Archive for June, 2022


Written by Sergei Sosedkin, a contemporary pastor and native of Moscow, Russia.

If you ever meet ungrateful people, you know how much they can discourage you from doing good. Just recently we mailed a free Bible to one of our listeners. A few weeks later he sent us an angry letter saying that we sent a wrong translation in a cheap cover and with a font that isn’t large enough. Of course, there are many times when we ourselves display ungratefulness to others. Sadly, it comes to us so naturally that we often don’t even notice we have been unthankful to the people around us. It’s no wonder that the apostle Paul includes ungratefulness in his list of common sins peculiar to “the last days,” the era that began with Christ’s first coming. Obviously, being ungrateful is a serious thing in our social interactions, for it hurts others. But being ungrateful can also be deadly in our spiritual life, for it hurts God and damages our soul. Being ungrateful to Jesus means discounting his salvation and turning away from him. That’s why the Bible teaches us to carefully examine our hearts. The best biblical antidote for an ungrateful heart is this: “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1). Only by looking to the cross of Christ can we attain God-pleasing thankfulness.


Written by Sergei Sosedkin, author of today’s meditation.

Lord, fill our hearts with thanksgiving to you for your love and salvation in Christ. Teach us to love our neighbors by showing our gratitude to them too. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Longing for Rescue


Written by Eric Gagnon, a contemporary pastor and author.

From the time of the kings, to the exile and destruction of Jerusalem, to the rebuilding of the new temple, mankind has longed for rescue. When left to ourselves, we look for rescue through tangible things: people, institutions, things we can see and feel. Many are good gifts and provision from God. But only God can rescue us from the mess we’ve made on earth. Thankfully, God’s story, His Word, speaks truth and wisdom into this mess. God’s Word gives and brings true hope when it may feel that there is none.

God went before His people in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. God remained with His people in the Holy of Holies in the temple. Both through visual evidence. God was “with” them. Yet, I am reminded of Jesus’ words in John 20:29, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” There is more to God than we will ever be able to see with our eyes. It’s always been God’s intention to “dwell with man on the earth” (2 Chronicles 6:18). He walked with us in the garden of Eden and intends to walk with us again when He returns. But when we see God in heaven, however grand His glory will be on that day, the face we look at will be none other than the face of Jesus.


Written by Eric Gagnon, author of today’s meditation.

Heavenly Father, thank you for holding up a mirror to our own hearts as we read about your people in the past. We long to see You and be with You in greater ways. We often long for rescue, perhaps by You, but adding whatever else it is we can see and hold on to. Help us to let go of hoping in anything else but You for life and godliness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Longing for Security


Written by Joel Muddamalle, a contemporary pastor, theologian, author, and teacher. This is an excerpt from his article “Longing for Security.”

Take a moment and consider what makes you feel safe. For some of us, it’s a particular person or people, like our family. For others, it’s the comfort and familiarity of home. Still, for others, it’s access to tangible resources or objects that provide a sense of stability in what can often feel like a very unstable world…After years of insecurity and captivity in Egypt, the Israelites surely held to God’s promise that He would give them their own home, a place flowing with “milk and honey” (Exodus 3:17). And yet, after their captivity in Egypt, they spent much of their time wandering and waiting to arrive at the land God promised. As we follow the story of the Israelites, we discover that their journey to the promised land was as important, if not more important than their actual arrival in the promised land. Why? Because along the way the Israelites learned how to trust. They had to trust in God’s direction, protection, and provision…God used the Israelite’s journey as an opportunity for them to learn to trust in Him as their God who provided for and protected them. This was an important lesson to learn before they experienced the abundance in the promised land. Afterward, it would have been easy for them to shift their trust from God as their source of security to cities, walls, armies, and kingdoms…What if the journey or wilderness that we’re experiencing right now is God’s invitation to put our reliance and confidence in Him? If we view our experience through this lens, we may gain a security that enables us to sleep soundly through the night because it’s grounded in the knowledge that God is in control and nothing can fall out of His grip. Therefore, all is well.


Written by Brigid of Kildare (451-525), one of Ireland’s patron saints, a nun and foundress of several monasteries of nuns.

I arise today

Through a mighty strength:

God’s power to guide me,

God’s might to uphold me,

God’s eyes to watch over me;

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s word to give me speech,

God’s hand to guard me,

God’s way to lie before me,

God’s shield to shelter me,

God’s host to secure me.

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The Pursuit of God


Written by A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), a pastor, author, magazine editor, and spiritual mentor.  This is an excerpt from his book “The Pursuit of God.”

Retire from the world each day to some private spot even if it be only the bedroom (for a while I retreated to the furnace room for want of a better place). Stay in the secret place till the surrounding noises begin to fade out of your heart ad a sense of God’s presence envelopes you…Listen for the inward Voice till you learn to recognize it. Stop trying to compete with others. Give yourself to God and then be what and who you are without regard to what others think.


Written by Bonnie Gray, a contemporary author. This prayer is from her book “Why it Takes Courage to Choose Joy.”

Dear Heavenly Father, help me to hear your voice. Touch me once again. Give me the courage to be your beloved. Give me courage to choose joy. I need you now. Be born in me again. Today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Written by Aaron D. Gerrard, a contemporary facilitator at a new church community.

Before Genesis 3, creation was as it was meant to be. After sin entered the scene, creation became distorted. Where there was once shalom, there is now disunity and brokenness. Where human intimacy with others and the Father once created a picture of compassion, love, and togetherness, there is now the marginalizing of people and injustice. Things are out of sorts. Spending time in church, you quickly notice the word “righteousness” popping up with regularity. Throughout Scripture the word is commonplace. God is righteous. Unfortunately, the word “righteousness” is often understood as a state of being. This isn’t entirely wrong, but it’s certainly incomplete. When the Scriptures speak of God’s righteousness, it’s more like an invasion of his goodness, or an active righting of wrongs. It is justice in the face of injustice. It is shalom in the face of disunity. This is essential to understanding our being transformed into righteous people through the Spirit’s work in us. As we become righteous as God is righteous, we are drawn into his movement of righting wrong, of removing the distorted view of creation. Psalm 85 poetically puts this movement of God into perspective. As Christians who are being shaped into the image of the Son, we walk as righteous people, playing our part in seeing that justice and peace walk together hand-in-hand in God’s creation restoration project. We’re not just being made right, we’re doing right.


A prayer from the Common Lectionary of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library.

Fill us with your strength

to resist the seductions of our foolish desires

and the tempter’s vain delights,

that we may walk in obedience and righteousness, rejoicing in you with an upright heart. Amen.

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Written by Dave Collins, a contemporary pastor, missionary, educator, international development worker, and founder of Paradigm Ministries.

I have watched you, Lord, through the lens of my own desperation. Bills coming due, income uncertain. I have watched you meet my needs, then go beyond the need to pleasures. Then go beyond the pleasures to blessings, then beyond the blessings to extravagance. It overwhelmed me. What I didn’t realize was that, in the extravagance, I shifted my sights to the blessings rather than to their Source. I began to look to see what else you would do instead of keeping my eyes on you. Your somehow became secondary to what I was receiving. The subtlety of blessing is that it is good; it is meant to be enjoyed. It isn’t meant to replace the pleasure of intimacy with God. Rather, it is designed to enhance it. So the question comes down to: When abundance becomes the norm, how can I keep my soul needy rather than distracted? What enables me to purchase extravagance? It is my willingness, my thirst. It draws me to want more. It doesn’t cease to be needy because it recognizes what is good and also what does not satisfy. Don’t become so enamored with the blessing that you pursue it rather than the Source. His invitation, though whispered, still penetrates to the place where I can hear him. “Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good…Give ear and come to me; listen that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you…”


Written by Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109), a Benedictine monk, abbot, philosopher, and Christian theologian. He served as the archbishop of Canterbury from 1093-1109.

O almighty and merciful Father,

you pour out your benefits on us,

forgive our unthankfulness for your goodness.

We have stood before you with dead and senseless hearts,

unkindled by the love

of your gentle and enduring goodness.

O merciful Father, turn us and we will be turned.

Make us hunger and thirst for you with our whole heart,

and with all our longing desire you.

Make us serve you with our whole heart

and with all our zeal seek whatever is pleasing in your sight;

for the sake of your only Son,

to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be all honor and glory,

for ever and ever. Amen.

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Wit’s End Corner


Written by Antoinette Wilson, published in the October 1912 edition of Trust Magazine.

Are you standing at “Wit’s End Corner,”
Christian, with troubled brow?
Are you thinking of what is before you,
And all you are bearing now?
Does all the world seem against you,
And you in the battle alone?
Remember–at “Wit’s End Corner”
Is just where God’s power is shown.
Are you standing at “Wit’s End Corner,”
Blinded with wearying pain,
Feeling you cannot endure it,
You cannot bear the strain,
Bruised through the constant suffering,
Dizzy, and dazed, and numb?
Remember–at “Wit’s End Corner”
Is where Jesus loves to come.
Are you standing at “Wit’s End Corner”?
Your work before you spread,
All lying begun, unfinished,
And pressing on heart and head,
Longing for strength to do it,
Stretching out trembling hands?
Remember–at. “Wit’s End Corner”
The Burden-bearer stands.
Are you standing at “Wit’s End Corner”?
Then you’re just in the very spot
To learn the wondrous resources
Of Him who faileth not:
No doubt to a brighter pathway
Your footsteps will soon be moved,
But only at “Wit’s End Corner”
Is the “God who is able” proved.


Written by Martin Luther ((1483-1546), a German professor of theology, composer, priest, monk, and leader of the Protestant Reformation.

Merciful, eternal God, you did not spare your own Son, but gave him up for us all to bear our sins on the cross. Give our hearts such faith that we may never be frightened or despair; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Life in the Kingdom


Written by Dallas Willard (1935-2013), an American philosopher, speaker, and author  known for his writings on Christian spiritual formation. This is an excerpt from his book “Renovation of the Heart.”

The vision of life in the kingdom through reliance upon Jesus makes it possible for us to intend to live in the kingdom as he did. We can actually decide to do it. Of course, that means first of all to trust him, rely on him, to count on him being the Anointed One, the Christ. It is through him that the revelation and the gift of the kingdom come to us individually. If we do not count on him as “the One,” we will have no adequate vision of the kingdom or of life therein and no way to enter it. He is “the door;” he is “the way.” Find another whoever can. Concretely, we intend to live in the kingdom of God by intending to obey the precise example and teachings of Jesus. This is the form that trust in him takes. It does not take the form of merely believing things about him, however true they may be. Indeed, no one can actually believe the truth about him without trusting him by intending to obey him. It is a mental impossibility. To think otherwise is to indulge in a widespread illusion that now smothers spiritual formation in Christlikeness among professing Christians and prevents it from naturally spreading worldwide. Gandhi, who had looked closely at Christianity as practiced around him in Great Britain remarked that if only Christians would live according to their belief in the teachings of Jesus, “we all would become Christians.” We know what he meant, and he was right in that. But the dismaying truth is that the Christians were living according to their “belief” in the teachings of Jesus. They didn’t believe him!  Moreover, knowing the “right answers”—knowing which ones they are, being able to identify them—does not mean we believe them. To believe them, like believing anything else, means that we set to act as if they (the right answers) are true and that we will do so in appropriate circumstances. And acting as if the right answers are true means, in turn, that we intend to obey the example and teachings of Jesus the Anointed. What else would we intend if we believed he is who his people through the ages have declared him to be? Perhaps the hardest thing for sincere Christians to come to grips with is the level of real unbelief in their own life: the unformulated skepticism about Jesus that permeates all dimensions of their being and undermines what efforts they do make toward Christlikeness. The idea that you can trust Christ and intend not to obey him is an illusion generated by the prevalence of an unbelieving “Christian culture.”


Today’s prayer is from a common lectionary from the Vanderbilt Divinity Library.

God of the covenant,

in the glory of the cross

your Son embraced the power of death

and broke its hold over your people.

In this time of repentance,

draw all people to yourself,

that we who confess Jesus as Lord

may put aside the deeds of death

and accept the life of your kingdom. Amen.

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Worship God


Written by N.T. Wright, a contemporary theologian, author, and speaker. This is an excerpt from his book “Simply Christian.”

Because Christian worship is the celebratory praise and adoration of God the creator, one of its key tasks is to tell, in a thousand different ways, the story of creation and new creation. But if we try merely to celebrate creation the way it now is, concealing its flaws and horrors behind pious language, Christian worship can easily deteriorate and become trivial or sentimental. Wise Christian worship takes fully into account the fact that creation has gone horribly wrong, has been so corrupted and spoiled that a great fault line runs right down the middle of it—and down the middle of all of us, who, as image-bearing human beings, were meant to be taking care of it. That’s why Christian worship is also the glad celebration of God’s action in the past in Jesus the Messiah, and of the promise that what he accomplished in dying for our sins will be completed. In other words, worship of God as redeemer, the lover and rescuer of the world, must always accompany and complete the worship of God as creator. This means, of course, telling the story of the rescue operation as well as of creation. Indeed, it means telling the story of salvation precisely as the story of the rescue and renewal of creation. Telling the story, rehearsing the mighty acts of God: this is near the heart of Christian worship. We know God through what he has done in creation, in Israel, and supremely in Jesus, and what he has done in his people and in the world through the Holy Spirit. Christian worship is praise of this God, the one who has done these things. And the place we find the God-given account of these events is of course scripture: the Bible.


Today’s prayer is an ancient collect from the 6th century.

 Bless all who worship You, from the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same. Of Your goodness, give us; with Your love, inspire us, by Your spirit guide us; by Your power, protect us; in Your mercy receive us now and always. Amen.

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Shallowly Formed


Written by Rich Villodas, a contemporary pastor and author.  This is an excerpt from his book “The Deeply Formed Life.”

On the upper decks of the Titanic, there was amazing luxury—conspicuous opulence and riches. In stark contrast were the lower decks, where poverty-stricken passengers resided. A few days after the Titanic sailed, it struck an iceberg, and disaster was shared by all on board, no matter their socioeconomic status…For those up on top, there was a tragic obliviousness. Everything still looked magnificent immediately after the iceberg struck; life was great. But on the lower level, where the iceberg hit, it was a different story. Soon enough, the issues (the water) of the lower level began to rise to the upper deck. The Titanic broke up and was consumed by the icy depths. You can see the metaphor: sooner or later the issues on life’s lower decks, though we remain oblivious, will rise to the top. Truthfully, there are many with us (in our families, churches, schools, and workplaces) who are in the same boat, all unwittingly in danger of being broken up and sucked down. In fact, it often can feel as though our entire world is going under. Pushing the metaphor a bit further, on the upper decks of our social media lives, things can also look great – impressive, even. We like to put ourselves forward as competent, capable people. But as a pastor, I’ve repeatedly seen the truth behind the images we carefully curate…Topside people can look so content, joyful, and successful, but privately beneath they’ll confess suicidal thoughts, drug addictions, marital affairs, debilitating shame, inner rage, and so much more—I see the icy waters rising. It’s a wake-up call…It is in those very lower decks where our spiritual lives take true shape and texture. But notoriously, we won’t take time to go deep down within because we have often been discipled into superficiality—and in the name of Jesus no less. This superficiality works against us as we try to navigate some of the most complex issues of our world, whether related to our emotional health or the complexities of race, sexuality, and justice. How are we to experience wholeness in our own personal lives while being instruments of healing in a world that is breaking apart around us? To start, we must live in a different place. We have to go down to the lower decks…Jesus wants to transform our entire beings, not just the part that shows. Yet Christianity in the Western world is often marginalized as a life accessory rather than the means of powerful life transformation…The work God wants to do in us requires us to look within: to look deeper and be deeply formed. Because we are covertly and consistently being formed by a culture fashioned by shallowness. We are being shallowly formed…by our false selves, our families of origin, the manipulated presentations of social media, and the value system of a world that determines worth based on accomplishments, possessions, efficiency, intellectual acumen, and gifts. We need to be regularly called back to the essence of our lives in God…Christ being formed in us.


Written by Jane Holloway, the National Prayer Director of  the World Prayer Centre in Birmingham, England.

Holy God, our only hope is in You. We thank you for the past, trust you for today and believe for the future; that all Your promises will come to pass so we can rest forever in Your love. Amen.

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