‘Jesus Every Day’ Book Review

Jesus Every Day Book Review@ En Courage www.rlseaton.comWhen at a Bible Study, come prayer time I often hear, “I can’t pray like so-and-so. They  pray so beautifully. You better ask someone else.” Fear so easily grips.

I’ve been sampling a new book out December 1 by Harvest House Publishers entitled, “Jesus Every Day” by author Mary E. DeMuth. Mary has her own blog ‘Restory,’ and is well-known for her prayers. So much that her readers begged her to write a devotion containing them. Her prayers are beautiful, not because they’re flowery and ‘religious’ but because they’re real and exemplify the simplicity of talking to God as though He were sitting across from us while we sip a cup of coffee. Yet because they point us to the One above all and able to answer every need, they are filled with the reverence, awe, and expectation He deserves. They are an exquisite mingling of the need of humanity and power of the Divine in everyday language.

Mary’s prayers speak of life’s emotions and daily experiences. Experiences bringing joy. Emotions crushing our souls. Moments leaving us perplexed. She isn’t afraid to tackle any topic as she’s faced both immense joys and tragic sorrows in her own life. She was repeatedly sexually abused as a child, and faced growing up in a dysfunctional family. She understands first-hand the sorrow of losing a dear friend. She’s suffered the grief of losing a close family member. Yet in all of this, she’s found a heavenly Daddy who knows her, and loves her relentlessly. And she’s learned first-hand God listens to and answers His kids, when they reach out to Him with their simple words.

Her daily devotion takes the reader through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, with a verse or small passage followed by a prayer. Each day is labeled ‘Day 1,’ ‘Day 2’, etc. so the book can be started any day of the year, and runs 366 days. Its simple beauty allows it to easily be given as a gift to a new believer as well as a seeker. For a more seasoned believer, it’s a wonderful addition to any daily Bible reading routine.

As of December 1, I invite you to purchase the book at any one of several venues, some of which are listed below for your convenience. I was given a 30-day sample to read, but was given nothing else for my review, other than the pleasure of reviewing the book. I also receive no benefit for offering you a link to the sights listed below.

Amazon   Christian Book Distributors  LifeWay  Barnes & Noble

(Barnes & Noble has only the e-book available as of this posting.)

Talk with you next week!

Robin <3

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5 Verses and Prayers To Comfort The Grieving

Sometimes, my own words aren’t enough, and I know I need a perspective I can’t drum up on my own.  I want to understand God’s ways, but I can’t.  Praying scripture helps.

Below you will find 5 Bible passages that pertain to grief and sorrow.  I encourage you to read each one, and then pray the prayers below, (or your own prayers).  God wants us to come to him in our grief.  He would rather we come to him, even if we are angry, than to run from him.  He made us for relationship with him – in the good and bad.

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. Psalm 31:9 (NIV)

God, I don’t even understand your ways right now.  I don’t get why this happened and I can’t see where your mercy is in all of this. You say you are merciful and show compassion – please help me to see it.  I am worn out with grief, and I can’t stop crying.

Yet it was our grief he bore, our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, for his own sins! But he was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace; he was lashed—and we were healed! We—every one of us—have strayed away like sheep! We, who left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet God laid on him the guilt and sins of every one of us! Isaiah 53:4-6 (TLB) (An Old Testament prophesy about Jesus)

Jesus, the Bible says you were weighed down by my sorrow; and carried my grief.  It says that you were wounded, beaten, and lashed for my healing.  Yet, it is so easy for me to run from you rather than to you, like a frightened lamb.  Forgive me.  Give me the ability to run to you, to accept all you’ve done, and stop trying to carry this immense weight of grief on my own.

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;… Isaiah 42:3 (NIV)

God, I feel so bruised and broken inside.  I feel like I can barely make it sometimes, and can’t see how things will ever be right again.  Please help me. Please strengthen me.  Please take this mess and turn it around.  I need you.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities destroyed long ago.

They will revive them, though they have been deserted for many generations. Isaiah 61:1-4 (NLT) (An Old Testament Prophesy about Jesus)

Jesus, the Bible says you came to bring good news.  I sure could use some good news right now. It says you came to comfort the brokenhearted.  My heart is so busted up I can barely breath – please comfort me.  In my grief and sadness, I need to know that you want to give me favor, that you care.  Please take this pain and turn it around.  I need to once again see beauty, rather than such sadness.  I want to be able to be able to speak of the wonderful things you have done, instead of feeling this constant despair.  Strengthen me like a mighty oak tree for your honor.  Please rebuild my life and family. Rebuild what has been destroyed. Revive my life, even though I currently feel like one whose been deserted.

The young women will dance for joy, and the men—old and young—will join in the celebration. I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing. Jeremiah 31:13 (NLT) (Written when Israel was in slavery because of their sin.  God wanted them to remember his promises; that he would one day return them to their land in freedom.)

God, right now, there is no way I could dance or celebrate – I’m too sad.  I can’t even see a day ahead where I will once again be happy.  Would you please, in your time, do for me what I’m unable to do for myself?  Would you please give me your joy instead of such grief? Would you please comfort my heart and mind? Please, one day, would you allow me to be able to celebrate again?  Please help me to trust you to do this.  To make me whole.  I don’t see how it can happen.  I so desperately need your help.

God is above all of us, but amazingly longs for us to talk to him.  To cry out to him.  To unburden ourselves to him.  He wants us to know him.  That’s why he sent Jesus.  Prayer doesn’t have to be flowery, or fancy.  It just needs to be sincere, and from the heart.

And in talking to God, he wants us to believe he will hear and answer.  If you aren’t certain of that – tell him so. Ask him to work, even if you aren’t certain he exists or cares. I don’t believe he’s offended by our honesty.  Besides, it gives him the opportunity to show himself!

With love and prayers,

Robin <3

p.s. Once again, if this series has been a struggle and you want someone to talk or pray with, I’m a pretty good listener.  I would gladly pray as well.  The form below is for your confidentiality.

A Listening Ear

“Until now, I’ve never heard anyone pray like they really believed someone was listening.”  

A teacher friend of mine and I used to pray every morning in her classroom before the students arrived for the day.  And every morning we invited her teacher’s aide to join us, making it very clear if she wasn’t comfortable, there would be no offence or consequence.  The above was her statement at the end of the year as we all embraced and said our farewells for the summer break.  Her words warmed my heart.

Someone is listening.

But how can I believe that?

There have been so many times when I’ve seen answers I can’t relate to anything or anyone else but a God who hears me and answers.  Sometimes the answers are too specific, or the situations too bleak for any other explanation.

True Story

I’d been praying on and off for a couple of years for wisdom regarding the timing to visit a very dear friend in Hawaii whose son was extremely ill, and had been for a long while. He’d had so many close calls the last couple of years, and his health was becoming more fragile with each incident.

I’d not only been praying, I’d been listening for God to answer.  

A year ago, about this time, my friend’s son was deathly ill one more time, and as I prayed for her comfort, his health, and when and if to travel, suddenly the words came into my mind – “Go now!” I mentioned it to my husband, and some other prayer warriors to make certain I was hearing correctly.  This trip wasn’t down the street, but across the continent and over an ocean.  I needed to be certain.

The more I prayed about it, the greater the urgency to “go NOW!”  I began asking how urgent “now” was, and after a couple of days, the words also came into my head, “You must travel by Wednesday next week!”  This was a little strange to me, as I’d never been given such specific instructions before.  I once again mentioned it to those praying, so I’d be certain to make a right decision.  However, the longer I delayed in booking my flight, the greater became intensity to act.

I ended up booking the flight and a rental car to travel the next Wednesday – less than a week from the time I booked the ticket. A sense of peace finally came over me.  I’d listened and followed through.

The day of travel came, and went, and finally I found myself sitting in the front seat of my friend’s car as we drove toward her home, in the mountains of Oahu.  As we caught up on life, she mentioned her son had arrived home from the hospital just a couple of hours previous.  She then mentioned, a bit sheepishly, “I hope you don’t mind, but I have a surgical procedure early tomorrow morning.  Since Kekoa is home from the hospital, the only person who can drive me there will be staying with him.  I know you must be exhausted from your flight, but I need you to take me tomorrow morning.”

I finally understood why God’s Spirit so insisted on the day I would travel.  My friend was more than exhausted from years of caring for her son, who had severely fragile special needs. Also, his last hospital stay had been horrific, and filled her soul with great pain as she, for a couple of weeks, helplessly watched him writhe and moan due to his own pain and discomfort.

God, in his mercy, knew his provision would ease her mind and care for her in a way she alone had no energy to do for herself.  He’d heard.  He was answering.  I’m grateful I’d listened.

When I Pray

.… when I called, you did not answer.  When I spoke, you did not listen.  You deliberately sinned – before my very eyes – and chose to do what you know I despise.” 

Isaiah 65:12 (NLT)

God spoke this to his people long ago through a prophet named Isaiah.  Could he say it about me?  Although I listened this time, so many times I’m too busy wanting my own way, or relief my way and my time, to take the time to actually listen.

“Lord, forgive me for not always listening very well.  I want to grow in trusting you more, so that I can listen better.”

With love and prayers,

Robin <3

A Wish and A Prayer

“When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are.  Anything your heart desires will come to you…” (written by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington for Walt Disney’s 1940 rendition of “Pinocchio”)

How often do we see prayer that way?

We send up wishes and hope someone, somewhere hears us.  Our thoughts not much different than putting a note in a bottle and placing it in the ocean, hoping someone finds it before our boat collapses, and we’re eaten by sharks.

Even if you aren’t someone who’d define yourself as a “prayer”, aren’t you sometimes tempted to pray?  Especially when life for you or a loved one get really hard, and there’s nothing left to do?  In those moments, thoughts can go something like this, “The time it takes is worth it, just in case there really is someone out there, somewhere, who will hear me.  And if there is, maybe they will choose to have some compassion and answer.”

If we are honest with ourselves, even those of us who consider ourselves “Jesus followers” and “prayers” sometimes act as though we believe that way when we address the God of heaven with our requests.  I do.

For those who are struggling, prayer can become a life line.  For those who follow Jesus, prayer is vital to relationship.  Since prayer is so important, isn’t it worth discussing?

This week, let’s take a serious look at prayer.  What is it?  Does it really matter who we pray to?  How do I know if someone is hearing me?  Are there certain prayers that work, and some that don’t?

I look forward to our discussion.  Please, as always, lets truly make this a discussion. If what you read touches something deep within, please let me know.  If you have questions, insights, or even disagree – that’s all part of discussion.  And please feel free to pass this along to someone you may know who would benefit.

If you wish your comments to remain private, send them via the contact info below.  If you wish them to be an open part of the discussion, there is a place to comment from the top triple dots at the top of the blog page.  Thank you!

With love and prayers,

Robin <3