‘The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.’ John 3:8
Suggested Further Reading: Song of Solomon 4:12–16
I have known ministers who had some peculiar idiosyncrasy of experience which was not important; but their people all began to think and talk in the same way, and to have the same doubts and fears. Now that will not do. It is not the way in which the Most High acts with regard to the wind, and if he chooses to take all the points of the compass, and make use of them all, let us bless and glorify his name. Are not the different winds various in their qualities? Few of us like an east wind. Most of us are very glad when the wind blows from the south. Vegetation seems to love the south-west. A stiff north-easter is enough to make us perish; and long continuance of the north wind may well freeze the whole earth; while from the west, the wind seems to come laden with health from the sea; and though sometimes too strong for the sick, yet it is never a bad time when the west wind blows. The ancients all had their different opinions about wind; some were dry, some were rainy, some affected this disease, some touched this part of men, some the other. Certain it is that God’s Holy Spirit has different qualities. In the Canticles he blows softly with the sweet breath of love: turn on farther, and you get the same Spirit blowing fiercely with threatening and denunciation; sometimes you find him convincing the world ‘of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment;’ that is the north wind: at other times opening up Christ to the sinner, and giving him joy and comfort; that is the south wind, that blows softly, and gives a balminess in which poor troubled hearts rejoice; and yet ‘all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit.’
For meditation: When the Holy Spirit blows like a wind, healthy effects follow, for example, causing the Scriptures to be written (2 Peter 1:21), stimulating the early church into evangelism (Acts 2:1–2) and bringing sinners to new birth (John 3:8). Beware of other winds and their unhealthy spiritual effects (Ephesians 4:14).
Sermon no. 630
23 May (Undated Sermon)
I am your shield of protection. Many times you wonder where I am in the midst of the battle that rages around you. You feel abandoned on the battlefield. Don’t be afraid and don’t lose faith. I am here, and I am always victorious. I will protect you, but you must trust Me. Sometimes I will lead you to shelter for safety and restoration. Other times I will ask you to join Me on the front line in the heat of the battle. The truth is, I can kill any giant that threatens your life, but, just like David the shepherd boy, it’s up to you to march forward, pick up the stones, and face your giant. I love to prove My strength when the odds are the greatest and hope is the smallest. I am truly your shelter and your deliverer–I will protect you no matter where you are.
Your King and your Protector
You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance. – Psalm 32:7 (NIV)
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Popular podcaster and author Knox McCoy offers readers a unique blend of humor, Bible stories, pop culture references, and personal stories that show how asking tough questions and approaching life with a willingness to reconsider ideas can allow them to grow in their faith.
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The heart-stirring story of how the father of a young woman killed in the Oklahoma City bombing and the father of her killer, Timothy McVeigh, forged an unlikely friendship and found forgiveness.
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Tani Adewumi didn’t know what Boko Haram was or why they had threatened his family. All he knew was that when his parents told the family was going to America, Tani thought it was the start of a great adventure rather than an escape. In truth, his family’s journey to the United States was nothing short of miraculous—and the miracles were just beginning. Tani’s father, Kayode, became a dishwasher and Uber driver while Tani’s mother, Oluwatoyin, cleaned buildings, while the family lived in a homeless shelter. Eight-year-old Tani jumped into his new life with courage and perseverance—and an unusual mind for chess. After joining the chess club in his public school, Tani practiced his game for hours in the evenings at the shelter. And less than a year after he learned to play, Tani won the New York State chess championship.
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Healthy Me, Healthy Us: Your Relationships Are Only as Strong as You Are
Relationship skills, tips, and tactics? Sure. They have their place. But meaningful relationships–the kind we all long for–grow from something deeper, something stronger, something that has more to do with being than doing.
This Too Shall Last: Finding Grace When Suffering Lingers
This Too Shall Last offers an antidote to our cultural idolatry of effort and ease. Through personal story and insights from neuroscience and theology, Ramsey invites us to let our tears become lenses of the wonder that before God ever rescues us, he stands in solidarity with us. We are all mid-story in circumstances we did not choose, wondering when our hard things will end and where grace will come if they don’t. We don’t need to make suffering a before-and-after story. Together we can encounter the grace that enters the middle of our stories, where living with suffering that lingers means receiving God’s presence that lasts.
Author and filmmaker Darren Wilson takes a funny yet poignant romp through Scripture, revealing a long-time Christian’s hang-ups and fears of a God he was supposed to love. Wilson encourages readers to be honest with themselves and with God. He challenges us to face the things many Christians struggle with but are too afraid to talk about because everyone else seems to have this faith thing figured out. He believes God isn’t afraid of our questions, doubts, fears, or even our anger. The secret to peace and friendship with God lies in understanding who He really is.
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“My time has not yet come.” John 2:4
I (jcd) once attended a wedding in a beautiful garden setting. After the minister told the groom to kiss the bride, about 150 colorful, helium‐filled balloons were released into the blue sky. Within a few seconds the balloons were scattered, some rising hundreds of feet overhead and others cruising toward the horizon. A few balloons struggled to clear the upper branches of the trees, while the showoffs became mere pinpoints of color in the sky.
Like balloons, some boys and girls are born with more helium than others. They soar effortlessly to the heights, while others wobble dangerously close to the trees. Their frantic folks run along underneath, huffing and puffing to keep them airborne.
Are you a parent of a low‐flying child? Over the years, I’ve worked with hundreds of families whose children were struggling in one way or another. Based on what I’ve seen, let me pass along a word of encouragement to worried parents: Sometimes the child who has the most trouble getting off the ground eventually reaches the greatest height!
Just between us…
Heavenly Father, tonight we ask for wisdom and patience as we raise our children. We let go of our own requirements and timelines for their lives. We trust Your providence and grace. Every day, help us obey You in this great calling of being a parent. Amen.
After you have suffered a little while, [God] will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10
As strange as it seems, easy living and a stress-free existence can be disadvantageous for animals and for us humans. Think about the big male lion lying in a cage at the zoo. All his needs are met, and his hunting skills are useless. His muscles turn flabby, and he yawns his way through the day. Meanwhile, the lion that’s roaming free on the plains of Africa, stalking and competing for his next meal, remains fit and strong because of the challenges and dangers he faces.
Within limits, adversity is beneficial to you and your children, too. Troubles that require comforting leave you better able to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3–4). Physical suffering, when endured in the name of Christ, makes it easier for you to say no to sin (1 Peter 4:1). Hardships due to your faith lead to restoration and strength (1 Peter 5:9–10). Trials also produce perseverance, character, and hope (Romans 5:3). There are many other examples of this “adversity principle” at work in Scripture.
Human beings who have survived hard times are tougher, more resilient, and more compassionate than those who have never faced difficulty or pain. You might remember that the next time your family is battling adversity in the jungle of life.
Before you say good night…
Do you try, out of love, to sweep aside every hurdle and difficulty encountered by your children?
Do you fight their battles for them?
Are you helping or handicapping them by this assistance?
Lord, it is so difficult to watch our children struggle—and so tempting to fight their battles for them. Please grant us wisdom and restraint when You are using adversity to shape and strengthen our sons and daughters. Amen.