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Weekly Devotionals

A Thanksgiving Tradition

November 26, 2020
During the Pilgrim’s first harrowing winter in Massachusetts food dwindled one day to a single pint of corn—enough to provide each man, woman, and child with five grains.  From that time on, it is said that they placed five grains of corn on each plate at Thanksgiving to remind them of God’s faithfulness even in times of extreme want.   In William Bradford’s history Of Plymouth Plantation he wrote of how, though the people had worked hard to produce crops, “the Lord seemed to blast, & take the same, and to threaten further & more sore famine unto them, by...
Weekly Devotionals

The Absence of Feeling in the Devotional Life

November 19, 2020
“I am sporadic in my devotions” writes a Newsletter reader (who happens to be my daughter!), “though I am up pretty regularly by 5:30 a.m.  There are many mornings when my mind and heart are too dull and cold to learn of Him.”   Here’s a part of what I wrote to her:  It is in the total absence of feeling that our faith is most faithful and most accurately gauged—if we go on getting up early, putting ourselves faithfully before the Lord whether we feel like it or not, even “just going through the motions,” when we know that...
Weekly Devotionals

The Unseen Company

November 12, 2020
Many of us belong to churches where a creed is often repeated by the congregation.  Several of the ancient creeds include these words, “I believe in the communion of saints.”  For some the word saints means only certain specially holy people who have been officially designated as such.  For others it means those who are now in heaven.  The Bible is very matter-of-fact in showing that those who belong to Christ, i.e., Christians, are saints.  Look at Acts 9:32 and 41 for a start.  Then note the salutations in Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:2, and other places. Do you ever...
Weekly Devotionals

Hints for Quiet Time

November 5, 2020
Having a quiet time with the Lord every day is absolutely essential if you expect to grow spiritually.  But you have to plan it.  It won’t “just happen.”  We’re all much too busy.  Early morning is best, and there are plenty of scriptural precedents for that (Jesus rose “a great while before day”; the psalmist said, “In the morning shalt Thou hear my voice”).   If you meet the Lord before you meet anybody else, you’ll be “pointed in the right direction” for whatever comes.  God knows how difficult it is for some to do this, and if you have a reason you...
Weekly Devotionals

Letter to a Missionary

October 26, 2020
When my father and mother were newly married they sailed for Belgium where they were to work with the Belgian Gospel Mission.  They were twenty-four and twenty-three.  Recently my brother Jim Howard unearthed a letter written to them by an older missionary of the China Inland Mission dated July 21, 1922.  It spoke to me freshly and powerfully when I received it yesterday, so I give it to you:  “My dear Philip: As this comes into your hands you will be aboard your steamer, and perhaps a bit of a ways on your journey towards Belgium.  I do hope that...
Weekly Devotionals

Tempted to Talk

October 19, 2020
Some of us talk too much.  The Lord reminded me of my own tendency to “pop off” about things, to open my mouth when it should remain closed, to speak from a desire for sympathy or praise or to be seen in a favorable light, to comment on things about which no comment whatsoever (from me!) is called for.  Kay’s translation of Psalm 141:3 is, “Place, O Lord, a sentry over my mouth.  Keep guard over the door of my lips.”  This is often my prayer.  I had never noticed the connection between that prayer and an unusual one found...
Weekly Devotionals

Quietness Before God

October 12, 2020
Do you try to find a little quiet space in the day when you come before the Lord in complete emptiness, so that His holy presence can fill your heart and calm your spirit?  What peace it is to let fall before Him everything earthly, those things which worry and press so insistently for our attention, and then, quite simply, to offer up our hearts in loving adoration, trying to focus steadily on Him, His beauty and majesty, His merciful tenderness and changeless care for His own.  To do this is to find things wonderfully simplified.  The “look” of them...
Weekly Devotionals

Lord of All Seasons

October 5, 2020
Last April I spoke to a group of women in Florida about Jesus Christ being “Lord of All Seasons.”   The topic was their choice, and I found myself, as usual, tested along the very lines on which I was going to speak.  During the previous week, Lars and I had learned that all twenty-eight of the nice new (and very expensive) windows we had installed in our new house leaked.  I was anxious about many things—my mother’s health (she has had more falls lately, forgets things more), my coming grandchild, a new word processor, which I wasn’t sure I...
Video Talks

Devotedly: The Personal Letters and Love Story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot

February 14, 2019
By Staff
Devotedly, the personal letters of Elisabeth Elliot, is available for purchase here.


November 1, 2003
God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform. Throughout my life, I have considered those words, especially when circumstances have threatened to undo my faith in His love and provision. When I went to Ecuador inm 1952, I. . .

Restlessness and Worry

September 1, 2003
The book of Ecclesiastes was written by a very restless man. He was fed up with his life and everything had become meaningless to him. He wrote, “I hated life.... All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun (Ecclesiastes 2:17-18). Do you find yourself in the same boat? . . .

What the Savages Taught Me

July 1, 2003
For the whole first year that I lived with the Auca Indians (1958–1959), I watched and learned and kept my mouth shut. I had to keep my mouth shut most of the time because I did not know the Auca language. Although the language itself was highly complex, the definition of my task was simple: learn it. I spent a second year there . . .

To a New Widow

May 1, 2003
Dearest one: I know the proportion of that pain, and there is no minimizing it here and now. I also know the truth of 2 Corinthians 4:17, “These little troubles (which are really so transitory) are winning for us a permanent, glorious and solid reward out of all proportion to our pain.” The bigger our pain now, the bigger that “weight of glory” will be. It’s mysterious, it’s unimaginable, but it’s going to be, and for that we give thanks. . .

“Could You Not Wait?”

March 1, 2003
Olive trees are not much good for leaning against. Too knobby. I kick away a few stones and sit down on the ground, knees braced in my arms. The other two stand for a while, eyeing the one who has gone off alone. “Might as well sit down,” I say. They don’t answer. Long day. Tired. I look up through the trees. Ragged clouds, thin moon. . .