1 Trusting God When Your Dreams Have Died Broken dreams sounds so hollow. There s something you desperately want but can t have. Is there purpose in your pain? Sheridan Voysey a man who walked through the wilderness says yes. He makes a comparison of the Jews biblical wilderness journey to the wilderness we find ourselves in when we are empty and desperately asking God, Why? God uses these times to teach us about ourselves and reveal Himself to us. So even when God says no, you can trust that He will walk with you during your darkest moments and offer His hope for your future. WHEN GOD SAYS NO Broken Dreams to New Beginnings Sheridan Voysey is a writer, speaker, and broadcaster based in Oxford, England. Sheridan has authored several books and was the host of a live talk show in Australia exploring life, faith, and culture. Sheridan speaks regularly at conferences and holds degrees in theology and communication. To order more of When God Says No or any of over 100 other titles, visit discoveryseries.org. Q0736 Sheridan Voysey
2 introduction When God Says No Broken Dreams to New Beginnings Life doesn t always go as planned. Most of the time we can adjust and simply roll with the punches. But how do we cope when our deepest dreams and most cherished hopes are crushed? Sometimes God says no and we don t understand the answer or get an explanation. 1
3 Sheridan Voysey and his wife, Merryn, experienced the wilderness of broken dreams. In their journey they learned about themselves and about God. And that no isn t necessarily the last word. RBC Ministries 2 WHEN GOD SAYS NO
4 contents one The Wilderness of Broken Dreams 5 two Navigating the Wilderness 13 three Starting Again 29 MANAGING EDITOR: J. R. Hudberg COVER IMAGE: Mayte Torres via Getty Images COVER DESIGN: Stan Myers INTERIOR DESIGN: Steve Gier Interior Images: (p.1) Mayte Torres via Getty Images; (p.5) Hanspeter Arlt via Pixabay.com; (p.13) Wolfgang Beisswenger via Pixabay.com; (p.29) xuuxuu via Pixabay.com. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI All rights reserved. Printed in USA
6 one The Wilderness of Broken Dreams The call came to my wife s cell phone on Christmas Eve, Hi, Merryn, the voice said. It s Emily, from the clinic. That Christmas was shaping up to be a Christmas like no other. Just a few days prior we had been given some news we never thought we would receive. After ten years spent trying almost every means possible to start a family, we had been told that Merryn was pregnant. 5
7 Pregnant! After a decade of waiting, we were finally going to have a baby. We could hardly believe it. Merryn and I had packed our car and driven from Sydney to Brisbane to spend the festive season with our families, who had greeted us with tears of joy upon hearing our news. And now Emily from the IVF clinic was on the phone with the results from the latest routine blood test. Yes, this was going to be a Christmas like no other. 1 Expectation, Expectation I still remember the day Merryn and I decided to start a family. It was the year We d been married for five years, were in a settled place in life, and the time seemed right to have a child. As any couple who makes that decision knows, every twenty-eight days from that point on you look for signs of success. Each month there is expectation. And for the first couple of months it s common for Being committed that expectation to be followed by Christians, we disappointment. soon turned our Expectation, disappointment. attention to Expectation, disappointment. healing prayer. We knew we needed to be patient. Conception can take a while. But after nine months without success, we d decided to get some tests done. Those tests had revealed 6 WHEN GOD SAYS NO
8 there was a problem on my side, and without divine intervention or technological assistance our dreamed-of baby was going to be hard to have. Like many infertile couples, what followed for us was a pendulum swing of emotions. One month we were looking at the opportunities childlessness brings: We would have more time for ourselves and less demands on our finances; we would be less geographically tied and more free to travel. But before long the pendulum would swing the other way, and being childless no longer looked so attractive. The desire to hold our own child would return the desire to hold a little us. We tried special diets, supplements, and all manner of other things to increase our chances of getting pregnant. Being committed Christians, we soon turned our attention to healing prayer. One night a small group of people gathered in a lounge room Perhaps I hadn t prayed with enough faith? Perhaps the prosperity preachers were right and I needed to truly believe in order to receive our child? to pray for us. As they laid hands on me and began to pray, something unexpected happened. Suddenly I began to cry. Merryn had never seen me cry before; I m not one for tears. But she saw me cry this night deep sobs from within. Afterwards it felt like I had met with God in a The Wilderness of Broken Dreams 7
9 special way. It felt like something had been released in me, perhaps even healed. And so for the next 28 days there was expectation... followed by disappointment. Maybe we should try IVF? Merryn said. In 2006 we tried our first round of in vitro fertilization. The procedure was traumatic for Merryn and invasive for us both. But friends and family around the country were praying, and so in the days after we were filled with expectation. Again, however, that expectation was met with disappointment. Do you think we should try and adopt? Merryn said one day in Eight months later our assessment to become adoptive parents was complete. You re a very attractive couple, the social worker told us at our final appointment. I don t think it will take long for you to be placed with a child. Just wait for the phone call. So we waited for the phone call. One week, two weeks, three weeks passed, then two months, six months, nine months without a phone call. After twenty months of the phone sitting silent, Merryn was a mess. I can t do this anymore, she said, always waiting, our lives on hold, riding this emotional rollercoaster of expectation and disappointment. Do you think we could try IVF again? And so in 2010 we made one last attempt at starting a family through IVF. By now I was wondering if my spirituality was the problem. Perhaps I hadn t prayed with enough faith? Perhaps the prosperity preachers were 8 WHEN GOD SAYS NO
10 right and I needed to truly believe in order to receive our child? So as our first embryo was transferred into Merryn s womb, I prayed, God, I don t just ask you to give us a child, I believe you will give us a child! Others prayed too, and so there was expectation, expectation, expectation! Followed by disappointment. Another embryo was transferred, followed by another, and another. Each time our hopes that this embryo would be the one were dashed. In mid-december of 2010 ten years after our initial decision to start a family our final embryo was placed into Merryn s womb. We had agreed this would be our final try. We couldn t keep living in this state of upheaval. By this stage Merryn and I were spiritually empty and had few prayers left. But our friends and family prayed faithfully, and their expectation was met with... a phone call. It was from Emily at the IVF The miracle has come! After ten years wait you re going to have a child! clinic. I ve checked with the doctors here, she said, and we all agree things are looking good. What do you mean good? Merryn asked, not wanting to misunderstand. Your hormone levels are right where we d expect them to be for a pregnancy. Merryn had put the phone down and cried with The Wilderness of Broken Dreams 9
11 surprise. My mother had squealed with joy upon hearing the news, and friends had texted us in tears. God has answered your prayers! they said. The miracle has come! After ten years wait you re going to have a child! And that s when we d gotten into our car and driven to Brisbane to spend a Christmas like no other with our family. A Journey through the Wilderness Hi, Merryn, the voice on the cell phone said on Christmas Eve. It s Emily, from the clinic. Oh good, Merryn thought, the results of the latest blood test. I m afraid, Emily said quietly, things have changed. What do you mean? Merryn said. Your pregnancy hormone levels have dropped significantly. But you told us we were preg I am so sorry. As an ultrasound later revealed, there had never been a baby inside Merryn. A gestational sac had been responsible for the pregnancy-like symptoms, but while it should have contained a little body, it was empty. Merryn put the phone down, walked into our bedroom and curled up on the bed in a fetal position. Our ten-year dream of having a family was over. We no longer felt like celebrating Christmas. We repacked the car and started the long drive back to Sydney, stopping at a motel halfway. Walking into the 10 WHEN GOD SAYS NO
12 motel room, we dumped our bags on the floor and Merryn fell onto the bed in tears. Then I pulled out my journal and wrote these words: God, this is cruel leaving us in this wilderness. We ve walked round in circles for years, tired, thirsty, and confused. One minute we ve glimpsed the Promised Land and the next minute you ve barred us from entering it. Your Broken Dream If you ve in any way experienced a broken dream if you ve longed to be married but remain single, or perhaps, despite your best efforts, your marriage ended, or if your career has never taken off, or if a crushing diagnosis has shattered your hopes, or like us, you ve never been able to have a child you ll probably know what I mean by the phrase the wilderness. The wilderness is that barren place between longing and fulfillment a place of wandering and waiting yet never reaching the Promised Land of the spouse, the career, the healing, or the child. And as you wait for that spouse or that healing or for your career prospects to change, and as you perhaps glimpse the Promised Land in a handsome man or a better diagnosis that proves The wilderness is that barren place between longing and fulfillment. The Wilderness of Broken Dreams 11
13 later to be a mirage, you may feel as we did along our wilderness journey tired, jaded, sad, confused. Life may feel meaningless to you, feelings of failure may haunt you, and you may harbor jealousy towards those who have what you want and anger towards the God who has denied your request. The wilderness can be a harsh place to dwell. Thank God there s more to it than broken dreams and disappointment. 1 The brief story that follows is told in full in my book Resurrection Year: Turning Broken Dreams into New Beginnings (Thomas Nelson, 2013). 12 WHEN GOD SAYS NO
14 two Navigating the Wilderness A Place of Revelation The wilderness I wrote on that fateful Christmas Eve. A wilderness experience is what our journey had been. I had drawn the imagery, of course, from that great biblical story of the Exodus, where thousands of Israelites had set out for the Promised Land after 400 years in slavery. What started as an adventure for them had soon become an ordeal, with an eleven-day trek becoming 13
15 forty years of wandering (exodus 12:31 20:26; numbers 10 36). Some months after our dream came to an end, I re-read this story. Through it I came to see there s more to the wilderness than suffering. Revelation in the Wilderness The wilderness journey is neatly summarized in a short passage of Scripture Deuteronomy 8:1 9. We enter the story as the journey is almost over and the Jewish people are about to step into the Promised Land. Moses stands before the people and tells them what God has been up to during their wilderness trek: Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands (deuteronomy 8:2). Anyone who has experienced it knows that the wilderness is a place of trial. But the purpose of a trial is to reveal the truth. God led the Jewish people through the wilderness, Moses said, to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. The wilderness is a place of revelation. It has a way of revealing the truth about us. It has a way of revealing what s in our hearts. Revealing Our Heart Merryn and I were determined to honor God as we walked through our wilderness of infertility. We made a commitment to implant every embryo resulting from the 14 WHEN GOD SAYS NO
16 The wilderness is a place of revelation. It has a way of revealing the truth about us. IVF process; we wouldn t discard any after a successful pregnancy. This was easier in theory than in practice, though. On more than one occasion doctors told us we had embryos of such bad quality it wasn t worth the thousands of dollars required to implant them. On several occasions we implanted anyway. On one occasion we didn t. I hope we made the right decision. Like us, there was probably a moment in your life when you said to Jesus, My life is yours. I ll do whatever you want me to do and go wherever you want me to go. In the wilderness these good intentions are put to the test. Will we keep our promises when things get difficult? Will we still follow Him when the costs get high? Moral shortcuts are tempting when we want something desperately. Israel was humbled in the wilderness (deuteronomy 8:2). We ll be humbled too. We may not follow Him with the unquestioned obedience we once imagined of ourselves. The Jews grumbled repeatedly in the wilderness about the food, the water supply, and other perils of the journey (numbers 11:4 6; 14:1 4; 20:2 4). Can God really spread a table in the wilderness? they asked cynically, doubting God s care in a land of vultures and sand (psalm 78:19). For us too, the wilderness reveals how much we will trust Him. As her diary entries reveal, the wilderness brought a sharp test to Merryn s faith: Navigating the Wilderness 15
17 I wish I could trust God again. I wish I could trust that there s some grand plan or reason behind Him not giving us a child. What can you really trust God for, when you ask with all your heart and you re ignored? Maybe God is just mean. Like the people of Israel, Merryn never questioned God s existence in the wilderness, but she did question His goodness. Her faith wasn t one of saintly trust in the face of difficulty, but of doubt, confusion, and at times bitterness. The wilderness would reveal something different of my own heart. A few weeks before that fateful Christmas Eve, Merryn and I had sat by Sydney Harbor one evening talking about the future. If we don t have a family, Merryn said, the thought of life going on as usual is too depressing for me. What would be a nice consolation prize for you, I asked, if we don t have a child? I d like to start again, she said, overseas. Overseas? If we don t have a baby, she said, could we move to Europe? Merryn s dream of becoming a mother would soon be denied, but here was a dream that could be fulfilled. Would I make it happen? I didn t like the costs involved. To move overseas would require leaving my successful life and ministry in Australia a writing career, good 16 WHEN GOD SAYS NO
18 speaking engagements, a national radio show that was itself a ten-year dream come true to enter an unknown land as an unknown man. Ask any publisher there is little opportunity for an author to be published in a country that doesn t know who he is. To fulfill Merryn s dream, I d have to give up my own. I d have to give up the influence I was having for God. While the wilderness revealed in Merryn a lack of trust in God, I wonder if for me it revealed a little idol an idol of influence (psalm 106:19, 28; amos 5:25 27). I had started to get my sense of significance from my radio and writing achievements rather than from God himself. The wilderness is a place of revelation. It reveals what s in our hearts. It reveals how much we will trust Him. A Place of Provision For some people, the wilderness is a place of warfare. To them, pain, suffering, and broken dreams have no place in our lives and so are to be bound, healed, and exorcised. A friend of mine recently died of cancer. To her dying day she was binding the devil and casting out the spirit of death from her body. To her, the wilderness was a place of warfare. For others, the wilderness is a place of resignation. To them, pain, suffering, and broken dreams are part of this fallen world and so are to be expected, accepted, and endured. Some years ago another friend of mine was also dying of cancer. He rejected all prayer for healing because, in his thinking, everything that happened in life did so according to God s will and so his cancer was part of God s Navigating the Wilderness 17
19 plan. He therefore resigned himself to suffer it patiently. There is a time to fight suffering, and there is a time to accept it. But Moses didn t see the wilderness primarily as a place of warfare or of resignation. He saw it firstly as a place of revelation. And he described it as something else. Provision in the Wilderness Moses told the Israelites to remember how God had led them through the wilderness. God hadn t abandoned them there He d been with them all along, doing something in their hearts throughout the journey. Then Moses went on to say this: He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known.... Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years (deuteronomy 8:3 4). Even though they grumbled and complained, God provided them with manna from heaven, quail from the skies, water from rocks, and ever-sturdy clothes (exodus 16:13 15; 17:3 7). The wilderness wasn t just a place of revelation for them it was a place of provision. And so it had been for Merryn and me. Not that we could always see it. That s the thing about a broken dream it restricts your vision. Soon your life gets confined to the four walls of your problems to the four walls of an IVF clinic, a counselor s office, a single s site, or a hospital ward and you miss the good things God is giving you every day 18 WHEN GOD SAYS NO
20 That s the thing about a broken dream it restricts your vision.... You miss the good things God is giving you every day like life, breath, health, work, art, sport, and pets. new start. Would God provide that? In Ways We Least Expect like life, breath, health, work, art, sport, and pets. In the wilderness we can miss these everyday blessings, pushing them to the periphery while our problems take precedence. And we can forget the more specific ways God provides for us too. The same decade that was filled with dashed hopes of a baby for Merryn and me was also filled with book contracts, dream radio shows, finances, and friends when we needed them most, and a career for Merryn in medical research which brought some sense of purpose to her life. But when our dream for a baby came to an end, Merryn needed a A few months after our conversation by Sydney Harbor, my phone rang at the office. It was Merryn. I just got an from the interview panel, she said. Already? I said. Already. Want me to read it to you? A lot had happened in the previous weeks. I had tendered my resignation from my radio show and told my publishers I was leaving the country. Merryn had Navigating the Wilderness 19
21 resigned her job too, and yet we still didn t know where we were moving. Merryn had set her heart on moving to Switzerland, but we soon discovered we couldn t get visas to enter the country. Another dream had looked set to break. But just a few days before, an unexpected opportunity had arisen for Merryn to apply for a job at an English university, where visas wouldn t be a problem. A panel of professionals had interviewed her by telephone, pummeling her with questions on risk models, subgroup analyses, and nonparametric sample sizes the tools of her medical research trade. Merryn had answered as best she could but hadn t left the interview hopeful. She d been told it would take a fortnight to hear the outcome, which is why this early correspondence was a surprise. Read me the , I said, trying to gauge Merryn s emotions from her voice. Merryn began to read. It says, We are pleased to offer you the position of medical statistician at the Centre for Statistics in Medicine at Oxford University. Oxford University! Merryn was being offered a job at one of the most prestigious educational establishments in the world. We hadn t seen that coming. The wilderness is a place of God s provision. Often in ways we least expect. A Place of Discovery [In] the wilderness, Moses reminded them, you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place 20 WHEN GOD SAYS NO
22 (deuteronomy 1:31). And now, as he addressed the Israelites at the conclusion of their journey, he added: Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you (8:5). Father. Son. Carries. Disciplines. Don t miss these words. They re significant. To this point Israel had known God as Creator, King, Warrior, Judge. But through the wilderness they have come to know Him as something else as Father. The wilderness wasn t just a place of revelation and provision for the Israelites it was a place of discovery. Through the wilderness they had discovered that God was their Dad, and they were His children. Who am I? Through the wilderness they have come to know Him as something else as Father. Merryn and I packed our bags, sold our car, put our Sydney flat up for rent, and gave away all the baby things we d collected over the years the pram, the cot, the bibs, the bottles, the books, the play rugs, the high chair. We boarded our flight, clasped our belts, and after holiday stops in Italy and Switzerland soon arrived in our new home of Oxford, United Kingdom. John Wesley once walked these streets. C. S. Lewis used to live around the corner. For centuries, world-renowned scientists, writers, and politicians have Navigating the Wilderness 21
23 been educated here. The history soaked into each brick of this beautiful sandstone city was astounding. Merryn s first day at Oxford University came around. How do I look? she said as she walked into the kitchen wearing a new outfit bought for the occasion. Honey, I said, when those medical statisticians see you today, they re going to spill their weak tea down their beige cardigans. We laughed, but we were still anxious. We d come a long way for this not to work out, and the thought of another broken dream for Merryn was almost too much to contemplate. But Merryn returned home with a smile. And the smiles continued as the weeks turned into months. In fact, after the wilderness of infertility, Oxford became like a Promised Land for Merryn. Soon she was coming home each day with a spring in her step, having her papers published in important journals, and relishing this new home of ours. Things proved a little more difficult for me. While well-connected people were recommending me, BBC Radio wasn t returning my phone calls. I started writing a new book but two publishers soon declined to publish it. Why? Who s Sheridan Voysey? they said. We ve never heard of him here in England. The months wore on, and as they did some ugly emotions began to arise within me: feelings of jealousy for the authors and speakers who had what I didn t have, and a sense of insignificance that became almost crushing. You had an audience of thousands, a little voice whispered 22 WHEN GOD SAYS NO
24 within, but now no one cares what you have to say. You re spiritually impotent, professionally irrelevant. You used to make a difference, but now you lack influence. Oxford became the Promised Land for Merryn. For me, it became a new wilderness. Without a meaningful role or a sense of purpose, I no longer knew who I was. Who He Is, Who We Are Most of us build our lives on good but ultimately secondary identities. How do you describe yourself to others? Probably as a wife, husband, mum, or dad. Perhaps as an artist, engineer, teacher, or programmer. But who are you if you re not a wife, a husband, a mum, or a dad? Who are you if you re no longer an artist, engineer, teacher, programmer, or whatever vocation you ve either enjoyed or hoped to have? In the wilderness we re stripped of all these good but secondary identities. Merryn could not become a mum. I was no longer a broadcaster. When all that we are or have dreamed of becoming is gone, is there anything deeper, more foundational, left? Listen again to Moses words: [In] the wilderness... you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son. Here s what s left when those secondary identities are stripped away: You are a son or a daughter, a child of the Father. And nothing can take this primary identity away from you. Success can t shake it, and neither can failure. It is impervious to sickness, tragedy, even death. Your name is written in the book of heaven (Luke 10:20). Nothing can Navigating the Wilderness 23
25 separate you from the Father s love (romans 8:38 39). See what great love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God! John tells us. And that is what we are! (1 john 3:1). Your role, position, or status may change but this identity will remain forever. I had known about my identity in Christ for years, of course. I had preached about it and taught it. But in the wilderness I had to fully discover it. Whether I succeeded or failed, whether applauded or forgotten, I was a child of God. And that was all that really mattered. In the wilderness we discover who we most deeply are: children of God, our Father. Here s what s left when those secondary identities are stripped away: You are a son or a daughter, a child of the Father. Your role or status may change but this identity will remain forever. A Place of Transition The wilderness of broken dreams can be a hard and barren place, but it is also a place of revelation, provision, and discovery. Moses hadn t finished, though. There is one more thing about the wilderness he wanted the Israelites to know: Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. For 24 WHEN GOD SAYS NO
26 the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land (deuteronomy 8:6 7). A good land. A place of revelation, yes. A place of provision and discovery. Now Moses revealed that the wilderness is also a place of transition. The wilderness is the ground between what was and what will be the place between slavery and freedom, between immaturity and wisdom, between God s promise and its fulfillment, between who we were and who we are to be. After forty years in the wilderness, the door of the Promised Land stood before them. After forty days in the wilderness, Jesus launched His world-changing mission (mark 1:12 15). And this can give us hope as we walk our own difficult journeys: After the wilderness comes a new beginning. New Beginnings A few weeks before the Christmas Eve phone call that brought our dreams of a family to an end, I interviewed the British writer, poet, and humorist Adrian Plass on my radio show. Adrian and I later got talking off air and I ended up sharing a little of our wilderness journey with him. Adrian listened carefully, gave some encouraging words, and invited us to stay with him and his wife, Bridget, if we ever visited the UK. When Merryn and I moved to Oxford I got in touch, and we soon spent a weekend together. We all went for a walk one afternoon. At one point Merryn and Bridget strode ahead while Adrian and I trailed behind. How are you both doing now? he asked me. Navigating the Wilderness 25
27 On the whole, we re doing better, I said. Coming to England has been the new beginning Merryn needed. My future is a little up in the air and Merryn still gets teary at times, but I guess we re trying to focus on the up-side of being childless you know, like having more time and being free to travel. I can understand that, Adrian said. But focusing on the up-side of your situation will only get you so far. We walked a little further before he explained what he meant. Out of your suffering will come opportunities to minister to people in ways you otherwise never could. No matter how hard we try, Adrian said, we cannot put a positive spin on the crucifixion. It was a dark, barbaric event there was no up-side. And Jesus didn t try to find one. Instead, He did something else entirely. Have you ever noticed how many people Jesus ministered to as He hung on the cross? Adrian ran down the list. While on the cross, Jesus ministered to His mother by putting her into John s care (john 19:26 27), to a thief hanging next to Him (Luke 23:39 43), to the people who crucified Him (23:33 34), to a Roman centurion who came to believe in Him (23:47; matthew 27:54), and to all of us by forgiving our sins through His sacrifice. All of this was done in the middle of His suffering, Adrian added, before things came good at His resurrection. I d never seen it like that before. 26 WHEN GOD SAYS NO
28 Adrian went on. Yes, there may be some benefits in you being childless, but you ll also find it difficult and lonely at times. Yet out of your suffering will come opportunities to minister to people in ways you otherwise never could. A New Mission Later that evening Adrian and I sat in his lounge talking about the publishing world in particular, my difficulty getting a book contract now that I was in a new country. Have you considered writing your story into a book? he said. Adrian s suggestion took me by surprise, and my mind immediately filled with objections. Adrian, I m not sure I m qualified to write a book about infertility. Your story isn t just about infertility, he said. It s about broken dreams, tested faith, the need for a new beginning. It s about taking a risk and starting again, and holding on to God when you don t understand Him. I think many could benefit from reading about that. Our conversation drifted to other things, but Adrian s idea wouldn t leave me. I was certain Merryn wouldn t want such a personal story told publically either, but to my surprise, after prayer, she sensed it was the right thing to do. So a few weeks later I sat down at my desk and began to write. The book found a publisher, and within days of its release my inbox began filling with s from readers: My son has Asperger Syndrome and my marriage is in tatters because of my husband s addiction. All my dreams are gone. But after reading your Navigating the Wilderness 27
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Devotion NT231 CHILDREN S DEVOTIONS FOR THE WEEK OF: LESSON TITLE: Anointing Jesus Feet life. THEME: Jesus is worthy of all honor. SCRIPTURE: Luke 7:36-50 Dear Parents Welcome to Bible Time for Kids! Bible
BASIC PRAYER Watch Video 1, Anytime, Anywhere. SESSION ONE TALKING WITH YOUR FATHER As you grow as a Christian, prayer will become an important part of your everyday life. Jesus Himself often prayed. The
Devotion NT270 CHILDREN S DEVOTIONS FOR THE WEEK OF: LESSON TITLE: The Master Becomes a Servant THEME: Jesus wants us to serve one another. SCRIPTURE: John 13:1-17 Dear Parents Welcome to Bible Time for
Call and Vocation Youth Session By Ann Marie Eckert Time: 90 minutes Session Objective To engage participants in thinking about how they have been called in their life and how that call is their vocation.
Sharing the Gospel with Photos Stonecroft Evangelism Tools Stonecroft.org Sharing the Gospel with Photos Stonecroft Evangelism Tools Stonecroft 10561 Barkley, Suite 500 Overland Park, KS 66212 800.525.8627
Medjugorje visionary, Ivan, speaking to several thousand pilgrims today, August 18, 2010. Ivan was given special instructions from Our Lady concerning the youth and family. Being married to an American
Devotion NT273 CHILDREN S DEVOTIONS FOR THE WEEK OF: LESSON TITLE: The Garden of Gethsemane THEME: We always need to pray! SCRIPTURE: Luke 22:39-53 Dear Parents Welcome to Bible Time for Kids. Bible Time
Devotion NT257 CHILDREN S DEVOTIONS FOR THE WEEK OF: LESSON TITLE: Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus THEME: Jesus always has time for us! SCRIPTURE: Mark 10:46-52 Dear Parents Welcome to Bible Time for Kids!
T h e G i f t o f t h e M a g i p T h e G i f t o f t h e M a g i ONE DOLLAR AND EIGHTY-SEVEN CENTS. That was all. She had put it aside, one cent and then another and then another, in her careful buying
Denver Baptist Church 2016 Bible Reading Plan All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training that the man of God may be complete, equipped
Truth and Light KOINONIA SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2012 Rev. Emily Joye McGaughy First Congregational Church United Church of Christ 145 Capital Ave., NE Battle Creek, MI 49017 269 965 1225 www.fccbc.org Truth
God s Mission for My Life: Rick Warren: Principal #5 Jesus: In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world. John 17:18 (The Message) The most important thing
Sharing the Plan of Salvation with Children By Cheryl Markland Font: Whiz Bang For more information contact: Childhood Ministry Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (800) 395-5102 ext. 5646 Sharing
I M NOT AN ADDICT How could I be an addict? My life is great. I live in a very good area of Los Angeles, drive a nice sports car, have a good job, pay all my bills, and have a wonderful family. This is
Introduction STANDARD B: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE IN CHRIST? Lesson 7: How Do We Stay Close to Jesus? Several times, Jesus gave His followers instructions about how to stay close to Him. Many people listened
JUDGMENT DAY And the Books Were Opened 1 And the Books Were Opened Hebrews 9:27 INTRODUCTION: A. Have you thought of the reality of the judgment day? 1. Judgment day is a real day! 2. Judgment day is a
Devotion NT319 CHILDREN S DEVOTIONS FOR THE WEEK OF: LESSON TITLE: Spiritual Gifts THEME: God gives us all different gifts to serve Him and to serve others! SCRIPTURE: 1 Corinthians 12:1-31; 14:1-40 Dear
The Qualities of a Godly Father Mark 5: 21-24; 35-43 Today is a special day for many of the men here. Today has been set aside to honor fathers. Being a father is one of the great joys in life. I am blessed
Sermon on Jeremiah 1: 4-10 sisters & brothers when have you heard such a sentence last? I need you I ve called you you can do it!? I know you can How you actually interpret this sentence depends on the
Easter Everyday - Week 4 Day 1 - God Is Greater 1 John 3:19-24 (NLV) 19 This is how we know we are Christians. It will give our heart comfort for sure when we stand before Him. 20 Our heart may say that
Devotion NT224 CHILDREN S DEVOTIONS FOR THE WEEK OF: LESSON TITLE: The Woman at the Well THEME: Jesus knows all about us and He loves us. SCRIPTURE: John 4:1-42 Dear Parents Welcome to Bible Time for Kids!
Change Cycle Change often involves a process. The Bible describes five significant stages of change that are important to understand. They include Rebellion, Realization, Remorse, Repentance, and Restoration.
Devotion NT255 CHILDREN S DEVOTIONS FOR THE WEEK OF: LESSON TITLE: Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard THEME: God is more concerned with our heart s attitude than our service. SCRIPTURE: Matthew 20:1-16
The Marvelous Ministry of Jesus Matthew 4: 23-25 Our text today is dealing with the early ministry of Jesus. He had just come out of the wilderness after being tempted 40 days of Satan. He had begun to
LINA AND HER NURSE. SUNDAY-SCHOOL UNI0 N, 200 MULBERRY-STREET, N. Y. LINA AND HER NURSE. SUNDAY-SCHOOL UNION, 200 MULBERRY-STREET, NEW YORK. LINA AND HER NURSE. L INA lived away in that land of the East
Title: MOSES: A PROPHET BECOMES A GREAT LEADER Space for Notes (Yours and ours) Theme: God s dealings with Moses gives hope to leaders and to oppressed people Bible Basis: Deuteronomy 34:10-12 NLT; Exodus
Page 1 Table of Content The Psychic Lotto Formula Jackpot to Success System... 4 Part 1 Channeling the Power of Your Mind to Success... 6 Part 2 Visualization... 12 Part 3 Integrating Luck and Making it
Luke 18:35-43 35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, Jesus of Nazareth is passing
Funeral Service I *The ceremonies or tributes of social or fraternal societies have no place within the service. Baptized Christians should be buried from the Church. We begin in the name of the Father
21 Day Devotional and Prayer Guide Day 1 Scripture: Psalm 4 Often when we look at our prayer life we wish it were better. Like a boat that has not been tied to the dock we have begun to drift little by
Team Devotional Greetings, Welcome to Casas por Cristo! If you are reading this, then more than likely you are embarking on a week-long adventure serving our Lord and Savior along the U.S. / México border
THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS (C.1.Spring.3) Biblical Reference Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-15 Key Verse Hebrews 4:15 Key Concept Jesus was tempted like me and the way he faced temptation is an example
CHAPTER 4 Jesus Teaches About Prayer Jesus prayed. He prayed for Himself, His disciples, and for future believers. He also taught about prayer. Prayer is our way of communicating with God whenever we want
Praying Scripture For the word of God is living and active.... Hebrews 4:12, NIV The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16, NIV When you pray, do you ever wonder if you re doing
A Prayer for All Seasons and Reasons Luke 11: 1 13; Col. 2: 6 10 Who taught you how to pray? That s the opening request for today s scripture lesson: Lord teach us to pray as John taught his disciples.
Connectedness and the Emotional Bank Account Directions This is a self-guided activity that can be completed by parents, teens or both. It contains five parts and should take about 45 minutes to complete.
LOVE OUT LOUD 365 DEVOTIONS FOR LOVING GOD, LOVING YOURSELF, AND LOVING OTHERS JOYCE MEYER NEW YORK BOSTON NASHVILLE Copyright 2011 by Joyce Meyer All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S.
Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus Lesson 4 February 21 & 22 Session Title: Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus Bible Passage: Luke 16:19-31 Big Picture Question: What is heaven? Heaven is the place where
Lesson 3 The lessons for each week are divided up into a five day study. Each day will cover a section of the scripture we are studying for this lesson. As you READ each section of scripture pray for God
BIBLE STUDY (Ephesians 2:1-9) What s This Passage All About? Writing to the Christians in the city of Ephesus (modern-day Turkey), St. Paul calls on them to take a step back and examine their salvation
Taking God s love to others through service 37 Then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was
Other books by the author Pearls: Scriptures To Live By Mental health Bible concordance. Over 2,500 Scriptures for counsel and guidance. Compiled under 172 mental health topics. Christlike: Walking The
Devotion NT224 CHILDREN S DEVOTIONS FOR THE WEEK OF: LESSON TITLE: The Woman at the Well THEME: Jesus knows all about us and He loves us. SCRIPTURE: John 4:1-42 Dear Parents Welcome to Bible Time for Kids!
JESUS HEALS A MAN WITH LEPROSY mark 1:40-45 A man with leprosy knelt down in front of Jesus. He begged Jesus to heal him. People with leprosy had to stay away from other people. They could not live with
1 Unit Lessons 1 Think About God When You Pray 2 Come to God the Right Way 3 Listen to God When You Pray 18 W h e n Yo u P r a y LESSON 1 Think About God When You Pray Do you ever wonder why some people
Devotion NT318 CHILDREN S DEVOTIONS FOR THE WEEK OF: LESSON TITLE: Running the Race THEME: Run the race of faith to win! SCRIPTURE: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Dear Parents Welcome to Bible Time for Kids! This
Devotion NT349 CHILDREN S DEVOTIONS FOR THE WEEK OF: LESSON TITLE: Taming the Tongue THEME: God wants us to watch what we say. SCRIPTURE: James 3:1-12 Dear Parents Welcome to Bible Time for Kids! Bible
A Way Through the Wilderness Lenten Preaching Series Part 3: Walking with Others in the Wilderness Galatians 6:2-5; Matthew 22:37-39 Third Sunday in Lent February 28, 2016 A sermon by Rev. Dr. Ivan H.M.
Reality 2: God Pursues a Continuing Love Relationship with You that is Real and Personal Reality 2: God Pursues a Continuing Love Relationship with You that is Real and Personal Created for a Love Relationship
All Scripture quotations are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION NIV.. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
The LORD our God is One LORD Deuteronomy 6: 4-9 Deuteronomy is the last of the books of the law known as the Pentateuch. It is known as a book of review. Moses was making preparations for Joshua to succeed
Devotion NT238 CHILDREN S DEVOTIONS FOR THE WEEK OF: LESSON TITLE: Jesus Walks on Water THEME: We need to completely trust in Jesus. SCRIPTURE: Mark 6:45-52 Dear Parents Welcome to Bible Time for Kids!
18 Who Jesus Is LESSON 1 Finding Out About Jesus Who do you think Jesus is? Some people say He was a great teacher. Others say He was a prophet, a philosopher, a Western god, or a good man whose example
HOPE LIVES! We carry the HOPE of the World! November 2010 Featured Teacher: Rick Warren, Saddleback Church (portions from videos on his book: Purpose Driven Life) Life Group Curriculum November 2010 Page
Date Used Seek Show Share Invite Invest The Holy Spirit & You Being a BGMC kid is part of learning more about how to pray, how to give, and how to go. To help you be your best at being a BGMC kid, this
FAMILY ADVENT GUIDE Merry Christmas from LifeWay! Use these devotions, activities, and connection questions to help your family rest in the love, peace, joy, and hope that only Jesus can bring. He s the
Listening for God Discussion Guide Chapter 1: Words to Live By Do you have a specific time set aside to read the Bible? If so, what time slot seems to work best for you? If not, how can you rearrange your
BOOK 3, PART 2, LESSON 4 FOLLOWERS OF JESUS ARE SERVANTS THE BIBLE: Acts 6:2 4, Romans 12:10, Romans 12:10a THEME: God gave Jesus followers the power to carry on the work Jesus had begun. They gathered
KNOWING GOD PERSONALLY These four points explain how you can enter into a personal relationship with God and experience the life for which you were created... GOD LOVES YOU AND CREATED YOU TO KNOW 1HIM
OMEGA PART 1 You Will Literally Fall On Your Face and Cry Oh My God! www.kensingtonchurch.org/watch Before you start, let s have a little fun. Grab a few crayons and a couple pieces of paper. Got it? Now,
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