Lisa Appelo

Why Does God Allow Such Capable Christians to Die So Young?

#faith #death #questions


Nabeel Qureshi

I’ve worked out so many hard questions with God over these last six years. As hard as Dan’s death has been for me and our children, for the most part I’ve been at peace with God’s will and His sovereignty.

In fact, I’ve begged God not just to help me accept his will, but to agree with it. And in time, I believe God will answer that as he opens my eyes to understand his truth and conforms my heart like his.

For us, I’ve less often asked why? and more often asked what now? God in His kindness answers that question not for a lifetime or for this year, but for today.

This week, though, I’ve been mulling over old questions of why God allows some so young to die. When I learned of Nabeel Qureshi’s death at 34, and learned even more of his amazing testimony and ministry, like many of you I wondered — why  did God allow Nabeel Qureshi to die so young? So capable.


Nabeel had a powerful testimony. He was doing great work. He had an amazing mind and a passion to see people come to Christ. He was a young husband and a new father.

He could do so much for God. Why let him die at such a young age?

Nabeel’s death causes us to step back and wonder — what are you doing God? Why this one?

Maybe you’ve asked that in your own life or your own grief — what are you doing, God? Why?

While even our collective finite minds fall short of fully knowing the infinite purposes of God, we can know these 3 things about Nabeel Qureshi’s death.

1.Death for the believer is not a tragedy.

It is loss for those who mourn. It is painful for those left – the wives and children, the mothers and fathers, siblings and friends. But it is gain for the believer.

As a believer, Nabeel never tasted death. He went from life to life.

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” John 11:25-26

As believers, we have a promise from Jesus that because of him we will never die. If we’re gone from this body on earth, we’re at home with the Lord.

This doesn’t dismiss the pain of mourning. It is gut-wrenching and physical. I’m already praying for Nabeel’s wife and daughter.

But we grieve with hope. This separation isn’t forever and we live looking forward to seeing loved ones again in eternity.

2.Death for the believer is never untimely.

He was so young, we argue. Couldn’t he be home the Lord when he was 90? He had so much he still could have done for the Lord.

If we believe Nabeel’s death was untimely – too early – we must picture God in heaven, wringing his hands because one of his children left earth without completing the work God had for him.

God is sovereign over time, his purposes and the length of our lives.

Because of that, each of us has the perfect amount of time to accomplish exactly what God has for us in our lifetime.

We may squander that time. We may procrastinate or never take that first step in faith to walk out that work. But if we abide in Christ, we can trust that God has measured the precise amount of time needed to accomplish the ministry he has for us.

3. Death for the believer leaves a legacy.  

The impact of a believer never ends with his death.

“Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever.” Psalm 112:6

This week, we grieved a friend’s father who passed away at 86. He leaves an enormous legacy – teens discipled under him, missionaries supported and sent by him, scores of men taught by him, children and grandchildren following Jesus like him.

This seems fitting for someone who had decades to sow and labor for Christ. But what about the young believer who died so young?

Read the devotional My Utmost for His Highest? Oswald Chambers died at 43.
Heard of Jim Elliot’s work with the Auca? He died at 28.

Keith Green, the gospel singer songwriter, was 28.
David Brainerd, the missionary to Native Americans, was 29.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran martyr, was 39.
Nate Saint, the missionary jungle pilot, was 32.
Rich Mullins, the contemporary songwriter and missionary, was 41.
Robert Murray M’Cheyne, the great Scottish preacher, was 29.
And Jesus was 33.

Their lives have ended, yet their influence has flourished.

The impact of their ministry has far outlasted the length of their lives.

Now another name has been added to the list. Just this week, hundreds of thousands across the globe heard about a young Muslim man who gave up all to follow Christ. In the paradox of God, I have no doubt that God will continue to multiply the ministry of Nabeel Qureshi even in his death.

Our job is to faithfully trust. God’s job is to bring fruit. And the glory is that God does that not only in our life, but in our death.

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20 Verses in Psalms to Help Anxious Thoughts

#fear #anxiety #Psalms

Bible verses anxiety | scripture fight fear | Bible verses for comfort

They say anxiety is on the rise.

That more women are more anxious more often than we were even five years ago.

Goodness knows there’s enough in the news and in our life to crowd our thoughts with fear.

Scripture is the cure for our anxious thoughts. Reading scripture isn’t the same as thinking happy thoughts. I can remember when I was young waking from a recurring nightmare and trying to fight my fear by thinking the happiest thoughts I could.

Those childhood wishes worked well enough then, but they aren’t enough to overcome the anxious thoughts that plague us as women and moms and wives and caretakers. And while positive thinking is helpful, not just any positivity will do.

We need to replace the lies of fear and anxiety with the truth of God’s Word. We need to fix our mind on God’s amazing promises rather than swim in the pit of what if’s. And we need to anchor our thoughts by remembering who God is.

The Psalms are filled with verses that help us fight anxiety. These are great verses to mark in your Bible, to write out and put on your mirror, to screen shot and pull up on your phone when you need them. Today I’m sharing some favorites.

20 Bible verses to overcome anxiety

I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8

But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. Psalm 3:3

The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:9-10

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Psalm 34:7

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. Psalm 34:17

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way. Psalm 46:1-2

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. Psalm 23:4

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fail. Psalm 55:22

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? Psalm 56:3-4

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:1-2

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Psalm 84:11
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4

Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in the darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Psalm 91:5-6

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. Psalm 94:19

He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. Psalm 112:7

The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The LORD protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me. Psalm 116:5-6

He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber. Psalm 121:3

The LORD watches over you – the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. Psalm 121:5

You hem me in – behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Psalm 139:5

Even the darkness will not be darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. Psalm 139:12

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18

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Bible verses anxiety | scripture to fight fear | overcome anxiety Bible verses

10 Ideas to Help You Memorize Scripture with Your Family

#family #Memory Verse #scripture #bible verses

memorize scripture | scripture memory | memorize Bible verses | family | kids


Whether we intend to or not, we are always teaching our kids.

Oh how I wish I could take back some of those lessons. And now that I've launched my older kids to make their way in the world, I realize what I never taught — either because I didn't know they'd need it or I just never found the time.

Truth is, there isn't enough time to teach all the lessons. Even when we start out with the highest ideals and best intentions, life rushes in fast.

Eighteen summers is all we get. And the seasoned parent will tell you those last few summers? They look altogether different as jobs, sports, clubs, youth group and school pull our kids away from home and family more and more.

“When did you first start feeling how fast time was going with your kids?” a friend asked the other day, both our girls now in college. 

The days of childhood rush past and there are only so many lessons we can teach.

But here’s what I’ve learned: while there may be lessons I regret teaching and things I didn’t even know my kids needed, one thing eclipses all of it: the words of God.

Memorizing scripture is hands-down the best kind of lesson we can give our children and ourselves. Whether you memorize on your own, with your spouse, with children or grandchildren, scripture memory is one of the best ways to deepen and strengthen your faith life. {Read 7 reasons to memorize scripture here.}

And today’s the perfect day to get a plan and push go. Be the woman who gets God’s word down to her very bones. Be the mom who learns with her kids. Be the grandparent who challenges her grandkids.


But how to memorize scripture?

10 Ways to Help You Memorize Scripture

1. Memorize whole chapters or large chunks. Memorizing large chunks gives you context for scripture and helps the verses stick long term. The lyrical quality of many psalms and passages make them easier to memorize. (I listed some of our favorites at the end.)

2. Start young. We so underestimate our kids! Chances are your child is already memorizing Disney’s latest ballad so why not turn him to scripture? I started memorizing with my kids so even the babies and toddlers were listening to the words and cadence as the olders worked through passages. As they grew, they joined as they were able and by 3 and 4 years old, they were memorizing scripture along with us.

3. Use hand motions. Hand motions are an incredible way to nail down scripture. We’ve used American sign language but also make up hand motions for key words and phrases to prick our memory as we move through a chunk of scripture. This site lets you plug in words and gives a video for the corresponding sign.

4. Sing the scriptures.  If you can still recall songs from a childhood musical, you know music helps store memory work forever. Put words to your own melody like my fun friend and her daughter here.  Or digitally download scripture songs like these from Seeds Family.

5. Use an app. If you love all things tech, an app can help you memorize scripture. One of the most popular is Scripture Typer, a free app that helps you memorize verses through recordings, illustrations and interactive exercises.

6. Write it out. Write verses on index cards and put them where they’ll be seen: on your bathroom mirror, computer screen, above the kitchen sink or carry them with you as you walk or exercise. You can also have children copy the verses (hello, handwriting practice!).

7. Record your words. Record the scriptures you’re memorizing to play back while you’re in the kitchen or while kids are building with legos. Listening to these recordings in the car is a great way to use commute time!

8. Review often. This is key. We usually add one verse a day, and once that’s memorized we recite from the beginning to the point we’ve memorized. Even you finish a chunk or chapter, put the scripture into a rotation where you review it on a monthly basis.

9. Play Round Robin. One of the review games we play is to go around the room and have each person recite one verse. Do it again, starting with a different person so that each person recites a different verse each time.

10. Reward your work. Time to celebrate your hard work! This is a huge incentive and commendation for kids. We had a treat bag with cheap goodies that was a hit for my kids. Your celebration might be an outing for shaved ice or a reward of privileges.

And bonus: If you’re a grandparent, uncle or aunt, coach or mentor, consider this amazing experience a friend shared. A family friend offered to give her children a dollar for each verse they recited by heart. Little by little, her boys learned James, reciting each chapter as it was memorized. Even after the teacher moved, her boys continued to call monthly and recite their learned verses.  By high school graduation, each son had memorized loads of scripture, including the whole book of Proverbs. Even better, each boy had developed a relationship with a godly mentor who’d encouraged and rewarded their hard work.

{Read here to see which chunks and chapters to start memorizing together!}SaveIf you’d like encouragement delivered right to your inbox, 

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ways to memorize scripture | scripture memory | kids memorize scripture | family