Articles | December 2018

  • Keeping Pace with God

    Devotionals | December 31, 2018

    God’s timetable and plan are often different from our own. We may be tempted to run ahead of Him, moving in our own strength and forgetting to keep pace with His Spirit. Alternatively, we may find ourselves lagging behind Him, unsure and even fearful of moving forward. When you reach the end of a day—or week, month, or year—do you find yourself discouraged at what remains to be done? Instead of giving in to pride, fear, or discouragement, let’s keep in step with God.

    Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. –Galatians 5:25

  • Wisdom Calls

    Devotionals | December 28, 2018

    God offers us His wisdom to guide us through life. Scripture brings us the wisdom of the ages. In its pages, we see God interacting with people to lead and guide them to live in relationship with Him. In Jesus, we see love, truth, mercy, and wisdom in action. The Spirit of Truth calls to us, convincing us of our need for wisdom and pouring God’s wisdom into the hearts and minds of those who respond. Where do you need God’s wisdom?

  • The Worrying and Fearful Leader

    Blog | Charles Stone | December 27, 2018

    Worry and anxiety can stifle the effectiveness of the best leader. In my life, when anxiety gets the best of me, my leadership always suffers. So what goes on in the mind of a leader when he or she worries and what can we do about it? Consider these suggestions.

    When we feel anxious, a process in our brain starts because God created our brains to help us survive. When we feel threatened and anxious from a roar we hear outside our tent while camping or from a roar from a nasty email, it initiates a flight-fight response in our bodies.

  • Longings Fulfilled

    Devotionals | December 26, 2018

    Shepherds were surprised by an angelic host who sent them to find a newborn child in a manger. Simeon’s and Anna’s longings of a lifetime were fulfilled when they saw the infant Jesus, God’s Anointed One. The Magi followed a star for great distances, certain that at the end of their quest lay One who deserved their treasure. Yet others living in Bethlehem failed to perceive God’s presence in their midst. What longings drive your pursuits? Do they ultimately lead you to Jesus as your hope and the fulfillment of all your longings?

  • Worthy

    Devotionals | December 25, 2018

    Consider the ordinary events of Jesus’ birth. A little boy was born, took His first breaths, and was swaddled, just like any other newborn. But He was far from ordinary. This child’s conception and birth were announced by angels. Shepherds and Magi alike came to worship Him. He offers the right to become children of God to all who recognize, receive, and trust Him.

  • The Gift of Presence

    Devotionals | December 24, 2018

    God gave the gift of His presence to the world in Jesus, Immanuel (“God with us”). Jesus gave His Spirit to live within us. Just as God sent Jesus, He also sends us to reflect His unconditional love, grace, forgiveness, and encouragement to others. Where has God sent you? Are there people in your life who need to experience God’s life-giving presence? How will you reflect His presence to them today?

  • Trusted Friends

    Devotionals | December 21, 2018

    What a gift it is when people come alongside us to speak words of faith and affirmation! Think of the encouragement that both Elizabeth and Mary found together during their pregnancies. Two women—one young, one old, both unexpectedly pregnant—were able to encourage and strengthen one another. We need people with whom we can share what God has done, what God is doing, and what we are counting on Him to do. We need people who will come alongside us, pray for us, and point us to God’s wisdom and sufficiency.

  • Unexpected Developments

    Devotionals | December 19, 2018

    After Mary and Joseph made their commitment to one another public, God intervened in their lives in unexpected ways. To say that Gabriel’s announcement caught them by surprise is an understatement; this was not news either of them had been expecting. Caesar’s census unexpectedly sent them to Bethlehem. Later, Herod’s hatred caused them to flee to Egypt. This was not the life they had planned, but God carried them through it all, providing for them in equally unexpected ways. He will do the same for you. Where is He calling you to trust Him in the unexpected?

  • Get in the Boat and Row

    Blog | Christine Vogelsang | December 18, 2018

    Oh, look at the eagle! It’s so quiet and peaceful, I could drift along for hours.”


    “Hey! What are you doing back there! We’re all supposed to be paddling. No wonder it seemed like we were doing all the work!”

    Sheepishly I grabbed my paddle and began to dip it into the pristine Alaskan lake, more vigorously each time my husband glanced back to check on me. I’m not usually one to shirk my responsibilities, but I had to admit I was taking advantage of being in the back seat of our three-man kayak.