Tuesday, October 6, 2015


"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God -- not the result of works, so that no one may boast."  (Ephesians 2:8-9 NRSV)

A headline in the Grand Rapids Press read, "Conversion to Hindu Faith Is Tortuous."  The article stated that a German businessman had completed his conversion to the Hindu faith by piercing himself through the cheeks with a ¼-inch-thick steel rod and pulling a chariot for two miles by ropes attached to his back and chest by steel hooks.  Other converts had walked through long pits of fire, donned shoes with soles made of nails, or hung in the air spread-eagle from hooks embedded in their backs.

Aren't you glad that conversion to Christianity is not accomplished by self-inflicted torture?  In contrast, Jesus Christ was afflicted with one of the cruelest forms of torture ancient Rome could devise so that He could freely give you the gift of salvation.  Jesus paid the price for your conversion so that you could not and would not have to do a thing to earn it.  The only requirement is for you to receive the greatest gift God gave.

-- Lenya Heitzig and Penny Pierce Rose in Pathway to God's Treasure: Ephesians


Monday, October 5, 2015


"You shall not…"  (Exodus 20:1-17)

To say of an act done, "My conscience is quite clear", sounds smug and satisfactory. It does not by any means follow that the speaker's conscience ought to be clear.  It may simply show that [it] is sadly unenlightened.

-- Bishop G. E. Reindorp


Friday, October 2, 2015


"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."  (James 5:16 NIV)

In confession the break-through to community takes place… If a Christian is in the fellowship of confession with a brother, he will never be alone again, anywhere.

-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together


Thursday, October 1, 2015


South African pastor Trevor Hudson identifies compassionate caring as the distinguishing mark of faithful discipleship: “Compassionate caring creatively balances the inward-outward dynamic so characteristic of Jesus’ life, saves us from falling prey to the latest fad in the spiritual supermarket, and catapults our lives into a deeper engagement with the brokenness of our world.” Hudson goes on to claim that making a pilgrimage with those who suffer is one practical way to cultivate the “grace-soaked” gift of compassion in our lives.

-- Don C. Richter in Mission Trips That Matter: Embodied Faith for the Sake of the World


Wednesday, September 30, 2015


"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."  (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Sometimes the comfort of a loved one isn't enough. Sometimes the hurt is so deep that no human words can help relieve the pain... That's when we need to look beyond human comfort to something much more effective -- the comfort of God. This isn't some mystical, faraway concept. God really does provide comfort to those who call upon Him in times of need. The trouble is that many people are so busy blaming God for their troubles that they don't even realize how close He is and how much He wants to comfort them. Unlike human comfort, which feels good for a moment, God's comfort supplies strength for a lifetime.... At the root of God's comfort is the idea of nearness. Indeed, when He comforts us, God calls us near.

-- Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz in God Is in the Small Stuff