Paul’s prayers—like his letters in general—so overflow with richness that you feel like you’re working to catch every drop as it pours out. There’s always more to be seen and acted on than what you find in the moment. This makes studying the Bible exciting, knowing there’s always more to be found later when we return. We never run out of “fresh grass” to feed on. Continue reading Learning to Pray from Paul
The Bible is full of admonitions to remember God, what He’s taught us, and what He’s done for us. Through remembrance, we hold on to what we’ve learned in the past and live in light of it in the present. Throughout the Bible, God’s people face future fears by recalling God’s former faithfulness. Remembrance stirs up greater trust in God, it brings to mind what He’s done and said in the past, and it reminds us what we’ve learned from God.
Indiana winters hang on, leaving us longing for sunshine. You’d think spring would offer relief, but it isn’t much better with rainy days set to repeat. I always look forward to late spring and summer when the sun comes out, the windows open, and we can get outside.
In Philippians 2:1-4, Paul tells us to pursue unity through humility. Pride promotes division, but humility nurtures harmony. He pleads with these believers to be of one mind, one purpose, and one love by laying down their personal priorities and privileges.
The Virgin Islands offered a vacation both my wife (Melissa) and I were looking for. She likes relaxation on beautiful beaches, and I wanted adventures beyond the beach. She likes the water, and I like visiting national parks. The Virgin Islands, especially St. John and Virgin Islands National Park, fulfilled both of our desires and outdid our expectations.
I’m not a huge beach guy, both because my pale-skin is quickly burnt and my restless spirit gets easily bored after about an hour sitting in sand, but the beaches and water of the Virgin Islands were picturesque. Even I wanted to stay put and soak up the post-card worthy views of the white sandy beaches sliding under crystal clear waters moving from aqua to turquoise to teal. But thankfully, the calm beaches were complemented by awaiting adventures such as great spots for snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, hiking, and swimming, of course. A wide variety of animals were observable in the water (we saw green sea turtles, stingrays, a nursing shark, all kinds of fish) and on land (bright birds, large iguanas, deer, and small scattering geckos).
When we walk through spiritual droughts, we’re tempted to believe this time is an unusable, accidental derailment in our Christian journey. Maybe God was asleep at the wheel or took a wrong turn, but somehow, we’ve veered off the road and gotten lost in this desolate place. Read the rest here at For the Church.
Anxiety is overwhelming. It can affect our bodies. It wreaks havoc on our emotions. And it consumes our thoughts. They race like a runaway train or get caught in a vicious cycle of spinning round-and-round with “what if…”, “if only…”, or many other possibilities. Anxiety awakens us in the dark hours of the night. It can rob us of a day’s joy and suck the life right out of us.
Whether you call it a spiritual wilderness, drought, dry-season, or rut, the experience of distance from God and apathy in our Christian walk saps us of life. It confuses and frustrates us. Why doesn’t God feel near? Why can’t I get out? Why aren’t my passion or desires for the things of God increasing?
We each have a story that includes a past, present, and a future. The Bible also tells a story; a narrative of historical events full of significance for all of humanity.
As those united to Jesus, we are made participants in God’s story and cast as characters in the drama of redemptive history. The resurrection of Jesus is one of those climactic moments in both Jesus’ life and the Bible’s story of God redeeming a people and restoring His corrupted creation. When we think of Jesus’ resurrection we should consider the past accomplishment, the present effects, and the future realities dawning upon us. As participants of the story through union with Christ, we must see how the resurrection rewrites our past, remakes us in the present, and reshapes our future.