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]

Gracious Provisions (Jonah)

Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. (Jonah 1:17) There is a perspective about God that once you make a mistake, He writes you off for good.  From my perspective, this is one of the most incorrect views about God that floats around because nothing could be further from the truth.  The story ... [Continue Reading]

The Danger of Perception (1 Kings 20-21)

Ahab said to Elijah, “So you have found me, my enemy!” (1 Kings 21:20) The problem with our perceptions is that they aren't always right.  In fact, I can think of many occasions when I perceived something quite wrongly.  In my mind, the intentions of the person were even opposite of a true picture of reality.  The problem is that perceptions are jaded by emotion, and ... [Continue Reading]

Careful What You Count (2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21-22)

David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done.  Now, O Lord, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.” (2 Samuel 24) There are some things that are very valuable to count.  For instance, I was leading a group of students on a trip to Chicago ... [Continue Reading]

The “God Game” (1 Samuel 15-17)

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord?  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22) It's tempting to play games with God as if we have Him all figured out.  The game goes like this: God, I know you'll forgive me if I ask you to, so I'm going to do what I want now and then ... [Continue Reading]

The Buck Stops Here (Exodus 19-22)

If, however, the bull has had the habit of goring and the owner has been warned but has not kept it penned up and it kills a man or woman, the bull is to be stoned and its owner also is to be put to death. (Exodus 21:29) You might be tempted to think that President Truman was the first person to take responsibility for his own actions with his famous statement, "The Buck ... [Continue Reading]

Dead End (Genesis 35, 37)

All [Jacob's] sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted.  “No,” he said, “I will continue to mourn until I join my son [Joseph] in the grave.”  So his father wept for him. (Genesis 37:35) There comes a point in time when you realize that the decision you made is really just a dead end.  It seemed like a good idea in the beginning, but over ... [Continue Reading]