• Topic > Spiritual Growth

    The Heart of Fasting

    Hunger pangs gnawed at my nerves. My mentor had recommended fasting as a way to focus on God. But as the day wore on, I wondered: How did Jesus do this for forty days? I struggled to rely on the Holy Spirit for peace, strength, and patience. Especially patience.

    If we are physically able, fasting can teach us the importance of our spiritual food. As Jesus said, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Yet, as I learned firsthand, fasting on its own doesn’t necessarily draw us closer to…

    The Crooked Steeple

    Turns out that crooked church steeples make people nervous. When we visited with some friends, they shared how, after a fierce windstorm, their church’s proud steeple was . . . crooked, causing some alarm.

    Of course, the church quickly repaired the flagging spire, but the humorous image got me thinking. Often church is seen as a place where everything is expected to look perfect; it’s not seen as a place where we can show up… crooked. Right?

    But in a fallen, broken world, all of us are “crooked,” each with our own collection of natural weaknesses. We might be tempted to keep…

    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…

    Praying the Distance

    Kevin wiped a tear from his eye as he held out a slip of paper for my wife, Cari, to read. He knew Cari and I were praying for our daughter to return to faith in Jesus. “This note was found in my mother’s Bible after her death, and I hope it encourages you,” he said. At the top of the note were the words, “For my son, Kevin.” Below them was a prayer for his salvation.

    “I carry this with me in my own Bible today,” Kevin explained. “My mother prayed for my salvation for over thirty-five years. I was…

    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…

    The Marks of Friendship

    As a little boy growing up in Ghana, I enjoyed holding my father’s hand and walking with him along crowded places. He was both my father and my friend, for holding hands in my culture is a mark of true friendship. Walking along, we would chitchat about a variety of subjects. Whenever I felt lonely, I found consolation with my father. How I valued our companionship!

    The Lord Jesus called His followers friends, and He showed them the marks of His friendship. “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you,” He said (John 15:9), even laying down His…

    Unexpected Winners

    Perhaps the most preposterous, spellbinding moment in the 2018 Winter Olympics was when the Czech Republic’s world champion snowboarder Ester Ledecka won an event in a completely different sport: skiing! And she took the first-place gold medal even though she had the unenviable position of skiing 26th—a feat believed to be basically impossible.

    Amazingly, Ledecka qualified to race the women’s super-G—an event that combines downhill skiing with a slalom course. After she won by .01 of a second on borrowed skis, the cameras showed she was just as shocked as the media and other contestants who had assumed the winner would be…

    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…

    Inviting God Into Our Daily Plans

    Do you sometimes write up a plan or schedule for how you expect your day to go? Does your day always play out that way? Today on Discover the Word, the team, and author Liz Curtis Higgs urge us to invite God into our plans and allow Him to guide our steps. Join the group […]

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