Every Day Bible


I can’t see your motivations. I can see your actions and make an educated guess of your motivations, but the real reason you do something is not something I can directly observe.

God doesn’t share that limitation. He knows what and why people act. So in Luke 22:2, he tells us the reason that the chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Jesus to death.

They weren’t motivated by righteous indignation. They weren’t trying to protect the nation from heresy. It wasn’t exactly jealousy. Here’s what the Bible says: “they feared the people.”

After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, many of the people began to believe in him. Fear strikes again! The Sanhedrin said, “If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation” (John 11:48).

Fear is powerful, but it often motivates us in the wrong directions. In Exodus 1, the Pharaoh’s fear of a hypothetical war in which the Israelites hypothetically joined up with the other side was enough to motivate the king to genocide. In the gospels, it was enough to motivate Pilate to knowingly execute an innocent man.

I suspect that far more of our decisions are motivated by fear than we realize. We are afraid of missing out, not having enough, being rejected…fear might just be one of the biggest temptations that we face. When I (or someone close to me) acts foolishly—I’m going to look for fear hiding in the background. If we deal with that fear, we might just find that we become w

Every Day Bible

Take Care How You Hear

Has anyone told you lately that you need to be a better listener? They might have—but you might have missed it, because, well, you weren’t listening!

Jesus said that nobody lights a lamp and puts it under a bed. Instead, you put it somewhere that it gives light to the whole house. That’s a simple enough idea. Have you ever noticed what he says after he makes that illustration? “Take care then how you hear, for the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away” (Luke 8:18)

“Take care how you hear.”

It occurs to me that I’ve preached far more lessons about watching our words and being careful about what we say, than I have about our responsibility to hear well.

A lot of the people who met Jesus didn’t listen. Sure, they heard the things that he said. But they immediately rejected them. Or twisted them. Or mounted up a defense against them. Or maybe they were just too busy talking about him to even hear him. To the Pharisees and Sadducees, Jesus was a lot like the grown-ups are to the children in Peanuts. When he spoke words of life, they heard “wah wah wah wah.”

How do you think Jesus would describe your listening skills?

Every Day Bible

O Christ, He is the Fountain

There’s an old hymn that is not in our books or the Paperless Hymnal: “O Christ, He is the Fountain.” If you don’t recognize it, you have a second chance to recognize part of it. It’s quoted in the hymn “The Sands of Time Are Sinking.”

Here’s the line that I want to share with you:

“The bride eyes not her garment, but her dear bridegroom’s face. I will not gaze at glory, but on my king of grace. Not at the crown he giveth, but on his pierced hand. The Lamb is all the glory, and my eternal stand!”

When the bride steps into the church, with everyone standing, all eyes on her, and the groom waiting at the altar, she’s not looking at her dress. It doesn’t matter how expensive the dress is or how perfect she looks. She doesn’t see the candles or the flowers or the pews or the rose petals. She sees her groom. He’s what matters. (It’s true for the groom, too. I’ll never forget how everything melted away when those doors opened and I saw Leslie walk in!)

Sometimes we talk about what we think we’ll do when we get to heaven. We talk about wanting to meet Peter or ask God some questions about how he ran the place. There may be a time and a place for it, but I suspect that we’ll be a lot more like the bride in the hymn. Everything but the groom will melt away. Nothing else matters. “The lamb is all the glory, and my eternal stand.” One more application: at church, we spend far too much time looking at the wrong things. We evaluate the quality of the sermon and decide whether or not we like the songs or the person in the pew next to us. Church is actually supposed to call us to something far bet

Every Day Bible

Look for the Gold

“Men are developed the same way gold is mined. When gold is mined, several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold; but one doesn’t go into the mine looking for dirt—one goes in looking for the gold.” – Andrew Carnegie

There is no shortage of dirt to be found. I am certain that in every sermon I have preached, there is at least one sentence that I would like to take back and try again. Every person you meet has a trait that you’d like them a little better without. Every movie has a few minutes that aren’t as good as the rest. Every vacation has a drive or a flight that’s not as fun as the destination.

When you find the dirt, it feels good for a minute. You feel like you’re in on something. You’ve found the flaw. It appeals to your pride. But you don’t build up the world by tearing things down.

If you want to be happy—and if you want people to be happy to be around you—be a person who looks for the gold, not the dirt.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Every Day Bible

Children Are Lethal Weapons

Do I have your attention now? I’m not making this up. It’s actually what the Bible says:

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills the quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies at the gate.”

Psalm 127:3-5 ESV

Of all of the metaphors Solomon could have used to describe kids, he calls them “arrows in a warrior’s hand.”

Have you ever thought about that? Plenty of times after stepping on a Lego, I’ve thought they might be the death of me, that’s not what Solomon was trying to say.

By calling children arrows, he says that here our children are the ammunition that defends us and provide us confidence and joy.

That’s an interesting view, isn’t it?

Kids defend us from being shortsighted. I need to think about what sort of world my grandkids will inherit, not just what sort of world I live in. You might get frustrated when the littles make a racket at church, but when you consider the alternative—a church without those cries—you realize that the noise of life is better than the silence of death.

Kids defend us from being selfish. They need so much. They remind us that the world doesn’t revolve around us. Their dependence makes us think outside of ourselves.

Kids defend us from faithlessness. They have such a simple trust. If we learned to trust God like they trust us, what giants of faith we would become!

Solomon was right. No matter how many grey hairs they cause us, our children are one of God’s greatest gifts to us.

Every Day Bible

Avoiding the Hurt

When I started running, it hurt.

A lot.

I’m a little weird about this, but I don’t like things that hurt.

So I had a great idea: maybe if I ran more and got into better shape, it would hurt less.

That plan was about 60% effective.

Going from 0 to 1 mile was a hundred times harder than going from 1 mile to 10 miles. But the first mile of every run hurts. From what I hear, it always will.

I thought if I ran more, I would hurt less.

The actual result surprised me: the hurt didn’t stop. I learned how to endure the hurt.

We spend our lives doing whatever possible to avoid hurt. Avoiding pain. But deep down, we know it is impossible.

C.S. Lewis said,

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

The Four Loves, C. S. Lewis

Christianity doesn’t promise us an escape from pain. It does promise us a guide through it, comfort despite it, and hope beyond it.

Every Day Bible

Better Than a Preacher

Augustine said, “Who is so foolishly curious as to send his son to school to learn what the teacher thinks?”

His point was that we don’t want our kids to learn the teacher’s opinions. We want our teachers to point us towards something bigger than themselves. We want a guide to truth.

I hope you didn’t come to worship today to learn what I think the Bible says. I have plenty of opinions, and each one of them is correct, of course. 🙃

I hope that you aren’t counting on me to stand between you and God.  Paul told Timothy that “there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

My job is to point you to Jesus.

I’m not trying to give you a book report on the Bible each week. I’m trying to nudge you to get to know its author.

Today, Augustine might say, “Who is so foolish as to go to church to learn what the preacher thinks?” My job today is to introduce Jesus. Your job is to get to know him.

Every Day Bible

Age & Wisdom

Our culture prefers youth and beauty to age and wisdom. If you don’t believe me, just look! Watch how the news stations predictably replace trusted anchors with the newer, shinier models every few years.  Jack Weinberg coined the phrase, “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” Seeing as Jack is now 80, and his phrase is now more than 50 years old, I wonder if we can trust it? Or is it disposable now, too?

Job 12:12 says that “Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.” Proverbs 23:22 says “Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” And the law of Moses even commanded, “You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God” (Leviticus 19:32)

Older people are a treasure trove of wisdom. They have graduated from the school of hard knocks with advanced degrees. Their experience can be a great teacher—if we’re willing to listen.

It sobers me to think how much history is being lost every day. Fewer than 2% of the 16 million American soldiers who fought in World War II are still with us. Each day, these veterans pass away, and their stories with them. We are losing something that cannot be regained.

Take some time this week to listen to an older person in your circle. Hear their stories. Save their history. You will be a blessing and blessed.

Every Day Bible

Quitting Time

Will you quit comparing your life to others and envying what they have?

Will you quit being surprised that an unbelieving world acts without the moral compass that comes with faith in a wise God?

Will you quit taking criticism from people who you wouldn’t ask advice from?

Will you quit your job as “corrector of the errant” on social media? No matter how right you are, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still!”

Will you quit feeling entitled to anything and instead realize that everything we have is a gift from a generous God?

Will you quit talking about people. If you want to talk about them, talk to God about them.

Will you quit focusing on the negative? If you always think the sky is falling, you might be right one day. But you’ll ruin a lot of otherwise good days.

Will you quit wasting your life on reruns when there is a world outside your phone?

Will you quit passing the buck and not taking responsibility for your life?

Will you quit polluting your heart with news and voices that fill you with dread and fear rather than faith and hope?

Will you quit whatever that thing is that you totally can quit, but you just haven’t yet, and you’ll probably quit in a couple of weeks when you’re ready, this time, for a change?

Everyone needs to quit something. What do you need to quit?

Every Day Bible

Laughter as Worship

Do you remember the reaction when God promised a child to elderly Abraham and Sarah? Laughter!

Evidently this wasn’t the right response, because Sarah lied about her laughter In Genesis 18:15.

Things changed by Genesis 21 when the child of promise was born.

Abraham chose the name “Isaac” which means, “he laughs.” I really like Sarah’s reaction to her son’s name: “God has made me laugh. Everyone who hears about this will laugh with me” (Genesis 21:6 NET).

When Abraham & Sarah laughed in Genesis 18, the laughter rang with disbelief, but when they laughed in Genesis 21, it seems to me that it is overflowing with joy.

Certainly some kinds of laughter aren’t appropriate—scoffing at others, delight in sin, or enjoying misfortune, but the laughter of Isaac’s birth seems to me to be a laughter of praise.

Psalm 126 treats it that way: “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad!”

Maybe we need to add laughter to our repertoire for worship, and celebrate how God has surprised us with good in this world!