Our Authors

View All
My Utmost For His Highest

My Utmost For His Highest

Articles by My Utmost For His Highest

Photo by

Usefulness or Relationship?

Jesus Christ is saying here, “Don’t rejoice in your successful service for Me, but rejoice because of your right relationship with Me.” The trap you may fall into in Christian work is to rejoice in successful service— rejoicing in the fact that God has used you. Yet you will never be able to measure fully what God will do through you if you do not have a right-standing relationship with Jesus Christ.

Photo by Chunky Farmer

The Unsurpassed Intimacy of Tested Faith

Every time you venture out in your life of faith, you will find something in your circumstances that, from a commonsense standpoint, will flatly contradict your faith. But common sense is not faith, and faith is not common sense. In fact, they are as different as the natural life and the spiritual. Can you trust Jesus Christ where your common sense cannot trust Him? Can you venture out with courage on the words of Jesus Christ, while the realities of your commonsense life continue to shout, “It’s all a lie”?

Photo by nisaax

The Purpose of Prayer

Prayer is not a normal part of the life of the natural man. We hear it said that a person’s life will suffer if he doesn’t pray, but I question that. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer. When a person is born again from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve or nourish that life.

Photo by

Living Your Theology

Beware of not acting upon what you see in your moments on the mountaintop with God. If you do not obey the light, it will turn into darkness. “If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23). The moment you forsake the matter of sanctification or neglect anything else on which God has given you His light, your spiritual life begins to disintegrate within you.

Photo by

Are You Ever Troubled?

There are times in our lives when our peace is based simply on our own ignorance. But when we are awakened to the realities of life, true inner peace is impossible unless it is received from Jesus. When our Lord speaks peace, He creates peace, because the words that He speaks are always “spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). Have I ever received what Jesus speaks?

Photo by REM (rembcc)

Sacrifice and Friendship

We will never know the joy of self-sacrifice until we surrender in every detail of our lives. Yet self-surrender is the most difficult thing for us to do. We make it conditional by saying, “I’ll surrender if . . . !” Or we approach it by saying, “I suppose I have to devote my life to God.” We will never find the joy of self-sacrifice in either of these ways.

Photo by

The Spiritual Search

The illustration of prayer that our Lord used here is one of a good child who is asking for something good. We talk about prayer as if God hears us regardless of what our relationship is to Him (see Matthew 5:45). Never say that it is not God’s will to give you what you ask. Don’t faint and give up, but find out the reason you have not received; increase the intensity of your search and examine the evidence.

Prayer— Battle in “The Secret Place”

When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly —Matthew 6:6

Jesus did not say, “Dream about your Father who is in the secret place,” but He said, “. . . pray to your Father who is…

"I Indeed . . . But He"

Have I ever come to the point in my life where I can say, “I indeed . . . but He . . .”? Until that moment comes, I will never know what the baptism of the Holy Spirit means. I indeed am at the end, and I cannot do anything more— but He begins right there— He does the things that no one else can ever do. Am I prepared for His coming? Jesus cannot come and do His work in me as long as there is anything blocking the way, whether it is something good or bad.

The Ministry of the Unnoticed

The New Testament notices things that do not seem worthy of notice by our standards. “Blessed are the poor in spirit . . . .” This literally means, “Blessed are the paupers.” Paupers are remarkably commonplace! The preaching of today tends to point out a person’s strength of will or the beauty of his character— things that are easily noticed. The statement we so often hear, “Make a decision for Jesus Christ,” places the emphasis on something our Lord never trusted. He never asks us to decide for Him, but to yield to Him— something very different.

Photo by kcharnick

Christ-Awareness

. . . and I will give you rest —Matthew 11:28

Whenever anything begins to disintegrate your life with Jesus Christ, turn to Him at once, asking Him to re-establish your rest. Never allow anything to remain in your life that is causing the unrest. Think of every detail of your life that is causing the disintegration as something to fight against, not as something you should allow to remain.

Photo by

Self-Awareness

God intends for us to live a well-rounded life in Christ Jesus, but there are times when that life is attacked from the outside. Then we tend to fall back into self-examination, a habit that we thought was gone. Self-awareness is the first thing that will upset the completeness of our life in God, and self-awareness continually produces a sense of struggling and turmoil in our lives.

Photo by mortimer?

Have You Ever Been Speechless with Sorrow?

The rich young ruler went away from Jesus speechless with sorrow, having nothing to say in response to Jesus’ words. He had no doubt about what Jesus had said or what it meant, and it produced in him a sorrow with no words with which to respond. Have you ever been there? Has God’s Word ever come to you, pointing out an area of your life, requiring you to yield it to Him? Maybe He has pointed out certain personal qualities, desires, and interests, or possibly relationships of your heart and mind. If so, then you have often been speechless with sorrow.

Photo by highersights

Are You Discouraged or Devoted?

Have you ever heard the Master say something very difficult to you? If you haven’t, I question whether you have ever heard Him say anything at all. Jesus says a tremendous amount to us that we listen to, but do not actually hear. And once we do hear Him, His words are harsh and unyielding.

Photo by d_oracle

Does He Know Me . . . ?

When I have sadly misunderstood Him? (see John 20:11-18). It is possible to know all about doctrine and still not know Jesus. A person’s soul is in grave danger when the knowledge of doctrine surpasses Jesus, avoiding intimate touch with Him. Why was Mary weeping? Doctrine meant no more to her than the grass under her feet. In fact, any Pharisee could have made a fool of Mary doctrinally, but one thing they could never ridicule was the fact that Jesus had cast seven demons out of her (see Luke 8:2); yet His blessings were nothing to her in comparison with knowing Jesus Himself.

Related Topics

> Featured

> Biblical Studies

A powerful exchange between Jesus and a religious lawyer

The parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the greatest short stories Jesus ever told. Today we take a look at the stirring conclusion to a powerful exchange.

A narrow-minded heart exposed

Teachers cringe at this question from their students: “Is this going to be on the test?” This question reveals to teachers that the students have focused their interest on getting a good grade, rather than learning. Join us on “Discover the Word” as we discuss why Jesus told the classic story of the Good Samaritan.

One of the most familiar stories Jesus ever told

Questions and answers. Sometimes we ask questions we already know the answer to. Sometimes we ask questions to reveal what the other person does not know! Today on “Discover the Word,” we explore how Jesus used questions and answers to reveal a man’s heart. Don’t miss this insightful conversation.

> Christian Beliefs

Verify the Truth

“A deadly jungle spider has migrated to the US and is killing people.” This was the story sent to me and to others on my friend’s email list. The story sounded plausible—lots of scientific names and real-life situations. But when I checked it out on reliable websites, I found it was not true—it was an Internet hoax. Its truth could only be verified by consulting a trusted source.

A group of first-century believers living in Macedonia understood the importance of confirming what they were hearing. The folks in Berea “received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to…

Baby Steps

My baby is learning to walk. I have to hold her, and she clings to my fingers because she is still unsteady on her feet. She is afraid of slipping, but I’m there to steady her and watch over her. As she walks with my help, her eyes sparkle with gratitude, happiness, and security. But sometimes she cries when I don’t let her take dangerous paths, not realizing that I am protecting her.

Like my baby girl, we often need someone to watch over us, to guide and steady us in our spiritual walk. And we have that someone—God our Father—who…

Disappointing Heroes

A recent book that puts a fictional flavor on a slice of US history portrays Old West gunslingers Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday as shiftless bums. In an interview with National Public Radio, the author said of the real Earp, “He didn’t do anything remarkable his whole life, ever.” Through the years, in books and Hollywood movies, they’ve become heroes. Yet reputable historical accounts show that they were not.

In contrast, the Bible is full of flawed people who became real heroes. But don’t lose sight of the vital source of their heroic actions. The object of their faith was God,…

> Christian Living

Purpose in Routine

A rolling-ball clock in the British Museum struck me as a vivid illustration of the deadening effects of routine. A small steel ball traveled in grooves across a tilted steel plate until it tripped a lever on the other side. This tilted the plate back in the opposite direction, reversed the direction of the ball and advanced the clock hands. Every year, the steel ball traveled some 2,500 miles back and forth, but never really went anywhere.

It’s easy for us to feel trapped by our daily routine when we can’t see a larger purpose. The apostle Paul longed to be…

Speak the Truth, or Keep Silent?

If you’ve ever wondered what it means to be candid, talk to my mother. If she didn’t like something, she’d say so without mincing her words. If she felt we were making the wrong decision, she’d harp on how the cons outweighed the pros.

Friends Through Thick and Thin

Without my dear college friends and sisters, my wedding would not have been possible. A photo of my bridesmaids shows them in their pretty dresses and bearing bright smiles, but these belie the many hours and days of frantic efforts to put a wedding together in spite of a famously indecisive bride.

> Christian Ministry & the Church

first love

Growing communities, rooted in God’s love and story, reaching out and restoring lives.

Reflecting God’s Glory

The 12th-century Chinese artist Li Tang painted landscapes animated with people, birds, and water buffalo. Because of his genius with fine line sketches on silk, Li Tang is considered a master of Chinese landscape art. For centuries, artists from around the world have depicted what they see in God’s art gallery of creation: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Ps. 19:1). The Bible tells us that our creativity as human beings comes from being made in the image of the Master Creator (Gen. 1:27).

God chose artists who worked with wood, gold, silver, bronze,…

two things we need

Fire requires oxygen and fuel in tandem to keep burning—something that’s important to know in my part of the world when winter snowstorms come calling! If you don’t have enough oxygen flowing to the logs you’ve set ablaze, the fire will die down. And if you run out of wood, you’ll soon be trying to warm your hands over cooling ashes!

> Christianity & Culture

The Search for Meaning: Science & God

Using debate-tested conclusions and simple illustrations, Science & God examines the tension between science and religion to clarify the issues.

The Search for Meaning: What Matters

This documentary puts worldviews under the microscope and walks you through four predictable stages of life to help you sort out and process your quest for meaning.

5 Ways to Live for Yourself

What’s all this about “denying yourself” and “living for others”? Look, I know we can’t decide when we were born and when we will die, but come on, I have every right to decide how I should live. This life belongs to me.

> Devotionals

rules and grace

Firefighters recently chose not to take action as a man was drowning in the San Francisco Bay. According to the interim fire chief overseeing the responding team, one of the things that prevented them from taking action was a regulation that prevents firefighters from entering into the water. The rescue workers were frustrated because they desperately wanted to take action, but they were prevented from doing so by policy. This preoccupation with rules is a form of legalism, something we find far too often in the church today.

Don’t Delay

For many years I spoke to my distant cousin about our need of a Savior. When he visited me recently and I once again urged him to receive Christ, his immediate response was: “I would like to accept Jesus and join the church, but not yet. I live among people of other faiths. Unless I relocate, I will not be able to practice my faith well.” He cited persecution, ridicule, and pressure from his peers as excuses to postpone his decision.

His fears were legitimate, but I assured him that whatever happened, God would not abandon him. I encouraged my cousin…

Photo by

Usefulness or Relationship?

Jesus Christ is saying here, “Don’t rejoice in your successful service for Me, but rejoice because of your right relationship with Me.” The trap you may fall into in Christian work is to rejoice in successful service— rejoicing in the fact that God has used you. Yet you will never be able to measure fully what God will do through you if you do not have a right-standing relationship with Jesus Christ.

> Ethical Issues

I’ve Come to Help

Reporter Jacob Riis’s vivid descriptions of poverty in 19th-century New York City horrified a generally complacent public. His book How the Other Half Lives combined his writing with his own photographs to paint a picture so vivid that the public could not escape the certainty of poverty’s desperate existence. The third of fifteen children himself, Riis wrote so effectively because he had lived in that world of terrible despair.

                 Shortly after the release of his book, he received a card from a young man just beginning his political career. The note read simply, “I have read your book, and I…

Speak Up

When I hear stories about young people who have been bullied, I notice there are always at least two levels of hurt. The first and most obvious comes from the mean-spirited nature of those actually doing the bullying. That’s terrible on its own. But there’s another, deeper hurt that may end up being even more damaging than the first: The silence of everyone else.

It hurts the one being bullied because they’re stunned that no one will help. That often makes bullies more brazen, leading them to intensify their meanness. Worse, it heightens the embarrassment, false shame, and loneliness of the…

A Letter from the Battlefield

For more than two decades, Andrew Carroll has been urging people not to throw away the letters written by family members or friends during a time of war. Carroll, director of the Center for American War Letters at Chapman University in California, considers them an irreplaceable link to tie families together and open a door of understanding. “Younger generations are reading these letters,” Carroll says, “and asking questions and saying, ‘Now I understand what you endured, what you sacrificed.’ ”

When the apostle Paul was imprisoned in Rome and knew his life would soon end, he wrote a letter to a…

> Evangelism & Missions

A thought-provoking conversation on evangelism

This week we’ve been talking about how to share the gospel in a pluralistic culture. It’s the same challenge that the apostle Paul faced in his day.

An Unfinished Story: Telling My Friend About Jesus

Everyone has their story of what it’s like to share Jesus with their friends or family members. Some stories have a happy ending, where the person eventually comes to know and love Jesus. Some don’t have such a happy ending, where the person passes away before accepting Jesus into his or her life.

Blessing our enemies by finding common ground

When the nation of Israel was exiled to Babylon, Jeremiah gave the Jewish leaders unexpected direction. He said, “Seek the peace of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its peace you will have peace.” Listen in as we continue our series on Acts 17.

> Life Struggles

true beauty

Beauty isn’t skin deep—not for the believer or for those who don’t know Jesus. A movement to see beauty in women of all shapes and sizes and the call to reject the false standards of entertainment and advertising continues to grow. From marketing campaigns using larger-sized models to local groups teaching young girls to be confident without wearing makeup, the message is clear: You are beautiful and you are powerful . . . simply by being you.

Who am I?–Atsuko’s Story & Kara’s Story

Many people struggle to find their true identity. For Kara, abuse and abandonment made her feel like an orphan her entire life. For Japanese-born Atsuko, it was her faith in Christ that made her feel like an outsider in her own culture. Discover how God gave each of these women stability and hope even when […]

no ordinary struggle

Near the conclusion of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Return of the King, Frodo is on the verge of completing his mission to destroy the Ring of Power. With the fate of Middle Earth hanging in the balance, all that’s left is to cast the ring into the fires of Mount Doom.

> Marriage & Family

It’s What We Do

My father was critically injured when he took a bullet in the leg as a second lieutenant leading his men on Hill 609 in North Africa during World War II. Dad was never again 100 percent physically. I was born several years after this, and when I was young I didn’t even know he had been wounded. I found out later when someone told me. Although he felt constant pain in his leg, my dad never complained about it, and he never used it as an excuse for not providing for our family.

My parents loved the Savior and raised us…

A Letter From My Father

On one of my free days, I decided to clear some of the drawers in my room. As I was sorting through some old letters in one of my drawers, I stumbled on a letter I had not seen in a long while and had clean forgotten about.

Finding marital reconciliation at the cross of Christ–Gerrie and Clyde’s Story

When Gerrie eloped with Clyde, it seemed nothing in the world could break them apart. But when the demands of life pressed in, they began to drift away from their commitment. Learn how this struggling couple found peace and reconciliation for their marriage at the cross of Christ.

> Relationships

dangerous friends

One of our sons has endured bullies on his elementary school bus. Two weeks ago, he walked into the kitchen after school and with a quivering lip said, “I don’t want to ride the bus anymore.” It’s been hard for him to learn how to protect himself while also staying open to forgiveness (if the bullies show repentance) and the possibility of extending friendship to them.

Sportsmanship

In the 2003 Tour de France, Lance Armstrong was leading by 16 seconds over his arch-rival Jan Ullrich. Ullrich had been trying to win the TDF for years, but had always been beaten by Armstrong. As they were racing, however, Armstrong’s handlebars were caught in the strap of a spectator’s handbag—wrecking him. But, instead of […]

Are there Real Friendships in this World?

Whom will you call a friend? Is it just someone you can have a meal and watch movies with? Or is it someone you can chat and gossip with? What kind of person is he or she? We often describe a true friend as someone who will stick with us through thick and thin, who values us, and who won’t hurt or betray us.

> Spiritual Growth

why disobey?

Why should I obey this commandment from God? I pondered. Is it because the consequences of disobeying Him would be bad? Hmm, but is that all? Ah, I see it now—my thinking was turned around. I should have asked, “Why would I disobey?”

Photo by evansstephen58

Praying With Confidence: Overcoming Disappointment In Prayer

Having a conversation with God can sometimes be a struggle, especially when you feel that He has let you down. Find out how you can get past the disappointment and regain your confidence in God, as author David Egner shares five basic principles of prayer. Discover how you can renew your sense of joy and trust in God when you use His Word as the basis for your prayer.

Photo by REM (rembcc)

Sacrifice and Friendship

We will never know the joy of self-sacrifice until we surrender in every detail of our lives. Yet self-surrender is the most difficult thing for us to do. We make it conditional by saying, “I’ll surrender if . . . !” Or we approach it by saying, “I suppose I have to devote my life to God.” We will never find the joy of self-sacrifice in either of these ways.

> When Life Hurts

When Things Don’t Go Well

The first words that many people like to quote when misfortune hits are: “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). But that’s hard to believe in hard times. I once sat with a man who had lost his third son in a row, and I listened as he lamented, “How can this tragedy work for my good?” I had no answer but to sit silently and mourn with him. Several months later, he was thankful as he said, “My sorrow is…

Life in the Face of Death: Honest Conversations with Ed Dobson and Mart DeHaan, Part 3: Be There

Having been diagnosed with ALS and given only two to five years to live, former pastor Ed Dobson was suddenly challenged to face the reality of death. Watch his story of an uncommon journey toward a new quality of life and purpose. “Be There.” Many of us wonder what to say when someone’s life falls […]

cross-shaped service

I was sorry to hear what you’d been through when we last spoke,” my friend Adrian said as we walked. “How are you and Merryn doing now?” “On the whole,” I said, “we’re doing better. I guess we’re trying to focus on the up-side of our situation and the opportunities it brings.”