alongside

Life can be so complicated and unpredictable. Today has been one of those days for me. My day started off with three MRIs: one for my brain, one for my neck and one for my back. My dear sweet husband took the morning off from work to hold my hand, comfort me, and pray for me because he knows that I am claustrophobic and that MRIs cause me great anxiety! Today was one of those days when I just needed my husband’s presence. As I went further into the MRI tube, he held my leg, and just knowing he was there brought me tremendous comfort. While sitting in the waiting room before my MRI and filling out my paperwork, I realized that today is February 13, my mom’s birthday. If my mom were still alive today, she would have turned 77!

We think we have to do something, but presence is a powerful action of its own. – Sarah Beckman

I have been thinking a lot about my mom lately. She died a few years ago after she was taken off of life support just days after Christmas. Family relations and emotions were all running high. Many friends called, texted and offered support. Whenever anyone offered to help I would simply ask for prayer. I would say that I was alright when in reality I wasn’t.

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In trying times, people tend to say they are okay and don’t need anything, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth! I will never forget the loving kindness of a friend who offered to stop by the hospital to bring food, and she would not take no for an answer. Not only did she bring me food, but she also took the time to listen to me. We prayed, we sang, and she sat with me as the Lord called my mom home. Her presence at that moment in my life was powerful and it is a gift that I will forever cherish.

How do we walk alongside someone in the midst of trying circumstances?

There’s a unique opportunity to love our neighbor when they experience a time of trial in their life. – Sarah Beckman

We all experience difficult trials in life, and we know people close to us that suffer hardships. How do we love and care for others well in their crisis?  The answer to this question is the purpose of Alongside: A Practical Guide for Loving your Neighbor in their Time of Trial. This must-read book is an invaluable resource for walking alongside those in need.

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This book is filled with questions to consider. It offers practical ways to love people through the storms of life and will help you figure out the best way to respond to the individual’s needs. You will learn to know your place in relationship to the person in need, and what you should do accordingly. It will also give a good understanding of possible needs and how people may be feeling, including general guidelines to consider and questions to help prepare for the journey ahead.

Part 2 of the book is dedicated to taking action. Know when to go, and when to pray. When I went to the hospital to give birth to my son whose heart had stopped beating in my womb, my sweet friends wanted to come to the hospital. While having my friends at the hospital that day was a kind gesture, what I needed most was time to grieve alone with my family. There is a chapter dedicated to respecting the person’s journey and includes information on privacy and dignity, and other chapters offer specific help, including being present, showing love through food, listening well and much more.

Finally, the book concludes with chapters on special circumstances, including: messy situations, when faith isn’t shared, when you’ve been there, when someone is aging, and terminal illness. In the appendix, there are scriptures for loving your neighbor which are divided into categories and a list of websites, books, and other helpful resources like meal coordination and online fundraising.

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For more information visit Sarah Beckman’s website.

A special thank you to The Blog About Network, The Blythe Daniel Agency and publishers for providing a copy of this book for review and one to giveaway.

I have one autographed copy of Alongside: A Practical Guide for Loving your Neighbor in their Time of Trial to give away! 

From now until February 28th, leave a comment below with either a way that you have come alongside someone in need or how someone has blessed you in a difficult time, to be eligible to win. Also, if you enjoyed reading this blog post please share with a friend.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you have a fantastic week!

This week’s Linkups:

 

Love not Fear for the Holidays

This weekend a glitter bomb exploded in my home as we began pulling boxes out of the attic in preparation for the holiday season and in anticipation to celebrate the birth of Christ. Simultaneously, on the streets of America another bomb exploded throughout cities across the country. Streets filled with people young and old raging against a Trump presidency. Angry mobs filled with hate and a palpable spirit of fear.

We are witnessing a huge clash of worldviews right before our very eyes.

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For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.- 2 Timothy 1:6-7 ESV

As Christians, we are not to have a spirit of fear, but a Spirit of power, and of love and self-control. Instead we are to fan the flames of our spiritual gifts. How should we respond to the lost and hurting people in our country? How can we use our time, money, and talents to make a difference?

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18 ESV

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Love casts out fear, and it is only the love of Jesus Christ that can bind up the wounds of the brokenhearted, that can save the lost, and calm the fears. Last week, I told you about Karen Ehman’s new book and Bible Study Listen, Love, Repeat!  And as I prepare my home for the holidays, I am also preparing my heart. I am praying about how I can use my gifts and talents to love people. I am praying about who I can be a light to, and how I can be the hands and feet of Jesus.

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I am overwhelmed by all that I have to thankful for.  I am abundantly blessed with the love of the Savior, my husband, children, family, and friends. As Americans we have so much to be thankful for.

However, the holiday season can be a very complicated, if we gather with family who may is different from us. Those who have different morals, values, worldview or political views can be especially challenging. For other people even the thought of gathering with family during the holidays evokes stress, and for some this may be a season of aloneness or intense grief.

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My plan is to pray and ask the Lord what he would have me and my family do this holiday season, and then do what he leads me to do. Showing love to others will look differently to each of us. For some it may be as simple as smiling more often. Slowing down to be more present, or thinking of others more often than thinking of ourselves.

What are some ways that we can reach out in love and bless others?

I would love to hear from you!

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If you would like more practical tips on how you can love others well this holiday season, be sure to follow my blog. I am excited to share one copy of Karen Ehman’s book, Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World along with a study guide and DVD! To be eligible to win, simply follow MistyPhillip.com, anytime between now and December 1, 2016!

Listen, Love, Repeat!

As the dust settles after a very contentious political season, one thing that is for sure is that our nation is divided. In the midst of this division, how should Christians respond? The answer: Listen, Love and Repeat!

I just finished reading Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World by Karen Ehman. Wow! What a timely and relevant message for us to consider and apply in our lives today. I was first introduced to Karen Ehman this past spring when I attended the She Speaks Proverbs 31 Women’s Conference and joined the COMPEL writer’s training program. When the opportunity arose to review Karen’s new book and Bible study I was thrilled to do so!

In Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World, Karen encourages us to be mindful, and look beyond ourselves and listen for ways we can can bless others. This book is based off of the principle, Love God, and Love people. In Matthew, we see the Sadducees ask Jesus questions to try to trap him theologically. When Jesus silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees continued to engage in ongoing debate with Jesus.

 

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:36-40 ESV

This command comes from Deuteronomy 6:5,”You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”  Love God, and love others. In these two commandments we have the sum of the law. Devote yourself to God by loving Him, and then show grace, love, and kindness to others.

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Karen has identified a major problem that affects society today. This problem will likely  plague the next generation, if something doesn’t change. In the crazy fast-paced selfie culture we live in, how can we love God and love others well? Karen shares both biblical stories and personal examples, along with practical wisdom on how to love others well.  Karen shares memory verses for making a difference, recipes for reaching out, quips and quotes, and much more.

I am excited to share one copy of Karen’s book, Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World along with a study guide and DVD! To be eligible to win, simply follow MistyPhillip.com, anytime between now and December 1, 2016! To follow MistyPhillip.com enter your email address into the text box on the side bar of my website.

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Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World (Zondervan, November 15, 2016) is Karen Ehman’s ninth book and has a Bible study with DVD with it. Karen is an encourager to women and her life work is to help women live their priorities and to love their lives.

 

Karen is a Proverbs 31 Ministries Speaker and New York Times bestselling author. She is also the Speaker Track Director of the She Speaks Conference and a teaching staff member of Proverb 31’s writers training program COMPEL.

In Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World Karen talks about listening for heart drops – a heart drop is when a person, either directly or in a cryptic way, gives you a peek into his or her heart – and what to do when we hear them. When we take notice of those who are in our presence we are able to mimic what some refer to as the same ministry Jesus has. Karen says, “Jesus’ real ministry was the person he found standing in front of Him” and asks, “Who is that for you today?”

 

Love Your Neighbor!

I hope you enjoyed my latest posts on preparing your home for the holidays. Stayed tuned, because there is more where that came from. I love this time of year, and I am excited that I get to share it with you! If you missed them, you can check them out here Holiday Preparation and Inspiration! and here Our Home – A Sanctuary.

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Today, I am excited to share some wisdom from my friend, author Michelle S. Lazurek and tell you about her beautiful new book on hospitality. She is going to share Jesus’ command to love your neighbors. I am blessed with the best neighbors! When it comes to neighbors, we won the lottery, and they make it easy to love them. But in the crazy busy world we live in, how can we follow Jesus’ command to truly love our neighbors? Michelle gives us a couple of great ideas.

Three Ways to Fulfill Jesus’ Command to Love Your Neighbors -Michelle S. Lazurek

Amy Lively, author of How to love your Neighbor (Without Being Weird) says, “I had every excuse for not loving my neighbor, and a few I’m sure God had ever heard before– but I couldn’t find an asterisk or exception to get me off the hook. After months of arguing with God, I finally knocked on my neighbors’ door and invited her over for coffee.  When it was my neighbor’s turn to knock on my door I found they were just as nervous as I was. We learned each other’s names, we laughed, we talked, we shared, and these neighbors walked out of my door as friends.”

But in this overextended, overstressed, independent world, how do we initiate relationships with our neighbors? 

Here are a few ways you can fulfill God’s most important command without tacking it onto an already overscheduled life:

Write a note– In this day and age, people are more suspicious than ever about what might be lurking inside a welcome basket. Gone are the days when a neighbor could give a basket brimming with luscious fruits or candies without resisting the urge to split each goodie in half to look for mysterious materials. Sometimes a quick note and gift card can suffice. A simple note stating you are happy to have them in the neighborhood and giving them a night off can speak volumes in your love for them. This may pave the way for a neighbor to knock on your door to express their gratitude—and for you to open the door to a new relationship.

Start a Facebook group– Conduct a simple search on Facebook to see if our neighbors utilize the social media site. Create a group of neighbors and discuss topics on how to improve your neighborhood, put out the feelers for interest in get- togethers and discuss pop culture topics as a way to get to know your neighbors’ likes and dislikes. This gives you something to talk about when you bump into your neighbors on your nightly walk or an opportunity to roll down your window when you see them going to their car. Every conversation matters and brings you one step closer to a new friendship.

Crafters Unite– I’m not terribly crafty, but even I love an excuse to get out my adult coloring books and crayons and relax. Do any of your neighbors paint, draw, read or scrapbook?  Ask to meet to create together, rather than separately.  If you don’t participate in these hobbies, is there one you have always wanted to explore? Meeting a neighbor is the best reason ever to learn a new skill or indulge your crafting side on a regular basis.

We are all called to love our neighbors as ourselves. Now you have a reason to merge beloved skills with a desire to fulfill Jesus’ greatest commandment.

Michelle is the author of An Invitation to the Table – Embracing the Gift of Hospitality.

Jesus spent a chunk of his ministry eating and drinking with the “”sinners and tax collectors”” of the world. If we strive to be more like Jesus, shouldnt we do more of what he did?

Hospitality involves more than the domesticated event we have grown accustomed to practicing. It is an embodiment of all the Christian life stands for: a gesture of love, opening up our hearts and lives, and sacrificing luxury and security for the chance to display Gods glory. To receive hospitality from others is an invitation to receive Gods transformative power to work in their lives.

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Readers will ask themselves these questions:

  • What is hospitality?
  • Is it something I am, or something I do?
  • How do I offer my life as a gesture of hospitality?
  • What are some practical ways for me to display and receive hospitality?

For more from Michelle, visit www.michellelazurek.com

An Invitation To The Table: Embracing the Gift of Hospitality is available on Amazon now!
http://www.amazon.com/Invitation-Table-Embracing-Gift-Hospitality/dp/0891123431?ie=UTF8&keywords=michelle%20lazurek&qid=1465485410&ref_=sr_1_3&sr=8-3

Do you have other ideas about how we can love our neighbors? How do you plan to open your home for hospitality this season. I would love to hear from you!

We have a Winner & an Announcement!

Congratulations Kimberly Vogel! You are the lucky winner of Jennifer Rothschild’s beautiful new book, 66 Ways God Loves You-Experience God’s Love for You in Every Book of the Bible. I pray that through the pages of this book, that you will know just how much God loves you!

I want to say thank you to everyone who commented on the post God Loves You!

If you haven’t seen the 66 Ways God Loves You video, then check it out see how God loves you in every book of the Bible!

Your feedback means the world to me! So stay tuned because I am excited to announce that  I will be reviewing two new books, and have some great giveaways before the holidays.

First, I will be giving away an amazing KJV Journal the Word Bible sturdy hardcover Bible from (Thomas Nelson, September 2016).

Then in November, I will be giving away New York Times’ Bestselling author Karen Ehman’s new book, Bible study, and DVD!

Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World (Zondervan, November 15, 2016) is Karen Ehman’s ninth book and has a Bible study with DVD with it. Karen is an encourager to women, and her life work is to help women live their priorities and to love their lives.

Karen is a Proverbs 31 Ministries Speaker and New York Times bestselling author. She is also the Speaker Track Director of the She Speaks Conference and a teaching staff member of Proverb 31’s writer’s training program COMPEL.