When Apollo 11’s Eagle lunar module landed on the moon’s Sea of Tranquility on July 20, 1969, the space travelers took time to recover from their flight before stepping onto the moon’s surface. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin had received permission to bring bread and wine so he could take communion. After reading Scripture, he tasted the first foods ever consumed on the moon. Later, he wrote: “I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup.” As Aldrin enjoyed this celestial communion, his actions proclaimed his belief in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and the guarantee of His second coming.
The apostle Paul encourages us to remember how Jesus sat with His disciples “on the night he was betrayed” (1 Corinthians 11:23). The Lord compared His soon-to-be sacrificed body to the bread (v. 24). He declared the wine as a symbol of “the new covenant” that secured our forgiveness and salvation through His blood shed on the cross (v. 25). Whenever and wherever we take communion, we’re proclaiming our trust in the reality of Jesus’ sacrifice and our hope in His promised second coming (v. 26).
No matter where we are, we can celebrate our faith in the one and only risen and returning Savior‒our Lord Jesus Christ‒with confidence.
Three-year-old Buddy and his mom went to church each week to help unload groceries from the food ministry truck. When Buddy overheard his mom telling his grandmother that the delivery truck broke down, he said, “Oh, no. How will they do food ministry?” His mom explained that the church would have to raise money to buy a new truck. Buddy smiled. “I have money,” he said, leaving the room. He returned with a plastic jar decorated with colorful stickers and filled with coins, which amounted to a little over $38. Though Buddy didn’t have much, God combined his sacrificial offering with gifts from others to provide a new refrigerated truck so the church could continue serving their community.
A small amount offered generously is always more than enough when placed in God’s hands. In 2 Kings 4, a poor widow asked the prophet Elisha for financial assistance. He told her to take inventory of her own resources, reach out to her neighbors for help, then follow his instructions (vv. 1–4). In a miraculous display of provision, God used the widow’s small amount of oil to fill all the jars she collected from her neighbors (vv. 5–6). Elisha told her, “Sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left” (v. 7).
When we focus on what we don’t have, we risk missing out on watching God do great things with what He’s given us.
During an October vacation, another battle with chronic pain forced me to spend the first few days recovering in our room. My mood became as overcast as the sky. When I finally ventured out to enjoy sightseeing at a nearby lighthouse with my husband, gray clouds blocked much of our view. Still, I snapped a few photos of the shadowy mountains and dull horizon.
Later, disappointed because a downpour tucked us in for the night, I skimmed through our digital pictures. Gasping, I handed my husband the camera. “A rainbow!” Focused on the gloominess earlier, I’d missed out on God refreshing my weary spirit with the unexpected glimpse of hope (Genesis 9:13–15).
Physical or emotional suffering can often drag us down into the depths of despair. Desperate for refreshment, we thirst for reminders of God’s constant presence and infinite power (Psalm 42:1–3). As we recall the countless times our Lord has come through for us and for others in the past, we can trust our hope is secured in Him no matter how downcast we feel in the moment (vv. 4–5).
When bad attitudes or difficult circumstances dim our vision, God invites us to call on Him, read His Word, and trust His faithfulness (vv. 7–11). As we seek the Lord, we can rely on Him to help us spot rainbows of hope arched over the darkest days. Hallelujah!
In the spring of 2021, several storm-chasers recorded videos and took photos of a rainbow next to a tornado in Texas. In one video, long stalks of wheat in a field bent under the power of the whirling winds. A brilliant rainbow cut across the gray skyline and arched toward the twister. Bystanders in another video stood on the side of the road and watched the symbol of hope standing firm beside the twisting funnel-shaped cloud.
In Psalm 107, the psalmist offers hope and encourages us to turn to God during difficult times. He describes some who were in the middle of a storm, “at their wits’ end” (v. 27). “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress” (v. 28).
God understands His children will sometimes struggle to feel hopeful when life feels like a storm. We need reminders of His faithfulness, especially when the horizon looks dark and tumultuous.
Whether our storms come as substantial obstacles in our lives, as emotional turmoil, or as mental stress, God can still our storms “to a whisper” and guide us to a place of refuge (vv. 29–30). Though we may not experience relief in our preferred way or time, we can trust God to keep the promises He’s given in Scripture. His enduring hope will cut through any storm.
After I became a believer in Jesus, I shared the gospel with my mother. Instead of making a decision to trust Jesus, as I expected, she stopped speaking to me for a year. Her bad experiences with people who claimed to follow Jesus made her distrust believers in Christ. I prayed for her and reached out to her weekly. The Holy Spirit comforted me and continued working on my heart as my mom gave me the silent treatment. When she finally answered my phone call, I committed to loving her and sharing God’s truth with her whenever I had the opportunity. Months after our reconciliation, she said I’d changed. Almost a year later, she received Jesus as her Savior. Our relationship deepened.
Believers in Jesus have access to the greatest gift given to humanity—Christ. The apostle Paul says we’re to “spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere” (2 Corinthians 2:14). He refers to those who share the gospel as “the pleasing aroma of Christ” to those who believe, but acknowledges we reek of death to those who reject Jesus (vv. 15–16).
After we receive Christ as our Savior, we have the privilege of using our limited time on earth to spread His life-changing truth while loving others. Even during our hardest and loneliest moments, we can trust He’ll provide what we need. No matter what the personal cost, God’s good news is always worth sharing.
After a friend ended our decade-long friendship without explanation, I began slipping back into my old habit of keeping people at arms’ length. While processing my grief, I pulled a tattered copy of The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis off my shelf. Lewis makes a powerful observation about love requiring vulnerability. He states there’s “no safe investment” when a person…
When a friend asked me to speak with teen girls at a workshop promoting purity, I declined. As a teenage runaway, I struggled and had decades of scars caused by my immorality. After getting married and losing our first child to a miscarriage, I thought God was punishing me for my past sins. When I finally surrendered my life to Christ at the age of thirty, I confessed my sins and repented . . . repeatedly. Still, guilt and shame consumed me. How could I share about God’s grace when I couldn’t even bring myself to fully receive the gift of His great love for me? Thankfully, over time, God has abolished the lies that chained me to who I was before I confessed my sins. By His grace, I’ve finally received the forgiveness God had been offering me all along.
God understands our laments over our afflictions and the consequences of our past sins. However, He empowers His people to overcome despair, turn from our sins, and arise with hope in His great “love,” “compassion,” and “faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:19–23). Scripture says that God Himself is our portion—our hope and salvation—and we can learn to trust His goodness (vv. 24–26).
Our compassionate Father helps us believe His promises. When we receive the fullness of His great love for us, we can spread the good news about His grace.
In Martin Handford’s book Where’s Waldo? a series of children’s puzzle books first created in 1987, the elusive character wears a red and white striped shirt and socks with a matching hat, blue jeans, brown boots, and glasses. Handford has cleverly hidden Waldo in plain sight within the busy illustrations filled with crowds of characters at various locations around the world. Waldo isn’t always easy to see, but the creator promises readers will always be able to find him. Though looking for God isn’t really like looking for Waldo in a puzzle book, our Creator promises we can find Him, too.
Through the prophet Jeremiah, God instructs His people on how to live as foreigners in exile (Jeremiah 29:4–9). He promises to protect them until He restores them according to His perfect plan (vv. 10–11). God assures the Israelites that the fulfillment of His promise will deepen their commitment to call on Him in prayer (v. 12).
Today, even though God has revealed Himself in the story and Spirit of Jesus, it can be easy to get distracted by the busyness in this world. We may even be tempted to ask, “Where’s God?” However, the Creator and Sustainer of all things declares that those who belong to Him will always find Him if they seek Him with all their hearts (vv. 13–14).
In a small farming community, news travels fast. Several years after the bank sold the farm David’s family had owned for decades, he learned the property would be available for sale. After much sacrifice and saving, David arrived at the auction and joined a crowd of nearly two hundred local farmers. Would David’s meager bid be enough? He placed the first bid, taking deep breaths as the auctioneer called for higher bids. The crowd remained silent until they heard the slam of the gavel. The fellow farmers placed the needs of David and his family above their own financial advancement.
This story about the farmers’ sacrificial act of kindness demonstrates the way the apostle Paul urges followers of Christ to live. Paul warns us not to conform to the “pattern of this world” (Romans 12:2), by placing our selfish desires before the needs of others and scrambling for self-preservation. Instead, we can trust God to meet our needs as we serve others. As the Holy Spirit “renews” our minds, we can respond to situations with God-honoring love and motives. Placing others first can help us avoid thinking too highly of ourselves as God reminds us that we’re a part of something bigger—the church (vv. 3-4).
The Holy Spirit helps believers understand and obey God’s Word. He empowers us to give selflessly and love generously, so we can thrive together as one.