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The Bible Encounters helps you meet God through the Scriptures by sharing with you the stories of people who have had such firsthand encounters. ...
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The Bible Encounters helps you meet God through the Scriptures by sharing with you the stories of people who have had such firsthand encounters. Their lives were changed when the Bible spoke directly into their circumstances. Some are men and women who have written to the International Bible Society. Others are ministry leaders who tell, in their Encounter Stories, how they were gripped by the reality of the Bible's message. All are slices of what it's like to experience the life-changing power of God's Word.
These twenty-one engaging, one-a-day readings, including Scripture verses and reflection questions, will help you see how the Bible can build you up, encourage you, guide you, and help you trust God in your circumstances, whatever they may be. The goal is truth you can live by, not fairy-tale endings. You'll hear how God has sustained a mother of two who lost her husband in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. How God gently breached the barriers of a medical doctor and helped him reclaim the ability to trust. How reading the Bible changed the thinking--and the heart--of an atheistic university student. How one man, using the motorcycle he loves, is introducing hundreds of motorcyclists across America to the God of the Bible.
Best of all, you'll whet your appetite for fresh appointments with God as you develop--or regain--a habit ofreading the Bible. There's even an expanded three-month reading plan you can use as your interest builds, as well as a quick reference to what the Bible says about life realities all of us face: loneliness, temptation, grief, critical decisions, other people's needs, and more.
How to Put the Bible In Your Spiritual Diet . . . and Keep It Fresh
In twenty-one enriching days, you can discover a new love for the Scriptures or rekindle a waning interest. Once you discover how God has used the Bible to speak to other people in life-changing ways, you'll read it with completely different eyes.
God wants to reveal himself to you in powerful ways, just as he has the people whose stories you're about to read. They are men and women who have encountered God not only in the midst of tremendous struggle, but also in the routine ups and downs of life. In The Bible Encounters, they share how the Bible has encouraged them, guided them, and given them hope and strength when they could not go on.
Enjoy these three weeks of simple, uplifting readings. They include Scripture verses and provocative questions that will help you think about how the Bible applies to your own circumstances. Whether you're reading the Bible for the first time or starting anew, God's Word is filled with endless possibilities for the life you live today.
The Bible Encounters includes:
• 21-day Bible reading plan
• True-life stories of ordinary and well-known Christians
• Daily "To Ponder" questions
• Follow-through 90-day tour of the Bible
• Quick listing of key Scriptures for important life issues
Author Biography: Sandra P. Aldrich is president and CEO of Bold Wor Springs, the award-winning author or coauthor of fifteen books, and a contributing author to an additional dozen. She is a frequent speaker and a guest on a radio and TV, including, "Focus on the Family" broadcasts. She holds an MFA from Eastern Michigan University.
Thomas L. Youngblood joined the International Bible Society (IBS) in 1986. His current role oversees the outreach efforts of IBS in the United States. He has completed the residency requirement on a doctorate in adult education and he holds degrees from Philadelphia Biblical University and Wheaton College Graduate School.
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
Romans 11: 33
Early on the morning of September 11, 2001, Tom McGuinness kissed his wife, Cheryl, goodbye and left for Boston's Logan airport, where he was scheduled to copilot American Airlines Flight 11 to Los Angeles.
After driving their children, sixteen-year-old Jennifer and fourteen-year-old Tommy, to school, Cheryl poured a cup of coffee, grabbed a quilt and her Bible, and sat on the back porch of their Portsmouth, New Hampshire, home. Just as she finished praying, the phone rang. It was a friend, asking if Tom was home. At her negative answer, he hesitantly told her a plane had been hijacked, and that he and his wife were on their way over to stay with her until they knew Tom was all right.
Cheryl grabbed the TV remote, but none of the buttons seemed to work. Then Jennifer and Tommy called, having heard the report at school, wondering if their dad was okay. The house quickly filled with friends who prayed with Cheryl as they waited. She was frustrated, then frantic at the lack of news. Then Boston's chief pilot for American Airlines arrived and sadly gave her the official word: Flight 11 had not only been hijacked but had been deliberately flown into New York City's World Trade Center. Cheryl reeled, hysterical. "No, God, please don't call him home," she sobbed.
Friends drove Cheryl to school, where she met Jennifer and Tommy in the principal's office. They knew from the look on their mother's face she had bad news. All she could utter was, "Jesus called Daddy home."
They hugged and cried as Cheryl said God would take care of all of them, but they knew their lives had been changed forever. In the days that followed, Cheryl felt broken beyond what could ever be repaired. And the woman who had once described herself as a control freak was anything but in control. She was now totally dependent upon God and often began her prayers with "I can't go on alone. You are the only one who can get me through this."
Tom's memorial service was a tribute to his faith as hundreds packed their church, dabbing at their eyes as Tommy described how his father read the Bible each morning, providing memory stacked upon memory of his faithfulness to God's Word. Cheryl hugged that scene to herself, thankful Jennifer and Tommy had had a godly dad and had observed a loving husband's faith in action. But the days following the service were filled with constant reminders of her grief. Even during quick trips to the grocery store, she seemed to see only couples walking hand in hand.
And, of course, she grappled with the toughest of all questions: Why did this happen? All of America had been struggling with this issue, but for Cheryl the question was personal as she wondered, Why Tom? Then, Why me? And what about our precious children?
Who will walk Jen down the aisle some day?
Who will teach Tommy to shave?
Her only comfort came as she looked to God's Word and found assurance after assurance that her heavenly Father was with them all.
She tried to maintain a regular home routine for the sake of the children as well as her own emotional stability. But during those early days, she felt all she could do was read the Word and pray. Her prayers were mostly cries for the Lord to hold her, comfort her, and strengthen her in her new roles as widow and single mom.
"I would groan to God on my knees, knowing he hears my prayers," Cheryl says. "Isaiah 65: 24 proclaims, 'Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.' I still take special comfort in that." She also thanks God for protecting her from knowing the future. The last night with Tom was a special evening as they celebrated his forty-second birthday. After a two-day trip he had come home to a delicious meal Cheryl had taken all day to prepare. Jennifer's present to her dad was a love certificate for the two of them to go out to an Italian restaurant.
Tommy's gift was to spend time with him working in the backyard for a day of cleaning up the woods. That night, Cheryl told Tom how she had seen God shape and mold him, and how honored she felt to be his wife. As she again said, "I love you," his eyes shone, knowing the depth of her expression.
As she replayed that evening in her mind, she was grateful God had not told her what the next morning would bring. If she had known, she is convinced she would have spent their final hours together pleading with God not to call Tom home. "Our last night would have been very different," she says. "Realizing this helps me accept that God knows the times and seasons in our lives, and I don't need to know everything. In fact, I shouldn't know everything. I just need to move forward, trusting God each step of the way.
"I've experienced the truth of the first part of Psalm 145: 20 and I'm trusting him for the second part," she says. 'The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.'
"We live in a world in which evil seems to progress unchecked," she says. "When freedom is exercised in defiance of God, there are terrible consequences.