Archive for February, 2022

False Image


Written by Miles McPherson, a contemporary pastor, former San Diego Charger, speaker, and author. This is an excerpt from his book “The Third Option.”

My heart breaks to see so many people enslaved by a false sense of who they are. Sadly, those who miss God’s image in themselves are often the people who exhibit the greatest amount of racial prejudice and hatred. I see this reality manifested most often in prisons and juvenile detention centers—two of my favorite places to visit. During one of my regular visits to a juvenile detention center in San Diego, the staff asked me to meet with one kid in particular. I waited in one of the cells—which consisted of concrete walls, a cot, and a metal stool—until a skinny White kid walked in. Holding his head down, he barely looked at me. During our conversation, he told me he had been physically abused most of his life. He was also a proud White supremacist. I asked him, “who’s been abusing you?” “My dad.” “What color is your dad?” “White.” “He’s not Black, yet you hate all Black people?” And that’s when he snapped. He suddenly started calling me the N-word, yelling curses, and telling me to get the F* out. Because the walls are made of concrete and metal, every word echoed. Everything he screamed at me bounced off surfaces of the prison for all to hear.

The next week I went back to visit the same young man. The grateful staff told me they thought they’d lost another volunteer, and I wasn’t surprised. Dealing with people who do all they can to push you away isn’t for everyone. People who hurt spend a lot of energy hurting other people, and this kid was hurt. His words didn’t faze me, because I’d been on the receiving end of much worse. I was there to minister to his pain—to honorably invest in the potential of God’s purpose for his life. I also understood where this young man’s pain came from, and recognized it wasn’t about me. My second visit was different. I went in understanding his pain, with a commitment to love him no matter what. I chose to remember that, deep inside, he and I both wanted and were designed for the same thing: honor. This time our visit ended differently. Before I left, we closed our conversation by praying together. My new fried—a White supremacist prisoner who hated his father and hated himself—is the perfect example of someone who had missed God’s image in himself. It’s literally impossible for people like him to see in others what they don’t recognize in themselves, until they have a personal encounter with God that changes their self-perception.


Written by Miles McPherson, the author of today’s meditation.

Dear Lord, I ask that You reveal to us the true nature of the unalienable image that You have given us. I want to be a person of honor, and I want to be part of a movement of honor. Holy Spirit, I can do that only if You fill my heart with the love of the Father. In Your name I prayer. Amen.

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The Habit of Holy Thought


Written by A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), an American pastor, author, magazine editor, and spiritual mentor. This is an excerpt from his book “Tozer on Christian Leadership.”

What we think about when we are free to think about what we will— that is what we are or will soon become….Anyone who wishes to check on his true spiritual condition may do so by noting what his voluntary thoughts have been over the last hours or days. What has he thought about when free to think of what he pleased? Toward what has his inner heart turned when it was free to turn where it would? When the bird of thought was let go, did it fly out like the raven to settle upon floating carcasses or did it like the dove circle and return again to the ark of God? Such a test is easy to run, and if we are honest with ourselves we can discover not only what we are but what we are going to become. We’ll soon be the sum of our voluntary thoughts….The best way to control our thoughts is to offer the mind to God in complete surrender. The Holy Spirit will accept it and take control of it immediately. Then it will be relatively easy to think on spiritual things, especially if we train our thought by long periods of daily prayer. Long practice in the art of mental prayer (that is, talking to God inwardly as we work or travel) will help to form the habit of holy thought.


Written by A. W. Tozer, the author of today’s meditation.

Oh, Lord, You know the constant struggle so many of us have with our thought life. You know how often our thoughts do indeed settle on rotten carcasses. Take control of my thoughts today, and move me along in the development of the habit of holy thought. Amen.

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Seeing the Works of God


Written by Os Hillman, a contemporary speaker, author, and consultant on faith at work.

When you were a child, perhaps you may have gone to the ocean for a vacation. I recall wading out until the waves began crashing on my knees. As long as I could stand firm, the waves were of no concern to me. However, as I moved farther and farther into the ocean, I had less control over my ability to stand. Sometimes the current was so strong it moved me down the beach, and I even lost my bearings at times. But I have never gone so far into the ocean that I was not able to control the situation. Sometimes God takes us into such deep waters that we lose control of the situation, and we have no choice but to fully trust in His care for us. This is doing business in great waters. It is in these great waters that we see the works of God. The Scriptures tell us that the disciples testified of what they saw and heard. It was the power behind the gospel, not the words themselves, which changed the world. The power wasn’t seen until circumstances got to the point that there were no alternatives but God. Sometimes God has to take us into the deep water in order to give us the privilege to see His works. Sometimes God takes us into the deep waters of life for an extended time. Joseph was taken into deep waters of adversity for 17 years. Rejection by his brothers, enslavement to Pharaoh, and imprisonment were the deep waters for Joseph. During those deep waters, he experienced dreams, a special anointing of his gifts to administrate, and great wisdom beyond his years. The deepwater was preparation for a task that was so great he never could have imagined it. He was to see God’s works more clearly than anyone in his generation. God had too much at stake for a 30-year-old to mess it up. So, God took Joseph through the deep waters of preparation to ensure that he would survive what he was about to face. Pride normally engulfs such young servants who have such access to power at such a young age. If God chooses to take us into deep waters, it is for a reason. The greater the calling, the deeper the water. Trust in His knowledge that your deep waters are preparation to see the works of God in your life.


Written by Basil the Great (330-379) of Caesarea, an influential theologian and pastor. He was one of the Cappadocian Fathers.

Steer the ship of my life, good Lord, to your quiet harbor, where I can be safe from the storms of sin and conflict. Show me the course I should take. Renew in me the gift of discernment, so that I can always see the right direction in which I should go. And give me the strength and the courage to choose the right course, even when the sea is rough and the waves are high, knowing that through enduring hardship and danger in your name we shall find comfort and peace. Amen.

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Do I Need to Say It?


Written by Lyn Cowell, a contemporary author and speaker.

I typed out the text as fast as my fingers would go, frustrated over the situation. The faster I got it resolved, the sooner my heart would stop pounding and I could get back to my work. But before I hit “send,” I sensed stop. It’s not that what I said was wrong, mean or unkind. What the sense of stop was telling me was that it was not the right time. Are you someone like me who sometimes wants to just get things off my chest, clear the air and share what’s on my mind? While I’ve been learning a whole lot, over the past few years, about honesty and getting free from people-pleasing, I also need Jesus’ wisdom to know when and how to share information. I’m learning that timing is extremely important. Jesus knows that some very hard days are on the horizon for His friends. He is about to die, and it will appear that everything the disciples have centered their lives on for the past three years is about to be gone with the death of Jesus. Jesus, too, is feeling the weight. He is the one about to die! … He has things to say, things that need to be said, but because Jesus knows those things would crush His friends at that moment, He holds back. He bears the weight because of His great love for His friends.

Today, or in a day or two, you’ll have something you just have to say. I will, too. But before we let words fly so that our hearts feel lighter, let’s run those words past our Helper, the Holy Spirit, and first ask Him: Is this the right time? Are these the right words? Is this loving?…Jesus says the Holy Spirit will be the One to deliver the information for Him at a later time:  Yes, Jesus will not say the words Himself but instead will rely on the Holy Spirit to do the relaying. That is similar to how my situation worked out. That conversation I thought I just had to have? The other person brought up the situation a few days later, and it was much better that they made the discovery versus me pointing it out. I’m so grateful when the Holy Spirit saves me from me. Aren’t you glad when He saves you, too?


Pat Bergan, a contemporary activist, writer, and photographer.


Gracious God,

Thank you for the gift of today.

Refresh me. Invite me to discover your presence

In each person that I meet

And every event that I encounter.

Teach me when to speak and when to listen

When to ponder and when to share.

In moments of challenge and decision

Attune my heart to the whisperings of your Wisdom.

As I undertake ordinary and unnoticed tasks,

Gift me with simple joy.

When my day goes well, may I rejoice.

When it grows difficult, surprise me with

New possibilities.

When life is overwhelming, call me to

Sabbath moments

To restore your Peace and Harmony.

May my living today reveal your Goodness.

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Instruments of Peace


Written by Gary Chapman, a contemporary pastor, author, and radio talk show host.

More than eight hundred years ago, Francis of Assisi prayed, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.” Sometimes when we hear the latest tragic story of violence in the world, the idea of being instruments of peace can seem overwhelming. But small acts of kindness remind us that in the face of fear, injury, and hatred, good does exist. Good exists in the hands of volunteers who help build houses after natural disasters, in the sacrifices of military personnel fighting for someone else’s safety, and in the simple ways we choose to serve others at work, at home, and in the community. As Francis concluded, “It is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” Acting kindly means dying to our selfish desires so that the needs of others might be met. Self-denial goes against everything the evening news suggests about human nature. But when we live out God’s kindness in ordinary ways, even moments of despair can become opportunities for hope. 


Written by Gary Chapman, author of today’s meditation.

 In a violent world, Father, remind me of the peace I can offer others through practicing simple kindness. Amen.

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Uniquely You


Written by Bayless Conley, a contemporary pastor, author, and Bible teacher.

God gives us all strength, yet I believe there are specific things He gives each of us that make you and me strong individually.  The book of Psalms says in 33:14-15, “From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually.”  In the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 12:27 says, “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.” We are collectively the body of Christ, but God has wired us each differently.  God has formed our hearts individually.  He has put certain deposits in one person that may not be in another person.  He has given one person a certain kind of strength that may not be another person’s strength. Here is what I am getting at. I believe there is something uniquely you that gives you strength and character and presence, something that makes you a person to be reckoned with, something that God has put in you.  It is a foundation, a seat of strength that He wants to move through in order to influence and to bless others. Rather than coveting someone else’s unique giftings and strength, discover and develop your own.  Remember, God individually fashioned you.  There is something wonderfully unique about you, through which God wants to bring blessing to others. 


Written by Neil T. Anderson, a contemporary Christian author.

Father, I want to bloom where I am planted and resist the temptation to compare myself to others. Help me see the ways you have uniquely gifted me to serve you and your Kingdom. Thank you for making me just as I am. Forgive me for the ways I have compared myself and coveted the abilities of others. I pray that starting today, I would see the opportunities if front of me to use my gifts and abilities. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

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A Place of Service


Written by Alistar Begg, a contemporary pastor and radio broadcaster.

Martha’s fault was not that she served: The condition of a servant is commendable in the Christian. “I serve” should be the motto of all the princes of the royal family of heaven. Nor was it her fault that she had “much serving.” We cannot do too much. Let us do all that we possibly can; let head and heart and hands be engaged in the Master’s service. It was no fault of hers that she was busy preparing a feast for the Master. Happy Martha, to have an opportunity of entertaining so blessed a guest; and happy, too, to have the spirit to throw her whole soul so heartily into the engagement. Her fault was that she grew “distracted with much serving,” so that she forgot Him and only remembered the service. She allowed service to override communion, and so presented one duty stained with the blood of another. We ought to be Martha and Mary in one: We should do much service and have much communion at the same time. For this, we need great grace. It is easier to serve than to commune. Joshua never grew weary in fighting with the Amalekites; but Moses, on the top of the mountain in prayer, needed two helpers to sustain his hands. The more spiritual the exercise, the sooner we tire in it. The choicest fruits are the hardest to rear; the most heavenly graces are the most difficult to cultivate. Beloved, while we do not neglect external things, which are good enough in themselves, we ought also to see to it that we enjoy living, personal fellowship with Jesus. See to it that sitting at the Savior’s feet is not neglected, even though it be under the specious pretext of doing Him service. The first thing for our soul’s health, the first thing for His glory, and the first thing for our own usefulness is to keep ourselves in perpetual communion with the Lord Jesus and to see that the vital spirituality of our faith is maintained over and above everything else in the world.


Written by Heather Barr, a contemporary author.

Dear Lord, show us how to live in a place where we are aware of our constant communion with You. As Your child, I humbly come before You. Thank You that I get to rest under the shelter of Your wings, here in the secret place of Your presence. I praise You, and I worship You, Lord.

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A Song of Quietness


Written by Chuck Swindol, a pastor, author, and speaker.

How easy it is to fall into the trap of “ritual religion”! So many Christians know little of a vital, fresh, day-by-day relationship with the Lord. I did not say an inactive relationship. Christians have never been more active! The tyranny of the urgent is no theoretical problem. Many a believer jumps off the Sunday treadmill of activities only to hop on the weekday treadmill of meetings, appointments, functions, rehearsals, clubs, engagements, banquets, studies, committees, and retreats. I heartily agree with the one who said, “Much of our religious activity today is nothing more than a cheap anesthetic to deaden the pain of an empty life!” That’s a harsh truth to ponder. As a pastor, I hope to help you cultivate a consistent and meaningful walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, a relationship that thrives without needing to be pumped up and recharged with an endless succession of activities. I would wish that we all might know our Lord in such a significant way that this divine companionship, this healthy vertical relationship, becomes a steady, serene, daily communion. We must find ways to live beyond the grind of ritual religion. In The Pursuit of God, A. W. Tozer writes, “I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain.”  Every age has its own characteristics. Right now, we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity that is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations, and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship and that servile imitation of the world that marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all. Psalm 63 is David’s song about what it means to have a desperate longing for God, and what it means to be fully satisfied in Him alone. It is not a song of activity but of quietness. David didn’t write a march to impel busy feet, but a sonnet to woo thirsty souls. Believe it or not, many people don’t know they’re thirsty. You may not feel a deep longing to cultivate an ongoing personal interaction with God. That’s probably because you have dulled your spiritual senses with activity. Career activity. Social activity. Religious activity. Your first response may be to slow your pace, to simplify.


A prayer often attributed to Wilferd Arlan Peterson (1900-1995), an American author.  

Slow me down, Lord! Ease the pounding of my heart by the quieting of my mind. Steady my harried pace with a vision of the eternal reach of time. Give me, amidst the confusions of my day, the calmness of the everlasting hills. Break the tensions of my nerves with the soothing music of the singing streams that live in my memory. Help me to know the magical power of sleep, teach me the art of taking minute vacations of slowing down to look at a flower; to chat with an old friend or make a new one; to pet a dog; to watch a spider build a web; to smile at a child, or to read a few lines from a good book. Remind me each day that the race is not always won by the swift; that there is more to life than increasing its speed. Let me look upward into the branches of the towering oak and know that it grew great and strong because it grew slowly and well. Slow me down, Lord, and inspire me to send my roots deep into the soil of life’s enduring values that I may grow toward the stars of our greater destiny. Amen.

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The Ecstasy of Gratitude


Written by John Ortberg, a contemporary author, speaker, and retired pastor.

Having too much can make a person ungrateful. The illusion of gratitude is that we will experience it more if we get new stuff that we really want. We tend to keep score by comparing ourselves to others. When it comes to affluence, for instance, we tend to follow what psychologist Leon Festinger calls the “principle of slight upward comparison.” We chronically compare ourselves with those just a little better off, in the hopes of attaining their level of success. This keeps us from gratitude. It also keeps our eyes off people who are under resourced so that we don’t think about our need to share. God gives us the gift of the capacity for gratitude. Gratitude is the ability to experience life as a gift. It opens us up to wonder, delight, and humility. It makes our hearts generous. It liberates us from the prison of self-preoccupation. Gratitude is the gift God gives us that enables us to be blessed by all his other gifts, the way our taste buds enable us to enjoy the gift of food. Without gratitude, our lives degenerate into envy, dissatisfaction, and complaints, taking what we have for granted and always wanting more. We can have very little and yet be rich. A rich soul experiences life differently. It experiences a sense of gratitude for what it has received, rather than resentment for what it hasn’t gotten. It faces the future with hope rather than anxiety. We break rules — we violate God’s will — because we think breaking them will help us win, or at least avoid pain. But what we do not see is that the very breaking of them turns us into the kind of people who are increasingly incapable of the gratitude and purity of heart that makes lasting happiness and meaning possible. The great secret joy of life — the prize that we think getting richer will bring us — is the ecstasy of gratitude. Gratitude is how those rich toward God — rich in being, not just having — play the game. The apostle Paul discovered that whether he was living in luxury or living in prison he had more than enough, because he had been freed from the treadmill of having. Are you experiencing the ecstasy of gratitude, or on the treadmill of having?


Written by Geevtha Mary Samuel, a contemporary author.  

Heavenly Father, I thank You for this blessed new day. I pray to start this day with a new attitude and lots of gratitude. Lead me to walk in Your way of righteousness. Lord Jesus Christ, I thank You greatly for Your great sacrifice and enduring all pain and shame for my iniquities. I thank You for Your love and grace offered upon the cross. I thank You for bringing us into reconciliation with the Father and in everlasting grace and hope of salvation. Amen.

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In Your Weakest Moment


Written by Sheri Rose Shepherd, a contemporary author.

One of the greatest battles we fight every day is the one in our mind. Our flesh tells us to “Quit trying to live for God…We will never be good enough. That is a lie. Too many times we allow our failures to define us. So let me take the pressure off you. No man or woman in the Bible or in history, no believer who did something great to further God’s kingdom, lived a perfect life. Each hero of the faith loved the Lord, and despite their failures, never quit. What they did do is answer His call on their lives despite their failures, difficult circumstances, and people who hurt them or discouraged them Our Loving Lord is for us and no matter how many times we fall, He is there to pick us back up as many times as it takes until He comes to take us Home. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that God cannot redeem what you have done. Just ask your heavenly Father to help you get up and let Him handle whoever and whatever is keeping you down—and you’ll win!


Written Rebecca Barlow Jordan. a contemporary Christian author.

 Good morning, Lord! Today’s a new day, a chance for a new start. Yesterday is gone and with it any regrets, mistakes, or failures I may have experienced. It’s a good day to be glad and give thanks, and I do, Lord. Thank you for today, a new opportunity to love, give, and be all that you want me to be. Amen.

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