Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Art can warm even a chilled and sunless soul to an exalted spiritual experience. Through art, we occasionally receive -- indistinctly, briefly -- revelations the likes of which cannot be achieved by rational thought. It is like the small mirror of legend: you look into it but instead of yourself, you glimpse for a moment at the Inaccessible, a realm forever beyond reach. And your soul begins to ache...

-- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn


Monday, January 27, 2014


Christians believe that God is able to use suffering for our good and for the good of others as well.  Suffering is not the enemy of the Christian.  Jesus suffered before His death.  He knew what it was like to face such things, and He knew what it was to pray for God to take away the suffering.  At the same time Jesus put God's purposes before His own desire to end the suffering.  Jesus suffered immensely on the cross, but God used that suffering to save the world.  Suffering often turns us to God.  Suffering and the Christian's response to it may turn others toward God.  Suffering can deepen our faith and it can strengthen our souls.  It is a key ingredient to life; it shapes us, brings out the good in us, and makes us what we would not have been otherwise.  God is able to bring good out of evil and tragedy.

-- Adam Hamilton in Confronting the Controversies


Friday, January 24, 2014


A pure heart is a heart redirected toward the love of God and neighbor. It is uncluttered in its adoration of God and has a single-minded desire to do His will in everything. This sense of direction is an inner reality, welling up from inside. In fact, the love of God becomes so real that it completely overlooks trivial matters such as denominational differences in the church, or varying views of worship. Purity of heart is a foundation for unity of all Christians in Christ.

-- Jerry Mercer in Cry Joy!


Thursday, January 23, 2014


"Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died -- more than that, who was raised to life -- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." (Romans 8:34 NIV)

If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies.  Yet distance makes no difference.  He is praying for me.

-- Robert Murray M'Cheyne


Wednesday, January 22, 2014


"The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you'." (1 Corinthians 12:21)

We cannot say, "I have no need of you." The megachurch needs the smaller church. The liberal needs the conservative. The pastor needs the missionary. Cooperation is more than a good idea; it is a command. "Make every effort to keep unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." (Ephesians 4:3) Unity matters to God. There is "one flock and one shepherd." (John 10:16)

-- Max Lucado in Outlive Your Life


Tuesday, January 21, 2014


EDITOR'S NOTE: Today is our son Dustin's birthday in whose memory this SOUND BITES Ministry operates. It is one way I can live a flow-through life in his memory and to God's glory.  -- DW


Scripture says, "He that believeth in Me, out of his innermost parts will flow rivers of living water." The freshness is in the flow. The mountain stream is fresh; the Everglades are stagnant. Some of us want to be a lake, not a river. We want to accumulate before we let too much flow through. However, as a Christian, I am to let the blessings flow through me…

Oswald Chambers warns that when we dam the blessings in our life, we become stagnant, cynical, mean-spirited. We must break the dam and let blessings flow like a river, for the freshness is in the flow.

-- Fred Smith, consulting editor of Leadership


Monday, January 20, 2014


Last Friday I shared a quote of mine entitled WALK THE TALK, TALK THE WALK. Today I want to share with you an application of that.


Have you ever watched a sunset at a public beach with a group of people and, when the sun was completely out of sight, you all spontaneously applauded? That happens to me when I'm photographing sunsets like the one above taken in Ephraim, Door County, Wisconsin.

What about after a beautiful snowfall when it is still silent and a blanket of pure white covers everything, do you applaud the Creator? Or when you see a stunning flower close up or walk through a breathtaking garden, do you applaud the Creator? Or when you come across an extraordinary rock formation or canyon, do you applaud the Creator? Or when you see the unique markings of a bird close up, do you applaud the Creator?

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting." I would add, "and never lose an opportunity to applaud the Creator for His handiwork."

As a way of TALKING MY WALK I have established a photography website with a number of galleries that focus on the wonder and beauty and uniqueness of God's creation in its many forms. When you need a break from a busy day, click on the photo above to go directly to it or on the link below to go to the home page of the website where you can explore over 100 images I have captured and placed in galleries by subject. And then bookmark it, because I will be continuing to add to the selections.

And next time you see a beautiful sunset, don't forget to applaud the creator.

-- Rev. David T. Wilkinson 
David T Wilkinson Photography


Friday, January 17, 2014


It is important that our walk matches our talk -- that the way we live our life is consistent with the way we say we should. Too many people talk the right stuff but don't live it.

I see another problem, as well. It is just as important that our talk matches our walk -- that what we say explains what we do. I see many people in churches doing marvelous deeds and good works in the community because they are Christian. But they don't tell people why they are doing it. Are they just nice people? Or is it really more than that? Are they doing it because of the difference Christ has made in their life and because they want to share that love of Christ with others?

Let's walk the talk AND talk the walk.

-- Rev. David T. Wilkinson


Thursday, January 16, 2014


We ought to recognize one of the great problems in our modern Christianity: Those who come to Christ probably have their minds made up that to stay sane they must remain "adjusted" to society around them.  This notion has been drilled into them from their playpen, and it never occurs to them to question it.  There is a "norm" out there somewhere to which they must conform, and that norm is above criticism.  Their success and happiness depend upon how well they adjust to it; and Christianity, though it may add something to it, must never disagree with the main idea!

This is the popular notion in the world: "To be happy, adjust to the social norm!"  The problem is that the idea will not hold up under examination.  The world does not know where it is going; it has not found life's highest good.  It is instead puzzled, frightened, and frustrated.

Thankfully, it was to this kind of world Jesus came. He died for its sin and now lives for the salvation of all who repudiate it!

-- A. W. Tozer in Renewed Day by Day


Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Mary Jo Meadows defines compassion as "the quivering of the heart in response to another's suffering" and notes that "compassionate beings… cannot bear to see suffering and remain unengaged." Compassion is the quality of being able to "get inside the skin of another" in order to respond with loving concern and care. Jack Kornfield writes about the truly loving person breathing in the pain of the world and breathing out compassion. That is how deep compassion is, and how closely connected to others.

Each life influences and affects the other in some way. The more we see our world as a vast interconnectedness of all beings, the more drawn we will be to compassion because we will see how much one life is related to and affected by another. This spiritual oneness is at the heart of Christianity. Christ is the vine, and we are the branches. We are the body of Christ (John 15; 1 Corinthians 12). The life pulsing through us is the life of God giving us spiritual vitality.

Probably no quality more identifies a Christian than that of compassion.

-- Joyce Rupp in The Cup of Our Life


Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Being open is a prerequisite for spiritual growth.  In order for God to enter our lives fully, we must be ready to receive.  The door to our inner self must be wide open.   Our mind and heart need to be receptive so that we can hear and receive what God is offering us. God needs openings in our lives in order to "get through to us," to communicate with us, to nourish us, to stretch us toward greater growth, to revitalize and renew us with love.

Openness is also about wonder and surprise.  Christine Lore Weber writes: "All life is a beginning.  I need an open, spontaneous, joyful attitude that knows it does not know.  I need an emptiness in me… I need to find the part in my soul still empty, still able to be surprised, still open to wonder" (The Finding Stone).  Oftentimes a deep joy is associated with openness because openness leads to inner freedom and growth.

-- Joyce Rupp in The Cup of Our Life


Monday, January 13, 2014


True spiritual revival flows out of a discovery that the Bible is a unique and timeless revelation from God. Its pages contain a life-transforming message. As [Pastor] Mike Slaughter has written, "The Bible becomes the standard for faith in the midst of a sea of voices crying to be heard in the moral wilderness of today."

-- Ginghamsburg (Ohio) UMC Newsletter


Friday, January 10, 2014


A disciple of Jesus Christ can be defined as one who believes in Christ's teachings, rests upon His sacrifice, drinks in His Spirit, and imitates His example. A disciple has a heart for Christ alone, a mind transformed by the Word, arms of love, knees of prayer, a voice to speak the Good News, and a spirit of servanthood and stewardship.

-- Glenn McDonald in The Disciple-Making Church: from Dry Bones to Spiritual Vitality


Thursday, January 9, 2014


Take the time to exercise that soul of yours today. Whether it be by walking, reading, praying, listening to music, talking with friends, playing with children, petting animals, or just sitting quietly you can bring ever more goodness, light, strength, happiness, joy, love, and delight into your soul. Whether it be by smiling, laughing, singing, listening, caring, helping, encouraging, cheering, praising, giving, or simply loving you can share every bit of your soul's strength, goodness, light, and joy with the world.

I don't think that God meant for any of us to go through this life with out-of-shape souls. I think God put us here to exercise, grow, and expand our souls until they could fill the universe with their love, joy, and light. Exercise your soul daily then. Fill it with love, joy, goodness, and God always. Share its energy, light, and love with everyone forever.

-- Joseph J. Mazzella


Wednesday, January 8, 2014


I have been doing a lot of walking lately. I have been doing it for the exercise it gives me. I am not talking about bodily exercise either; although I am sure that my body is much fitter because of it. I have been doing it rather for the wonderful exercise it gives my soul.

Walking helps me to slow down long enough to see that single red leaf laying along the path, to feel the cool breeze on my face, to watch the glorious sunlight turn the waves and ripples along the lake near my home into a thousand golden dancers, and to feel the love of God all around me. It helps me to see just how beautiful this world and life are. It makes me want to fill myself with the love, joy, energy, vitality, delight, peace, and bliss that God gives us all and then share them with the world. This wonderful soul exercise helps me to become the person God meant for me to be and gives me the strength to help others do the same.

-- Joseph J. Mazzella


Tuesday, January 7, 2014


“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”  (Romans 8:26-27 NRSV)

[We are not] alone in our struggles.  The Holy Spirit supports our helplessness.  Left to ourselves we do not know what prayers to offer or how to offer them.  But in those inarticulate groans which rise from the depth of our being, we recognize the voice of none other than the Holy Spirit.  He makes intercession; and His intercession is sure to be answered.  For God Who searches the inmost recesses of the heart can interpret His own Spirit's meaning.  He knows that His own Will regulates Its petitions, and that they are offered for [His children] dedicated to His service.

-- William Sanday & Arthur C. Headlam in A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans


Monday, January 6, 2014


Our prayers will result in joy, for they will be accepted.  God will gather us in and not shut us out.  We will be known fully and nevertheless loved completely… Life will flow.  What we do will have meaning.  And so there will be a feeling of total inclusion.  No longer will we feel like strangers but like those who have come to the spiritual home for which we have always longed.

-- Gerrit Scott Dawson


Friday, January 3, 2014


No matter what the ruin of any life may be there is always a place to start. There is a place where you must begin. You need to apologize to someone. You need to go to somebody and straighten something out. You need to stop some practice that is wrong. You need to open yourself up to counsel. You need to seek advice. You need to get some guidance. There is always a first step. That is where you must begin.

And whatever you pray, pray that God will give you the grace, the strength and the determination to take that step. Then, the process of recovery has begun.

-- Ray C. Stedman


Thursday, January 2, 2014


I do not advise that we end the year on a somber note. The march, not the dirge, has ever been the music of Christianity. If we are good students in the school of life, there is much that the years have to teach us. But the Christian is more than a student, more than a philosopher. He is a believer, and the object of his faith makes the difference, the mighty difference. Of all persons the Christian should be best prepared for whatever the New Year brings. He has dealt with life at its source. In Christ he has disposed of a thousand enemies that other men must face alone and unprepared. He can face his tomorrow cheerful and unafraid because yesterday he turned his feet into the ways of peace and today he lives in God. The man who has made God his dwelling place will always have a safe habitation. 

-- A.W. Tozer in The Warfare of the Spirit