Fulfilling Our Unmet Needs and Desires

Devotional from the Life Recovery Bible

Read Proverbs 3:13-26

None of us set out to become addicted to something. We were seeking something else—escape from pain, perhaps, or something to make up for our losses and brokenness—or maybe we had a subconscious desire for self-destruction.

Unfortunately, the things we turned to could not satisfy our deepest
needs or desires. Our needs are legitimate. What must be changed is the tendency to go the wrong way to try to meet those needs. The Bible says, “My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them, for they will refresh your soul. They are like jewels on a necklace. They keep you safe on your way, and your feet will not stumble” (Proverbs 3:21-23).

Godly wisdom leads to great benefits in life. As we seek wisdom, we will find the other things we desire. “Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding. For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold. Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. She offers you long life in her right hand, and riches and honor in her left. She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying” (Proverbs 3:13-17).

As we change our focus and begin to seek after wisdom, we will find our lives more fulfilled and secure. Godly wisdom will also help us avoid the destructive paths we have previously taken as we tried to fulfill our unmet needs and desires.

Joseph’s Quandary

“Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.” Matthew 1:19, NLT

We aren’t given many details about Joseph, but we can draw a pretty
accurate portrait from what we do know. He was a “good man” and betrothed to Mary—meaning he was in a covenant almost as unbreakable as marriage and bound by God and his own sense of honor to fulfill it. These covenants could only be broken if the terms had been misrepresented or if one of the parties fell into sin. And from Joseph’s perspective, that’s exactly what had happened. Those around him would have affirmed his right to cancel the wedding.

That’s what Joseph planned to do, though not publicly with his indignation
on display. He could have divorced Mary and openly answered the
questions that would follow, but he preferred to endure any questions quietly and let the silence cover her. As Mary’s betrothed, Joseph was just as chosen as she was, and his quiet sense of honor may be one of the reasons God chose him. Most men would have a hard time letting God rearrange their expectations for life and marriage and then fading into the background of the story. Joseph took on a responsibility no man before or since has taken on, and we hear very little else about him throughout the Gospels—an early death in Jesus’ late childhood or early adulthood seems a natural conclusion. But we know God trusted him to handle earth’s greatest treasure and allow his wife and her son to get far more attention than he ever would.

In Their Steps
Some of the most vital roles in God’s Kingdom remain in the background of the Kingdom story. Many personalities aren’t equipped for that level of humility. Joseph was. Mary apparently lived long enough to tell Luke some of the things she stored in her heart (Luke 2:51), but Joseph must have treasured the story too. And he submitted himself to it honorably.

Taken from the Dancing in the Desert Devotional Bible

It’s NOT about Perfection

by Kim Adetunji, Tyndale Bible Brand Manager

As the Brand Manager of Tyndale’s New Living Translation journaling Bibles, I’ve had the immense joy of hearing firsthand how God has been moving in people’s lives through Bible journaling over the years. It has brought so much hope and peace and healing and conviction and encouragement and truth to so many—it has even drawn those who were far from God close to him. It has been so rewarding to see how Bible journaling has increased people’s engagement with God’s Word and has gotten people through bouts of depression, grief, hopelessness, and trials. It offers a whole new way to approach Bible study and interact with Scripture beyond note-taking, highlighting, or traditional journaling.

Many of us are drawn to Bible journaling because it appeals to our God-given creativity. And yes—we all are creative! Just ask any kid if they are creative. They don’t say, “Well, Suzy is more creative than I am, so I must not be” or “Bobby’s art looks nicer than mine, so I’m not really creative.” They simply say YES! Our social sharing of Bible journaling pages is great on so many levels, and it brings so much encouragement to others. But sometimes we can allow an underlying sense of unworthiness or dissatisfaction of our own creativity to settle in and discourage us from continuing. We can start thinking that our worship is inferior to others’ or that we aren’t worthy to worship God through our creativity. The truth is: God is glorified through your act of worship—no matter the skill or the lack thereof! God doesn’t operate the way we do. If he did, my singing during worship would be absolutely unacceptable to him. I connect with God best when I worship him through song—but that doesn’t mean I’m great at it. Believe me, I’m no Lauren Daigle. But God accepts—and loves—my worship. I know it sounds simple, but it is important to recognize this so negative thoughts don’t trickle in and hinder your ability to connect with God through Bible journaling. The tendency is to criticize ourselves or to stop doing something that brings us immense joy and connection to God because we don’t feel good enough. Let’s make a pact to stop seeking perfection and comparison and to allow our thoughts be focused on seeking God alone!

Bible journaling—and coloring Bibles—have been a popular way to study and interact with God’s Word in recent years, but more and more people are discovering it even today! In fact, Amber Bolton of Tyndale’s nationwide Inspire Bible TOUR just led a workshop in Indiana last weekend where she discovered that only 5 of the 50 workshop participants had tried Bible journaling before!

Here are some of their comments about how they felt inspired after the workshop:

  • I am inspired to spend more “worship” time by being creative in my Bible.
  • A new and creative way to worship him and be in the Word.
  • Excited because the journaling really helps me get the Word in my mind and stay there.
  • I am inspired to reflect more deeply on the Word of God.
  • I never thought God wanted my artwork like I would want a child’s for my fridge. Never have I thought of mine as worthy. Thank you!
  • I was inspired to reach out and build my relationship with God in a totally new and different way!
  • The importance of thoughtfulness regarding the Scripture—how to process, to see the Scripture, importance of responding.
  • The beauty of God’s Word comes to life as we pray, read, ask, and trust in him.
  • I’m creative even though I thought I wasn’t! God made me special!
  • This will help me dive deep into the Bible more often. This is a fun way to stay connected with God.
  • I was inspired to become more religious through Bible journaling because I am not a religious person.
  • I am inspired to see how God’s Word evolves through me as I share this process with my kids, husband, and friends.
  • I’m inspired to share this with a friend who is going through breast cancer so she can journal and use it to hear what God is saying through Scripture.
  • I am inspired to think through colors, a word, and image around a biblical text.
  • I am inspired by everyone’s eagerness to Bible journal!
  • It helped me to focus and connect with God better—to see him more clearly and to see how he relates to my life.
  • I’m inspired by the way that I was able to lead others to God by hosting this workshop.
  • Teach my daughters and friends to sit, slow down, and soak joyfully in the loving peace of God through color.
  • I was inspired by learning how to apply Scripture to me personally writing and combining Scriptures to speak to me in a personal way.
  • I was inspired by witnessing how God has led my new friend and me into a life of peace.
  • I was inspired by God reminding me to be still!
  • I was inspired by the 4-step process to help me remember to keep my focus on God when Bible journaling. Inspired to think outside the box.
  • Inspired to do the journaling process—get comfortable with it, go in depth, and remember the insights.

It’s incredible to read through those comments, isn’t it? I love getting a glimpse into some of the ways God is moving in lives through Bible journaling. It’s fun to be a part of a community of people inspired to creative engagement with God’s Word. The reality is that when we are reading and engaging with the Bible, God can work in our hearts and prompt us to action, lead us, correct us, and move us toward fuller trust and obedience to him—and so much more! Let’s keep on reading, reflecting on, studying, applying, scribbling on, doodling in, highlighting, painting, washi-taping, tabbing, and expressing our worship creatively in our Bibles. To God be the glory!

This week Tyndale released the latest in the bestselling Inspire line of Bibles, the Inspire Catholic Bible! It is filled with art to color and wide margins for journaling and has all of the beloved features from the original Inspire.

Next month, the long-awaited Inspire PRAISE Bible Large Print edition will release—just in time for Christmas! It is filled with over 450 all-new line-art illustrations to color, large readable text, extra-wide margins for journaling, plus the one-of-a-kind beautiful full-color vellum journaling pages everybody loves from the full-size edition!


We all want to hide Scripture in our hearts, and sometimes interacting creatively with it can help us better remember what God is teaching us. We invite you to try it!

Find the Inspire Bible that is right for you or for a loved one.

A Strong and Trustworthy Anchor for Our Souls

by Kim Adetunji, Tyndale Bibles Brand Manager

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Or at least a little. We’ve already had our first snowfall in Chicago, and with mixed emotions, have begun bracing ourselves for the wintery season ahead. Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner, and the holiday season is upon us. Soon we will gather with friends and family to celebrate our gratefulness to God for the blessings in our lives—both grand and small. Then next month loved ones will gather again to celebrate the joy of Christ’s birth, and a week after that we will celebrate the closing of one calendar year and the promise and hope of the new one. It is indeed a wonderful time of the year.

And yet, along with all of the blessings and joy and celebration, many of us are also harboring heartache deep within. We may be going through a very difficult season of life or have recently lost a loved one. It could be that our circumstances aren’t what we’d hoped they would be. Or maybe we are suffering from debilitating depression. Perhaps a relationship desperately needs mending or one has just been painfully severed. These—and so many other heartaches—leave a gap in our hearts, and the ache is palpable.

Yet there is hope in the midst of our heartache. Our hope comes from a powerful God who not only created us but who knows us intimately. He is present with us. He is our comforter. He loves us perfectly. We never have to doubt God’s sovereignty or whether he is in control or if he is good. He is. And he will sustain us through whatever we face.

Over the holidays, there seems to be a keener awareness of the loss, hardships, grief, health battles, financial difficulties, troubled relationships, and other heartaches in our lives. We often long for simpler times—before these difficult realities entered the scene. As we enter into a season of reflection, this can draw a myriad of emotions to the surface. No matter what happened in the previous year or what lies ahead in 2019, each new day is an opportunity for us to put our trust ever more fully in God.

We can choose to embrace all that God has for us in this very moment. It’s certainly a choice. We could harbor resentment or anger in our hearts, or we could stubbornly refuse to turn to God through it, or we could try to numb it with our favorite “numbing” mechanism. It would be a whole lot easier to suppress it, at least in the short term. But why? God is trustworthy. We can open our hearts fully to him and offer him our pain, unknowns, uncertainty, loss, and troubles—all while recognizing the gifts and blessings and favor he has bestowed upon us. We can live in those two realities—joy and heartache—simultaneously. We may not know what tomorrow holds, and we often can’t see the purpose in the pain, but when we hang on to the truth that hope is not lost—that it is real, and present, and available—despite even the worst of circumstances, we can rest in that assurance.

Though the ache may linger, hope is an anchor. We can let hope be the strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls, as Scripture says. It’s not just lip service. It’s the Word of God. Our loving father in heaven knows our hearts—all the valor and all the murkiness that lurks within. He sees each tear that falls, and he hears our deepest heart’s cry even when it is unspoken. Trust him in the midst of whatever storm you are being thrown about in. Draw on the eternal hope that surpasses all understanding.

“Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 6:18-20).

Let that sink in: This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. An anchor that holds strong through the storm that rages. An anchor that steadies. May you weather the wintery days of your soul with as much beauty and hope and joy and trust as you have on the summery blue skies days of your soul.

Your Bible is already the place you turn to daily for a word from God. Why not record all that you are learning and how you are growing or being challenged or are seeing God’s love and faithfulness in your life in your Bible? You read it consistently—or you strive to—and what better place to capture your faith journey than in a soon-to-be-cherished legacy Bible. If you’re looking for something new to refresh your Bible-reading in 2019, consider getting a New Living Translation journaling Bible.

A Life of Thanksgiving

Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!

Worship the Lord with gladness.

Come before him, singing with joy.

Acknowledge that the Lord is God!

He made us, and we are his.

We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving;

go into his courts with praise.

Give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good.

His unfailing love continues forever,

and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

Psalm 100, NLT


Through three simple steps, Psalm 100 gives us a model for how to be more thankful. First, “come” (100:2). This is our invitation, the assurance that we are welcome, which needs a response. We have to choose not to stay in our present feelings but fix our thoughts on God. Second, “acknowledge” (100:3). This is a provocation to forget about ourselves and focus on God as we remember all that he has done for us. Third, “give thanks” (100:4). As we recall what he has done for us, it becomes easy to be thankful.

Here are some of the things the psalmists encourage us to thank God for:

  • His creation (Psalm 104:1-30)
  • His care of us (Psalm 95:6-7)
  • His knowledge of us (Psalm 139:13-16)
  • His salvation (Psalm 27:1-14)
  • His answering of our prayers (Psalm 118:21)
  • His provision (Psalm 147:7-9)
  • His healing (Psalm 30:1-2)
  • His rescue (Psalm 31:21-22)
  • His victory (Psalm 118:10-16)

Thanksgiving needs to become a way of life for us. As Paul wrote, “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Taken from the Christian Basics Bible. Take a look inside


Humble Prayers

God calls us to humble ourselves before Him and this includes when we come to Him in prayer. Read from the Thrive Journaling Devotional Bible for Women about finding the courage to humble ourselves and pray.

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Love Letter from God

Beloved Daughter,

You are My child, and I love to answer you. There is great power in humility and prayer. Real change starts in your heart, permeates your home, and then echoes throughout the world. You have the ability to lift up anything in prayer, and I will hear you. You also have the gift of repentance, and in one prayer you can make yourself right with Me. I will forgive you, and that blessing will affect not only you but also the people around you. Don’t ever give in to hopelessness or sin. I have given you the power to live above such things. Walk with Me, bring everything to Me in prayer, and watch My mighty hand move in your life.


Your heavenly Father


We tend to blame everything and everyone in this world for the condition that we are in, but our first response must be instead to humble ourselves and pray. According to God’s promise, He will then heal the land in which His children live, starting with their own hearts.

Treasure of Truth

Our humility and prayer invite God’s forgiveness and restoration.

Look inside the Thrive Bible

Real Freedom Found Behind Real Bars

Women in Prison Unlock Hope and Healing with The Life Recovery Bible

By Stephen Arterburn

Editor, The Life Recovery Bible

I was raised in Bryan, Texas, so I did not think it was unusual to be opening a letter from a woman who lived in Brazos County near Bryan. What follows was anything but usual. She wrote:

“I am filled with joy to inform you that your Life Recovery Bible has changed about twenty lives filled with different kinds of addiction in my community. I regret to inform you that the women (including me) are all locked up in The Brazos County Detention Center in Bryan, Texas.

Twenty-five years ago, I held the first Life Recovery Bible in my hands and quickly passed it on to a woman who was addicted to crack and headed for prison. She went home and, rather than allow her Life Recovery Bible to take on the role of most Bibles as Chief Dust Collector, she actually opened it up and started reading it. Through her drug addicted, half on and half off, cracked brain, she discovered that God could help her out of her addiction and that the path involved 12 steps based on and found within that Bible. The impact was so great and the transformation so radical that she was not incarcerated, and within six months she was helping other young women in their recovery.

bible, scripture, read, pages, upclose, table, devo, devotional, prayer, bible, scripture, read, pages, upclose, table, devo, devotional, prayer, devotions, read, reading, book, books, page, pages, study

Twenty years later I found myself in the midst of some very normal everyday housewives who just happened to be in the Polk County Florida prison after being arrested for making, selling, or being in possession of methamphetamines. These meth addicts, in a weak moment of desperation or a curious moment of living on the edge, decided to try using meth, just once, and never again. But that one time became a lifetime of using and finding ways to make stuff or sell stuff, including themselves, to be able to feed the addiction that seemed to develop instantly with that first hit.

I was invited to join these women, who looked and talked like anything but a hardened criminal, in their daily Life Recovery Bible study. This Bible was a reward for those entering the drug rehab program offered by a group of women who were once addicted and also had been incarcerated in the same prison. They loved this Bible because it was unlike anything they had ever experienced. Up until then, the Bible was just something that was old, difficult to understand, and even more difficult to apply to your life in any meaningful way. But this Bible is different, and there is a reason why.


When Dr. Dave Stoop and I developed this Bible we included many helpful features not found in other Bibles, including devotionals for each of the 12 Steps, The Serenity Prayer, and Recovery Principles. While those provide deep insights and spiritual inspiration, they are not the feature that make The Life Recovery Bible so amazing to anyone in recovery. The most valuable and unique feature is the study notes found at the bottom of each page. Why? Because they are written by recovering Bible scholars who teach at Universities and Seminaries all over the world. They not only have PhDs in Theology, but every one of them has had a problem that involved them in 12 Step Recovery. Rather than a study note having to do with some remote or abstract theological construct, the note speaks to the struggle for freedom within the heart of anyone imprisoned by the power of addiction, incarcerated or not.

Life Recovery Banner

The Life Recovery Bible does not bring the Bible into the recovery process. It brings the recovery process back to the Bible where it began. Bill W. and Dr. Bob worked together to develop the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous after they had found victory over an illness that rarely spared the life of anyone who contracted it. Both men had been members of the Oxford Group, which had purported 4 Absolute Truths: Absolute Honesty, Absolute Purity, Absolute Un-selfishness, and Absolute Love, which were all based in Scripture. In the transcript from the last talk ever given by Dr. Bob, he tells where he and Bill found the 12 Steps. He said “We got them from the Good Book. Especially the Book of James, the Sermon on the Mount and 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter.” So The Life Recovery Bible brings the 12 Steps full circle and identifies the true higher power of the 12 Steps as the God of the Old and New Testaments.


Twenty-five years ago, I couldn’t have imagined the impact The Life Recovery Bible would have on those around me both in Brazos County and many thousands of miles away from where I grew up. God has blessed this Bible and the people who read it, teach it, and share it, and for that I am thankful. He alone is the true source of recovery and the author of transformation—always has been, always will be.

Learn more about the Life Recovery Bible 

We Were Made for This

by Joni Eareckson Tada

“I will say to the north and south, ‘Bring my sons and daughters back to Israel from the distant corners of the earth. Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.’” Isaiah 43: 6-7, NLT.


Ever wonder exactly why God created you? Or why he placed children in your specific family? God couldn’t have spelled it out any plainer than in Isaiah 43:6-7. He created you and me for one purpose: to showcase his glory; to enjoy it, display it, and demonstrate it every day to all those we encounter.

What does it mean to put his glory on display? It means highlighting his attributes and characteristics. It means making hard choices to do the right thing. It means biting your tongue from gossiping, going out of your way for a neighbor in need, telling the truth even when it’s hard, not snapping back when someone hurts you, and speaking openly about your Father in heaven. In short, it’s living like Jesus lived when he walked the earth.

God is invisible. Whenever he displayed his character in the Old Testament, he used something visible like a burning bush or pillars of cloud and fire. In the New Testament, God displayed his glory through his Son, Jesus. But Jesus no longer physically walks on earth, and bushes that burn can only be seen in prairie fires or piles of raked leaves. So how does an invisible God display his glory in this age? Through you and your children. What a privilege!

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Father God, what an honor we’ve been given! You no longer choose to speak through inanimate objects; you choose people like us. Point out ways we can showcase your character and glorious qualities to others today. In so doing, we’ll be glorifying you and living the life we were created to live. Amen

Taken from the Beyond Suffering Bible

Look inside the Beyond Suffering Bible


Lazarus’s Urgent Need

When facing difficult circumstances it can be hard to understand “why.” Chris Tiegreen in the Dancing in the Desert Devotional Bible uses the story of Lazarus to give us insight into how and why we can trust even when it seems hopeless.

Dancing in the Desert Devotional Bible

“But when Jesus heard about it he said, ‘Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.'” John 11:4, NLT

Lazarus was a “dear friend” of Jesus, as were his sisters, Mary and Martha. So when the sisters sent a message to Jesus that their brother was near death, it would have seemed natural for Jesus, the healer, to hurry to Bethany to see him. Yet Jesus remained where he was, across the Jordan, at least a day’s walk from Lazarus. And he assured his followers that Lazarus’s sickness would not end in death.


Jesus’ delay seemed inexplicable when he arrived after Lazarus had died. He had spoken with assurance about the situation yet showed up too late.
As implied by Martha’s piercing statement—“If only you had been here, my brother would not have died” (11:21)— the sisters must have wondered if he really cared. And the disciples must have wondered if he had tragically miscalculated the situation. Apparently, Lazarus’s sickness really did end in death.

But Jesus never said Lazarus wouldn’t die. He simply said this was not how the story would end. His sense of urgency was far different than theirs, just as God’s deliberate work in our prayers and problems violates our sense of urgency. God sees the end of the crisis even while we’re stressed about it.

And he often has a solution we would never dare to imagine.


Jesus deliberately demonstrated a truth that answers many of the “whys” we utter in our crises: that problems and pain become a platform for his glory. We would never know many of God’s most beautiful attributes otherwise. We’d never know him as healer without a sickness, as deliverer without a captivity, as forgiver without some sin as the backdrop. That doesn’t mean he creates these evils, but he certainly utilizes them. When our “why did this happen?” turns into “how do you want to show yourself in it?” he reveals himself in greater glory.

Learn more about the Dancing in the Desert Devotional Bible. 

Where Do You Turn?

People throughout the Bible faced difficult, even dire circumstances. No matter what we are facing God is there, waiting for us to call out to Him. Read the prayers of anguish from Jeremiah and David. As you read the note from the Beyond Suffering Bible reflect on how God has walked with you through the valleys and how you will respond in the future.


“I curse the messenger who told my father, “Good news—you have a son!” Let him be destroyed like the cities of old that the Lord overthrew without mercy. Terrify him all day long with battle shouts, because he did not kill me at birth. Oh, that I had died in my mother’s womb, that her body had been my grave! Why was I ever born? My entire life has been filled with trouble, sorrow, and shame.” Jeremiah 20:15-18, NLT.

“I cried out to you, O Lord. I begged the Lord for mercy, saying, ‘What will you gain if I die, if I sink into the grave? Can my dust praise you? Can it tell of your faithfulness? Hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me. Help me, O Lord.’ You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!” Psalm 30: 8-12, NLT.


Connection Note from the Beyond Suffering Bible:

Jeremiah’s complaints spiraled down into a deep depression, leaving him wishing he’d never been born. He called out to God in the midst of his “trouble, sorrow, and shame.” Not everyone responds to despair in the same way; King David knew dark days as well, but he was able to say that God had turned his “mourning into joyful dancing” (Ps 30:11). David and Jeremiah were both faithful in the way they responded, however, because they both took their burdens to God. Where do you turn in moments of despair and hopelessness? How would you help others who share their personal struggles with depression?