• Topic > Spiritual Growth > Spiritual Transformation >

    The Approval of One

    When the legendary composer Guiseppi Verdi (1813–1901) was young, a hunger for approval drove him toward success. Warren Wiersbe wrote of him, “When Verdi produced his first opera in Florence, the composer stood by himself in the shadows and kept his eye on the face of one man in the audience—the great Rossini. It mattered not to Verdi whether the people in the hall were cheering him or jeering him; all he wanted was a smile of approval from the master musician.”

    Whose approval do we seek? A parent? A boss? A love interest? For Paul, there was but one answer.…

    Better Than Ever

    The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is a spectacular building. Its architecture is spellbinding, and its stained-glass windows and splendid interior features are breathtaking. But after centuries of standing sentry over the Paris landscape, it is falling apart. Time and pollution have taken their toll, and it is time for this glorious structure to be repaired.

    So the people who love this eight-century-old landmark are coming to its rescue. In a recent year, the French government set aside more than six million dollars to help restore the church. Its supporting flying buttresses must be shored up. Many of its exterior stonework…

    Life Changes

    Stephen grew up in a rough part of East London and fell into crime by the age of ten. He said, “If everyone’s selling drugs and doing robberies and fraud, then you’re going to get involved. It’s just a way of life.” But when he was twenty, he had a dream that changed him: “I heard God saying, Stephen, you’re going to prison for murder.” This vivid dream served as a warning, and he turned to God and received Jesus as his Savior—and the Holy Spirit transformed his life.

    Stephen set up an organization that teaches inner-city kids discipline, morality, and…

    Who We Are

    I’ll never forget the time I took my future wife to meet my family. With a twinkle in their eyes, my two elder siblings asked her, “What exactly do you see in this guy?” She smiled and assured them that by God’s grace I had grown to be the man she loved.

    I loved that clever reply because it also reflects how, in Christ, the Lord sees more than our past. In Acts 9, He directed Ananias to heal Saul, a known persecutor of the church whom God had blinded. Ananias was incredulous at receiving this mission, stating that Saul had…

    Ready for Restoration

    While stationed in Germany in the army I purchased a brand-new 1969 Volkswagen Bug. The car was a beauty! The dark green exterior complemented the brown leatherette interior. But as the years took their toll, stuff began to happen, including an accident that ruined the running board and destroyed one of the doors. With more imagination, I could have thought, “My classic car was a perfect candidate for restoration!” And with more money, I could have pulled it off. But that didn’t happen.

    Thankfully the God of perfect vision and unlimited resources doesn’t give up so easily on battered and broken…

    Objects in Mirror

    “Must. Go. Faster.” That’s what Dr. Ian Malcolm, played by Jeff Goldblum, says in an iconic scene from the 1993 movie Jurassic Park as he and two other characters flee in a Jeep from a rampaging tyrannosaurus. When the driver looks in the rearview mirror, he sees the raging reptile’s jaw—right above the words: “OBJECTS IN MIRROR MAY BE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR.”

    The scene is a masterful combination of intensity and grim humor. But sometimes the “monsters” from our own past feel like they’ll never stop pursuing us. We look in the “mirror” of our lives and see our mistakes…

    A Kind Critique

    During a landscape painting class I took, the teacher, a highly experienced professional artist, assessed my first assignment. He stood silently in front of my painting, one hand cupping his chin. Here we go, I thought. He’s going to say it’s terrible.

    But he didn’t.

    He said he liked the color scheme and the feeling of openness. Then he mentioned that the trees in the distance could be lightened. A cluster of weeds needed softer edges. He had the authority to criticize my work based on the rules of perspective and color, yet his critique was truthful and kind.

    Jesus, who was perfectly qualified…

    Someone Who Leads

    Who do you think of when you hear the word mentor? For me, it is Pastor Rich. He saw potential in me and believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. He challenged me to expect great things from God as I obey Him. He modeled for me how to lead by serving in humility and love. As a result of his mentoring, I am now serving God by mentoring others.

    The prophet Elijah played a critical role in Elisha’s growth as a leader. Elijah found him plowing a field and invited him to be his protégé after God had…

    Of Saints and Sinners

    Before she followed in the footsteps of John the Baptist by living in the desert, Mary of Egypt (c. ad 344—c. ad 421) spent her youth pursuing illicit pleasures and seducing men. At the height of her sordid career, she journeyed to Jerusalem in an attempt to corrupt pilgrims. Instead, she experienced deep conviction of her sins and thereafter lived a life of repentance and solitude in the wilderness. Mary’s radical transformation illustrates the magnitude of God’s grace and the redemptive power of the cross.

    The disciple Peter denied Jesus three times. Only hours before the denials, Peter had declared his…

    Change Is Possible

    One Saturday afternoon, some teenagers from my church’s youth group gathered in a cafeteria to ask one another some hard questions based on Philippians 2:3–4: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Some of the difficult queries included: How often do you take an interest in others? Would someone describe you as humble or proud? Why?

    As I listened, I was encouraged by their honest answers. The group agreed that it’s easy to acknowledge our shortcomings, but it’s hard…

    God Promises To Stay By Our Side If We Submit Our Ways To Him

    God never said that life would be easy. But He does promise to stay by our side every step of the way. Today on Discover the Word, the team, and author Liz Curtis Higgs discuss what Proverbs 3:6 means when it says “In all your ways, submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” […]

    Do Not Boast About Tomorrow, Rather Invite God Into Your Daily Plans

    No one knows for sure what tomorrow will bring. But at times, we sure act as if we do! Today on Discover the Word, the team, and author Liz Curtis Higgs consider Proverbs 27:1: “Do not boast about tomorrow.” We’re learning to invite God into our plans and ambitions as we study the Proverbs together, today on Discover […]

    Is It Possible To Have All That Knowledge And Still Lack Wisdom?

    In today’s world, we have practically unlimited access to information. The answer to any question is just a Google search away. But is it possible to have all that knowledge and still lack wisdom? Today on Discover the Word, the team, and author Liz Curtis Higgs discuss the value of applying God’s wisdom to our lives. […]

    Using Your Words For Good

    Words are some of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal. We can use them either to build people up or tear them down. Today on Discover the Word, our team, and author Liz Curtis Higgs consider Proverbs 16:24, in which Solomon implores us to speak graciously, and use our words to build. […]

    Fluff and Other Stuff

    Winnie the Pooh famously said, “If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.”

    I’ve learned over the years that Winnie might be on to something. When someone won’t listen to you even though following your counsel would be to their advantage, it may be that their reticence is nothing more than a small piece of fluff in their ear. Or there may be another hindrance: Some folks find it hard to listen well because they are broken and discouraged.

    Moses said…

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