Tag  |  the gospel

Prayer on an Airplane

Could you pray for us?” asked the French woman sitting next to me on the airplane. We were experiencing violent turbulence. Just minutes earlier this med student and I had been having a lively discussion about God and science. With my broken French and her broken English, I had used a Chinese-English pamphlet to share the good news about Jesus with her. To my new friend, the gospel message seemed like a fairy tale; but when our airplane began to dip and shake, her inclination was to ask God for help, allowing me the opportunity to share my faith and pray with her.

The First Day—Again

Imagine you’re a Jewish child, nourished from a young age by the words of the Torah. You can recite the Torah’s opening lines describing how, just before the dawn of God’s magnificent acts of creation, darkness covered the deep and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters (Genesis 1:2). Those mysterious words signaled that something stunning was about to happen. God was doing something new. You’d hear the story of that first day of creation, the inauguration of God’s creation week when He said, “Let there be light”—and light flooded the earth (John 20:3). Adam and Eve in the garden, beginning the great adventure of human life. What stunning possibilities, what hope! You would know well this story—the story of how God’s new world began to flourish.

God Came for a Visit

Two passages in Luke 1 are often called “songs” because of their similarity to the Old Testament psalms. The Magnificat of Mary (Luke 1:46-55) is well known. But the “Benedictus” (Luke 1:67-79), which is taken from blessed or praise, the first word in the Latin translation, is less known. Filled with Old Testament quotations and allusions, the Benedictus speaks of the work of the Messiah and the work of His messenger (Luke 1:69,80).

The Gift of Love

Psychologists and counselors agree that one’s observable actions of another person, not just his or her spoken or written words, provide the evidence that the person truly loves you. We’ve heard it over and over that God is love (1 John 4:8), and that He loves us with an unfailing love (Jeremiah 31:3; Ephesians 2:4). But how can we be sure that God’s love is real?

Grace that Motivates

Nothing moved him anymore. Though he ran one of the top skateboard teams in the world and had enjoyed lots of money, drugs, sex, and had dove headlong into every pleasure he chose, Ryan Ries felt empty.

Overflowing Fruit

On an early morning walk, I spotted something blocking the path ahead of me. Several yards down the sidewalk, a massive bunch of tree branches had spilled over a white fence. The branches were weighed down with mature, red apples! The fruit was everywhere—far too many to count. As I neared the tree, I had to step off the sidewalk and move into the wet grass to get around the overflowing mass.

suited up

During a visit to an art institute, I observed a German suit of armor made in 1521. None of the other defensive ensembles seemed as complete as this one. It featured vented metal to cover the face; a curved breastplate to deflect blows; metal that continued down the arms, hands, and covered each finger; leg shields that were seamlessly fitted to metal shoes. The craftsman had imagined every possible offensive strike and addressed each in his design.

search for significance

I have to admit, with some shame, that I’ve Googled my own name. I know, I know—it’s immature and narcissistic. I think I—and others like me—do this because we want some living proof that we’re significant and important in some way.

give up

Wildlife officials in my town tried in vain to save a duck that had an arrow sticking through its breast. She flew away whenever their nets came close. It’s hard to blame the frightened fowl. She didn’t understand that the same self-reliance that normally kept her alive was now preventing her from receiving the help she needed.

We are that…

let it run

One truly thrilling moment in sports is the last quarter mile of a horse race, when “down the stretch they come!” Spectators are mildly interested in the initial legs of the race, as the horses jockey for position and conserve their energy for the home stretch. But their roar is deafening when the horses turn the final corner and break…

gaining strength

After 20 years in youth ministry, my husband has weathered his fair share of injuries on the job. Most recently, he was involved in a competitive outdoor game when he twisted his foot. Playing through the pain, he conceded to his injury only after winning the contest. He limped to a nearby place to sit down and carefully remove his…

time well spent

Her name is Mary Jane. Having married a steelworker, she’s seen the boom and death of a Pennsylvania steel town where they happily raised their children. When the town no longer held any promise for them, they moved to Florida to enjoy their latter years. Today, though, she misses her husband even though he’s been gone a while (she’s uncertain…

share your story

Michael Dinsmore is a relatively new Christian. One day he was given an opportunity to share his testimony in a prison. It had a tremendous effect on the inmates—some of the toughest guys broke down and started crying as Michael talked. Later, a few came up to him and said, “This is the most exciting meeting we’ve ever been to!”…

aim of instruction

Every so often, it’s good to ask yourself: “Why do I do what I do?” It’s so easy to get caught up in simply getting things done, while forgetting the ultimate purpose for our tasks.

In 1 Timothy 1:4-7, Paul presents three failures of false teachers that—if we’re not careful—can become our failures too: (1) Their teachings promote meaningless speculations…

good ground

At dusk, I left the house with a fistful of wildflower seeds. I crossed the street and tossed them into the open field adjacent to our home. I waited all summer for the flowers to bloom, but all that grew was a monster thistle bush, milkweed, and some prairie grass. Since then, I’ve learned a bit about gardening. I now…

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