Showing posts from 2016

Stir Your Affections for Jesus

Written by Julie Roth
As I move from Thanksgiving memories to Christmas traditions, I reflect on how my affections for Jesus are (and are not) stirred.

When I was in high school, I traveled to New York City with 250 band members to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The trip was fabulous. In addition to marching the streets of NYC, I saw Les Miserables on Broadway, visited Times Square at night, and ice skated at Rockefeller Center. I came home with amazing memories and several designer knock-off watches that I purchased from a street vendor. Those watches were prized possessions for a few weeks. Until they quit working.
The counterfeit is dressed to impress our wandering, roaming eye. But counterfeits, whether watches or gods, always cost us more than we think. They always cost us more than they are worth. John understood the cost, which is why he lovingly urges us as “dear children [to] keep away from anything that might take God’s place in [our] hearts” (I John 5:21).
John …

Behold the Song of Christmas

Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord Your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.
Behold the Song of Christmas By Sandy Miller Christmas is a love song whose lyrics are seldom heard except by angels and the few who have internalized its words. Many try to sing the song, and its melody they amplify, but in their raw and misplaced praise they ignore Salvation’s eternal cry. So sing, O barren earth, but sing the only true, unchanging song composed with drops of sacred blood

A Look into the Solomon Islands

Written by Lori Havenga
I'm like Paris Hilton. She and that other rich pretty girl were on a TV series several years ago where they went to a farm and made fools of themselves trying to do regular jobs. I never watched it because the whole idea seemed preposterous to me. Even if they don't know how to do simple farm work, which is understandable, they could figure it out easily. In the meantime, everybody around them could laugh about how useless the rich pretty girls were at real-life, important jobs.

This month, I've struggled to figure out how to crack open a type of tree nut. This time of year is “ngali nut” season. Ngali (NAH-lee) nuts are about the size of almonds, once the hull and shell are removed. Many families have one or two ngali nut trees out in the jungle.

Early one morning, at the beginning of ngali nut season, I walked with a few friends to gather ngali nuts to bring back to the village. I took along a machete and a woven bag out to the jungle. The mile-long …

A Faith that Heals: Meditations from Matthew

Written By Katie Harms
This morning in my Bible reading, I was reminded afresh of the beauty and joy in the Gospel. The scene – Jesus has been asked to raise a girl from the dead, and in the commotion and the busyness of ministry, a woman reached out to touch Jesus’ garment. Immediately, she was healed. Twelve years of illness was gone in an instant. And Jesus’ words strike me with hope: “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” (Matthew 9:22).

Faith made her well.

She didn’t come to Jesus with her resume filled with her church attendance, children’s ministry, and hours spent feeding the hungry at the local soup kitchen. Likewise, Jesus did not send her away with a prescription for good works, which would ready her body and soul for healing.

She acted on faith, trusting that merely touching his garment would heal her.

Too often I get caught thinking that I qualify myself for healing, service, or the Lord’s grace by my good works, and I’m left feeling discouraged, lonely, and ho…

Dear John, Really?

Words and Photo by Janea Beakley

Pastor John Piper said, “Everything we do—even drinking orange juice—can be done with the intention and hope that it will be to the advantage of many that they may be saved.”
I read that and thought, "Uh oh! Really, Pastor John?" If I must do everything to the glory of God, even drinking orange juice, that means I must do dishes to the glory of God too. And grocery shopping. Driving to Awanas. Working out at the YMCA. Changing dirty diapers? Urgh, convicting.
It’s certainly not a new concept that ALL I do must be done to the glory of God. I’ve had 1 Corinthians 10:31 underlined in my Bible and memorized since I was a little girl. So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Since it does use the word ALL, of course Pastor John is right, ALL includes drinking orange juice. The convicting part is how that truth plays out in real life.
I confess, in the chaos of a whining toddler, urgent requests to read yet another…

Reading Scripture: the Struggle is Real

By Molly Schiller

It’s no surprise that deep study of God’s word does not always come easy to us. This is certainly the case for me, and from conversations I’ve had with other women I know I’m not alone. In fact, I feel slightly out of place writing about the importance of studying Scripture when I have such difficulty with it.  I loved reading God’s Word when I first became a Christian, but at that time I rarely came close to “studying” Scripture. I would often read Scripture without regard to context, a verse here and a few verses there, looking for quick bursts of encouragement to illuminate life’s confusion. God might occasionally use the Bible to give me some answer or encouraging word, but I would often leave feeling more confused than when I began. The Bible was a book of answers to my problems, a roadmap about my life, revolving around my experience and my struggles. I thought that the Bible was essentially God’s word about me.  But God did not leave me in that immaturity…