• Topic > Christian Ministry & the Church

    Plight of the Crawdads

    When my cousin invited me to join him to fish for crawdads (crayfish), I couldn’t help but be excited. I grinned when he handed me a plastic pail. “No lid?”

     “You won’t need one,” he said, picking up the fishing rods and the small bag of chicken chunks we’d use for bait.

    Later, as I watched the small crustaceans climbing over one another in a futile attempt to escape the almost-full bucket, I realized why we wouldn’t need a lid. Whenever one crawdad reached the rim, the others would pull it back down.

    The plight of the crawdads reminds me how destructive it…

    The Highest Place

    My husband invited a friend to church. After the service his friend said, “I liked the songs and the atmosphere, but I don’t get it. Why do you give Jesus such a high place of honor?” My husband then explained to him that Christianity is a relationship with Jesus. Without Him, Christianity would be meaningless. It is because of what Jesus has done in our lives that we meet together and praise Him.

    Who is Jesus and what has He done? The apostle Paul answered this question in Colossians 1. No one has seen God, but Jesus came to reflect and…

    In Abundance or Affliction

    Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts encourages readers to search their lives daily for what the Lord has done for them. In it, she daily notes God’s abundant generosity to her in gifts both large and small, ranging from the simple beauty of iridescent bubbles in the dish sink to the incomparable salvation of sinners like herself (and the rest of us!). Ann contends that gratitude is the key to seeing God in even the most troubling of life’s moments.

    Job is famous for a life of such “troubling” moments. Indeed, his losses were deep and many. Just moments after losing all…

    The Right Kind of Help

    And I, if I am lifted up . . . will draw all peoples to Myself —John 12:32

    Very few of us have any understanding of the reason why Jesus Christ died. If sympathy is all that human beings need, then the Cross …

    The Focus Of Our Message

    I did not come to bring peace but a sword —Matthew 10:34

    Never be sympathetic with a person whose situation causes you to conclude that God is dealing harshly with him. God can be more tender than …

    Mosaic of Beauty

    Sitting in the courtyard of the Church of the Visitation in Ein Karem, Israel, I was overwhelmed with the beautiful display of 67 mosaics containing the words of Luke 1:46–55 in as many languages. Traditionally known as the Magnificat from the Latin “to magnify,” these verses are Mary’s joyous response to the announcement that she will be the mother of the Messiah.

    Each plaque contains Mary’s words, including: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my savior. . . . For the Mighty One has done great things for me” (vv. 46–49). The biblical hymn etched in the…

    Heaven’s Love Song

    In 1936, songwriter Billy Hill released a popular hit song titled “The Glory of Love.” Before long a nation was singing about the joy of doing even little things out of love for one another.  Fifty years later, lyricist Peter Cetera wrote a more romantic song with a similar title. He imagined two people living forever, knowing together, they did it all— for the glory of love.

    Revelation, the last book in the Bible, describes a new love song that will someday lift the voices of everyone in heaven and earth (Revelation 5:9,13). The music begins, however, in a minor key…

    “Not by Might nor by Power”

    My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power . . . —1 Corinthians 2:4

    If in preaching the gospel you substitute your knowledge of the way of salvation for confidence in the power of the gospel, you hinder people …

    Thanks for Being You!

    When I served as my mom’s live-in caregiver at a cancer center, I got to know Lori, another caregiver who lived down the hallway from us with her husband, Frank. I would chat, laugh, vent, cry, and pray with Lori in the shared living areas. We enjoyed supporting each other as we cared for our loved ones.

    One day, I missed the free shuttle that took residents to buy groceries. Lori offered to drive me to the store later that evening. With grateful tears, I accepted her offer. “Thanks for being you,” I said. I truly appreciated her for who she…

    The Consecration of Spiritual Power

    . . . by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world —Galatians 6:14

    If I dwell on the Cross of Christ, I do not simply become inwardly devout and solely interested in my own holiness— I become strongly …

    The Focal Point of Spiritual Power

    If you want to know the power of God (that is, the resurrection life of Jesus) in your human flesh, you must dwell on the tragedy of God. Break away from your personal concern over your own spiritual condition, and with a completely open spirit consider the tragedy of God. Instantly the power of God will be in you. “Look to Me. . .” (Isaiah 45:22). Pay attention to the external Source and the internal power will be there. We lose power because we don’t focus on the right thing. The effect of the Cross is salvation, sanctification, healing, etc., but we are not to preach any of these. We are to preach “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). The proclaiming of Jesus will do its own work.

    The Secret of Spiritual Consistency

    God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . —Galatians 6:14

    When a person is newly born again, he seems inconsistent due to his unrelated emotions and the state of the external things or circumstances in …

    Direction of Focus

    Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters . . . , so our eyes look to the Lord our God . . . —Psalm 123:2

    This verse is a description of total reliance on God. Just as the eyes of a servant are riveted on his master, our eyes should …

    Winning into Freedom

    If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed —John 8:36

    If there is even a trace of individual self-satisfaction left in us, it always says, “I can’t surrender,” or “I can’t be free.” But the …

    The Eternal Goal

    By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing . . . I will bless you . . . —Genesis 22:16-17

    Abraham, at this point, has reached where he is in touch with the very nature of God. He now understands the reality of God.

    My goal…

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