Saturday, January 16, 2010

I need a little insight and help

A New Book in the Works! It is about 6 months away from prime time…

And….I need a little insight and help. I have been working on this book for over 10 years, originally called “The Dry Lands” (thinking of changing it to “Christ my Comfort”) it is about “Learning what God is saying to us in times of suffering, waiting and confusion.

What I need to for people to look over the table of contents and see if there is a theme or question you want to be dealt with.

Some unedited Excerpts:

Most of us have learned there is no easy process to automatically know what God is thinking and why He leads us into tough situations. From the Student getting ready to graduate High school, wondering “what will I do now?” Then four or so years later after graduating from college, the same question, “what will I do now?” Then a few years later after losing their job, “what should I do now?” Then the death of a spouse, a business loss, or a sick child, or suffering from sickness, or a paralyzing injury themselves or the consequences of gossip or slander: “what should I do now?” We end up in a place that I call the “Dry Land’s.” It is a place of waiting until the situation changes. In these times it is also a time where we are confronted with uncertainly and strife, where our fears will takeover or our faith will persevere. But is it a time we just wait? Because in these times we have the opportunity to be in a place where we are tested and learn that a firm foundation of faith and God’s promises will lead you out, or the sands of self reliance will get you lost.

“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1)

Life for you is riddled with conflict and strife as you venture in to a desert, barren of meaning, and no matter what direction you walk, no signs to say where to go, no explanation or plan can be seen. Then you finally ask, what is life all about? Has God abounded me, has His hand gone against me, has His love left me, or perhaps it never was with me.

This is not just another book on Suffering or God’s Will, and yet it is. My distinction to you is to help you through the pains and travesties of life. To guide you to build your faith and make wise choices even through tough and difficult situations. To grow and learn what life is all about. And through this adventure of ours we will come across some surprises. We will discover from His Word what life is all about and how our expectations can get in the way. We will learn that there is a purpose and plan for our lives, there is hope, and there is comfort. Even though at times we may feel that God is slaying us, He does indeed love and care for us. We will look at the Word and its characters and what they went through and what I have gone through and learned. I have interviewed numerous people who have been through and even overcame desperate situations. I believe God’s Word has the answers, and what so many Christians go through has a reason and purpose. And we have the opportunities to seize the reasons though the learning, growth and discipleship He has for us.

This lays out my point and theme, that there is a purpose, we may not like it. but it is for our benefit. Because faith will claim the love and purpose that Christ has for us. Faith will turn the shifting chaotic sands of despair into learning and growth opportunities. Faith will give you the beacon to guide you through the darkest times of wondering and confusion, so you are not confused and are confident that the path you are on is His. Faith will make your journey sweet and smooth as it can be as it pulls out the wrinkles made by sin. Faith will even claim love and mercy from God’s sometimes heavy hand. Our fretting will make the same journey a very rough ride. As a missionary who has taken many road trips in old jeeps and rickety vehicles in very dangerous mountain and off road adventures and hash deserts, “this is a kidney buster!” So the choice is ours, a wasteland of inhospitable surroundings with no reprieve or His dry lands nurtured with His living waters and opportunities. Knowing and seeking His purpose will place shocks on our kidney buster rides, and take us onto His highway, into the promised land!

The path to growth and maturity is a difficult path, perhaps because of sin, our wrong decisions, or to make us better, stronger, faster to do His will. Faith and hope may not give us the answers, but it gives us the fuel and provisions for the journey. Because under the desserts of disappear lay pools of abundant living water. What we see are the Dry Lands, what is under them are streams of His presence working below what we can see. Christ is indeed there, we may not always feel Him, nevertheless, He is.

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes," says the LORD.” (Zeph 3:17; 20)

Dry Lands is about hope, Christ’s hope and comfort to us. Intended for us to recapture the joy and happiness of being a Christian. Because the greatest glory we can give our Lord personally is to enjoy Him, to be happy and content as His child, even when things are not going our way! He does have a plan for us, it is the best one that can ever be, weather you are bound to a bed paralyzed, feeling you are nailed down unable to make a move. Or you are healthy and happy, but do not know what direction to go in life, this is the book for you. No matter how successful your enemies are, or how desperate your path is, Christ is there. You can trust in Him, He will deal with you bountifully and wonderfully.

My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. (Psalm 119:50)

Table of Contents

Preface The Dry Lands

Chapter I My Journey in the Dry Lands

Chapter II The Problem of Suffering

Chapter III The Why of Suffering

Chapter IV Sufferings have a Reason and a Purpose

Chapter V Sufferings Draw Us Closer to Christ

Chapter VI Sufferings Exhibit a Greater Good

Chapter VII Sufferings Show Others that God is at Work

Chapter VIII Sufferings Cause Us to Learn and Grow

Chapter IX Sufferings Show the Character of Christ

Chapter X What we Need to Take to Heart

Chapter XI Christ our Hope!

Chapter XII The Comfort of His Sovereignty

Chapter XIII Faith, Fear and Doubt

Chapter XIV How to Get Out of Doubt!

Chapter XV What Can We Give God?

Chapter XVI Learning to Count it all Joy

Chapter XVII Christ our Guidance

Chapter XVIII Suffering People Hurt Others!

Chapter XIX Learning to Focus on Christ

Chapter XX How Do We Get Help in our Sufferings?

(order and titles will be tweaked)

Some passages that will be explored: Psalm 119: Matthew 5:10; Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 1:24; 12:9 Philippians 1:19-25; 2:17; Hebrews 10:24; James 1:2; 1 Peter 4:12-19

Thanks and be blessed!


At 1:32 PM, Anonymous jeff Wray said...

What if we have no answers to our suffering or someone’s else’s this side of eternity? Do we have enough faith to accept that?
Just some thought, but you may have already addressed.

At 10:51 AM, Anonymous M. Cox said...

I am aprehensive here,but I would like to see Luke 10:27 explored in relation to dry land experiences. It is the greatest commandment, but the most difficult to follow, during a dry experience. IMHO, we are overly focused on receiving blessings and hearing God's voice,in the midst of sufferings and trials. If we flip the script, we see that these are times when it is more important to express our love,faith and trust in God without receiving.

At 2:14 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

You pretty much covered it all. My only concern is that you have 20 chapters. Hope they are each not too long.

At 9:44 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I look forward to the its publication. It appears like an excellent effort and will encourage many of our bretheren.

At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Mary J. said...

I agree that 20 chapters seems like too many. My experience has been the gift of suffering - things that I would not have explored, known or understood without the suffering. It is really about surrendering to Him in the midst of the suffering and waiting for Him.

At 2:07 PM, Anonymous M. Triemstra said...

It's been my experience that we don't talk enough about when God says "No."

I have had a digestive illness (Crohn's Disease)for 40 years. I've been through many surgeries, almost bled to death 3 times. I've just applied for disability after 26 years of teaching. Yes, God does answewr our prayers, but He still loves us when that answer is "No" Just like when He told Jesus "No" when Christ asked for His suffering to be taken away in the Garden of Gathsemene.

Possible Chapter: When God says NO.

At 10:58 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Dear Richard,
I was pleased to see the scope of your table of contents - not least the chapter on "hurting others"; I have on two occasions in two seperate churches and 12 years apart, preached through a series on suffering, which has been well received, but it has never occurred to me to address this serious and (when you see it in a table of contents)glaringly obvious aspect (Duh!!) it is such a truism that misery likes company and that those who are hurting frequently either pull others down to share their misery or inflict collateral damage on loved ones, that it simply passed me by, but this is an area which clearly needs addressing - well done for realising that this is so ! All the best with your work - I'm looking forward to its publication. Rev. Dr. Rob Cook, Sheffield, UK


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