for he careth for you.” (I Peter 5:7, KJV)

Jesus defeating fear in His disciples: Mark 4:35-40, KJV

©P. Booher

 

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