Cities of Refuge – Where to Run When You’ve Done Nothing Wrong

God still provides sanctuary when others misunderstand you.

You did nothing wrong. Still, those with influence and a voice have chased you out with accusations as agonizing as they were outrageous. You needed a place of refuge to run.

Shechem, one of the Cities of Refuge

(Photo: Shechem, one of the Cities of Refuge. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In ancient Israel, Cities of Refuge gave the innocent person a place of sanctuary so that those who presumed him guilty couldn’t harm him before the facts came to light.

Justice assumes innocence until proven guilty. This biblical principle has found a place in our own legal systems (at least in theory). But justice sometimes plays no part in verdicts. In truth, the ones with the power often get their way in this world—and justice has nothing to do with it.

Have you been misunderstood? Even though the particulars of God’s ancient law may seem outdated, the principle reveals His heart—and it still applies.

God still provides you a place to run.

Click to continue reading »

How to Understand God’s Plan for You in a World of Confusion

No need to miss the opportunity God has given you today.

Tough circumstances of life always change our minds about God. They either tempt us to doubt what He’s promised, or they draw us closer to Him in faith. But we never stay the same.

How to Understand God's Plan for You in a World of Confusion

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

God’s plan for your life is revealed and tested in times of struggle.

If you’re struggling today, don’t miss the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of God’s plan for you.

Click to continue reading »

Why Facing the Facts Begins with Faith

Hezekiah shows you how your faith has more facts behind it than you think.

Today you will be told to face the facts. Usually, that means bad news. You don’t have the money. The doctor’s report looks grim. Time is running out on your biological clock. Facing the facts is hard.

Why Facing the Facts Begins with Faith

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

But think about it: facing the facts isn’t our problem. It’s that we fail to face all of the facts.

God has facts to factor into our thinking as well.

Click to continue reading »

How to Show Love When Others Don’t Love You

The motivation has to come from somewhere else.

Who is the person you struggle to love? Let me ask it another way. How do we show love when we don’t feel like it? We reach out with the goal of love without expecting any love in return. That’s hard.

How to Show Love When Others Don’t Love YouHow to Show Love When Others Don’t Love You

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Some years ago I found myself at odds with another person after a conversation went south. This individual spoke severely to our daughter, and I confronted this person with the truth—but in anger, and I failed to speak truth in love.

Later, I tried to get together with this person and talk it through. I knew I needed to ask for forgiveness for how I had spoken. But others asked me to leave it alone for the time being. Although I tried to comply at first, I felt miserable keeping quiet.

I came to realize I needed to ask forgiveness, no matter what.

Click to continue reading »

How to Look Past Monday to Eternity

This life is only the foyer to forever. God made us for eternity.

It’s hard to look past Monday to eternity. But Monday will be better if you do. The road of our lives leads to death. Yes, but it never ends there. Our soul bounces and it never slows down.

How to Look Past Monday to Eternity

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Heaven will have the bright streets of gold and the pearly gates and the awesome beauty of an unspoiled place. But these things are only the stage upon which the joy of eternity occurs.

Perhaps you have discovered, as I have, that heaven seems far more real the more people we know who have gone there ahead of us. Our loved ones who have died are like the leaves inside branches waiting for the spring.

Life is still there, hiding behind death, until something cues it to resurrect.

You will be part of that. 

Click to continue reading »

When God Finally Gives You Want You’ve Begged For

Remember that some of the Lord's most gracious answers are nos.

Got any unanswered prayers? That may be a good thing. Sometimes the only thing worse than God refusing to give us what we want occurs when He gives us want we want. 

When God Gives You Want You've Begged For

(Photo by Photodune)

Many years ago, our young daughter had only one thing on her mind.

She knew we planned an Easter egg hunt, and she asked if she could eat lots of candy on Easter. We told her no, but she kept after us, day after day. Easter came and she continued to plead. So we decided to let her learn by experience what she refused to learn by instruction. We let her eat as many little chocolate eggs as she wanted.

That night was pitiful.

“Oooooh, mommy, my tummy hurts!” She had learned by experience what she refused to learn by instruction. My toddler’s lesson gets repeated in the life of most of us adults.

But it doesn’t have to.

Click to continue reading »

The Amazing Blessing of Your Average Life

Sometimes the blessing comes with a simple change of perspective.

Would you say your life is average? More ho-hum than awesome? You’re not alone. You’ve probably noticed, but very few people attain stardom status in life. That’s probably a good thing

The Amazing Blessing of Your Average Life

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Solomon’s words, “money is the answer to everything,” come from an earthly perspective (Ecc. 10:19). Among the rich and famous, so few find satisfaction—even in their success.

For some reason, it seems uncommon for exceptional lives to handle success well. Perhaps because success ranks just as much a test of character as does poverty. Maybe more.

Have you ever considered the blessing of being average?

It may surprise you.

Click to continue reading »

How to Get Your Roots to Reach Deep

The silent, unseen essentials of what makes life really matter.

After my grandfather died years ago, I planted an oak tree in his memory in our front yard. The skinny stem stood only 6 feet tall (like Granddad did). I planted it on a windy day.

How to Get Your Roots to Reach Deep

(By Almonroth. Own work. CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

A few hours later, my neighbor hollered: “Hey, Wayne, your tree was really leaning over in the wind!” I grabbed the trunk and slightly bent the tree over. The whole base moved, because it had no root system yet. So I staked it down.

Two years later when I bent the tree, the base didn’t move. But you know what? The tree looked the same. No visible change. Its goal for its first two years was its roots, not its limbs and leaves.

That little sprig offers a contrast (and a lesson) to you and me.

Click to continue reading »

2 Helpful Truths When God’s Plan Seems Delayed

What helps you when God’s plan seems stalled?

Most mornings the national news seems downright depressing. Political corruption. Religious hypocrisy. Sexual disorientation. I confess, sometimes it’s tough to see God working in the world.

2 Helpful Truths When God’s Plan Seems Delayed

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

We seldom ask the questions out loud. But we all think it: Where exactly is God working in this fallen world? Why does He seem so silent—and even distant?

We know the answers in our heads. The Bible gives us good ones:

  • God allows evil so that we may choose good. Yep. Got it. God is patient (2 Pet. 3:9).
  • God uses evil for His good purposes. Yes, of course. God is sovereign (Rom. 8:28).

These answers give an explanation for what we see. But what about what we don’t see?

How come there seems so little of God’s work in the world?

Click to continue reading »

How God Broadens Your Limited Perspective

Bridging the gap between the God we want and the God who is.

Have you noticed how often we tend to interpret our faith as we want it to be, rather than as God reveals it to be? I think of it this way. We have adopted the lifestyle of a tourist who only wants to see the highlights of the city.

How God Broadens Your Limited Perspective

(Photo: courtesy of Oomph)

Forget all the back alleys of New York. Show me Times Square. Let’s just jump to the Empire State Building. We focus on how the Christian life “ought” to be. (As if the tough parts are electives.)

A broad chasm stretches between the God we want and the God who is. Between the life we want and the life God wants for us.

As tough as it sounds, the only way to bridge this gap is the cross.

Click to continue reading »