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The Jesus Who Surprises: Opening Our Eyes to His Presence in All of Life and Scripture is an excellent study – one I enjoyed from beginning to end.
The author looks at the entire Bible to show us glimpses of Jesus where we may not expect to see Him. She masterfully shows that the Bible is indeed one connected story, one of hope, redemption, and love. She also approaches important topics like suffering, and she shows how those things produce a joy like none other (something I know from experience). I thoroughly enjoyed this study and repeatedly found myself excited and encouraged by her words. That isn’t something I can often say.
Here is one of my favorite quotes:
When we realize that the Lord is in control, a peace comes to us, despite the suffering. We realize that this shaking is temporary and that we have an inheritance that can never be taken from us. (Page 123)
I especially loved – and learned from – the third part, looking at Isaiah and what is in store for us. She summed up the whole study so well in the last sentence:
My hope is that seeing this same story from Genesis to Revelation will give you great confidence in the reliability of the Scriptures and the truths they hold. For the Jesus that surprised the two on the road to Emmaus, and surprises us in our everyday lives, is not at all finished surprising us.”
Dee also challenges the reader to see Jesus at work every day – something I’ve practiced for years thanks to missional training I received. He is always at work, you just have to see it. This practice alone can significantly change one’s perspective.
This beautiful study can be done individually or as a group. Dee provides thoughtful questions to encourage a deeper study of Scripture at the end of each chapter.
I highly recommend this book and I look forward to reading more of her studies.
I was given a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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If I am being honest, lately I have been struggling to pray for Tori’s healing. I ask others to do it but I can’t form the words in my own heart and mind. I feel stuck. Numb. Defeated.
I absolutely still want it and believe that it can happen, but doubt has worked its way into my heart and mind, and lately I doubt that God is going to heal her here on earth. Because of this doubt, I struggle to pray. I start but the words just don’t come.
It is times like this when I am most thankful that we don’t have to pray with words. God knows our hearts, and His Word tells us that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we don’t know what to say (Romans 8:26).
I still struggle with hope because hope is difficult. Yet I still desperately want her to be healed on earth. Desperately.
In a dream that a friend had recently, I wasn’t able to see an older, healed Tori in a picture on a wall. She could see her, but I couldn’t.
I’ve been thinking about this ever since she shared the dream because I think God is trying to tell me something.
My friend has been praying about the meaning and suggested this: that no matter what, I need to see her as being healed, because she IS healed somewhere.
I’m still praying about the meaning. And I’m praying that this dream in particular is prophetic…that Tori will be the older sibling to many other children and that she will be healthy…that her testimony will change the world.
“Then like a hero who takes the stage when
We’re on the edge of our seats saying it’s too late…”
– MercyMe, “Flawless”
It seems like God speaks through His Word and the words of those seeking Him when I am struggling the most.
He keeps bringing stories of healing to my attention, and while these accounts are encouraging, it also leaves me wondering why He is bringing these forward. Is He going to heal her?
This happened two months ago in my daily Bible reading (the Bible is split into 365 readings, dated, not a “pick your own reading” type of thing). It also happened about two weeks ago when I finally found our Kindle Charger and was able to scroll through the hundreds of free eBooks we have obtained since we lost the charger.
The eBook “The Same Love” by Paul Baloche (a well-known songwriter) caught my attention so I opened it and began reading.
What was the first chapter about? Healing. Timing. Love.
Baloche started with Mark 5:21-43 which shows two healings – one of a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years, and one of a young girl who was sick and died but Jesus brought her back to life.
The woman seemingly derailed Jesus from getting to the young girl in time, but what this proved was that Jesus works outside of “time” and He is NEVER late. He created time and is not restrained by it.
I love the way that the author paraphrases the scene between Jairus and Jesus after his daughter has died:
Jesus had barely finished speaking when several people ran up. Jairus, it’s too late. She’s gone.
Jesus moved between Jairus and the distraction. This moment is about you and what you say you believe. This can end here, or we can keep going. What do you say?
(The Same Love, Chapter 1)
The author points out that all those involved in this passage experienced the same love, the love of God. Just like we do today. Yet, even those who walked with Jesus in person also experienced doubt. Amazing, isn’t it, that those who saw with their own eyes the miracles that Jesus did still doubted?
Shouldn’t we admit, though, that even after experiencing this love, we’ve entertained doubts? And though we have seen answers to prayers, some questions still remain? In this life we experience the discipline of holiness alongside the inevitable humanity of sinfulness. And between these opposing realities, we’re daily called to choose to pledge our allegiance to the God who never leaves us, committing afresh to walk the walk of faith. God’s unwavering love for us continues, even when ours falters…
Faith by its very definition is belief in that which is unseen. It’s believing that the same love that spread the heavens wide and was crucified and raised Jairus’s little girl and sent a woman back into her new life is calling to you today. Your circumstances will be unique to you. Maybe the same love is challenging you to choose what you believe. Maybe you’re being asked to bravely step out and let everyone see you and your story…
(The Same Love, Chapter 1)
While these words are so encouraging, and so seemingly meant just for me right now, I still have no idea what God is going to do in Tori’s life…and that’s okay.
We are definitely called to let others see our story, which is why we are being as open and transparent as we can along the way.
We wonder if God is going to heal Tori here or in Heaven.
If here, we wonder when and how. Gradual? Immediate?
We wonder how long she will be with us.
So much wondering, not enough trusting.
We need to stop creating scenes in our head and instead trust the One who wrote the entire play.
Whether He heals her now or later, we know He is going to heal her. She is healed. It may not be the way our hearts would prefer, but we trust that God is good and has an amazing purpose for all of this that we simply can’t see at the moment. This is Act One, and Act Three is many pages away.
We aren’t meant to understand right now – we are meant to trust Him and keep on walking.
Our God is never late. Our God loves us deeply and created us with purpose. He will heal her in HIS timing, in HIS way; we need to trust Him in this and with this.
“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked.
“Anything is possible if a person believes.”
The father instantly cried out, “I do believe,
but help me overcome my unbelief!”
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