Devotional

Category Archives: Devotional

Learning to Love Better

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, which means that love is in the air.

Or is it?

I ask the question because I’m convinced that love is one of the more widely defined–and misunderstood–concepts in our culture. And I’m far from the first person to point out that this time of year doesn’t always lend itself to the clearest thinking on the subject.

So when you get right down to it, what does it mean to love someone in God’s eyes?

A (Very Short) Ancient Prayer for Christmas Day

English speakers share a rich past of devotional writings. Take a moment to meditate on the following prayer by Thomas Cranmer written in 1549 for Christmas day. Though our lives and languages change, our hope does not. On Christmas Christ put on our human nature; ever since Christmas we’ve hoped to put on his divine nature,

Crossing Explainer: What is Advent?

If you’ve spent much time around a church during the holiday season, you’re probably heard the term “Advent” several times. But beyond associating the word with the Christmas season, many of us might not have the clearest idea of its significance.

Our English word “Advent” comes from the Latin adventus, which is a translation of the Greek term parousia, meaning “coming” or “arrival.” Western Christians have historically observed Advent during the four Sundays leading up to Christmas.

But what specifically are we observing? To sum it up briefly, Advent is a season of expectation. In it, we turn our attention to the coming of Christ. And to do so, we look both backward and forward.

Black Friday Eve (aka Thanksgiving)

At dinner this evening, a friend of mine pointed out the irony in Black Friday following just one day after Thanksgiving. So we all sit around cozy tables surrounded by friends and family on Thursday, eating turkey and dressing, and relaxing the afternoon away either watching football or chatting with relatives we see twice a

Praying With The Psalms – Psalm 111

I often will turn to a Psalm in the Bible to help my prayer time with God in the morning. Like anyone, I find some Psalms more applicable to my life at the moment than others. For example, some Psalms are rather intense pleas for God’s deliverance from and judgment of the psalmist’s “enemies” (see

Seven Quick Thoughts on Praying with Your Kids

Most of us probably think it’s a good idea, at least in theory, to pray with our kids at bedtime. But we may be unsure of what we should pray with them about. Or we may think we sound like one of those particularly annoying toys that repeats the same phrases over and over again. Not to mention all the times when we’re dog-tired or the kids are on the verge of meltdown because they’ve stayed up way too late for one reason or another. And in my house at least, there’s three of the little buggers, which in itself can make the hill look that much higher to climb. So yes, there are plenty of things that might discourage us from turning something good in theory into our actual practice.

With all that in mind, here are a few things to remember as we consider praying for our kids. I’ve thought of bedtime specifically as I’ve written these, but I think they’re relevant for most other times as well.

More on Worry: A Simple Children’s Lesson at 3:30 a.m.

3:30 a.m. glows the green clock on my bedside table. I shift positions and let out a sigh. One quick glance at Nathan sleeping peacefully next to me reminds me of how alone I am in the dark with my thoughts. Then, the stream of irrational worrying begins. “Not another one of these nights!” I

A Modern Day Parable

It shouldn’t be surprising that some of the most popular parts of the Bible are Jesus’ parables. After all the stories are interesting and the spiritual truth they convey profound. In Sunday’s New York Times, Sam Polk, a former Wall Street trader, shared part of his personal history. It’s a story that I would classify

Who’s Fighting for You?

July 3, 2017. It’s a beautiful, sunny day in mid-Missouri, but I woke up today feeling sad and heavy-hearted, a frequent occurrence of late. After a long season of peace, I have found myself being led back down into a darker valley in recent months, a season of more trying times. If you haven’t yet

Will God Ever Give Up On Me?

We’ve all been there. You give in to a temptation you’ve struggled against for years. Maybe it’s lust, or an eating disorder, or greed, or anger. After a flood of guilt and self-loathing you find yourself wondering: Will God ever give up on me? Is this the final straw? Am I really a Christian? When we start wondering