A man we’ll call Tahar lived in Iran where it is dangerous to be a Christian. His house was ransacked. He was taken from his wife and two daughters. He spent time in jail, interrogated at night between midnight and 4am. He was told to write down the names of other Christians. He didn’t. Eventually … Continue reading Do you need consistent encouragement?
Fasting is like the black sheep of the spiritual disciplines. Prayer, Bible-reading, worship, simplicity, and servanthood are much more on display. But fasting is often tucked away, kind of awkward, and a bit neglected. And yet there it is. Fasting was practiced by Moses, David, Elijah, Esther, Daniel, Anna, Paul and, of course, Jesus. After … Continue reading Is fasting the black sheep?
When we think of a “witness,” we perhaps think of someone testifying in a trial. They have seen something personally which they speak about publicly. As a result, truth and justice are served. But this isn’t without risk. In fact, there is often a consequence to being truthful. In the New Testament, the apostles were … Continue reading Focus less on loses and more on gains
Truth is silenced when witnesses are silent. This statement presupposes that truth actually matters and that witnesses have a vital role to play in sharing that truth for the benefit of others. If you’ve ever been an actual witness on a witness stand, or even if you’ve watched crime shows on TV, you’ll know that … Continue reading When witnesses are silent
Martin Rinkart was a German who lived through the Thirty Years’ War. Plus, the plague struck in 1637. More than 8000 people died in his town. He was a pastor and buried 4000 of those people, sometimes in mass funerals for 50 people at once. This man, with these experiences, wrote that great hymn of … Continue reading The needs he has already addressed
We’ve been talking about the parable of the sower in Luke 8. A farmer sows some seed which Jesus has explained represents the word of God. The seed doesn’t always land on receptive soil. But it does in verse 15: “the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who … Continue reading Don’t give up
In the previous devotional we talked about the parable of the sower. In it, Jesus describes a farmer sowing seed. Some of it is snatched away, some lands on rocky soil, and some is choked out by thorns. But then in verse 8 we learn how “other seed fell on good soil. It came up … Continue reading The primacy it requires
In the parable of the sower, Jesus talks about a farmer sowing seed. Some of the seed is snatched away, some lands on rocky soil and doesn’t take deep root, and some starts to grow but is choked out by thorns. In verse 15 he says: “But the seed on good soil stands for those … Continue reading Inseparable
Choking is a very powerful and disturbing metaphor. Imagine strong, angry hands wrapped around your neck. With that in mind, listen to how Jesus describes a group of people in Luke 8:14. They hear God’s word, “but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do … Continue reading Choked by pleasure
In the Bible, money and riches are repeatedly listed as a barrier to genuine faith. In Luke 16:13, Jesus spells it out for us: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve … Continue reading Rich in virtues