What Do You REALLY Want? (John 5)

When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6) Sometimes what we think we want isn't actually what we really want.  The fact is, we're often content with life the way it is, and because it's "normal" we've become accustomed to it.  It's only in the late hours of the night ... [Continue Reading]

Tell Him to Go Away! (Matthew 4; Luke 4-5; John 1:15-51)

 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan!” (Matthew 4:10a) Did you know that you can tell Satan to go away?  In fact, that's the method that Jesus used to get rid of the Tempter on more than one occasion.  The great news for people who are trusting in Jesus' death for the forgiveness of sins is that we're not simply forgiven of our sins, but the power of sin is also ... [Continue Reading]

Defending What’s Right (Nehemiah 10:28-39; 11:1-2; 12:27-47; 13)

But I warned them and said, “Why do you spend the night by the wall?  If you do this again, I will arrest you.”  From that time on they no longer came on the Sabbath. (Nehemiah 13:21) It is believed that Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.”  Sadly, the great temptation of many good men and women is ... [Continue Reading]

I’m Busy Right Now (Nehemiah 4-6)

"I am doing a great work and I cannot come down..." (Nehemiah 6:3b) Have you ever found in your life that the urgent has a tendency to push out the important?  It never ceases to amaze me how, when I'm doing something important, someone or something tries to get in the way and stop me from accomplishing the task.  Even in the last several weeks, I've had some very ... [Continue Reading]

Pray Like It Depends on God (Nehemiah 1-3)

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. (Nehemiah 1:4) Being a person of prayer doesn't mean that you never take action.  However, it does mean that you have an understanding that your actions will fall utterly flat unless they're the actions that God has directed you in doing.  Such was the ... [Continue Reading]

The Opportunity is Now (Esther 1-5)

And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14b) Does anything happen by accident?  Does God put circumstances in our lives for no purpose?  Does He give us our jobs, our neighbors, or other relationships for no reason at all?  Or perhaps He uniquely places us where we are for the opportunities He has in store for us. The ... [Continue Reading]

Be Careful, It’s Your Heart (Zechariah 6-10)

In your hearts do not think evil of each other. (Zechariah 7:10b, NIV84) One of my favorite movies at Christmastime is Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.  In the movie, Bing sings a song called "Be Careful, It's My Heart."  Aside from being a love song, there's an important lesson to learn about the fragility of our hearts. When someone hurts you, it ... [Continue Reading]

Big Decisions (Zechariah 1-5)

Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the earlier prophets proclaimed: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.’  But they would not listen or pay attention to me, declares the Lord. (Zechariah 1:4) Life is full of decisions.  What time should I wake up?  What should I wear today?  Do I work out or be lazy?  The list goes on ... [Continue Reading]

Today (Ezra 1, 3-4)

But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. (Ezra 3:12) Today is different than yesterday.  What happened yesterday may have impacted my today, but that is all history.  It can't be changed, relived, or even removed. ... [Continue Reading]

Daniel’s Secret (Daniel 10-12)

Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel.  Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.” (Daniel 10:12) Why is it that Daniel's prayers were heard?  Why was he such an effective leader for the people of Israel?  How did he have so much power to ... [Continue Reading]