The Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry about this? ”Then Jonah went out to the east side of the city and made a shelter to sit under as he waited to see what would happen to the city. And the Lord God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there, and soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah’s head, shading him from the sun. This eased his discomfort, and Jonah was very grateful for the plant. But God also arranged for a worm! The next morning at dawn the worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away. And as the sun grew hot, God arranged for a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah. The sun beat down on his head until he grew faint and wished to die. “Death is certainly better than living like this!” he exclaimed. Jonah 4:4-8, NLT
We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. When we are upset, we often depend on our addictions to make us feel better. As we get rid of our addictions, we must face the deeper character defects that God wants to heal.
Our addictions function as a place of “shelter” from our pain. But when that “shelter” is removed, deep anger may surface, exposing even deeper character flaws that need healing.
Jonah had a glaring defect of character: He couldn’t forgive and have compassion on the people of Nineveh, whom he hated. When God decided not to destroy them, Jonah threw a temper tantrum.
“The Lord replied, ‘Is it right for you to be angry about this?’ Then Jonah went out to the east side of the city. . . . And the Lord God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there, and soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah’s head, shading him from the sun. . . . The next morning . . . the plant. . . withered away. And as the sun grew hot, God arranged for a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah. The sun beat down on his head until he grew faint and wished to die” (Jonah 4:4-8).
God did this to show Jonah that the real problem wasn’t the loss of his shelter. Hatred was the real problem. The removal of our sheltering addictions may expose deeper problems. This may spark defensive anger as God touches our deepest hurts. It is all right to let the anger out. But it is also important to let God take care of the real problem.
“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” Proverbs 18:21, NLT.
I want to turn your attention to the power of that muscle that lies within your mouth. I’m referring, of course, to your tongue. Let’s consider the words that we use in giving counsel to one another.
If you and I really believed that “the tongue can bring death or life,” I’m convinced that it would make a profound difference on the rest of our lives. Our words can destroy or they can build up. The tongue has the power to discourage or to encourage.
An example comes from Proverbs 14:25, which envisions a person on a witness stand giving a testimony. A witness who lies creates treachery and can ruin or end someone’s life. More often, the life and death that words bring is figurative. Proverbs 16:24 says, “Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” There have been times in my life when my troubles have been great, my heart has been heavy, and my spirit has been almost broken. But along comes someone with words that are “sweet to my soul,” and this brings healing deep within my bones and deep within my soul.
If you are a professional counselor, a trained lay leader at your church, or just a sincere friend reaching out to fellow believers, you are engaged to some degree in giving counsel. This is a very significant and serious work—you have the power to shape people’s thinking, bring them through the minefield of their experiences, help them process a multitude of feelings, and assist in bringing them to a better place in life.
Do not take your words casually—the people you are counseling won’t. Do not just toss out a thought on a lark to see if it will make sense. Gauge your counsel wisely. As it says in Proverbs 17:27, “A truly wise person uses few words.” Ration your words.
If you are receiving counsel, listen with discernment. Not all advice given is advice that should be followed. One who seeks the will of God will often seek the counsel of other people. “Get all the advice and instruction you can” (Prov. 19:20); God honors that. But invariably you will hear opinions that differ from person to person. Obviously, all of them cannot be right, so you must listen with discernment. Remember well that “truthful words stand the test of time” (Prov. 12:19). There are many voices of so-called authority, but valuable is the person who tells us the truth. This is a person committed to words that square with Scripture, come at the right time and in the right way, and are said in the right spirit.
This kind of wise correction brings life. As I look back and remember time spent with those I would call my mentors, I have found that the things that have stuck with me have been their reproofs and valid criticisms of me. These remain in my mind like “golden apples in a silver basket” (Prov. 25:11-12).
NLT Filament Bible Journals will be joining the collection this fall. These Bible portions contain a New Testament book or collection of books. These softcovers have interleaved (every-other-page) blank pages that offer an attractive modernization of a traditional design, with high quality thick, opaque cream-colored journaling paper and Smyth-sewn binding. They also will be available in box sets.
Compact Editionswill be joining the collection this fall. These are the smallest binding in the collection making them extremely portable. Some even have zipper covers!
ThePremium Value Thinlines also will release this fall. They will be available in full size and large print editions. These Bibles have beautiful covers at a very affordable price.
We will also be releasing some favorite covers in different lines.
Did you know the Filament Bible Experience App now includes reading plans? Check them out!
There is a positive, healthy side to pride—being proud of your children or spouse, taking pride in your work. But the Bible looks mainly at the destructive side of pride because it has such great power to damage our relationships with others and with God. Pride is destructive when it involves wanting too much recognition, taking too much credit, wanting your own way, thinking your way is best—in summary, thinking too highly of yourself. It causes us to face the world from a selfish point of view, blinding us to our faults and leading to jealousy, envy, and a judgmental attitude toward others.
When is pride healthy and appropriate? ROMANS 15:17 | “So I have reason to be enthusiastic about all Christ Jesus has done through me.” Paul was proud not of what he had accomplished but of what God had done through him. 2 CORINTHIANS 5:12 | “Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us.” Like Paul, if we take pride in anything, we ought to take pride in the integrity and honest of our ministry and life.
What’s the difference between healthy confidence and unhealthy pride? JOB 19:25 | “I know that my Redeemer lives.” 1 JOHN 3:2 | “But we do know that we will be like him.” Healthy confidence is a realization and an assurance that God loves you, that he has given you talents and gifts and the ability to use them for him, that he has offered you salvation and eternal life in heaven. Knowing this gives you complete certainty that your life can have meaning now and forever. 2 CHRONICLES 26:16 | “When he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall.” Pride is the ingredient that causes our confidence to become arrogant and cocky. When we think we can do it ourselves and then we stop seeking God’s help—these are the warning signs that confidence has turned to arrogance.
What are the effects of pride if left unchecked in my life? 1 KINGS 1:5 | “About that time David’s son Adonijah . . . began boasting, ‘I will make myself king.'” Pride will delude you into thinking you have almost God-like qualities that demand the respect and reverence of others. 2 KINGS 14:10 | “‘Be content with your victory and stay at home! Why stir up trouble thatwill only bring disaster on you and the people of Judah?’ But Amaziah refused to listen.” 2 CHRONICLES 26:16 | “But when he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall.” An inflated estimation of your status and successes leads to the presumption that you can do anything you want. And that will, eventually and ultimately, set you up for a downfall. 2 KINGS 5:11 | “But Naaman became angry and stalked away.” Pride can keep you from accepting the very help that can save you.
1 CORINTHIANS 10:12-13 | “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.” Pride can blind you to your vulnerability to temptation and lead you to commit sins you never thought you could. NUMBERS 22:22-23, 25, 29, 31 | “As Balaam and two servants were riding along, Balaam’s donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword. . . . The donkey bolted off the road. . . . The donkey . . . tried to squeeze by and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall. . . . ‘You have made me look like a fool!’ Balaam shouted. ‘If I had a sword with me, I would kill you!’ . . . Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord.” The next time your pride is hurt and you feel anger rising up within you, don’t assume that you are right and everyone else is at fault. Balaam’s anger immediately flared up against his donkey. Balaam assumed that he was right and that the donkey was at fault. Fortunately for Balaam, God revealed to him that the donkey had saved his life. Instead of soothing your pride by justifying your actions, see whether you can justify your motives. This will tell you if your anger is warranted and your pride overinflated. GENESIS 11:4 | “‘Let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous.'”
EZEKIEL 31:18 | “O Egypt, to which of the trees of Eden will you compare your strength and glory? You, too, will be brought down to the depths with all these other nations. You will lie there among the outcasts who have died by the sword. This will be the fate of Pharaoh and all his hordes. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!” 2 CORINTHIANS 3:5 | “It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.” Power is intoxicating—with it comes recognition, control, and often wealth. Each of these feeds pride, and pride leads us away from God and into sin. PSALM 18:27 | “You rescue the humble, but you humiliate the proud.” PROVERBS 16:18 | “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” MATTHEW 23:12 | “But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” God loves the humble but humiliates the proud. Don’t humiliate yourself by thinking you’re above rescuing. If you reject your Savior now, on the day of judgment he will reject you because of your arrogance and pride.
Learn more about the HelpFinder Bible
Called to Live For Christ
Tyndale House Publishers
“But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6, NLT
Paul warns us of a day when God will hold all people accountable for their attitudes and actions. Since this time will come unexpectedly, we need to stay alert and ready at all times. This is especially important for those of us who tend to procrastinate. God wants us to act immediately whenever we see sin in our lives. He doesn’t want us to delay confessing our sins or forgiving others. When God shows us where we need to change, he also offers us the power to change. There is no acceptable reason to put off doing what God calls us to do. The time to obey God is always now.
In these verses, Paul leaves us with a collection of good teaching. If we follow these many instructions, as we can with God’s help, we will be well on our way. We are called to minister to others and to actively participate in God’s ongoing work on earth. This gives hope to others and preserves our own spiritual gains as well. Paul calls us to rebuild our relationships by repaying the wrongs of others with kindness. We are called to live joyful lives, to be always prayerful, to continually seek God’s will. We are reminded of the gift of the Holy Spirit, God’s continual helping presence. God gives us what we need to fulfill his plan for our lives. Our part is to participate in the good plan he has set out for us.
Throughout this letter, Paul has been arguing that trying to obey the Jewish Law only leads to slavery (Galatians 4:8-31). But Christ has set us free (5:1), and the way to maintain that freedom is to “let the Holy Spirit guide [our] lives” (5:16), to be “directed by the Spirit” (5:18), and to “follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives” (5:25).
After all, it was the Holy Spirit, not religious rules, that brought us to Christ, and it is he who helps us see God as our “Abba”—our daddy (4:6). That is why, no matter what experiences of the Spirit we may have had, we all need to “be filled with the Holy Spirit”—literally, to “go on being filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). We need to “let the Holy Spirit guide [our] lives” (Galatians 5:16)—that is, to follow his leadings and be filled with his power.
As we do, his fruit grows in us—“love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (5:22-23). These are not his fruits (plural), but his fruit (singular); it is as if nine different fruits were all found on one tree. All of them (not just those we like or find easy) should be growing in us. No matter how gifted someone is, lack of this fruit is a serious indicator that they are not living by the Spirit.
A Legacy of New Life
Tyndale House Publishers
Dr. David A. Stoop, clinician, author, and co-editor of The Life Recovery Bible, had a passion for God’s transforming love to bring healing and hope to people who felt trapped in addiction. We will miss his insight and devotion to the power of God’s Word in people’s lives, but we are thankful he is now with our heavenly Father. His obedience to God’s call has changed millions of lives as people around the world continue to use resources he created, like The Life Recovery Bible, to help others find their way not only out of addiction but also into a new life in Christ. His legacy lives on in groups and ministries like the Bible study at Seminole County Women’s Residential Facility, where hope is being found and lives are forever changed by God’s Word.
Sharon Germaine has been leading a Bible study there for over a decade. One of the first things she noticed was that most women in the study didn’t have Bibles, and the few who did were not familiar with Scripture, so finding passages was difficult. Having numerous different types and translations made it even more confusing and frustrating for women in the group.
“God led her to The Life Recovery Bible,” said Cindy Sawyer, who joined Sharon in leading the study group about a year ago. “She makes sure every woman in the group has a copy of The Life Recovery Bible so all we have to do is say we are on a certain page and everyone can easily find it together.”
When COVID hit, the study group continued, but on Zoom. Sharon and Cindy didn’t let that stop them. Even though they couldn’t give it to them in person, the leaders made sure each woman in the group had their own Bible.
“A woman who had been recently admitted to the program ran up to the camera and thanked us repeatedly for her Bible. She said she had never had a Bible she could understand before, and she had spent over three hours reading it because she couldn’t get enough. God is using The Life Recovery Bible to bring change!” said Cindy.
Addictions impact people from all walks of life. Often, we can try to hide them, like Lisa, a former registered nurse who, in the prime of her career, lost her license and job because of her addictions.
“When she came to the center, she had no Bible knowledge and little interest in spiritual things. But God called her to himself over the months of studying his Word. When she graduated the program, she was offered several jobs but chose to work at another women’s rehabilitation center where she now uses The Life Recovery Bible to help others find their way out of addiction through God’s Word,” shared Cindy.
Though helping people battle addictions can be exhausting and heartbreaking, people like Cindy and Sharon are able to help people break through the darkness and discover God’s hope and new life through his Word.
“Thank you, Dr. Stoop and Steve Arterburn, for investing your time and gifts into The Life Recovery Bible. It is making a huge difference in so many lives,” Cindy said.
“It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was Passover week). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down.” John 19:31, NLT
At the beginning of John’s Gospel, John the Baptist introduced Jesus by calling him the “Lamb of God” (1:29, 36). This odd phrase might refer to the sacrificial lamb that was killed daily in the Temple (Exod 29:38‑46) or to the sacrificial lamb of Isa 53:7 (cp. Acts 8:32‑35; Rev 5:5‑14). Both of these sacrifices spoke of rescue and forgiveness from sin.
However, this was not all that John had in mind. John presented Jesus as the Passover lamb whose death marks the central event of the Passover season (see Exod 12:46; Luke 22:7; 1 Cor 5:7). In the first century, Jews made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem each spring to celebrate the Passover and to reread the story of the Exodus (see Exod 12–15). When Israel was being rescued from Egypt, the blood of a lamb was sprinkled on the doorposts of each Jewish home in Egypt and saved those inside from death (Exod 12). Jews who came to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover needed to supply a perfect young lamb for sacrifice. The animal could not be diseased or have broken bones.
Jesus used his final Passover meal to show that his sacrificial death would give new meaning to the festival (Mark 14:17‑31). In John, the cross became an altar where Christ, the Passover lamb, was slain. Jesus’ legs were not broken (John 19:33), fulfilling a Passover rule (19:36; Exod 12:46). Blood ran freely from his wound (John 19:34), showing that his life was being exchanged for others. Just as a lamb died to save the lives of Jewish families at the Passover in Egypt, so, too, the death of the Son of God on the cross serves to bring salvation to the world.
Our joy, prayers, and thankfulness should not fluctuate with our circumstances or feelings. Obeying these three commands—be joyful, never stop praying, and be thankful—often goes against our natural inclinations. When we make a conscious decision to do what God says, however, we will begin to see people in a new perspective, and we will have an easier time being joyful and thankful.
God commands us to never stop praying. To spend all our time on our knees would be impossible, but we can have a prayerful attitude at all times, regardless of our posture or the place. Such an attitude is built upon acknowledging our dependence on God, realizing his presence within us, and determining to obey him fully. Then we will find it natural to pray frequent, spontaneous, short prayers. Regular times of prayer will lead to God’s transforming power in our lives. A prayerful attitude is not a substitute for regular times of prayer but should be an outgrowth of those times.
Have you ever grown tired of praying for something or someone? Paul said that believers should never stop praying. God always hears us and always answers. He is sovereign and has a plan. Sometimes he answers us with a yes or no, but often he tells us to wait. Praying and waiting humble us before God and teach us to rely on his plan instead of our own.
Paul was not teaching that we should thank God for everything that happens to us but in everything that happens to us. Evil does not come from God, so we should not thank him for it. But when evil strikes, we can still be thankful for God’s presence and for the good that he will accomplish through the distress.
Bibles We Love (and love to share!)
Tyndale House Publishers
Valentine’s Day is a great time to share what you love. And we LOVE Bibles!!! There are so many wonderful Bibles out there, but we have a few that make our hearts so happy. We love them so much that we just can’t help but share them! Here are a few of ours. What are yours?
Maissie Currently I love the Immerse Reading Bible. It is easy to read and understand. There is something special about reading the Bible like a novel without the distraction of verse numbers, chapters, and notes. Reading Immerse reminds me that God is the Author both of the Word and of my life.
Callie I’m so excited to own the Art of life Bible! While I wouldn’t say I am a Bible journaler per say or even artistic, I love jotting down my reflections in the margins of my Bible. This Bible gives me extra room to do this alongside new content that I can’t wait to dive into. Who’s ever wondered what the trees and plants look like in the Bible that God talks so vividly about? Or wondered why God goes into such detail on specific animals? I know I have, and it’s always fascinating when someone connects the dots on what the Bible is describing and why it’s important. It’s going to be a great way for me to explore the Bible in a fresh way.
Kim One of my favorite Valentine’s Days was when a married friend surprised me with a care package in the mail that included the sweetest note and some personalized items, including a CD with hand-picked worship songs. It touched my heart so very deeply. I would love to do the same for my close single friends and surprise each of them with a Valentine’s care package including a greeting card with a heartfelt prayer-note and either the THRIVE Creative Journaling Bible (for those who would like the blue interior and wide margins for note-taking or creating original art) or the THRIVE Devotional Bible for Women (for those who would prefer a traditional setting without wide margins—and a pink interior). Both Bibles are the same other than those two unique features—the interior second color and the margin width. I think my friends would love this Bible because it is filled with daily readings that encourage us to keep our eyes on Christ and thrive in him. As Sheri Rose Shepherd, the author of the devotionals, says: “God paid much too high a price on the cross for us to live powerless lives.” I pray this Bible would be a daily, tangible reminder to each of them that they are so very loved by God and that they can trust him with their hearts! ❤
Dave It has been a joy for me to read through the Bible over many years and I LOVE our New Living TranslationOne Year Chronological Bible . For me, this has been the best way for me to understand the big story of God laid out in order. As the Bible Acquisition Director for Tyndale I’m also really excited about a project we’re working on right now to create a One Year Chronological Study Bible……stay tuned for more details in the months ahead about this amazing new resource.
Blaine My favorite for 2021 is the Mosaic Bible. I love the finish on the leatherlike edition with the classic celtic cross design. In the front of the Bible there is a 340 page section of beautiful ivory paper. This section features 52 meditations, each with full-color artwork, thought-provoking writings from historical as well as contemporary scholars, prayers, poetry and space to write my reflections as I meditate and pray. Each week’s theme compliments the Church calendar which helps me stay in rhythm with my fellow believers. The Bible text is only interrupted by the center column references which are there when I need them but easy to ignore as I read scripture. A very nicely done Bible in my opinion.
Jim There is so much to love about the Life Application Study Biblethat it’s hard to know even where to begin. This Bible has had a special place in my heart for over 20 years. I learn something new every time I pick it up! And it is always relevant to what I am facing today.
The Other Jim I once had a Sunday School teacher who, when I – or another student – forgot to bring a Bible to class, would say: “that’s great; you must have it memorized.” I didn’t, but I’ve used his line since then. And it leads me to my recommendation of a Bible I love. I love the HelpFinder Bible because of its extraordinary 352-page Index-on-steroids. The index is an amazing guide when you’re looking for biblical counsel on more than 200 topics from Abilities to Worth, including Faith, Humility, Rejection, Sexuality, Success and Vulnerability, and so much more. Each topic in the Index has questions and answers and biblical references. And alongside the Bible text there are short teachings on many of the topics. It’s a terrific, helpful, must-have Bible for everyone from new believers to Bible veterans. Unless you have the Bible memorized!
Evie I have been loving the Swindoll Study Bible. My parents were huge Swindoll fans so I have memories growing up listening to him on car rides or hearing my parents discuss Swindoll’s thoughts on different Scripture passages. I feel like he’s my spiritual grandpa. But it wasn’t until I started reading the study Bible on my own that I understood his significant impact on my parent’s walk with Christ. It’s truly like sitting by a beloved mentor as he helps to bring God’s truth and the amazing intricacies of Scripture into a way I can understand and grapple with. One of my favorite features is the Holy Land Tour. It’s like being on a trip to the Holy Land with Chuck Swindoll (#lifegoals)!