Celebrate my Birthday!

My brother spent several years in a country where they celebrate birthdays differently than we do in North America. The person who is having a birthday throws a party for his or her friends. I thought I would try that this year.

The price you see listed includes shipping. I think it’s a win/win. You are able to get some new books to read at a super discount, and I’m able to share some of my writing with you. I hope you join the celebration at http://ruthlsnyder.com/shop!

The books include:

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Hope in the midst of darkness: the message of Easter

Have you ever wondered what it was like for the disciples of Jesus Christ on that first Easter?

  • to watch while Judas, one of their own, betrayed Jesus and handed him over to a band of men with weapons (John 18:3)
  • to stand by (except for Peter, who swung his sword and cut off one of the servant’s ears) while men bound and led away their master, hero, and leader (John 18:10-13)
  • for Peter to remember that Jesus had predicted all the disciples would flee and then hear the cock crow after he had denied one of his best friends, three times (John 18:16-27)
  • to listen while false charges were brought against Jesus, to hear Pilate say, “I find in him no fault at all,” and yet watch as Pilate delivered him over to be crucified (John 18:28-19:16
  • to watch Jesus go through the horrific death by crucifixion, knowing he was innocent (John 19:17-37)
  • to wonder what happened to their Messiah, the King of Kings. Why He was dead, and buried in a tomb, while they still lived under the oppression they thought He had come to save them from?

We know that the story did not end there. We know that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, and showed himself to the disciples and over 500 other people.

“The resurrection of Jesus changes the face of death for all His people. Death is no longer a prison, but a passage into God’s presence.  Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.” (Clarence W. Hall)

Easter Hope

We all experience difficulties in our lives. No one is exempt. Some difficulties don’t last long; others drag on for weeks, months, and years. Where do we find hope to keep going in the midst of those dark times?

I find my hope in Jesus Christ and his resurrection from the dead. What about you? Share what you celebrate during this season.

 

 


John 11:21

Jesus and Grief: Thoughts on John 11

John 11 shows us that God understands our grief. Jesus knew Lazarus was going to die. He waited, and then he went to visit his friends, Mary and Martha.

Martha expresses her shock and anger, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (vs. 21)

Jesus does not rebuke her. Instead he answers her questions and reminds Martha who he is.

Martha responds in faith – “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (vs. 27)

Martha leaves and tells Mary that Jesus is there.

Mary repeats what Martha said, but is much more emotional – she falls at Jesus’ feet.

When Jesus sees her weeping, and many of her friends weeping as well, “He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” (vs. 33) He asks where Lazarus has been placed, and Jesus weeps (vs. 35).

I find it astonishing that Jesus weeps. He is the Almighty God who can do anything. He already knows that God the Father will raise Lazarus from the dead.

But still He weeps. And then He goes to the tomb where Lazarus is buried and calls him back from the dead.

I don’t know what you’re experiencing today, but God does. He not only sees your tears, but He also weeps with you. Tell him what’s on your heart, and trust Him to walk with you through your grief.

At times, Jesus gives us the desires of our hearts. At other times, there is silence. But no matter what, God is there.

If there is something you would like prayer for today, please share your request below. Remember:

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:19,20 (NIV)

I shared a companion post today on A Beautiful Life, about how my daughter’s popped balloon reminded me of appropriate ways to deal with grief.

 


Stepping into 2016

I don’t know about you, but for me 2015 was one of the most difficult years I’ve had. There are issues I’m still working through which I can’t comment on, but in December my future was looking too dark for my comfort. I’m thankful that a few things happened in December to turn things around.

*I was able to get some extra sleep

*Some understanding friends helped me have fun and relax

*I spent a few days reading my Bible, reading some books, praying, and thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2016 

*I worked through some exercises in the workbook which accompanies The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

*Shelley Hitz of Author Audience Academy offered members Plan it Day: The World is Waiting, a helpful series of videos and worksheets

As a result, I was able to step into 2016 with a renewed perspective. 

My key word for 2016 is HOPE!

2016 Hope

Some of my goals this year:

*Memorize & meditate on verses from Ephesians (I have a group of friends who have agreed to cheer me on and hold me accountable in this area.)

*Be more mindful of what I’m eating and why (I’ve been reading Women, Food, and Desire by Alexandra Jamieson. Although I don’t agree with her worldview, I’m finding a lot of helpful information to help me conquer my bad eating habits.)

*Exercise at least 2x/week (I have a treadmill to use.)

*De clutter our house (I’m trying out DeClutter 365: Daily 15 Minute Missions )

*Write, record, publish, and market a book with imbedded MP3s on Hope (This project has been on my mind for months. Stay tuned for more details.)

As you step into 2016, what are your goals or aspirations? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.


When Life Takes a Surprising Turn

This morning I read a devotional called, “Live where you Land,” from Moments of Peace in the Presence of God. The author recounts the story of a balloonist who carefully plotted his way, only to have wind blow him places he never expected to go. His response to each new destination?

“Had I known about this place I would have planned all along to land here.”

Most of us have plans for our lives – where we want to live, when we want to get married, how many children we want to have, what kind of work we want to do, goals we want to accomplish. However, life often takes surprising turns. Some surprises turn out to be very enjoyable. Others, not so much. However, many times we cannot control what happens.

In Philippians 4:11 Paul says, “I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am.” (Amplified Version) I don’t know about you, but I’m still learning that lesson. I’m the type of person who likes to plan. I like to know what’s happening, and why. My husband and children have “encouraged” me to be more flexible than I used to be, but . . .

I often tell my children:

We cannot always control what happens to us, but we can always choose our attitude.

Paul also talks about attitude:

“Give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:20 (NLT)

You mean God expects us to not only be content with what happens, but to also give thanks? Yikes! This one I’m definitely still learning. A while ago I was challenged by Ann Voskamp’s 1,000 GiftsShe recounts the story of what happened when she took her friend’s dare to find 1,000 things to give thanks for.

Today’s a new day. Goals are good. Thanksgiving in all things is best. Today, even though I wanted to stay in my warm bed longer, I’m thankful for the warm drink in my hands. Even though my husband left without giving me a hug this morning, I’m thankful that he is committed to our marriage. And though I don’t know what the rest of the day holds (it’s just about time for me to go wake the kids), I’m thankful the God who created the universe walks beside me (and sometimes carries me!).

What will you choose to be thankful for today?


Who or what do you worship?

Whether we realize it or not, we all worship or at least give priority to certain things in our lives. Sometimes we are very intentional in how we use our time. At others, we get to the end of the day and wonder where all our time went.

I choose to worship the God of the Bible. Who or what do you worship?


Put your armour on!

In the physical realm, gravity is at work, whether we acknowledge it or not. In the spiritual realm, we are in a battle, whether we realize it or not. As a child I witnessed the power of witch doctors and their spells, the evil power that allows people to walk on coals with bare feet and not get burned, and the fear people have of angering a spirit or god. These are sample evidences of the reality of the great cosmic battle which is described in Scripture. Lucifer is described as the most beautiful of angels, and the most powerful. We are told he was not content with the role he was created for. He wanted to be God. So he rebelled, and God banished him and his followers from Heaven.

Throughout Scripture we see further evidence of the battle:

  • Satan telling Eve that God didn’t really mean what He said. Adam and Eve choosing to disobey. Sin entering the world (Genesis 3)
  • The story of Job which gives us a glimpse into discussions between God and Satan. God gives Satan permission to prove Job’s character. (Job 1)
  • Daniel, who prayed and fasted for three weeks and didn’t see results. He is informed that his prayers were heard on the first day, but the answer was delayed because, “the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days.” (Daniel 10)
  • Paul’s instruction to the Ephesians to put on “the whole armour of God.” (Ephesians 6:10-15)

In North America, I find that most people do not take spiritual warfare seriously. We are in a battle. It’s time to put our armour on and stand against Satan and his angels. Our weapons are truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the Word of God, and prayer.

Are you armed and ready?


When our schedules are full and we are pushed from one thing to another, we can still choose peace. Philippains 4:6,7 explains how.

Peace in a troubled world – Philippians 4:6,7

Yesterday I talked about learning to be still and listen. But what happens when our schedules are full and we are pushed from one thing to another? (Sometimes this is an indication our schedules are over full and we need to plan some “white space” on our calendars. Other times life just happens, and we are not able to change our schedules.) We can still choose peace!

Here are some thoughts that encouraged me this morning:

  • Nothing is ever a surprise to God
  • When I’m weak, it gives God a chance to really shine. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
  • Others are going through much tougher times than I am. Especially my brothers and sisters who are suffering for their faith. Instead of complaining or getting discouraged, I can choose to pray for them. This does two things: it gets my focus off myself and it gets me praying.

Philippians 4:6,7 is a passage I’m choosing to put into action today. I’m talking to God about the things that are heavy on my mind and thanking Him for taking care of them. That frees me up to use my energy for the day ahead.

Will you join me in praying with thanksgiving and allowing God’s peace to rule?