Read: 1 Peter 3:13-17 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 48–49; Hebrews 7 Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 Wang Xiaoying (pronounced Shao-ying) lives in a rural area of China’s Yunnan province. Due to health problems, her husband couldn’t find work in the fields, causing hardship for the family. Her mother-in-law attributed the trouble to Xiaoying’s faith in God. So she mistreated Xiaoying and urged her to go back to the traditional religion of her ancestors. But because Xiaoying’s husband had observed her transformed life, he said, “Mother, it isn’tRead More →

Read: Psalm 86:1-13 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 34–36; Hebrews 2 Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. Proverbs 29:11 The neighbors probably didn’t know what to think as they looked out their windows at me one wintry day. I was standing in the driveway with a garden shovel clutched in my hands, whacking wildly and angrily at a clump of ice that had formed beneath a corner gutter. With each smack, I was uttering prayers that were variations on one theme: “I can’t do this.” “You can’t expect me to do this.” “I don’t haveRead More →

Read: 2 Corinthians 11:1-4 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 32–33; Hebrews 1 The Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. Exodus 34:14 In 2014 a University of California researcher used a stuffed dog to show that animals are capable of jealousy. Professor Christine Harris asked dog owners to show affection for a stuffed animal in the presence of their pet. She found that three-fourths of the dogs responded with apparent envy. Some tried to get attention with touch or a gentle nudge. Others tried to push between their owner and the toy. A few went so far as to snap at theirRead More →

Read: Ephesians 6:5-9 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 30–31; Philemon Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. Colossians 3:23 The high school I attended required 4 years of Latin instruction. I appreciate the value of that discipline now, but back then it was a grind. Our teacher believed in drill and repetition. “Repetitio est mater studiorum,” she intoned over us several times a day, which simply means, “Repetition is the mother of learning.” “Repetitio est absurdum,” we muttered under our breath. “Repetition is absurd.” I realize now that most of life isRead More →

Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard. —nkjv Ecclesiastes 9:17 My niece’s husband recently wrote these words on a social media site: “I would say a lot more online if it weren’t for this little voice that prompts me not to. As a follower of Jesus, you might think that little voice is the Holy Spirit. It isn’t. It’s my wife, Heidi.” With the smile comes a sobering thought. The cautions of a discerning friend can reflect the wisdom of God. Ecclesiastes 9 says that the “words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard” (v. 17 nkjv). Scripture warns us not toRead More →

Read: Hebrews 10:32-39 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 15–17; 2 Timothy 2 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. Hebrews 10:34 Early in September 2011, a raging wildfire destroyed 600 homes in and around the city of Bastrop in central Texas. A few weeks later an article in the Austin American-Statesman newspaper carried this headline: “People who lost the most, focus on what wasn’t lost.” The article described the community’s outpouring of generosity and the realization of those who received help that neighbors, friends, andRead More →

Read: 1 Corinthians 13 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 12–14; 2 Timothy 1 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:2 I heard the saddest words today. Two believers in Christ were discussing an issue about which they had differing opinions. The older of the two seemed smug as he wielded Scripture like a weapon, chopping away at the things he saw as wrong in the other’s life. The younger man just seemed weary of theRead More →

Read: Psalm 119:9-16 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 9–11; 1 Timothy 6 I have hidden your word in my heart. Psalm 119:11 I’m getting used to reading digital magazines, and I feel good that I’m saving trees. Plus, I don’t have to wait for the magazines to come in the mail. I do, however, miss the print editions because I like to run my fingers through the glossy pages and cut out my favorite recipes. I also have a digital edition of the Bible on my reading device. But I still have my favorite printed Bible—the one I have underlined and read many times.Read More →

The Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. Isaiah 49:13 There is rarely a problem-free season in our lives, but sometimes the onslaught is terrifying. Rose saw her entire family, except for her two little daughters, slaughtered in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. Now she is a widow among many widows with little money. But she refuses to be defeated. She has adopted two orphans and simply trusts God to provide for the food and school fees for her family of five. She translates Christian literature into the local language and organizes an annual conference for other widows. Rose weptRead More →

Read: Psalm 145:1-18 | Bible in a Year: Isaiah 65–66; 1 Timothy 2 Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. Psalm 96:4 “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever,” says the Westminster Catechism. Much of Scripture calls for joyful gratitude and adoration of the living God. When we honor God, we celebrate Him as the Source from which all goodness flows. When we praise God from our heart we find ourselves in that joyful state for which we were created. Just as a beautiful sunset or a peaceful pastoral scene pointsRead More →