Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
— Daniel 3:16-18
The crowd of Babylonian government officials gathered together before the 90-foot-high gold statue representing the gods of Babylon. The music played. And everyone bowed low, showing honor and loyalty to the king and his gods.
Everyone, that is, except three Jewish exiles serving in the government of the most powerful empire in the world. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood tall. They refused to disobey the true God’s first commandment. They stood out from the crowd in order to honor the one true God. Continue reading
“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”
— Proverbs 30:5
Today is Independence Day in the United States of America. On this day, American Christians will want to give thanks to God for the blessings we enjoy as citizens of this country. At the same time, we have a lot of questions about our country. Today would be a good day to ask ourselves, “Why do we ask those questions?” Continue reading
As the mother of three, I’ve picked up quite a few devotional books for moms over the years. So when I started reading Cherished Gifts by Katie Martin, I was expecting much of the same. But this is not your average devotional. It is filled with anecdotes and experiences—some funny, some poignant—that any mother can relate to: a preschooler’s endless questions, settling squabbles among siblings, waking up to a bed full of kids after a thunderstorm, sending a child off for a first day of school, bedtime struggles, dealing with fears (our kids’ as well as our own), trying to be a “supermom.” These are devotions written specifically for moms by a mom that we all can relate to. Katie’s not a mom who claims to have all the answers, but a mom who shares the same struggles, frustrations, and joys as we do.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)
My refrigerator is an art gallery flaunting my daughter’s artwork to anyone in pursuit of a snack. With determination in her furrowed brow, she spends hours each day creating new masterpieces for the gallery. One day, after a particularly lengthy coloring session, she completed her latest work. Triumphantly setting down the last crayon, she held up her picture and beamed with pride. “Look, Mom, I drew all my friends!”
At first glance, the page was a jumble of red scribbles with no distinction between them. I chuckled, seeing no connection between her red crayon doodles and a group of friends. But as she traced her finger over each friend and explained what she had drawn, I knew the “scribbles” had been carefully planned and meticulously executed. There was sense within the chaos of red on the page.
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46:10,11)
My daughter is an expert question asker. Because I am often short on patience with her curiosity, my daily retort is “Can we do this without asking a million questions, please?” One day while stuck in traffic, the sight of a cement truck brought about an unbearable number of questions. After answering at least ten of them in my kind and patient voice, I let out a huge sigh. She sensed my frustration and said, “Okay, Mommy. I won’t ask a million questions.”
“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58)
My day began with a dropped mug and hot coffee splattered from one end of the kitchen to the other. It continued with my child’s full-fledged temper tantrum in the frozen food aisle that resulted in my publicly conspicuous exit from the store carrying a screaming two-year-old and no groceries. Arriving home after the meltdown, I opened the bill for my daughter’s most recent medical expenses that far exceeded my expectations. In true “bad day” form, events continued to spiral downward. Because I misplaced the tiny scrap of paper on which I had scrawled the coach’s phone message, I drove my son to the wrong soccer field. Apparently, my memory hadn’t served me as well as I thought it would. After this fiasco, I made a beeline for home, determined to head off any further incidents. When I entered the house, I was greeted by a mountain of haphazardly strewn backpacks, jackets, shoes, dirty socks, unopened mail, smelly sports equipment, the overdue library books that I forgot to return again, and piles of sand from the sandbox. As I surveyed the chaos, I tried to stifle the lump in my throat and the tears forming in my eyes. After a deep sigh and fewer than 30 seconds of silence, the cacophony of “Mom, I can’t find my . . .” and “Mom, can you take me . . . ?” began again, signaling that the day was far from over. I am definitely not supermom.
Easter Joy Over Sins Forgiven
In that day you will say: “I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me,
your anger has turned away and you have comforted me.” (Isaiah 12:1)
Above all the Sundays in the Christian calendar, this one stands alone as the greatest day of joy for Christians. The good news delivered by angels at Jesus’ empty tomb still fills our hearts with rejoicing. Through faith’s eyes we again share the experience that John described in his gospel: “The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord” (20:20).
Rejoice! The King Comes to Proclaim Peace
He will proclaim peace to the nations. (Zechariah 9:10)
It was a very short sentence. It’s actually one word in the Greek language. The person uttering that sentence was in the throes of death, but he rallied his strength to cry out so that someone could have heard it from perhaps a distance of a few hundred feet or so. The speaker? Jesus. The sentence? “It is finished.” On this Friday that we call Good, the Christian church throughout the world stands in awe at what happened on Calvary almost two thousand years ago. Continue reading