By Dr. Dan B. Allender
Joan, a Bainbridge Island firefighter, was in my house with a group of our neighbors, telling us how to prepare for the earthquake that will inevitably hit our island. Apparently our neighborhood sits squarely on the Cascadia Subduction Zone.
Earlier, when Becky informed me that we were hosting the gathering, I’d asked her if I needed to attend. When her eyes flashed with incredulity, I quickly retracted my question.
I had no doubt that Joan, no more than five feet four inches and 120 pounds, could swing my dead weight over her shoulder and carry me down a flight of stairs if I needed saving. But now she was telling us, “You are on your own. When the big one hits, don’t expect the fire department, EMS, police, or any other cavalry to save you.”
Joan reminded us that we live on an island. I knew this nearly 20 years ago when we moved here. I ignored it. She explained that the bridge to the peninsula would likely go down and the ferry to Seattle would be terminated. Access to save our burning home or to attend to our crushed arm would be delayed until those not on duty could get to the island.
Those first responders would naturally tend to their families first and then their neighbors. We would receive care only after those in greatest need were served. Therefore, we must have at least two weeks’ worth of food and water, cooking and camping gear, medication, clothing, and first aid supplies to deal with our needs.
What do you do when you receive the shocking news that your son has suddenly died? How is God sovereign over loss? How is he good in loss? How do you pass through times of grief while keeping your faith? How is it possible to love God more after loss than you loved him before?
Bible Gateway interviewed Tim Challies (@challies) about his book, Seasons of Sorrow: The Pain of Loss and the Comfort of God (Zondervan, 2022).
Please describe how this book came to be.
Tim Challies: On November 3, 2020, my family received the news that my son had collapsed and died. Nick was a seminary student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary when, without warning, his heart failed and he passed away. We were quickly able to get a flight down to Louisville to be with our daughter who was also a student there. While I was on the plane I began to write. I wasn’t writing a book yet—just writing for the sake of processing my shock and grief. Over the months that followed I continued to write as my way of thinking and meditating, of considering my fears and doubts, my joys and laments. And as time went on and the amount of writing grew, I began to wonder if I may have been writing a book all along. It eventually grew to become Seasons of Sorrow.
By Gary Thomas
Loss brings heartache. Catastrophic loss brings catastrophic heartache.
Unfortunately, some marriages are buried alive by the avalanche of grief, and they never recover. Joe and Janell found a way to push forward in the face of the worst kind of loss.
If you talk with Joe on Zoom, his head is framed by a giant baseball jersey with the number 17. That was the number Joe’s son, Garrett, wore as a celebrated high school catcher. Garrett was Joe and Janell’s only child, a gifted boy with a promising future.
Everything changed on November 4, 2012, when Joe and Janell got the worst knock on their door you could ever imagine.
Garrett, their only child, was dead.
Queen Elizabeth II (born Princess Elizabeth of York), 96, the mother of the United Kingdom’s King Charles III, died September 8, 2022 at Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, a residence of the British royal family.
[Read the “Order of Service for The State Funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.”]
Her televised State Funeral September 19 at Westminster Abbey in London, watched by an estimated 4 billion people, was attended by heads of state and dignitaries from around the world, including US President Joe Biden. She reigned 70 years, the longest of any British monarch and the longest recorded of any female head of state in history.
[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The Faith of Queen Elizabeth: An Interview with Dudley Delffs]
The following Bible verses were either alluded to or directly read during the service:
Jesus said unto her, “I am the resurrection, and the life
he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live
and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”
I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth
and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God
Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.
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Around AD 60, while a prisoner in ancient Rome for preaching the gospel, the apostle Paul wrote his letter to the church in Ephesus, using the armor of a Roman soldier as a metaphor to describe how Christians must live out their faith by strapping on the full armor of God to properly conduct and prevail in spiritual warfare. More than 2,000 years later, we must do the same.
Function of Armor
The purpose of armor is to defensively protect the body against a deadly attack and its accompanying weaponry are the means to wage offensive assaults on the enemy.
History of Armor in the Bible
It’s commonly thought the origin of Paul’s armor reference in Ephesians 6:10-12 is the uniform of Caesar’s army. But, according to the study note in the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary of the New Testament (available with your Bible Gateway Plus membership), each of the battle equipment Paul lists is also found in the Old Testament, especially in the book of Isaiah (see this chart).
If you knew a vast treasure was buried somewhere, would you rather have the occasional jewel or piece of gold that someone retrieved for you, or a map showing the location of the entire treasure? If you’re like most people, the answer’s a no-brainer.
What’s true about material treasure is also true for spiritual treasure. For this reason, we’ve created the brand-new downloadable 5-day Bible study, How to Read a Verse for All Its Worth that provides the map for you to uncover the hidden riches of God’s Word for yourself!
As Christians, we know the Bible is the ultimate source of everything we should believe and practice, and we want to understand it better. But it’s also true that this isn’t easy. We’re separated from the original authors and audience of the Bible by time, language, culture, and geography.
Fortunately, there are a series of steps used by serious students of the Bible to discover the meaning of biblical passages, and you can learn and apply these steps yourself to greatly increase your knowledge and understanding of the Bible.
This is the two-hundred-twenty-fifth lesson in author and pastor Mel Lawrenz’ How to Live the Bible series. If you know someone or a group who would like to follow along on this journey through Scripture, they can get more info and sign up to receive these essays via email here.
[continued from last time…] Application is the last step in the so-called inductive method of Bible study. The first step is to observe (examining the words, the structure, the details), the second is to interpret (figuring out what the author meant), and then application (figuring out how the truths we uncover connect with everyday life). We know that if our observation is incomplete or our interpretation is askew, we will miss the truth and power of Scripture. But it’s also true that misapplication of the meaning of biblical texts is invalid and even dangerous.
Here are a couple of other mistakes to avoid…
Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, is excited to announce the release of the limited editions of The Jesus Bible Artist Edition, New International Version (NIV) and The Jesus Bible Artist Edition, English Standard Version (ESV) both in green calfskin leather.
Each limited edition Bible features one-of-a-kind cover designs by Florida-based artist and 2021 Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) Top Shelf Book Cover Award Winner, Joshua Noom, who specializes in bold illustrations with organic-feeling typography. Readers may be familiar with his work from past collaborations with brands: Old Spice, Burton Snowboarding, Sony Music, and Warner Music Groups.
When you become a member of Bible Gateway Plus, you’ll have instant access to more than 50 Bible reference resources, including The Jesus Bible. Try it free right now!
By Darryl Strawberry
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
In the sport of baseball, a player’s mental approach to the game can largely determine success or failure. When competing against the most skilled and athletic players in the world, a competitive advantage often is achieved more by what’s going on between the ears than between the lines on the field.
As a major leaguer, I tried to approach each at bat or each play in the field as a new opportunity to succeed. That meant my previous at bat or last 20 at bats, for better or worse, should have no bearing on my focus and outlook for success in the moment at hand. Each at bat as well as the next play in the field should stand on its own as a moment of truth. I literally had to renew my mind from pitch to pitch. Otherwise, the disappointment, frustration, or elation from one pitch, catch, swing, or throw to the next could distract me from being my best during the next opportunity.