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~ Written by Cassie Rayl 

The leaky kitchen faucet was the bane of my existence. Its methodical dripping seemed to interrupt every quiet moment I had. Multiple times a day, I would glance at the leak, roll my eyes and think to myself, “Someday, we’ll actually get the stupid thing fixed.” We’d only been in our apartment a few months; we weren’t ready for repairs just yet.

So instead of fixing the sink, I cleaned up the aftermath of its messes. The bowl in the cabinet below the sink’s pipes caught so much excess water it would overflow onto the floor every few days if I wasn’t careful. My husband and I both became pros at mopping up murky water in our spare time!

Finally, months later, we had had enough; we called a plumber. We naively hoped our issue had a simple solution. The plumber took one look at the pipes and cabinet and glanced at me hesitantly. “You haven’t been coughing and wheezing a lot, have you?” He asked. “This is one of the worst sinks I’ve seen. You’ve been growing black mold by the bucketfuls down here.”

What had started out as just a leaky faucet — an easy fix — turned into a partially-gutted cabinet, torn up kitchen flooring, hundreds of dollars of repairs, and a concerning respiratory issue.

How many times do I treat my sin in the same way? I see some ungodly characteristic in my heart, deem it annoying but don’t bring it before the Lord to change me at the core? Why do I spend so much time “mopping up” the aftermath of my sin when truly repenting from it and letting the Holy Spirit change my ways saves me from unseen dangers?

Oh, may God give us the courage to address our spiritual leaky faucets! 


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Are You a Tourist?

~ Written by Erin and Kelli Shuler

It’s Friday night and you’re out on the town. But not just any town — you’re in New York City. The streets are busy and full of bustle. Everything is lit up and glowing. Everyone is headed somewhere.

You stop and just take it all in. Everyone is in a rush to get to their next destination, head down, feet moving. You are taking your time. You aren’t walking quite as fast. You pause to ooh and ahh over this or that. Your head is lifted up taking it in.

The journey to the destination is just as exciting and new as the destination itself. You don’t take the easiest or most direct path, but instead take the path with the most impact. You want to see as much as you can. You want to absorb everything about it and hold on to it. Eight million people living in the city, and they can all pick you out. You aren’t like them. You are a tourist. 

What would it be like if we were all tourists when it comes to being Christians? Not that we should just come and go as we please with no longterm commitment, but in the sense of awe and wonder at something so incredible.

What if because of our faith we could live in a city of eight million people and every one of them could tell that we were different? What if we took the time to slow down and notice the beauty and the people around us? What if we started to notice all of the little things that God places in our lives to marvel over? 

Take your time and be a tourist in your walk with God! 

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~ Written by Viki Rife

As I opened my car door, I heard an ear-piercing scream. Looking up, I saw a mother coming toward me pushing a grocery cart loaded with bags with one hand while trying to carry a struggling, screeching child. As the mom passed, she looked at me apologetically and said, “I won’t give her any more candy.” The child screeched, “She’s mean!”

As mothers, we know what that’s like. Some of us have spent nights awake with a sick child who had found a stash of sweets and pigged out. We know things about the human body that our child cannot comprehend. There are times we choose to say “no” to our child.

Why do moms put themselves through the battle? It would be so much easier to let a child have whatever would keep her from making a fuss. It almost seems counterintuitive these days that the moms who love their children say “no,” but the ones who don’t care say “yes.”

“Is God good?” is a question people have to resolve in order to trust Him. In His wisdom and love, he sometimes has to deny us what we want most. He does it because he is good enough to care about us even when we kick and scream against him. His goodness is evidenced through his “no” as well as his “yes.”

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~ Written by Cassie Rayl

I can’t imagine what was going through Aaron and Hur’s minds. They were charged with the task of holding up Moses’ arms to help Israel win the war. The significance always strikes me as odd, but I can’t imagine what was going through Aaron and Hur’s minds.

Their countrymen and fellow desert sojourners were at the bottom of the hill fighting with all their might. But there Aaron and Hur are, holding their aging leader’s arms up. If either of those godly men were even a fraction like me, I’m sure there was a time or two during the battle where their hearts groaned, “Seriously? Why can’t I be down there fighting? It’s my fight, too, ya know!”

But their seemingly small task held astronomical importance to their nation’s survival. If Moses’ arms fell, Israelites were slaughtered right before their eyes. If Moses’ arms stayed lifted, victory was in the hands of the Israelites and God received the glory.

It’s easy to compare our tasks with those of others. For the stay-at-home mom, it might be difficult to see her task as being equally as important as that of the single woman serving in Uganda. But we have no idea what impact our tasks – whether publicized or not – have on the eternal story our God is weaving.

There are days where God asks us to hold up arms rather than carry swords. Even when we can’t see the importance, our obedience impacts eternity.  

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~ Written by Viki Rife

The summer I was 15, a friend we were visiting took my family to the top of the incline overlooking Johnstown, Pennsylvania. As he was describing the disastrous flood that had once hit the city, I stood looking down at the homes below. “How many people in this town know Jesus?” I asked myself. “What would happen to them if another flood came?”

My mind immediately went into problem-solving mode. “I could come back with a bunch of friends, and we could knock on every door in the city and ask whether anyone knows Jesus in that home. If no one does, we could offer to tell them.” I even picked out a big white house with a round porch that would serve as a starting point.

My brain continued by trying to calculate how many friends it would take and how long we would need to stay. I ended up concluding that it would take ten of us all summer to get to every door. Then I remembered that back home in California I didn’t even have three friends who cared enough about the lost to dedicate their whole summer to such an endeavor.

Something in me at that moment pleaded, “Lord, could you somehow make it happen anyway?”

The whole thing might have been dismissed as childish dreaming. That’s what I thought as I grew older, feeling a bit embarrassed for such foolish thoughts. But almost 30 years later I found myself standing in front of the big white house, talking to a man recovering from drug addiction. I had been recruited to help as a leader with The Blitz, an outreach day during Brethren National Youth Conference (now Momentum).

Almost 2,000 people were participating that day. Our goal? To knock on every door in Johnstown and offer to share the gospel. There were 200 times as many people as I had asked for, and it took one day instead of a whole summer. What a great reminder that to God, our prayers are never embarrassing!

If you see prayer as an important part of walking with God, please consider joining us at the Soul Cry retreat at Camp Conquest in Pennsylvania in September. Click here for more details. 

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~ Written by Viki Rife

“Blame my dad.” That was my answer when a friend, somewhat annoyed, said, “Do you have to spiritualize everything?”

To my dad, everything was an illustration of a spiritual reality. He took his cue from Jesus, turning anything in life into a teachable moment. Even when I was too young to fully understand it, he would point out a butterfly and tell me about how its time in a cocoon transformed it. Packing our barrels for the mission field became a reminder that we must prepare well for our spiritual journey (any other MKs remember taking jars of peanut butter or else we wouldn’t taste it for the next five years?).

Dad was a master at object lessons. Our evening family devotions included healthy doses of them. I still remember when he put different powders in water until it turned black, then poured in some red liquid and the water became clear again. My young heart embraced the illustration that Jesus could remove all sin.

I couldn’t yet have been five when he used an illustration that has deeply affected my life. He borrowed a spool of black thread from Mom and had me hold out my wrists. He wrapped the thread around them once and asked me to break out. It was a bit hard, but I did it. Then he wrapped the thread around my wrists five or six times and asked me to break out again. It was impossible.

He went on to tell me that sin was like that. You try it once and you might be able to escape. But it might make you overconfident, and as you continue to allow it in your life it will trap you. He used the object lesson to help me understand the meaning of the word “addiction.” It left me with a healthy fear of dabbling in something that could entangle me.

As a parent, Dad took seriously the command in Deuteronomy 6 to teach God’s laws to his children. It sounds as if maybe God meant for us to spiritualize everything!

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~ Written by Viki Rife

The feds are watching our barnyard. There’s actually a sign to let people know.

The sign says, “Do not climb tower! Federally protected migratory bird nest.” It’s by the cell phone relay tower that sits in our barnyard.

The endangered osprey first appeared about six summers ago. We saw them circling the tower with precious building materials, fighting to gain altitude because of their load. Soon, we heard the unmistakable cry of the fledglings in their nest, always hungry.

By the next summer, there was no doubt the nest had attracted the attention of officials. We would arrive home to find conservation officers parked in our driveway, intently peering at the top of the tower through their binoculars.

I find myself wishing that human babies were protected the way these eggs are. While I love sharing our barnyard with these interesting birds, something inside me cries about the injustice of the mixed-up priorities of our society.

This issue is only the tip of the iceberg. My prayer is that, as a country, we will learn to value what God values. Will you join me in that prayer? God is able to turn our countrymen’s hearts to His desires as we band together in prayer.

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