The View From The Valley

Today I read the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead in the eleventh chapter of the gospel of John and gained a greater appreciation for the manner in which our schedule (as human beings with limited perspective) often fails to line up with God’s. Concerned and worried, Mary and Martha, friends of Jesus, sent word that their brother Lazarus was sick. But, when Jesus received the message, He responded in a manner that gave no sense of alarm or panic. Instead, He seemed to have a sense of peace with the situation, despite the fact that Lazarus and his sisters were close friends of his, saying instead, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it. (John 11:4). As verses five and six state, “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when He heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.”
So, not only was He not alarmed or panicking, but, he didn’t even leave for Bethany until two days after he heard that Lazarus was sick. Having heard that He was finally coming, Martha went and met Jesus, who was still on his way, and declared, “Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” But, upon arriving in Bethany, Jesus, sure as He was in what was yet to happen, was emotionally shaken by the mourning and grief evident in the friends and family of Lazarus. As John states in verse thirty-three, “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in His spirit and greatly troubled,” and it was then that Jesus asked them to take him to where Lazarus was buried and proceeded to raise him back to life.
I was struck by two main points while reading this passage this morning. First, we have a lot to gain if we can learn to trust God’s plan and His timing. We may not understand it all. It might make no sense. The dying loved one we’re praying for may not heal. The big job promotion we’re hoping for may not happen quick, or at all. But, sometimes it takes time for the growth that God knows we need to go through to happen.
But, I also learned that, while it is true that trusting Him during challenging times is, most certainly, critical, He is not unmoved by the trials that we face and the pain that we sometimes must endure in the midst of those trials. He is with us, more than ever, in the darkest moments. Whether we feel His presence or not, He knows that it is our choice to trust that He is there and that it is that choice we make, in faith, that provides the fertile soil out of which even stronger faith and the purest, eternal joy can be born, “for God’s glory.”

A Recommendation: THE JESUS STORYBOOK BIBLE

My family and I continue to be impressed with The Jesus Storybook Bible (written by Sally Lloyd-Jones/illustrated by Jago) as we read a selection from it each evening before putting my daughter to bed. Recently I’ve even sent a couple copies to friends. Unlike what is the case with many Christian products, this bible contains a high quality of story-writing that is only matched by the quality of illustration on every page. Less generic than they are tastefully-whimsical and aesthetically appealing, Jago’s illustrations sync perfectly with the dynamic flow of the writing to communicate the dramatic and very relevant truth of God’s grace.

I posted a review of The Jesus Storybook Bible some time ago, but, recently I came across an interview with author Sally Lloyd-Jones that I thought was worth passing along. I encourage you, even if you don’t have kids (but, especially if you do!) to purchase a copy of this book. It has affected my wife and I significantly and my daughter loves it, too.

UPDATE: There is apparently a new deluxe edition of the book being released in October. The deluxe addition will include the book and an audio version on CD. From Amazon.com: “This beautiful deluxe edition of the Moonbeam Award Gold Medal Winner is a storybook Bible to treasure. It includes the narrative on three CDs so children can read along. Experience all the emotion and drama as award-winning actor David Suchet’s narration brings this storybook Bible to life.”

Insightful and Illuminating

The following link will take you to an biblically-based, insightful, and illuminating post about the threshold where real faith takes hold:

http://www.myspace.com/thebraveidiot

The Jesus Storybook Bible

My family and I continue to be impressed with The Jesus Storybook Bible (written by Sally Lloyd-Jones/illustrated by Jago) as we read a selection from it each evening before putting my daughter to bed. Recently I’ve even sent a couple copies to friends. Unlike what is the case with many Christian products, this bible contains a high quality of story-writing that is only matched by the quality of illustration on every page. Less generic than they are tastefully-whimsical and aesthetically appealing, Jago’s illustrations sync perfectly with the dynamic flow of the writing to communicate the dramatic and very relevant truth of God’s grace.

I posted a review of The Jesus Storybook Bible some time ago, but, recently I came across an interview with author Sally Lloyd-Jones that I thought was worth passing along. I encourage you, even if you don’t have kids (but, especially if you do!) to purchase a copy of this book. It has affected my wife and I significantly and my daughter loves it, too.

Wisdom in Proverbs

A few notable verses that I read while searching the Old Testament book of Proverbs for direction:

“For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Provers 2:6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all you ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.”
Proverbs 3:5-7

“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”
Proverbs 3:12

“My son, preserve sound judgement and discernment, do not let them out of your sight;”
Proverbs 3:21

“Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.”
Proverbs 4:25, 26

“May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.”
Proverbs 5:18

“The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.”
Proverbs 5:22, 23

“If you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, to free yourself; press your plea with your neighbor! Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids. Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare fo the fowler.”
Proverbs 6:2-5

“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”
Proverbs 6:16-19

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
Proverbs 9:10

A Brief Reccomendation: The Jesus Storybook Bible

My wife, daughter, and I have read bible stories and prayed together as a nightly routine for a few years now. For most of that time we have read and re-read a children’s illustrated bible that, while it wasn’t perfect, it did the job, so to speak.

For my daughter’s birthday in June we bought her a new children’s bible and it has blown me away at how good it is night after night (we typically read one story per night) from the manner of storytelling to the fantastic illustrations. As a whole, the bible does a great job of focusing the readers attention on Jesus from old testament stories through the back cover.

I highly recommend anyone who has children to purchase this book and read it daily with your child. Your child will benefit and you will likely better understand and appreciate the overall purpose of God and your relationship with Him.

The following link is to the author’s page which features links to various reviews and on-line retailers: http://sallylloyd-jones.com/JSBB.html