A Difficult Hill

Tue Nov 08th, 2016 | Our Daily Bread


High in a fold of Jughandle Peak in the mountains north of our home in Idaho lies a glacial lake. The route to the lake goes up a steep, exposed ridge through boulders and loose scree. It’s a strenuous ascent. At the beginning of the climb, however, there is a brook—a spring that seeps out of soft, mossy earth and flows through a lush meadow. It’s a quiet place to drink deeply and prepare for the hard climb ahead. In John Bunyan’s classic allegory of the Christian life, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian arrives at the foot of a steep ascent…

Read More

We Had No Idea

Mon Nov 07th, 2016 | Our Daily Bread


Volunteers from a local church spent a frigid evening distributing food to people in a low-income apartment complex. One woman who received the food was overjoyed. She showed them her bare cupboard and told them they were an answer to her prayers.          As the volunteers returned to the church, one woman began to cry. “When I was a little girl,” she said, “that lady was my Sunday school teacher. She’s in church every Sunday. We had no idea she was almost starving!”          Clearly, these were caring people who were seeking ways to carry the burdens of others, as…

Read More

Hearing God

Sun Nov 06th, 2016 | Our Daily Bread


I felt like I was underwater, sounds muffled and muted by a cold and allergies. For weeks I struggled to hear clearly. My condition made me realize how much I take my hearing for granted. Young Samuel in the temple must have wondered what he was hearing as he struggled out of sleep at the summons of his name (1 Sam. 3:4). Three times he presented himself before Eli, the High Priest. Only the third time did Eli realize it was the Lord speaking to Samuel. The word of the Lord had been rare at that time (v. 1), and…

Read More

It Never Runs Out

Sat Nov 05th, 2016 | Our Daily Bread


When I asked a friend who is about to retire what she feared about her next stage of life, she said, “I want to make sure I don’t run out of money.” The next day as I was talking to my financial counselor he gave me advice on how I might avoid running out of money. Indeed, we all want the security of knowing we’ll have the resources we need for the rest of our lives. No financial plan can provide an absolute guarantee of earthly security. But there is a plan that extends far beyond this life and indefinitely…

Read More

Run to Me

Fri Nov 04th, 2016 | Our Daily Bread


During a walk at a local park, my children and I encountered a couple of unleashed dogs. Their owner didn’t seem to notice that one of them had begun to intimidate my son. My son tried to shoo the dog away, but the animal only became more intent on bothering him. Eventually, my son panicked. He bolted several yards into the distance, but the dog pursued him. The chase continued until I yelled, “Run to me!” My son doubled back, calmed down, and the dog finally decided to make mischief somewhere else. There are moments in our lives when God…

Read More

Watchful and Alert

Thu Nov 03rd, 2016 | Our Daily Bread


My desk sits close to a window that opens into our neighborhood. From that vantage point I’m privileged to watch birds perch on the trees nearby. Some come to the windows to eat insects trapped in the screen.  The birds check their immediate surroundings for any danger, listening attentively as they look about them. Only when they are satisfied that there is no danger do they settle down to feed. Even then, they pause every few seconds to scan the area. The vigilance these birds demonstrate reminds me that the Bible teaches us to practice vigilance as Christians. Our world…

Read More

Leading with Love

Wed Nov 02nd, 2016 | Our Daily Bread


In his book Spiritual Leadership, J. Oswald Sanders explores the qualities and the importance of tact and diplomacy. “Combining these two words,” Sanders says, “the idea emerges of skill in reconciling opposing viewpoints without giving offense and without compromising principle.”             During Paul’s imprisonment in Rome, he became the spiritual mentor and close friend of a runaway slave named Onesimus, whose owner was Philemon. When Paul wrote to Philemon, a leader of the church in Colossae, asking him to receive Onesimus as a brother in Christ, he exemplified tact and diplomacy. “Although in Christ I could be bold and order…

Read More

Strong Conqueror

Tue Nov 01st, 2016 | Our Daily Bread


Most of us hope for good government. We vote, we serve, and we speak out for causes we believe are fair and just. But political solutions remain powerless to change the condition of our hearts. Many of Jesus’s followers anticipated a Messiah who would bring a vigorous political response to Rome and its heavy-handed oppression. Peter was no exception. When Roman soldiers came to arrest Christ, Peter drew his sword and took a swing at the head of the high priest’s servant, lopping off his ear in the process. Jesus halted Peter’s one-man war, saying, “Put your sword away! Shall…

Read More

Love in Action

Mon Oct 31st, 2016 | Our Daily Bread


“Do you have a few items you’d like me to wash?” I asked a visitor to our home in London. His face lit up, and as his daughter walked by, he said, “Get your dirty clothes—Amy’s doing our laundry!” I smiled, realizing that my offer had been extended from a few items to a few loads. Later as I hung clothes outside on the line, a phrase from my morning’s Bible reading floated through my mind: “In humility value others above yourselves” (Phil. 2:3). I had been reading Paul’s letter to the people of Philippi, in which he exhorts them…

Read More

A Safe Place

Wed Oct 26th, 2016 | Our Daily Bread


A young Japanese man had a problem—he was afraid of leaving his house. To avoid other people, he slept through the day and stayed up all night watching TV. He was a hikikomori or a modern-day hermit. The problem began when he stopped going to school because of poor grades. The longer he remained apart from society, the more he felt like a social misfit. Eventually he broke off all communication with his friends and family. He was helped on his journey to recovery, though, by visiting a youth club in Tokyo known as an ibasho—a safe place where broken…

Read More