God sent Jesus to defeat decisively His strongest opponents: sin, death, and Satan. Jesus didn’t merely slip past the devil. “He disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities."
- Daily Devotional, January 24, 20111/24/2011 - Jesus has His own Twitter account. Well, actually, hundreds of them. Search for “Jesus Christ” on the social networking site, and you’ll find a plethora of twitterers all tweeting in His name—some well-meaning and many blasphemous. The most popular “Jesus” on Twitter has over 34,000 followers!
- Daily Devotional, January 21, 20111/21/2011 - While managing media and public relations for a handful of leading Washington, DC based nonprofits, I found that nearly every organization I worked for craved recognition on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Their aspiration came as no surprise. Oprah Winfrey, after all, is “The queen of talk, a cultural and financial icon and her impact on business (and charities) is worth billions,” according to CNBC host Carl Quintanilla. “Oprah Winfrey is the most influential
- Daily Devotional, January 20, 20111/20/2011 - A youth pastor avoids telling his teenagers that they’re sinners because he doesn’t want to leave the impression that they “suck” (that they’re bad or worthless). A popular author denies that infants are born with a sin nature because that would mean that “babies suck.” And a friend who confessed to an especially offensive sin said, “I guess this means I suck.” Despite their juvenile descriptions of sin, notice that each person confuses sin with self-worth.
- Daily Devotional, January 19, 20111/19/2011 - A stock market consultant recently suggested, “People should always sell when they have a better place to put their money.” While true, the challenge is recognizing when one place is better than another, which, of course, no one can identify with any level of certainty. I typically respond to this sort of financial advice with a resounding “Duh! No kidding?” It’s like telling investors to buy low and sell high. Please tell us something we don’t already know.
- Daily Devotional, January 18, 20111/18/2011 - Competing against the thwap-thwap sound of the windshield wipers, the rain beat a rhythmic pattern against the car. Driving out of town for a retreat with our youth leaders, I was thankful for the chance to spend time with them.
- Daily Devotional, January 17, 20111/17/2011 - It’s glossy and features the pics of people like Bono, Angelina Jolie, the Dalai Lama, and Che Guevara. If you glanced at the cover you might mistake it for a fashion magazine. What is it? A New Testament called The Bible Illuminated.
- Daily Devotional, January 14, 20111/14/2011 - The new eco-friendly dish detergent was superconcentrated, so I squirted much less than usual into the dishwasher. I cranked the knob and walked away. Minutes later, I heard a gurgling noise. Suds were bubbling out of the dishwasher and cascading onto the floor. After sopping up the mess, I read the label on the container: “Not for use with automatic dishwashers. Hand-wash only.” Ugh . . .
- 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.
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