New Year - January 2012
Stepping into a new year can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Put your hand in God’s and get your cues from Him, and you’re ready to face whatever challenges 2012 may bring your way.
Like a lot of people, as each new year approaches I try to reflect on the past year and set goals for the coming one. As I was about to do that this year, a friend sent me this quote by Joni Eareckson Tada: “Faith isn’t the ability to believe long and far into the misty future. It’s simply taking God at His Word and taking the next step.” That quote was a big help, and here’s why.Read more
A city where I used to live is dotted with deserted public telephone booths. Obsolete and derelict, they stand silent and empty, eerie reminders of their former usefulness, now simply taking up sidewalk space, useless to all but a few spiders that are ever quick to spin their webs in out-of-the-way corners. Ten or twenty years ago, these booths were a vital means of communication. Long replaced by cell phones that are more convenient and capable, these relics are no longer worth the trouble, either to keep up or to tear down.Read more
A few months back my wife, Maria, and I had dinner with a young friend who told us of his latest plans. His dreams were big, his disposition bold. He said that for months he had felt God’s guidance to move in a certain direction, but kept brushing it aside as crazy. The more he tried to ignore it, though, the stronger the urge became. He eventually asked the Lord if this was indeed His plan for his life, and as a result, he began to feel at peace about moving in this new direction.Read more
Life is full of choices. Every day there are choices, large and small, and every day that passes leaves a greater legacy of past choices. Some turned out to be good, some bad, some a bit of both, and some we’re not yet sure about, but each played a part in making us what we are.
Here are a few principles that I find helpful when thinking about the past and what has brought me to where I am today.
Our future isn’t limited by our past. No matter what decisions we have made or what others decided for us, and no...Read more
Imagine a traveler, sitting quietly in a boat as it floats down a river that meanders through a green valley. Trees and shrubs, some in full bloom, line the riverbank. Majestic, snow-covered peaks rise in the distance. But this traveler doesn’t notice the beauty of his surroundings; he is too busy studying the guidebook, learning about the history of the area and where the river will take him.
“Look up! You’re missing the view!” We call to him, but to no avail. He just keeps on reading, his head bowed, his mind elsewhere.Read more
I didn’t like my mood. It wasn’t exactly cold—more like chilly with a chance of thunderstorms. Exactly like the weather that day. I knew why I was feeling that way, and it scared me. Changes were in the air, looming over me like ominous clouds. I also knew that there was hope for my situation, like I knew the sun was somewhere up there, but not being able to connect with it was unsettling.Read more
At the start of last year I set off on a journey. Sitting on a pier, breathing in the salty sea air, I felt surges of both excitement and trepidation as my eyes scanned an ocean of time that stretched ahead.
In the course of my voyage, I sometimes faced turmoil and adversity. The turquoise sea became a churning, foaming expanse of dark, angry waves. Stinging rain and blustering winds battered my ship. But there were also times of blessings and steady progress, when bright sunlight sparkled on rolling waves and gentle breezes carried my boat forward.Read more
Take stock and set goals. Make a list of the areas you want to change in and what you can do to bring those changes about. Putting goals and plans in writing will help crystallize your thoughts and firm your commitment.
Program the changes into your daily or weekly schedule. Without a definite plan, good intentions will probably soon be forgotten or get lost in the press of everything else you have to do.Read more
As last year drew to a close, I was still struggling with many of the complications and worries that had been making me feel insecure for some time. Then I came across an article about the difference between “insurance” and “assurance,” which got me thinking. Was God my insurance or my assurance?
Having God in our lives is a form of insurance. We know that no matter what happens, He will be with us and bless us for trusting Him. “I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,...Read more
This world is God’s workshop for making men in.
—Henry Ward Beecher (1813–1887)
Walk boldly and wisely. There is a hand above that will help you on.
—Philip James Bailey (1816–1902)Read more
Life is one big learning experience, and for those of us who know and love Jesus, He is our teacher. More than anything, He wants to teach us all we need to know about Him and His love, so things will go better and we’ll be happier.
He knows that none of us can accomplish any real good if we depend on our own supposed strength and wisdom. In fact, He said, “Without Me you can do nothing.”1 But the Bible also says that we “can do all things through Christ.”2 That’s the key right there. We need to learn to...Read more
Question: Does God really have a wonderful plan for my life, like I keep hearing? Often it feels more like a bumper-car ride—continually running into one obstacle after another and getting bounced in every direction.
Answer: God does have a plan for each of us, and it is one that is perfectly tailored to our unique makeup, abilities, and interests. Not only that, but He wants to let us in on that plan and work with us to bring it to pass.Read more
The page was blank, its edges wide,
A sea of white before my eyes.
Unmarked, unspoiled, or so the year
Held in my Savior’s hands appeared.
I gripped a pen tightly in hand
While questions as unnumbered sand
Swept through my mind until my eyesRead more
I want to make you happy and give you purpose in life—and it is within My power to do so. I have answers to your questions, solutions to your problems, and insight into the complex situations you encounter. I want to share all of that and more with you, but you must also do your part.
When you ask for My guidance, I give it,1 but you must first be willing to set aside your own ideas and plans.2 That can be difficult, especially if you have your heart set on something that you’re not sure I will agree is best...Read more