Wednesday, July 19, 2017


“The Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.” (Philippians 3: 20b-21)

Trying to understand what our bodies will be like in heaven is much like expecting an acorn to understand his destiny of roots, bark, branches, and leaves. Or asking a caterpillar to appreciate flying. Or a peach pit to fathom being fragrant. Or a coconut to grasp what it means to sway in the ocean breeze. Our eternal bodies will be so grand, so glorious, that we can only catch a fleeting glimpse of the splendor to come...

You and what you will one day be are one and the same -- yet different. "Our lowly bodies... will be like His glorious body." Astounding.

-- Joni Eareckson Tada in “Heaven: Your Real Home”


Tuesday, July 18, 2017


Tears are a biological gift from God. They are a physical means for expressing emotional and spiritual experience. But it is hard to know what to do with them. If we indulge our tears, we cultivate self-pity. If we suppress our tears, we lose touch with our feelings. But if we pray our tears, we enter into sadness that integrates our sorrows with our Lord's sorrows and discover both the source of and the relief from our sadness.

-- Eugene H. Peterson


Monday, July 17, 2017


“Four out of five ministers surveyed”…  OK, the correct number is more like “110 of 110 spiritual leaders interviewed,” but ever since the series of classic commercials aired featuring the ubiquitous “four out of five dentists,” I’ve had the image stuck in my head. The phrase “four out of five surveyed” has assumed a cache of gravitas I simply can’t pass up.

I may not know a lot of dentists, but over the past three years I have interviewed well over one hundred Christian ministers and published almost as many news stories about their work. Without exception these spiritual leaders have always defined the process of spiritual formation directly in terms of our relationship with Christ.

One United Methodist leader said it well: “My growth as a Christian happens in direct proportion to my willingness to place myself in proximity to Jesus.”

Yet at the same time the clerics were unequivocal regarding our need to be saturated with the Word of God. “Actually, that’s one of the primary ways I get to know God,” one Lutheran pastor told me. “God reveals His character specifically through the inspired words of the Bible. Sometimes when I read the Gospels it’s like having Jesus Himself sitting in an easy chair and sharing His heart with me one-on-one.”

-- Derek Maul in “Get Real: A Spiritual Journey for Men”


Friday, July 14, 2017


To bless in the biblical sense means to ask for God's blessing, we're not asking for more of what we could get ourselves. We're crying out for the wonderful, unlimited goodness that only God has power to know about or give us. This kind of richness is what the writer was referring to in Proverbs: "The Lord's blessing is our greatest wealth; all our work adds nothing to it." (Proverbs 10:22 TLB)

-- Bruce Wilkinson in “The Prayer of Jabez


Thursday, July 13, 2017


“Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”  (Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV)

The phone rings early in the morning. You reach over and [answer it]. A familiar voice simply says three words: “Were you sleeping?” Though it’s a simple question, all of us have probably struggled to answer from time to time…

Just as a friend can wake us up with an early morning phone call to let us know something important, God invites us to wake up to the reality of Him every day. It’s true. Whether you recognize it or not,  you received a call from God this morning. The Bible says that God’s mercies are new every morning. And that’s a piece of news you can’t afford to miss.

-- Margaret Feinberg in “A Grand New Day”


Wednesday, July 12, 2017


“I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life.”  (1 Timothy 1:16)

We commonly associate patience with lying down. We think of it as the angel that guards the couch of the invalid. Yet there is a patience that I believe to be harder -- the patience that can ruin. To lie down in the time of grief, to be quiet under the stroke of adverse fortune, implies a great strength. But I know of something that implies a strength greater still. It is the power to work under stress, to continue under hardship, to have anguish in your spirit and still perform daily tasks. This is a Christ-like thing. The hardest thing is that most of us are called to exercise patience, not in the sick bed, but in the street.

-- George Matheson, quoted by Joni Eareckson Tada in “Glorious Intruder


Tuesday, July 11, 2017


“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.”  (Proverbs 3:5,6 NRSV)

The Rev. Eric Folkerth tells the story about a Navy pilot in the Gulf War with Iraq... He was flying a mission on the very first night of the war, and his mission was to fly deep into Iraqi territory. Just as he crossed into Iraq, something all pilots fear happened: his instruments showed a missile was heading toward him. So, he maneuvered to get out of the way. Unfortunately, his maneuver sent him into a tailspin, and totally disoriented his senses. He had the sense that he was falling hard toward the left, and that to correct this, he needed to make a hard right turn. But, just before doing this maneuver, he looked down at his instruments. And his instruments showed he should do the exact opposite. His own inner ear and sense of balance told him one thing. His instruments told him another. He had to make a decision, and he only had split seconds.

He decided to trust the instruments. He remembered he'd been told that that's what he should do in flight school, and that his own sense of up and down could get disoriented. So, he banked back to the left, instead of to the right. And, sure enough, it brought him out of the tailspin.

In life, when things are going badly and we are in a tailspin, we have a tendency to trust in our own insights, or perceptions, of the situation. We try to get out of it our own way. But that will often bring on the necessity of a search and rescue mission. Instead, we need to trust the "instruments" of God's Word. He has placed before us the way we should go. We simply need to trust Him, acknowledge His perfect way, and He will guide us back to the right pathway. Enjoy the flight, but trust in the Lord's instruments.

-- Rev. David T. Wilkinson


Monday, July 10, 2017


I sit in the rattan chair, white terrycloth robe bundled around me.  My feet and face are chilled by the crisp Gulf breeze flowing through the open French doors.

I've come to this house to right myself in life, to wake up, to rest.  Weeks into the visit I begin constructing the life I've yet to live, from the center outward, and I start with the cog of my existence -- my faith.  My belief in another dimension, another justice, another King, another government devoid of fallibility.  My belief in a place where mercy reigns supreme and thoughtful, demonstrative, detailed love is expressed in microscopic ways.

This way is for the brave.  It allows God to be God.  It expects Him to move, but not to fit.

This road is meted out to me in small segments.  I step forward to answer the call of my first segment: Speak the truth as you have tasted it.  Sow the love as you have reaped it.  Number your days and find the joy hidden in each step.

-- Margaret Becker in “With New Eyes"


Friday, July 7, 2017


“God, I look to You for help.  I trust in You, Lord.”  (Psalm 141:8)

Don't put your hope into things that can change -- relationships, money, talents, beauty, even health.  Set your sights on the one thing that can never change: trust in your heavenly Father.

-- Max Lucado


Thursday, July 6, 2017


Our thought patterns become as habitual as brushing our teeth.  After a while we don’t even think about them.  We get so used to bitter thoughts or anxious thoughts or selfish thoughts that we don’t even notice what we are thinking about.

One of the great barriers to a flourishing mind is sometimes called mindlessness.  My body is at the breakfast table with my family, but my mind isn’t.  It is ruminating over my problems -- a repetitive, anxious, dull, low-grade obsession with tasks and problems.  I am absentminded; my mind has gone AWOL.  Other people can tell I am not fully present because my face is less alive and responsive.  I talk less, and when I do say something, it is superficial and terse.  I don’t do this on purpose.  It simply becomes a habit of my mind.

The spiritual life begins with paying attention to our thoughts, which is why the psalmist prayed, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23)  God knows our thoughts better than we do, and He will help us learn what is going on in our mind from one moment to the next.

-- John Ortberg in “The Me I Want To Be”


Wednesday, July 5, 2017


NOTE:  On July 1, 2017 I retired from full-time ministry in the United Methodist Church. As I prepared for retirement and what that might look like, this verse and quote came to mind. Some have asked whether I will continue this SOUND BITES Ministry. Based on what I feel God is calling me to in retirement, I have no plans to discontinue this ministry. I have appreciated the many words of support for keeping it going. Blessings… -- DW


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”  (Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV)

For some, retirement is disengagement, a time of withdrawal from life.  For others, it is new activity.  For those who seek to understand how God fits into retirement, we must return to see how God was at work in our past stories.  Only then can we understand how God calls us in this new chapter of life's journey.  There is continuity between how God called us in our past and how God calls us now. …

As we look backward and see God's presence in life, we can look forward to the end of life with hope and optimism.

-- Richard L. Morgan in “I Never Found That Rocking Chair"


Monday, July 3, 2017


“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”   (Galatians 5:1a NIV)

Daring to do what is right, not what fancy may tell you, valiantly grasping occasions, not cravenly doubting -- freedom comes only through deeds, not through thoughts taking wing. Faint not nor fear, but go out to the storm and the action, trusting in God whose commandment you faithfully follow.

-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer