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    The Savior Who Knows Us

    “Dad, what time is it?” my son asked from the back seat. “It’s 5:30.” I knew exactly what he’d say next. “No, it’s 5:28!” I watched his face light up. Gotcha! his beaming smile said. I felt delight, too—the kind that comes from knowing your child the way only a parent can.

    Like any attentive parent, I know my children I know how they’ll respond when I wake them up. I know what they’ll want in their lunches. I know countless interests, desires, and preferences.

    But for all that, I’ll never know them perfectly, inside and out, the way our Lord knows…

    Knocking Down Pins

    I was immediately intrigued when I noticed a tattoo of a bowling ball knocking down pins on my friend Erin’s ankle. Erin was inspired to get this unique tattoo after listening to Sara Groves’s song, “Setting Up the Pins.” The clever lyrics encourage listeners to find joy in the repetitive, routine tasks that sometimes feel as pointless as manually setting up bowling pins over and over again, only to have someone knock them down.

    Laundry. Cooking. Mowing the lawn. Life seems full of tasks that, once completed, just have to been done again—and again. This isn’t a new struggle but an…

    Finding Treasure

    John and Mary were walking their dog on their property when they stumbled on a rusty can partially unearthed by recent rains. They took the can home and opened it, discovering a cache of gold coins over a century old! The couple returned to the spot and located seven more cans containing 1,427 coins in all. Then they protected their treasure by reburying it elsewhere.

    The cache of coins (valued at $10 million) is called the Saddle Ridge Hoard, the largest find of its kind in US history. The story is strikingly reminiscent of a parable Jesus told: “The kingdom of…

    Night Watches

    During my college days, my summers were spent working at a guest ranch in the stunningly beautiful mountains of Colorado. On a rotating basis, staff members were assigned “night watch” duty—to keep an eye out for forest fires in order to protect the guests as they slept. What initially seemed to be an exhausting and thankless task became a unique opportunity for me to be still, reflect, and find solace in the majesty of God’s presence.

    King David earnestly sought and thirsted for the presence of God (Psalm 63:1), even from his bed and through the “watches of the night” (v.…

    Fearless Love

    For years I wore a shield of fear to protect my heart. Eventually, my fear became an excuse to avoid trying new things, following my dreams, and obeying God. But more importantly, fear of loss, heartache, and rejection hindered me from developing loving relationships with God and others. Fear made me an insecure, anxious, and jealous wife, and an overprotective, worrying mother. As I continue learning how much God loves me, however, He’s changing the way I relate to Him and to others. Because I know my loving God will care for me, I feel more secure, more willing to…

    God’s Amazing Hands

    Twenty minutes into a flight from New York to San Antonio, the flight plan changed as calm gave way to chaos. When one of the plane’s engines failed, debris from the engine smashed through a window causing the cabin to decompress. Sadly, several passengers were injured and one person was killed. Had not a calm, capable pilot been in the cockpit—one trained as a Navy fighter pilot—things could have been tragically worse. The headline in our local paper read, “In Amazing Hands.”

    In Psalm 31, David revealed that he knew something about the Lord’s amazing, caring hands. That’s why he could…

    Bear Hug

    “Bear” was a gift for my grandchild—a heaping helping of love contained in a giant stuffed animal frame. Baby D’s response? First, wonder. Next, an amazed awe. Then, a curiosity that nudged a daring exploration. He poked his pudgy finger at Bear’s nose, and when the Bear tumbled forward into his arms he responded with joy joy JOY! Baby D laid his toddler head down on Bear’s fluffy chest and hugged him tightly. A dimpled smile spread across his cheeks as he burrowed deeply into Bear’s cushiony softness. The child had no idea of Bear’s inability to truly love him. Innocently…

    Love Won’t Stop

    After I turned nineteen, and years before I owned a pager or a cell phone, I moved more than 700 miles away from my mom. One morning, I left early to run errands, forgetting our scheduled call. Later that night, two policemen came to my door. Mom had been worried because I’d never missed one of our chats. After calling repeatedly and getting a busy signal, she reached out to the authorities and insisted they check on me. One of the police officers turned to me and said, “It’s a blessing to know love won’t stop looking for you.”

    When I…

    Come and Get It!

    I peeked over the grape-stake fence that encloses our backyard. There, I saw folks running, jogging, walking, shuffling around the track that surrounds the park behind our home. I used to do that when I was stronger, I thought. And a wave of dissatisfaction washed over me.

    Later, while reading the Scriptures, I came across Isaiah 55:1, “Come, all you who are thirsty,” and I realized again that dissatisfaction (thirst) is the rule, not the exception in this life. Nothing, not even the good things of life can fully satisfy. If I had strong legs like a Sherpa (mountain-climbing guide), there would…

    More Than Just Waiting

    Police charged a woman with reckless driving after she drove her car on and off of a sidewalk. She steered off the street and onto the sidewalk because she didn’t want to wait for a school bus dropping off students!

    While it’s true that waiting can make us impatient, there are also good things to do and learn in the waiting. Jesus knew this when He told His disciples to “not leave Jerusalem” (Acts 1:4)? They were waiting to “be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (v. 5).

    As they gathered, likely in a state of excitement and anticipation, the disciples seemed to…

    What God Sees

    Early in the morning, I pad noiselessly past a family-room window overlooking a wilderness area behind our house. Often, I notice a hawk or owl perched in a tree, keeping watch over the area. One morning I was surprised to find a bald eagle boldly balanced on a high branch, surveying the terrain as if the entire expanse belonged to him. Likely he was watching for “breakfast.” His all-inclusive gaze seemed regal.

    In 2 Chronicles 16, Hanani the seer (God’s prophet) informed a king that his actions were under a Royal gaze. He told Asa, king of Judah, “You relied on…

    Not Like Yesterday

    When our grandson Jay was a child his parents gave him a new T-shirt for his birthday. He put it on right away and proudly wore it all day.

    When he appeared the next morning in the shirt, his dad asked him, “Jay, does that shirt make you happy?”

    “Not as much as yesterday,” Jay replied.

    That’s the problem with material acquisition: Even the good things of life cannot give us the deep, lasting happiness we so ardently desire. Though we may have many possessions, we may still be unhappy.

     

    The world offers happiness through material accumulation: new clothes, a new automobile, an update…

    In the Moment

    The ambulance door was about to close—with me on the inside. Outside, my son was on the phone to my wife. From my concussed fog, I called his name. As he recalls the moment, I slowly said, “Tell your mom I love her very much.”

    Apparently I thought this might be goodbye, and I wanted those to be my parting words. In the moment, that’s what mattered most to me.

    As Jesus endured His darkest moment, He didn’t merely tell us He loved us; He showed it in specific ways. He showed it to the mocking soldiers who had just nailed Him…

    Flourishing Like a Flower

    My youngest grandson is only two months old, yet every time I see him I notice little changes. A few weeks ago as I cooed to him, he looked up at me and smiled! And suddenly I began crying. Perhaps it was joy mixed with remembering my own children’s first smiles, which I witnessed so long ago, and yet it feels like just yesterday. Some moments are like that—inexplicable.  

    In Psalm 103, David penned a poetic song that praised God while also reflecting on how quickly the joyful moments of our lives pass by: “The life of mortals is like…

    The Marks of Friendship

    As a little boy growing up in Ghana, I enjoyed holding my father’s hand and walking with him along crowded places. He was both my father and my friend, for holding hands in my culture is a mark of true friendship. Walking along, we would chitchat about a variety of subjects. Whenever I felt lonely, I found consolation with my father. How I valued our companionship!

    The Lord Jesus called His followers friends, and He showed them the marks of His friendship. “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you,” He said (John 15:9), even laying down His…

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