• Topic > Christian Beliefs

    A Compassionate Father

    After eight-year-old Gabriel underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his brain, it left a noticeable scar on the side of his head. When the boy said he felt like a monster, his dad, Josh, had an idea: demonstrate how much he loved his son by getting a tattoo on the side of his head with the same shape as Gabriel’s scar.

    According to the psalmist, this is the kind of empathic and compassionate love God has for “his children” (Psalms 103:13). Using a metaphor drawn from human life, David illustrated God’s love. He said it’s as tender as a good…

    Crushed and Beautiful

    At first glance I dismissed the painting Consider the Lilies by Makoto Fujimura as a simple, monochromatic painting featuring a lily seemingly hiding in the background. However, the painting came alive when I learned it was actually painted with more than eighty layers of finely crushed minerals in a style of Japanese art known as Nihonga, a style Fujimura calls “slow art.” Looking closely reveals layers of complexity and beauty. Fujimura explains that he sees the gospel echoed in the technique of making “beauty through brokenness,” just as Jesus’ suffering brought the world wholeness and hope.

    God loves to take aspects of our…

    Monstro the Goldfish

    Lacey Scott was at her local pet store when a sad fish at the bottom of the tank caught her eye. His scales had turned black and lesions had formed on his body. Lacey rescued the ten-year-old fish, named him “Monstro” after the whale in the fairytale Pinocchio, and placed him in a “hospital” tank, changing his water daily. Slowly, Monstro improved, began to swim, and grew in size. His black scales transformed to gold. Through Lacey’s committed care, Monstro was made new!

    In Luke 10, Jesus tells the story of a traveler who was beaten, robbed, and left for dead.…

    Untold Riches

    In an orbit between Mars and Jupiter zooms an asteroid worth trillions and trillions of dollars. Scientists say 16 Psyche consists of metals such as gold, iron, nickel, and platinum worth unfathomable amounts of money. For now, earthlings are not attempting to mine this rich resource, but the United States is planning to send a probe in 2022 to study the valuable rock.

    The promise of untold riches just out of reach can be both tantalizing and frustrating. Surely in time there will be people who will champion the cause of reaching 16 Psyche for its treasure.

    But what about the prospect…

    Standing Boldly

    What do we do when we are required to stand boldly for what we believe in amid life’s challenges?

    In a small Illinois town, domestic violence comprises forty percent of all crimes in the community. According to a local pastor, this issue is often hidden in our faith communities because it’s uncomfortable to talk about. So instead of shying away from the problem, local ministers chose to exercise faith and courageously address the issue by taking classes to recognize the signs of violence and supporting non-profit organizations working on the issue. Acknowledging the power of faith and action, a local minister…

    The Privilege of Stewardship

    While on vacation, my husband and I walked along the beach. We noticed a large square patch of sand blocked off by a makeshift fence. A young man explained that he worked around the clock with a team of volunteers committed to guarding the eggs in each sea turtle’s nest. Once the hatchlings emerged from their nest, the presence of both animals and humans threaten and decrease their chance of survival. “Even with all our efforts,” he said, “scientists estimate that only one out of every five thousand hatchlings reach adulthood.” These bleak numbers didn’t discourage this young man, however.…

    When Prayer Shakes the Earth

    Dr. Gary Greenberg has magnified and photographed sand from beaches around the world, often revealing surprising, vibrant splashes of color from the minerals, shell, and coral fragments contained within. 

    He’s discovered there’s more to sand than meets the eye. In arenology (the study of sand), the microscopic analysis of sand’s mineral content can reveal much about erosion, shore currents, and their potential effects on coastlines. Even a little sand can yield information of great worth! 

    A single prayer, like a grain of sand, can be a weighty thing. Scripture indicates prayer’s powerful role in the coming of God’s kingdom. In Revelation 8,…

    “Make It Your Own, Dawg!”

    On June 11, 2002, the singing competition American Idol debuted. Each week, hopefuls performed their own versions of popular songs, and the viewing audience voted on who advanced to the next round of the competition.

    As one of the panel judges on the show, Randy Jackson’s signature feedback was this zinger: “You made that song your own, dawg!” He lavished that praise when a singer took a familiar tune, learned it inside out, and then performed it in a new way that gave it unique, personal spin. To “make it their own” was to own it completely and creatively, and then…

    Puddles of Sunshine

    It was a warm summer day and my four-year-old granddaughter Mollie and I were taking a break from playing ball. As we sat on the porch with our glasses of water, Mollie looked out at the yard and said, “Look at the puddles of sunshine.” The sunlight was filtering through the thick foliage to create a pattern of light amid the dark shadows.

    Puddle of sunshine. Isn’t this a beautiful image for finding hope in dark days? In the midst of what can often be challenging times—when good news seems in short supply—instead of concentrating on the shadows, we can focus…

    Followed by God’s Goodness

    At my first job during my high school years, I worked at a women’s clothing store where a female security guard dressed as a shopper followed women she thought might steal the merchandise. Certain people fit profiles of those the store owners’ thought were suspicious. Others not considered a threat were left alone. I’ve been profiled in stores myself and followed, an interesting experience since I still recognize the tactic.

    In sharp contrast, David declared he was followed by a divine blessing—God’s goodness and mercy. These two gifts always stay close, following him not with suspicion but real love. The “twin…

    God of the Garden

    Many years ago, Joni Mitchell wrote a song called “Woodstock” in which she saw the human race trapped in a “bargain” with the devil. Urging her listeners to seek a simpler, more peaceful existence, she sang of a return to “the garden.” Mitchell spoke for a generation longing for purpose and meaning.

    Mitchell’s poetical “garden” is Eden, of course. Eden was the paradise God created for us back in the beginning. In this garden, Adam and Eve met with God on a regular basis—until the day they made their bargain with the devil (see Genesis 3:6–7). That day was different. “Then…

    Traveling Light

    A man named James took an adventurous, 1,250-mile journey down the West Coast of the US—biking from Seattle, Washington, to San Diego, California. A friend of mine met the ambitious biker near the cliffs of Big Sur, 930 miles from his starting point. After learning that someone had recently stolen James’ camping gear, my friend offered his blanket and sweater, but James refused. He said that as he traveled south into the warmer climate, he needed to begin shedding items. And the closer he got to his destination, the more tired he became so he needed to reduce the weight…

    Live Like You’re Healed

    Two sisters from India were born blind. Their father was a hard-working provider, but he could never afford the surgery that would give them sight. Then a team of doctors came to their region on a short-term medical mission. The morning after their surgery, the girls smiled wide as the nurse unwrapped their bandages. One exclaimed, “Mother, I can see! I can see!”

    A man who had been lame since birth sat in his usual spot at a temple gate, begging for money. Peter told the man he didn’t have coins, but he had something better. “In the name of Jesus…

    God Sees You

    Early mornings can be painful for my friend Alma, a single mom of two. She says, “When everything is quiet, worries surface. As I do household chores, I think about our financial concerns and the kids’ health and studies.”

    When her husband abandoned her, Alma bore the responsibility of raising her children on her own. “It’s difficult,” she says, “but I know God sees me and my family. He gives me the strength to work two jobs, provides for our needs, and lets my kids experience His guidance each day.”

    Hagar, an Egyptian maidservant, understood what it meant to be seen by…

    Unwanted Guests

    Kyle and Allison had a wonderful honeymoon in an exotic location. When they returned home, however, they discovered that Kyle’s feet had developed a strange, itchy rash. The couple was referred to an infectious disease specialist. He informed them that small parasites had burrowed their way into Kyle’s feet through blisters caused by his new flip flops. What started out as a dream vacation ended in a challenging battle with unwanted “guests.”

    David knew that if he didn’t ask God for help to fight sin, his dream of living a pleasing life before Him would turn into a battle with the…