On one of those glorious spring days that make your heart sing, our family went on a day’s outing to Bodnant, a famous botanical garden in North Wales. We spent hours exploring 80 acres of lawns and terraces; bathing in a cascade of color and fragrance as we walked amongst the rhododendrons, tulips, and lilies; admiring the specimen trees lurching up to touch the blue sky, framed in the distance by the mountains of Snowdonia.
There are countless people whose lives have been changed by an encounter with Jesus, both within and beyond the context of Bible history.
Paul is often rightly cited as an example of the power of Jesus to transform lives. He was a Pharisee (a member of an ancient Jewish religious group) who was so dead set against the followers of Jesus that he took it upon himself to launch a crusade for their imprisonment and in some cases death.
You are precious in My sight. Even the very hairs of your head are numbered. I know your heart and your many thoughts. I want you to know that I am right here beside you, holding your hand. I am a constant help in time of trouble. Never think or feel that you are alone, for My presence is always with you, and My Spirit will give you help.
Walking along a narrow path in the tropical forest we often visit for a Sunday walk, under the radiant early-morning African sun, I notice a magnificent cactus and stop to take a closer look. The dark-green rubbery leaves are fat and oval and interspersed with large pointed thorns. In contrast to the feisty exterior, tender blooms emerge from the tips of some leaves. Shades of yellow and an intricate design make these lovely flowers dazzle. How like Jesus’ presence after a thorny stretch of life’s journey. Just like a flower appearing in the most unexpected circumstances, He reassures me of His love and care.1
When life feels like a tiny, windowless room whose four walls are closing in, you can create a window of escape. As you read and meditate on My Word, as you believe My promises and claim them as your own, you open a window to the spiritual realm where wonderful things await you. The warm sunshine of My love will melt away the tension.
India, where I live, is a country of wide, sweeping farmlands; huge mountains jutting their peaks into the sky; broad rivers lazily moving over rocks. The land is as peaceful as it always has been, but the people who live here, like anywhere in the world, are often stressed.
Dr. Hans Selye, a prominent medical research scientist, has observed, “In this hurry-up world we are subjecting ourselves to too many stresses. We hurry constantly and worry incessantly.” Unfortunately, many have yet to learn to develop inner peace.
I vividly recall the men in our neighborhood gathering every evening after work in a vacant lot next to my house for a game of horseshoes. The pace of life was more relaxed when I was a child. Work was from nine to five, and then it was time to knock off and play horseshoes.
I’m semi-retired but still enjoy an active and full life. Looking back over the past year, I can see the benefits I’ve gained from spending quiet time with God in the morning, before the busy day begins. Here are five steps that have helped me get a spiritual boost that lasts the whole day. They just might work for you too.
It all started when we gave in to the children’s pleas and bought a cute little rabbit. At first, the little fellow was too small to be left alone in the garden while the children were at school, but neither could he remain in his hutch all day without any exercise.
So the task fell on me to take the rabbit out in the garden daily. It soon got to be our little ritual. Whenever I’d unlock the screen door in the morning, there’d be a “Thump!” from his hutch, as if he was saying, “I’ve been waiting for you!”As soon as I set bunny on the ground, he would do a few little happy jumps, showing how glad he was just to be alive.
Some time ago, I found myself facing a situation that was beyond my ability to resolve. Alone in the stillness of the night, I racked my brain for a solution and finally sent up a prayer for direction.
As I lay on my bed, waiting to hear an answer, there was only silence. My patience started to wear thin, and just as I was about to get up for a glass of water, the still small voice spoke: Are you sure you are being totally quiet and still?