The Messenger

By |2018-12-19T16:02:56+00:00December 31st, 2018|

“I have a message for you!” A woman working at the conference I was attending handed me a piece of paper, and I wondered if I should be nervous or excited. But when I read, “You have a nephew!” I knew I could rejoice. Messages can bring good news, bad news, or words that challenge. In the Old Testament, God used His prophets to communicate messages of hope or judgment...

All Things New

By |2018-12-19T16:00:09+00:00December 30th, 2018|

Junkyards intrigue me. I enjoy working on cars, so I frequently make trips to the one near our home. It’s a lonely place, where the wind whispers through discarded hulks that were once someone’s prized possession. Some were wrecked, some wore out, and others simply outlived their usefulness. As I walk between the rows, a car will sometimes catch my eye, and I’ll find myself wondering about the adventures it had during its “lifetime...”

When God Says No

By |2018-12-19T15:43:08+00:00December 29th, 2018|

When I was conscripted into the military at age eighteen, as all young Singaporean men are, I prayed desperately for an easy posting. A clerk or driver, perhaps. Not being particularly strong, I hoped to be spared the rigors of combat training. But one evening as I read my Bible, one verse leaped off the page: “My grace is sufficient for you . . .” (2 Corinthians 12:9). My heart dropped—but it shouldn’t have. God had answered my prayers...

Good Riddance Day

By |2018-12-19T15:40:39+00:00December 28th, 2018|

Since 2006 a group of people have celebrated an unusual event around the New Year. It’s called Good Riddance Day. Based on a Latin American tradition, individuals write down unpleasant, embarrassing memories and bad issues from the past year and throw them into an industrial-strength shredder. Or some take a sledgehammer to their good riddance item...

The Highest Place

By |2018-12-19T15:35:44+00:00December 27th, 2018|

My husband invited a friend to church. After the service his friend said, “I liked the songs and the atmosphere, but I don’t get it. Why do you give Jesus such a high place of honor?” My husband then explained to him that Christianity is a relationship with Christ. Without Him, Christianity would be meaningless. It’s because of what Jesus has done in our lives that we meet together and praise Him...

Just Another Day?

By |2018-12-19T15:33:00+00:00December 26th, 2018|

In Christmas Every Day, William Dean Howells tells of a little girl who gets her wish. For one long, horrible year it is indeed Christmas every day. By day three, the yuletide joy has already begun to wear thin. Before long everyone hates candy. Turkeys become scarce and sell for outrageous prices. Presents are no longer received with gratitude as they pile up everywhere. People angrily snap at each other...

Winter Snow

By |2018-12-19T15:30:13+00:00December 25th, 2018|

In winter, I often wake to the beautiful surprise of a world blanketed in the peace and quiet of an early morning snow. Not loudly like a spring thunderstorm that announces its presence in the night, snow comes softly. In “Winter Snow Song,” Audrey Assad sings that Jesus could have come to earth in power like a hurricane, but instead He came quietly and slowly like the winter snow falling softly in the night outside my window...

Ponder It

By |2018-12-19T15:27:36+00:00December 24th, 2018|

During Oswald Chambers’ years at the Bible Training College in London (1911–15), he often startled the students with things he said during his lectures. One young woman explained that because discussion was reserved for the following mealtime together, Chambers would frequently be bombarded with questions and objections. She recalled that Oswald would often simply smile and say, “Just leave it for now; it will come to you later..."

In Abundance or Affliction

By |2018-12-19T15:24:48+00:00December 23rd, 2018|

Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts encourages readers to search their lives each day for what the Lord has done for them. In it, she daily notes God’s abundant generosity to her in gifts both large and small, ranging from the simple beauty of iridescent bubbles in the dish sink to the incomparable salvation of sinners like herself (and the rest of us!). Ann contends that gratitude is the key to seeing God in even the most troubling of life’s moments...

Hope Is Our Strategy

By |2018-12-19T15:22:01+00:00December 22nd, 2018|

My favorite football team has lost eight consecutive games as I write this. With each loss, it’s harder to hope this season can be redeemed for them. The coach has made changes weekly, but they haven’t resulted in wins. Talking with my coworkers, I’ve joked that merely wanting a different outcome can’t guarantee it. “Hope is not a strategy,” I’ve quipped...