Posted in Devotions

What are You Going to do About It?

5 So when Jesus looked up and noticed a huge crowd coming toward him, he asked Philip, “Where will we buy bread so that these people can eat?” 6 He asked this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread wouldn’t be enough for each of them to have a little.” (John 6:5-7) Have you ever been forced to stare down the barrel of an impossible situation? Have you ever been faced with an overwhelming circumstance? A cancer diagnosis? An impossible spouse? A lost neighbor? A difficult boss?...

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Stop Sinning!

After Jesus healed an invalid of 38 years, He told the man not to sin anymore so that something worse would not happen to him (John 5:14). How did this man take this counsel? How did he heed this directive? There’s one of two ways. First, he could have assumed Jesus meant that if he ever sinned – just once – something was coming his way that would be far worse than being paralyzed for 38 years. Can you imagine? The stress level!?!?! If this was how the man took what Jesus said, he would have spent every moment of...

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Waiting While Walking

The man took Jesus at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. (John 4:50b-51) Capernaum is over 20 miles from Cana. Two days journey, at least. If someone left Capernaum toward Cana and another left Cana toward Capernaum, you might meet up at the end of day one. Assuming the healing of the son took place at 1 pm in the afternoon, the boy’s father and the father’s servants had to spend the night somewhere once it got dark, wake up the next morning...

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Mary’s Instruction & The Shock of a Headwaiter

“Do whatever He tells you.” (John 2:5) “You have saved the best for last!” (John 2:10) The only recorded instructions we have from Jesus’ mom just so happens to be some of the best counsel anyone could offer. She tells the servants at a wedding party to do whatever Jesus tells them to do. The headwaiter at this same wedding party thought the groom did made a brilliant social move. He assumed the groom saved the best and finest wine until later in the week, rather than the reverse. These statements by Mary (“Do whatever He tells you.”) and the headwaiter (“You...

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Day 2 of VBS: A Fragrant Offering

“…walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.” Ephesians 5:2 (emphasis mine) Ever wonder what Jesus smelled like? Can you imagine His odor on the cross? Or, how He smelled when He walked out of the leper colony? Or what could be detected on his clothes after leaving Matthew’s party? I cannot imagine He smelled like a bouquet of roses after He washed 24 feet in the Upper Room. To the Father, He smelled incredible. Like walking in your neighborhood and catching a whiff of someone grilling meat...

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Strawberry Picking and John 15

Recently, my wife and I had the opportunity to go and pick strawberries together at a nearby farm. Jesus’ words from John 15 came to mind. I came away with a couple of thoughts that I hope encourage and challenge you. #1. Bearing fruit is slow. It takes time. Strawberries can only be picked at certain times throughout the year. They aren’t always available, nor can they be produced overnight. It takes time. The weeks and months when they aren’t being picked? Well, they are being cultivated into maturity. Producing spiritual fruit is similar. It cannot be mass produced on...

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Gospel at Arm’s Length

8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who prophesied about the grace that would come to you, searched and carefully investigated. 11 They inquired into what time or what circumstances the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating when he testified in advance to the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you. These things have now been announced to...

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Follow Your Heart?

I’ve always hated the phrase, “follow your heart.” Mainly because God tells us through His prophet Jeremiah that our hearts are one big wicked pile of messed up selfish motives and agendas (Jeremiah 17:9). Jiminy Cricket’s advice to “let your conscience be your guide” has always been heretical to me. This is good, solid, and wise. Yes, our hearts – left to themselves – are bad. Our conscience will guide us straight into an empty and black abyss, a pit of misery (“Dilly, Dilly!”). But if we aren’t careful, we will ignore some things going on in our hearts to...

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No Self-Guided Life Tours

James 4:13-17 13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” 14 Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are like vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes. 15 Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So it is sin to know the good and yet not do it....

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Barzillai

Imagine with me a conversation between Barzillai and his wife Phoebe (fictional name) after the events of 2 Samuel 19 (specifically 2 Samuel 19:31-39). “Well that’s the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life!” Phoebe was furious, mixing the bread dough with increasing intensity. “What do you mean you told the king you would stay here? You mean to tell me you sent Kinham? What were you thinking? Now Kinham gets to be with the king and enjoy all the accompanying benefits while you and I sit here and rot. I don’t mind saying it, Barzillai, but...

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