Exodus 13:21-22 says: And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people (ESV). The lesson here is an obvious one. The Lord will not leave his own. Those He deals with favorably He defends. He liberates, redeems, and He surrounds. They will not wander aimlessly (see next chapter's opening verses). If you are a believer, you are hemmed in by God's mercy. You are … [Read more...] about A Very “Moving” Devotional
Last week I was on a professional website where a marketer highlighted one company's clever means of drawing readers to click on the articles. The company entices readers by posting a link titled to make visitors think one thing, but when they click and read the article the wordplay becomes clear. Readers might see a news (not humor) article titled, "Man Eats Entire Dictionary!" (I'm making this one up.) After they click the link they discover the story is that a man ate a bowl of alphabet soup. He ate every letter used to spell every word in a dictionary, but he didn't really "eat" a … [Read more...] about Marketing, Self-Promotion, and the Christian
Can you spot the bivocational minister? Whether you are a pastor who works full-time outside the church to support yourself and your family or not, this is a good verse for all of us: For this is our confidence: The testimony of our conscience is that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you, with God-given sincerity and purity, not by fleshly wisdom but by God's grace. - 2 Cor 1:12 Paul's confidence was that his life was uniform; cohesive. Whether he was dealing in tent-making, preaching in the synagogues, engaging philosophers in the public places, or laboring … [Read more...] about We’re All Bivocational Ministers
Editor's Note: the "save as pending" and the "publish" button are pretty close in our set-up, and this got published this morning, by accident. I'm republishing it tonight to give you another chance to read it - not compressed around other posts. Last night a handful of folks from church went to a nursing home to stage a little surprise birthday party for a woman who turns 95 this week. It was a simple affair with a small cake and the sounds of “Happy Birthday” filling the corridor as she was wheeled towards us. We hit the gentle crescendo right on cue as she saw our faces and put it all … [Read more...] about How to Prepare for your 95th Birthday
Last night a handful of folks from church went to a nursing home to stage a little surprise birthday party for a woman who turns 95 this week. It was a simple affair with a small cake and the sounds of “Happy Birthday” filling the corridor as she was wheeled towards us. We hit the gentle crescendo right on cue as she saw our faces and put it all together. (And right before another resident told us to keep it down.) Then we all told her how much we appreciate her and gathered around to hear stories we’d all heard before, but still love to hear her tell. Some stories reached back to before the … [Read more...] about How to Prepare for Your 95th Birthday
Think over your life yesterday. Did you make it through the day because your heart kept beating or because you courageously fought your way through to its end? How about the past month or year? Are you another year older in the Lord because the calendar pages flipped or because 'through many dangers, toils, and snares you have already come'? In the context of the trials, persecutions and signs of the end of the age our Master said, "By your endurance gain your lives" (Luke 21:19, HCSB). We would do well to apply this to ourselves and, in so doing, see how we're doing. We are saved by … [Read more...] about Are You Existing or Enduring?
"Though He was God’s Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered." - Hebrews 5:8 (HCSB) The past few months the topic of suffering has repeatedly come up around me. Interestingly, there were no devastated marriages, no loss of a child, or any of the Job-like agonies of life which "suffering" makes us immediately think of. Still, I have seen believers face difficult financial trials, sickness upon sickness, the challenges of aging... It's been a time of seeing a different kind of suffering. A few months ago I would never have considered the things I've seen to be worthy of the term. … [Read more...] about If Christ, Why Not Us?
As much as I love what E.M. Bounds wrote about the need for prayer, I have three faults with his writings on the subject. First, chapters tend to repeat the same ideas. He ends up saying the same thing over and over without actually advancing beyond his main idea for many pages. Second, he fails to define what he means by "prayer." Does he mean a constant monologue to God? Does he mean a time of solely spending time with God through talking to Him, quietly reflecting on Him or His Word, reading His Word, singing--what? Third, and related to that second fault, I don't recall having found in his … [Read more...] about A Pattern for Prayer, Courtesy of O.S. Hawkins
In his famous and wonderful devotional book My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers warns “Do Not Calculate Without God”. So often we make our plans and neglect to honestly factor God and His will first and foremost in them. By contrast Chambers lists three points in his devotional for July 5th (I was flipping through and came across it). First, the obvious, “Don’t calculate without God.” Second, “Don’t calculate with evil in view”; we know there is evil in the world, but we ought to live and plan in ways that don’t exhibit a guardedness because the world is evil. Third, “Don’t calculate … [Read more...] about Rainy Day Planning – Wise or Disobedient?
Happy New Year! Have you ever noticed how, right after the holidays, all the fitness centers start advertising on television to cash in on all those who make New Year’s resolutions to get fit? For some reason the start of a new year inspires the world much more than just the start of a new month, or even a new week. Not that making healthy changes about anything is bad, but resolutions (as the world makes them) are the stuff of man-made moralism anyway. The right perspective to have is the one God gives us. In Lamentations 2:22,23 we read, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His … [Read more...] about New Years Resolutions