Sunday Devotional: Zechariah 9:9-10

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
    Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
    righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
    and the war horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow shall be cut off,
    and he shall speak peace to the nations;
his rule shall be from sea to sea,
    and from the River to the ends of the earth.”  (Zechariah 9:9-10)

The prophet Zechariah spoke to the Israelites and prophesied to them about the return that they will have to Jerusalem and that God will restore them.  In the midst of this, he also prophesied about Jesus.  In these verses, he speaks about the coming king who would ride into the city on a donkey.  Fitting that on this Palm Sunday, we remember when Jesus did just that.

It is hard right now as we struggle through hard times.  But we can look forward to the hope we have when Jesus will return.  He will bring peace and His rule will span everywhere.  In this season, let us cling to that hope.

Thursday Quote Day: Tim Keller

For this week’s “Thursday Quote Day”, here’s another quote from pastor and author Tim Keller:

“In Jesus Christ we see that God actually experiences the pain of the fire as we do. He truly is God with us, in love and understanding, in our anguish.” (Tim Keller Walking with God through Pain and Suffering)

Sunday Devotional: Mark 4:35-41

“On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.”  And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him.  And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.  But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”  And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”  And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

We all go through tough times in our lives.  We all have storms that we have to deal with that blow through our lives.  But as followers of Jesus, we don’t deal with these tough times alone.  God is right there with us.  He knows what we’re going through each day.  He’s steady and firm through all the storms.

Jesus wasn’t worried about the storm.  He was peacefully sleeping through it.  The disciples were the ones who were worried.  And several of them were fishermen, so they understood what dealing with a storm was like and even they were worried.  But Jesus wasn’t worried.  He had everything under control.  He calmed the storm and made things at peace again.

Jesus can calm the storms in our lives as well.  We can trust in Him to get us through any and all storms.  So as we go about this week, let us trust in Him to do that.

Sunday Devotional: 1 Thessalonians 1:2-5

“We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.  For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.”  (1 Thessalonians 1:2-5)

We as believers are called to live in community with other believers.  To love and to worship God together, to encourage and build one another up and to share Christ with others.  The Thessalonians were known for this.  Paul in his letter to that church opens with sharing about how he and his co workers give thanks to God for them.  He is encouraged by the word he hears of those believers and how their work and love has spread throughout the area.  It is an encouragement to Paul just as Paul has been an encouragement to the Thessalonians.

Let us be like that in our communities.  Let us labor and love for Christ this week and let us remember and encourage fellow believers to do that as well.

Thursday Quote Day: Jay Bilas

This week’s “Thursday Quote Day” features another quote from college basketball analyst Jay Bilas:

“Toughness has no relationship to how nice a person is. There is no reason you can’t be exceedingly nice and incredibly tough at the same time. Those two traits are not mutually exclusive.” (Jay Bilas Toughness)

Sunday Devotional: Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.”  (Proverbs 3:5-6)

These verses are some of the most well known and well cited in all of the book of Proverbs.  The verses bring simple and honest truth but they have a lot of depth to them.

We all need direction in our lives.  God can (and wants to) direct our paths because He knows what’s best for us.  We have to trust Him and acknowledge that He’s in control.  Is that easy?  No but it’s worth it.  It’s worth trusting in Him.  We can’t do it on our own, with our own understanding.  We need Him to lead us and to guide us.  Ultimately He’s in control, we need to acknowledge that.

This week, let us lean on God.  We can trust Him because of all that He’s done for us (not the least of which is send Jesus to die for our sins so we can have a renewed relationship with Him).  Let us trust Him as we go down the paths set before us.

Thursday Quote Day: Matt Chandler

This week’s “Thursday Quote Day” features another quote from pastor and author Matt Chandler:

“We always have to be a little bit wary of the idea that numeric growth and enthusiastic response are always signs of success. The Bible isn’t going to support that. Faithfulness is success; obedience is success.” (Matt Chandler The Explicit Gospel)

2015 Book List

For now the 11th year (starting in 2005), I have kept track of every book that I’ve read.  So far this year at this point I’ve finished 2 books (I had one carryover from last year that I finished which I counted in last year’s list) and on my way to finishing the third.  Here is the list so far:

Recovering Redemption:  A Gospel-Saturated Perspective on How to Change by Matt Chandler and Michael Snetzer

Wrestling for My Life by Shawn Michaels


Sunday Devotional: Nahum 1:7

“The Lord is good,
    a stronghold in the day of trouble;
he knows those who take refuge in him.”  (Nahum 1:7)

The prophet Nahum spoke out to the people the word that God had given to him.  The people of Nineveh were not honoring God.  They had repented before (see the book of Jonah) but had fallen back to their old ways.  Nahum reminded the people that God was in power and had sovereignty over them.  Justice was coming and God was going to enact it.

However, Nahum also reminded the people that God is good.  He is one to be trusted.  He is one who cares about us and that when trouble comes we can seek Him and find refuge in Him.  We can have hope in Him.  If we are following Him and trusting in Him, then we can have assurance that no matter what happens, we are taken care of by Him.

So this week, let us remember who God is and what He is about.  He is good and He is just.  We can find strength and refuge in Him.