Let’s be clear: The devil and his demonic companions are not messengers to be befriended, but forces to be resisted (James 4:7).
- Daily Devotional, January 13, 20111/13/2011 - Theologian C. H. Dodd described Jesus’ parables as stories that tease us into thought. They provoke us— shock us even—into deep soul-searching. The first parable in Mark 4 is a good example. Jesus compared His preaching mission to a farmer sowing seed that fell on different types of soil. Jesus’ missional success depended not on His message (the “seed”), but on how receptive hearts were to receive it (the “soil”).
- Daily Devotional, January 12, 20111/12/2011 - One of the most distressing portions of Scripture is the part of Luke’s gospel that tells us Jesus “was led by the Spirit in the wilderness” to be tempted by the devil (4:1). The Spirit took Jesus into the dark wilderness? We think of God as the One who keeps danger at bay, not One who invites us to face difficulties.
- Daily Devotional, January 11, 20111/11/2011 - Recently, I attended a presentation on heart attack prevention. The speaker reminded us to make healthy lifestyle choices that help reduce the risks of having a heart attack. We were told that not smoking, eating the right foods, maintaining a proper weight, reducing and managing stress, and participating in physical activities can contribute to a healthy heart. In Proverbs we find some instruction can make us spiritually healthy (4:23):
- Daily Devotional, January 10, 20111/10/2011 - One of the highlights of living in East Africa is meeting men and women from around the world who come through the region to participate in short or long-term missions. Today, for example, while sitting in a Kampala, Uganda, coffee shop, I met a young married couple from Charleston, South Carolina. Amanda and Michael recently moved to Uganda to help their church build a medical center in one of the country’s most impoverished areas.
- Daily Devotional, January 07, 20111/7/2011 - Because my husband and I live in the “Bible Belt” (historically, the South and parts of the Midwest of the US), we can drive for miles around town with at least one church always in view. While the variations of buildings and denominations can be seen as a demonstration of the diversity within the body of Christ, sadly we can also mark far too many of them
- Daily Devotional, January 06, 20111/6/2011 - Michael Hanley traded an 8-minute commute to work for an 8-hour one. When his autoworker job in Wisconsin was phased out, he stayed with the company and took the only position available— in Kansas. His weekly round-trip commute is now
- Daily Devotional, January 05, 20111/5/2011 - One evening, while waiting for a friend at a church, I chatted with a security guard. He said, “This church just installed a new state-of-the-art sound system, and they spent a hefty sum on it.” Then he added, “But it’s a pity, the church doesn’t have many activities.”
- Daily Devotional, January 04, 20111/4/2011 - While in college, I volunteered at a center that provided emergency housing assistance. One winter day, a distraught woman called to complain about her negligent landlord. She couldn’t stay in her rental home because of severe maintenance problems. In a panic, she asked what she could do to care for her children in the cold weather. I gave the standard answer, which was to move into a hotel until the problem was resolved.
- Daily Devotional, January 03, 20111/3/2011 - I hoped our dinner guest wouldn’t notice that I was staring at him. I knew it was impolite, but I was trying to decide if he looked like Elvis Presley. Let me explain. My husband had invited a friend over to eat with us who was an “Elvis tribute artist.” He told us stories of swaggering to the stage with his guitar at backyard birthday parties, weddings, and even in college dorms.
- Daily Devotional, December 31, 201012/31/2010 - Gjyste Vjerdha was busy working her nightly, graveyard-shift cleaning job at a restaurant with her 22-year-old son, Gentjan. As she tidied up a restroom, Gjyste found some women’s rings worth thousands of dollars. The thought of keeping the treasures might have crossed her mind, but she chose to do the right thing and take the jewelry to her manager.
- Daily Devotional, December 30, 201012/30/2010 - My friend’s sister is due to give birth, and no one is happy about it. Her baby has Trisomy 18, a fatal disease that will likely claim the infant just minutes after she is born. It seems fiendishly upside down that the baby is alive as long as she remains within her mother, but the moment she is born she will begin to die. Cutting the umbilical cord is not her liberating path to life, but a death sentence. What should be a day of joy will commence a season of mourning.
- Daily Devotional, December 29, 201012/29/2010 - The other day I was putting air in my car’s tires. The small wording on the side of the tires warned me, “Maximum pressure: 35 psi.” I’m no mechanic, but this is good information to know. I’ve been told that too much air in a tire will negatively affect braking, cornering, and overall stability. Less of
- Daily Devotional, December 28, 201012/28/2010 - Michael felt as if his prayers were simply bouncing off the ceiling. He couldn’t understand God’s silence. Day after day he pleaded with Him to deal with the injustice in his workplace. But evil persisted, and God seemed absent. Can you identify with Michael? Habakkuk could. He lived during the final dark days
- Daily Devotional, December 27, 201012/27/2010 - In the last year, my family has had much to worry about. My wife wasn’t called back to her full-time teaching position (we counted on her income to help cover household expenses), my son was having recurring chest pain that we thought was due to an enlarged heart, our insurance was running out and an alternative plan was going to be more than we could afford, and—if that wasn’t enough—I changed jobs.
- Daily Devotional, December 24, 201012/24/2010 - My 7-year-old son, Wyatt, loves chess. I first taught him to play on the chessboard in our local coffee shop, and last Christmas he asked for his own set to enjoy at home. Recently, we were playing after dinner, and Wyatt became infatuated with the knight—the piece that moves two squares, then one more square (like an “L”). His strategy was fixated on his desire to get the knight to move all over the board.
- Daily Devotional, December 23, 201012/23/2010 - n 2004, a woman named Claire contracted viral encephalitis. After treatment for her illness at a local hospital, she returned home. But her memory had been dramatically affected. Claire developed a condition known as prosopagnosia—
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