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Wonder of Creation

Wonder of Creation

Articles by Wonder of Creation

Photo by jenny downing

SAD

Trudging to work this morning, I was starkly reminded why this time of the year is when I question why we left Southern California: I came across the foot tracks I’d left on the road last year (two days ago). There they were—laid out on the asphalt perfectly preserved like meat in a freezer—showing even the imprint of my Yaktrax ice gripers.

Did we really come back “home” to Michigan in part to experience the seasons in their full-blown glory?  Did we forget that the seasons include winter!  Actually we didn’t.  We did want to experience winter again, but I do have to confess that when some of our friends and family turn into “snowbirds” and head to warmer climes, I do experience a bit of envy.

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> 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

A Lesson from Taylor Swift’s Song

Lately, I’ve been really enjoying listening to Taylor Swift’s songs. Her tunes are catchy, and the lyrics easy to understand. In her song Everything has Changed, a person meets an old friend and realizes that she has fallen in love with him.

A Clean Start

There are times in sports when a great athlete or coach has grown stale in a particular location, and would benefit from a fresh start. This was true with Joe Torre, who had managed with several teams, most recently the Cardinals, when he took the reins of the Yankees in New York. The success he […]

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…

> 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.

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"My Joy . . . Your Joy"

What was the joy that Jesus had? Joy should not be confused with happiness. In fact, it is an insult to Jesus Christ to use the word happiness in connection with Him. The joy of Jesus was His absolute self-surrender and self-sacrifice to His Father— the joy of doing that which the Father sent Him to do— “. . . who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross . . .” (Hebrews 12:2). “I delight to do Your will, O my God . . .” (Psalm 40:8). Jesus prayed that our joy might continue fulfilling itself until it becomes the same joy as His. Have I allowed Jesus Christ to introduce His joy to me?

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…

> 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?”

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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.”