Chuck, an actor and martial artist, honored his mother on her hundredth birthday by sharing how instrumental she’d been in his spiritual transformation. “Mom has been an example of perseverance and faith,” he wrote. She raised three boys on her own during the Great Depression; suffered the death of two spouses, a son, a stepson, and grandchildren; and endured many surgeries. “[She] has prayed for me all my life, through thick and thin.” He continued, “When nearly losing my soul to Hollywood, she was back home praying for my success and salvation.” He concluded, “I thank [my mom] for helping God to make me all I can and should be.”
The prayers of Chuck’s mother helped him to find salvation—and a godly wife. She prayed fervently for her son, and God heard her prayers. We don’t always get our prayers answered the way we’d like, so we cannot use prayer as a magic wand. However, we are assured by James that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (5:16). Like this mom, we are to continue to pray for the sick and those in trouble (vv. 13–15). When, like her, we commune with God through prayer, we find encouragement and peace and the assurance that the Spirit is at work.
Does someone in your life need salvation or healing or help? Lift your prayers to God in faith. He’s listening.
Northern Spain produced a beautiful way of expressing communion and friendship. With the countryside full of handmade caves, after each harvest some farmers would sit in a room built above a cave and inventory their various foods. As time passed, the room became known as the “telling room”—a place of communion where friends and families would gather to share their stories, secrets, and dreams. If you needed the intimate company of safe friends, you would head for the telling room.
Had they lived in northern Spain, the deep friendship shared by Jonathan and David might have led them to create a telling room. When King Saul became so jealous that he wanted to kill David, Jonathan, Saul’s oldest son, protected and befriended him. The two became “one in spirit” (1 Samuel 18:1–3). And Jonathan “loved [his friend] as himself” and—though he was heir apparent to the throne—recognized David’s divine selection to be king. He gave David his robe, sword, bow, and his belt (v. 4). Later, David declared that Jonathan’s love for him as a friend “was wonderful” (2 Samuel 1:26).
As believers in Jesus, may He help us build our own relational “telling rooms”—friendships that reflect Christlike love and care. Let’s take the time to linger with friends, open our hearts, and live in true communion with one another in Him.
Over the last several decades, a new word has entered our movie vocabulary: the reboot. In cinematic parlance, a reboot takes an old story and jumpstarts it. Some reboots retell a familiar tale, like a superhero story or a fairytale. Other reboots take a lesser-known story and retell it in a new way. But in each case, a reboot is a bit like a do-over. It’s a fresh start, a chance to breathe new life into the old.
There’s another story that involves reboots—the gospel story. In it, Jesus invites us to His offer of forgiveness, as well as abundant and eternal life (John 10:10). And in the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah reminds us that God’s love for us makes every day a “reboot” of sorts: “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (3:22–23).
God’s grace invites us to embrace each day as a fresh opportunity to experience His faithfulness. Whether we’re struggling with the effects of our own mistakes or going through other hardships, God’s Spirit can breathe forgiveness, new life, and hope into each new day. Every day is a reboot of sorts, an opportunity to follow the lead of the great Director, who is weaving our story into His bigger one.
After years of research and analysis, scientists have learned that wolves have distinct voices that help them establish hierarchy and communicate with each other. Using a specific sound analysis code, one scientist realized the use of various volumes and pitches in a wolf’s howl enabled her to identify specific wolves with one-hundred percent accuracy.
The Bible provides many examples of God recognizing the distinct voices of His beloved creations. He called Moses by name and spoke to him directly (Exodus 3:4–6). The psalmist David proclaimed, “I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain” (Psalm 3:4). However, the apostle Paul also emphasizes the value of God’s people recognizing God’s voice.
When bidding farewell to the Ephesian elders, Paul said the Spirit had “compelled” him to head to Jerusalem. He confirmed his commitment to follow God’s voice, though he didn’t know what to expect upon his arrival (Acts 20:22). The apostle warned that “savage wolves” would “arise and distort the truth,” even from within the church (vv. 29–30). Then, he encouraged the elders to remain diligent in discerning God’s truth (v. 31).
All believers in Jesus have the privilege of knowing God hears and answers us. We also have the power of the Holy Spirit who helps us recognize God’s voice, which is always in alignment with the words He’s preserved in the Bible.
As I was helping my sixth-grade grandson Logan with some tough algebra-type homework, he told me of his dream of becoming an engineer. After we returned to figuring out what to do with the x’s and y’s in his assignment, he said, “When am I ever going to use this stuff?”
I couldn’t help but smile, saying, “Well, Logan, this is exactly the stuff you’ll use if you become an engineer!” He hadn’t realized the connection between algebra and his hoped-for future.
Sometimes we view Scripture that way. When we listen to sermons and read certain parts of the Bible, we may think, “When am I ever going to use this?” The psalmist David had some answers. He said God’s truths found in Scripture do these things: “[refresh] the soul,” “[make] wise the simple,” and “[give] joy to the heart” (Psalm 19:7–8). The wisdom of Scripture, found in the first five books of the Bible as referred to in Psalm 19 (as well as all of Scripture), helps us as we daily rely on the Spirit’s leading (Proverbs 2:6).
And without the Scriptures we’d lack the vital way God has provided for us to experience Him and better know His love and ways. Why study the Bible? Because “the commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes” (Psalm 19:8).