Here are some books to help you draw closer to Jesus.
1. Stay by Anjuli Paschall
My bible study leader picked this book for us and I hated it at first. At the time, I wasn't ready to deal with all the emotional truths that were given. After sitting on my book shelf for months, I pulled it back out (finally ready to do the emotional work needed in my life). The author is extremely engaging and you really connect with her words. She helps you learn the value of just staying in the Lord's presence and giving away all your vulnerabilities to Him. It's definitely not a book to read all at once. I recommend reading a chapter per week and savoring the messages told.
2. The Seven Money Types by Tommy Brown
This is a fascinating read as the author uses 7 Biblical characters to describe the different types of money personalities. It makes so much sense as to the different ways we relate to money. I plan to use this book as a devotion with my kids so we can all learn about the examples in the Bible of how people used their money and which example is closest to our own money type.
3. Unafraid, Unashamed in an Increasingly Unfriendly World by Stan Winder and Kimberly Allston
Of course, I definitely recommend my new devotion book that I co-authored with my spiritual mentor. We specifically wrote this book to help Christ-followers to be bold in their faith and the gospel message as this world continues to rebuke Jesus and His life-giving message.
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BIBLE TRIVIA QUIZ – ANGELS AND DEMONS
CHALLENGE: Does Satan know the scriptures better than you do?
The reality is that Satan, our enemy, knows the scriptures extremely well. However, his only purpose in knowing the scriptures is to manipulate them to deceive you. He wants to use God’s truth against you. It is imperative that we know the scriptures well enough so that we won’t be deceived by Satan’s evil tactics.
One way to connect with Jesus is to know His truth from His words. Take this true/false quiz to find out how much you know about angels and demons. Answers are below.
1. All children have personal angels.
2. Satan does not know biblical scripture.
3. God's angels can die.
4. Fallen angels cohabited with human women and had offspring.
5. Michael, the archangel, is given power to rebuke Satan.
6. Angels serve and observe believers.
7. All of Satan's demons have the same amount of power.
8. All angels have free will.
9. Every believer has a specific angel guarding him/her.
10. Satan is a spirit and a person.
11. Angels are allowed to marry each other.
12. When believers die, they become guardian angels.
13. Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light and demons can disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.
14. Satan has his own angels.
15. Believers are asked to worship God's angels.
16. Believers will not judge angels in Heaven.
17. Angels are organized and ranked.
THE WORD OF TRUTH:
Angels and Demons Quiz - ANSWERS
1. All children have personal angels. TRUE Matthew 18:10, “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”
2. Satan does not know biblical scripture. FALSE Matthew 4:6, Satan speaking to Jesus “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Satan is quoting scripture from Psalm 91:11-12 for the sole purpose of deceiving Jesus. Satan purposely omitted a phrase from Psalm in order to suit his plan and purpose.
3. God's angels can die. FALSE Luke 20:34-36, “Jesus replied, ‘The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels.’”
4. Fallen angels cohabited with human women and had offspring. TRUE Genesis 6:1-4, “When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God [fallen angels] saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said, ‘My spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.** The Nephilim were on the earth those days – and also afterward – when the sons of God [fallen angels] went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.”
** Side Note: Because of man’s great sin, God warned them of their destruction. God flooded the earth 120 years after this warning.
5. Michael, the archangel, is given power to rebuke Satan. FALSE Jude 1:9, “But even the archangel, Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’”
6. Angels serve and observe believers. TRUE Hebrews 1:14, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” 1 Corinthians 4:9, “For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men.”
7. All of Satan's demons have the same amount of power. FALSE Luke 11:24-26, “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.”
8. All angels have free will. TRUE 2 Peter 2:4, “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment.” Jude 1:6, “And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own homes-these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.”
9. Every believer has a specific angel guarding him/her. TRUE Psalm 91:11, “For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.”
10. Satan is a spirit and a person. TRUE 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” John 8:44, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
11. Angels are allowed to marry each other. FALSE Matthew 22:30, “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.”
12. When believers die, they become guardian angels. FALSE While believers are on earth, they have less authority than angels. Psalm 8:5 says, “You made him a little lower than the heavenly being and crowned him with glory and honor.” After death, believers in Heaven have higher authority than angels. I Corinthians 6:3 says, “Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more than things of this life!”
13. Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light and demons can disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. TRUE 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.”
14. Satan has his own angels. TRUE Matthew 25:41, “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
15. Believers are asked to worship God's angels. FALSE Colossians 2:18, “Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.”
16. Believers will not judge angels in Heaven. FALSE I Corinthians 6:3, ““Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more than things of this life!”
17. Angels are organized and ranked. TRUE Jude 1:9, “But even the archangel, Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’” Daniel 10:13, “But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes [angels] came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.” Revelation 12:7, “And there was war in Heaven. Michael [archangel] and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.”
Spend time in the scriptures everyday so you will not be deceived by Satan’s lies.
Jesus is TRUE
Satan is FALSE
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CHALLENGE: How do you find the Lord’s special verse just for you?
It was a rare moment in the early days of my parenting journey when I was home alone. If memory serves me correctly, my two older children were in mom’s morning out and my youngest child was with my mom. It was a treasured time to rest and replenish. I was sitting on the couch reading my Bible and spending time with the Lord. For a long time, I had this idea of searching the Bible for my birthday verse.
I now had the time to sit and search for the Lord’s special message to me by finding my birthday verse. Since my birthday is May 24, I would search various books to look in the fifth chapter (May is the 5th month of the year) and 24th verse.
The first searches were in the Old Testament but either the book didn’t have the right number combination, or the verse did not have an applicable meaning to me. Finally, the search took me to the New Testament. After several attempts of looking for verses, the Lord told me I had found my birthday verse – Ephesians 5:24. “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” What??? Are you kidding me, Lord? After all the anticipation and searching, this is the special verse for me?
Evidently the Lord was making a joke with me, but I was not amused. This had to be a mistake.
I clearly communicated to the Lord that I already was a submissive wife and there had to be another birthday verse for me. To prove this to the Lord, I called my husband (nickname Mr. Big Guns) to ask him. I explained my search to him and told him which verse the Lord had said was my birthday verse – wives submit to your husbands. I told Mr. Big Guns that the Lord’s verse for me had to be wrong because I was already a submissive wife.
At this point, I had to pull the phone away from my ear because the laughter from Mr. Big Guns was so loud. When he finally stopped laughing, he asked me if I was serious. He continued to say that I was never submissive and continually argued with him when I didn’t agree with him. Mr. Big Guns clearly thought the Lord was right on target with my special birthday verse.
Well so much for proving the Lord wrong. Evidently the Lord needed me to take my birthday verse to heart.
Many years have gone by since that special communication time with the Lord. I’ve since come to treasure my birthday verse and try to remind myself regularly to be a submissive woman to my Savior and my husband. Recently, I had the privilege of speaking at my kids’ school during the chapel session.
I explained the concept of finding your birthday verse and had them divide into groups of two. The younger students who couldn’t read yet were partnered with an older student. I also asked the teachers to walk around and assist the students if they had questions.
The movement of the Holy Spirit was incredible during this chapel. Even though the student pairings were random, the Lord knew who He wanted together. Two girls who were partners shared the same birthday! Really cool! Then two teachers told me that their most favorite verse that they have had all their life was their birthday verse and they never realized it. Amazing!
Before that chapel, my prayer was for the kids to understand how special they are to Jesus and how He always has words for them! He always has special words for you too!
THE WORD OF TRUTH:
Does it feel that you just cannot seem to connect with Jesus? Do you struggle with the mindset that you’re just not important to Jesus? Do you think Jesus has more important things to deal with than your petty needs? Do you feel your prayers are only met with silence?
These are all lies, lies, and more lies from the enemy. Satan will do anything and everything to destroy your relationship with Jesus.
Take comfort, my friend.
Jesus tells us in John 10:10
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
This verse gives us one of the most important truths in the entire Bible. Here is the truth for you to memorize and believe:
The enemy: his mission is to steal, kill, and destroy you
The Lord: His mission is to offer salvation so you may have life to the full
Jesus tells us in John 17:17
“Sanctify them by truth; your word is truth.”
Sanctify means to be set apart for God and His holy purposes. The truth is that you have been set apart for a special purpose. God’s word will only speak truth to you.
Don’t believe me? Find your birthday verse and see what the Lord says to you.
“For you created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14
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CHALLENGE: Why is real connection so important to your life?
Have you ever been jealous of the connections that other people have? I remember our first year at a new school that 2 of my children were attending. Even though we weren’t the only new family that year, it felt like everyone knew each other so well. Most of the families lived in another part of town than us, so they all had a connection to each other besides the school. There was no public transportation, so all the moms formed a line in the school pick up line. However, moms didn’t stay in their vehicles; they got out and mingled with each other until dismissal. I remember being so jealous of their connections.
I would watch them talking to each other, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. Every afternoon my feelings of disconnection grew, and I also sulked in my car having a pity party. Why didn’t anyone come to talk to me; was I not likable enough; why didn’t any other mom want to connect with me? It was like being the new girl sitting alone in the school cafeteria because no one wants to sit with you.
Yes, in a perfect world all ‘new kids’ would be welcomed with open arms and made to feel like part of the group. Over the years, I have realized that a lot of people are either oblivious to the feelings of others and/or they don’t have the skills to know how to include others. It is up to you to take the first step - no matter how scary and intimidating it is!
After months of pity parties, I finally realized that if I wanted to get to know the moms better and make some connections then I had to be the one to start connecting. So, one day, I said a prayer for courage, and I got out of my car. I walked over to other moms and joined in. That one simple act of courage changed the trajectory of the rest of our time at that school.
Real Connection can add so much value to our lives if we open ourselves up to it. When we find those people who we really connect with, a new relationship starts to blossom like a spring flower. A seed is planted, grows slowly and consistently and then is nourished to become a beautiful addition to our lives. Flowers don’t flourish in one day and neither do connections. That is what makes them both so wonderful.
The real connection takes time to be planted in order to grow and flourish, but when it blossoms the beauty added to our lives is substantial.
By getting out of my car in the dismissal line, I created a real connection to another mom that remains to this day. The connection grew slowly but I made the time to nurture it with small baby steps. The connection to this other mom has grown into such a meaningful relationship that I cherish. Her realness and honesty always inspire me to be the same.
THE WORD OF TRUTH:
The reason real connection is so important is that God created His daughters to be relational and connected. He wants us to fellowship with each other, encourage each other, help each other and hold each other accountable. He wants us to live life together and not separate. No matter your personality type, connection matters and is beneficial.
In the book of Ruth, we learn about two women brought together by hard circumstances. Ruth was married to Naomi’s son. First Naomi’s husband dies then several years later both of her sons die. After the deaths, Naomi urged both of her daughters-in-law to return to their mothers and original home. One daughter-in-law left but Ruth resolved to remain with Naomi.
Ruth knew that staying connected with her mother-in-law was her purpose. Ruth tells Naomi, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go, I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16)
Through Ruth’s faithfulness and connection to Naomi, she would later find romantic love again and become a mother in the line of Jesus’ heritage. God used both Ruth and Naomi to strengthen each other in difficult times as well as celebrate each other in times of God’s tremendous blessings. A beautiful story to see how much God encourages his daughters to be relational.
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