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Rated: 13+ · Book · Religious · #2079713
Daily devotions of Christian scripture and encouragement
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
– Colossians 3:15-17

Whats the meaning behind 'Doves on Distant Oaks?'
What version of the Bible is used?
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It is Finished
April 19, 2020 at 3:16pm
Easter has always been considered a day to celebrate power over death. It’s hard not to focus on that, because Jesus is the only founder of a religion that raised himself from the dead. All others remain in the grave. Only the tomb of Jesus remains empty. That is a powerful principle and a great hope for us all. However, when we stop to think about it, death of the soul was never something with which we had to contend. Freedom over death has always been part of how God made us. We w... [Read more]
Following the Crowd
April 6, 2020 at 12:38pm
The events surrounding the Christian Holy Day of Palm Sunday leaves us with an example of how we are to react as followers of Christ. Most of the world knows what Palm Sunday signifies, regardless of faith. It’s the day Jesus entered Jerusalem to the adoration of the crowds. Though there is some debate whether this was on Sunday or Monday, the timing matters little to us today. However, what always surprised me when reading about the events of Easter week, was how quickly the mood of th... [Read more]
Struggling in the Waves
April 5, 2020 at 1:59pm
Growing up, my family vacationed on the New Jersey Shore. Not the nefarious Atlantic City or the raucous teen-mecca of Wildwood, but one of the small, quiet beach towns in between. In the process, I learned an important lesson about water safety. That being, watch out for riptides. The thing about riptides is that not only will riptides pull a swimmer away from shore, but sideways as well. I distinctly remember one day in particular. I was in my preteen years and we had been warned tha... [Read more]
Baby Sharks
April 4, 2020 at 9:35pm
My twin grandsons, age four, have a bathtub toy they like to play with. I would call it a little whale, but they correct me and tell me it's a shark. I think that's only because they like to sing the Baby Shark tune while playing with it. It has a little tail that flips quickly back and forth, which propels it across the water. It only does that when it's in the water, which I never gave much thought to. That is, until one day I picked it up—on dry land as it where—to ... [Read more]
Loud Words
March 29, 2020 at 7:32pm
During the last days, Satan and his army of fallen angels will supposedly ascend to heaven and do battle. They will be defeated and sent back to earth to continue their evil work—perhaps with renewed energy. As if it isn't bad enough down here right now. Yet, these verses from the book of Revelation show an important spiritual principle that we often forget or fail to apply. It's something that can show us the path to spiritual victory in the midst of our personal spiritual warfar... [Read more]
Put Me In, Coach
March 29, 2020 at 7:34pm
I have always been a Philadelphia Eagles football fan. That's to be expected, growing up near the Philadelphia area. Even though I've moved around over the years and now live in the Deep South, I still bleed Eagles green. Although they won the Super Bowl in 2017, perhaps the more exciting time for me was the team they fielded in the late 1970's, leading to their first Super Bowl appearance in 1980. It all began when the team hired Dick Vermeil to be their new coach in 1976. ... [Read more]
A Flu Shot for the Soul
March 29, 2020 at 7:36pm
It's amazing how fragile our bodies are. It doesn't take much to damage them. We do a lot of things to try and protect ourselves, but those efforts often fail. We take immunizations to protect us from viruses, wear helmets when riding a bicycle, surround ourselves with metal to form a cocoon when we drive a car, and build expensive houses to shelter us from life-threatening elements. Seat-belts, fire-alarms, the list goes on ... all to protect our bodies. That is not a bad thing... [Read more]
God's Tapestry
March 29, 2020 at 7:38pm
Persian rugs, tapestries, or any similar kind of fancy rugs are remarkable for their workmanship. With colorful threads that form patterns or pictures, they can be classified as true works of art sewn from the most basic of elements like linen, cotton, or wool yarn. Can you imagine the splendor of the design when sometimes they are made with gold and silver silk thread? Yet, have you ever walked behind one of these works of textile art? They are a mess. Different colored threads crisscross... [Read more]
By Whose Will?
March 29, 2020 at 7:40pm
I was thinking the other day about a phrase I often use when I pray. I'm prone to petition God by saying, "Father, I'm at your disposal, what would you have me do?" I don't think I'm the only one to pray in this manner, but is that the right question? I believe we can turn to Jesus himself and His relationship with God to more fully understand the answer to that question. Jesus was aware of how God was working in his life and then simply joined him. He automaticall... [Read more]
Unconditional Trust
March 29, 2020 at 7:44pm
Trust is one of the hardest of the emotions to get a handle on. We can look around at the world today and it's hard to find an adequate supply of people and institutions we can trust. We are always being let down ... by leaders, by friends, even by our spouses. Trust of political leaders is at an all-time low. We live in times where most people think in terms of "What's in it for me." That makes it difficult to make and maintain true friendships. And divorce rates are typi... [Read more]
Judge Not
March 29, 2020 at 7:59pm
The words that Jesus spoke about judging, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged" that are found in Matthew 7, are considered by many to be the most misunderstood words in the Bible. The problem is that people, believers and non-believers alike, tend to take just those first few words out of context and throw them around like some kind of holier-than-thou weapon of condemnation for those opposed to their own actions. Think about the irony of it: by telling others not to judge you, ... [Read more]
The Mercy Seat
March 30, 2020 at 1:16am
We are all lawbreakers. Who among us has not broken a law at one time or another in our lives. Just think of all the times just in traffic. Perhaps it was a rolling stop at a stop sign, going a little faster than the speed limit, or racing through a yellow light (yes, yellow means stop). For me, it was that last one that got me. My wife and I had just spent a full day in a city about 1½ hours from where we lived. We had done a lot of running around, trying to accomplish what we could s... [Read more]
One-Another Ministries
March 30, 2020 at 1:21am
One of the most destructive forces in the church today is conflict. Disunity makes the church look weak. Paul compares us to a body with each of us performing a specific function and none able to function without the other. That's a good analogy, but I also like to think about the church as a chain. Since a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, it's every member's responsibility to build up each link, so that none break and destroy the chain. That's what disunity do... [Read more]
Eyes on the Lion
March 30, 2020 at 1:27am
I was watching a nature program that showed a pride of lions on the hunt. The scene was on the Serengeti Plains of Africa and the lions were following a herd of grazers, obviously looking for weak individuals and waiting for the opportunity to strike. That was not unusual ... lions hunt, it's their nature. What was unusual was that herd after herd of other grazers—buffalo, wildebeests, gazelles, elands, zebras, and so on—were following the lions. It looked like one giant parade of ... [Read more]
Fruits of the Spirit
March 30, 2020 at 1:30am
The parable of the sower is well known (Mark 4:3-8). It has been read and re-read countless times, been preached on heavily, and analyzed to death. We know its about four different kinds of people who hear the Word: (1) those who hear, but don't take it in; (2) those who hear and take it in, but it doesn't last very long; (3) those who hear, take it in, but the temptations of the world choke it out; and (4) those who hear, take it in, and follow. We know this to be true because Jesu... [Read more]
Feelings of Guilt
March 30, 2020 at 1:59am
You've probably heard it said that "the Christian army is the only army that shoots its wounded." For some, this may be true. Sometimes we take Paul's admonition to Timothy about correcting behavior in others a little too far. Often we tend to focus more on the rebuke than the encouragement. Correction is not a bad thing, but if not done with kindness and patience, it can actually drive people away from the Church. It often has. That said, we are just as hard on ourselves a... [Read more]
Becoming Christ-like
March 30, 2020 at 2:31am
Throughout the Bible, there are numerous verses that show our path to final salvation is a three-step process. These three words are used often: justification, sanctification, and glorification. The first and last are more single events, while the middle one is a bit harder to understand because it is both a condition and a process. Justification means to be made righteous in the eyes of God. This occurs because Christ was obedient to God, suffered and died for our sin, and made availabl... [Read more]
Victory is Ours
March 26, 2020 at 5:19pm
Any one who has watched professional football for any length of time will recognize the title of one particular game in 1978 called the "Miracle of the Meadowlands." It was a game between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, played at the Meadowlands Stadium in the New York metropolitan area. The Giants were leading 17-12, had possession of the ball, with only 31 seconds left in the game. The Eagles had no timeouts, so all the Giant quarterback had to do was kneel down and l... [Read more]
The Love of a Mother
March 26, 2020 at 5:20pm
Today is a special day—Mother's Day. There is a special place of honor we grant to mothers. This is not limited to those who are followers of Christ, but to us, there is a extra special bond that is biblical in nature. We recognize this because of the bond we read about between Mary and her son Jesus. It's a bond that was formed in suffering. All mothers suffer—through child-birth, child-rearing, and then watching their lifelines of love stretched to their absolute maximum w... [Read more]
God's Forgiveness
March 26, 2020 at 5:21pm
Here we stand trying to do good, knowing what is good, and still we do what we know we should not do. This is even what the apostle Paul said of himself, who was one of the greatest apostles and author of 23 percent of the New Testament. If he struggled so mightily with doing what was good and righteous, what chance have we? Often the biggest lies we tell are the ones we tell ourselves—to justify our own behavior. If we were to grade ourselves on several aspects of our Christian walk, j... [Read more]
The Power of Prayer
March 26, 2020 at 5:21pm
Since today is National Prayer Day, it's appropriate to consider prayer, the very centerpiece of our spiritual existence. Without prayer, there would be no communication with God and because of that, no power we could call upon, no praise we could give, no victory we could claim. Without prayer, our faith would be toothless. Most of the time, we think of prayer in a nurturing role, placing it in a supportive position. At one church I attended, members of the congregation would gather... [Read more]
Experiencing God
March 26, 2020 at 5:22pm
There is a discipline in mathematics that actually crosses many disciplines. It's called mensuration and it's how we measure things. It can be applied to just about any academic study. Notwithstanding that the study of techniques to measure things is important, to much time spent studying how to measure them detracts from the time and effort to engage with the character and personality of that which we study. And that fact not only can, but should, be applied to our grasp and appre... [Read more]
Who's In Control?
March 26, 2020 at 5:14pm
Many biblical scholars agree that Job is the oldest book in the Bible, predating the first five books of the Old Testament written by Moses. They only argue about how old. Using only the Bible as a source and theorizing about Job's age in relation to others who's ages are recorded, many think it was written slightly before the time of Abraham. As such, it's the earliest written record of God's relationship with man. Just as important, it's the earliest written record of... [Read more]
To Patiently Endure
March 26, 2020 at 5:33pm
One of the more interesting characters in the Bible is a man named Job. He probably doesn't need much introduction since he is fairly well known, even in secular circles. To summarize, a man of wealth and property is directly attacked by Satan, who wants to prove that his faith is wealth-based. Job loses his entire family, all his property, and his body becomes covered in boils. Nevertheless, he refuses to loose faith in God. There is a well-know phrase taken from James 5:11, ".... [Read more]
We Would See Jesus
March 26, 2020 at 8:11pm
In 1975, the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings were playing each other in a professional football game. With less than half a minute remaining, Dallas quarterback Roger Stauback thew a desperate pass from the middle of the field to Drew Pearson who was almost at the goal line. Pearson caught the ball against his hip and stumbled backward into the end-zone to score the game-winning touchdown in a stunning and exciting surprise ending to the game. In an interview after the game, Stauback ... [Read more]
Under God's Protection
March 26, 2020 at 8:28pm
It was a very wet, wintry night. I was driving my family home after a Sunday visit with my in-laws, about 20 miles away. My wife was drifting in and out of sleep in the passenger seat and both kids were fast asleep in the back seat. Part of the drive involved a 10-mile stretch on a winding, country road. Just before I turned onto it, a slow-moving vehicle pulled in front of me and I had to follow it. All I could envision was 10 miles of slow driving, when all I wanted to do was get home a... [Read more]
The True Church
March 26, 2020 at 9:17pm
Have you ever paid attention to water. I mean, really given it much thought? A single molecule of water has no intrinsic power. It can't slack thirst, end a drought, make a gully, wear down rock, or wash away a mountain. But combined with enough molecules, and often enough time, water's effect can defeat anything man builds. Yet, it has no power to move on it's own. It's channeled by an unseen force. Maybe that's what Jesus meant when he talked about moving mountains—by w... [Read more]
Agape Love
March 26, 2020 at 9:23pm
We throw around the word "love" a lot. Of everything written in the Bible, it is the central them: God is love, God's love was so great He sent his son, Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as yourself—love is painted with broad brushstrokes all over the canvass of the entire Bible. But what do we truly know of love? Part of the problem is that we only have one word for love. The New Testament was written in Greek, a language that had four words for love: philio (brotherl... [Read more]
On Subduing the Earth
March 26, 2020 at 9:34pm
Many years ago, I stumbled upon an article written by a gentleman named Robert Selle, called On Subduing the Earth . The article originally appeared in American Forests in December 1983. The author had written a letter as if it were from God to humans on what he described as God's land ethic. While no one can truly speak for God, I found it to be illuminating. In honor of God and the Earth he gave us, I've included portions of that letter to show that God's divine land ethic... [Read more]
Go and Do Likewise
November 10, 2018 at 4:51pm
Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise. –Luke 10:36-37 Several years ago, my wife decided to start drinking coffee. She had never drunk coffee before in her life, so it came as a surprise to me when she started. The problem was, she didn’t like the bitter taste of plain coffee. So she began taking the edge off with cream... [Read more]
Eyes on the Prize
November 10, 2018 at 4:43pm
But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. –Romans 3:21-24 My youngest son served in the Army and spent 15 months in Iraq during 2007-2008. He n... [Read more]
To Boldly Go
November 10, 2018 at 4:34pm
Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. –Acts 9:18-20 Wouldn't it be nice if everyone's conversion were like Paul's. To learn about Christ, get baptized, and immediately go and begin preaching the good news of Jesus. That... [Read more]
Has God Left Us?
November 10, 2018 at 4:29pm
I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, "You are my servant"; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. –Isaiah 41:9-10 Not long ago, my wife and I were flying home. It was a very dismal day. The sky was terribly overcast and there was a continual driving rain. It was not t... [Read more]
All You Need is Love
November 10, 2018 at 4:27pm
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. –Hebrews 10:23-25 As followers of Christ, we often spend a great deal of time trying to get people to recognize their sinfulness. This is important because unless people realize they ar... [Read more]
Drenched in the Holy Spirit
November 10, 2018 at 4:24pm
For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. –Ezekiel 36:24-27 ... [Read more]
Golden Calves
November 10, 2018 at 4:20pm
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. –Matthew 6:19-21 Idols are everywhere. They're not necessarily the golden-calf kind, but everything we cling to other than our love for God and which we find difficult to let go a... [Read more]
An Unchanging God
March 21, 2020 at 1:11am
In 1986, A movie came out called Hoosiers . It's a sports movie about a small-town basketball team in Indiana that could only field five players. But with those players, and another super-player who joined later, the coach took them all the way to the state championship in Indianapolis against a superior big-city team from South Bend. They ended up winning the state championship. There was a moment in the film when the team arrived at the huge basketball stadium in Indianapolis. The... [Read more]
Calling Down Fire
November 10, 2018 at 4:12pm
When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. And they went on to another village. –Luke ... [Read more]
Let it Stand
March 21, 2020 at 1:04am
There is an editing, or proofreading, mark called a stēt , which is of Latin origin. It means “to stand.” Editors use it as a way to say “never mind,” or “let it be.” Usually it’s placed over a change in a manuscript to indicate the editor has had a change of heart and altered their reasoning back to the original. Such faulty reasoning is all around us. Some of it is good, like the evenhanded discernment of righteousness that God intended to be part of the Law. Most tim... [Read more]
Broken Tractors
November 8, 2018 at 7:03pm
But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. –Isaiah 40:31 My father was the foreman of a large dairy farm and had a number of proverbs of his own. By far the most interesting one—and one I use even today—was when he came home from work, worn out and weary. He was responsible for keeping the machinery operating. Some nights he would plop down in his favorite chair a... [Read more]
Bend the Knee
November 8, 2018 at 7:12pm
By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. –Isaiah 45:23 Humility. It's a word that's tossed around a great deal and it's definition is reasonably well known. Ask anyone and they have a good idea what it means to be humble. Yet the ability to humble oneself is not that well practiced. That's because the world is constantly telling us through media, televisi... [Read more]
God Always Provides
March 19, 2020 at 1:30am
Many years ago, my young family and I went through some scarce days. My wife and I were living in an apartment at poverty level with a one-year-old child. I simply couldn’t find a job related to my profession. I worked low-paying jobs, but I also had student loans to pay off—large sums with no professional employment and a wife and toddler to clothe, feed, and shelter. One of the jobs I found that was semi-related to my profession was as a land surveyor. It was a well-paying job, so... [Read more]
Sleep Well on a Windy Night
November 8, 2018 at 7:09pm
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be s... [Read more]
What'cha Doin'?
March 19, 2020 at 1:26am
I'm a Yankee born and raised. To those living outside of the United States, that means any American. But within the United States it refers to a more specific group of people―those living in the northeastern part of the country. I was originally from Pennsylvania, but I had the good fortune to realize my shortcomings and marry a Mississippi girl. At first we lived in Pennsylvania, but eventually I was forced to take an early medical retirement, after which we decided to move to Mississip... [Read more]
Dropping Napkins
March 21, 2020 at 1:00am
Jesus was disturbed by the arrogant way certain people prayed haughtily in public that wasn't true acknowledgment but was done to show others their piety. He wanted us to pray humbly and simply, following a specific pattern. So he instructed us with the Lord’s Prayer at the Sermon on the Mount. On the other hand, Jesus also commanded us to declare Him publicly and let our light shine. These are not conflicting instructions. Jesus was most concerned about the condition of our hea... [Read more]
Beware the Fisherman
March 19, 2020 at 1:27am
I love to fish ... all kinds of fish in all kinds of places. I've fished in clear running streams, in fast-flowing rivers, on clear glassy lakes, in surf, and even in muddy ponds. That's hardly the extent of experiences a fisherman can encounter, but it's enough to discover that varying kinds of fish, in diverse environments, respond very differently to the kind of bait that's used. Not only that, but the depth of the water, the time of day, the weather conditions, and so on... [Read more]
Holy Moments
March 21, 2020 at 1:07am
They are rare, those truly holy moments. You know the ones I speak of. They are moments that take you by surprise, they sneak up on you, they crack your heart. It's different for every person, but it's that moment you feel a connection to something beyond yourself—something that you feel has so much bigness behind it that you don't have words to express it. In fact, you don't even dare find the words because they would somehow belittle the moment. I was sitting in Sunday... [Read more]
Broken Vessels
November 8, 2018 at 6:21pm
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. –2 Corinthians 4:7-10 There is a practice in the Japan called Kintsugi , which means "golden joinery." Evidently ... [Read more]
Starting Right
March 19, 2020 at 1:42pm
I worked in forestry most of my adult life and early in my career I was a timber cruiser. Timber cruising is an activity where lines are drawn on a map for a delineated area of forest land, and then with map and compass in hand, a 2-person crew would follow those lines while measuring a sample of trees. On one particular day, my coworker and I were "running a line" though the woods. We had driven out to the spot where the line began and then starting hiking through the woods, meas... [Read more]
March 21, 2020 at 1:05am
People make resolutions all the time: time to loose weight, spend more time at the gym, eat better foods, and so on. However, change is not something that can be ordered depending on the day of your choosing. More often it depends on God's plan for you when real change comes into your life. Such was the case with me. It was on a cold wintry day when doctors discovered that I had end-stage liver disease—cirrhosis of the liver brought on by alcoholism. I was a closet, functioning alc... [Read more]

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