Tag Archives: Preaching

Turn From Evil And Seek God

For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor. Esther 8:16
We may ask ourselves one day the question, Where did the happiness, joy, gladness, and honor go from our  nation?
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The Turn

From: Our Daily Bread

The Turn

For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor. Esther 8:16

As the minister spoke at a funeral for an old military veteran, he mused about where the deceased might be. But then, instead of telling the people how they could know God, he speculated about things not found anywhere in Scripture. Where is the hope? I thought.

At last he asked us to turn to a closing hymn. And as we rose to sing “How Great Thou Art,” people began to praise God from the depths of their souls. Within moments, the spirit of the entire room had changed. Suddenly, surprisingly, in the middle of the third verse my emotions overwhelmed my voice.

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Until we sang that great hymn, I had wondered if God was going to show up at that funeral. In reality, He never leaves. A look at the book of Esther reveals this truth. The Jews were in exile, and powerful people wanted to kill them. Yet at the darkest moment, a godless king granted the right to the enslaved Israelites to defend themselves against those who sought their demise (Est. 8:11–13). A successful defense and a celebration ensued (9:17–19).

It should be no surprise when God shows up in the words of a hymn at a funeral. After all, He turned an attempted genocide into a celebration and a crucifixion into resurrection and salvation!

Our surprising God often shows His presence when we least expect Him.

Be A Meter Reader

From: Get More strength.org

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.” Psalm 1:1

Do you remember how old-time TV shows used to have an applause meter to gauge audience reactions? A big arrow would spin around the dial to show how enthusiastic the crowd was—or wasn’t—about what had just happened onstage. It wasn’t particularly scientific, but it provided quick feedback!

When I think about how we feel about God’s rules, I wonder if heaven has one of those meters. Well, not really, but there is one in your heart that God can read, so let’s talk about it. The arrow on your heart meter reflects your honest, instinctive response to God’s Word and His laws. Across the dial are five attitudes that, at any given moment, reflect how you really react to God’s rules for you.

All the way on the left side of the dial is the word disdain. Ever feel like God’s rules are oppressive, restrictive barriers to your pleasure and dreadfully outdated? Then the arrow might just be buried in the low end of the meter of your heart.

Next up on the dial is the word doubt. Those of us who wonder if God’s rules are good and for our best will register in the doubt category. But, be warned, Satan’s oldest tactic for plunging lives into shame and isolation from a loving God was planting seeds of doubt about the goodness of God and His Word (Genesis 3:1). Surprisingly, the tactic still works—fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!

At the center of the dial is duty. Is obedience to God’s laws a legalistic obligation for you? Something that you have to do since you are a Christian with a virtual score sheet of do’s and don’ts that help you keep track of how you’re doing? If you are externally conformed, but your heart is far from Him and His laws feel heavy with the only reward being the ugly sin of pride in your own goodness, then you’re a dutiful but dull law keeper.

Further to the right, the arrow moves to the word devotion. This is closer to where God wants us to be. Those of us who land here obey God’s rules out of our love for Him. And while there is nothing wrong with that and much to be commended for it, there is still another point on the pleasing God meter that the psalmist urges us to qualify for.

Which explains why David cranks the arrow on the meter all the way over to the farthest extreme: delight. He writes that the truly blessed person delights in the law of the Lord!

What does that mean? Well, the Hebrew term used here actually means to be “emotionally preoccupied with.” It’s kind of like being in love. It’s all that you can think about. Other thoughts and conversations get drowned out by your overwhelming preoccupation. Imagine what our lives would look like if we truly became emotionally preoccupied with the profound goodness of God’s rules.

So, what would it take to move the arrow of your meter to the delight position? Try spending time reflecting on the character of the Lawgiver. You have a Father who loves you, who wants to protect you, and who offers His rules as His loving way to keep you safe and offer you true freedom from Satan’s deceitful and destructive ways. And, when you obey His rules and experience the peace, joy, and cleansing that it brings to your life, you’ll delight with the psalmist who wrote that God’s rules are “sweeter than honey to my mouth” (Psalm 119:103)!

Take a meter reading today, and bury the needle deep in the “delight” end of the meter. When you do, heaven’s applause meter may just go off the charts because of your love for His law!


Itching Ears

From: Our Daily Journey

Itching Ears


2 Timothy 4:1-7
They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3).

An excerpt attributed to a renowned Christian apologist and author appeared in one of my social media feeds. Because I respect the person who shared the content and because the language reflected the author’s voice, I momentarily believed the quote was authentic.

About three sentences in, however, the passage’s overtly political bias caused me to question it. Minimal research revealed someone had fabricated and misattributed words in an attempt to spread propaganda under the guise of one of the most respected Christian authors of all time.

In 2 Timothy 4:1-7, the apostle Paul warned that a time was coming “when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

As believers in Jesus, we need to be careful to avoid the pitfalls presented in this passage. Just because an online post aligns with our personal views doesn’t mean it’s bathed in integrity.

To avoid falling prey to falsehoods and myths (2 Timothy 4:4), Bible scholar Colin Smith challenges us to ask, “Where does the message come from?” Smith points to 2 Peter 1:16: “We were not making up clever stories when we told you about . . . Jesus Christ.” Peter goes on to write that false teachers exploit with “clever lies” (2 Peter 2:3). So the true teacher brings out the truth of the gospel, while false teachers cleverly create lies for their own purposes.

Let’s aim to be known as believers in Jesus who examine a message’s source and trustworthiness before we embrace it as truth or share it with others. May God give us wisdom to see what’s true!


Psalm 91:15

3. “If the Lord had not helped me, I would have gone quickly to the land of silence. I said, ‘I am falling’; but your constant love, O Lord, held me up.”

Psalm 94:1718

4. “Do not be afraid. I will save you. I have called you by name—you are mine. When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you. For I am the Lord, your God. … because you are precious to me and because I love you and give you honor, do not be afraid—I am with you!”

See Isaiah 43:1-5 

5. “I will be with you always, to the end of the age.”

See Matthew 28:20 

6. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

John 14:18 

7. “No one stood by me the first time I defended myself; all deserted me. … But the Lord stayed with me and gave me strength.”

See 2 Timothy 4:16,17 


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The Lonely Hearts Club

From: Get More Strength.com

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

Three men were stranded on a desert island. A genie appeared and promised to grant each of them just one wish. So the first guy says, “I want to go back to my job with the brokerage firm.” Shazam, he’s back in the office behind his desk. The second guy says, “I’d like to be back in Chicago with my family.” Instantly, he’s zapped back to the Midwest. So the genie turns to the last guy and says, “What’ll it be for you?” He looks around and says, “It’s so lonely here. I wish my friends were back.”

Actually, the pain of loneliness is no laughing matter. And, sad to say, there is no magic-genie cure for the loneliness so many of us struggle with. After God created Adam, He said that it is not good for man to be alone and created Eve for companionship and mutual encouragement. So, it’s no wonder that we hurt when we are disconnected from others who could be a source of satisfaction and joy.

Yet, in one sense, even the loneliest among us is not truly alone. In fact, Jesus not only assures us of His presence but can empathize with the agony of our loneliness. He was brutally cast off by His own people, the object of criticism and scorn, abandoned by His best friends in His hour of need, and betrayed by a trusted colleague. Still, in the midst of this loneliness He was not truly alone. John 8:29 records Christ’s strong confidence in the midst of His standing alone when He says, “The one who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone.” And even though He realized His teaching was rejected by men, He said, “If I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent Me” (John 8:16).

The only true loneliness is the aloneness of being disconnected from God. When we live disconnected from Him, we scramble to fill the void with food, sex, alcohol, shopping, drugs, or meaningless activity. Many of us will do anything to medicate the emptiness we feel without God. In its advanced stages, this aloneness from God fogs our outlook with a cloud of cynicism until our only response to life is “Who cares?” or “Whatever.”

The only real way out is to cling to Jesus, the one who will never leave or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5) and the one who promises to give you life, in fact life more abundantly (John 10:10).

Maybe you know this, but you’ve been afraid to put all your eggs in the basket of all Jesus has to offer. Maybe your fear is reflected in the words of the poet who wrote, “lest having Him I would have nothing else beside.”

But let me assure you that Christ will never let you down. Jesus is certainly no magic genie. He does not exist in a foggy vision only to vanish in a puff of smoke. In fact, it’s just the opposite—we have the assurance that He is constantly with us. Jesus said, in Matthew 28:20, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Because of this promise, you can trust that God will never leave you stranded alone on the desert island of life without Him, but will satisfy you with His presence and peace.



God intends for us to live a well-rounded life in Christ Jesus, but there are times when that life is attacked from the outside. Then we tend to fall back into self-examination, a habit that we thought was gone. Self-awareness is the first thing that will upset the completeness of our life in God, and self-awareness continually produces a sense of struggling and turmoil in our lives. Self-awareness is not sin, and it can be produced by nervous emotions or by suddenly being dropped into a totally new set of circumstances. Yet it is never God’s will that we should be anything less than absolutely complete in Him. Anything that disturbs our rest in Him must be rectified at once, and it is not rectified by being ignored but only by coming to Jesus Christ. If we will come to Him, asking Him to produce Christ-awareness in us, He will always do it, until we fully learn to abide in Him.

Never allow anything that divides or destroys the oneness of your life with Christ to remain in your life without facing it. Beware of allowing the influence of your friends or your circumstances to divide your life. This only serves to sap your strength and slow your spiritual growth. Beware of anything that can split your oneness with Him, causing you to see yourself as separate from Him. Nothing is as important as staying right spiritually. And the only solution is a very simple one— “Come to Me….” The intellectual, moral, and spiritual depth of our reality as a person is tested and measured by these words. Yet in every detail of our lives where we are found not to be real, we would rather dispute the findings than come to Jesus.





Luke 12:1-11,34-48
Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be (Luke 12:34).

After walking into a sandwich shop, I sensed the Holy Spirit nudging me to reach out to the young man who took our order. Unsure of how to start, I gathered my food and followed my husband to the patio area. Shortly after we sat down, the same young man came outside to sweep the area. I set aside my fear and began an unscripted conversation. In this unexpected moment, God provided the opportunity for us to discuss how Jesus’ love and the power of the Holy Spirit could help the young man overcome the situations he was facing.

Sharing our faith in Christ has often been reduced to point-by-point methods or relegated to a particular church department. When Jesus told us, however, to be “dressed for service and keep [our] lamps burning” (Luke 12:35), He intended for us to make a connection between our readiness and His instruction to give testimony about who He is everywhere we go (Matthew 5:14-1528:19-20).

For some believers in Jesus, the threat of death or imprisonment for sharing Christ’s love is painfully real. For others, the fear of rejection alone drives us into hiding. We may well understand Jesus’ call to a living faith (Luke 12:2-3), but a relationship with Him that’s vibrant and healthy will eventually bring us to a place of risk—the place of sharing our love for Him in unexpected encounters with others. When we understand the strength of His love for us (Luke 12:7), we’re able to exchange fear for courage (Luke 12:4,11).

Being faithful stewards of God’s message begins with cherishing our own relationship with Jesus (Luke 12:42). May we overcome our fear of sharing our faith by leaning confidently on Him and the power of the Holy Spirit.

You Are God’s Masterpiece


Ephesians 2:10 

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.


You are God’s masterpiece.


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You’re an Original

From: Our Daily Bread

You’re an Original
Read: Psalm 100 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 100–102; 1 Corinthians 1

Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his. Psalm 100:3

Each of us is an original from God’s hand. There are no self-made men or women. No one ever became talented, buffed, or bright all by himself or herself. God made each of us all by Himself. He thought of us and formed us out of His unspeakable love.

God made your body, mind, and soul. And He isn’t done with you; He is still making you. His single-minded purpose is our maturity: “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). God is making you braver, stronger, purer, more peaceful, more loving, less selfish—the kind of person you’ve perhaps always wanted to be.

“[God’s] unfailing love continues forever and his faithfulness continues to each generation” (Ps. 100:5 nlt). God has always loved you (“forever” goes both ways), and He will be faithful to you to the end.

You’ve been given a love that lasts forever and a God who will never give up on you. That’s a good reason to have joy and to “come before him with joyful songs”! (v. 2).

If you can’t carry a tune, just give Him a shout-out: “Shout for joy to the Lord” (v. 1).

I’m grateful, Father, that You are at work in me. I find it difficult to change and I wonder sometimes how or if I ever will. Yet I know that You are continuing Your work in me and as I look back I will see the growth You are producing. Thank You!

Spiritual growth occurs when faith is cultivated.


T. Suzanne Eller August 18, 2017
If God Is in It, I Can Rest

“Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” Acts 5:38-39 (NIV)

I felt God in the details from the beginning. It was hard work, but I was grateful to do it. I did everything I was supposed to do, but it didn’t turn out the way I hoped.

Have you ever been there?

You’re doing everything you feel Jesus has called you to do. It’s a mix of messy and beautiful, and you’re OK with that. You love the times you sense God doing something powerful, but there are times you work as hard as you can, and it doesn’t turn out the way you think it should at all.

That can be discouraging, to say the least.

In today’s passage, we find Peter and the apostles in a hard place. Despite their faithfulness, they have been jailed and beaten many times. They are human, so there are discouraging moments. Yet each time they are released, they go right back out and do what Jesus asked them to do.

At one point, their dogged persistence troubles the authorities. They meet to discuss their fate. That’s when Gamaliel, a respected member of the community, speaks up:

“Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God” (Acts 5:38-39).

If it is from God, you will not be able to stop them.

What if I looked at my assignments from God differently?

Whether loving a child, leading a ministry or investing in a relationship, if God is in it, then we can rest in it. Success isn’t measured by challenges, our hard work or even the results.

If we know God has asked us to do something, that’s sufficient. All He wants is for us to do our part. We can trust He’s doing His. We might not see the eternal impact, but He does.

There will always be a mix of messy (our feelings, critical people, a desire to see immediate results) and faith as we follow Jesus. We might think it should be easier. We may believe it should bring us joy all the time. We might even equate off-the-charts results with pleasing Him. On days like that, we need to remember this:

If it is from God, you will not be able to stop [her]. Not because of us, but because of Him.

We can rest in what God’s asked us to do, from beginning to end. We’ll do our best. We’ll be faithful. When we complete that assignment, we’ll start listening for the next. We keep loving. We keep our heart attuned to His voice. We don’t allow results or challenges to rob us of the joy of partnering with Him.

If God is in it, and we know that to be true, we are free to simply show up and do our part. After all, God is in charge of the results.

Heavenly Father, You invited me to partner with You, and I’ve made it all about the external. I’ve wrapped it around feelings or results or what I think it should look like. I shift the focus back to You. If You are in it, that’s enough for me. Thank You for allowing me to partner with You in Your plans. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Got Any Neighbors?

From: Get More Strength

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39

Jesus’ life and ministry dramatically demonstrated that the word prejudice is not in His vocabulary. In fact, He hates prejudice in any form. He detests racism, classism, and religious snobbery. Why? Because it defies who He is and what He came to do. No one escaped the embrace of His love and concern. And He calls us to love as He did—without limits. But prejudice blocks our ability to love as he did and denies us the privilege of being like Him in our world.

When the Pharisee hoped to embarrass Jesus by asking Him to name the greatest commandment, Jesus answered that we should love God with the totality of our being. And although it was more than the scheming lawyer had asked for, Jesus added the second most important command: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). Not “second” meaning less important, but sequentially. In other words, the authenticity of our love for God is measured by our attitudes and acts of love for others.

Ironically, the Pharisees prided themselves in mastering their love for God but were dreadfully lacking in love for their neighbor—which, in Jesus’ book, would break the first command. Their prejudices—often supported by their self-constructed theology and traditions—reduced their circle of involvement to people who were a lot like themselves. When the “expert in the law” asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29), Jesus’ concern was not identifying who our neighbor is, but whether or not we are acting in a “neighborly” way to others regardless of who they are.

The important dynamic in the story Jesus told about the Good Samaritan is not that the religious passersby were too busy to help the dying victim. It is rather that they were the true victims. The priest and Levite, trying to avoid ceremonial defilement, were victims of a distorted view of righteousness. And that distorted view disabled them from keeping the law’s most fundamental command about loving those in distress regardless of who they are.

Which should give us modern folk pause about any thoughts or attitudes that might blind us to the needs of others outside our usual circle of concern. Because quite simply, if we can’t love them, we can’t love Jesus!

Lord, as difficult as it may be, I pray that you would bring to mind any prejudice that keeps us from loving others the way you love us. We want to love the way that Jesus loved—to be like the Good Samaritan in our willingness to tangibly care for those outside our usual circle. Please give us the strength, grace, and courage to love our neighbors. Amen.

The Happy Home


Psalm 128

The Happy Home of the Faithful

A Song of Ascents.

Happy is everyone who fears the Lord,
    who walks in his ways.
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
    you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
    within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
    around your table.
Thus shall the man be blessed
    who fears the Lord.

The Lord bless you from Zion.
    May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
    all the days of your life.
May you see your children’s children.
    Peace be upon Israel!

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Promise of a Peaceful Home

From: Our Daily Bread

Promise of a Peaceful Home
Read: Micah 4:1–5 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 97–99; Romans 16

Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid. Micah 4:4

Sixty-five million. That’s the number of refugees in our world today—people who have had to leave their homes due to conflict and persecution—and it’s higher than it’s ever been. The UN has petitioned leaders to work together in receiving refugees so that every child will get an education, every adult will find meaningful work, and every family will have a home.

The dream of making homes for refugees in crisis reminds me of a promise God made to the nation of Judah when ruthless Assyrian armies threatened their homes. The Lord commissioned the prophet Micah to warn the people that they would lose their temple and their beloved city of Jerusalem. But God also promised a beautiful future beyond the loss.

A day will come, said Micah, when God will call the peoples of the world to Himself. Violence will end. Weapons of war will become farming tools, and every person who answers God’s call will find a peaceful home and a productive life in His kingdom (4:3–4).

For many in the world today, and maybe for you, a safe home remains more a dream than a reality. But we can rely on God’s ancient promise of a home for people of all nations, even as we wait and work and pray for those peaceful homes to become a reality.

God, thank You for the beautiful promise of a home. Please bring peace to our world, and provide for the needs of all of Your children.

God promises His children a peaceful home in His kingdom.



He Will Supply

From: Our Daily Journey

He Will Supply


Philippians 4:10-20
This same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

For many years Estelle and her husband worked as missionaries, relying on the financial generosity of others while they shared the love of God through their ministry. Money was often tight. On one occasion, Estelle went into her room to pray about their lack of funds. Opening her Bible, she read these words: “This same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs” (Philippians 4:19). In that moment, the verse felt like a promise to her from God.

The apostle Paul knew what it was like to be in financial need. In his early days as a missionary, few churches supported him: “As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help” (Philippians 4:15). At times he even went hungry (Philippians 4:12). And while he had learned to be content through Jesus in such circumstances (Philippians 4:11), he was grateful for churches like Philippi whose donations helped him to press on. God had provided for Paul through their giving, and the Philippians could expect God to provide for them when they were in need as well. So could Estelle and her husband. The question now was how and when the provision would come.

There was a knock on the door as Estelle read her Bible. She answered it and found a young lady standing on the doorstep. “My friend asked me to give you this,” she said, handing Estelle an envelope. Estelle thanked the woman, closed the door, opened the envelope, and found it was full of cash. She quickly opened the door again to thank the mysterious visitor, but the woman was nowhere to be seen. The same God who had taken care of Paul had met all of Estelle’s needs (Philippians 4:19).

We can expect him to provide—in His own way and time—for us too.



Alicia Bruxvoort August 17, 2017
Giving When We Have Nothing to Give

From: Crosswalk.com

“So Hagar gave this name to the Lord Who spoke to her, ‘You are a God Who sees.’” Genesis 16:13a (NLV)

I was on my way home from the store when I saw her standing there, feet planted between two dingy piles of melting snow on the corner of a busy intersection.

The cardboard sign in her hands broadcasted her desperation, and my stomach churned with empathy when I read the sloppy scrawl. But what could I do? I had three gallons of milk in the trunk, two $1 bills in my wallet and a pack of pink bubble-gum on the dashboard.

When the traffic light turned green, I turned my head away from the quandary on the corner and steered my van toward home.

I’d driven no more than a mile when a thought lodged in my mind like a holy whisper and refused to leave: Go back, and let her know you see her.

I thought about how I’d looked the other way when I’d turned that corner at the stoplight as if the woman in need were invisible.

Or invaluable.

Or both.

What hurts worse, I wondered: the pain of desperation or the pang of disregard?

Reluctantly, I returned to that busy intersection and left my car in a nearby parking lot.

I grabbed the wrinkled bills from my wallet and headed toward the woman, fears simmering with every step. What if she’s offended by my small offering? What if I just make things worse?

“Ma’am, how can I help you?” I asked when I reached the woman with the weathered face.

“I need work,” she said with quiet resolve. Then her troubled tale spilled from chapped lips and a raw heart.

I didn’t mend her maladies or judge her wounds. I just stood on that wind-whipped corner and listened. Because sometimes the simplest way to affirm someone’s significance is to take time to hear her story.

What happened next wasn’t like a script from a poignant Hallmark movie or a plan from a tidy Sunday school lesson. It was more like a snapshot from an awkward junior high dance.

“I don’t really know how to help,” I admitted, my eyes brimming with hot tears. “But I do know Jesus, and I know He really loves you …”

I glanced at the parking lot, longing to leave. But before I walked away, I asked, “Could I just pray for you?”

Much to my surprise, the weary woman gave a quiet nod and set down her cardboard sign.

In Genesis 16, we find another desperate woman caught in a web of woeful circumstances. Hagar isn’t planted on the corner with a cardboard sign; rather, she’s plodding through the desert with an unborn child and a forlorn soul. And just when her situation seems hopeless, God sends a messenger to encourage her heart.

Interestingly, the messenger’s words don’t immediately change Hagar’s plight. But they promptly change her perspective. The woman who once felt unseen now finds herself undone by a simple truth. God sees her. He knows her pain. He has a plan.

I’ll be honest. I’m often tempted to ignore someone’s need simply because I don’t know what to do. But the story of Hagar reminds us that even when we don’t know what to do, we can point to the One we know, the One who sees.

We may not have a solution for every problem, but we carry a salve for every soul. As believers in Jesus, we carry the hope of the gospel. We know a God who is present in pain and patient in trouble, lavish in mercy and longsuffering in love. And we know our Creator treasures every person He’s created on this spinning globe.

I declared this gentle truth over the woman on the corner that day. And when I finished praying, she thanked me through a haze of tears.

“What’s your name?” I asked as I bid my new sister farewell.

“Daisy,” she replied, her pink lips upturning in a subtle smile. I returned the smile and watched as she stood a little taller, her shoulders no longer hunched and drooping.

Then I walked back to my van and headed for home for the second time that day. But this time as I rounded the corner, I didn’t look the other way. I gave Daisy a wave through my window and let my eyes declare what I hoped her heart was beginning to believe: You are not invisible. You are invaluable. The God Who Sees, sees you.

Dear Jesus, forgive me for the times I’ve ignored the needs of Your people in my path. Use me to bring Your hope to the hopeless and Your presence to those in pain. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

God Is Astounding

1 Samuel 2:3

“Boast no more so very proudly, Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; For the LORD is a God of knowledge, And with Him actions are weighed.

Hebrews 4:13

And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

Isaiah 40:31

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

Psalm 27:1

The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?

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Psalm 8:3-5  NIV

When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?[a]

You have made them[b] a little lower than the angels[c]
    and crowned them[d] with glory and honor.

Astounding God

From: Our Daily Journey

Astounding God


Psalm 36:5-12
Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths (Psalm 36:5-6).

My son and I constructed a model of the solar system in which each planet is aligned near the next. Looking at this contraption, one might think that real planets aren’t very far from each other. But that’s not the case: if the Sun was the size of a basketball, the bb-sized Earth would be located 31 yards away, and the small planetoid Pluto would be 1,232 yards away! The distances between planets are vast, almost beyond our ability to comprehend.

In Psalm 36, David wrote, “Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths” (Psalm 36:5-6). But the full impact of these descriptions can be lost on modern-day people, because astronauts have soared into the skies and beyond, climbers have scaled the highest mountains, and oceanographers have plumbed the depths of the oceans. So hearing God’s attributes described in this way might not immediately communicate to us the wonder of who He is.

But in David’s age, all of these locations were completely unknown—no one of his time knew what was truly in the heavens and beyond or what lay in the great ocean depths. David was stating that God’s love is incomprehensibly big, like the vast uncharted regions of space. As the apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 3, it’s a love that surpasses knowledge. What an astounding thought—as vast as human knowledge and intellect are, they’re incapable of fully grasping God’s faithfulness, righteousness, justice, and love.

What’s even more astounding is that this infinite God is on our side—and if such an incomprehensibly wonderful God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)


Does He Know Me?

From: Utmost.org

Does He Know Me?

When I have sadly misunderstood Him? (see John 20:11-18). It is possible to know all about doctrine and still not know Jesus. A person’s soul is in grave danger when the knowledge of doctrine surpasses Jesus, avoiding intimate touch with Him. Why was Mary weeping? Doctrine meant no more to her than the grass under her feet. In fact, any Pharisee could have made a fool of Mary doctrinally, but one thing they could never ridicule was the fact that Jesus had cast seven demons out of her (see Luke 8:2); yet His blessings were nothing to her in comparison with knowing Jesus Himself. “…she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus….Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ ” (John 20:14, 16). Once He called Mary by her name, she immediately knew that she had a personal history with the One who spoke. “She turned and said to Him, ‘Rabboni!’ ” (John 20:16).

When I have stubbornly doubted? (see John 20:24-29). Have I been doubting something about Jesus— maybe an experience to which others testify, but which I have not yet experienced? The other disciples said to Thomas, “We have seen the Lord” (John 20:25). But Thomas doubted, saying, “Unless I see…I will not believe” (John 20:25). Thomas needed the personal touch of Jesus. When His touches will come we never know, but when they do come they are indescribably precious. “Thomas…said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ ” (John 20:28).

When I have selfishly denied Him? (see John 21:15-17). Peter denied Jesus Christ with oaths and curses (see Matthew 26:69-75), and yet after His resurrection Jesus appeared to Peter alone. Jesus restored Peter in private, and then He restored him publicly before the others. And Peter said to Him, “Lord…You know that I love You” (John 21:17).

Do I have a personal history with Jesus Christ? The one true sign of discipleship is intimate oneness with Him— a knowledge of Jesus that nothing can shake.



Epiphany from the Rubble

From: CBN, and Shauna L. Hoey, author


But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge. Psalm 94:22 (NIV)

Three hundred and forty seven homes burned in the Waldo Canyon Fire of Colorado. Mine was one of them. The landscape looked like a war zone. The once beautiful trees were skeletons surrounded by charred rubble. “At least I have my rocks,” I thought, “they can be part of my new landscape after the debris is removed.”

I was thankful I could arrange the boulders in my new yard because they were all that remained. Propping my foot up on a boulder, I discussed plans with the landscaper. I noticed a crack and looked closer. I tapped with my foot and part of the boulder broke off. Looking closer, I saw a larger crack. I kicked the rock and it split in half. Shocked, I stomped it over and over again until it crumbled to little pieces. Disbelief saturated me as I tried each rock to see if they would crumble. They all did. I wilted to my knees feeling the loss of my home all over again. Rocks were supposed to be symbolic of solidarity and something that would stand the test of time, but even the rocks didn’t make it. It was a visual epiphany. Rocks don’t burn, right? Well, mine did. The heat ruined the integrity of the rocks.

Out of the shattered rocks came the reminder of the Truth. There is only one Rock that stands the test of fire and time: The Lord. Without the Lord, I would be lost, like the boulders that crumbled beneath my feet. I knew this to be true in my head, but now I saw the Truth with my own eyes.

Praise our God, all peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard; he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance. Psalm 66:8-12 (NIV)

Under God’s Protection


My Refuge and My Fortress       Psalm 91: 4

For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper And from the deadly pestilence. 

He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. 

You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day;…

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Under His Wings

From: Our Daily Bread

Under His Wings
Read: Psalm 91 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 91–93; Romans 15:1–13

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. Psalm 91:4

When I think of protection, I don’t automatically think of a bird’s feathers. Though a bird’s feathers might seem like a flimsy form of protection, there is more to them than meets the eye.

Bird feathers are an amazing example of God’s design. Feathers have a smooth part and a fluffy part. The smooth part of the feather has stiff barbs with tiny hooks that lock together like the prongs of a zipper. The fluffy part keeps a bird warm. Together both parts of the feather protect the bird from wind and rain. But many baby birds are covered in a fluffy down and their feathers haven’t fully developed. So a mother bird has to cover them in the nest with her own feathers to protect them from wind and rain.

The image of God “[covering] us with his feathers” in Psalm 91:4 and in other Bible passages (see Ps. 17:8) is one of comfort and protection. The image that comes to mind is a mother bird covering her little ones with her feathers. Like a parent whose arms are a safe place to retreat from a scary storm or a hurt, God’s comforting presence provides safety and protection from life’s emotional storms.

Though we go through trouble and heartache, we can face them without fear as long as our faces are turned toward God. He is our “refuge” (91:2, 4, 9).

Father God, help me trust that You are bigger than any fear I have.

Our Daily Bread welcomes writer Linda Washington! Meet Linda and all our authors at odb.org/all-authors

When fear causes hope to fade, flee to God, the refuge you can reach on your knees.



This Great Brightness

From: Our Daily Journey

This Great Brightness


Exodus 34:29-35
When Moses came down Mount Sinai carrying the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, he wasn’t aware that his face had become radiant because he had spoken to the Lord (Exodus 34:29).

Our faces can give clues to our life experiences. They reveal our emotions, hint at our age, and indicate whether or not we’ve led difficult lives. They can also hint at whether or not we’ve been with God. I once had a co-worker at my workplace ask why I was so joyful and smiling all the time. His question caught me off guard; I wasn’t aware my face was revealing anything. I paused, and then answered, “Jesus.” He laughed off my reply and then asked, “No, really, why?” I reiterated, “Jesus.”

On Mount Sinai, Moses spent some incredible moments with God. When he came down from the mountain, those who saw him noticed that, “His face was radiant because he had spoken to the Lord” (Exodus 34:29). God’s light and life streamed in and through Moses. His face literally glowed with the glory of God.

In the New Testament we read that when Stephen, the first martyr, stood before his accusers, “everyone in the high council stared at Stephen, because his face became as bright as an angel’s” (Acts 6:15). The bright and loving wisdom on Moses’ and Stephen’s faces revealed God’s glory—that they’d been with Him. Peter, James, and John also glimpsed such radiance on Jesus’ face. Matthew 17:2 recounts that “Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light.”

Ecclesiastes 8:1 declares, “Wisdom lights up a person’s face, softening its harshness.” Biblical and experiential accounts demonstrate that the more we grow in our relationship with Jesus (John 17:3), the more our lives and faces will radiate Him. They will metaphorically, and one day literally, reveal His glory.


The Evidence of the New Birth

From: Utmost.org

The Evidence of the New Birth

The answer to Nicodemus’ question, “How can a man be born when he is old?” is: Only when he is willing to die to everything in his life, including his rights, his virtues, and his religion, and becomes willing to receive into himself a new life that he has never before experienced (John 3:4). This new life exhibits itself in our conscious repentance and through our unconscious holiness.

But as many as received Him…” (John 1:12). Is my knowledge of Jesus the result of my own internal spiritual perception, or is it only what I have learned through listening to others? Is there something in my life that unites me with the Lord Jesus as my personal Savior? My spiritual history must have as its underlying foundation a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ. To be born again means that I see Jesus.

“…unless one is born againhe cannot see the kingdom of God ” (John 3:3). Am I seeking only for the evidence of God’s kingdom, or am I actually recognizing His absolute sovereign control? The new birth gives me a new power of vision by which I begin to discern God’s control. His sovereignty was there all the time, but with God being true to His nature, I could not see it until I received His very nature myself.

Whoever has been born of God does not sin…” (1 John 3:9). Am I seeking to stop sinning or have I actually stopped? To be born of God means that I have His supernatural power to stop sinning. The Bible never asks, “Should a Christian sin?” The Bible emphatically states that a Christian must not sin. The work of the new birth is being effective in us when we do not commit sin. It is not merely that we have the power not to sin, but that we have actually stopped sinning. Yet 1 John 3:9 does not mean that we cannot sin— it simply means that if we will obey the life of God in us, that we do not have to sin.

Getting Through

Prophecies Concerning Persia and Greece

Daniel 10: 10-14

10 Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands. 11 And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling.

12 Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. 14 Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.

Michael is a strong angel who protects Israel. He also helps messenger angels to do their mission. Has God used an angel in your life and you did not know. God constantly helps us and we are not usually aware. Thank you God for protecting and providing for us.


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Getting Through

[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]

I will hear what God the LORD will speak, for He will speak peace to His people and to His saints. —Psalm 85:8

Gone are the days when a real person greets you on the other end of a phone call. It seems as though whenever we try to “reach out and touch someone,” we are greeted with a computerized voice.

I’m glad this isn’t true of our Father in heaven. He is always there. No voice-mail boxes, no “press 2 for more grace” and no “call waiting” interruptions. Thankfully, “Call to Me, and I will answer you” (Jeremiah 33:3) has not been replaced by, “All lines are now busy. Your call is important to Me. Please stay on the line.”

Yet I wonder what kind of access He has to us?

Communication with God is a two-way street. He speaks to us through His Word when we come attentively before Him in prayer and through the clear voice of the indwelling Spirit. He paid a great price to keep the lines open so that we can experience the joy of being still long enough to know that He is God (Ps. 46:10). As my grandmother’s favorite hymn “In the Garden” says:

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known. —Miles
© Renewal 1940 The Rodeheaver Co.

The joy of hearing His voice is a call you don’t want to miss!

Is God getting through to you?



Miracles Large and Small

From: Our Daily Journey

Miracles Large and Small


Psalm 105:1-11,37-45
Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given (Psalm 105:.5).

“Miracles are everywhere,” declared the actress who portrayed Christy Beam in the movie Miracles from Heaven. The film is based on the true life experiences of the Beam family after middle daughter Annabel contracted an incurable intestinal disorder that was inexplicably healed after a death-defying fall. Christy realized that in focusing on the illness, she’d missed other “miracles” the family had encountered before her healing. Although miracles are typically defined only as clearly supernatural interventions, Christy recognized that events that helped her family survive the trial were equally amazing because they revealed God’s hand in the midst of their pain.

The author of Psalm 105 similarly encourages his audience, in light of the history of God’s miraculous faithfulness to His people, to “give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness, [and] let the whole world know what he has done” (Psalm 105:1). Keeping His promise to give Abraham’s descendants the land of Canaan (Psalm 105:11), God preserved the nation by sending Joseph to prepare a place for them in Egypt when famine overtook their land (Psalm 105:17-22). When the Egyptians enslaved the expanding Israelite nation, God sent Moses and Aaron to deliver them with a series of stunning miracles (Psalm 105:24-38). Once out of Egypt, God sustained His people, providing food and water in a barren wilderness, and ultimately leading them successfully into the Promised Land (Psalm 105:39-45).

When we take our eyes off our problems and instead focus on the acts of God in our lives, we will begin to see miracles of His goodness. As we uncover these treasures, may we also sing out in praise to the One who watches over and lovingly cares for us



Chrystal Evans Hurst August 14, 2017
The One Thing That Always Comforts Me

“Don’t fear, because I am with you; don’t be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will surely help you; I will hold you with my righteous strong hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (CEB)

He was eating a sandwich, and I was with him when it happened.

He hadn’t been feeling well so when he said he was hungry, I made sure he had something to eat and stayed close — just in case he needed anything. I was sitting across from him at the kitchen table and noticed that as he ate, something was different. Something was changing.

Bite and chew.

Bite and chew.

Bite and …

After the next bite, his chewing seemed to grind slowly to a halt. Then, with a mouth full of food, my husband looked at me and said, “I can’t chew my food.”

He seemed to be himself, but not himself at the same time. He was looking at me, but didn’t seem able to see me. He could move, but his movements appeared labored, odd and slow.

I still don’t know quite how I knew what to do next. I guess somewhere in my formal education I took a class or read something that my mind remembered.

I asked my husband to smile.

Only one side of his face lit up.

My husband is having a stroke, right in front of me, I thought.

Right then and there, our lives changed forever.

I got him to the hospital where he was admitted and where we would spend nearly a week so he could be observed, cared for and treated.

I wanted to be with him so I found a way to make the chair next to his bed a home away from home for a while. The nurses and doctors called him lucky. They deemed his stroke to be mild and expected that after a time, he’d be able to return back to his normal life.

Since that day, more days, weeks and months have passed, and we’ve learned the full impact of his stroke and what it would take for him to travel the long road back to his life — to our life — with a new normal.

He is different. I am different. We are different.

The journey has certainly not been easy, and rarely has it been simple.

But I’m so grateful that through each stage of my husband’s health journey (however scary or difficult it may be), I’ve been able to be with him much of the time — for the hospital stay, the doctor’s visits and drives back and forth to therapy.

A few years have passed since the day my husband had that stroke. This journey with my husband also sent me on a new journey in my faith in God. My faith has gotten stronger — not because things have been easy, but because I’ve witnessed how God has been with us, and how He has faithfully been with me.

Today’s key verse gives me comfort: “Don’t fear, because I am with you; don’t be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will surely help you; I will hold you with my righteous strong hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

Over time, I’ve learned what it means to move forward with strength and courage. I’ve learned what it is to be with my husband, walking alongside him during this difficult season and walking with less and less fear in my heart of what tomorrow may bring as I choose to trust and rest in God. I have fought discouragement, reaching often for my Bible to infuse encouragement from God’s Word into my mind and heart.

God has been faithful to bring just the right Scripture verses, songs or encouragement from other believers at the exact time I needed them. He has been faithful to console me, reminding me I have nothing to fear, because no matter where life takes me, He is with me wherever I go.

And the knowledge of God’s constant presence and care is the one thing that always comforts me.

Dear God, life has thrown me some hard curves. But I’m so grateful You have been there, even when it was hard, dark and scary. Thank You for seeing me in every situation and through every season. Thank You for Your constant, caring presence during difficult life circumstances. Help me live my life in a way that illustrates my trust in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

From Fear To Faith

I Samuel 17

48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.

50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.


Is there a giant problem you have to face. Remember, like David you do not have to face the big problems in your life along. Whether it is a real giant, or a giant problem God can defeat all giants.

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From Fear to Faith

From: Our Daily Bread

From Fear to Faith
Read: Habakkuk 3:16–19 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 87-88; Romans 13

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer. Habakkuk 3:19

The doctor’s words landed in her heart with a thud. It was cancer. Her world stopped as she thought of her husband and children. They had prayed diligently, hoping for a different outcome. What would they do? With tears streaming down her face, she said softly, “God, this is beyond our control. Please be our strength.”

What do we do when the prognosis is devastating, when our circumstances are beyond our control? Where do we turn when the outlook seems hopeless?

The prophet Habakkuk’s situation was out of his control, and the fear that he felt terrified him. The coming judgment would be catastrophic (Hab. 3:16–17). Yet, in the midst of the impending chaos, Habakkuk made a choice to live by his faith (2:4) and rejoice in God (3:18). He did not place his confidence and faith in his circumstances, ability, or resources, but in the goodness and greatness of God. His trust in God compelled him to proclaim: “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights” (v. 19).

When we are faced with difficult circumstances—sickness, family crisis, financial trouble—we, too, have only to place our faith and trust in God. He is with us in everything we face.

Dear God, I thank You that I can always turn to You. When I am faced with the difficulties of life, I can put my trust in You. Thank you that You are my “refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

When faced with difficult circumstances we can trust God to be our strength.



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Don’t Eat That Stuff!

From: Get More Strength

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

Recently, when my wife Martie and I wanted to meet our sons and their families for a quick bite to eat, we decided that, with everyone’s busy schedules, it would be easiest to meet at a nearby fast-food joint. When I called my son Joe to suggest the plan, his response was, “Well, I can meet you there, but I can’t eat that stuff. I’m training for a marathon.”

Joe’s comment lodged in my brain, particularly because at the time I happened to be preparing a sermon regarding spiritual food, and his offhand remark illustrated a great spiritual principle. Let me explain.

Joe had a goal in mind—the successful completion of the marathon. He knew that reaching the goal was going to require months of disciplined choices, like waking up early to run longer and longer distances. And it meant that he would need to carefully guard and consider everything that he took into his body. Each meal—in fact, each snack—became an opportunity to choose to nourish and energize his body toward a successful marathon run.

Spiritually speaking, we have a goal in mind. Paul expresses it clearly in 1 Corinthians 9:27 when, using an illustration of running a race he states, “I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” In Philippians 3:10-11, he clarifies that the prize at the end of the race is the goal of knowing Christ “and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

I don’t know about you, but that’s a goal I want to strive toward. I can’t imagine any other objective more rewarding than finishing well and living for intimacy with and empowerment by the indwelling Jesus. But the reality is that many of us are not very committed to the training process that gets us to the goal.

A key part of the training is learning how to guard what we “eat” spiritually. Just as those training for a marathon need to guard and carefully consider all that they take in, those of us in training toward the goal of knowing Christ more fully need to guard and consider all that we take in. Paul gives us a phenomenal nutritional guide in Philippians 4:8, using words like true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy to describe the spiritual health food for followers of Jesus.

Which should lead all of us to evaluate what we’ve been feeding our hearts and our minds. How well does our TV viewing fit the criteria of true, noble, or right? What about the conversations we have at work? Do they fall in the categories of pure or lovely? Is there anything admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy about the movies we watch or the music we listen to?

Imagine how nutritionally strong we would be—when faced with a situation that we know would hinder our goal of finishing our race well and knowing Jesus more intimately—if we were to say, “I can’t. I’m in training.” That kind of spiritual dieting and discipline would groom our lives to run our race far more successfully.

We could all stand to take a lesson from Joe—no junk food! As they say, “You are what you eat!”


I Want…

From: CBN, and author: Leah Adams

Have you ever heard anyone confess that they coveted something? Have you ever confessed covetousness? Probably your answer to both questions is ‘No’. Most of us are not even aware that we covet, but the Bible speaks to this sin in huge ways and I wanted us to take a few moments and think this through.

I have been working my way through the book of Hebrews in my personal Bible study time and in the final chapter the Lord opened my eyes to this sin of covetousness. Hebrews 13:5(NKJV) says, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

When we covet something we long for it and set our affections on it.  We may or may not ever possess the thing that we covet, but it consumes our attention. That is worth repeating. We may not ever possess the things we covet, but those things consume our attention.

John MacArthur says in The MacArthur New Testament Commentary on the book of Hebrews, “covetousness is an attitude”. He goes on to say, “covetousness and greed follow a principle of increasing desire and decreasing satisfaction, a form of the law of diminishing returns.”

Often we associate this issue of covetousness with money because money is the means to attaining so much in our world. It is reported that John Rockefeller was asked as a young man how much money he wanted. He is reported to have said, ‘A million dollars’. After he had made a million dollars, someone asked him again about how much money he wanted. He said, “another million’. Do you see increasing desire and decreasing satisfaction at work here?

Most of us will never have a million dollars, but let’s personalize this to our lives. How many pairs of black shoes or handbags do you need? What size house is big enough? How much recognition do you seek for your service to the Lord? Do you really need another new outfit? Is that new piece of electronic equipment a necessity?

“Be content with such things as you have.” The NIV puts it this way, “Be content with what you have”, while the NLT says, “Be satisfied with what you have.” The Message Paraphrase urges us to “Be relaxed with you have you.”

Please understand that I am not saying we should not acquire things. If God has blessed you with the means to acquire and you truly need the items that you are buying, then by all means, shop on sister (or brother)!! There is nothing wrong with a new outfit or handbag or home as long as that thing is not consuming you. MacArthur says, “When we focus on material things, our having will never catch up with our wanting. It is one of God’s unbreakable laws.”

God instructs us in Hebrews 13:5 to remember that He is really all we need because He will never leave us or forsake us. If we have Him, then we have His promises that He will take care of us. Recall what Jesus said in Luke 12:22-23 and 29-31 (NIV): “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”

Covetousness is a character issue that is important to the Lord. We need to deeply examine our hearts and do away with any covetousness that is hidden there. God will reward our efforts!

Be Thankful

7) Psalm 100:4

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.”

8) Jeremiah 30:19

“From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing. I will add to their numbers, and they will not be decreased; I will bring them honor, and they will not be disdained.”

9) 1 Corinthians 1:4

“I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.”

10) 1 Corinthians 10:16

“Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?”

11) 2 Corinthians 4:15

“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.”

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Image result for pictures of grateful peopleImage result for pictures of grateful people

Grateful for Everything

From: Our Daily Bread

Grateful for Everything
Read: Deuteronomy 8:6–18 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 84-86; Romans 12

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Deuteronomy 8:10

In Australia, it can take hours to drive between towns and fatigue can lead to accidents. So at busy holiday times rest stops are set up on major highways with volunteers offering free coffee. My wife, Merryn, and I grew to enjoy these stops during our long drives there.

On one trip, we pulled in and walked over to order our coffee. An attendant handed the two cups over, and then asked me for two dollars. I asked why. She pointed to the small print on the sign. At this stop, only the driver got free coffee; you had to pay for passengers. Annoyed, I told her this was false advertising, paid the two dollars, and walked off. Back at the car, Merryn pointed out my error: I had turned a gift into an entitlement and become ungrateful for what I received. She was right.

When the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land, Moses urged them to be a grateful people (Deut. 8:10). Thanks to the blessings of God, the land was abundant, but they could easily treat this prosperity as something they deserved (vv. 17–18). From this, the Jews developed a practice of giving thanks for every meal, no matter how small. For them, it was all a gift.

I went back to the woman and apologized. A free cup of coffee was a gift I didn’t deserve—and something for which to be thankful.

Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth. A Jewish thanksgiving prayer for meals

Be grateful to God for even the smallest gift.


The Theology of Resting in God

From: Utmost.org

The Theology of Resting in God

When we are afraid, the least we can do is pray to God. But our Lord has a right to expect that those who name His name have an underlying confidence in Him. God expects His children to be so confident in Him that in any crisis they are the ones who are reliable. Yet our trust is only in God up to a certain point, then we turn back to the elementary panic-stricken prayers of those people who do not even know God. We come to our wits’ end, showing that we don’t have even the slightest amount of confidence in Him or in His sovereign control of the world. To us He seems to be asleep, and we can see nothing but giant, breaking waves on the sea ahead of us.

“…O you of little faith!” What a stinging pain must have shot through the disciples as they surely thought to themselves, “We missed the mark again!” And what a sharp pain will go through us when we suddenly realize that we could have produced complete and utter joy in the heart of Jesus by remaining absolutely confident in Him, in spite of what we were facing.

There are times when there is no storm or crisis in our lives, and we do all that is humanly possible. But it is when a crisis arises that we instantly reveal upon whom we rely. If we have been learning to worship God and to place our trust in Him, the crisis will reveal that we can go to the point of breaking, yet without breaking our confidence in Him.

We have been talking quite a lot about sanctification, but what will be the result in our lives? It will be expressed in our lives as a peaceful resting in God, which means a total oneness with Him. And this oneness will make us not only blameless in His sight, but also a profound joy to Him.


Lay It before God as His Will

From: CBN, and author Carla G. Pollard


As I opened the cabinet doors my eyes fell on the glassware my mother had accumulated over the years. It was an eclectic mix of both modern and antique. I recognized everyday pieces that functioned well and held up under routine use, but behind those pieces sat some extremely fragile glassware that at one time donned the shelves of my grandmother’s home.

My mother had died and I was left to sort through her things. I dreaded this day. I was hoping somehow it would take care of itself. As I stood in her kitchen my mind’s echo of the sound of her footsteps on the hardwood floor promised to bring her whisking back into the room. But it was not to be.

Memories rushed in as I sorted the glassware, discarding what I considered of little value and keeping the more sentimental and priceless pieces. I couldn’t help but feel like I was sorting through the remnants of her life. It was hard to face the fact that she wouldn’t be coming home, but it was time to move forward. So I sorted and I packed. When I was finished I walked out of an empty apartment, closed the door behind me, and headed off to the local thrift store.

Sometimes God brings us to a place where we need to let go and move forward.

“… Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” Philippians 3:13b-14 NIV.

Sometimes we need to accept the fact that things have changed and our will may be at odds with His.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” Romans 12:2 NIV.

Just like I packed up even the most fragile of my mother’s belongings and took them to the thrift store, we need to pack up our most fragile dreams and desires and take them to our Heavenly Father, always keeping in mind He desires the very best for us.

Holding on to my mother’s things could never bring her home. She was in the presence of Jesus, healed and whole. God’s will was for her to go even though I desired for her to stay.

Points to Ponder

Are you holding on to something that’s keeping you from accepting God’s will?

Has He brought you to the place where you need to pack up your desires and embrace His?

Is Jesus asking you to lay them at His feet so that He can move you from your past toward your purpose?

If so, then Dear One, take it to Jesus once and for all; He has a wonderful future in store for His children.


Dear Lord, Help me place those hard-to-let-go-of desires in your loving hands. Forgive me for stubbornly wanting what I want and not releasing my will to yours. Thank you for allowing me to realize your desires are always better than mine. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

If Only I had Obeyed God

1 Corinthians 6:9-10


Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:9-21


A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. I have confidence in you in the Lord that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is. But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished. read more.

Revelation 21:27

and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.


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Image result for pictures of car accidentsImage result for pictures of car accidents
 ( If only we had all obeyed the traffic laws)

If Only . . .

From: Our Daily Bread

If Only . . .

Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. John 11:32

As we exited the parking lot, my husband slowed the car to wait for a young woman riding her bike. When Tom nodded to indicate she could go first, she smiled, waved, and rode on. Moments later, the driver from a parked SUV threw his door open, knocking the young bicyclist to the pavement. Her legs bleeding, she cried as she examined her bent-up bike.

Later, we reflected on the accident: If only we had made her wait . . . If only the driver had looked before opening his door. If only . . . Difficulties catch us up in a cycle of second-guessing ourselves. If only I had known my child was with teens who were drinking . . . If only we had found the cancer earlier . . .

When unexpected trouble comes, we sometimes question the goodness of God. We may even feel the despair that Martha and Mary experienced when their brother died. Oh, if Jesus had only come when He first found out that Lazarus was sick! (John 11:21, 32).

Like Martha and Mary, we don’t always understand why hard things happen to us. But we can rest in the knowledge that God is working out His purposes for a greater good. In every circumstance, we can trust the wisdom of our faithful and loving God.

Father, You have carried me through hard circumstances before. Thank You for teaching me to trust Your heart of love even when I don’t understand what You are doing in my life.

For encouragement read, Why? Seeing God in Our Pain at discoveryseries.org/cb151.

To trust God in the light is nothing, but to trust Him in the dark—that is faith. Charles Haddon Spurgeon



A Song in Prison

From: Our Daily Journey

A Song in Prison


Philippians 1:15-30 
For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him (Philippians 1:29).

During the dark days of the communist regime in Romania, a light shone from the souls of believers in Jesus. Two believers, Nicolae Moldoveanu and Richard Wurmbrand, were lying face down on the ground in a prison courtyard on a cold December day. Their crime was their belief in Christ. To distract himself from the cold, Nicolae prayed that God would give him a song. Once they were finally allowed to return to their cell, he shared the song with Richard: “Not only future heaven to be in my speech daily, but may I have heaven and a holy celebration in life right here!”

Paul wrote to the church in Philippi while he was under house arrest for sharing the good news about Jesus. One would expect the apostle to be discouraged or at least focused on his difficulties. Yet his attitude was completely different. He stated, “The message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice” (Philippians 1:18). What made Paul react this way in the midst of persecution?

First, he was completely confident that God was with him in every circumstance. Throughout this letter, Paul exudes a strong faith based on his close relationship with Him and encourages the Philippians to, instead of worrying, “pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Philippians 4:6).

Second, he was absolutely sure that Jesus was worth it all. Paul grasped the sacrificial nature of the crucifixion, the amazing power of the resurrection, and knew that his life would be empty without Christ. And this assurance caused him to live only for Jesus (Philippians 1:21).

May we also come to know Jesus at such deep a level that we would consider it a privilege to suffer for Him! (Philippians 1:29).



Worry vs. Trust

From: CBN, and author Stacie Ruth Stoelting

Yesterday, two concerns weighed down on my heart and mind: A darling little girl, whose mom died last year, suffered from a dangerous illness. And a very close friend’s grandma clung to life.

I confess: I relapsed into a bit of worry. I pretended like I wasn’t worrying, and I almost fooled myself. But denying my worrying totally failed. I felt discouraged.

Suddenly, someone called me and prayed with me for both concerns. The Lord led me to trust Him.

Guess what? Within six hours, I learned that both the little girl and the friend’s grandma received gracious extensions of life and health! Praise the Lord!

This reminds me of the competition for our concentration: Worry vs. Trust. Today, let’s weed out worry and plant trust in Jesus. Let’s realize a few keys to understanding and overcoming worry:

1. Why worry? Worry never works. Jesus said, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”(Luke 12:25, NIV). Let’s think about it: Worry never works! Then, in the following verse (v. 26), Jesus pointed something else out: “Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” God considers the extension of life -the very thing we worry about most- to be a very little thing! Our omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient God remains so good -so trustworthy! Why not trust Him?

2. Worry wastes life: It never solves problems, and it dissolves energy and time. Again, it never extends life.

3. Worry never hurries answers. It falsely gives one a feeling of “doing” something. Yet it never does!

4. Trust remains a must: Trust God. His Word, not worry, must reign in our hearts. For every worry, find an applicable Bible verse to memorize and internalize. Instead of denying the fact that you’re worrying, face it with God’s Word.

5. Trust God more than feelings. And transform typical negative “what if’s” into positive, faith-filled “what if’s.” (i.e. Instead of worrying something in your life might suddenly flop, start wondering whether something in your life might soar and give God glory!) God never leads us wrong. Every good and perfect gift comes directly from Him! Jesus said, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Stop worrying. Instead, start praying and obeying.

6. Unconditionally trust and love God: Remove conditions from your faith walk. (Stop the “If You do this, I’ll love You more” syndrome.) God never changes. He unconditionally loves us and plans what’s best for us. Let’s love Him unconditionally, too.

7. Love God and others without fear or worry of rejection. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18, AMP). When we let God’s love enter and flow through us, we exit fear.

Think of it: Worry never wins. Trusting God never fails!