Monday, April 30, 2018


“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”  (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)

Try a thought experiment: Imagine not being afraid any more. Imagine facing financial difficulties or an irate boss with inner poise and resolve. Imagine receiving bad news and generating constructive ways to solve the problem rather than spiraling through the worst-case scenarios. Imagine facing rejection and obstacles without giving in to discouragement. Imagine acknowledging the mistakes you have made, moving confidently into the future. Imagine doing all of this with God as your partner and friend. Now imagine people around you coming to you when they are upset or discouraged because they find that your peace of mind is contagious.

The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace, and what you are imagining is your mind immersed in the Spirit’s flow.  There is a phrase that wonderfully describes the role the Spirit wants to play in our minds: The Spirit is a non-anxious presence.

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


Friday, April 27, 2018


“For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the heights of the hills are His also. The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.”  (Psalm 95:3-7 NKJV)

Psalms presents a world that fits together as a whole, with everything upheld by a personal God watching over it.

This message, above all, leaped out at me during my frustrating attempts to read the Psalms in Colorado.  I could not fit together all the contradictory messages I was reading, but the magnificent wilderness setting at least affirmed the message of God's grandeur, His worthiness.  Wilderness brings us down a level, reminding us of something we'd prefer to forget: our creatureliness.  It announces to our senses the splendor of an invisible, untamable God.  How could I not offer praise to the One who dreamed up porcupines and elk, who splashed bright green aspen trees across hillsides of gray rock, who transforms the same landscape into a new work of art with every blizzard?

-- Philip Yancey in “The Bible Jesus Read


Thursday, April 26, 2018


Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.”  (John 14:1-3 NIV)

The only ultimate disaster that can befall us, I have come to realize, is to feel ourselves at home here on earth.

-- Malcolm Muggeridge


Tuesday, April 24, 2018


“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city… I, Jesus, have sent My angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.”  (Revelation 22:12-17 NIV)

So, for many there is no emotional yearning for the return of Jesus. The best hope they know is a kind of intellectual, theological hope. But an intellectual knowledge of what the New Testament teaches about the return of Christ is surely a poor substitute for a love-inflamed desire to look on His face!… The crux of the whole matter is this: our wonderful, created world will be restored to its rightful Owner.

I for one look forward to that day. I want to live here when Jesus Christ owns and rules the world. Until that hour, there will be conflict, distress and war among the nations. We will hear of suffering and terror and fear and failure. But the God who has promised a better world is the God who cannot lie. He will shake loose Satan’s hold on this world and its society and systems. Our heavenly Father will put this world into the hands that were once nailed to a cross for our race of proud and alienated sinners.

It is a fact. Jesus Christ is returning to earth.…

I bow my head and continue to pray with the humble writer of the Revelation: “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!”

--  A.W. Tozer in “The Tozer Topical Reader”


Monday, April 23, 2018


“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”  (Psalm 19:1-4a NIV)

I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting system, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.

-- George Washington Carver 


Friday, April 20, 2018


“I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection…”  (Philippians 3:10a NRSV)

The benefits [of the resurrection] are innumerable. To list a few: Our illnesses don't seem nearly so final; Our fears fade and lose their grip; Our grief over those who have gone on is diminished; Our desires to press on in spite of the obstacles is rejuvenated... Our identity as Christians is strengthened as we stand in the lengthening shadows of saints down through the centuries, who have always answered back in antiphonal voice: 'He is risen, indeed!'

-- Charles R. Swindoll


Thursday, April 19, 2018


God never gives us anything to keep for ourselves. Whether it is money, insight, or truth, it has to be shared. Jesus said in His great command in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” To those who witnessed His Ascension He declared in Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  Jesus very clearly let His disciples know that the truth He taught them during the past three years was not to be kept in a personal reservoir of knowledge. They were to give away everything they had received.

-- Charles Stanley in “How to Listen to God”


Wednesday, April 18, 2018


“Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.”  (Ephesians 4:29)

O Lord, give me ears to hear as You hear, discernment to understand others as You understand, and fitting words of wisdom for those I encounter today. May I speak life, hope, and love instead of suspicion, judgment, and criticism. Let the words of my mouth honor You, Amen.

-- Dorothy Johnson as quoted in “Alive Now” Jan/Feb 2017


Tuesday, April 17, 2018


“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you.”  (John 15:15 NIV)

Jesus calls us to be His friend, and the friend of God. That is a tremendous offer. It means that no longer do we need to gaze longingly at God from afar off; we are not like slaves who have no right whatever to enter into the presence of the master; passing on some state occasion. Jesus gave us this intimacy with God, so that He is no longer a distant stranger, but our close friend.

-- William Barclay in his commentary on “The Gospel of John”


Monday, April 16, 2018


“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as LORD, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”  (Colossians 2:6-7 NIV)

At the edge of a rocky overlook in the Appalachian foothills stands a lone two-hundred-year-old evergreen tree... Through the years, it has defied heavy snow, hailstorms, and the steady, westerly winds rising off the valley floor. From it's vulnerable view of endless ridges and valleys, it has seen conditions that would snap most trees in half. Nevertheless, it stands strong.

What's the secret?... The answer lies below the surface. For literally two centuries, the elements have hurled their assaults against the tree. But while storms raged on the outside, the tree quietly developed an inner support system to sustain it. Every gust of wind sent the roots sprawling deeper into the soil, expanding the tree's tenacious grip on the mountain...

We are all like trees subjected to the stormy elements of life. And when they come, we either snap or grow stronger. What makes the difference is not the ferocity of the storm but the depth of our [relationship with Christ].

-- adapted from Andy Stanley in “Like a Rock"


EDITOR'S NOTE: This quote reminded me of an image I captured last year and posted to my photography website...

Sell Art Online

Friday, April 13, 2018


One of the most amazing teachings of the Scriptures is that in Jesus, God Himself knows the pain of surrender.  Jesus knelt in a garden and prayed, “Let this cup pass from Me.  Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)  And just as surrender led to resurrection for Jesus, so it does for His followers.  The apostle Paul wrote, “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3:3)

What does it mean that you will appear with Him “in glory”?  It means the day is coming when it will be a glorious thing to be you.  One of the noblest thoughts about God ever recorded by a human being came from Moses’ encounter on Mount Sinai.  Moses asked, “Now show me Your glory.” (Exodus 33:18)  We might expect special effects -- thunder and lighting and earthquakes and power.  But instead God said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass before you.”

The most glorious thing about God is how good He is.  One day you will share in that goodness.  Everything that is small or petty in you will be gone.  To glorify God means to be the kind of person people will look at and say, “What a great God God must be to have thought up such a creature!”

That will be you.  “In glory.”  Glorious.

The only way to glory is through humility.  The only way to freedom is through submission.  The only way to victory is through surrender.

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


Thursday, April 12, 2018


“This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.”  (1 John 4:9 NIV)

The Gospel descends on mankind -- it does not rise from us. It is not a projection of our innate spirituality. It is revealed not discovered or invented. It is of grace, not works. It is conferred not attained. It is a gift to our poverty, not a triumph of our resource. Its Christ is a Christ sent to us and not developed from us, bestowed on our need and not produced from our strength.

-- P.T. Forsyth, British theologian


Wednesday, April 11, 2018


“I depend on God alone; I put my hope in him. He alone protects and saves me; He is my defender, and I shall never be defeated. My salvation and honor depend on God; He is my strong protector; He is my shelter. Trust in God at all times, my people. Tell Him all your troubles, for He is our refuge.”  (Psalm 62:5-8 GNT)

No one likes the idea of "dependence". With the countless scores of people hopelessly addicted to cocaine, alcohol and other drugs the idea of dependence generally takes on a negative meaning. We teach our children to be self-reliant and to stand strong in the world -- to make their own way. Perhaps we should spend more time helping them to understand that we must, simply must, develop a complete and total dependence on the Lord Almighty. Nothing or no person can provide for our eternal needs -- only the Lord Jesus Christ.

-- Pastor Gary Stone


Tuesday, April 10, 2018


“In Christ you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in Him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of His glory.”  (Ephesians 1:13-14 NRSV)

We are living "between the times" -- the time of Christ's resurrection and the new age of the Spirit, and the time of fulfillment in Christ.  Life in the Spirit is a pledge, a "down-payment", on the final kingdom of shalom.  In the meantime, we are to be signs of the kingdom which is, and which is coming.

-- David Kirk


Monday, April 9, 2018


“God who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all -- how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 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 8:32-24 NIV)

To Jesus the ascension came as the culminating divine assurance that the work He had come to do had been completed to the entire satisfaction of the Father, to whose right hand He had now been exalted. “The right hand of God” is metaphorical language for divine omnipotence. “Sitting” does not imply that He is resting, but reigning as King and exercising divine omnipotence. The doctrine of the ascension is therefore the divine affirmation of the absolute sovereignty of Christ over the whole universe…

For the believer, our Lord’s ascension has blessed implications for us. Though physically remote, He is always spiritually near. Now free from earthly limitations, His life above is both a promise and the guarantee of ours. “Because I live, you shall live also,” He assured His disciples (John 14:19). His ascension anticipates our glorification and leaves us the assurance that He has gone to prepare a place for us (John 14:2).

-- J. Oswald Chambers in “My Utmost for His Highest”


Friday, April 6, 2018


“When [the disciples] got there, they found breakfast waiting for them -- fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread. ‘Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,’ Jesus said.”  (John 21:9-10 NLT)

After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples on a beach, having made a charcoal fire and cooked their breakfast. Of all of them, Peter must have caught his breath as he smelled the acrid smoke. It surely surrounded him with memories of an awful night not too long before when he had stood shivering as he warmed himself by another charcoal fire (John 18:18) [when he denied Jesus three times]…

Now, on a beach, the resurrected Jesus was cooking breakfast for Peter and the others over a charcoal fire. After the meal, the Lord asked Peter three times, “Do you love Me?” Can you imagine how that question, triggered by his recent failure, must have pierced Peter’s soul?... Yet Jesus let Peter know that, in spite of his failure, Peter could be forgiven. What’s more, the resurrected Lord told him that He had special work for Peter to do…

Peter allowed Jesus Christ to forgive him, cleanse him from his sins, and fill him with the Holy Spirit so that he could serve his Lord powerfully. We can do the same.

-- Jill Briscoe, quoted in “His Passion: Christ’s Journey to the Resurrection”


Thursday, April 5, 2018


“God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”  (Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT)

Grace is the sacrificial, accepting, forgiving love of God expressed and revealed in Jesus... Grace is the source of our peace. Grace is love with no strings attached, poured forth in the total life and death and resurrection of Jesus. To be saved means to fling one's soul on that grace.

-- U.M. Bishop Richard Wilke in “DISCIPLE: Becoming Disciples Through Bible Study


Wednesday, April 4, 2018


“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  (Galatians 2:20 NIV)

What do we do with worries? Take your anxieties to the cross --  literally. Next time you’re worried about your health or house or finances or flights, take a mental trip up the hill. Spend a few moments looking again at the pieces of the passion.

Run your thumb over the tip of the spear. Balance a spike in the palm of your hand. Read the wooden sign written in your own language. And as you do, touch the velvet dirt, moist with the blood of God.

Blood He bled for you. The spear He took for you. The nails He felt for you. The sign He left for you.

He did all of this for you. Knowing this, knowing all He did for you there, don’t you think He’ll look out for you here?

-- Max Lucado, quoted in "His Passion: Christ's Journey to the Resurrection"


Tuesday, April 3, 2018


Easter never fails us. Even in the worst of times, amidst destruction, death and despair, Easter arrives as surely as daybreak, boldly proclaiming the message of renewal and hope.

…Biblical accounts of the first Easter Sunday have proven to be a powerful source of inspiration and transformation. The world was never the same again. The blood stained linen wrappings and the empty tomb ushered in a radically different era of brave new beginnings. The message of love, faith and hope still resonates across the globe…

Fyodor Dostoyevsky once said in “The Brothers Karamazov”: "Without God, everything becomes permissible." But Easter declares: "With God, everything becomes possible." That means hope -- hope that transcends our limitations and triumphs over our worst fears. Easter epitomizes the kind of tragic optimism that cannot be crushed by all the forces of darkness, including death. This is the true meaning of Easter!

-- Paul T. P. Wong, Ph.D., C.Psych., Trinity Western University


Monday, April 2, 2018


“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children.”  (Galatians 4:4-5 NRSV)

With endless patience, at infinite cost to Himself, God had been waiting since the beginning of history -- watching, suffering, loving -- until in the fullness of time He sent His only begotten Son to a redemption center on a hill called Calvary. What does He want to redeem? Everything. All creation is groaning for redemption, Paul says. God wants to redeem you.

When circumstances look bleak, when the stock market is down, or when your morale is sinking or your assets are shrinking or your health is collapsing, you may wonder, Is anything going up? Yes.

The chance to trust God when trusting isn’t easy is wide open. The prospect for modeling hope for a hope-needy world is trending upward. And the possibility of cultivating a storm-proof faith is always going up. This is so because certain truths remain unchanged: God remains sovereign, grace beats sin, prayers get heard, the Bible endures, heaven’s mercies spring up new every morning, the cross still testifies to the power of sacrificial love, the tomb is still empty, and the kingdom that Jesus announced is still expanding without needing to be bailed out by human efforts.

God is still in the business of redemption, specializing in bringing something very, very good out of something very, very bad.

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