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John van der Veen

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> Biblical Studies

God So Loved . . .

July 28, 2014, marked the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. In the British media many discussions and documentaries recalled the start of that 4-year conflict. Even the TV program Mr. Selfridge, which is based on an actual department store in London, included an episode set in 1914 that showed young male employees lining up to volunteer for the army. As I observed these portrayals of self-sacrifice, I felt a lump in my throat. The soldiers they depicted had been so young, so eager, and so unlikely to return from the horror of the trenches.

Although Jesus didn’t…

In the Garden

My forefathers were pioneers in Michigan. They cleared the land, planted crops, and cultivated gardens to raise food for their families. This agrarian bent has been passed down through the generations. My dad grew up on a Michigan farm and loved gardening, which may explain why I love gardening and the smell of fertile soil. Cultivating plants that bear beautiful flowers and tending roses that fragrantly grace our yard with beauty are enjoyable pastimes for me. If it weren’t for the weeds it would be wonderful!

When I have to wrestle with the weeds, I am reminded of the garden of…

Growing our relationship with God while we work

Today we continue looking at how we can honor God while on the job.

> Christian Beliefs

The Father’s Love

Wanda was a 20-year-old who was living at home but had no real responsibilities. She had a job with a decent income and spent her free time hanging out with friends. All of that collapsed when she became pregnant.

Our inadequacies often distort our view of God

We live in a culture of comparison. Beneath our feelings that we don’t measure up to “so and so” is the fear that we don’t have what it takes. Do you feel uncomfortable when you’re told that “you’re beautiful in God’s eyes” because deep down you don’t really believe it?

We Can Know

As I sat on a train headed for an important appointment, I began to wonder if I was on the right train. I had never traveled that route before and had failed to ask for help. Finally, overcome by uncertainty and doubt, I exited at the next station—only to be told I had indeed been on the right train!

That incident reminded me how doubt can rob us of peace and confidence. At one time I had struggled with the assurance of my salvation, but God helped me deal with my doubt. Later, after sharing the story of my conversion and…

> Christian Living

Accepting The Game Plan

In Super Bowl VIII, the Miami Dolphins were taking on the Minnesota Viking “Purple People Eaters.” Miami was seeking to be the first team to repeat as Super Bowl winners since the Green Bay Packers won the first two big games—and they were doing it behind a “no name” defense, the running of Larry Csonka, […]


Seemingly unaware of leaflets littering the sidewalk and placards dotting the corners of the intersection, the pedestrians around me continued their normal pace of life on this national election weekend. As a foreigner, I saw a distinct similarity between the smiling faces of the candidates staring from their two-dimensional advertisements and those from my home country. All promised change and hope.

Look Up!

I was stuck in a cab in heavy traffic one day when I spotted a billboard sign which said, “Look up, young man.—God”. That day, I was heading to Makati, a city which is 15 miles away from my hometown, to attend an appointment.

> Christian Ministry & the Church

The Place of Exaltation

. . . Jesus took . . . them up on a high mountain apart by themselves . . . —Mark 9:2

We have all experienced times of exaltation on the mountain, when we have seen things from God’s perspective and have wanted to stay there. But …

The Awareness of the Call

. . . for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! —1 Corinthians 9:16

We are inclined to forget the deeply spiritual and supernatural touch of God. If you are able to tell exactly where you were when you …

The “Go” of Reconciliation

If you . . . remember that your brother has something against you . . . —Matthew 5:23

This verse says, “If you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you . . . .” …

> Christianity & Culture

Giving Back

Not long ago, two newlyweds kissed their honeymoon good-bye. They also purposely did not plan a wedding reception to celebrate their union. Instead, they used the money they would have spent on themselves to selflessly help people in each of the 50 states in the US. In Arkansas, they gave gifts to sick children. In Utah, they aided victims of domestic abuse. In New Jersey, they donated clothing to a homeless shelter—and so on.

How do we know for sure that Christianity is the Truth?

I recently attended a religious ceremony at a Siamese Buddhist temple as part of an official visit by my MP. Several Muslims and Christians were also at the ceremony, as they had been invited after having helped the temple to solve some issues.

Are You a Believer?

Are you a believer? You may be surprised to hear this, but all of us are—regardless of our religious inclination. We live by faith everyday—faith that our alarm clock will wake us up on time and faith that we will live to face tomorrow.

> Ethical Issues

Consider the Poor

The year was 1780, and Robert Raikes had a burden for the poor, illiterate children in his London neighborhood. He noticed that nothing was being done to help these children, so he set out to make a difference.

He hired some women to set up schools for them on Sunday. Using the Bible as their textbook, the teachers taught the poorest children of London to read and introduced them to the wisdom of the Bible. Soon about 100 children were attending these classes and enjoying lunch in a safe, clean environment. These “Sunday schools,” as they were soon called, eventually touched…

Torture and persecution will not prevail–Kodjo’s Story and Volodya’s Story

Kodjo and Volodya lived in very different parts of the world, yet both shared a belief in Christ that was tested to the limits of human endurance. Even torture and persecution could not stop these two men from sharing their faith. Be encouraged as you share the love of Jesus Christ with others and step […]

How can we use the wealth God has given us?

The Bible makes it clear that God calls us to offer care and compassion for the poor. The Old Testament prophets were burdened for the poor. In fact, Isaiah told God’s people that it was better to help the needy than to fast.

> Evangelism & Missions

The Place of Ministry

He said to them, ’This kind [of unclean spirit] can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting’ —Mark 9:29

His disciples asked Him privately, ’Why could we not cast it out?’ ” (Mark 9:28). The answer lies in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. …

The “Go” of Renunciation

. . . someone said to Him, ’Lord, I will follow You wherever You go’ —Luke 9:57 

Our Lord’s attitude toward this man was one of severe discouragement, “for He knew what was in man” (John 2:25). We would have said, “I …

Prepared to Go

Theodore Bayley Hardy, a chaplain in the British Army, is one of the most highly decorated noncombatants of World War I. On his gravestone are etched some letters most people won’t understand: VC, DSO, MC. They reveal that Hardy—who died from battle wounds—received the Victoria Cross, Distinguished Service Order, and Military Cross for his service.

> Life Struggles

How our fears can keep us from intimacy with Jesus

Our fears take many forms. Often it’s a fear of being “found out” for who we really are; or we fear the loss of relationships with others because of circumstances that are out of our control. Like the demon-possessed man in the Bible, we’re afraid of what will happen to us if Jesus gets too close.

Even in our doubts, we have Jesus’ full acceptance

Belief is a mysterious commodity. A baby is born and we believe, someone dies and we lose our faith. Nicodemus had both doubts about Jesus and faith in Him and yet Jesus fully embraced him.

Discover why we are Beauty Full Beings

Statistics show that ninety-one percent of women don’t see themselves as beautiful. Yet when God created Adam and Eve, He said they were “very good.” Join us as we explore why, since the Fall, it’s so easy to believe the lie whispered to Eve, “If God loved you . . .”

> Marriage & Family

Learning to hear the heart of God–Marion Stroud’s Story

Marion cherished her free time, what little she had of it. As a wife, mother, and writer, it seemed she was always so busy! That’s why when the Lord laid it on her heart to give even more of herself by taking in two abandoned children, she hesitated. Marion shares how she learned that what […]

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

The Hard Way

As the NFL season kicked off in full on Sunday, young quarterbacks began the process of on-the-job training. Rookies Jameis Winston (Buccaneers) and Marcus Mariota (Titans) began the long learning curve that involves moments of success, lots of bumps and bruises, myriads of situational decision-making opportunities, and the pain of carrying as much of the […]

5 “Harmless” Dating Tips

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, you may have encountered at least one of these five things I have been told about dating. Perhaps the advice was given out of good intentions, but more often than not, it left you feeling frustrated and miserable.

Be Reconciled

They sit beside each other on a straw mat—he in beige trousers and a white-and-purple shirt, she in a blue-and-yellow dress. “I participated in the killing of the son of this woman,” says Francois, one of thousands of Hutu men that perpetrated crimes against Tutsis during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. “He killed my child,” says Epiphanie, “then he came to ask my pardon.”

> Spiritual Growth

The Power of Story

One of the first times I heard a Christian athlete tell his faith-story was when I was a mere freshman in Bible college. It was John Cartwright, who had followed Roger Staubach as the quarterback at the Naval Academy and broken many of Staubach’s passing records there. He had come to help coach our school’s […]

God’s Plans

An army officer may have an overall plan, but before each battle he has to receive and give out new instructions. Joshua, a leader of the Israelites, had to learn this lesson. After God’s people spent 40 years in the wilderness, God chose Joshua to lead them into the land He had promised to them.

The first stronghold they faced was the city of Jericho. Before the battle, Joshua saw the “commander of the Lord’s army” (probably the Lord Himself) standing opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. Joshua fell on his face and worshiped. In other words, he…

Winning at Life

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” That quote from author Francis Chan points out the false view we can possess as we consider what success is all about. Is it found in what we own, what we’ve accomplished, or in our status? Is that really how we know that we’re winning in life? What if we’re playing the wrong game?

> When Life Hurts

Prayer in Times of Trouble

On October 27, 2014, BBC Africa posted on their social media outlets, “Today we are asking the question: ‘Is the widespread panic about #Ebola justified?’—and we’re looking for callers. . . . Statistically, Ebola still kills far fewer people than malaria and other diseases. So why has it dominated the headlines?”

Tissue Boxes

As I sat in the surgical waiting room, I had time to think. I had been here recently, when we received the jarring news that my only brother, much too young, was “brain dead.”

And so on this day, waiting for news about my wife who was undergoing a serious surgical procedure, I penned a lengthy note to her. Then, surrounded by nervous chatter and oblivious children, I listened for the quiet voice of God.

Suddenly, news! The surgeon wanted to see me. I went to a secluded room to wait. There, on the table, sat two tissue boxes, conspicuously available. They…

Knowing Us Inside Out

A typical question I get asked as a psychology major is: “Can you read my mind?” (No prizes for guessing my answer.) Perhaps that is why I have thought about how wonderful it would be if I could actually read another person’s mind. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person to think that way, which is why I think Disney’s latest Pixar offering, Inside Out, appeals to so many of us.