Friday, March 29, 2019


NOTE: Today marks a significant milestone for this SOUND BITES Ministry -- its 20th Anniversary! I began this ministry on March 29, 1999 as a way to glorify God for the life of our son, Dustin Thomas, who had died one year earlier. Dustin had been born with developmental disabilities that he lived with for 16 years, ultimately dying from an unrelated brain tumor. A line in today’s SOUND BITES quote speaks to what our family and friends felt about Dustin -- he was “a valuable member of God's family, unique and special in God's sight, loved by those around him, with much to offer regardless of his limitations."

On this anniversary, as I have done at times in the past, I would invite you to share how God has used SOUND BITES to minister to you, or how you have used SOUND BITES to minister to others. Post your comment here.

Thank you for your support for this ministry. Please share SOUND BITES with others and help us spread the good news of God’s grace through Jesus Christ to the whole world -- "The world is our parish." 

-- Rev. Dave Wilkinson, founder and editor


The Lord said, "You are precious in My eyes, and honored, and I love you." (Isaiah 43:4)

As I sat watching the handicapped preschoolers gather pumpkins, I felt saddened that my own three-year-old was among them. Why had I bothered to bring him? Mentally and physically handicapped, he could really only observe the fun around him. My hope for a meaningful life for Thomas was at an all-time low.

I talked about my feelings with another parent who was also watching. She opened my eyes to something. "Like you," she said, "I almost didn't bring Kristen today. She is unaware of her surroundings and couldn't possibly enjoy the activities. But then," she continued, "I realized while she may not get anything out of this experience, perhaps someone will see Kristen and be touched by her."

In her words, I saw a ray of hope, a glimpse of meaning in Thomas' life. Perhaps by seeing him participate in his limited way, others would see Thomas not as "handicapped" but as a valuable member of God's family, unique and special in God's sight, loved by those around him, with much to offer regardless of his limitations.

I smiled as I scooped Thomas up, and we hurried into the field in search of pumpkins.

-- Sharon P. Stanley in “The Upper Room”, November 30, 1990 


Thursday, March 28, 2019


“But we preach Christ crucified…”  (1 Corinthians 1: 23a)

A centerpiece is the central or most important feature. Centerpieces tend to be the focus or center of attention. Anyone who has ever attended a wedding should be familiar with centerpieces. The centerpiece of the wedding is the bride; the centerpiece of the reception is the couple. The centerpiece of Philosophy is the love of wisdom. The centerpiece of Science is knowledge, knowing how things work. The centerpiece of History is facts. The centerpiece of most religions is works. The most important centerpiece of all time is God’s centerpiece, the Cross. The Cross is the centerpiece between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Cross was the centerpiece of Calvary; Jesus hung on the cross between two thieves. The Cross is the centerpiece of Salvation.

-- Billy Hicks in a sermon entitled “The Centerpiece of the Gospel: The Cross”


Wednesday, March 27, 2019


“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”  (Romans 6:1-2 NIV)

Grace is no license to sin. God's mercy does not mean we can turn our back on the commands and decrees of our Lord. God's mercy and forgiveness is indeed blessed and deep but if we want to enhance our relationship with Jesus we do well to learn how to please Him and to put Him first in our lives -- no matter what happens.

-- Pastor Gary Stone 


Tuesday, March 26, 2019


“Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.”  (Psalm 51:1-3 NIV)

This is grace for anyone who's ever despaired over sin.  This is the removal of our mountain of indebtedness.  If you've ever felt that gap between reality and who you're called to be, ever felt like you can't close it - this is grace for you.

God took our indebtedness and guilt and nailed it to the cross.  He erased the bill, destroyed the IOU, so you are free. Unburdened.  Cleansed.  You can live with a heart as light as a feather.  Today - no matter what you did yesterday.  This is the wonder of grace.

Therefore, we can live in joy.  We can have unshakable confidence - today, tomorrow, the next day, and every day through eternity.  We can offer love to every human being, however ragged.  This is the wonder of grace. 

-- John Ortberg


Monday, March 25, 2019


“But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5:8 ESV)

The world takes us to a silver screen on which flickering images of passion and romance play, and as we watch, the world says, “This is love.” God takes us to the foot of a tree on which a naked and bloodied man hangs and says, “This is love.” 

-- Joshua Harris


Friday, March 22, 2019


“Then Jesus said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will save it.’”  (Matthew 16:24-25)

As Christians, it does matter how we live our lives... Once we accept Christ into our lives to be our Savior, God through the Holy Spirit immediately begins working in us so that we will have the power to live for Him. However many Christians, including us, often find ourselves struggling to live righteously because instead of relying on God’s power, we try to change from our previous lifestyles on our own.

Properly living the Christian lifestyle may also be difficult to some because we are not fully seeking and thirsting after God with all our hearts. To live God’s way we would be forced to deny ourselves many of the things that we may enjoy. We would have to stop being self-centered and commit ourselves to following God, His Word and His commandments completely. We would not be able to just live for Christ sometimes or for only certain parts of the day, but all day, every day.

-- Danita Evangeline, Danae Mary Louise, Daniqua Grace, and Danyelle Elizabeth Whyte from their blog 


Thursday, March 21, 2019


“TO DABBLE: to undertake something superficially or without serious intent.” Most of us dabble at an endeavor from time to time. I used to dabble at stone polishing. I purchased rock tumblers and the various grits for each stage of the process. I polished batches of rocks for a couple of years. But over time, I lost interest. I could take it or leave it, and I pretty much left it. …. When we dabble, we spend time on something that really doesn’t affect or change us.

…Religious dabbling is alive and well among us. Some forms of church shopping today are little more than “dabbling” at discipleship. ‘Let’s see what this church can do for me and mine’ is not all that far removed from ‘let’s see whether Jesus will perform a sign for me’ [as Herod did in Luke 23:6-12]. Perhaps even more critical, some forms of faith involvement are little more than “dabbling” at discipleship. ‘As long as we don’t scratch beneath the surface of my life or the status quo around here, as long as all this “religious stuff” is not taken too seriously: everything will be all right.’

But will it? And will we?

Dabbling is all about keeping things on the surface. Discipleship goes deep into our world and into us. Dabbling is all about the momentary piquing of our curiosity before we move on to the next oddity that attracts -- or distracts -- our attention. Discipleship is all about fidelity that keeps faith with One whose presence is steady and whose call is demanding. Dabbling leaves us unaffected. Discipleship intends to change us at the core. Dabbling naturally leads to mocking the committed. Discipleship inevitably calls to living committed.

Which will it be for us? 

-- John Indermark in “Gospeled Lives”


Wednesday, March 20, 2019


“The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”  (Psalm 145:8 ESV)

The two great features of Protestant theology are its doctrines of justification by faith and the law as the rule of life.  This is a synthesis of New Testament grace and Old Testament ethics.  With this synthesis, Protestants have solved the problem of finding a gracious God, but they have not solved the problem of finding gracious neighbors.  They can fellowship with God because He is gracious; but they find it difficult to fellowship with one another, because they are not so gracious.

-- Robert D. Brinsmead in “Justification by Faith” 


Tuesday, March 19, 2019


“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 6:23 NLT)

Without question, grace is at the core of the Christian faith. The word ‘grace’ is one of the most profound words in the New Testament. It is full of meaning and message. Interestingly, the New Testament does not define grace, but rather simply points to Jesus as the embodiment and demonstration of God’s grace in our world. The Gospel of John proclaims; “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 RSV) One preacher called grace the shorthand word for the whole gospel. It captures the essence of God’s attitude and relationship with us.

The word translated ‘grace’ in the Greek is ‘charis’, from which we get the word ‘charity’, but it literally means ‘favor.’ Grace is the unmerited, unearned, and underserved favor of God. The gospel message is that God gives His grace through Jesus Christ to persons of every age, time, and station, who have done nothing to deserve it. It is a gift and can only be accepted. 

-- James W. Moore and Bob J. Moore in “Lord, Give Me Patience!... And Give It to Me Right Now!” 


Monday, March 18, 2019


FOR GOD -- The Greatest Deity
SO LOVED -- The Greatest Caring
THE WORLD -- The Greatest Company
THAT HE GAVE -- The Greatest Gift
HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON -- The Greatest Perfection
THAT WHOSOEVER -- The Greatest Invitation
BELIEVES -- The Greatest Simplicity
IN HIM -- The Greatest Attraction
SHOULD NOT PERISH -- The Greatest Promise
BUT -- The Greatest Difference
HAVE -- The Greatest Certainty
EVERLASTING LIFE -- The Greatest Possession

-- Source Unknown 


Friday, March 15, 2019


"So the LORD'S anger burned against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until the entire generation of those who had done evil in the sight of the LORD was destroyed. “  (Numbers 32:13)

God is angry at evil.

For many, this is a revelation. Some assume God is a harried high-school principal, too-busy monitoring the planets to notice. He’s not.

Others assume He is a doting parent, blind to the evil of His children. Wrong.

Still others insist He loves us so much He cannot be angry at our evil. They don’t understand that love is always angry at evil.

Many don’t understand God’s anger because they confuse the wrath of God with the wrath of man. The two have little in common.  Human anger is typically self-driven and prone to explosions of temper and violent deeds. We get ticked off because we’ve been overlooked, neglected, or cheated. This is the anger of man. It is not, however, the anger of God.

God doesn’t get angry because He doesn’t get His way. He gets angry because disobedience always results in self-destruction. What kind of father sits by and watches his child hurt himself? 

-- Max Lucado in “In the Grip of Grace”


Thursday, March 14, 2019


“If we confess our sins, He who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  (1 John 1:9 NRSV)

Lent is a time for discipline, for confession, for honesty, not because God is mean or fault-finding or finger-pointing but because He wants us to know the joy of being cleaned out, ready for all the good things He now has in store. 

-- N.T. Wright


Wednesday, March 13, 2019


“We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.”  (2 Corinthians 6:8-10 NLT)

What a difference it makes to know Jesus! He cares for us in spite of what the world thinks. Christians don’t have to give in to public opinion and pressure. Paul stood faithful to God whether people praised him or slandered him. He remained joyous and content in the most difficult hardships. Don’t let circumstances or people’s expectations control you. Be firm as you stand true to God, and refuse to compromise His standards for living. 

-- from “The Life Application Study Bible”


Tuesday, March 12, 2019


"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things."  (Philippians 4:8 NIV)

While waiting to fly out of the General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin I stopped by the MKE Meditation Room. Around the back of the room on arching panels were words in large type. As I pondered these words I thought they would be good words to think about or meditate on during this Lenten season.

First time through, read them as a whole, pondering their value for us in our world today. Second time through, stop after each word and meditate on their meaning for you personally.  I think you will find they make for a good Lenten Meditation.


-- Rev. David T. Wilkinson


Monday, March 11, 2019


“God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5:8 NIV)

Salvation, from beginning to end, is a work of our Father.  God doesn’t stand on a mountain and tell us to climb it and find Him.  He comes down into our dark valley and finds us.  He doesn’t offer to complete the work if we will start it. He does all the work, from beginning to end.  He washes our sins without our help. What a gift God has given us.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our LORD.”  (Romans 6:23 NIV)

-- Max Lucado in “Unshakable Hope”


Friday, March 8, 2019


[In John chapter 5] Jesus asks the simplest kind of question -- the kind that can be answered with yes or no. “Do you want to get well?”

The man’s answer is none of the above. “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” (John 5:7 NIV)

Jesus has just been briefed on this situation, probably while the disabled man sat and listened. So when Jesus looks down and asks if he wants to be well, the man know his motives are being called into question. And he launches into his well-worn excuse.

The book “Happiness Is a Choice” by Frank Minirth and Paul Meier is devoted to overcoming depression. In it, the authors discuss the tendency of Christians to say “I can’t” when they find themselves confronted by obstacles. They write about how they cringe when patients use the words “I can’t” and “I’ve tried,” which the two doctors identify as “lame excuses.” Instead, they insist their patients use the words “I won’t.”

When working with a man who says, “I just can’t get along with my wife,” the two counselors would make him rephrase that as, “I just won’t get along with my wife.” “I can’t control my spending” would become, “I won’t control my spending.” They believe that the sooner people understand the place of their own free will, the sooner they can begin to move toward a cure. 

-- Kyle Idleman in “The End of Me: Where Real Life in the Upside-Down Ways of Jesus Begins” 


Thursday, March 7, 2019


“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”  (1 Peter 1:14-16 ESV)

Sadly, precisely because our culture finds it relatively easy to believe that God is a God of love, we have developed notions of God’s love that are disturbingly spongy and sentimental and almost always alienated from the full range of attributes that make God, God. 

-- D. A. Carson in “The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God’s Story”


Wednesday, March 6, 2019


“Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions… But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life.”  (Romans 6:12,22)

Apparently, some of the early Christians interpreted the new freedom that Paul talked about in a way that permitted them to do whatever they wished -- as long as they said they had faith. Paul practically accuses them of deliberately sinning in order to see how much grace God will bestow to counteract the sin. He asks, “Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound?” (Romans 6:1)

The apostle quickly answers his own question. “By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it?” (Romans 6:2) While the Christian is free of the ceremonial laws, there is no freedom for immorality or license. Such attitude and behaviors are inappropriate to the new life in Christ, just as they were to the old covenant. Sins are still acts to be avoided, dangers to be fought.

Paul maintains that justification has cleared the decks of a Christian’s past sins; these are no longer held against the faithful. But he has no sympathy for the notion that Christians are therefore free to do anything. Sin is still sin. Morality is still morality. God expects the best of those who claim the promise. 

-- William Carter in “Good News for God’s People: A Study of Romans” published by Abington Press


Tuesday, March 5, 2019


“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”  (Colossians 4:6 NIV)

If the majesty, grace, and power of God are not being exhibited in us, God holds us responsible…

Be marked and identified with God’s nature, and His blessing will flow through you all the time. 

-- Oswald Chambers


Monday, March 4, 2019


“Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper -- it only leads to harm.”  (Psalm 37:8 NLT)

Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back -- in many ways it is a feast for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you. 

-- Frederick Buechner in "Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC" 


Friday, March 1, 2019


“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)

Many times in your past, you thought you could do life on your own. You often relied on your own strength instead of on God’s. Know that God wants to help you get through the hardships of today and every day. Trust the only One who gives you renewed strength for the journey. 

-- Missy Buchanan in “Spirit Boosters for the Journey of Aging: 366 Devotions”