Jesus said, "I am the light of the world."

Jesus said, "I am the light of the world."

Spiritually speaking, we've all experienced what it means to walk in darkness. At the time, however, we probably didn't realize we were walking in it. Darkness was what we were accustomed to. Darkness was what we knew best. And since most of the people in our lives were also walking in darkness, it really didn't seem out of place to us.

But God did not design us to walk in darkness. It isn't His desire that we do so. As Jesus was revealing His divine nature to groups of Jewish religious leaders, He explained that He is the light of the world. Those who follow Him will not walk in darkness any longer, but will experience the light of true spiritual life.

Jesus said, "I am the bread of life."

Jesus said, "I am the bread of life."

Jesus took the loaves and the fish, gave thanks for them, and had them distributed to the people. They were all invited to eat as much as they wanted and the leftovers were gathered after everyone ate to their fill. Amazingly, after thousands had been fed, there was more left over than they started with, and the people recognized this as a miraculous sign.

The next day, they came seeking Jesus again. If you had experienced this miracle, what do you think you would be most content with; Jesus or more bread? Sadly, the people seemed to want bread more than they wanted Christ. They weren't thinking on a deeper, spiritual level. They were primarily consumed with their physical needs and filling their bellies.

So Jesus attempted to show them that they were seeking something of lesser importance when they should have been seeking Him. They considered consumable bread to be their primary source of life, but Jesus was trying to explain to them that He is the source of true life.

When the Lord returns to reign

When the Lord returns to reign

In every generation, mankind ends up experiencing disappointment with their leaders. We elect leaders, or leaders are appointed to govern us, but in big ways and small ways, they often let us down. We have a perfect ideal of what a leader should do and how a leader should function in his role, but our human leaders never fully match our idealistic hopes.

There is one leader, however, who will finally satisfy our craving for righteous leadership. Scripture tells us that the day is coming when Jesus Christ will return to rule and reign from Jerusalem. He will rule with perfect wisdom, righteousness, and benevolence. He will satisfy the longstanding desire of the hearts of men for the perfect leader to guide them.

The Chapter-A-Day Audio Bible podcast just reached TWO MILLION downloads!

The Chapter-A-Day Audio Bible podcast just reached TWO MILLION downloads!

Today is a special day for the Chapter-A-Day Audio Bible. We just crossed over 2,000,000 downloads!

Several years ago, I started a project to record the entire text of the Bible and release it as a free, daily podcast. The project took three years to complete, and since that time, I have learned that the recordings are being used by;

  • The blind and visually impaired

  • Busy commuters

  • Families who do daily devotions together

  • Bible students

  • Those who are training for vocational ministry

  • People of all stripes who want to grow in their walk with Christ

When victory over adversity is guaranteed

When victory over adversity is guaranteed

In each consequential spiritual battle that I've felt called by the Lord to get involved in, I have also been completely convinced that He was going to make all the details work out, and grant a decisive victory. And that's exactly what He did.

When I look at a portion of Scripture like Joel 3:9-16, it feels somewhat familiar to me because in a personal way, I have seen the Lord bring victory over adversity while giving my heart complete peace that the victory He was securing was absolutely guaranteed. What is the primary victory the Lord promises to secure in this passage? What does this Scripture show us about moments like this?

When the Holy Spirit does His work in your life

When the Holy Spirit does His work in your life

In Joel 2:28-32, we are given a powerful glimpse of the work the Holy Spirit does in the lives of people and in the history of this world. These words were spoken prophetically, with a view toward their future fulfillment. But we have a different perspective on these passages than Joel did when he first wrote them down. He was looking forward to these promises coming to pass, but we're living in the midst of their fulfillment. We're seeing and experiencing what Joel was still looking forward to.

Can you see the work the Holy Spirit has been doing in your life? I promise you that if your faith in Christ is genuine, the Spirit is at work within you and around you. He's also going to do a future work that will continue to point unbelieving hearts to Jesus. So what do we see when the Holy Spirit is doing His work in your life?

When the Lord takes pity on your suffering

When the Lord takes pity on your suffering

In 2002, my wife and I bought a house. For a couple months before we moved in, we would work on it and make updates and repairs. One afternoon while I was working on the landscaping, two kids came riding through my yard on their bikes. It seemed weird, but I didn't say anything. As they made it to the street, one of the kids tried turning his bike around in a spot where the road needed to be repaved. He immediately fell, and the impact ripped his ankle open so badly that it exposed his bones.

When I saw what took place, I immediately called for emergency services and rushed to help the boy. While we waited for an ambulance to arrive, I kept trying to get him to focus on my face and stop looking at his ankle. He was in a lot of pain, and he was starting to panic because it was a very bad injury. Even though he had been riding his bike where he shouldn't be riding, and making careless decisions about how to maneuver it on uneven pavement, I still felt compassion for him and did everything I could to help him.

Joel 2:18-27 gives us an example of God doing that for His people on an even deeper level. Our Lord takes pity on our suffering, reaches into our situation, and offers Himself to us as the only lasting solution.

When it's time to return to the One who always loved you

When it's time to return to the One who always loved you

Have you ever experienced a season when you were running away from God? It's not a rational thing to do, but it's something we've all done in one way or another. Sometimes it's painfully obvious when we're running from Him. Other times, our desire to become distant from Him can show itself in more subtle ways. But if you've been running from Him, keep in mind that His compassionate heart invites you to return.

If you've been running from God, rejecting His embrace, and venturing out on your own only to discover that you've made a big mistake, it isn't too late to come back to Him. In fact, He makes a point to show us in Joel 2:12-17 that He delights in showing us His grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love.

When you're in the midst of tribulation, what should you do?

When you're in the midst of tribulation, what should you do?

Have you ever experienced a season that was so stressful, troubling, and upsetting that all you wanted to do was scream? When you really want to let out a good yell, where is the safest place to do that? Practically speaking, I think your car tends to be the best place to let out a roar when you need to. There have been several times in my life when I have definitely taken advantage of the solitude, and cried out to God in such a loud way that I'm grateful the windshield didn't crack.

During the era in which Joel was ministering, the people of Judah were going through one of their worst collective trials since they had been established as a kingdom. The locust plague had destroyed their once beautiful land, and this once prosperous people was now surrounded by death and devastation. This portion of Scripture also gives prophetic insight into a time of tribulation that will be experienced throughout the whole earth.

So, when we're in the midst of a season of tribulation, what should we do? And being that we know ahead of time that great tribulation is going to come upon this earth one day, how should we prepare for that now?

When your only option is to humble yourself and pray

When your only option is to humble yourself and pray

Culturally, and personally, one of the primary personal attributes that many of us admire is self-reliance. I read a story recently about Colonel Sanders, the founder of the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. He spent the majority of his life failing at nearly everything he tried, then retired at age 65 and didn't know what he was going to do with himself. He actually wished he was dead, but instead, decided to go door-to-door selling fried chicken he had cooked using his special recipe. Between age 65 and age 88, he became a huge business success and a multi-millionaire.

It's nice to hear that his story ended well, but what do you do when you're still living through the messy parts of your journey? Sometimes it isn't as simple as picking yourself up and trying something new. Sometimes you get to the spot where you run out of options. What should you do when you hit that wall? How should you respond when you can't pick yourself up, change your circumstances, or escape your problems?

When those seasons come, (and they come for us all), we really only have one primary option. Our best option is to humble ourselves and pray. Instead of relying on our own wisdom and strength to fix our issues, we can seek the Lord's direct intervention on our behalf and trust Him to do miraculous things for us, or change our attitude toward what we're going through.

When God gets your attention in a big way

When God gets your attention in a big way

At the time of Joel's writing, locusts had just devoured the vegetation and crops of the people of Judah. As a result, their economy was suffering, many of the animals were without food, and their families were devastated physically and financially. This event was so severe that it was unlike anything that generation of people had ever witnessed.

Through this event, God was certainly getting the attention of His people in a big way, and He wanted them to be sure to convey what He was teaching them through this occurrence to their children and the generations of grandchildren that would come after them.

Have you ever experienced a season when you could tell that God was trying to get your attention? How did you respond?

How can I become financially healthy without worshipping money?

How can I become financially healthy without worshipping money?

Financial struggles are both a symptom and an effect. They can be a symptom of the choices we make, or they can be the effect of choices others have imposed upon us. Our financial health can impact the quality of our sleep, our relationship with our spouse, and the amount of time we have available to spend with our family. But regardless of what our present day financial situation looks like, there are some principles found in Scripture that can help us understand how the Lord wants us to manage our finances.

I should also say before we look at these Scriptures that while I believe the Lord wants us all to make wise financial choices, I don't believe He wants us all to be financially rich. For some of us, that would be too much of a temptation. For others, it might become an idol that they worshipped instead of Him.

But that doesn't mean we shouldn't aim to improve our financial health. So how can we become financially healthy without worshipping money?

How can I build, invest in, and keep healthy relationships?

How can I build, invest in, and keep healthy relationships?

Relationships, particularly on the human level, can be rather complicated. We all know people who can be quite difficult to interact with. I suspect that during the course of your life, you have probably been forced to interact with some people who may have been hurtful or dishonest with you. Maybe you've also been attacked or betrayed. That certainly isn't pleasant, and while we're called to forgive those who have hurt us, I don't think anyone would blame you if you felt like there were certain people that you were better off not interacting with for your own well-being or safety.

At present, I have several friends who have admitted to me that they're at the point of life when they would strongly prefer to interact with their pets than with other people. It's hard to blame them, but I think Scripture shows us things that can help us navigate the complexities of relationships, even if we've been hurt in the past.

Webinar: Raising Up and Reaching Out

Webinar:  Raising Up and Reaching Out

On Tuesday, August 27, 2019 at 1:00pm (Eastern), I will be partnering with Servant Keeper to host a webinar titled: “Raising Up and Reaching Out - Developing leaders and connecting with your community through generous hospitality”

The webinar is free, and if you’re interested in participating, just click the link below to sign up. We had 850 leaders registered for today’s webinar on “Discipleship”, which was pretty close to the limit on how many people we could host, so please don’t wait to sign up if this training would be helpful to you.

Is my emotional health one of God's primary concerns?

Is my emotional health one of God's primary concerns?

Emotions are both interesting and puzzling. By design, as those who have been created in the image of God, the Lord has fashioned us in such a way as to give us emotions and the capacity to feel empathy and sympathy. Admittedly, I have sometimes wondered if life would be a little simpler if we weren't as emotional as we are. But the capacity for emotional expression truly is a gift from God that can serve to reflect His compassionate heart.

Would you consider yourself emotionally healthy or emotionally damaged? Do you think the Lord wants you to express your emotions or keep them under wraps? How can our emotions serve as a reflection of the heart of Christ?

Five frequently overlooked facets of physical health

Five frequently overlooked facets of physical health

I'm convinced that anyone beyond the age of 25 that looks and feels healthy isn't looking and feeling that way by accident. They are making intentional decisions that contribute to their physical health on a daily basis. For those who follow Christ, there's also a correlation between our physical health and our spiritual health.

I hope you're interested in making investments in your physical health. I hope you can see the value of doing so. If so, I'd like to take the next few moments to point out five frequently overlooked facets of physical health that are stressed in Scripture.

Four traits of a spiritually healthy Christian

Four traits of a spiritually healthy Christian

If you asked a group of random strangers what it meant to be "healthy," I'm sure you would be offered a variety of suggestions. My guess is that many of the answers you received would primarily relate to physical health. Healthy bodies are certainly important, but there's a deeper level of health, with longer lasting results, that we should prioritize first.

As followers of Christ, we're called and empowered to be spiritually healthy. So what does that look like, and how can we obtain the spiritual health and spiritual vibrancy many of us are craving?

Don't give in to any attempt to tear down what Christ is building

Don't give in to any attempt to tear down what Christ is building

Jesus made it clear in His word that at present, He is building His church and the devil will not succeed in destroying what Christ is building. Christ is building us up as individuals, as a family, and as an eternal kingdom. But even though Christ will ultimately be victorious in His efforts, there are still those who seek to tear down what He is establishing. He also warned us about these attempts ahead of time so we can be on our guard against them.

So how can we avoid giving in to any attempt to tear down what Christ is building up?