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God’s tests

We cannot answer every why question. But there is always this answer: my faith is being tested by the Lord who loves me and will help me. And our Lord never wastes his tests. Whether we believe this truth is, in fact, part of the test. In the mind of Jesus, the promise that he would give them the crown of life was enough to sustain the Christians in Smyrna. I praise God that this has been, and pray that it always will be enough…

Excerpted from A Godward Heart by John Piper

Daily Reflection: How can you reminder yourself daily of Jesus’ promise?

Children Believing

Children believe. Without the skepticism and doubts that adults carry wherever they go, children simply believe. Tell a child that God answers prayer, and he or she will put your words to the test, often with remarkable results.

As I was preparing this book, the kids’ stories reminded me of a valuable lesson. Children are very specific when they pray. If their family is short two hundred dollars on their mortgage payment, they don’t ask God to “meet their needs” or “provide for their family.” Instead, they ask God to send them two hundred dollars.

I’m reminded of four-year-old Dana, the daughter of a writer-friend, who prayed, “Dear Jesus, help us not to eat slugs.” Now that’s praying specifically.

My prayers, on the other hand, are often too general. I pray for my children, but not with concreteness. I pray [ … ]

Finding Stillness

“Let’s face it, stillness is not exactly easy to come by in today’s culture. We are far more likely to be restless, anxious, fearful, worrisome, and busy. But God’s invitation is to be still—and to find again, in the calm pause, the assurance that He is, in fact, God. His plans are undeterred, and with or without us, He is going to receive glory from all peoples on the face of the earth.

But how do we find stillness when finances are tight, tragedy overwhelms, the kids seem out of control, nations are at war, relationships are strained, and there’s just too much left to do at the end of the day?

It’s simple. Still is found right next to Be.
See it?


Excerpted from I Am Not But I [ … ]

Joy in Growing Older

“Life is passing by…for all of us. Billy Graham was once asked what the greatest surprise of his life had been. His answer was, ‘The brevity of it…’

Here’s what it comes down to. If you have placed your faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior, if you belong to Him, then you don’t have to dread the passing of years. As Christians, we know the best is yet to come. As you walk day by day with the Lord, living the way He wants you to live, you will acquire experiences and memories, distilled truth that will be a blessing to you and others later in life, because you made the right choices and invested in the right things.

If you have put your faith in Jesus Christ, you need to know that He is with you [ … ]

Giving Like a Child

“She handed me a Plastic Donut from her kitchen play set.

I looked at the Donut and back at my daughter. She stood waiting for a response. So I put the Donut up to my mouth and said with great animation, “Yummm, yummm… Thank you, Autumn! This is soooo goood.

Then something beautiful happened. Her big brown eyes widened, and her lips pushed a giant smile against her puffy cheeks. She stood up on her toes, shrugged her shoulders up to her ears, and let out a high-pitched squeal…

For Autumn, this exercise in giving gifts kept bringing her back to Daddy. For me, it kept me looking for my child to return to my side. I was moved by the exchange. I loved the interaction and connection. I was so pleased…

I didn’t see it coming, but at that [ … ]

Ignite the Ordinary

Today’s Bible reading: Exodus 3:1–10

When you strip the biblical miracles of their spectacular special effects, a common plot point emerges: extraordinary moves of God begin with ordinary acts of obedience.

Consider Moses’s first encounter with God.

Moses is tending the family sheep out in the nondescript countryside.

He happens to notice a bush that’s caught fire.

He walks over to take a look…

Up to this point, it’s not exactly a riveting scene, is it?

In reality, the illustrious burning-bush encounter that seemed so captivating in Sunday school is…really…quite…ordinary. Moses is performing menial manual labor, working for his father-in-law. It’s dusty. The sheep stink. Does it get any more mundane?

Almost all encounters with God begin that way. You may be living under the illusion that when God ignites great things in your life, He’ll announce it with a [ … ]

New Soil

"I will never leave you."  Hebrews 13:5

National Book Award winner Barry Lopez wrote in Arctic Dreams that some people are not "finished at the skin. They send luminous fibers into the soil around them." Leaving those soils that we have become a part of, Mr. Lopez notes, is like "an amputation."  In this Twenty-first Century, many of us have to leave landscapes we’ve come to love. We follow our spouses to new job locales – or take them with us. We move to help out family or because the new landscape offers benefits we find we now need with a child with a disability or our own aging bones. We move after a disaster – fire and floods – or tragedy. Leaving home and making a new home can be painful even if it’s our choice. It’s said that [ … ]

Walking the Talk

“Our peers judge us not by what we say but by what we do. If you claim to be a good wife and mother, then you sometimes will have to put your family’s interests above your own. If you believe your purpose is to share your artistic talents with the world, then you will be judged on the works you produce, not on those you merely propose. You have to walk the talk; otherwise you have no credibility with others—or with yourself—because you, too, should demand that your actions match your words. If they don’t, you will never live in harmony and fulfillment.”

Excerpted from Unstoppable by Nick Vujicic

Daily Reflection: How can your actions match your words this new year?

Wake Up!

“So how do we continually experience newness in a world where everything ages? How do we experience freshness where everything quickly becomes stale? We have to wake up!

Awakening to the presence and power of God is both a one-time event and a recurring newness we experience throughout our lives. Some would say that this state of newness is a mountaintop experience, one that is nice to have every once in a while, but unsustainable in real life. But…not only is it possible to live a life fully awakened to God at all times, but it is the desire and will of God that you do so.”

Excerpted from Awakening by Stovall Weems

Daily Reflection: As a new year approaches, how can you keep your relationship with God new each day?