2016

  • Surviving a difficult situation

    Those first few minutes while the news sank in were devastating. I felt like my whole world was caving in. Somehow I managed to stumble shakily out of my boss’ office. His words kept reverberating in my head: “Due to the current situation, we’re having to cut back. So we wanted to ask if you […]

  • Paperclip faith

    Did you ever hear about the young man named Kyle MacDonald who traded a paperclip for one item after the other until he was able to get his own house? Surprisingly, it only took him 14 trades to achieve his goal one year after he started. His journey was: clip to pen, to doorknob, to […]

  • The sign

    I must confess that I have never been one who could easily believe in miraculous forms of healing. In fact, I prided myself a bit on being “rational,” “logical,” of which skepticism was an integral part. Perhaps it was also because of feeling that what happens to us is just part of the big game […]

  • The doubt side of my faith

    I grew up thinking that “faith” and “doubt” were opposites. Faith was good. Doubt was bad. With that mindset even questions could be dangerous, as I figured they could lead to doubt. For an intellectually curious person, that is a difficult thing to deal with, and I struggled with it for most of my rememberable […]

  • Asking questions

    Faith is a reasoning trust, a trust which reckons thoughtfully and confidently upon the trustworthiness of God.—John Stott (b. 1921) Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.―Paul Tillich (1886–1965) Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving.―Frederick Buechner (b. 1926) The relationship between […]

  • Peaks and valleys

    I recently read C. S. Lewis’ novel The Screwtape Letters, which chronicles a fictional correspondence between a senior devil named Screwtape and a junior devil named Wormwood. These letters include fascinating insight into Satan’s strategies for sabotaging my spiritual growth, relationship with God, and interactions with others. One of the letters explores the ups and downs […]

  • A place of refuge

    “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”1 When the storms blow about you and you are tossed and buffeted and carried to and fro with the winds of tribulation, adversity, and difficulty, come into My place of refuge until these calamities have passed. Rest your […]

  • Tasting the fruit

    A few years ago, Activated published a special series on what Paul in his letter to the Galatians called the fruit of the Spirit.1 One issue was published for each of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It occurred to us that we hadn’t explored the concept of fruit itself, and this […]

  • The vine

    One of my most pleasant childhood memories is lying on the bench beneath Grandma’s grape arbor on a hot summer day and munching on fresh grapes. Years later, when I was moving to a vineyard in Italy, I envisioned many comfy benches to lie on. To my shock, we arrived to what looked like barren […]

  • Soul food

    The Word of God is the most powerful truth on earth.—Words that contain the very spirit and life of God Himself.1 The Word is the spiritual spark of God that ignites us with His life, light, and power. Reading, absorbing, and following God’s Word is one of the most important things you can do to build […]

  • The power of a peach

    When I was eight years old, my family and I watched a BBC documentary featuring a group of British WW2 veterans who had fought in North Africa. Throughout the film, the veterans related their wartime experiences, most of which were accounts of withstanding hunger, terror, and deprivation on the path to victory. Although these stories […]

  • Like the flowers

    I was sitting in a friend’s living room when I noticed some crimson red flowers in a vase on the coffee table. I was almost spellbound by their loveliness, and as I gazed at this beautiful creation, I seemed to hear God’s voice telling me, I want you to be like those flowers. As I […]