Alex Peterson

Alex Peterson is an Activated staff writer.

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?

A Work in Progress

In a way, we are all unfinished business, as far as God’s concerned. He’s started a lot of “projects” that are well begun, even perfect in their own right, but aren’t complete. Luckily for us, the Master never stops work on His creation—the molding, the shaping, the chiseling, the polishing are all to help us make progress and bring us closer to Him.

Here are five steps you can take to grow in your relationship with your heavenly Father.

Nine Financial Fixes

Under financial pressure? Struggling to stay on top of your bills? Here are nine fixes that just might help bring you through.

Trust in God—He wants to take care of you and supply your needs. “God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Making Great Decisions

Perfect decisions are few and far between; however, a great decision is always possible! Great decisions don’t all have fairytale endings, but they do achieve the best outcomes under the given circumstances.

The most successful decision-makers usually don’t act on impulse, intuition, or even experience alone; they have a system that they work through step by step. Here is one such system:

Effective Prayers

Do you sometimes forget to pray, or not know where to start or how to go about it when you do remember? It takes a while for prayer to become a habit, but it’s one that’s worth cultivating because it can solve so many problems, sometimes before they even happen. If your prayer times need a jump-start, these tips should help.

Confident Children

Parents who are concerned about their children’s progress at each stage of their development, as nearly all parents are, need to realize what an important role a child’s self-image plays toward that end. Children with positive feelings about themselves, who believe they can succeed, are far more likely to.

Children make their first judgments about themselves and their abilities in the context of their home. Parents can find opportunities every day to develop their children’s self-confidence, which in the long run will help them grow into well-adjusted, well-rounded adults.

Greater Ends

In The Horse and His Boy, one of the seven novels in C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia series, a boy named Shasta dreams of traveling to the unknown north, which turns out to include the magical land of Narnia. One night Shasta overhears the fisherman he has been led to believe is his father sell him to a noble from a neighboring kingdom. (We find out much later that Shasta had been shipwrecked as a baby and was found by the fisherman.) As Shasta awaits his new master in the stable, he is surprised to find out that the noble’s stallion, Bree, is a talking horse from Narnia. Bree explains that he was kidnapped as a foal and sold as a warhorse, and suggests that they escape together. Their journey north is long and perilous, and they have several encounters with lions along the way.

The Presence

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
—Henry F. Lyte (1793–1847),

Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (1874–1922) was an Irish explorer who is best remembered for his Antarctic expedition of 1914–1915 in the ship Endurance, described in his book South. Less well known is that Shackleton had an unseen source of strength to draw from—his faith.

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