• Topic > Spiritual Growth

    Unfinished Works

    At his death, the great artist Michelangelo left many unfinished projects. But four of his sculptures were never meant to be completed. The Bearded Slave, the Atlas Slave, the Awakening Slave, and the Young Slave, though they appear unfinished, are just as Michelangelo intended them to be. The artist wanted to show what it might feel like to be forever enslaved.

    Rather than sculpting figures in chains, Michelangelo made figures stuck in the very marble out of which they are carved. Bodies emerge from the stone, but not completely. Muscles flex, but the figures are never able to free themselves.

    My empathy…

    Shameless Persistence

    After 45 years of talking with God, I still find prayer to be an enigma. At times, I’ve felt as if I stopped praying too soon. If I had persevered, would the outcome have been different?

    Five-Finger Prayers

    Prayer is a conversation with God, not a formula. Yet sometimes we might need to use a “method” to freshen up our prayer time. We can pray the Psalms or other Scriptures (such as The Lord’s Prayer), or use the ACTS method (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication). I recently came across this “Five-Finger Prayer” to use as a guide when praying for others:

    • When you fold your hands, the thumb is nearest you. So begin by praying for those closest to you—your loved ones (Phil. 1:3–5).

    • The index finger is the pointer. Pray for those who teach—Bible teachers and preachers,…

    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 …

    Judgment and Obedience

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.”

    Soaking Up God’s Word

    When our son Xavier was a toddler, we took a family trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. As we entered the building, I pointed to a large sculpture suspended from the ceiling. “Look. A humpback whale.”

    Xavier’s eyes widened. “Enormous,” he said.

    My husband turned to me. “How does he know that word?”

    “He must have heard us say it.” I shrugged, amazed that our toddler had soaked up vocabulary we’d never intentionally taught him.

    In Deuteronomy 6, God encouraged His people to be intentional about teaching younger generations to know and obey the Scriptures. As the Israelites increased their knowledge of God, they…

    Upending

    A backyard bash was underway when a man carrying a gun approached and demanded money from the partygoers. The partiers would have handed their money to the bandit, but no one had any cash! So they offered what they did have—a drink. Surprisingly, the crook accepted and joined their party. An unexpected response changed everything.

    Mercy, hope, and a future through Jesus

    Many of us would admit we still struggle with regret and shame that come from our past mistakes, even when we’ve been forgiven.  Sometimes, it’s just hard to let it go— especially if they deeply hurt you and the ones you love. Discover how both Marsha and Tony found freedom in the forgiveness of God right […]

    "Acquainted With Grief"

    We are not “acquainted with grief” in the same way our Lord was acquainted with it. We endure it and live through it, but we do not become intimate with it. At the beginning of our lives we do not bring ourselves to the point of dealing with the reality of sin. We look at life through the eyes of reason and say that if a person will control his instincts, and educate himself, he can produce a life that will slowly evolve into the life of God. But as we continue on through life, we find the presence of something which we have not yet taken into account, namely, sin— and it upsets all of our thinking and our plans. Sin has made the foundation of our thinking unpredictable, uncontrollable, and irrational.

    Discover how God is making all things new

    Something new is coming. And in fact, it’s already here. Today on Discover the Word, we will share how God is making all things new and He’s starting with you. It’s an encouraging and life-changing truth from Mark chapter 2 in the series titled, “Why, Jesus?” Listen right here on  Discover the Word!

    Why I Went on a Social Media Fast

    About two years ago, I decided to delete or deactivate most of my social media accounts for a while.

    The Ministry of the Inner Life

    By what right have we become “a royal priesthood”? It is by the right of the atonement by the Cross of Christ that this has been accomplished. Are we prepared to purposely disregard ourselves and to launch out into the priestly work of prayer? The continual inner-searching we do in an effort to see if we are what we ought to be generates a self-centered, sickly type of Christianity, not the vigorous and simple life of a child of God. Until we get into this right and proper relationship with God, it is simply a case of our “hanging on by the skin of our teeth,” although we say, “What a wonderful victory I have!”

    Have You Come to "When" Yet?

    A pitiful, sickly, and self-centered kind of prayer and a determined effort and selfish desire to be right with God are never found in the New Testament. The fact that I am trying to be right with God is actually a sign that I am rebelling against the atonement by the Cross of Christ. I pray, “Lord, I will purify my heart if You will answer my prayer— I will walk rightly before You if You will help me.” But I cannot make myself right with God; I cannot make my life perfect. I can only be right with God if I accept the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift.

    Gifts from God

    Police were sent to a home in response to a report of domestic child abuse. When they arrived at the house, they found a scared four-year-old girl with a black eye, swollen cheek, and bruises covering a majority of her tiny frame. The officers were devastated when they asked her to say her name and she meekly replied, “Idiot.”

    The Service of Passionate Devotion

    …do you love Me?…Tend My sheep. —John 21:16

    Jesus did not say to make converts to your way of thinking, but He said to look after His sheep, to see that they get nourished in the knowledge of Him. We consider what we do in the way of Christian work as service, yet Jesus Christ calls service to…