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A Discipline of Thanks

Enter his gates with thanksgiving. (Psalm 100:4)

The distance of God is an all-too-common malady among believers. It isn’t that God is really distant, but we go through waves of feeling that He is. Sometimes the waves are prolonged—circumstances batter us, discouragement plagues us, and God seems far, far away. This is when we need to give thanks.

God’s prescription for entering His presence is to give thanks. This verse doesn’t just tell us the right attitude with which we are go enter His gates; it also tells us the means by which we enter them. Thanksgiving coupled with praise will bring us to where He is; or it will bring Him to where we are. Either way, we find that worshipful gratitude is the right place to be. God lives where He is acknowledged.

If God does not seem to be living near you, perhaps there is something lacking in your acknowledgment. You rarely see gratitude in someone who thinks negatively about life. Why? Pessimistic thoughts remove the glory of His presence. Negative thinking is not faith; it is the antithesis of reality from God’s point of view. Reality, as He defines it, is all about who He is and what He does. Negativity isn’t. It assumes the worst.  It feeds—and is fed by—the enemy of God.

Thanksgiving coupled with praise will bring us to where He is; or it will bring Him to where we are. Either way, we find that worshipful gratitude is the right place to be.

Paul told believers to give thanks in every circumstance (1 Thessalonians 5:18). He didn’t tell them to give thanks only when the clear evidence of God’s blessing is visible. He told them to give thanks always—in every situation. How can we do this? On the basis of who God is. If we always see the downside, we are doubting something about God—that He is good, or able, or wise. But if we know that he is good, and that He is sovereign, and that He is wise, we can give thanks that He is working out His plan even in the difficult circumstances of life.

Establish in your mind a discipline of thanks. Enumerate every aspect of your life and thank God for it. In every circumstance, choose to see it from an angle that will cultivate gratitude. God will be honored. And His presence will be real.

A life of thankfulness releases the glory of God. — Bengt Sundberg

READ: Psalm 100


©2023 by Walk Thru the Bible

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Light of the World: Created to Shine

“You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14)

The apostle John tells us that Jesus was the true light coming into the world (John 1:9). He shone into our darkness, but the darkness did not understand Him. Jesus takes His identity a step further. He tells His disciples—He tells us—that we are also lights in the world. The One who came to shine uses lanterns He has Himself redeemed. We have a bright, holy purpose.

We often think that we are called to shine as lights because this world needs light. That’s true, but we have an even higher calling than that. We are to shine as lights because Jesus is light. Our holy calling is to reflect Him, to display Him, and to worship Him by being the vessels by which He reveals Himself to others. Radiating Jesus is the highest honor we can give Him, not just because the world needs Him, but because He is beautiful. If that’s hard to believe, consider our future: We will be shining His light and reflecting His glory long after this world has passed away. It won’t be because someone needs convincing; it will be simply because of who He is. Our shining is more for the sake of His eternal glory than for the needs of this present darkness.

Worship brings God’s rule—and even better, His comfort and joy—visibly into a rebellious world. It represents His Kingdom here and now. It brings heaven and earth into a sacred meeting, letting the Kingdom of God invade our lives and our environment. It shines the light of heaven into a dark, dismal night.

We often think that we are called to shine as lights because this world needs light. That’s true, but we have an even higher calling than that. We are to shine as lights because Jesus is light. Our holy calling is to reflect Him, to display Him.

Do you reflect Jesus? Have you ever been able to put your agenda aside—even the good parts of it—simply to be like Him? There is no greater task. Our primary responsibility in this world, as His servants and His children, is to show His kind of mercy, do His kind of works, pray His kind of prayers, tell His kind of stories, and seek His kind of justice. The grace, forgiveness, and love of Jesus are to permeate everything we do. Why? Because He is light, and we were created to shine.

Our great honor lies in being just what Jesus was and is. — A. W. Tozer

Additional Reading: 
Matthew 5:14-16

©2023 by Walk Thru the Bible

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MINI-CAST: Stephanie May Wilson

On this mini-cast episode of STEP INTO THE STORY, Phil talks with podcaster Stephanie May Wilson on how God chased her down—through a verse from Habakkuk!—and placed His calling on her life, and how He chases after all of us.
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Helping People Everywhere Live God’s Word

or more than 45 years, our mission at Walk Thru the Bible has been helping people everywhere live God’s Word.

We work to make the Bible not just accessible for people, but also applicable and understandable. We want to help people to not just have knowledge of the Bible, to not just read it occasionally or to only hear it in church or Bible study once a week, but to help them truly engage with Scripture and apply it to their lives. Daily.

At Walk Thru the Bible, we know the Bible changes everything—changes hearts,

otLIVE in Bangladesh

changes lives, changes families, and most importantly, changes eternities. We work to make Kingdom impact in more than 140 countries through our live events and biblical resources. We help people experience life transformation through engaging with the Word of God in memorable, innovative ways.

And because we know the Bible changes everything, we want people to dive deep into Scripture, to immerse themselves in God’s Story—after all, it’s their story too! And we want to create global Bible movements.

Helping kids everywhere …

From Honduras to Peru, from UK to Ukraine, from India to the Philippines, from Malawi to Johannesburg, from Nigeria to Kenya, and more, we are helping kids everywhere live God’s Word. Kids who are in homes of other faiths, kids who live in gang neighborhoods, kids who are living in the middle of a war, kids who are living in a persecuted nation, and more, we help them to learn God’s Word and how to apply it to their lives.

We reach them in public schools, orphanages, day camps, dusty playgrounds, and yes, even Christian schools and Sunday schools. We also partner with other ministries who serve kids who live in poverty, who need help with their school work, and more. Watch this video of our work in Honduras:

Our otLIVE and ntLIVE events teach them the big picture story of God’s Word … because it’s in the big picture that we see the heart of God. And that’s where everything changes.

Helping teachers everywhere …

Public school in Johannesburg

In countries outside the U.S., Walk Thru the Bible gets to train public school teachers to teach our otLIVE and ntLIVE events in public schools. And teachers have told us that they’ve been impacted and inspired and have learned about the God who loves them and has a plan for their lives.

We know that when people engage with God’s Word, everything changes.

Helping families everywhere …


Around the world, families are learning God’s Word together—parents, kids, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and more—through Walk Thru the Bible’s events and resources. From the jungles of Colombia and Venezuela to the mountains in the Philippines, from the rural U.S. to inner-city U.S. and more, our otLIVE and ntLIVE events, as well as our Biblical Character Series courses, are drawing families closer to the Word of God and the God of the Word.

Helping the displaced and the persecuted everywhere …

Indonesia earthquake refugee camp

There are lots of displaced people, refugees,  in the world today—because of war, environmental disasters, financial reasons, and more—and we are ministering to them with our live events and biblical resources. And there are many placed in the world where it’s dangerous to be a Christ-follower. At Walk Thru the Bible, we minister to the displaced, the refugee, and the persecuted.

God is using our tools and resources to draw people to Himself, to bless and comfort those who are suffering—whether it’s for their faith in Jesus Christ or because they are displaced or refugees.

People whose lives are threatened by danger and despair find hope and encouragement in God’s Word through the resources of Walk Thru the Bible.

Helping pastors everywhere …

From Siberia to Nicaragua, from Johannesburg to the Philippines, from rural America to war-torn Ukraine (and more!), we serve, train, and equip under-resourced pastors. There are men and women who are called by God to lead a congregation, but they’ve had no formal theological education or training. Our Pastors Institute, streaming courses, Biblical Character Series studies, pastor conferences, and more, equip pastors to grow in their walk with God so they can help their people grow in theirs.

Walk Thru the Bible equips pastors and church leaders with training and tools to make disciples in their local communities.

… live God’s Word!

And love God’s Word!

Your support will give the hope of God’s Word to the biblically unengaged—kids, teachers, families, and more—around the world. They may be new believers who don’t know anything about the Bible, or people who have never had access to God’s Word, or families of other faiths, or children in dangerous situations like gang neighborhoods or war-torn areas or even closed countries.

Your support will give the hope of God’s Word to persecuted believers who live in areas where it’s dangerous to even own a Bible. Many of them live in situations where their families have shunned them or kicked them out because they’ve become a Jesus-follower. Many of them worship in secret churches. But they need to know the hope of Scripture and that the Church is with them.

Your support will give the hope of God’s Word to under-resourced pastors around the world who are not equipped with the training and the tools they need to follow their God-given calling. From pastors in the rural U.S. to pastors in impoverished nations like Nicaragua to pastors in war-torn Ukraine, we are equipping pastors to lead their congregations to a deeper relationship with God and a deeper understanding of His Word.

At Walk Thru the Bible, we know that the Bible changes everything. The Kingdom-impact of people who fall in love with the Word of God and the God of the Word is unstoppable! Together, we can bring the life-changing hope and truth of the Bible to the world!

Will you partner with us today to help people everywhere live God’s Word?

You gift by June 30, the end of our fiscal year, will help Walk Thru the Bible minister to at least four million people everywhere, helping them to live God’s Word.

And that changes everything!


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God Unveiled

God Unveiled


It had been a long, long time to be misunderstood. God yearned for His people to know Him, but early on they had chosen to walk away. They broke their connection with Him which left them fatally sick and spiritually blind. 

In rare honest moments, when something in them cried out for home, their hearts must have asked: Who are You, God? But they had lost their ability to see.

God wouldn’t give up. He began the long process of reintroducing Himself. Through Passover He painted a picture of His heart—“I am the God who rescues.” The powerful display at Mount Sinai declared: “I am the God of love and justice.” The Tabernacle pointed to His desire for intimacy, proclaiming: “I am the God of closeness.” 

God was showing the people who He was, but blind hearts can’t see even clearly-presented truth. God must have heard people talking about Him over the years—dialogs at synagogues and around dinner tables. How often He must have wanted to bust through to correct misunderstandings. To show Himself for who He really is. Who are You, God?

It had been a long, long time to be misunderstood. God yearned for His people to know Him, but early on they had chosen to walk away. They broke their connection with Him which left them fatally sick and spiritually blind. 

And then, when the time had fully comethe God who wants closeness came closer. God stepped off His throne in Heaven and stepped into a single cell in the womb of a woman. For nine months, Jesus grew. Then He was born. Thirty years passed while He walked among the people, experiencing life with them, hearing their misconceptions about Him with His own human ears, but not letting anyone know who He was. Patient, patient, patient.

And then, at age 30, the Head of the Angel Armies, the Possessor of All Authority, the King of Heaven and Earth, made His presence known. The invisible God had stepped into the visible—into something His blind people would be able to see. 

In Jesus, God’s heart was on full display. God Unveiled. He was endlessly compassionate—the purest, most perfect Being turned no one away. The hemorrhaging woman reached out to touch Him. The blind man called out to Him for healing. The 10 lepers, considered untouchable, ran up to Him. Children crawled in His lap. The cast-aside, the overlooked, the contagiously sick, the overwhelmingly sinful, the arrogantly righteous, the hopelessly broken—they all came to Him. And Jesus, God Himself, lovingly welcomed them all.

People made fun of Him. People didn’t understand Him. People hated Him. People stood in awe of Him. But not one single person was afraid to come to Him, the One to whom angels bow. Not a single person. The misguided woman at the well accepted His living water. The righteous Nicodemus sought Jesus out despite the social ridicule he faced. The “greatest” of sinners—prostitutes, thieves, criminals given the death sentence—came to Jesus freely. God is welcoming, inviting, loving . . . good.

And then, the invisible God stepped into the visible—into something His blind people would be able to see—in the Person of Jesus, who was born into this world, walked among us without sin, and died for us.

For centuries, the hearts of humanity had wondered, Who are You, God? 

And in Jesus, God answered. “Here I am.” The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being (Hebrews 1:3).

Jesus unveils the reality of the universe: The one, true God is relentlessly, infinitely, lavishly good. He doesn’t want us to know about Him, He wants us to know Him. And He will stop at nothing to make that happen. Right now, from the throne of Heaven, God pours out a love and a desire for closeness so intense it’s humbling. 

If you encountered Jesus when He walked on the earth—if you pushed past the crowd, making eye contact with Him—you would’ve found this: an inviting smile and His welcoming, overwhelming love. And that same heart sits on Heaven’s throne today. 

If your heart ever echoes Who are You, God? look to Jesus for the answer: “Here I am.”

And then come to Him. He has been waiting for you. 

©2023, Walk Thru the Bible