“Christianity is not for me. It’s boring. One of my values I hold on to is adventure. That’s life to me,” a young woman told me. It saddened me that she hadn’t yet learned the incredible joy and excitement that comes with following Jesus—an adventure like no other. I excitedly shared with her about Jesus and how real life is found in Him.
Mere words are inadequate to describe the adventure of knowing and walking with Jesus, God’s Son. But the apostle Paul in Ephesians 1 gives us a small but powerful glimpse of life with Him. God gives us spiritual blessings directly from heaven (v. 3), holiness and blamelessness in God’s eyes (v. 4), and adoption as His own into the King’s royal family (v. 5). He blesses us with the lavish gift of His forgiveness and grace (vv. 7–8), understanding of the mystery of His will (v. 9), and a new purpose of living “for the praise of His glory” (v. 12). The Holy Spirit comes to live in us to empower and lead us (v. 13), and He guarantees eternity in God’s presence forever (v. 14).
When Jesus Christ enters our life, we discover that getting to know Him more and following Him closely is the greatest of adventures. Seek Him now and every day for real life.
Eric heard about Jesus’ love for him while in his early twenties. He started attending church where he met someone who helped him grow to know Jesus better. It wasn’t long before Eric’s mentor assigned him to teach a small group of boys at church. Through the years, God drew Eric’s heart to help at-risk youth in his city, to visit the elderly, and to show hospitality to his neighbors—all for God’s honor. Now in his late fifties, Eric explains how grateful he is that he was taught early to serve: “My heart overflows to share the hope I’ve found in Jesus. What could be better than to serve Him?”
Timothy was a child when his mother and grandmother influenced him in his faith (2 Timothy 1:5). And he was likely a young adult when he met the apostle Paul, who saw potential in Timothy’s service for God and invited him on a ministry journey (Acts 16:3). Paul became his mentor in ministry and life. He encouraged him to study, to be courageous as he faced false teaching, and to use his talents in service to God (1 Timothy 4:6–16).
Why did Paul want Timothy to be faithful in serving God? He wrote, “Because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people” (v. 10). Jesus is our hope and the Savior of the world. What could be better than to serve Him?
In Beep Baseball, the players who are blind listen for a beeping ball or buzzing base to know what to do and where to go. The blindfolded batter (to account for various degrees of blindness) and sighted pitcher are on the same team. When a batter swings the bat and hits the beeping ball, he or she runs toward the buzzing base. The batter is out if a fielder “smothers” the ball before the batter makes it to the base; otherwise, the batter scores a run. One player remarked that the best part is that he feels “great freedom in running” because he knows there’s a clear path and direction.
The book of Isaiah tells us that God, “the Upright One, [makes] the way of the righteous smooth” (26:7). When this was written, the path for the Israelites looked anything but smooth; they were experiencing divine judgment for their disobedience. Isaiah exhorted them to walk in faith and obedience—the often difficult but smooth path. Being concerned for God’s “name and renown” (v. 8) was to be their hearts’ focus.
As believers in Jesus, we come to know more about God and build our trust in His faithful character as we follow His ways in obedience. Our path in life may not always look or feel smooth, but we can be assured as we trust in Him that God is alongside us and making a way. We too can feel freedom as we run in obedience on God’s best path for us.
From the spiral staircase to the expansive bedroom, from the hardwood floors to the plush carpeting, from the huge laundry room to the well-organized office, the realtor showed a potential home to the young couple. At every corner they turned, they raved about its beauty: “You’ve picked the best place for us. This house is amazing!” Then the realtor responded with something they thought a bit unusual yet true: “I’ll pass along your compliment to the builder. The one who built the house deserves the praise; not the house itself or the one who shows it off.”
The realtor’s words echo the writer of Hebrews: “The builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself” (3:3). The writer was comparing the faithfulness of Jesus, the Son of God, with the prophet Moses (vv. 1–6). Though Moses was privileged to speak to God face to face and to see His form (Numbers 12:8), he was still only “a servant” in the house of God (Hebrews 3:5). Christ, as Creator (1:2, 10), deserves honor as divine “builder of everything” and as Son “over God’s house” (3:4, 6). God’s house is His people.
When we serve God faithfully, it’s Jesus the divine builder who deserves the honor. Any praise we, God’s house, receive ultimately belongs to Him.
Always a busy guy, Carson hunted, fished, rode dirt bikes, and skateboarded. He loved everything outdoors. But he was in a motorcycle accident and became paralyzed from the chest down. Soon depression sank in, and he didn’t see much of a future. Then one day some of his buddies got him to go hunting again. For a time he forgot about his injury as he enjoyed the beauty around him. This experience brought him inner healing and inspired a new purpose for his life—to provide the same experience for others like him through a nonprofit organization, Hunt 2 Heal. He says his accident was “a blessing in disguise. . . . Now I’m able to give back, which I’ve always wanted to do. I’m happy.” He’s excited about providing a place for those with severe mobility disabilities and their caregivers to find healing.
The prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of One who would bring healing for brokenness (Isaiah 61). He would “bind up the brokenhearted” and “comfort all who mourn” (vv. 1–2). After Jesus read this Scripture in His hometown synagogue, He said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Jesus came to save us and make us whole.
Are you in need of inner healing? Turn to Jesus and He’ll give you “a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (v. 3).
Although just thirteen years old, DeAvion took up a challenge to serve others. He and his mom had heard a story about a man who called on kids to mow fifty lawns for free during their summer break. Their focus was to assist veterans, single moms, people with disabilities—or anyone who just needed help. The founder (who had mowed fifty lawns in fifty states) created the challenge to teach the importance of work ethic and giving back to the community. Despite the heat and other activities a teenager could pursue in the summer, DeAvion chose to serve others and completed the challenge.
The challenge to serve comes to believers in Jesus as well. The evening before He would die for all people, Jesus ate dinner with His friends (John 13:1–2). He was well aware of the suffering and death He would soon encounter, yet He got up from the meal, wrapped a towel around Himself, and began to wash His disciples’ feet (vv. 3–5). “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet,” He said (v. 14).
Jesus, the humble Servant and our example, cared for people: He healed the blind and sick, taught the good news of His kingdom, and gave His life for His friends. Because Christ loves you, ask Him who He wants you to serve this week.
Sue’s family was falling apart before her eyes. Her husband had suddenly left the home, and she and her children were confused and angry. She asked him to go for marriage counseling with her, but he wouldn’t because he claimed the problems were hers. Panic and hopelessness set in when she realized he might never come back. Would she be able to care for herself and her children alone?
Hagar, a servant of Abraham and Sarah, faced those thoughts as well. Impatient for God to give them a son as promised (Genesis 12, 15), Sarah gave Hagar to her husband to have a child by her. “So Hagar gave birth to . . . Ishmael” (Genesis 16:1–4, 15). However, when God fulfilled His promise and Sarah gave birth to Isaac, family tensions erupted such that Abraham sent Hagar away with their son Ishmael with just some water and food (Genesis 21:8–21). Can you imagine her desperation? Soon they ran out of provisions in the desert. Not knowing what to do and not wanting to see her son die, Hagar put Ishmael under a bush and walked a distance away. They both began to sob. But “God heard the boy crying” (v. 17). He heard their cries, provided for their needs, and was with them.
Times of desperation when we feel all alone cause us to cry out to God. What a comfort to know that during those moments and throughout our lives, God hears us, provides for us, and stays near to us.
Everything felt drastically different in their new country—new language, schools, customs, traffic, and weather. They wondered how they would ever adjust. People from a nearby church gathered around them to help them in their new life in a new land. Patti took the couple shopping at a local food market to show them what’s available and how to purchase items. As they wandered around the market, their eyes widened and they smiled broadly when they saw their favorite fruit from their homeland—pomegranates. They bought one for each of their children and even placed one in Patti’s hands in gratefulness. The small fruit and new friends brought big comfort in their strange, new land.
God, through Moses, gave a list of laws for His people, which included a command to treat foreigners among them “as your native-born” (Leviticus 19:34). “Love them as yourself,” God further commanded. Jesus called this the second greatest commandment after loving God (Matthew 22:39). For even God “watches over the foreigner” (Psalm 146:9).
Besides obeying God as we help new friends adapt to life in our country, we may be reminded that we too in a real sense are “strangers on earth” (Hebrews 11:13). And we’ll grow in our anticipation of the new heavenly land to come.
A young mom followed behind her daughter, who pedaled her tiny bike as fast as her little legs could go. But picking up more speed than she wanted, the little girl suddenly rolled off the bike and cried that her ankle hurt. Her mom quietly got down on her knees, bent down low, and kissed it to “make the pain go away.” And it worked! The little girl jumped up, climbed back on her bike, and pedaled on. Don’t you wish all our pains could go away that easily!
The apostle Paul experienced the comfort of God in his continual struggles yet kept going. He listed some of those trials in 2 Corinthians 11:23–29: floggings, beatings, stonings, sleep deprivation, hunger, care for all the churches. He learned intimately that God is “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,” as he first declared in chapter one, verse three. Another version translates those verses this way: “He is the Father who gives tender love” (
God’s loving ways of comforting us are many and varied. He may give us a Scripture verse that encourages us to continue on or a special note or phone call from a friend that touches our spirit. While the struggle may not go away, because God bends down low to help us, we can get up and pedal on.