|Devotional||A Devious Repentance|
Recently I committed a sin of what seemed to me unpardonable thoughtlessness. For days I wanted to kick myself around the block. What is the matter with me? I thought. How could I have acted so? "Fret not thyself because of evildoers" came to mind. In this case the evildoer was myself, and I was fretting. My fretting, I discovered, was a subtle kin ...read
|Devotional||An Antidote for Pride|
The basis of all sin of whatever kind is pride. This was what inspired the disobedience of Adam and Eve, and it is always with us. One very common form it takes is the pride of privilege. When a man is given a special position, he forgets that it was given. He becomes proud, as though "his own arm" had gotten him the victory.
God knows well the ...read
|Devotional||Difficulties are Proof Contexts|
Repeatedly I am asked variations of this question: Did the Lord comfort you or were you sometimes lonely or sad? It is not an either-or thing. If I had not been lonely and sad at times, how could I have needed, received, or appreciated comfort? It is the sick who need the physician, the thirsty who need water. This is why Paul not only did not depl ...read
|Devotional||Do You Want an Answer?|
This is the question we need to ask ourselves when we are seeking "solutions" to our problems. Often we want only an audience. We want the chance to air grievances, to present our excuses, to make an explanation for our behavior, rather than a cure. More often than not the clearest and most direct answer can be found in the Word, but it must be sou ...read
|Devotional||Fear God and Fear Nothing Else|
The world is shaking with fear. "What will become of us? Where will it all end? What if Russia...? What if cancer...? What if expression...?" The love of God has wrapped us round from before the foundations of the world. If we fear Him--that is, if we are brought to our knees before Him, reverence and worship Him in absolute assurance of his sovere ...read
|Devotional||First Be Quiet|
Our hectic lives involve many changes, and changes require decisions, and decisions must often be made in the midst of a multitude of confusions. We run here and there asking advice. Often we make decisions without sufficient deliberation because we simply haven't time--or so we tell ourselves.
There is a marvelously helpful practice that we us ...read
|Devotional||Give Way to Truth|
Through a disagreement with my husband Lars yesterday I suddenly recognized an instrument used powerfully by the enemy to drive a wedge between two people who love each other (and there is nothing which fills the enemy with such glee as destroying unity). It is reason. I had good reasons for my argument and so did he. Reason comes very close to bei ...read
How can this person who so annoys or offends me be God's messenger? Is God so unkind as to send that sort across my path? Insofar as his treatment of me requires more kindness than I can find in my own heart, demands love of a quality I do not possess, asks of me patience which only the Spirit of God can produce in me, he is God's messenger. God se ...read
The search for recognition hinders faith. We cannot believe so long as we are concerned with the "image" we present to others. When we think in terms of "roles" for ourselves and others, instead of simply doing the task given us to do, we are thinking as the world thinks, not as God thinks. The thought of Jesus was always and only for the Father. H ...read
|Devotional||Love of the World|
John tells us in his first letter that anyone who loves the world is a stranger to the Father's love. We are not to set our hearts on the world or anything in it. These words have been interpreted in many strange ways by different varieties of Christians, and I have puzzled much over them. The word used in the original is cosmos, which means the wh ...read
|Devotional||My Own Fault|
Someone who is suffering as a result of his own foolishness or failure may read these words. These griefs are hard indeed to bear, for we feel we might easily have avoided them. We have no one to blame but ourselves, and there isn't much consolation there. Sometimes we imagine that we must bear this kind of trouble alone, but that is a mistake. The ...read
|Devotional||No Further Than Natural Things|
"Well, it's perfectly natural for you to feel that way," I was telling myself when I was upset with the way someone had treated me. "It's a normal reaction."
It was a normal reaction for a carnal mind. It was not normal for a spiritual one. The carnal attitude deals with things on one level only--this world's. It "sees no further than natural t ...read
|Devotional||Shut Up and Know|
"Do thou thyself but hold thy tongue for one day, and on the morrow how much clearer are thy purpose and duties," wrote Thomas Carlyle. The psalmist wrote (in Psalm 46) of great cataclysms, noise, war, destruction. What is the man of God supposed to do in the middle of all that? One thing above all else: "Be still and know that I am God" (Ps 46:10 ...read
|Devotional||The Fruit of Forgiveness|
Every day I am forgiven for many sins of many kinds, and although on the one hand forgiveness seems such an impossible thing (but grace is greater than all my sin), on the other hand I receive it often without wonder and nearly always without offering any "fruit."
When the Lord punished Israel, Isaiah wrote: "Only then can the fruit of his forg ...read
|Devotional||The Hope of Holiness|
The "openness" that is often praised among Christians as a sign of true humility may sometimes be an oblique effort to prove that there is no such thing as a saint after all, and that those who believe that it is possible in the twentieth century to live a holy life are only deceiving themselves. When we enjoy listening to some Christian confess hi ...read
|Devotional||The Necessity to Cover|
There are things which it is our duty to cover in silence. We are told nowadays that everything ought to be expressed if we are truly "honest" and "open."
Proverbs 11:13 says, "He who goes abroad as a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing hidden."
Jesus sometimes refused to reveal the truth about Hims ...read
|Devotional||The Need for Silence|
It is always easier to add to the noise of the world than to be silent. Silence is a very precious thing--"There was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour" (Rv 8:1 AV), when the seventh seal was opened in the Book of the Revelation. Thunder and horses and martyrs and earthquakes had preceded the opening of this seal. Hail, fire, blood, ...read
|Devotional||The Root of Hostility to Others|
When personal relationships break down, it is a sure sign that there is some rift in one's relationship with God. The deeper the rift, the broader will be the effect on the human level. Rebellion against our Creator and Redeemer--against the One who designed us and gives us the breath of life and loves us every minute of every day--is not only unre ...read
|Devotional||Time for God|
It is a good and necessary thing to set aside time for God in each day. The busier the day, the more indispensable is this quiet period for prayer, Bible reading, and silent listening. It often happens, however, that I find my mind so full of earthly matters that it seems I have gotten up early in vain and have wasted three-fourths of the time so d ...read
|Devotional||Watching Quietly, Praying Silently|
The man whom Abraham sent to find a wife for his son Isaac had been long in Abraham's service. No doubt he had learned much of trust and obedience through watching his master walk with God. He set out on his mission, confident that God would help him.
Beside the Well of Aram of Two Rivers he halted his camels and was praying silently when a bea ...read