We all have enemies. These are people who we might have offended, deliberately or otherwise; or people who are jealous of our success; or people who resent us for no reason other than it is in their nature to resent others. Regardless of the reason, they can make it their life’s purpose to take us down, and it can get…
We often run after fame and fortune, wanting to see our name in lights. We want positions of importance and power. We seek glory and honor. Even the apostles were not exempt from this desire. They constantly argued among themselves about who was the greatest among them. Jesus finally called them together and said, “You know that rulers in the…
We are often tempted to give up pursuing our goals after we meet with failure, especially when we keep failing. We have tried to quit that addiction, attain that promotion, pass that course, get that driver’s license—the list is endless—but we repeatedly fail. Giving up can take us away from our destiny. It doesn’t matter how many times we fail;…
We have a habit of coming up with excuses to get out of difficult and unpleasant situations. All of us have done this, some with dazzling creativity. However, making excuses can keep us from fulfilling our destiny. Consider Moses. When God told him to lead the Israelites to freedom, one might think he would jump at the opportunity. However, Moses…
People are not always good to us. Even when we are good to them, they are often ungrateful and unkind. This, of course, can be exceedingly hurtful. However, before we give in to bitterness and resentment and mistreat them in turn, we might want to ask a question: Do I want other people’s actions to define me, or do I…
Have you ever got angry and then gotten upset with yourself for getting mad — because you felt you shouldn’t? Or found yourself fearful about something — and then scolded yourself for being cowardly? Or experienced sexual desire — and then berated yourself for feeling the emotion?  I am sure we all have experienced anger, fear, desire—and several other emotions—and…
We are generally reactive people. When tragedies strike, when circumstances become difficult, when conversations become heated—even when miracles happen—we tend to react rather than reflect. There is usually very little to be gained by this; on the contrary, reacting often worsens a bad situation. I am sure we have all seen how something that started as a minor argument ended…
Discontentment is another adjective that well describes the human race. There are very few truly contented human beings on this planet because almost every single one of us appears dissatisfied with life. Why? Because we compare ourselves with others and come up short. We are driven by selfish ambition, constantly competing. We want the latest of everything, even when older…
Does it sometimes feel like God is deaf to our prayers? We have been praying for a life partner for the longest time, or the gift of a child, or healing from a long sickness, but our prayers are not being answered. We should resist the temptation to give up because God has not only heard our prayer; he has…
Life can get monotonous. Every day might seem like a repeat of the day before, and even the weekends are an encore of the previous one. When it looks like we are playing the same old tune day after day, and have become tired of it, perhaps it is time to stop the music and ask God for a new…
People are in a lot of pain. Sometimes we can get so caught up in our misery, we fail to see that almost everybody around us is miserable as well. If we can focus our attention on somebody else, it would serve several purposes.  It would distract us from our own woes: I imagine that would be very welcome! It…
Life can wear us down, especially when we seem to get stuck in a rut. The bank loan isn’t approved, so our business can’t expand. The promotion doesn’t come through, so our career goes into limbo. The relationship has lost its charm, so our future with the person becomes uncertain. Consequently, all the joy we once experienced when we started…
Have you noticed how people are fine as long as we are on the same level as them, but the moment we move up the ladder, their attitude changes? Instead of improving themselves and rising along with us, they will try to take us down instead. They will resort to back-biting, slander, and numerous other things to halt our progress…
Every once in a while, we will encounter a challenge so formidable we believe defeat is inevitable. It will stare down at us as arrogantly as a giant named Goliath once stared down at the Israelite army, challenging them to take him on. We can be daunted like King Saul and his soldiers were. Or we can look at it…
Friends are important in our lives. Not only are they sources of the love, encouragement, affirmation, and support that we all need from time to time, they also help us in achieving our goals. No architect has ever constructed a building on his own! However, we can become dependent on friends to the point where we cannot function without them.…
We all do things we shouldn’t do, and we all regret doing them. We want to put them behind us and forget they ever happened. However, from the moment we wake up until we fall asleep, a voice in our head reminds us of all our mistakes, failures, and sins. It tells us that we are terrible people, that we…
Francis Thompson was a poet who lived in the 19th century. He wrote a poem about God titled “The Hound of Heaven.” Although the title is shocking, when we read the poem, we realize that it paints an accurate picture of God as someone who follows us as the hound follows the hare, pursuing us with his amazing grace! Were…
If there is one story in the Bible that all of us know, it is probably the parable of the prodigal son. Jesus told this story of two lost brothers (yes, two, not one!) to illustrate God’s great love for us, but also to point out something important that we often miss in the telling: We are children of God,…
God allows challenges in our lives because he needs us to be equipped to fulfill the great plans he has for us. He wouldn’t let anything come our way if he didn’t have a purpose for it. Sometimes these challenges can be people standing in opposition to us. Sometimes they can be obstacles strewn across our path. They are there…
If you want good things to happen, *expect* good things to happen! That may seem like a very obvious principle, yet, in my experience, many of us expect the worst to happen in any given situation! In fact, some of us believe that if we say we expect something good to happen, we will jinx it! Isn’t this true? Even…
In the early days of the computer era, GIGO was a word we heard a lot. It stands for garbage in, garbage out. In computer science, it is the concept that if we input flawed data, the output will be flawed as well. This principle is true for us humans too. We want to lead productive and joyful lives filled…
Here’s a question to get us started today. If you happened to walk by a lake and saw a man drowning, what would you do? I hope you’ll say you will jump in and try to save him or call out for help if you don’t know to swim. You wouldn’t throw stones at the drowning man now, would you?…
Many of us live our lives constantly looking over our shoulders into the past, recalling the mistakes we made, our failures, or other bad things that happened to us. Or we look forward into the future, fearful or anxious about what is going to happen. The result is we are unable to enjoy the blessings that God is pouring upon…
We all suffer injuries as we journey through life. Who hasn’t fallen as a child and scraped a knee? However, many of us have suffered from deeper wounds, perhaps due to an accident or a surgery. Although the wounds have healed and the pain has stopped, the scars are visible even today.  We also carry invisible scars resulting from emotional…
We love miracles, don’t we? We often seek them, especially when we face serious challenges. When we are very sick, traumatized by a rocky relationship, struggling to overcome an addiction, or trying frantically to keep our business afloat, we long for a miracle. We keep asking God for one, but it doesn’t seem to happen. Why not? Because we might…
When we are struggling with the burdens of life—be they spiritual, emotional, physical, financial, whatever—we tend to get on our knees and pray desperately for relief. Praying is definitely a good thing, but there is something better we can do while we are at it: pray for others! Not only will it take our minds off our problems, but our…
It is a very natural instinct in a human being to retaliate when we are hurt, and the temptation to exact vengeance can be tough to resist. It might be a good idea at such times to pause and reflect upon something that the apostle Peter said: “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary,…
Yes, I know it hurts. When people close to us turn their backs on us, especially during our moments of greatest need, there are no words to describe the heartache. But God teaches us one of the most important lessons of our lives through this, and the lesson is this: Don’t depend on people; depend on God.  We tend to…
“Do you want to be blessed?” It sounds like a dumb thing to ask, doesn’t it? But, before he blessed people, Jesus would often ask them if they wanted the blessing! For instance, one day, Jesus went to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals (see John 5:1-15). He spotted a man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years…
We all want to achieve success, but very few are willing to pay the price. We want success to fall into our laps, but unless we are born into wealth, we will have to attain it the hard way. One of the keys to success is pursuing our goal relentlessly. We can learn a lot from Paul, who, at the…
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free,” Paul declared in his letter to the Galatians (5:1), but most of us don’t live a free life. We may not be alcoholics or drug addicts, but other addictions are equally harmful, if not worse. We gossip at every opportunity, slander people without thinking of the damage it causes, engage…
Do you like yourself? It’s a serious question. Do you? I wouldn’t be surprised if you said you didn’t because very few of us think well of ourselves. We focus on our faults, our weaknesses, our sinfulness and feel we are terrible people. We keep replaying the mistakes we made in our lives and beat ourselves up over them, believing…
We have all been blessed with beautiful gifts by a very generous God, but unfortunately, many of us don’t use them, or if we do, not quite enough. We are afraid that we are not good enough and will fail, but the real failure is not trying. Besides, it is only when we start doing something—and doing it often!—that we…
Many of us believe that other people are responsible for messing up our lives, sometimes beyond repair. A jealous co-worker or an unfair boss has prevented us from growing and sabotaged all our career prospects. A dishonest customer or devious partner has destroyed our business and set us up for financial ruin. An unfaithful  friend or two-timing spouse has broken…
You may not realize this when flying to your destination, but your plane is off course at least 90 percent of the time! Bad weather, air pockets, wind turbulence, and other factors cause it to keep veering off track. The pilot, however, receives constant feedback from air traffic control that allows him to make the necessary course corrections, so you…
We live in a culture that says the more we have, the happier we will be. So, we keep piling on things—often things we don’t need—and then get so attached to them, we can’t bring ourselves to throw them out or give them away. What’s the result? Closets are in complete disarray. There are stacks of dirty dishes piled up…
Have you ever become frustrated that all your attempts to be a certain type of person have come to nothing? Perhaps you should stop trying so hard because it isn’t going to work! Why? Have you heard the song, “Change my heart, O Lord”? The chorus goes: “You are the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me;…
It is human nature to want to belong to a community. Unfortunately, if we want to be a part of a group, we have to do what everybody in the group does. So when they gossip, we gossip. When they give rein to their addictions, we join in. When they want to gang up on somebody or ostracize them, we…
Have you heard the saying, “Shoot for the moon; even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”? It essentially means that if we aim high, although we may not achieve our intended goal, we will still end up doing something pretty awesome. This advice generally holds true for all humankind, but even more so for the Christian believer because…
I believe that most people undergo some sort of emotional pain. With some, the pain is intense, comparable to the agony one might suffer from being in a bad car accident. For others, it may be small, like a mild headache. But we all go through emotional pain of varying levels all through our lives. Severe pain causes us to…
People can often be very intimidating, especially when they are in positions of dominance or authority. We can be intimidated by our spouses, by our employers, by cops, by politicians, and just about anybody with a loud voice and a belligerent attitude. Situations can be intimidating as well. Whenever new challenges come our way, like a new job, we can…
Have you ever felt as though you were under siege? I am sure there are times when we feel as though everything and everyone is coming against us. Nothing seems to be going right; everything is going wrong and terribly so. Well, let us take hope from Paul’s words to the Romans: “If God is for us, who can be…
When misfortune, calamity, or tragedy strikes, our automatic reaction is to doubt the goodness of God or even his existence. Nobody is immune to it, not even those who profess to be close to God. Very often, the greater one’s spirituality, the greater the doubt. We believe that God will reward our faithfulness and friendship with good things, and we…
Every now and then, God puts his foot on the brakes to bring us to a complete halt. This allows us to take stock of our lives and think about where we are headed. It also teaches us to depend on God, become humble, or learn some important lesson. God’s foot remains on the brake until we have done what…
As a general rule, we are not patient people. We are always in a hurry to get things done. We try to beat the clock by doing too many things at once or doing things too fast. Not only does this result in shoddy work much of the time, but we also place tremendous stress on the mind and body…
Have you noticed how life seems like such a struggle? It feels like we have to put in so much energy to attain a little success, achieve a minor goal, or accomplish a simple task—too much effort for too little return. We cannot help but wonder if this is the point of life. It isn’t! We weren’t created to be…
The wilderness can be a wretched place. When the pain from an illness never ceases, when the struggle to make ends meet never ends, when the break we expect never comes, we can become depressed and discouraged. What makes everything worse is when we feel abandoned, especially by God.  Jesus understood this. As he hung on the cross, Jesus cried…
 Have you ever driven your car into a dead end? It seems like we are left with no option but to change direction. When going through life we often come across such dead ends: doors that slam shut in our faces or obstacles so formidable they halt us in our tracks. They stand like mountains in front of us, mocking…
We have all experienced situations in life that are distressing. From relatively minor things like being stuck in traffic and missing the bus to major things like the loss of a job or ending up in jail, we have all gone through “bad” things. They are often very painful. We try to pray them away, but God doesn’t seem to…
We live in a world where image is everything. We are expected to exude confidence, smartness, holiness, and although we are confident, bright, and holy for the most part, there are times we fail. But we don’t want to let anybody know that because the image gets dented. Consequently, we find ourselves wearing masks, pretending to be people we are…
John Bradford was an English Reformer who lived in the 16th century. One day when he saw criminals led to their execution, he is said to have exclaimed, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” He knew that were it not for divine grace, he could easily have been one of the criminals going to the gallows.  Divine…
Expectations lead to disappointment. Disappointment leads to hurt. Hurt leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate, of course, is the opposite of love. And, as love is something we all need to practice, we’d do well not to hate. Ergo, don’t expect anything from anybody! This is easier said than done because we tend to have expectations of others.…
Revenge is a very popular movie theme. From Death Wish and Carrie to Mean Girls and Django Unchained, everyone seems to love these stories of vengeance because it fulfills one’s own desire for revenge. We have this innate nature that wants to see people pay for the pain they have caused us, don’t we? Now we may not pick up…
Life is full of disappointments. We have all had our fair share of them. A miscarriage. A broken engagement. A job loss. An unfulfilled dream. An accident. The list goes on, ad infinitum. If we don’t handle disappointment properly, it can have grave consequences because disappointment leads to discouragement. Discouragement leads to disillusionment. Disillusionment leads to depression. And depression leads…
Have you heard the term “couch potato”? It is used to define a person who sits around watching television all day long, getting little or no exercise. So what’s the image that comes to mind when you think of such a person? An obese slob sitting in his underwear guzzling beer, right? Now, why would anybody want to be that?…
Have you ever been in a real desert? Well, even if you haven’t, you have undoubtedly seen it in the movies, and you know it is very bare, very barren. There is only sand as far as the eye can see, with nothing—not a tree or even a shrub—to break the monotony of the landscape. If we get lost in…
We have a tendency to be filled with things that are negative. Worry, doubt, bitterness, hatred, contempt, resentment, and anger are just a few such things. The problem is that when we are filled with things that are bad, there is no room for the good, because our hearts are like containers. Their capacity to store things is limited.  Let…
You may have heard the saying: Nothing is certain but death and taxes. Well, you can add “storms” to that because we are sure to face them as we journey through life. Ill health. Rocky relationships. Financial burdens. Job uncertainties. Wayward children. Errant spouses. You name it! Some of these storms can be small, like little gusts of wind that…
We have all suffered the terrible consequences of other people’s wicked actions, be it a result of anger, jealousy, enmity, or pure spite. However, it is one thing when we suffer because of what other people have done, and another thing when we suffer because of what we have done. We all do silly things, stupid things, and worst of…
I know some of us feel cheated in life. We think that when God was dishing out blessings, he served us a raw deal. And then there is the constant grind of daily life. We work hard in our jobs, but we receive no rewards. Despite all the effort, we put into our relationships, we don’t see any results. Even…
Grumbling is a very natural response to difficult situations. We all tend to grumble when we are in difficulties, even little ones like getting stuck in a traffic jam. Who hasn’t grumbled when forced to take a detour? However, it becomes dangerous when we start grumbling against God. Why? Because it stems from a lack of belief in him. Consider…
In our journey through life, there are several times we find ourselves in difficult situations where there are two equally unpleasant choices before us. No matter what option we choose, it is going to be terrible. What are we to do? The ancient Israelites found themselves in such a situation one day in the wilderness. After Pharoah gave them their…
“Oh, I’m simply buried in paperwork!” “I’m getting crushed by the weight of responsibilities.” “I’m in such a dark place, I feel suffocated.” Have you ever said these things, or variations of them? I’m sure we all have. There are times in life when we feel like we are being buried, crushed, or suffocated by people or circumstances around us.…
We all make mistakes as we journey through life. People shame us for these mistakes. It begins in childhood when our parents or elders scold us. It continues in school when our teachers rebuke us. Later on, employers or other people in positions of power berate us. While this is bad enough, it becomes infinitely worse when the chastisement is…
We often forget we are in a war, a war with the devil. It is a war for our souls, waged even before we were born. Although it is a spiritual war, it is as brutal as any fought on earth; perhaps more so. And like in any war, we get wounded, sometimes severely. When this happens, we can be…
We all like to be admired. We love it when people say nice things about us. We preen when they praise us; we glow when they adore us; we bask in their adoration. This is understandable because, let’s admit it, who doesn’t want to be admired and appreciated? However, this is dangerous because people are fickle. They will applaud us…
The wilderness is a harsh place. It is very bleak and cold and can seem devoid of hope. It is also very dark, as dark as some nights. Sometimes we can be in the wilderness for a long time, and the night can seem without end. To make it worse, we’re often alone. Our friends abandon us, but it can…
Ok, here’s a question for you. When is the last time you smiled? No, not that feeble twitch of the lips, but a broad, cheery smile that lit up the room and bathed everybody in it with warmth? Here’s another question for you. When is the last time you laughed? Not that little chortle, but a full-bellied laugh of merriment…
Disappointments are a part of life. So is failure. So, also, is rejection. It hurts when we experience it. When things don’t work out as planned; when we fail in something, be it an exam, a career, or a responsibility; or when someone we love dumps us, it hurts. Sometimes it hurts like crazy. Getting upset or sad or angry…
During one of my missions several years ago, I was invited to minister to a group of youngsters. They began the session with prayer, and at one point, each one took turns thanking God. When it was her turn, a lovely girl who had come for the first time was very effusive in thanking God for her eyes. She went…
At one point or another in our faith journey, every true believer has told God that they would be obedient to his every command. We have assured him that we would follow him, no matter the cost. We have promised to be faithful and loyal and true. Chances are we messed up on every single front and immediately had the…
When we journey through life, we are filled with zeal at various points, burning with passion, and eager to realize the many dreams that we have. We hope for a great career, a wonderful spouse, and amazing opportunities to come our way. We believe wonderful things are at hand. But when time passes and nothing remarkable seems to happen, when…
There’s a famous saying that goes: “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” It’s true. We constantly hear about superstars in the entertainment business, and powerful and influential men and women in other industries suddenly come crashing down from pinnacles of fame and success in spectacular fashion. Bada boom! However, falling isn’t the exclusive domain of the rich and…
Life is full of disappointments and setbacks. Some of these are of our own making, but many are not. When we are unfairly laid off at work, when a lover walks out of a relationship without reason, when we are cheated in a business deal, when we are betrayed by someone we trusted, we are often left broken and miserable.…
Who among us has not been guilty of sin? Our lives are full of it before we come to know our Lord, but many (most?) continue to sin even afterward. We engage in sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, and witchcraft. We are given to hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, and orgies. All are…
There are times in life when everything appears to be at a standstill. We have all experienced this during the pandemic. During such times, nothing seems to happen. Everything appears frozen. All doors get slammed shut, and no new doors seem to be opening. Things that once were exciting now seem tedious and boring. It feels like we are treading water,…
There is not a single person among us who hasn’t struggled with a major calamity in life. It may have been a severe illness that left us bedridden for weeks. It may have been a broken relationship that shattered our hearts to pieces. It may have been an addiction that we couldn’t break. It may have been the loss of…

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