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    Where’s God?

    In Martin Handford’s book Where’s Waldo? a series of children’s puzzle books first created in 1987, the elusive character wears a red and white striped shirt and socks with a matching hat, blue jeans, brown boots, and glasses. Handford has cleverly hidden Waldo in plain sight within the busy illustrations filled with crowds of characters at various locations around the world. Waldo isn’t always easy to see, but the creator promises readers will always be able to find him. Though looking for God isn’t really like looking for Waldo in a puzzle book, our Creator promises we can find Him, too.

    Through…

    Tackling Indecision

    We live in a world that offers a wide range of choices—from paper towels to life insurance. In 2004, Psychologist Barry Schwartz wrote a book titled The Paradox of Choice in which he argued that while freedom of choice is important to our well-being, too many choices can lead to overload and indecision. While the stakes are certainly lower when deciding on which paper towel to buy, indecision can become debilitating when making major decisions that impact the course of our lives. So how can we overcome indecision and move forward confidently in living for Jesus?

    As believers in Christ, seeking…

    Practice What You Preach

    I started reading the Bible to my sons when my youngest, Xavier, entered kindergarten. I would look for teachable moments and share verses that would apply to our circumstances and encourage them to pray with me. Xavier memorized Scripture without even trying. If we were in a predicament in which we needed wisdom, he’d blurt out verses that shone a light on God’s truth.

    One day, I got angry and spoke harshly within his earshot. My son hugged me and said, “Practice what you preach, Mama.”

    Xavier’s gentle reminder echoes the wise counsel of the apostle James as he addresses Jewish believers…

    Studying the Scriptures

    J. I. Packer (1926–2020), in his classic work Knowing God, spoke of four well-known believers in Christ whom he called “beavers for the Bible.” Not all were trained scholars, but each one exercised great care to know God by gnawing into the Scripture, like a beaver digs in and gnaws away at a tree. Packer further noted that knowing God through Bible study is not just for scholars. “A simple Bible reader and sermon hearer who is full of the Holy Spirit will develop a far deeper acquaintance with his God and Savior than a more learned scholar who is content…

    The Big Story of the Bible

    When Colin opened the box of stained-glass pieces he’d purchased, instead of finding the fragments he’d ordered for a project, he discovered intact, whole windows. He sleuthed out the windows’ origins and learned they’d been removed from a church to protect them from World War II bombings. Colin marveled at the quality of work and how the “fragments” formed a beautiful picture.

    If I’m honest, there are times when I open particular passages of the Bible—such as chapters containing lists of genealogies—and I don’t immediately see how they fit within the bigger picture of Scripture. Such is the case with Genesis…

    Lies with Truth

    I set my Bible on the podium and stared at the eager faces waiting for me to begin the message. I’d prayed and prepared. Why couldn’t I speak?

    You’re worthless. No one will ever listen to you, especially if they know your past. And God would never use you. Seared into my heart and mind, the words spoken in various ways over my life ignited a decade-long war against the lies I so easily believed. Though I knew the words weren’t true, I couldn’t seem to escape my insecurities and fears. So, I opened my Bible.

    Turning to Proverbs 30:5, I inhaled and…

    The Jesus Chair

    When my friend Marge met Tami at a Bible study meeting, she noticed that they seemed to have little in common. But Marge befriended her, and she learned a valuable lesson from her new friend.

    Tami had never been to a Bible study, and she was having a hard time understanding something the other women in the study talked about: that God communicated with them—something she’d never experienced.

    She so desired to hear from God that she took action. Later, she told Marge. “I set aside an old wooden chair, and every time I study my Bible, I ask Jesus to come…

    The Ticking Watch

    A group of workers were cutting ice out of a frozen lake and storing it in an icehouse when one of them realized he’d lost his watch in the windowless building. He and his friends searched for it in vain. 

    After they gave up, a young boy who’d seen them exit went into the building. Soon, he emerged with the watch. Asked how he’d found it, he replied: “I just sat down and kept quiet, and soon I could hear it ticking.” 

    The Bible talks much about the value of being still. And no wonder, for God sometimes speaks in a whisper…

    Eyes to See

    I recently discovered the wonder of anamorphic art. Appearing at first as an assortment of random parts, an anamorphic sculpture only makes sense when viewed from the correct angle. In one piece, a series of vertical poles align to reveal a famous leader’s face. In another, a mass of cable becomes the outline of an elephant. Another artwork, made of hundreds of black dots suspended by wire, becomes a woman’s eye when seen correctly. The key to anamorphic art is viewing it from different angles until its meaning is revealed.

    With thousands of verses of history, poetry, and more, the Bible…

    Printed on Our Hearts

    When Johannes Gutenberg combined the printing press with moveable type in 1450, he ushered in the era of mass communications in the West, spreading learning into new social realms. Literacy increased across the globe and new ideas produced rapid transformations in social and religious contexts. Gutenberg produced the first-ever printed version of the Bible. Prior to this, Bibles were painstakingly hand-copied, taking scribes up to a year to produce.

     

    For centuries since, the printing press has provided people like you and me the privilege of direct access to Scripture. While we also have electronic versions available to us, many of us…

    On Our Hearts

    After a young boy faced some challenges in school, his dad began to teach him a pledge to recite each morning before school: “I thank God for waking me up today. I am going to school so I can learn . . . and be the leader that God has created me to be.” The pledge is one way the father hopes to help his son apply himself and deal with life’s inevitable challenges.

    In a way, by helping his son to commit this pledge to memory, the father is doing something similar to what God commanded the Israelites in the…

    Good for You

    People the world over spent an estimated $98.2 billion on chocolate in 2016. The number is staggering, yet at the same time not all that surprising. Chocolate, after all, tastes delicious and we enjoy consuming it. And the world rejoiced collectively when the sweet treat was found to have significant health benefits too. Chocolate contains flavonoids that help safeguard the body against aging and heart disease. Never has a prescription for health been so well received or heeded (in moderation, of course!).

    Solomon suggested there’s another “sweet” worthy of our investment: wisdom. He recommended his son eat honey “for it is…

    Mirrors and Hearers

    When I emerged from my hotel in Kampala, Uganda, my hostess, who had come to pick me up for our seminar, looked at me with an amused grin. “What’s so funny?” I inquired. She laughed and asked, “Did you comb your hair?” It was my turn to laugh, for I had indeed forgotten to comb my hair. I had looked at my reflection in the hotel mirror. How come I took no notice of what I saw?

    In a practical analogy, James gives us a useful dimension to make our study of God’s Word more beneficial. We look in the mirror…

    "Approved to God"

    If you cannot express yourself well on each of your beliefs, work and study until you can. If you don’t, other people may miss out on the blessings that come from knowing the truth. Strive to re-express a truth of God to yourself clearly and understandably, and God will use that same explanation when you share it with someone else. But you must be willing to go through God’s winepress where the grapes are crushed. You must struggle, experiment, and rehearse your words to express God’s truth clearly. Then the time will come when that very expression will become God’s wine of strength to someone else. But if you are not diligent and say,

    Good for You?

    Because I like dark chocolate, I sometimes Google “Is dark chocolate good for you?” I get a variety of results—some good, some bad. You can do the same for almost any food product. Is milk good for you? Is coffee good for you? Is rice good for you? There is a dizzying array of answers to these questions, so you have to be aware that the search itself may not be good for you. It may give you a headache.

    But if you are looking for something that is one-hundred-percent good for you all the time, can I recommend the Word…