by Kim Penix
Do you know where you come from? Have you ever done any research into your family history?
My husband just completed a hike of more than 200 miles, walking in the footsteps of his 5x great- grandfather, Joshua. We learned that Grandpa Joshua actually fought alongside Daniel Boone. It’s been very cool to make a connection with someone so well known in our nation’s history who’s also a part of our family tree.
But I have another family history. You see, the God of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and all the other heroes listed in Hebrews 11 are part of my family tree. They are the forefathers of my faith.
We worship the same God they did. Let that sink in for a moment. The God who listened to the prayers of Abraham and Isaac is the same God who hears (more…)
by Jayna Coppedge
I vacillate between dread, disgust, and fear when I listen to the world news. It appears that much of what I value is disappearing. I hurt as I see others suffering. I can relate to the prophet Isaiah, because God told him that Judah, his home, would be destroyed.
“Then I said, ‘For how long, Lord?’ And he answered: ‘Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, until the Lord has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken.’” Isaiah 6:11, 12
God has not told me personally that my country will soon lie in ruins, but I no longer see Christian values reflected in my community. Gambling is thought to be the best source to fund our schools. Denominations appear to be ignoring portions of scriptures, letting culture define marriage. When it comes to stewarding our natural resources, Christians seem to be irresponsible. I am uneasy about the political, environmental, and economic future. Perhaps it is my age, the media, or the pricking of the Holy Spirit, but I grieve more. Yet my pain is nothing compared to what Isaiah describes.
“A dire vision has been shown to me: . . . At this my body is racked with pain, pangs seize me, like those of a woman in labor; I am staggered by what I hear, I am bewildered by what I see. My heart falters, fear makes me tremble; the twilight I longed for has become a horror to me.” Isaiah 21:2-4
Even so, the prophet of hope writes:
” The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come . . . to save you.’” Isaiah 35:1, 4 (more…)
Samuel—“Tuned In” To God In a World That Is “Tuned Out”
by Christy Pearce
“It’s a boy!”
The sonogram revealed the sex of our third child, and we were thrilled to welcome some “snakes and snails” to our duo of “sugar and spice.”
I began asking God what our first baby boy’s name should be. He took me to this powerful passage about the prophet Samuel. When I read the words at the beginning of Chapter 3, I got chills.
In a time when it was a rare thing for God to come to people, “Then the Lord called Samuel.”
I wanted God to work in my son’s life like that. I knew right away we would call my sweet boy “Samuel.”
Little did I know I’d be calling my Samuel over and over again to no avail. Sometimes, that stinker completely tunes out the sound of my voice and runs in the opposite direction.
But not the Samuel of the scriptures. No—when he heard God’s voice call his name, he “tuned in” and presented himself as a ready servant.
“The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. Then the Lord called Samuel.” 1 Samuel 3:1, 4 (NIV)
Asked of God
Samuel was born to Hannah, a woman whose womb had been “closed by the Lord.” But that didn’t stop Hannah from asking (more…)
David and the Faithful 400
By Carolyn Dale Newell
It seems odd that a hero of the faith such as David would only get a mention in Hebrews, even if, as the writer stated, time would fail to tell all there is to tell about each of these men, including David, one of the most well-known people in the Bible.
“And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets.” (Heb. 11:32, NKJV)
David slayed the giant, Goliath, with just a sling and a stone. As his father’s shepherd, David protected the flocks from dangerous animals, killing bears and lions. He eluded King Saul, who was seeking to kill him. Years later, he had to flee Jerusalem when his own son Absalom was trying to steal his kingdom. David was quite the hero, but as I studied him, one verse kept jumping out at me.
“And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him.” (1 Sam. 22:2)
Everyone who was distressed, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented—that could describe just about anyone. At one point or another, we are all in distress, in debt, or (more…)