"Journeys with Jesus" is an intimate, personal look at the walk we all have with our Savior. Inspirational, heart-tugging, thought-provoking vignettes of life's journey and life's decisions. Most of all, it points us to our Father, our Friend, as the Source of all wisdom, comfort, and peace. Jill Morikone is the vice president and chief operations officer for Three Angels Broadcasting Network.  She and her husband, Greg, live in Illinois and enjoy ministering together. www.adventistreview.org

We wouldn’t ridicule a child who said to us, “I’m really scared. Please hold my hand.” We wouldn’t taunt a hurricane survivor, “Snap out it. Get on with life.” Because we’re human, we know fear. Hurt and pain may come our way; events may spin beyond control; we could lose those that we can’t live without. When all the world is afraid, let’s honor those who own their fear with honesty. It is no sin to be afraid. The fault lies only when we let our fears erode what heaven says we owe each other—grace and truth and gentleness. There’s no just cause for hate or hoarding, prejudice or wounds. Our worry need not make us lose our wits. A hundred times the Bible says, “Don’t be afraid,” or as the better versions have it, “You can stop being afraid now.” There’s just one things that calms our fears—the truth that we aren’t left alone. “Peace I leave with you,” the Lord who calmed the storms declares. “My peace I give to you” (John 14:27). Wherever He is welcome, fear declines, then disappears. The grace that saves us also soothes us. Hear the voice above the storm. Take the hand still offered you. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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We were created for community, and nothing so upsets us as required isolation from the people who bring color, warmth, and hope into our lives. The world has quickly grown uncomfortably, unhappily too small. We huddle with our loved ones and thank God that we seem healthy. But each of us knows stories, now coming dangerously close, of illness, fear, and existential panic. Suddenly, we miss the colleague who so regularly annoyed us; the relative who made inconvenient, unannounced visits; the friendly patter when we met our neighbors in the market or the street. The sights and sounds, the rhythms and routines of life a month ago were oddly comforting when we could safely take them all for granted. And time—there seems to be too much of it; open, unplanned, unsure hours when thoughts turn endlessly to wondering: What if? What outcome? And what then? “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” the Father said to Israel (Josh 1:5). “Remember, I am with you always,” the Son promised His disciples. (Matt 28: 20). “You know Him,” Jesus said of the Spirit, “because He abides with you, and He will be in you” (John 14:17).  Eternal love still holds us. There is no better company than Father, Son, and Spirit. Held and healed, warmed, enlightened, we can weather any crisis, any quandary, any virus. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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Every ministry is experiencing disruptions to the coronavirus pandemic. But what do you do when your ministry has just launched a nationwide simultaneous evangelistic campaign at nearly 200 sites—and everything gets shut down because of an invisible virus?

Shawn Boonstra, a veteran evangelist and the speaker/director for Voice of Prophecy, talks with Adventist Review editor Bill Knott about finding God’s purposes in a baffling turn of events.  It’s not just making lemonade out lemons:  it’s about finding entirely new ways to communicate with those the Spirit is drawing. www.vop.com

“Lord, teach us to pray.”

The men who urged Jesus to educate them about prayer weren’t immature or novices.  Each of them had prayed—in penitence; for safety; for a good night’s catch—as part of a life story that led them to careers in fishing, tax collecting, and even political activism. But they had heard from Jesus—from time in close with Jesus—a whole new way of praying, one that began with an entirely new view of God.  Gone was the angry, frowning deity of their imaginations, the God who was always disappointed with them.  For they had heard their Master call this God His “Father”—even “Daddy.”  The grace they found in Jesus opened up a whole new way to pray.  And they were hungry to know more, learn more, pray more.  Grace made them passionate about prayer. So it will be with us.  When we discover what has always been true—that we are loved and held as closely as a parent holds us; that we were truly, eagerly embraced before we had a righteous thought—we unclench our bodies and our minds.  Our prayer becomes an easy, reverent conversation warmed by love, and all our fears diminish.  The Father who loved this world so much that He gave Jesus to us (John 3:16) rejoices when we trust Him, welcome Him, and tell Him everything. Grace leads us first to gratitude, and gratitude to prayer. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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What makes a natural disaster an “act of God?”  Is God the one behind the typhoons, the locust plagues—and this mysterious virus now afflicting the whole world?  Join Bill Knott, editor of Adventist Review and Adventist World for a clear, compelling study of how Christians ought to think about a world in turmoil. www.adventistreview.org

In desert canyons, ferns will flourish, sprouting from the bone-dry walls. None of them is kept alive by current rainfall: little ever reaches them. But rain that cooled the mesa 500 feet above 20 years ago seeps down through sedimentary rock to deliver needed moisture. The source is slow, no doubt, but savingly it keeps the green things growing. So it is with grace in us. The saving wrought by Jesus’ sacrifice began a flow that still is watering whatever’s dry in us. We may have been “saved” in a moment, but the slow water of deep holiness seeps down to the stony layers of relationships and attitudes and deserts we’ve never even hoped to water. One day, we give up grudges, half-surprising ourselves—and certainly surprising those who wounded us. Weeks later, we begin to reach beyond our comfort zone to love the unloved and the graceless. Our most important relationships—our friendships and our marriages—begin to shift: we hold our tongues; we listen more; we offer comfort where we once doled out our wit or scorn. The grace that saves us always changes us—sometimes at once; more often slowly,imperceptibly. This is as fully Jesus’ work as blazing, noonday turnarounds. “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6). Allow what’s dry to grow toward green. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott

 

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When our hearts are full of warmth and we feel in control, it’s easy to be gracious to the ones who give offense. “Forget about it,” we advise them. “It’s no big thing. No worries!“ Forgiveness seems within our reach. We give our grudges to the wind. But when we’re powerless and cold; when we’ve been wounded by deep malice or contempt, we cling to the only weapons we have left—our anger and our memory. We have no grace for villains or the haughty. We pray they get what they deserve. And then we hear again the strange new urgings of the gospel: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:44). Against our narrative of righteous indignation, grace tells us stories that seem impossible. The Lord who urged us to forgive forgives the sins we love to hate—adultery, betrayal, cruel violence, and greed. There’s no rousing of our will that can teach us to forgive like this. Grace is the gift of Christ—from Him to us; from us to them; from them to others still unloved and unforgiven. The sequence is repeatable. When we’re forgiven, we learn grace. We’ll never lack for opportunities to practice what we’ve learned. Remember now how much you’re loved. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?”(Psalm 139:7, NRSV) “Searching the Obvious” focuses on how the Holy Spirit is ever active in our surroundings and in our lives, urging us to serve others. Personal stories challenge the reader to be mindful of our Christian Walk, recognize our own fallibility and slow down to ‘search the obvious’, the active presence of the Holy Spirit ever always around us. Dixil Rodriguez writes from Ohio, USA. www.adventistreiew.org

Wilona Karimabadi is an assistant editor of Adventist Review and editor of KidsView magazine.  www.adventistreview.org

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