Daily Devotionals

Good vs. Evil

Good vs. Evil

He worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews. (Est. 10:3) WE ALL LOVE a good-versus-evil story—especially when good triumphs and the bad guy gets knocked down a few notches. There’s something satisfying about balance being...
Next in Line

Next in Line

Who is there that the king would rather honor than me? (Est. 6:6) YOU’VE WORKED HARD, putting in long hours and doing jobs no one else wanted. You have a good reputation within the company. But when the time comes for that big promotion, you’re passed by for someone...
Keep Coming

Keep Coming

Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? (Luke 18:7) ONE TRIP TO TARGET is all it takes. Push that red cart through the store, and soon enough you’ll hear it: “I want that! Will you buy it?” Not just once, but over and...
The Quiet Life

The Quiet Life

Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. He warned them not to tell others about him. (Matt. 12:15–16) BROADCASTING OUR EVERY MOVE has become commonplace in our social media–driven culture. The beauty of these online...
Fear and Fortune

Fear and Fortune

He will be . . . a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure. (Isa. 33:6) THE HINT OF HIDDEN TREASURE sends excitement straight to your toenails. Most of us are thrilled to find five dollars in our pockets, let...
A Breach Above the Waves

A Breach Above the Waves

He will bless those who fear the Lord—small and great alike. (Ps. 115:13) WHEN THEY FIRST STEPPED IN and the boat began to rock, Daniel’s eyes grew wider. His father’s grip on his shoulder assured him that he didn’t need to be afraid. “Son, we’ve waited a long time...
Go and Ask

Go and Ask

Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few.” (2 Kings 4:3) WHEN MATTHEW FIRST DREAMED about helping in the remote African mission, he hadn’t anticipated experiencing difficulties trying to get there. He had spent years...
Blankets and Hot Tea

Blankets and Hot Tea

And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? (Est. 4:14) MARGARET WAS PASSIONATE about pursuing this newfound interest. It was as if someone had lit a fire in her to learn and prepare. More than anything else, she wanted to know...
Pay Attention

Pay Attention

When Esther’s eunuchs and female attendants came and told her about Mordechai, she was in great distress. (Est. 4:4) SHE NOTICED STELLA’S DOWNCAST expression as soon as she arrived at work that morning. Her usually bubbly coworker seemed to carry an unusual weight...
Last Will and Testament

Last Will and Testament

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. (Luke 17:15) IT WAS ONE OF THOSE moments for which you can’t prepare. Somehow, the family sat, surrounded by tension. In the weeks since the funeral, this appointment had loomed, along...
The Cover-Up

The Cover-Up

And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own. (Ex. 1:21) KYLE THOUGHT MAYBE he was losing his mind. He could have sworn he had just written check number 47 yesterday. But today the pile of checks began with number 49. “No matter,” he...
Bring Your Nothing

Bring Your Nothing

“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.” (2 Kings 4:2) REBECCA COULD HEAR HER DAUGHTER moving around in her room, and she assumed the little one was up early playing dolls. No matter. If she was entertaining herself, she...
Jesus Is Alive!

Jesus Is Alive!

They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. (Ps. 115:5) GROWING UP IN A HOME that followed some of the Chinese cultural norms, I was instructed to pay homage to Buddha. The smell of incense being offered as a fragrant offering to Buddha filled the...
Choosing to Forgive

Choosing to Forgive

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Eph. 4:32) IT WAS MY FIRST SUNDAY at the church that had called me to be their pastor. After the service, an older gentleman handed me a note that said, “My wife and I...
Courage When Facing Persecution

Courage When Facing Persecution

But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor. (Est. 3:2) AN AFRICAN CHRISTIAN shared about his grandmother’s courage: without any warning, dissident soldiers had entered into her village in the middle of the night and had woken up all the villagers and lined...
Choosing Humility

Choosing Humility

Esther . . . continued to follow Mordecai’s instructions. (Est. 2:20) WHILE I WAS NEARING COMPLETION of the requirements for a doctoral degree from the University of South Africa, my promoter or supervisor called me over the phone, “Jim, I want to see you because I...
The Attractiveness of Devotion

The Attractiveness of Devotion

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:42) WHEN WE LIVED IN ZIMBABWE, I asked Sikhumbuzo what drew him to the Sihlengeni church near Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. He shared that one big attraction was...
A Changed Life

A Changed Life

Do not get drunk on wine. . . . Instead, be filled with the Spirit. (Eph. 5:18) FOR THE LAST COUPLE YEARS, I have served on the board of the Grant County Rescue Mission in Marion, Indiana. As the chairperson, I have asked different men, who have been helped by the...
A New Tongue

A New Tongue

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths. (Eph. 4:29) WHILE I WAS GROWING UP, I heard the saying, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.” I knew this phrase was not true. Words do hurt and harm. Words were used to tell me...
Representing God

Representing God

Judah became God’s sanctuary, Israel his dominion. (Ps. 114:2) WE RUB OUR EYES each Sunday morning and prepare to go to church. Those of us who are pastors look over our sermon notes, or brush up on the news to see whether there is anything we should include in the...
God’s Power or Ours?

God’s Power or Ours?

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Cor. 12:9)  WE LIVE IN A WORLD that glorifies power. Nations seek power; political leaders try to project power to reassure voters and secure elections. We look...
God Makes It Possible

God Makes It Possible

When the turn came for Esther . . . to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai . . . suggested. (Est. 2:15) MUCH IS MADE of Esther’s simplicity. Esther vied with other women for the affection of King Xerxes; the rules of the contest permitted each...
Royal Dignity

Royal Dignity

But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. (Est. 1:12)   AS A SHOW OF HIS POWER, the king had been giving a seven-day banquet for many nobles. Much food—and wine—had been consumed, and the king wanted to show off his...
Strength in Weakness

Strength in Weakness

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)   SCHOLARS HAVE LONG DEBATED the nature of Paul’s “thorn in the flesh.” Paul apparently struggled with some physical, emotional, or spiritual difficulty, a...