Thursday, March 31, 2016


"Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself" (Luke 24:27 NLT).

Well, what do you know, Christ conducted a Bible class. He led the Emmaus bound duo through an Old Testament survey course, from the writings of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy) into the messages of Isaiah, Amos, and the others. He turned the Emmaus trail into a biblical timeline, pausing to describe… the Red Sea rumbling?... Jericho tumbling?... King David stumbling? Of special import to Jesus was what the "Scriptures said about Himself." His face watermarks more Old Testament stories than you might imagine. Jesus is Noah, saving humanity from disaster; Abraham, the father of a new nation; Isaac, placed on the altar by his father; Joseph, sold for a bag of silver; Moses, calling slaves to freedom; Joshua, pointing out the promised land.

Jesus "took them through the writing of Moses and all the prophets." Can you imagine Christ quoting Old Testament Scripture? Did Isaiah 53 sound this way: "I was wounded and crushed for your sins. I was beaten that you might have peace" (v. 5)? Or Isaiah 28: "I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem. It is firm, a tested precious cornerstone that is safe to build on" (v. 16)? Did He pause and give the Emmaus students a wink, saying, "I'm the stone Isaiah described"? We don't know His words, but we know their impact. The two disciples felt "our hearts burning within us while He talked" (Luke 24:32 NIV).

-- Max Lucado in Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear


Wednesday, March 30, 2016


If Jesus' tomb is empty, His promise is not. Leave it to the apostle Paul to reduce the logic to a single sentence: "There is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when He comes back" (1 Corinthians 15:23 NLT).

Paul was writing to Corinthian Christians, people who had been schooled in the Greek philosophy of a shadow afterlife. Someone was convincing them that corpses couldn't be raised, neither theirs nor Christ's. The apostle couldn't bear such thought. "Let me go over the Message with you one final time" (1 Corinthians 15:1 MSG). With an insistence of an attorney in closing arguments, he reviewed the facts: "[Jesus] was raised from death on the third day… he presented Himself alive to Peter… His close friends… more than five hundred of His followers… James… the rest of those He commissioned… and… finally… to me" (1 Corinthians 15:4-8 MSG).

Line up the witnesses, he offered. Call them out one by one. Let each person who saw the resurrected Christ say so. Better pack a lunch and clear your calendar, for more than five hundred testifiers are willing to speak.

-- Max Lucado in Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear


Tuesday, March 29, 2016


NOTE: Today, March 29, 2016, is the 17th anniversary of our SOUND BITES Ministry™.  It was begun in 1999 in memory of our son, Dustin, who had died on March 29, 1998. Today's quote is an Easter reminder that death is not the end, but A NEW ADVENTURE IN EXISTENCE. It speaks to what I believe SOUND BITES is all about.

On this 17th anniversary, as I have done each year, I invite you to share how SOUND BITES has ministered to you and/or how you have used SOUND BITES to minister to others. Since SOUND BITES is now available via e-mail, blog, Facebook, and Twitter, you are welcome to respond through any of those means.


Rev. Dave Wilkinson, SOUND BITES Ministry™


Jesus grants courage for the final passage. He did for Charles Lindbergh, the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. When the pilot discovered that he had terminal cancer, he and his wife went to spend their final days at his Hawaiian home. He engaged a minister to conduct the last rites and wrote out these words to be read at his burial service:

"We commit the body of Charles A. Lindbergh to its final resting place; but his spirit we commit to Almighty God, knowing that death is but a new adventure in existence and remembering how Jesus said upon the cross, "Father, into Thy hands I comment My Spirit."

Death -- "a new adventure in existence." No need to dread it or ignore it. Because of Christ , you can face it.

-- Max Lucado in Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear


Monday, March 28, 2016


"Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb."  (Matthew 28:1 NLT)

Shortly after the women arrived and found the empty tomb, Jesus appeared to them and said, "Look, I'm here. It's Me! Touch Me. Tell My disciples I'm alive." Later that day He appeared to the disciples and that appearance changed everything.

The message was clear: Neither sin, nor hate, nor evil, nor even death would have the final word. God, in raising Jesus from the dead, was shouting to the human race: Love has conquered hate, grace has conquered sin, hope has conquered despair, and life has conquered death! Love, grace, hope, life -- these have the final word because of Christ's resurrection. That is our defining story as Christians.

-- Adam Hamilton in The Way: Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus


Friday, March 25, 2016


This is the kind of King we follow, a King whose standard is the cross. Many look at the cross and see Christ's suffering and death for them, a "full and perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world," and indeed this is one of the profound and powerful truths of the cross. But there is more.

When I look at the cross, I see a divine love story centered on a God who suffered to save the human race. This love is selfless and sacrificial -- a parent dying for a child, a lover dying for the beloved. Ultimately, the cross is a sign of the lengths to which God will go to save us from sin and brokenness. It reminds us that forgiveness came at a great price.

Luke includes the words Jesus prayed from the cross, words that I find utterly astounding, a prayer transcending space and time, offered on Calvary for all people everywhere: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34)

-- Adam Hamilton in The Way: Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus


Thursday, March 24, 2016


“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”  (Matthew 26:38)

Jesus made His fears public. He "offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death" (Hebrews 5:7 NIV). He prayed loudly enough to be heard and recorded, and He begged His community of friends to pray with Him.

His prayer in the garden becomes, for Christians, a picture of the church in action -- a place where fears can be verbalized, pronounced, stripped down, and denounced; an escape from the "wordless darkness" of suppressed frights. A healthy church is where our fears go to die. We pierce them through with Scripture, psalms of celebration and lament. We melt then in the sunlight of confession. We extinguish them with the waterfall of worship, choosing to gaze at God, not our dreads.

-- Max Lucado in Fearless


Wednesday, March 23, 2016


In the sign language for the deaf, the sign for Jesus is to point to the palms of both hands with the index finger of the other hand. This is symbolic of the nail prints in the hands of Jesus.

The sign for the Bible is to point with first one index finger then the other to the palms of both hands, then to open the palms up as if they were a book. In other words, the Bible is a book about Jesus Christ.

-- Jamie Buckingham in Power for Living


Tuesday, March 22, 2016


"I don't condemn you -- really.  That's not why I came.  I came to redeem your failures, not to punish you for your mistakes.  Now go -- don't sin anymore.  Start living a brand-new life today!  Don't fall back into your same sinful habits.  I will help you live a new life starting right here, right now."

Friends, is there a better picture of Gods' heart than this -- the heart that invites someone to freedom instead of indictment?  Without excusing the woman's sinful discretions, Jesus said, "Everyone has taken some wrong turns.  Everyone is in need of forgiveness and redemption and healing.  Everyone needs to know the love that only my Father can provide. That is why I've come."  And with customary tenacity, He left the temple courts that day, unwavering in His belief that His restorative vision would one day be reality.

-- Bill Hybels in Just Walk Across the Room


Monday, March 21, 2016


Hosanna is a word used in some songs of praise, particularly on Palm Sunday. It is of Hebrew origin and was part of the shout of the multitudes as Jesus entered Jerusalem: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” (Matthew 21:9).

Hosanna is often thought of as a declaration of praise, similar to hallelujah, but it is actually a plea for salvation. The Hebrew root words are found in Psalm 118:25, which says, “Save us, we pray, O LORD!” (ESV). The Hebrew words yasha (“deliver, save”) and anna (“beg, beseech”) combine to form the word that, in English, is “hosanna.” Literally, hosanna means “I beg you to save!” or “please deliver us!”

So, as Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem, the crowds were perfectly right to shout “Hosanna!” They were acknowledging Jesus as their Messiah, as shown in their address “Son of David.” Theirs was a cry for salvation and a recognition that Jesus is able to save.

Later that day, Jesus was in the temple, and the children present were again shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Matthew 21:15). The chief priests and the teachers of the Law were displeased: “‘Do you hear what these children are saying?’ they asked Him. ‘Yes,’ replied Jesus, ‘have you never read, “From the lips of children and infants You, Lord, have called forth Your praise”’?” (Matthew 21:16). In saying, “Hosanna!” the people were crying out for salvation, and that’s exactly why Jesus had come. Within the week Jesus would be hanging on a cross.


Friday, March 18, 2016


Things are not always what they seem! Such is certainly the case in [Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem]… The so-called “triumphal entry” of our Lord into Jerusalem is anything but a triumph, as we can see from the tears shed by our Lord in Luke's… account (Luke 19:41-44). Those who enthusiastically welcome Jesus to Jerusalem as the “King of Israel” are some of the same people who, in a week's time, will be crying out, “We have no king, but Caesar!” (John 19:15). Those who cry out, “Hosanna!” (Save now!)…, will be shouting, “He saved others. Let Him save Himself if He is the Christ of God, His chosen one!” (Luke 23:35). It is not a triumphal entry at all, but nonetheless it is a very significant event in the life of our Lord and in the history of the nation Israel...

The fact that every Gospel has an account of the “triumphal entry” of our Lord into Jerusalem indicates to us that it is indeed a most significant event. On our Lord's part, it is a most dramatic and emphatic claim to be the Messiah, the “King of Israel.” At the same time, it is a fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. Jesus does not come as a conquering king, ready to lead Israel against the Romans, overthrowing their rule. He has come as the “Prince of Peace” and as the “Lamb of God,” whose death will provide the cure for sin. I am reminded of the spiritual that goes something like this, “Poor little Jesus boy, they didn't know who You was …” This song refers to the birth of our Lord, but it applies equally well to His “triumphal entry.” They still don't know who He is.

-- Robert L. Deffinbaugh, from


Thursday, March 17, 2016


God's grace is amazing. It's like the sound of a sweet song of salvation to a sinner like me. See, I was lost but God found me and put me on His path. I was blind to my need for God, but now I see it.

Grace taught me to fear God, but God's grace also dispelled all my fears. God's grace is precious to me and came to me the very moment I professed my belief [in Christ].

I have been on a wild ride in life -- danger, struggles, temptations. But grace got me safely to this point and grace will get me all the way to my eternal home.

The Lord promises good things for me. I firm up my hope in His promises by knowing His Word. He is my protector and everything I will ever need for my whole life.

When my body starts to fail me and my earthly life ends, I will see God in heaven and know a life of joy and peace forever.

And even when we've been living with God in the brilliant light of heaven for ten thousand years, we get the privilege of singing God's praises for ten thousand more!

-- A contemporary paraphrase of John Newton's hymn "Amazing Grace" as quoted in The Wesleyan Way by Scott J. Jones


Wednesday, March 16, 2016


The more we receive in our silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life.  Silence gives us a new way of looking at everything.  We need this silence in order to touch souls.  Jesus is always waiting for us in silence.  Because we cannot see Christ, we cannot express our love to Him in person.  But our neighbor we can see, and we can do for him or her what we would love to do for Jesus if He were visible.  Let us be open to God so that He can use us.  Let us put love into our actions, beginning in the family, in the neighborhood, in the street.

-- Mother Teresa in The Love of Christ


Tuesday, March 15, 2016


"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another -- and all the more as you see the Day approaching."  (Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV)

The genius of the Methodist movement, which enabled it to conquer the raw lives of workingmen in industrial England, and the raw lives of men and women on the American frontier, was the "class meeting" -- ten members and their leader, meeting regularly for mutual encouragement, rebuke, nurture, and prayer.

-- John L. Casteel

Monday, March 14, 2016


Some years ago in a small town in England a man escaped briefly from an institution for the criminally insane. During his few hours' liberty, he captured, raped, and murdered a small girl and was then apprehended by authorities. At the same time he arrived at the police station under escort, the father of the child arrived, too. The father was a mild-mannered man, but when he saw the person who had murdered his beloved child, he went berserk, and it took a number of lawmen to control him. There was no incompatibility between his love and his wrath; in fact, there was a clear connection between the two. Strangely, the intensity of his love was demonstrated in the intensity of his anger. Love for the beloved was shown in anger against that which had destroyed the beloved.

The love and wrath of God must be seen as a continuum of the divine emotion for humankind. The intensity of the love of God for people is clearly mirrored in the intensity of His antipathy to that which marred His creative masterpiece. And the greatest manifestation of the love of God, the cross of Christ, is itself the fiery focal point of the divine wrath. You cannot look at the cross and see love without wrath and wrath without love. The cross stands tall in human history as the epitome of the relationship between both.

-- Stuart Briscoe in The Fruit of the Spirit: Cultivating Christian Character


Friday, March 11, 2016


Would you do what Jesus did? He swapped a spotless castle for a grimy stable. He exchanged the worship of angels for a company of killers. I wouldn’t do it, but Christ did! If you knew that only a few would care that you came, would you still come? If you knew that those you loved would laugh in your face, would you still care? Christ did. He humbled Himself. The palm that held the universe took the nail of a soldier. Why? Because that’s what love does. It puts the beloved before itself. He loves you that much, and because He loves you, you are of prime importance to Him.

--  Max Lucado in A Love Worth Giving


Thursday, March 10, 2016


Let us acknowledge that the world in which we are living is getting worse every day and, each and everyone of us -- regardless of our professions, race or religion -- is responsible for and has a role to play in the process of making it a more just and livable place.

-- International Herald Tribune


Wednesday, March 9, 2016


"In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to Him through the blood of Christ."  (Ephesians 2:12-13 NLT)

It is a Gospel to [people] who are without God, sinful, bewildered, anxious, discouraged, self-sufficient and proud yet destroying themselves and others, caught in a desperate plight from which they cannot extricate themselves.  The Bible characterizes [people] in such a state as "lost", and as being "without hope in the world"...  And let no one suppose that such a term as "lost" is merely a bit of conventional theological jargon.  It stands for a terrible reality, a reality which modern man in his modern predicament knows only too well from his own bitter experience.  It gives rise to the voices of despair which haunt our radios, our newspapers, our fiction and poetry, our stage and screen, our doctors' offices, our hospital wards, our grisly nightmare of atomic war, and the conversation of common people who no sooner meet than they begin to bemoan the fate that has overtaken the world.

-- Lewis J. Sherrill in Lift Up Your Eyes [1949]


Tuesday, March 8, 2016


Lent is the perfect season of the year for solitude and self-reflection. As we spiritually journey into the desert, Lent is a time to re-examine our boundary lines and get realigned, set in right relationship with God and the world around us. I would like to suggest a Lenten path to travel as the days grow longer and Easter approaches, the path of simplicity.

Simplicity is not about poverty, or a renunciation of possessions, or a set of "dos" or "don'ts."  Rather, simplicity is a spiritual discipline that re-orients one's life by deliberately organizing it around a central purpose. Adhering to a focused center reduces the fractured nature of our lives. Our priorities become aligned to the focus of our lives, and the way we live out our simplicity in terms of our time, energy, and money becomes a reflection of our inner beliefs. On the most basic level, simplicity means being honest and sincere with ourselves about our faith and what really matters most to us.

To walk the path of simplicity we must believe that God calls us to it. Lent invites us to journey in the way of Jesus by learning more about His way and applying it in our lives.

In the coming days of Lent, allow Christ's light to shine more brightly in your life and lead you into a path of simplicity that helps you re-orient your life toward God in Christ.

-- Ann Hagmann in Alive Now Magazine, March/April 2002, published by The Upper Room, Nashville, TN.   Used with permission.


Monday, March 7, 2016


Winston Churchill had planned his funeral, which took place in Saint Paul's Cathedral.  He included many of the great hymns of the church and used the eloquent Anglican liturgy.  At his direction, a bugler, positioned high in the dome of Saint Paul's, intoned, after the benediction, the sound of "Taps", the universal signal that says the day is over.

But then came the most dramatic turn: as Churchill instructed, as soon as "Taps" was finished, another bugler, placed on the other side of the great dome, played the notes of "Reveille" -- "It's time to get up.  It's time to get up.  It's time to get up in the morning."

That was Churchill's testimony that at the end of history, the last note will not be "Taps"; it will be "Reveille". The worst things are never the last things.

-- John Claypool


Friday, March 4, 2016


Faithfulness comes from good stock. If ever a word had good parents, impressive grandparents, and sterling ancestors, it is faithfulness. That's because faithfulness comes from God Himself.

God. The God who made a covenant with Abraham and said, "I will be faithful to you." God. The same God who made a covenant with Moses and the Israelites and said, "I will be faithful to you." God. The very God who made a covenant with the entire world by sending Jesus Christ in order to say, "In Him, I am faithful to you." God is faithful. That means God keeps His word. God does what He says He will do. He makes good on His promises. God is true even when His people are not. Faithfulness is an old, old word. Faithfulness is a good word. It is God's word.

-- Allen R. Hunt in Nine Words


Thursday, March 3, 2016


"In quietness and trust is your strength."  (Isaiah 30:15)

Be still… deliberately pause and discover that God is God. Stop reaching back into your own treasure of security. Stop trying to pull the strings yourself. Stop manipulating people and situations. Stop making excuses for your irresponsibilities. Stop ignoring reality. Stop rationalizing your way through life. Stop all that!

"How?" you ask.  Initially: Be quiet. The immortal, invisible, all-wise God, hid from your human eyes, is at work. Be very still and, for a change, listen.

-- Charles Swindoll in Bedside Blessings


Wednesday, March 2, 2016


We may want to talk about our loved one frequently; in fact we may fear that our need to talk is excessive. But talking about a loved one who died is a testament to that person's life. It is a reflection of all that person offered to us and to others. It signifies that our loved one had a unique personality and character and was a strong influence in our lives, that he or she gave something valuable to us and received from us as well.

Talking keeps the person alive in important ways. It confirms that our loved one will be an ongoing part of our lives and the lives of those around us, that he or she came into this world and had an impact, and shall live in our hearts and minds forever.

-- Carol Staudacher in A Time To Grieve: Meditations For Healing After The Death Of A Loved One


Tuesday, March 1, 2016


"God made Christ who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."  (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV)

It wasn't the Romans who nailed Jesus to the cross.  It wasn't the Jewish religion that took Him up the hill of Calvary.  It wasn't spikes that held Jesus to the cross.  What held Him to that cross was His conviction that it was necessary that He become sin -- that He who is pure become sin and that the wrath of God be poured down, not upon the creation, but upon the Creator.

-- Max Lucado