• Ministry > Our Daily Journey

    Designed with Hope

    With its majestic magnolias, blooming dogwoods, and graceful azaleas dotting the landscape, my hometown is a gardener’s dream in the spring. But the beautiful view comes with its fair share of misery. Residents know that spring has arrived when a fine coating of yellow dust rests on vehicles, buildings, and sidewalks. As pine trees release their murky clouds of pollen, itchy eyes, scratchy throats, and swollen sinuses soon follow. ’Tis the season for sneezing!

    Patience, Prayer, and Love

    Elizabeth Stone wrote that having a child is “to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” Indeed. My biggest fear is that my children might walk away from God.

    Against All Hope

    He was definitely a great man and had a lot of good characteristics, but he was difficult too,” a friend explained, referring to his dad. “Sometimes I don’t know how my mom stayed with him. But she just kept praying for years and years and, maybe three years before he died, he chose to follow Jesus and started to become a different person.”

    Keep Running

    It takes great perseverance to run a half-marathon. It takes even more perseverance to accidentally run one, like 12-year-old LeeAdianez Rodriguez-Espada did. LeeAdianez, running late for a family 5K run, accidentally joined a group of people running the half marathon race (just over 21K!). Lee quickly fell in pace with other runners and focused on putting one foot in front of the other. Realizing at mile four that the finish line was nowhere in sight, she turned to another runner and asked how much further. That’s when she realized she’d joined a much more difficult race! Instead of dropping out, Lee…

    Ongoing Repentance

    Over the years I’ve often heard of the “Twelve Steps” of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). One day I decided to look them up and couldn’t help but see that the steps echo principles of biblical repentance such as turning from sin and ourselves to God in both heart and mind. For example, step 1 states, “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable” (see Romans 7:18, Romans 8:13). Step 2 is, “[We] came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity” (see John 10:10; 2 Corinthians 12:9).

    God Sees You

    What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” That is perhaps Shakespeare’s most famous quote from his tragic play Romeo and Juliet. Saying that it doesn’t matter that Romeo is from her rival’s house of Montague, Juliet implies that names don’t really matter. All that matters is what something is, not what it’s named. This may be so for a Shakespearean lyrical tale, but Bible names are significant and convey specific lessons and meanings to the events accompanying the naming of the individual.

    The Gift of the Spirit

    Many of us, perhaps unconsciously, try to win the love of God. We endeavor to be better people, to do more to spread His love and grace, to work harder. But God doesn’t love us because of the things we accomplish for Him; He loves us “because of his mercy” (Titus 3:5), as Paul wrote to Titus while he ministered on the island of Crete.

    He’s Not There

    My dad passed away several years ago from pancreatic cancer. I remember that when we arrived at the graveside for a private family burial, the funeral director was waiting there with my dad’s cremated ashes. It was the first time we had seen the small urn that housed his remains. I suddenly became overwhelmed with grief. A caring family member looked me in the eye and quietly spoke these simple but reassuring words, “Remember, Dad’s not there.”

    A Legacy of Prayer

    Susanna Wesley strived to spend as much time in prayer as in her many other activities. She led Sunday afternoon church during her husband’s travels, homeschooled her ten children, and kept written records of her time with God. She did this despite facing grief, poverty, health issues, and the challenge of often being apart from her spouse due to his travels. Hard-pressed to find privacy in a full house of ten children, she often prayed with an apron over her head. Her example, however, laid the foundation for the prolific ministries of her sons John and Charles.

    Jesus Died for Cows?

    My professor surprised our class one day when he said, “Jesus died for cows.” He didn’t mean we should evangelize cattle. But, he explained, since cows are part of the creation “subjected to God’s curse” (Romans 8:20) as a result of human sin, cows belong to the world that “has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (Romans 8:22). That means cows are part of the “everything” God is bringing “under the authority of Christ,” having “reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s…

    A New Heart

    Inspired by Polynesian mythology, the Disney animated movie Moana skillfully depicts the story of a brave teenager who strives to save her people from hunger and ultimate destruction. A selfish demigod had stolen the heart of “Te Fiti,” the goddess of creation. Because her heart was stolen, the world began to die. After a dangerous journey, Moana returns the heart to Te Fiti who is then transformed. Instead of death, Te Fiti provides life and hope to Moana and her people.

    Ascended for Us

    Jesus’ ascension receives little attention these days. The way we often tell the story, the whole affair is mostly anticlimactic. We tend to think of the ascension as this brief, strange moment when Jesus pulled off one last spectacular feat, vanishing into some distant place. Or worse, the story leaves us empty. What kind of good news is this? He simply bolts after promising a new life and a new world?

    The Beauty of Kindness

    While sitting in the waiting room at my mechanic’s shop, I watched a segment on the waiting room’s television about a “Secret Santa.” Each year he gives away $100,000 in $100 bills to strangers. In the segment I viewed, the “Secret Santa” was in a grocery store handing $100 to a female senior citizen. It turned out that the woman had been suffering greatly as she battled stage IV cancer. She was surprised and overwhelmed by the “Secret Santa’s” gift, but more so by the kindness that motivated him to give it.

    Creation Restoration

    Not long ago, scientists believed that the effects of trauma and stress affected only the generation that had experienced their effects. But recent research indicates that children are also affected by their parents’ trauma: the impact of such events passed down to future generations. So exactly how far in the future can the effects of trauma be felt?

    Receiving Admission

    As a teen, I knew I wanted to attend college, so I tried to earn good grades. Later, like many high school seniors, I worked through test exercises to ready myself for entrance exams. I chewed through pencils (and my nails) trying to perfect admissions essays. In the end, this preparation—along with God’s blessing—allowed me to gain access to the school I was hoping to attend.

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