devotional thought

There Be Wolves

There Be Wolves

It’s a classic movie trope. The main character is alone in the wilderness, huddling close to a dying fire. As the fire dies, glowing eyes begin to appear and multiply. It’s a pack of starving wolves.

But have you ever realized that Jesus says He has put us in that same situation? “Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves.” (Matt. 10:16)

It's the Person!

It's the Person!

For ten days we walked around important historical sites in Israel, retracing the steps of biblical heroes and especially remembering the life of Jesus. In many places there would be two or three shrines near each other, each claiming to be the exact spot where some biblical event took place. It didn’t really matter to me if an event happened 100 feet to the left or the right, it was just amazing to stand near locations mentioned in the Bible.

Taking Silly Seriously

Taking Silly Seriously

There are many qualities about God's character I find deeply comforting: His omni-ness (omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent), His justice, His mercy, His wisdom, His patience, His faithfulness. On and on it goes. These attributes and a thousand more draw my heart to the throne with a profound sense of wonder.

But I keep forgetting He's a Dad — a really, really good one. Which means there's a new characteristic I need to add to my list of what I love about this fascinating God the angels never tire of extolling. Are you ready for it?

Hope in the Darkness

Hope in the Darkness

Will God be faithful? Will He provide for us? Is He going to save us? Where is He?

These questions must have been in the mind of every Israelite during the time of Esther. They had been taken into captivity and were living under Persian rule. Unlike the rest of their brothers and sisters, they had not yet returned to their homeland (Ezra/Nehemiah) and continued to live in a foreign land under a foreign ruler. To make matters worse, on the eve of the Passover, a decree had gone out that all of the Jews would be destroyed within a year. The future did not look bright for God’s people.

Three Reflections on Turning 40

Three Reflections on Turning 40

Today is my 40th birthday. As I sit here with my feet firmly planted in middle age, I find that I am joyful rather than fearful. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a stoic. The other day I typed “my forties” for the first time and I felt sick to my stomach. But as I reflect on God’s goodness in my life and on what I have to look forward to in Christ, my soul is full and content, and I can’t wait for the future, gray hair and all. Here are 3 reasons.

Hope for Survivors

Hope for Survivors

Whether you have read the Bible or not, you have probably heard the saying “We have this hope as an anchor for our souls…” (Hebrews 6:19). This is a staple verse, if you will. It’s often written on beautiful decor for your home, fresh-brewed mugs of coffee, even jewelry. Unfortunately, when we see a phrase on a regular basis, it can lose the magnitude of meaning it was intended to have.

Deadly Fruit

Deadly Fruit

Of all the places I have been, the Amazon jungle is definitely the most interesting and exotic destination. There is a tremendous variety of animals and plants, many of which I had never even known existed. As we were walking by a small tree with some beautiful fruit that looked like apples, I asked the tour guide if I could pluck one and eat it. To which he replied, “Don’t be fooled by the beauty of that fruit, because it disguises death. One bite of that fruit could kill you.”

True New Year Renewal

True New Year Renewal

Somehow, as a family of five (with a steady stream of houseguests), we’ve managed to live in a house with only one bathroom for over sixteen years. In 2018 we decided to change that. It wasn’t really a resolution for the new year, but it was a goal of ours to transform a dingy basement closet into a full bathroom. A plumber (Ben), an electrician (Caleb), and a carpenter (Mike) worked diligently for about a month to turn a tiny storage closet with gigantic, seventy year old cast iron pipes and rotting wood into a beautiful new space. We were in awe of their skill.

The Reality of God's Favor

The Reality of God's Favor

What do we mean when we talk about the "favor of God"?

The house you've always wanted goes into foreclosure and you buy it for a steal. Your kids bring their report cards home and it's straight A's. You find out that a long lost relative left you a tidy sum of money.

Many people may think that God's favor is something like that. When life seems to break your way, it's easy to think, "God is really smiling down on me now. He must really love me."

What Are You Giving Jesus This Christmas?

What Are You Giving Jesus This Christmas?

Christmas is upon us, and right now, my wife and I find ourselves collecting gifts for those we love. Often the hardest part of gift-giving for us is figuring out the most appropriate gift for family members and friends. The goal—at least for us—is to give something meaningful to the recipient, but a gift that also reflects a bit of who we are. That combination makes the gift special and enjoyable for everyone involved, and sometimes unique enough to be memorable in some way.

The Hope of Advent

The Hope of Advent

A friend called today. The first words out of her mouth described the death by overdose of her close friend’s 23 year old son - a bright and capable college senior. 

Our conversation was interrupted by another call. It my friend’s own daughter, actively choosing rebellion against God and experiencing a great deal of stress because of it. She wanted counsel, but not godly counsel.