• Topic > Christian Living

    Safe Hands

    Like the unraveling of a rope, the threads in Doug’s life were breaking one by one. “My mother had lost her prolonged battle with cancer; a long-term romantic relationship was failing; my finances were depleted; my vocation was foggy. . . . The emotional and spiritual darkness around me and within me was deep and debilitating and seemingly impenetrable,” writes pastor and sculptor Doug Merkey. These collective events, combined with living in a cramped attic, became the setting from which his sculpture The Hiding Place emerged. It depicts Christ’s strong, nailed-scarred hands openly cupped together as a place of safety.

    Doug…

    Unshakable Faith

    Kevin walked into the nursing facility after his dad passed away to pick up his belongings. The staff handed him two small boxes. He said he realized that day that it really didn’t take an abundance of possessions to be happy. 

    His dad, Larry, had been carefree and always ready with a smile and an encouraging word for others. The reason for his happiness was another “possession” that didn’t fit into a box: an unshakable faith in his Redeemer, Jesus. 

    Jesus urges us to “store up . . . treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20). He didn’t say we couldn’t own a home…

    Managing Our Gifts

    In 2013, British actor David Suchet was filming the final TV episodes as Agatha Christie’s beloved Belgium detective Hercule Poirot—and also starring in a stage play—when he took on “the biggest role in my life.” Between those projects he recorded an audio version of the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation—752,702 words over two hundred hours.

    Suchet, who converted to Christianity after reading the book of Romans in a hotel Bible, called the project the fulfillment of “a 27-year-long ambition. I felt totally driven. I did so much research on every part of it that I couldn’t wait to get going.”…

    A Friendly Conversation

    Catherine and I were good friends in high school. When we weren’t talking on the phone, we were passing notes in class to plan our next sleepover. Sometimes we rode horses together and partnered on school projects.

    One Sunday afternoon, I started to think about Catherine. My pastor had spoken that morning about how to have eternal life, and I knew my friend didn’t believe the Bible’s teachings the way I did. I felt pressed to call her and explain how she could have a relationship with Jesus. I hesitated, though, because I was afraid she would reject what I said…

    Getting What We Want

    Aaron Burr anxiously awaited the result of the tie-breaking vote from the US House of Representatives. Deadlocked with Thomas Jefferson in the 1800 race for the presidency, Burr had reason to believe that the House would declare him the winner. However, he lost, and bitterness gnawed at his soul. Nurturing grievances against Alexander Hamilton for not supporting his candidacy, Burr killed Hamilton in a gun duel less than four years later. Outraged by the killing, his country turned its back on him, and Burr died a dour old man.

    Political power plays are a tragic part of history. When King David…

    Sweet Sleep

    When my friend Floss lies awake at night, she thinks about the lyrics of the hymn “My Jesus I Love Thee.” She calls it her “middle-of-the-night” song because it helps her to remember God’s promises and the many reasons that she loves Him.

    Sleep is a necessary—but sometimes elusive—part of life. At times we may sense the voice of the Holy Spirit bringing unconfessed sin to our mind. Or we begin worrying about our job, our relationships, our finances, our health, or our children. Soon a full-scale dystopian future starts running on a loop in our brain. We assume we nodded…

    The Wonder of Creation

    While Tim was hiking on Root Glacier in Alaska, he came across something he’d not seen before. Though Tim studies glaciers professionally, the vast number of small balls of moss were completely unfamiliar to him. After tracking the bright green balls for a number of years, Tim and his colleagues discovered that unlike moss on trees the “glacier mice” are unattached and—even more surprisingly—move in unison, like a herd or flock. At first Tim and his colleagues suspected they were blown by the wind or rolling downhill, but their research ruled out those guesses.

    They haven’t yet discovered exactly how the…

    Love Wherever We Go

    I sat on the pier during a vacation, reading my Bible and watching my husband fish. A young man approached us, suggesting we use different bait. He glanced at me as he fidgeted from one foot to another and said, “I’ve been in jail,” He pointed to my Bible and sighed. “Do you think God really cares about people like me?”

    Opening to Matthew 25, I read aloud that Jesus talked about His followers visiting those in prison.

    “It says that? About being in prison?” Tears brimmed his eyes when I shared how God considers kindness toward His children a personal act…

    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…

    A Ludicrous Investment

    In 1929, as the US economy crashed, millions of people lost everything. But not Floyd Odlum. As everyone else panicked and sold their stocks at cut-rate prices, Odlum appeared to foolishly jump in and purchase stocks just as the nation’s future disintegrated. But Odlum’s “foolish” perspective paid off, yielding robust investments that endured for decades.

    God told Jeremiah to make what seemed like an absolutely ludicrous investment: “buy [the] field at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin” (Jeremiah 32:8). This was no time to be buying fields, however. The entire country was on the verge of being ransacked. “The army of…

    Hearing Us from Heaven

    At eighteen months old, little Maison had never heard his mother’s voice. Then doctors fitted him with his first hearing aids and his mom Lauryn asked Maison, “Can you hear me?” The child’s eyes lit up. “Hi Baby!” his mom added. A smiling Maison softly replied, “Hi!” In tears, the mother knew she’d witnessed a miracle. She’d given birth to Maison prematurely after gunmen shot her three times during a random home invasion. Weighing just one pound, Maison spent 158 days in intensive care and wasn’t expected to survive, let alone be able to hear.

    That heart-warming story reminds me of…

    Genuine Hope

    In the early 1960s, the US was filled with anticipation of a bright future. Youthful President John F. Kennedy had introduced the New Frontier, the Peace Corps, and the task of reaching the moon. A thriving economy caused many people to expect the future to simply “let the good times roll.” Then the war in Vietnam escalated, unrest on a national level unfolded, Kennedy’s assassination took place, and a dismantling of the accepted norms of that previously optimistic society ensued. Optimism simply wasn’t enough, and in its wake, disillusionment prevailed.  

    Then, in 1967, theologian Jürgen Moltmann’s A Theology of Hope pointed…

    Back to the Basics

    Resolutions, it seems, are made to be broken. Some folks poke fun at this reality by proposing New Year’s vows that are—shall we say—attainable. Here are a few from social media:

    Wave to fellow motorists at stoplights.

    Sign up for a marathon. Don’t run it.

    Stop procrastinating—tomorrow.

    Get lost without any help from Siri.

    Unfriend everyone who posts their workout regimen.

    The concept of a fresh start can be serious business, however. The exiled people of Judah desperately needed one. Just over two decades into their seventy-year captivity, God brought encouragement to them through the prophet Ezekiel, promising, “I will now restore the fortunes of Jacob”…

    When You Can’t Go On

    In 2006, my dad was diagnosed with a neurological disease that robbed him of his memory, speech, and control over body movements. He became bedridden in 2011 and continues to be cared for by my mom at home. The beginning of his illness was a dark time. I was fearful: I knew nothing about caring for a sick person, and I was anxious about finances and my mom’s health.

     The words of Lamentations 3:22 helped me get up many mornings when the light was as gray as the state of my heart: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not…

    Set Apart

    The three-wheeled taxis of Sri Lanka, known as “tuk tuks,” are a convenient and delightful mode of transport for many. Lorraine, a resident of the capital of Colombo, also realized that they’re a mission field: hopping onto a tuk tuk one day, she found the friendly driver more than happy to engage in conversation about religion. The next time, she told herself, she would talk to the driver about the good news.

    The book of Romans starts with Paul declaring himself as “set apart for the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1). The Greek word for “gospel” is evangelion, which means “good news.” Paul…