Volume 16.07 | July 2015

  • Building and strengthening

    The Roman author Tertullian (c.160–c. 225), when speaking of the early church, reported that the pagans would exclaim, “See how they love one another!” Clearly the Christians’ concern and care was visible in their actions, attitudes, and words. One of the early Christians named Joses seems to have had a special talent for understanding and […]

  • A lesson from orchids

    Today would have been my daughter Rejoice’s birthday. It’s our custom to celebrate this day every year since she passed away by remembering some of the special moments she shared with us. This year, mine is the orchid story. At the time, Rejoice was living in Osaka, Japan, with her husband and five children. One […]

  • The boy sitting next to me

    This should be easy, I thought as I prepared to enter high school. I didn’t expect to have any problems making friends or interacting with my classmates. Unfortunately, my confidence was shattered on the very first day of school, when I met the boy seated next to me in class. Sean was about my height […]

  • Crumpled and dirty

    For some time, we’ve been putting on benefit shows in our beautiful city of Granada, Spain. On a particular occasion, we performed at a residence for senior citizens. After the usual dances, songs, and puppet show, I decided to end with an illustration about value. This is how it went: “Supposing that I offered to […]

  • The prisoner

    The prisoner dictated a letter to some of his dearest friends hundreds of miles away in another country. He told them that he was in chains—most likely chained to his jailer, as that was the custom of the time. Ironically, he had previously also been jailed in the city in which his friends lived.1 On […]

  • Dare to dream

    “I had seen that man before and now he was sitting in the snow outside the stadium [in Madrid]. I asked him what he was doing there. He said he’d been there for five hours, hoping for a chance to see the game, but his money had run out. That’s when I knew I had […]

  • The house by the side of the road

    There are hermit souls that live withdrawn In the peace of their self-content; There are souls, like stars, that dwell apart, In a fellowless firmament; There are pioneer souls that blaze their paths Where highways never ran— But let me live by the side of the road And be a friend to man. I see […]

  • Being there

    The right friends are a huge asset. Charles Spurgeon once said, “Friendship is one of the sweetest joys in life. Many might have fallen beneath the bitterness of their trial, had they not found a friend.” You might think that being that kind of friend requires you to do or say something amazing on a […]

  • Durian people

    What makes people crave a fruit like durian? Why do they light up when they see clumps of those prickly, greenish-brown husks hanging liberally from vendor stalls? How do they get past the pungent, even revolting, odor? What makes them fight their way through the thick, prickly outer husk in order to reach the inside? […]

  • Bundles of love

    Our neighbor, Mr. Chen, enthusiastically returned my “Good morning,” adding a heartfelt, “Isn’t the weather great today!” As I watched him walk on with a spring in his step and a beaming smile that eclipsed his graying hair and wrinkles, I couldn’t help but marvel. Until recently, Mr. Chen had barely acknowledged my greetings, and […]

  • The VIPs

    There are times in life when we each feel like an anonymous unknown. It’s a discouraging realization. You’re a statistic—a woman or a man, over forty or under forty, single or married, able-bodied or disabled. Every so often, you put your vote in the ballot box and wonder if it makes a difference. If you […]

  • Believe

    Have you ever let Me down? Have you ever fallen short? Have you ever failed? Yes. But have you also grown through the failures, learned to stand back up after falling, and come to love Me more through the times that you have disappointed Me and let Me down? If so, you are a success […]