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Daily Devotions

So Moses said to the Lord, ‘Why have you treated your servant so badly? Why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me?’ vs. 11 Numbers 11:4-6,10-16 The people complained to Moses about conditions in their camp, and Moses complained to the Lord about the people. This incessant reciprocal whining was understandable and necessary. Humans have to be able to vent when the pressures pile up. It was true…

Daily Devotions

But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest.” vs. 34 Mark 9:33-37 The disciples didn’t quite get Jesus and were afraid to ask him questions, but they knew exactly how to play religious games, especially when it came to power and control. For them following Jesus wasn’t so much about helping people as it was a road to greatness and prestige–by elevating themselves through their deeds, they could show how…

Daily Devotions

But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.” vs. 32 Mark 9:30-32 Sometimes we imagine Jesus to have been like a kind and gentle pastor, a leader who could warm our hearts with a smile, and who we could have come to at any time with any questions or concerns. That’s a nice thought and we are indeed blessed when we meet such persons. Unfortunately that description doesn’t fit the Jesus we meet…

Daily Devotions

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” vs. 8a James 4:7-8a James had figured some things out about God that are worth reviewing in our own search for intimacy with the Divine Presence. So often we imagine that the empty feeling we occasionally feel comes because God has moved away. The truth is that God just doesn’t operate like that–God is always present to us. That’s the nature of God. So when we feel alone, guess…

Daily Devotions

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.” vs. 17 James 3:13-4:3 In recent years we’ve seen an avalanche of purported wisdom poured out on social media and every kind of journalistic platform. Almost all of it is carefully designed to fuel our passions and promote discord and dissension on every level. It’s infected neighborhoods, schools, and even our churches–and we’ve…

Daily Devotions

With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good.” vs. 6 Psalm 54:5-7  The psalmist here gives a glimpse of life under the temple’s sacrificial system. There were a variety of offerings that could be made–the suppliant chose the one that best fit the circumstances. In this case, because the psalmist had been delivered from enemies, he chose to make a free will offering, not because it…

Daily Devotions

For the insolent have risen against me, the ruthless seek my life; they do not set God before them. But surely, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.” vss. 3-4 Psalm 54:1-4 Many are saying that these are the most divisive times they have experienced, and national polls bear that out. Some have become reluctant to share their ideas and opinions with those they do not know–they don’t want to offend, and it’s hard to…

Daily Devotions

But you, O Lord of hosts, who judge righteously, who try the heart and the mind, let me see your retribution upon them, for to you I have committed my cause.” vs. 20 Jeremiah 11:18-20 Jeremiah’s life had been threatened by some people from his hometown and he didn’t like it! They evidently had taken offense at things he had said and were scheming to erase his name from the memory of his people. But Jeremiah believes that the Lord,…

Daily Devotions

He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’” vs. 34 Mark 8:34-38 These familiar words have a quaint feel about them. Once they seemed so important, a description of a call to discipleship that could define the journey of our lives. But now there’s a kind of sad irrelevance about them. They’re a reminder of times past when…

Daily Devotions

He asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Messiah.’” vs. 29 Mark 8:27-33 There is little doubt that Jesus of Nazareth existed. Only die-hard skeptics continue to say that there never was such a person, that all reports of his existence are only fabrications. Even if we doubt the accuracy of some gospel accounts it seems obvious that he preached and taught in Galilee and Judea at some point in the…

Daily Devotions

With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so.” vss. 9-10 James 3:6-12 James understands the power of the tongue. He says that it is like a fire, a small part of our body, yet capable of inflicting enormous damage, but he doesn’t give any hints about how it…

Daily Devotions

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” vs. 1 James 3:1-5 There is a strange paradox connected to the teaching profession. On the one hand we see teachers being regularly disparaged and discounted in popular commentary. It is said that they suck up massive amounts of taxpayer dollars while working short hours for only a portion of the year. As a group they’re…