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    Dependent on God’s Presence

    Those who wait on the Lord…shall walk and not faint. —Isaiah 40:31

    There is no thrill for us in walking, yet it is the test for all of our steady and enduring qualities. To “walk and not faint” is the highest stretch possible as a measure of strength. The word walk is used in the Bible to express the character of a person—…

    The Submission of the Believer

    Our Lord never insists on having authority over us. He never says, “You will submit to me.” No, He leaves us perfectly free to choose— so free, in fact, that we can spit in His face or we can put Him to death, as others have done; and yet He will never say a word. But once His life has been created in me through His redemption, I instantly recognize His right to absolute authority over me. It is a complete and effective domination, in which I acknowledge that “You are worthy, O Lord . . .” (Revelation 4:11).

    Through the Cross

    My coworker Tom keeps an 8” by 12” glass cross on his desk. His friend Phil, who like Tom is a cancer survivor, gave it to him to help him look at everything “through the cross.”  The glass cross is a constant reminder of God’s love and good purposes for him.

    That’s a challenging idea for all believers in Jesus, especially during difficult times. It’s much easier to focus on our problems than on God’s love.

    The apostle Paul’s life was certainly an example of a cross-shaped perspective. He described himself in times of suffering as being “persecuted, but not abandoned; struck…

    What’s Your Passion?

    One of the tellers at my bank has a photograph of a Shelby Cobra roadster on his window. (The Cobra is a high–performance automobile built by the Ford Motor Company.)

    One day, while transacting business at the bank, I asked him if that was his car. “No,” he replied, “that’s my passion, my reason to get up every morning and go to work. I’m going to own one someday.”

    I understand this young man’s passion. A friend of mine owned a Cobra, and I drove it on one occasion! It’s a mean machine! But a Cobra, like everything else in this world, isn’t…

    The Concept of Divine Control

    Jesus is laying down the rules of conduct in this passage for those people who have His Spirit. He urges us to keep our minds filled with the concept of God’s control over everything, which means that a disciple must maintain an attitude of perfect trust and an eagerness to ask and to seek.

    No Co-Signer Required

    When a person without a long history of paying his or her bills on time wants to obtain a loan to purchase a home or car, lenders are often reluctant to take the financial risk. Without a track record, that person’s promise to repay what he borrows is insufficient for the bank. The would-be borrower usually resorts to finding someone who does have a history of making good on their debts, asking them to put their name on the loan too. The co-signer’s promise assures the lender the loan will be repaid.

    When someone makes a promise to us—whether for financial,…

    The Best Gift

    When I was packing up to go home to London, my mother approached me with a gift—one of her rings I had long admired. Surprised, I asked, “What’s this for?” She replied, “I think you should enjoy it now. Why wait until I die? It doesn’t fit me anyway.” With a smile I received her unexpected gift, an early inheritance that brings me joy.

    My mom gave me a material gift, but Jesus promises that His Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask (Luke 11:13). When parents who are marred with sin can provide the necessities of life—fish…

    He Knows Us

    Did God know about me as I drove at night on a 100-mile journey to my village? Given the condition I was in, the answer was not simple. My temperature ran high and my head ached. I prayed, “Lord, I know you are with me, but I’m in pain!”

    Tired and weak, I parked by the road near a small village. Ten minutes later, I heard a voice. “Hello! Do you need any help?” It was a man with his companions from the community. Their presence felt good. When they told me the name of their village: Naa mi n’yala (meaning, “The…

    God of the Depths

    “When you go to the deep sea, every time you take a sample, you’ll find a new species,” says marine biologist Ward Appeltans. In one recent year, scientists identified 1,451 new types of undersea life. We simply don’t know the half of what’s down there.

    In Job 38, God reviewed His creation for Job’s benefit. In three poetic chapters, God highlighted the wonders of weather, the vastness of the cosmos, and the variety of creatures in their habitats. These are things we can observe. Then God spoke of the mysterious Leviathan—for an entire chapter. Leviathan is a creature like no other,…

    Be Still, My Soul!

    Picture a parent poised lovingly over a child, finger gently placed in front of nose and lips softly speaking the words—“hush,” “shhhh.” The demeanor and simple words are meant to comfort and quiet anxious little ones in the midst of disappointment, discomfort, or pain. Scenes like this are universal and timeless and most of us have been on the giving or receiving end of such loving expressions. When I ponder Psalm 131:2, this is the picture that comes to mind.

    The language and flow of this psalm suggest that the writer, David, had experienced something that provoked serious reflection. Have you…

    Declaring Dependence

    Laura’s mom was battling cancer. One morning Laura prayed for her with a friend. Her friend, who had been disabled for years by cerebral palsy, prayed: “Lord, you do everything for me. Please do everything for Laura’s mother.”

    Laura was deeply moved by her friend’s “declaration of dependence” on God. Reflecting on the moment, she said: “How often do I acknowledge my need for God in everything? It’s something I should do every day!”

    During His days on earth Jesus demonstrated continual dependence on His heavenly Father. One might think that because Jesus is God in a human body, He would have…

    The Concentration of Personal Sin

    When I come into the very presence of God, I do not realize that I am a sinner in an indefinite sense, but I suddenly realize and the focus of my attention is directed toward the concentration of sin in a particular area of my life. A person will easily say, “Oh yes, I know I am a sinner,” but when he comes into the presence of God he cannot get away with such a broad and indefinite statement. Our conviction is focused on our specific sin, and we realize, as Isaiah did, what we really are.

    I See You

    When Xavier was two, he darted into one aisle after another in a small shoe store. Hiding behind stacks of shoeboxes, he giggled when my husband, Alan, said, “I see you.”

    Moments later, I saw Alan dash franticly from aisle to aisle, calling Xavier’s name. We raced to the front of the store. Our child, still laughing, ran toward the open door leading to the busy street outside.

    Within seconds, Alan scooped him up. He embraced us as I thanked God, sobbed, and kissed our toddler’s chubby cheeks.

    A year before I became pregnant with Xavier, I’d lost our first child during the…

    Ring in a Dumpster

    In college, I woke up one morning to find Carol, my roommate, in a panic. Her signet ring was missing. We searched everywhere. The next morning we found ourselves picking through a dumpster.

    I ripped open a trash bag. “You’re so dedicated to finding this!”

    “I’m not losing a two-hundred-dollar ring!” she exclaimed.

    Carol’s determination reminds me of the parable Jesus told about the kingdom of heaven, which “is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field” (Matthew 13:44). Certain things…

    Drawing on the Grace of God— Now

    We . . . plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain —2 Corinthians 6:1

    The grace you had yesterday will not be sufficient for today. Grace is the overflowing favor of God, and you can always count on it …

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