Stories of hope in Singapore: After Dr Lim Lian Arn was fined $100,000 by a professional disciplinary tribunal, he experienced God’s assurance of love and salvation as he sought to move on. Read his testimony, one of our top three most-read articles in 2019.
“Kids should be able to throw a seed anywhere they want [in the garden] and see what pops up,” suggests Rebecca Lemos-Otero, founder of City Blossoms. While this is not a model for careful gardening, it reflects the reality that each seed has the potential to burst forth with life. Since 2004 City Blossoms has created gardens for schools and neighborhoods in low-income areas. The kids are learning about nutrition and gaining job skills through gardening. Rebecca says, “Having a lively green space in an urban area . . . creates a way for kids to be outside doing something productive and beautiful.”
Jesus told a story about the scattering of seed that had the potential of producing “a hundred times more than was sown” (Luke 8:8). That seed was God’s good news planted on “good soil,” which He explained is “honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest” (v. 15 nlt).
The only way we can be fruitful, Jesus said, is to stay connected to Him (John 15:4). As we’re taught by Jesus and cling to Him, the Spirit produces in us His fruit of “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23). He uses the fruit He produces in us to touch the lives of others, who are then changed and grow fruit from their own lives. This makes for a beautiful life.
There’s a natural spring that rises on the east side of the city of Jerusalem. In ancient times it was the city’s only water supply and was located outside the walls. Thus it was the point of Jerusalem’s greatest vulnerability. The exposed spring meant that the city, otherwise impenetrable, could be forced to surrender if an attacker were to divert or dam the spring.
King Hezekiah addressed this weakness by driving a tunnel through 1,750 feet of solid rock from the spring into the city where it flowed into the “Lower Pool" (2 Kings 20:20; 2 Chronicles 32:2–4). But in all of this, Hezekiah "did not look to him who did it, or see him who planned it long ago” (Isaiah 22:11). Planned what?
God Himself "planned" the city of Jerusalem in such a way that its water supply was unprotected. The spring outside the wall was a constant reminder that the inhabitants of the city must depend solely on Him for their salvation.
Can it be that our deficiencies exist for our good? Indeed, the apostle Paul said that he “gloried” in his limitations, because it was through weakness that the beauty and power of Jesus was seen in him (2 Corinthians 12:9–10). Can we then regard each limitation as a gift that reveals God as our strength?
Instagram, FB, Whatsapp! Our lives revolve around social media and for many, their sense of identity is closely linked to them. Here is an article on Instagram that is written for teens, but it holds true for most of us too. Read through or pass it on to a young person you know...
A small church in southern California recognized an opportunity to express God’s love in a practical way. Christ followers gathered at a local laundry mat to give back to their community by washing clothes for those in financial need. They cleaned and folded clothes together, sometimes providing a hot meal or bags of groceries for recipients.
One volunteer discovered the greatest reward was in the “actual contact with people . . . hearing their stories.” Because of their relationship with Jesus, these volunteers wanted to live out their faith through loving words and actions that helped them nurture genuine relationships with others.
The apostle James affirms that every act of a professing believer’s loving service is a result of genuine faith (James 2:14-16). He states that “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (v. 17). Declaring we believe makes us followers of Christ, but it’s when we serve God by serving others that we act as believers who trust and follow Him (v. 24). Faith and service are as closely interdependent as the body and the spirit (v. 26), a beautiful display of the power of Christ as He works in and through us.
After personally accepting that God’s sacrifice on the cross washes us in perfect love, we can respond in authentic faith that overflows into the ways we serve people.