Devotional Essays

These short ruminations are in chronological order -- the oldest at the top, and the newest at the bottom. The focus is primarily on dealing with trials, and on living the Christian life with our eyes always on heaven.

Real Life, Real Grace:  Contesting the current sappy definition of "Grace" -- God-designed suffering is also Grace.
Mining for Gold: Examining Donne's "Meditation 17" and his claim that others' suffering is a gold mine for me.
Looking Afresh at the Old Story:  Integrate the New Testament Christmas texts to see the immediacy of the events.
How We Lose the Scriptures: Be careful not to set aside God's Word for our own comfort.
The Will of God:  Ask honest, difficult questions about why our suffering can be God's will for us.
My Soul Is Among the Lions: Discern why God continues to give suffering to those whose faith is already firm.
Overlooking the Offense: Prevent anger from consuming you, when you've been wronged.
Now He Was a Samaritan:  Obey Jesus, even when it doesn't make sense.
Religious Dress: Thoughts on how faith influences our clothing
Patterns:  God leaves specific visual patterns all through creation, like an artist's brush strokes, showing a single hand.
Acts 9:16: Our sufferings are custom-designed for us by God.
Renunciation: Making sense of letting go of things we cherish
Heaven: Understand heaven as the New Earth, a physical place that you will inherit.
Heaven II:  Abraham was thinking of the New Earth too.
The Sabbath Puzzle: How I finally came to understand why we still observe the sabbath, and how it is connected to the Lord's Day
I Believe in the Resurrection of the Body: For all eternity, I'm going to look like myself.
Laying Up Treasures: We should value occupations that are eternal, not just ones that are useful in a fallen world.
Thou Shalt Not Covet: We lie to ourselves when we believe our lives would be happy if we only had _________.
Mara: Why would two women cling to a God who has given them nothing but suffering?
The Little Joys of Time:  There are benefits to having less employment.
Marriages: If your marriage is in crisis, or anywhere close, DO SOMETHING.
Rootedness:  How to cope when God moves you again, and again.
The Lord's Fast:  New thoughts on what it means for the Christian to fast, and it has little to do with food
Disappointment:  Honest words in the face of another disappointment
The Thief:  A poem from the thief on the cross
To Touch a Leper: When health is contagious
Studied Spontaneity: A description of one of my gripes with some contemporary praise worship
In the Mirror:  God's criticisms of His OT people are the same as of the church today-- we should examine ourselves.
The Tenacity of Life: Plants reminds us that God makes things to live, and not give up on living.
Dating Jesus's Birth: Part One of my husband's essay on how we can know Christ's birth was in December.
Dating Jesus's Birth: Part two of my husband's essay on how we can know Christ's birth was in December.
Abba, Father!:Accepting God's will, and subordinating your own, even when it's painful
The Change I Needed: Part I of discovering how to fix my horrible devotional habits
The Change I Needed: Part II of discovering how to fix my horrible devotional habits
The Change I Needed: Part III of discovering how to fix my horrible devotional habits
Lost Things: When we understand how closely bound we are to heaven, we haven't lost those who are there.
Celebrating Like the Jews: How do you act, when the death sentence has been lifted from your head?
Remembering Heaven: Speculation on some interesting abilities we might regain in heaven.
The End of New Year's Day:  If God is in the trial with you, there is no better place to be.
Tomorrow's Food:  We should be investing in heaven, not in earthly security. Let God take care of you.
Doing Surgery on Myself: Removing the sin that so easily entangles us
Redeeming the Time: Some good things are only for this fallen world; use them often.
Looking at the Pastorate: An honest examination of how both churches and pastors are broken
On the Fence: Following Jesus from a distance, is betrayal. We can't sit on the fence between right and wrong.
"She has done a good deed to Me": Our desire is to give to Jesus, and to give to others in His stead.
Free:   If you think you're freeing yourself from things binding you, and you're leaving a trail of devastation behind you, your freedom is a lie.
More Practice on Overlooking Offenses: In order to overlook offenses to us, we must have an eternal perspective of God's judgment.
Rain: God's living waters remove even the fear of poverty.
Encouragement from Spurgeon: Trials and discouragements in ministry usually precede blessings. Wait for them.
Of Wrinkled Shirts: We may be washed and dried, but we still need the heat of God's iron, before we're presentable.
Giving and Receiving:  Keeping a balance in our worship; giving our gifts to God, but remembering to receive from Him also.
Seeking Youth: Don't desire eternal youth on this earth. God worked hard to make sure you age and die.
Blessed Are Those Who Mourn: Some thoughts on why we are supposed to mourn, and what we should mourn over.
Strange Fire: A rather long, rather boring post. Take my advice and just read the last few paragraphs.
Cleaning: By looking at the lepers in Leviticus, we see how our filthiness is transferred to Jesus, so we are clean.
Nowhere to Go: When life comes to a halt, wait for God to act.
Hope and Pyrex:   An unexpected gift demonstrates an unflinching hope for a better future.
Building a Nest: A little piece of Psalm 84 gives insight into Christ's final sacrifice.
The Weeping Fig: Recovering from burn-out, over and over again.
Lead Me In Thy Righteousness:  How to respond to your enemies
Good Words: Oswalt Chambers gives a fresh reason why we suffer: for Jesus to suffer in our trials with us, since we are united to Him.
Rich Devotionals: Chambers again -- here he reminds us that we endure trials so that we are fit to help others.
How Do We Pray? Re-examining the Lord's Prayer, a radical prayer
When God Directs Our Reading: On struggling over being useful
Meeting Enemies:  The shepherd David gives us excellent insight in dealing with enemies within the church.
The Lust for Security: Elisabeth Eliot hits hard on how Christians cling to money for security, instead of God.
On Not Consulting Our Feelings: Again, Elisabeth Eliot gives sound instruction on how to follow God's commands, even when it does not feel right, good, or comfortable to us.
Interpreting the Silence: The psalmist's despair in Psalm 44 helps us to endure when God is silent.
Proverbs 12 & 13: A look at the righteous man
The Poor Man:  Proverbs says a few shocking things about the poor ... and the rich. We should listen.
On Being a Two-Year-Old: We shouldn't complain and fight when God says, "Rest!"
Lessons In Accident Recovery: Why apologies don't heal hurt.
Washing In the Jordan: The one exercise that will scrub your brain clean of dirty little sins.
Why Some People Die: Aligning our view of death with God's view.
Those Vows We Took: A rigorous look at what vows require of the husband, and what it should do to the wife.
Growing a Heart of Thorns: How we encourage ourselves to be places that God's Word can't flourish.
'Hurry Up, Please, It's Time!': Why there will be no hurry in heaven.
Now, We See Through a Glass Darkly, But Then, Face to Face: Thoughts on broken vows and marriages, as we anticipate an eternity together
Why We Should Bury Our Hopes: Understanding God's faithfulness as soil that feeds us
Easter Timeline -- using the four gospels to understand what happened at the tomb