Do you ever have weeks where things get so heavy, painful, or discouraging that you find yourself saying, “If I can just make it till ———— everything will be alright”? It may be a stretch of serious work travel, or an upcoming meeting that I am dreading. I may think, “I’ll be able to thrive, have joy, or enjoy life more after . . . .”

Is God’s blessing seen in financial affluence? In marriage? In having children? A good job? Think again.

God intends for us to have and display His power each and every day. It’s the good news of the indwelling Christ—“Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27 NIV). Are you experiencing it?

God has called us to be influencers for the Kingdom in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and communities. We can each attest that it’s not always smooth sailing. When things get rough as followers of Christ, we have access to a precious commodity—hope.

Do you have any uncertainty in your life right now?  One of the promises that Jesus left with us was the promise of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ words are a New Testament response to something God promised long ago through the prophet Isaiah.

A picture comes to mind every time I think of Isaiah 41:13. It’s a picture from long ago, when my kids were small, of me walking with one of my daughters—she’s holding my right hand. What confidence it gave her, a little toddler unsure of the rocks on the path, to take the next step. Why? Because of whose right hand she was holding!

When you run into challenges in life, what’s your first reaction?  I’d like to say that I always turn to God right away and remember His promises to me. But if I’m honest, I often turn to other places more quickly. When challenges come up, I try to remember this specific promise from Jesus.

In my last post, I talked about trusting and resting in the God who hears and acts on our behalf. One of the ways He does this is by transforming the ruins of our lives into something beautiful.

This life, even for those who stay close to Jesus, is punctuated with painful events. Ever wonder why God must use difficulties – the ash experiences in our lives – to create beauty in and through us? I have on numerous occasions. And while Pam and I have experienced our share of ashes, we have friends who have had more painful experiences: physical illness, spousal unfaithfulness, prolonged unemployment, wounding from past trauma and illness or death of children.

As a 34-year-old, I led a group on a weekend getaway during a mission trip in Indonesia. That day was an outdoorsman’s delight: hiking to the rim of a volcano! It hadn't erupted in 16 years so it was supposed to be a safe yet adventuresome voyage. Go figure—the volcano erupted.

The recent Waldo Canyon Fire that consumed our home has caused me to think about other times I have encountered flames. (I'm noticing a new theme in my life!) I remember one incident when, as a 27-year-old dad, I used "improper fuel" to start the gas grill.