All in devotionals

What Kind of Soil Are You? (The Receptive Ground Hearer)

What is the difference between the previous three soils and the final one?  The difference is consistent fruit bearing – there are enduring yields.  But what is the difference in the nature of this soil from the other three?  It is receptive of the seed.  The seed is able to germinate and grow with depth and without thorns crowding it out and taking over the ground.  The difference is in the soil.  This soil is receptive of the seed.  But what does this mean? 

What Kind of Soil Are You? (The Hardened Ground Hearer)

The seed is the word of God that is proclaimed or taught.  It is the Scripture with its life giving message.  The seed is always sown on the heart. The heart is the center of your person.  It is the unique combination of what one believes/thinks and what one wants/desires.  One who is hardened ground is one whose heart is not receptive to the seed that is sown and this primarily means that one does not understand the meaning or import of the Word that was spoken or heard. 

Strength for Today…Bright Hope for Tomorrow: How the Resurrection Shapes our Suffering

 “You do not know what tomorrow will bring.”  As if these words in James 4:14 aren’t unsettling enough, the verse goes on to remind us of the uncertainty of our existence:  “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”  In other words, tomorrow…life could be drastically changed forever.

Emmanuel Has Come- a Devotion (4/4)

“O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee O Israel!”

 Each Advent season, these words are sung in churches around the nation and likely, in some form, around the globe. They are words of hope and longing. They are words of expectation and yet to be fulfilled promise. They are words that capture, very well, the mood of the Israelite people at the time of the incarnation. There was longing and pain, yet there was hope.

That Present Before Us- a Devotion (3/4)

“Mommy, can we open the gifts right now?” Wait for a second. Let’s go back approximately 12 hours before to a short exchange between my wife and I. After our bedtime routine with the boys, my wife says to me, “I think I am going to start wrapping presents tonight.” My wise and all-knowing response: “Okay, but you do realize as soon as the boys see the wrapped gifts they’re going to want to open them immediately.” Now fast forward 12 hours. Our youngest sees the presents and yells, “Christmas presents!” The oldest asks….and asks…and asks, “Mommy, can we open the gifts right now?” Their voices are full of excitement and anticipation. With one fell swoop, mommy and daddy crush the excitement—but hopefully not the anticipation—with a “No, we have to wait until Christmas.” Then comes the all too familiar whiney “Please?!”

Advent Meets Exodus- a Devotion (2/4)

Born thy people to deliver…born to set thy people free.”  These words sung of Jesus in Charles Wesley’s well-known Christmas hymn could as easily be sung of another baby, the one whose birth brightens the otherwise dismal opening to the book of Exodus. There we find the chosen people of God suffering as slaves at the hands of a Pharaoh who knew not their forefather Joseph, nor their Father God.