Archive for April, 2023

Written by G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), an English writer, philosopher, Christian apologist, and literary and art critic.

Yet He [Jesus] restrained something. I say it with reverence; there was in that shattering personality a thread that must be called shyness. There was something that He hid from all men when He went up a mountain to pray. There was something that He covered constantly by abrupt silence or impetuous isolation. There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth.


Today’s prayer is from the liturgy for the Fourth Sunday of Lent.

Good and gracious God, You are light for our eyes. Good and gracious God, You are the air we breathe. You give us the voice to speak and a joyful song to sing. You are, O Good and Gracious God, Our path to peace. Amen

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Written by Joseph M. Stowell, a contemporary writer, university administrator and church leader. This is an excerpt from his book “Why It’s Hard to Love Jesus.”

Loving Christ is a response – a response to His enduring, unwarranted love for us. His amazing grace motivates us like nothing else to live out our lives in unique and courageous ways that express our deep affection and honor for Him before a watching and often critical world. Why have martyrs gladly died and others lived in terrible situations with bold, uncompromising spirits? Such rare selflessness does not arise out of a sense of obligation. Commitment to duty does not provide sufficient resolve. When the chips are down or the stakes are high, mere commitment rarely works.


Today’s prayer is from “The People’s Prayer Book.”

Gracious God, in Jesus words

we are invited to be partners in his work

of witnessing to your kingdom on earth.

Keep our hearts, eyes, and ears open,

so that daily we will respond to your call.

With courage and humility,

relying on your grace,

may we be agents of healing,

bearers of truth,

and messengers of hope.

We offer this prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord.


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Written by Kyle Norman, a contemporary pastor, writer, speaker, and retreat leader.

“Little pig, little pig, let me in!” “Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!” We know the story. We’ve all heard the tale about how the big-bad wolf pursues the three innocent pigs, attempting to blow their houses down. Two of the pigs find their residences blown to shambles, while the final pig, the smart pig, the faithful pig, withstands the huffs and puffs of the wolf.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our lives were like that? Wouldn’t it be great if the gusts of problems and struggles never affected us? Sadly, we know the truth. There are times where we feel that life is against us. It could be a result of a job loss, a tornado, a war, a death, or a diagnosis, but in those moments, we feel our footing is unsure, and our spiritual houses shake more than we would like. Scripture often uses the term “fearful hearted” to describe such a state. Being fearful-hearted is not the same thing as being merely disappointed or dismayed. We are fearful in heart when we face a threat or an obstacle which appears too big for us to manage. Like Israel feeling trapped in the exile, we feel alone and abandoned. We may even question whether God has forsaken us.  But God hasn’t forsaken us. God has not forgotten us. In fact, Scripture holds before us the glorious truth that when we feel overwhelmed, discouraged, or fearful, God comes to us. In the places of our fear and discouragement, God acts in healing and restoration.  The Lord speaks a word of hope, not condemnation, to those who are fearful in heart. Isaiah cries out “Say to those with fearful hearts, “be strong, do not fear, your God will come.” We are called to recognize that the struggles we face are never the full story. The divine promise is that God comes to us. God calls us to keep our eyes turned heavenward, to boldly stand in faith, and to audaciously hold onto hope. Is your heart fearful today? If so, listen to Isaiah, and dare to believe that there will be an end to what you face. This reality is assured because it is a reality rooted in God’s presence, not your own ability. We can be strong despite our struggles, and faith-filled amid our fears because we do not stand alone. Isaiah speaks confidently, God will come! God will come with vengeance and retribution. God will come to save. Despite the huffing and puffing blowing against you, the Lord promises to come in power. God never enters our life as a passive observer. God never sits on the sidelines. This is the promise of God. These are not just empty words. These are not saccharin niceties the faithful say to make themselves feel better. If we ever need proof of this in our lives, all we need to do is look to Jesus. These affirmations are written in history and proven in blood. Jesus is the proof that God’s love and power flow into our life. The very thing that Israel looked forward to, the very future to which they hoped, is the truth we grasp; Jesus stands with us in the messiness of life and brings redemption out of the darkest of places. For anyone who is fearful hearted, hear the good news: Jesus has stepped into your world. To those feeling fearful-hearted, embrace the presence of the Lord. Allow his spirit to flow within you, and to carry you. The one who made the lame to leap, the deaf to hear, the mute to sing, and the dead to walk, has promised to breathe life, peace, and restoration upon you. And because God has come, as God has promised, the declarations of God’s power can be trusted and held. And while it might be hard to recognize them at times, that doesn’t discount their reality. So be encouraged. Be strong and stubbornly faithful. Dare to believe. Your savior has come.


Written by Kyle Norman, author of today’s meditation.

Almighty God, thank you for your presence in my life. In those times where I am fearful and afraid, open my eyes to the movement of your Spirit as you empower me, sustain me, and guide me. I pray all this in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

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Written by John Stonestreet, a contemporary author and president of the Colson Center.

How did God capture the attention of a man of great wit and quick intellect like [G.K.] Chesterton? What signal did He use to point Chesterton beyond his anemic worldview to the greater reality of God’s world? Believe it or not, it was a weed.  Guinness writes,  “Looking at a humble dandelion, [Chesterton] woke up to wonder and became grateful for life. …[T]he humble dandelion told Chesterton that there was beauty in the world, and not just brokenness. Both needed to be explained, together. … He had to look for a philosophy of life that would allow him to explain both the beauty and the brokenness, … to be deeply realistic and yet, as he said, to “enjoy enjoyment” and be grateful.”  The seeming absurdity of such simple and often overlooked beauty prompted Chesterton to rethink his worldview. Beauty, even in simple or mundane form, pointed Chesterton to something, or rather Someone, fundamentally good and beautiful behind it all.


Augustine of Hippo (354-430), an early Christian theologian and philosopher. He was the bishop of Hippo Regius (modern day Annaba, Algeria) and is viewed as one of the most important church fathers in Western Christianity.

May the Lord

grant that we may observe all these things with love,

as lovers of spiritual beauty,

radiating by our lives

the sweet fragrance of Christ,

not like slaves under the law

but as free persons

established in grace. Through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord.  Amen.

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Written by Trevor Hudson, a contemporary South African pastor, author and speaker.

We must not “try harder” to be compassionate! After all, how would you respond to someone who says to you through gritted teeth, “I am really trying hard to be compassionate towards you?” Compassion that is the consequence of effort alone can be heartless.  As we open our hearts to God’s compassion, the divine compassion dwells within us. Now, we need to allow it now to flow through us to those around us. Some questions may help us to explore what this may mean. What would it mean to allow God’s compassion to flow through us at home? Maybe it will mean simply looking at one’s loved ones through the eyes of compassion. Or it will be more practical like helping with the household chores, picking up the dog poo, giving a backrub.  What would it mean to allow God’s compassion to flow through us at work? This can be complex. Getting the job done seems much more important than being compassionate. Could it be, however, that work done well with compassion will always be more creative than when done without it? What would it mean to allow God’s compassion to flow through us in the community? Maybe it will mean being attentive to that “human cry” that stirs our heart most deeply. And then trusting that stirring, opening ourselves to it, and allowing it to lead us towards compassionate action. How can you allow the divine compassion to flow more strongly through you?


Written by Cheryce Rampersad, contemporary Christian author. 

Jehovah Shalom, shower Your grace and tender mercies upon our loving hearts and upon our difficult lives today. Vanquish our iniquities. Clear our thoughts so we can hear the sound of Your great voice as we stand firm and still, awaiting Your instruction.  Give us compassion and humility in our hearts. Let us be kind, gentle, generous, loving, giving, and forgiving wherever we may go. Allow pride to never get the best of us as You fulfill our dreams. Help us not to have a boastful tongue against our brothers. Let humility invade our souls. Allow us to be as compassionate as the air we breathe. Give us the strength to help our brother, especially if he falls by the wayside. Allow us to be a blessing to others as we travel through life’s journey. Aid us in leaving an impact on the people that surrounds us. Change our hearts today, Oh Father, let hatred vanish in Your Holy presence.  We declare and decree that we will follow the example Jesus has set before us, in His Mighty name we pray! Amen and Amen!

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Written by Francis Dorff, a contemporary priest and former professor of philosophy and theology.

The first thing we have to do
is to notice
that we’ve loaded down this camel
with so much baggage
we’ll never get through the desert alive.
Something has to go.

Then we can begin to dump
the thousand things
we’ve brought along
until even the camel has to go
and we’re walking barefoot
on the desert sand.

There’s no telling what will happen then.
But I’ve heard that someone,
walking in this way,
has seen a burning bush.


Written by Ron Moore, a contemporary pastor and author.

Lord Jesus, I have carried this burden far too long. My present sin is disabling my heart. My past guilt has paralyzed my future obedience. Anxiety over things I can’t control has taken siege over my soul. I am worn out. I cannot continue on my own. Right now, I come to You. I am taking You at Your word. I am seeking to partner with You and have You take my load. I am ready for my burden to be lightened and my heart to find rest. In Your name. Amen.

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Written by Oswald Chambers (1874-1917), Scottish evangelist, teacher, and author. This is an excerpt from his book “My Utmost for His Highest.

If you debate for even one second when God has spoken, it is all over for you. Never start to say, “Well, I wonder if He really did speak to me?” Be reckless immediately— totally unrestrained and willing to risk everything— by casting your all upon Him. You do not know when His voice will come to you, but whenever the realization of God comes, even in the faintest way imaginable, be determined to recklessly abandon yourself, surrendering everything to Him. It is only through abandonment of yourself and your circumstances that you will recognize Him. You will only recognize His voice more clearly through recklessness— being willing to risk your all.


Written by Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975), a Roman Catholic priest who founded Opus Dei, an organization of laypeople and priests dedicated to the teaching that everyone is called to holiness by God.

My Lord and my God:

into your hands I abandon the past and the present and the future,

what is small and what is great,

what amounts to a little and what amounts to a lot,

things temporal and things eternal.


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Written by Andrew Whitmore, a contemporary theology professor.

Virtue is a perfection of our character, a human excellence, that we attain by doing what we were made for. Who doesn’t want to be excellent? Virtues are character traits that enable us to act with ease, promptness, creativity, and joy. Virtues are deliberately cultivated habits of choosing what is best for us which ultimately transform us into better people.  When we practice being good and push ourselves to be good more perfectly, the virtues become second nature. Rather than fretting over what to do, we will quickly intuit it and make choices with ease. Rather than appearing boring and predictable, we will be creative and bring true life to our activities and encounters. Rather than begrudgingly carrying out our responsibilities, we will be filled with a sense of fulfillment and contentment. While virtue isn’t a popular topic today, the virtues are always relevant because all of us seek happiness. The human excellence that comes with virtue is that which helps us to live satisfied lives. Whereas sin causes us to act against our purpose, become frustrated, and feel empty, virtue helps us to become what God planned for us to be from eternity. As St. Augustine says, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you, O Lord.” Virtue is the most direct path to attaining true happiness.


Written by Gerrit Bomhofm a retired pastor and author.

Coordinate our attitude with the clothing you call us to wear, Lord Jesus. Thank you for sharing the virtues that help us to identify with you. In your name, Amen.

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Written by Max Lucado, a contemporary pastor and author.  This is an excerpt from his book “3:16 The Numbers of Hope”

Team Hoyt consists of a father-son squad: Dick and Rick. They race. They race a lot. Sixty-four marathons. Two hundred and six triathlons. Six triathlons at Ironman distance. Two hundred and four 10K runs. Since 1975, they’ve crossed nearly a thousand finish lines. They’ve even crossed the USA. It took them forty-five days to run and pedal 3,735 miles, but they did it. Team Hoyt loves races. But only half of Team Hoyt can run. Dick, the dad, can. But Rick’s legs don’t work, nor does his speech. At his birth in 1962, the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, starving oxygen from his brain, stealing coordination from his body. Doctors gave no hope for his development. Dick and his wife, Judy, disagreed with the prognosis. Rick couldn’t bathe, dress, or feed himself, but he could think. They knew he was bright. So they enrolled him in public school. He graduated. He entered college and graduated again. But Rick wanted to run. At age fifteen, he asked his dad if they could enter a five-mile benefit race. Dick was not a runner, but he was a father, so he loaded his son in a three-wheeled wheelchair, and off they went. They haven’t stopped since. Young Rick Hoyt relies on his dad to do it all: lift him, push him, pedal him, and tow him. Other than a willing heart, he makes no contribution to the effort. Rick depends entirely on the strength of his dad.God wants you to do the same.

The phrase “believes in Him” doesn’t digest well in our day of self-sufficient spiritual food. “Believe in yourself” is the common menu selection of our day. Try harder. Work longer. Dig deeper. Self-reliance is our goal. And tolerance is our virtue. “In Him” smacks of exclusion. Don’t all paths lead to Heaven? Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and humanism? Salvation comes in many forms, right? Christ walks upriver on this topic. Salvation is found, not in self or in them, but in Him. We bring to the spiritual race what Rick Hoyt brings to the physical one. Our spiritual legs have no strength. Our morality has no muscle. Our good deeds cannot carry us across the finish line, but Christ can. Paul assures salvation to the most unlikely folks: not to the worker, but to the trust-er; not to the able-bodied, but to the unable; not to the affluent saint, but to the bankrupt and unemployable — the child who will trust with Rick Hoyt reliance. We bring what Rick brings. And God does what Dick does. He takes start-to-finish-line responsibility for His children… When Dick and Rick Hoyt cross finish lines, both receive finisher medals. Post-race listings include both names. The dad does the work, but the son shares in the victory. Why? Because he believes. And because he believes, both celebrate the finish. May you and your Father do the same.


Written by Rachel Wojo, a contemporary author and speaker.

Dear God, What an incredible God you are!
When I look at the beauty of your creation,
I’m in awe of your mighty and majestic ways.
When I see the work of your hand,
I’m overwhelmed by your love for me.
Lord, I believe that you saved my soul;
Help me trust that you have made me whole.
Lord, I believe that you hear my prayers;
Help me trust that your answer is best.
Lord, I trust that you created the mountains;
Help me trust that you can move them.
Please forgive my failures and
Increase my ability to give you everything.
Thank you, Jesus.  Amen.

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Written by Jill Weber, a contemporary spiritual director and the director of Houses of Prayer.

The path to the promised land seemed straightforward, but it cut right through enemy territory. God knew better than they did what they were up against and the state of their hearts as well as the strength of their arms. He decided to take them the long way around (Exodus 13:17-18). Our contemporary culture values expediency, but the story in the wilderness indicates that shorter is not necessarily better.  In my life’s journey, as I move toward my goals, does it seem as if God is taking me the long way round? How do I feel about that?  God was up to something far beyond just getting the children of Israel from point A to point B. On their pilgrimage through the wilderness, He wanted to shape them on the way.  Author Daniel McGregor writes: “It is impossible to overestimate the importance of the Israelites’ wilderness experience to biblical history. The wilderness wandering was the formative experience for the Israelites, repeatedly referenced throughout Scripture. From the time in the wilderness came the Law, a way of worship, and a culture distinct from their neighbors.”


This prayer was written by the author of today’s meditation.

 God, when my road takes an unexpected turn, I trust Your good leadership. You know my heart. You know the path before me. Ultimately, You are my way, Jesus. I trust you. Amen.

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