Joy Reschke Posts

How to Keep Breathing When All Seems Lost

From the earliest days of our marriage, I longed for and prayed for a large family.

My dream of love-filled, chaotic Christmas mornings came true when my only son presented me with the six most precious grandchildren on earth. They lived hundreds of miles away, but miles can’t affect the love of a grandma.

Each phone call was a treasure and each visit a joy of epic proportions. Is there a treasure of more worth than a ringing phone followed by six little voices yelling in unison across the miles, “I love you, Mimi!”?

Fourteen years of ever-increasing grandparent bliss came to an abrupt end with a sudden and bitter divorce.

Anger, hatred, and vengeance tore my world apart when my ex-daughter-in-law definitively declared my husband and I were no longer allowed any contact with our six little loves.

We had no rights or recourse.

The pain was beyond what words can convey. A good portion of our prayers were simply tears squeezed from broken hearts. “Why?” “What is the purpose?” “How can we I go on?”

It was six years before the first of our babies was old enough to re-establish contact. The sound of her voice on the phone bathed my shredded heart with a life-regenerating balm.

Over the next two years, two more of our precious ones came of age and chose to come back into our lives.

As I was in the process of directing the portrayal of Paul in Romans 8 of the NLT audio New Testament, Breathe, the fourth contacted us and came for a visit.

It was the first time we had even spoken to her in over ten years.

I listened in as the words of Paul, voiced by Kurt Naebig, sprang to life . . . and the words of God, penned by Paul, sprang to life within my heart:

God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God (Romans 8:28).

Three of our grandchildren have chosen to relocate to be close to us and one visits and calls on a regular basis. But there are still two who have grown up outside our world.

The twins were only five years old the last time we saw those sweet little faces. It has been twelve years since we held them close.

We do not know the purpose in our lives or the lives of our grandchildren for the years of separation and pain.

But as I heard Kurt Naebig read Romans 8:28, I was impacted again with the fact that God has a plan for my life and my grandchildren’s lives.

True faith stands through times that seem hopeless, secure in the knowledge that all things work together for good.

True faith stands through times that seem hopeless, secure in the knowledge that all things work together for good.

Even when traumatic loss rips all sense from life—the Holy Spirit strengthens us, prays the prayers that are too agonizing to voice on our own —and allows us to walk forward, ever closer to the glory revealed to us through Jesus.

There are days when success is remembering to just breathe.

Just breathe deep…. and inhale the grace and goodness of God. 

And then—exhale the stress and the strains of life. 

There is a way to breathe—that exhales worries and inhales the Word. 

It’s a strange grace—how in the spaces between the words of His Words — our soul finds the space it desperately needs to finally breathe.


The Breathe Bible Audio New Testament is a remarkably vivid listening experience that transports you into the world of the Bible. Performed in the New Living Translation by a cast of internationally acclaimed film, television and recording artists, this captivating multi-million dollar audio production features cinema-quality sound with an original music score. It’s an experience you will never forget. The Breathe Bible Audio New Testament—“It’s like being there.” Not only are 18 CDs are included in this premium audio product, it also includes a code to receive the user friendly mobile App for free! Listen however you like!

Learn more HERE.

This story was written by Brenda Noel and originally posted on Annvoskamp.com.

The Key to Courageous Conversations

 

They said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.” So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. Nehemiah 1:3-4

Most of us spend our lives trying to project an image of beauty and competence.

Certainly, we want others to think highly of us, but one of the things I respect most about people is their ruthless honesty—about themselves and their situations.

Nehemiah had a plum job.

He was working closely with the king, and he lived a life of luxury.

His heart, though, beat in unison with God’s heart.

He cared about the things God cares about, and when he heard that the people in Jerusalem were suffering, his heart broke.

He didn’t minimize the problem, and he didn’t fly into a panic of mindless activity.

Instead, he let the brutal truth sink in, and he responded appropriately: He sat down and wept.

Nehemiah had a courageous conversation with the messenger, then he had a courageous conversation with God.

Only courageous people are known for their honesty.

It’s a lot easier to look the other way when we see needs in our lives or in the lives of people around us.

We can give the excuse that we’ve tried as hard as we can or that we don’t have time to help a person in need.

But excuses don’t cut it.

Like Nehemiah, we need to let the truth sink into our hearts so we can respond with genuine compassion.

This is just the first part of Nehemiah’s story.

He then took bold action to gather resources, inspire the people, and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

Successful action, though, starts with ruthless honesty about the need.

What are some needs in your own life and in the lives of those around you?

How would being honest about those needs become a springboard for change?

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth. But most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.” Winston Churchill

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From The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar by Zig Ziglar and Dwight “Ike” Reighard

In The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar, Zig has gathered his insights on what the Bible says about success in life into the popular, bestselling One Year page-a-day format. Now, with this One Year devotional, it’s easy to create a positive, biblical, and achievement-oriented outlook on life. Perfect for starting your workday the right way.

Learn more HERE. 

Audition for Adventures in Odyssey LIVE

There’s still time to audition for the Get in the Show Contest!

Submit your Get in the Show™ Contest entries now through June 16 at midnight, Mountain Daylight Time.

Parents, if your child’s video audition is ready to go, submit his/her entry here.

It’s an easy two-step process that will take only a few minutes to complete.

Just getting started?

Download the official Get in the Show Audition Kit that includes two audition scripts to choose from, plus helpful tips for getting your video audition ready to enter HERE.

Before the cameras roll, check out the Get in Show Acting Tip Videos with practical advice from Adventures in Odyssey voice actors.

Find a nearby retail store to record your audition.

Enter today at WhitsEnd.org!


Get in the Show Sampler by Focus on the Family

Adventures in Odyssey has provided high-quality, character-building entertainment through audio drama for nearly thirty years. Your entire family will love this sampling as the town of Odyssey gets ready to put on a show! In these episodes we find the folks of Odyssey learning about relationships, friendship, and compassion.

Learn more HERE.

 

The Most Crucial Issue for Today’s Church

I’m convinced that the most crucial issue for today’s church is its own belief in the deity of Christ.

This may seem like an obvious truth; after all, Christ’s deity is foundational to the Christian faith.

But in the history of the church, the issue of the deity of Christ has been on the ­center stage of conflict within the church for four centuries: the fourth century, the fifth century, the nineteenth century, and now the twentieth century.

It was very fashionable one hundred years ago, with the rise of so-called modern historical critical scholarship, to raise questions about the church’s faith in its Lord, its faith in the deity of Christ himself.

There was a whole school of theologians who had many good things to say about ­Jesus.

 

They appreciated his ethical teaching, and they applauded his agenda for social concern.

But they believed that the New ­Testament portrait of ­Jesus, which emphasized his deity and his work of cosmic redemption through giving an atonement and being raised from the dead and performing miracles, was a manifestation of prescientific, rather naive first-century people who were very much influenced by unsophisticated varieties of mythology.

In the nineteenth century there was a major crisis not only in the secular world but in the church itself that one twentieth-century theologian has called (accurately, I believe) “a crisis of unbelief.”

And that crisis is by no means over.

In many cases the issue is underground because there is still common courtesy.

People expect someone who is a church member or particularly a clergyman to at least give lip service to the deity of Christ.

It is still a dangerous thing for a minister to come out boldly and publicly deny the deity of Christ.

That happened a few years ago in one mainline denomination, and overnight it was in Time magazine.

The secular world was astonished to hear religious people denying the very heart of their own religion.

But if you get outside the public eye and get into the inner machinations of the academic environment of the Christian church, into the Christian colleges and ­seminaries, then you hear issues of Christ’s deity openly debated and in many cases denied by professors.

So I think that what is at stake—the greatest issue at stake—for the Christian church today is Christ. Do we affirm his lordship and his deity?


From Now, That’s a Good Question! by R.C. Sproul

Now That’s a Good Question! answers more than 300 challenging questions about life and faith.

Sproul, a distinguished theologian and educator, address doctrinal points and contemporary issues such as euthanasia, evolution, and abortion. His answers cover over three hundred topics in a personable, easy-to-read style that’s perfect for the lay person. New believers as well as those older in the faith will find this book a great resource for those challenging questions of life and faith.

Learn more HERE.

How to Lead Like Jesus

What can you learn from Jesus as a leader?

Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Leaders define reality by developing a worldview and perspective that enable them to interpret life from the eternal vantage point of God’s truth.

The truth, even when it’s hard, sets people free from ignorance and deception.

Reflect on these truths from Scripture as you evaluate your role as leader in your home, workplace, church, or among your peers. 

1. Leaders submit themselves to the ultimate Leader, God. (Mark 3:14)

2. Leaders develop teams in community, sharing life and responsibilities and gaining strength from mutual encouragement and accountability. (Matthew 7:28-29)

3. Leaders equip and release those they lead. They provide the wisdom and experience necessary, then let go and allow others to take responsibility for the tasks. (Luke 10:17, 20)

4. Leaders have a clear sense of mission and dedicate themselves to fulfilling that mission. (Acts 1:8)

5. Leaders accept expressions of genuine love and gratitude. (Matthew 26:37-38)

6. Leaders are vulnerable. (John 13:1, 4-5)


From TouchPoints for Leaders by Ronald A. Beers, V. Gilbert Beers, and Douglas J. Rumford

Helping readers find what God has to say about their particular needs is what the TouchPoints series is all about. TouchPoints for Leaders puts God’s words of encouragement and affirmation at the fingertips of today’s Christian leaders. Each section starts with a key question, which is answered through Scripture, and ends with a promise from God’s Word.

Learn more HERE.