10 Steps To Help Someone Through A Tragedy

Christians should be the best at loving others and supporting them through a tragedy. When someone’s world is rocked by an unexpected heartache like a miscarriage, a suicide, a difficult medical diagnosis, or even a hurricane, here is my list of 10 steps to help someone through this trying time. You may watch this short video, or see the list of 10 items below…

  1. Just be there for them.
  2. Listen.
  3. Listen.
  4. Listen to them some more.
  5. Don’t try to “fix” their problem.
  6. Weep with those who weep.”
  7. Don’t defend God (like Job’s friends tried to do).
  8. Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you insight.
  9. Remind them of their responsibility now—your choices to go forward, how will you honor their memory, how can you help others in a similar situation, what does this make you think about your eternity?
  10. Stay in touch for the long haul (remember the birthday of their dead loved one; be them for the anniversary date of a marriage, the day their loved one died; go to those doctor’s appointments with them; roll up your sleeves and work alongside them). Use your creativity to proactively be there for them.

Shaken (book review)

shakenI continue to be so impressed with the way Tim Tebow always finds a way to let his light shine for Jesus in everything he does. Many people find it easy to give God praise when things are going well, but it might not be as easy to praise Him in the down times. This is exactly what Tim Tebow explores in his latest book Shaken.

Football fans have seen the on-field celebrations after a big victory, the joyous locker rooms, and the upbeat press conferences. But seldom do we see much from the team that loses the big game. Even less often do we get a glimpse behind the scenes of the heartache for athletes in the day-to-day grind of their sport.

Tim Tebow has won the Heisman Trophy, the NCAA football national championship, and one of the most exciting NFL playoff games in history. Tim has also been traded, benched and cut by other NFL teams. During these times, Tim has learned to rely on his bedrock faith. And in Shaken we get to hear the lessons he’s learned, and to discover the truth behind an important Bible verse (from which the name of the book comes): I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken (Psalm 16:8).

Shaken isn’t all about Tim. He is refreshingly transparent to share with us about his struggles and the lessons he’s learned, but he also shares with us the overcoming stories of some other amazing people—folks who wouldn’t normally be in the spotlight. And in so doing, Tim shows us that each and every one of us has immeasurable value to God, that tragedies don’t have to shake our world, but that we can use even the difficult times to lean into God and to do great things for Him.

My level of respect for Tim Tebow, and the way he uses his notoriety for God’s glory, has risen again after reading this book. For anyone who is looking for a way to make sense of the hard things in life, Shaken will be an eye-opening, heart-changing book.

I am a Waterbrook book reviewer.

(By the way, Tim’s first book—Through My Eyes—is also an excellent read!)

12 Quotes From “The Shadow Of An Agony”

the-shadow-of-an-agonyIn The Shadow Of An Agony, Oswald Chambers explores how we should process the hard events of our lives which seem to totally rock our neat and orderly world. Check out my book review by clicking here, and then enjoy a few quotes from this book.

“If Jesus Christ were only a martyr, His Cross would be of no significance; but if the Cross of Jesus Christ is the expression of the secret heart of God, the lever by which God lifts back the human race to what it was designed to be, then there is a new attitude to things.”

“The agony of a man’s affliction is often necessary to put him into the right mood to face the fundamental things of life. The Psalmist says, ‘Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now I have kept Thy Word.’ The Bible is full of the fact that there has to be an approach to the holy ground. If I am not willing to be lifted up, it is no use talking about the higher heights. … No man can do wrong in his heart and see right afterwards. If I am going to approach the holy ground, I must get into the right frame of mind—the excellency of a broken heart.”

“Jesus Christ did not come to give us pretty ideas of God, or sympathy with ourselves; He came from a holy God to enable men, by the sheer power of His Redemption, to become holy.”

“No man is the same after an agony; he is either better or worse, and the agony of a man’s experience is nearly always the first thing that opens his mind to understand the need of Redemption worked out by Jesus Christ.”

“The attitude of the Bible to the human race is not a common-sense one. The Christian aspect deals with the a specimen of a human race which is a magnificent ruin of what it was designed to be. Supposing the view of the Bible to be right, to whom it is it ‘up to’ to right the wrong? The Creator. Has He done it? He has, and He has done it absolutely single-handed. The tremendous revelation of Christianity is not the Fatherhood of God, but the Babyhood of God—God became the weakest thing in His own creation, and in flesh and blood He levered it back to where it was intended to be. No one helped Him; it was done absolutely by God manifest in human flesh. God has undertaken not only to repair the damage, but in Jesus Christ the human race is put in a better condition than when it was originally designed.”

“We have been taken up with creeds and doctrines, and when a man is hit we do not know what to give him; we have no Jesus Christ, we have only theology. For one man who can introduce another to Jesus Christ by the way he lives and by the atmosphere of his life, there are a thousand who can only talk jargon about Him.”

“The New Testament view of a saint is a more rugged type. You and I are a mixture of dust and Deity, and God takes that sordid human stuff and turns it into a saint by Regeneration. A saint does not mean a man who has not enough sin to be bad, but a man who has received from Jesus Christ a new heredity that turns him into another man.”

“Our guide as to what emotions we are going to allow is this—What will be the logical outcome of this emotion? If it has to do with sin and satan, then grip it on the threshold of your mind and allow it no more way. You have no business to harbor an emotion the outcome of which you can see to be bad; if it is an emotion to be generous, then be generous, or the emotion will react and make you a selfish brute.”

“When I receive the Spirit of God, I am lifted not out of reason, but into touch with the infinite Reason of God.”

“Any fool will give up wrongdoing and the devil, if he knows how to do it; but it takes a man in love with Jesus Christ to give up the best he has for Him.”

“Churchianity is an organization; Christianity is an organism. Organization is an enormous benefit until it is mistaken for the life.” 

“The stupendous difference between the religion of Jesus Christ and every other religion under heaven is that His religion is one which brings help to the bottom of hell, not a religion that can deal only with what is fine and pure.”

Every Thursday I share a section of the current Oswald Chambers book I am reading, in a series called “Thursdays With Oswald.” If you would like to be notified when these posts go live, just enter your email address in the box on the right, and then click “Sign me up!”

The Shadow Of An Agony (book review)

the-shadow-of-an-agonyWhat happens when all of your perfect plans, all of your neat and tidy ideas, come crashing down around you because of a tragedy? This is the topic Oswald Chambers took on in his book The Shadow Of An Agony when The Great War (or what we now call World War I) was ravaging the nations.

Many people have had their worldviews rocked because a tragedy hit them out of nowhere. What then? Do you throw out all you have believed was true? Oswald Chambers explorers this topic in depth in this book, and comes to the conclusion that these shaking events should send us back to the foundation of the Bible.

For example, Chambers says, “In the past the error of the Christian faith was that it paid no attention to a man’s actual life; it simply used human beings and made them catspaws for a religious line of things. The present error is that humanity utilizes Christianity; if Jesus Christ does not coincide with our line of things, we toss Him overboard; Humanity is on the throne. In the New Testament the point of view is God and Man in union.”

Throughout this book you will see that Jesus Christ stepped into our agony to make a way for us to go through it as more than conquerors.

In commenting on The Shadow Of An Agony, Samuel M. Zwemer said, “Oswald Chambers points out that because Jesus Christ is so like unto His brethren we can face this turmoil and stress, and stand with Him in the shadow of a great agony, undiscouraged and unafraid.”

And Pastor Walter H. Armstrong noted, “This book deals with root or rock principles. It comes, not from the surface, but ‘out of the depths.’ It is the work of a great brain and a great heart. It does not shirk the problems of life, but it looks them straight in the face. Over against the tragedy of sin and suffering it brings us to the tragedy of the Cross of Christ.”

If you are walking through a difficult time in your life, the insights Oswald Chambers shares in this book may be just the lifeline you’re looking for. This is also an excellent book to read to prepare yourself for any tragedies which may be lurking around the corner. Don’t get caught unaware, but use these faith-building thoughts to prepare you to stand firm through the trials of life.

11 Quotes From “God’s Favorite Place On Earth”

God's Favorite Place On EarthI loved this book! Please read my full book review of God’s Favorite Place On Earth by Frank Viola by clicking here, but my one-word review is: Wow!

Here are a few quotes that especially caught my attention—

“Jesus talked a lot about losing, taking up our cross, denying ourselves, and laying down our lives. These are the fruits of brokenness before God. It’s not hard to spot a Christian in ministry who isn’t broken. Unbroken people don’t know how to lay their lives down and lose. They only know how to try to win. If they’re criticized they retaliate. If they’re attacked, they return fire. If misunderstood, they defend in anger. They are capable of doing all sorts of damage to others in order to save their own ministries and keep their reputations. 

“On the contrary, people who have been broken by the hand of God know how to turn the other cheek. They know how to go the second mile. They know how to give their coats when asked for their shirts. They know how to speak well of those who misrepresent them. They know how to return good for evil. They know how to lose. And in so doing, they exhibit the Spirit of the Lamb and allow God to win.” 

“All service must flow out of a razor-sharp desire to please God rather than a desire to get noticed by others. If it does not, it will lead to either complaint or criticism.”

“As high as God is going to elevate you is as deep as He digs to lay the foundation. Sometimes the brightest light comes from the darkest places. And what doesn’t destroy you ends up defining you in some significant way.”

“Suffering is worldwide and neck deep. But for the Christian, suffering has a special purpose. It’s the chiseling of God designed to transform you into the image of His Son.”

“A Spirit-led man or woman is someone who has faced tragedy, faced loss, looked unbearable and exquisite pain in the face … and has stood his or her ground. With their garments still smoking, these men and women have said before God, mortals, and angels: ‘It is well with my soul. God’s enemy has thrown his best at me, and I’m still here. I’m still on the Rock. I’ve not sunk. I’m still standing. I’ve not been destroyed, and I’ve not gone under. I will continue to follow my Lord, come hell or high water, He is still on the throne!’”

“Christ saves as the Son of God, but He feels as the Son of man.”

“Faith often takes a nosedive when we are on the brink of tragedy. At such times, we forget the Lord’s words. Sometimes confessions and creeds, as important as they are, are not enough to move God to act. Only falling at His feel and weeping will suffice.

“Every crisis in our lives is an opportunity to broaden, deepen, and heighten our revelation of Christ.”

“Basing your faith on God’s performance—what you think He should do according to what you’ve been taught about His promises—is a profound mistake. … Thus the only solid basis for unwavering faith and an unshakable devotion is to believe that God is … and that He does ‘all things well,’ no matter what takes place.”

“Christians aren’t saved from troubles or delivered from problems. We have been given an ascendant life to rise above them.”

“Sharing what one has with others is what keeps our hearts detached from earthly treasures.”

Thursdays With Oswald—Speak Out Now

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Oswald Chambers

Speak Out Now

     How many of us in times of peace and civilization bother one iota about the state of men’s hearts towards God? Yet these are the things that produce pain in the heart of God, not the wars and the devastation that so upsets us. The human soul is so mysterious that in the moment of a great tragedy men get face to face with think they never gave heed to before, and in the moment of death it is extraordinary what takes place in the human heart towards God.

From Christian Disciplines 

Many people will question their beliefs during times of crisis and change. It’s fine for the church and Christians to be there during those times of upheaval, but it’s far better for us to be there before the upheaval.

I developed a friendship with my next door neighbor for seven years and never had a chance to share very much about my faith in Christ. But when a tragedy hit his life, his first phone call was to me and then I had an opportunity to really share with him. Why did he reach out to me? Because I already had a relationship with him.

Let’s not wait until a tragedy strikes to begin to share the Good New of Jesus, but let’s speak out now. Be a great neighbor, coworker, study partner, friend, citizen now so that there is an open door for those folks to come to you when their life is in crisis.

Thursdays With Oswald—Why Wait For A Tragedy To Get Your Attention?

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Oswald Chambers

Why Wait For A Tragedy To Get Your Attention?

     God is not a supernatural interferer; God is the everlasting portion of His people. When a man “born from above” begins his new life he meets God at every turn, hears Him in every sound, sleeps at His feet, and wakes to find Him there. He is a new creature in a new creation, and tribulation but develops his power of knowing God….

From Christian Disciplines

Tribulation has an amazing power to get people’s attention. After every calamity (whether it’s the attack on Pearl Harbor or the World Trade Centers, a shooting in a school, or a young family killed by a drunk driver) our churches are filled. People are searching for something to help them make sense of that tragedy. Yet after a couple of weeks, life returns to “normal” and the churches empty out.

What we discovered in that moment of tragedy is what we should be discovering every day: God is there.

Do you hear God in all the sounds? Do you see Him at every turn? Do you sleep peacefully in Him each night? Do you go through your day without anxiety because You know He is by your side?

You can because He is there. Don’t wait for a tribulation to remind you of that fact. Open your eyes and ears and heart to His presence surrounding you even now.

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