Daily Devotionals

Why Worry When You Can Pray?

Why Worry When You Can Pray?

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matt. 6:27) I AM A WORRYWART. I know that my worry indicates I don’t trust God, but still, I worry. I worry when my husband faces surgery. What if he does not survive? I worry about my own health. What if I...
Decisions Determine Life Direction

Decisions Determine Life Direction

“No one can serve two masters. . . . You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matt. 6:24) THE MOST LIFE-CHANGING DECISION I ever made was to leave a teaching career to serve a church as a director of Christian education. I sometimes wonder how my life would be different...
See the World Through God’s Eyes

See the World Through God’s Eyes

“If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.” (Matt. 6:22) MY EYE DOCTOR ASSURED ME that if he removed my cataracts and inserted clear lenses, my eyesight would improve. I would again be able to read in normal lighting instead of having to seek...
Make it Count from Here to Eternity

Make it Count from Here to Eternity

“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matt. 6:20) MOST OF US WORK TO EARN A LIVING. We need to provide food, clothing, and other basic necessities for ourselves and our...
The Art of Humility

The Art of Humility

He looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar. (Ps. 138:6) THE ARGENTINE ANT is an aggressive species that is spreading throughout North America and destroying other ant populations. These ants invade an area and wage war like a military unit. They employ...
The Art of Self-Deception

The Art of Self-Deception

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets . . . to be honored by men.” (Matt. 6:2) IN FEBRUARY 2014, Pope Francis auctioned off his Harley Davidson motorcycle. A buyer purchased the bike for 327,000 dollars. The pope donated the money to...
The Art of Emptying

The Art of Emptying

“When you fast, do not look somber.” (Matt. 6:16) JUST BEFORE SITTING DOWN to write this devotion on fasting, I got up to get a snack! I am a microcosm of the North American condition. We don’t just need food; we are obsessed with it. One study I read said that...
The Art of Mysterious Absolution

The Art of Mysterious Absolution

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” (Matt. 6:14) FORGIVENESS BOGGLES MY MIND. I really don’t understand it. Human beings have an innate sense of justice. If someone wrongs us, we want to settle the score. Any...
The Art of Fierce Conversation

The Art of Fierce Conversation

“Do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” (Matt. 6:7) HAVE YOU EVER HAD A DISCUSSION that took much longer than it should have? When you left the discussion, perhaps you felt it was a total waste of time. The...
The Art of Acting

The Art of Acting

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites.” (Matt. 6:5) IN 2004 THE ACTOR CHRISTIAN BALE played the character of Trevor Reznik in The Machinist. Reznik was haunted by insomnia and his physique had been whittled down to skin and bone. To prepare for the role,...
The Art of Secrecy

The Art of Secrecy

“Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matt. 6:4) SECRECY HAS DEVELOPED a bad reputation these days. We expect our political leaders to be transparent with the public. We want full disclosure from our spouses and friends. We value...
The Photograph

The Photograph

How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land? (Ps. 137:4) “GRANDMA, I’VE NEVER SEEN this picture before. Where are you?” Becky pulled a black and white photograph from the bottom of a box. A much younger version of her grandmother was pictured along a...
A Difficult Challenge

A Difficult Challenge

His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. (Matt. 5:1–2) “I HAVE TO CHANGE my whole life around. Everything I’ve ever known needs to be different from this point forward if I’m going to be successful. I’m scared and I don’t think I can do it,” Joanna said...
An Unexpected Remark

An Unexpected Remark

“Blessed are you when people insult you.” (Matt. 5:11) RON HAD BEEN SITTING IN TRAFFIC for what felt like at least an hour. He impatiently tapped his fingers against the steering wheel. He ran his fingers nervously through his hair. Ron was on his way to his first job...
A Church Divided

A Church Divided

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (Matt. 5:9) “I’M SORRY, PASTOR, but this just isn’t working out. We are leaving and taking with us whoever will join us.” John had been pastoring the same church for ten years, but this last year had...
A Surprising Start

A Surprising Start

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (Matt. 5:8) SUNDAY MORNING and another migraine headache. Joan hated missing church with her family. She grew up in a home where church attendance was required every week, no matter what. Although her church didn’t...
A Dinner Conversation

A Dinner Conversation

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Matt. 5:6) “CAN YOU JUST STOP looking at your phone?” pleaded Crystal. David could hear the annoyance in her voice. “It has been months since we’ve gotten away on a date, and I feel...
Finding Comfort

Finding Comfort

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matt. 5:4) JAMES COMBED THROUGH HIS CLOSET. He couldn’t find anything acceptable to wear. He didn’t own a black suit. He didn’t own a black tie. It had been years since he had even gone inside a church. He...
Pray for Your Enemies

Pray for Your Enemies

Let them know that you, whose name is the Lord—that you alone are the Most High over all the earth. (Ps. 83:18) IN A FILTHY PRISON CELL, two prisoners stand together singing hymns. Their crime was sharing their faith—a charge neither of them denies. Six years earlier,...
When Faith Isn’t Easy

When Faith Isn’t Easy

The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. (Dan. 6:23) THE STORY OF DANIEL in the lions’ den is one of the most dramatic stories of the...
Put Your Faith in God’s Character

Put Your Faith in God’s Character

“My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight.” (Dan. 6:22) I ONCE WORKED WITH A MAN in Bermuda who believed God had told him to go to the bank and ask for money for a new car. He believed...
No One on Earth Can Intervene

No One on Earth Can Intervene

The king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of the nobles so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. (Dan. 6:17) HOW ARE WE TO FACE IMPOSSIBLE SITUATIONS: Ignore them and hope they go away or face them with an overcoming faith in God? No one...
Punished for Doing Right

Punished for Doing Right

So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” (Dan. 6:16) IN JUNE 2009, Aayisa Noreen spent a day harvesting berries with a group of Muslim women....
Willing to Die for God

Willing to Die for God

When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him. (Dan. 6:14) One of my college classmates, Anna, immigrated to the United States from the Middle East. On the day she converted to...