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    From Trash to Treasure

    The trash man’s house sits atop a steep street in a poor Bogota neighborhood. Not one thing about it looks special. Yet the unassuming abode in Colombia’s capital is home to a free library of 25,000 books—discarded literature that Jose Alberto Gutierrez collected to share with poor children in his community.

    Local kids crowd into the house during weekend “library hours.” Prowling through every room, each packed with books, the children recognize the humble home is more than Señor Jose’s house—it’s a priceless treasury.

    The same is true for every follower of Christ. We are made of humble clay—marred by cracks and…

    In Our Weakness

    Although Anne Sheafe Miller died in 1999 at the age of 90, she nearly passed away in 1942 after developing septicaemia following a miscarriage and all treatments proved to be unsuccessful. When a patient at the same hospital mentioned his connection to a scientist who’d been working on a new wonder drug. Anne’s doctor pressed the government to release a tiny amount for Anne. Within a day, her temperature was back to normal! Penicillin had saved Anne’s life.

    Since the fall, all human beings have experienced a devastating spiritual condition brought about by sin (Romans 5:12). Only the death and resurrection…

    Clear Communication

    While traveling in Asia, my iPad (containing my reading material and many work documents) suddenly died, a condition described as “the black screen of death.” Seeking help, I found a computer shop and encountered another problem—I don’t speak Chinese and the shop’s technician didn’t speak English. The solution? He pulled up a software program in which he typed in Chinese, but I could read it in English. The process reversed as I responded in English and he read in Chinese. The software allowed us to communicate clearly, even in different languages.

    Sometimes, I feel like I’m unable to communicate and express…

    Never Alone

    While writing a Bible guide for pastors in Indonesia, a writer friend grew fascinated with that nation’s culture of togetherness. Called gotong royong—meaning “mutual assistance”—the concept is practiced in villages, where neighbors may work together to repair someone’s roof or rebuild a bridge or path. In cities too my friend said, “People always go places with someone else—to a doctor’s appointment, for example. It’s the cultural norm. So you’re never alone.”

    Worldwide, believers in Jesus rejoice in knowing we also are never alone. Our constant and forever companion is the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. Far more than…

    Always a Child of God

    During a church service I attended with my parents, according to the usual practice we held hands while saying the Lord’s Prayer together. As I stood with one hand clasped to my mother’s and the other to my father’s, I was struck by the thought that I will always be their daughter. Although I’m firmly in my middle age, I can still be called “the child of Leo and Phyllis.” I reflected that not only am I their daughter but I will also always be a child of God.

    The apostle Paul wanted the people in the church at Rome to…

    The Supremacy of Jesus Christ

    The holiness movements of today have none of the rugged reality of the New Testament about them. There is nothing about them that needs the death of Jesus Christ. All that is required is a pious atmosphere, prayer, and devotion. This type of experience is not supernatural nor miraculous. It did not cost the sufferings of God, nor is it stained with “the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 12:11). It is not marked or sealed by the Holy Spirit as being genuine, and it has no visual sign that causes people to exclaim with awe and wonder, “That is the work of God Almighty!” Yet the New Testament is about the work of God and nothing else.

    The Riches of the Destitute

    The gospel of the grace of God awakens an intense longing in human souls and an equally intense resentment, because the truth that it reveals is not palatable or easy to swallow. There is a certain pride in people that causes them to give and give, but to come and accept a gift is another thing. I will give my life to martyrdom; I will dedicate my life to service— I will do anything. But do not humiliate me to the level of the most hell-deserving sinner and tell me that all I have to do is accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

    “When He Has Come”

    When He has come, He will convict the world of sin . . . —John 16:8

    Very few of us know anything about conviction of sin. We know the experience of being disturbed because we have done wrong things. But conviction …

    The Unrivaled Power of Prayer

    We do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. —Romans 8:26

    We realize that we are energized by the Holy Spirit for prayer; and we know what it is to pray in accordance with the Spirit; but we don’t often realize that the Holy Spirit Himself prays prayers in us which we cannot utter ourselves. When we are born again of…

    Nothing of the Old Life!

    If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. —2 Corinthians 5:17

    Our Lord never tolerates our prejudices— He is directly opposed to them and puts them to death. We tend to think that God has some special interest in our particular prejudices, and are very sure that He will never deal with us as He has to deal with others. We…

    The Witness of the Spirit

    The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit… —Romans 8:16

    We are in danger of getting into a bargaining spirit with God when we come to Him— we want the witness of the Spirit before we have done what God tells us to do.

    Why doesn’t God reveal Himself to you? He cannot. It is not that He will not, but…

    Much More Than Words

    At a dedication ceremony during which a Bible translated into a local African language was presented, the area chief was presented with his own copy. In appreciation, he lifted the Bible to the skies and exclaimed, “Now we know God understands our language! We can read the Bible in our own native mother-tongue.”

    No matter our language, our heavenly Father understands it. But often we feel unable to express our deepest longings to Him. The apostle Paul encourages us to pray regardless. Paul speaks of our suffering world and our own pain: “The whole creation has been groaning as in the…

    The “Go” of Preparation

    If you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift—Matthew 5:23-24 

    It is easy for us to imagine that we will suddenly come to a point in our lives where we are fully prepared, but preparation …

    Walking God’s Way

    “We’re going this way,” I said as I touched my son’s shoulder and redirected him through the crowd to follow his mom and sisters in front of us. I’d done this more often as the day wore on at the amusement park our family was visiting. He was getting tired, so it didn’t take much to distract him. Why can’t he just follow them? I wondered.

    Then it hit me: How often do I do exactly the same thing? How often do I veer from obediently walking with God, enchanted by the temptations to pursue what I want instead of seeking His ways?

    Think of…

    We Would See Jesus

    As I looked down at the pulpit where I was sharing prayers at a funeral, I glimpsed a brass plaque bearing words from John 12:21: “Sir, we would see Jesus” (kjv). Yes, I thought, how fitting to consider how we saw Jesus in the woman we were celebrating with tears and smiles. Although she faced challenges and disappointments in her life, she never gave up her faith in Christ. And because God’s Spirit lived in her, we could see Jesus.

    John’s gospel recounts how after Jesus rode into Jerusalem (see John 12:12–16), some Greeks approached Philip, one of the disciples, asking,…

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