Monday Meditations

Monday meditations are brief, practical reflections on a scripture. They’re meant to help you start your week on a thoughtful, positive note.

MONDAY MEDITATION: Jesus’ Grammatical Mistake (June 27)

Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. – Matthew 6:11-12 Jesus could have followed “bread” with a totally new sentence beginning with “Forgive.” That would have been grammatically correct, because every grammar teacher knows you don’t begin a sentence with a conjunction. But Jesus…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: A Matter of Perspective (June 6)

God’s purpose is now to show the rulers and powers in the heavens the many different varieties of his wisdom through the church. –Ephesians 3:10 What’s not to like about flying? Endless lines. Baggage fees. High ticket prices. Cramped seats. Rude passengers. Canceled flights. Lost luggage. Have I missed anything? Yet, the complaints don’t quite seem…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: A Pastoral Death-Wish (May 30)

First of all, when you meet together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and I partly believe it. – 1 Corinthians 11:18 Paul sounds as if he’s surprised there were divisions within the Corinthian church. There are divisions within any church, ancient or modern. People have different backgrounds, ages, expectations, political…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: “While We Were (Are) Sinners” (May 23)

But God shows his love for us, because while we were still sinners Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8 As I reflect on my life, I don’t always like what I see. Mistakes made in choices, conversations, relationships, actions. I look back and ask, “What was I thinking?” I hadn’t awakened one morning and said, “Let’s see how I…

Continue Reading MONDAY MEDITATION: “While We Were (Are) Sinners” (May 23)

MONDAY MEDITATION: In “Every” Situation? (May 9)

Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Really? I can think of a million situations where giving thanks is the last thing I want to do. Pandemics. Invasions. Accidents. Death. Prejudice. Discrimination…And we’re just getting warmed up. Yet, Paul is speaking from his…

Continue Reading MONDAY MEDITATION: In “Every” Situation? (May 9)

MONDAY MEDITATION: Terrified, Afraid, and Peaceful (April 25)

Jesus himself stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” They were terrified and afraid. They thought they were seeing a ghost. – Luke 24:36-37 What an interesting description of how the disciples felt when the risen Jesus suddenly appeared to them in a room: “terrified and afraid.” I’d never thought much about why Luke put…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Master of the World (April 18)

“In the world you have distress. But be encouraged! I have conquered the world.” – John 16:33 The church I retired from has a magnificent organ. Whenever I looked at its console, I felt I was looking at the cockpit of a 747. It was daunting to a musically inept person such as myself. But our organist had no such qualms.…

Continue Reading MONDAY MEDITATION: Master of the World (April 18)

MONDAY MEDITATION: From Stranger to Guest to Host (April 11)

While they were discussing these things, Jesus himself arrived and joined them on their journey. They were prevented from recognizing him. – Luke 24:15 The story of the encounter with Jesus on the Emmaus Road describes clearly the excitement that lies at the heart of discipleship. We start by welcoming the stranger. Two grieving disciples encounter…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Learning from the Dying (March 7)

Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 During a Thanksgiving Eve service, I played a video titled, “The Thanksgiving Chair.” It’s a short clip (you can find it here on YouTube) where a man, in varying scenes, stops to sit in a chair and express…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Seven Days Aren’t Enough (February 28)

Once you have collected the food and drink you need, perform the Festival of Booths for seven days. Celebrate your festival: you, your sons, your daughters, your male and female servants, the Levites, the immigrants, the orphans, and the widows who live in your cities. – Deuteronomy 16:13-14 There are three main Jewish festivals outlined in…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: The Strength of Vulnerability (February 21)

A dead man was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the city was with her.  When he saw her, the Lord had compassion for her and said, “Don’t cry.” – Luke 7:12b-13 The times that made me question my pastoral calling were when people faced…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Proving the New Testament (February 14)

But Jesus turned and spoke sternly to them. – Luke 9:55 A key to believing in Jesus is trusting the writers of the New Testament. Of the many books and debates over its authenticity, there’s one simple fact that points to its truthfulness: The disciples are portrayed as thick-headed, ambitious, prejudiced, quick-tempered, selfish, and cowardly.…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: The Gospel According to Jim Carrey (February 7)

After calling the crowd together with his disciples, Jesus said to them, “All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross, and follow me….Why would people gain the whole world but lose their lives?” – Mark 8:34,36b You never know when or where the wisdom of Jesus will pop…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: “Where Did That Come From?” (January 24)

The Lord disciplines whomever he loves, and he punishes every son or daughter whom he accepts. – Hebrews 12:6 Throughout my years in ministry, there would be people who seemed to stand out because of their character, conviction, compassion, and courage—the 4 “c’s”. And occasionally one of these saints would say something, or forward something on…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Another Reason Behind Christmas (December 20)

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. On those living in a pitch-dark land, light has dawned. – Isaiah 9:2 In all the sweetness of Christmas, which we should enjoy, we should also remember what an incredibly powerful statement the birth of Christ makes. When Isaiah used the phrase “pitch-dark land,” he…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: “Why Do You Bother With Us?” (December 13)

I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,    your handmade sky-jewelry,Moon and stars mounted in their settings.    Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,Why do you bother with us?    Why take a second look our way? – Psalm 8:3-4 (The Message) Why “take a second look our way,” indeed? We humans have a default setting of…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: You Always Start from the Heart (December 6)

A Samaritan, who was on a journey, came to where the man was.  But when he saw him, he was moved with compassion. The Samaritan went to him and bandaged his wounds… – Luke 10:33-34a In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus got right to the heart of the matter. What you believe is totally irrelevant…

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Monday Meditation: Pharaoh’s Voice (November 29)

The Egyptians enslaved the Israelites.  They made their lives miserable with hard labor, making mortar and bricks, doing field work, and by forcing them to do all kinds of other cruel work. – Exodus 1:13-14 The late theologian Marcus Borg said in a lecture, “There’s a ‘mental Pharaoh’ that each of us hears.” “Mental Pharaoh.” How…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: The Disappearing Jesus (November 22)

Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. They said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts on fire when he spoke to us along the road and when he explained the scriptures for us?” – Luke 24:31-32 I don’t want Jesus to disappear, and I’m sure you don’t, either. In…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Dropping the Staff (November 15)

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you didn’t trust me to show my holiness before the Israelites, you will not bring this assembly into the land that I am giving them.” – Numbers 20:12 You’ll find a really weird story in Numbers 20:1-13. The complaining Israelites are thirsty as they wander in the wilderness. Moses takes…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Life Starts in the Grave (November 8)

So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived! – 2 Corinthians 5:17 During a worship team meeting, we were brainstorming about a theme for Easter. Someone suggested butterflies. My inner arrogance kicked in, and I thought to myself, “Great. So…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: If the Bible Was Only One Verse (October 25)

He responded, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” – Luke 10:27 As I’ve lived with the Bible for decades, one fundamental truth has made itself clear: How we interpret the Bible reflects who we are at the time we’re interpreting it. For example, as a teenage Christian I…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: GODISNOWHERE (October 18)

Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 What do you see in the title of this meditation? Admittedly, what I see is: God Is Nowhere Maybe that’s because I see too many news feeds. Right now people are tagging different crises as Armageddons. Climate-ageddon. Violence-ageddon. Economic-ageddon. Racism-ageddon.…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Keep Moving (October 11)

God told Abram: “Leave your country, your family, and your father’s home for a land that I will show you.” – Genesis 12:1 My sister sent a picture that captures the tenacity of squirrels. She’d just bought another failed attempt by a manufacturer to create a squirrel-proof bird feeder. These rodents are eternally restless, creative, fearless,…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Incompletely (September 27)

We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete.  – 1 Corinthians 13:12a (The Message) That sentence from Paul’s “love chapter” in Corinthians is quite out of character for him. He was uncompromising in his beliefs. Sometimes, when people argued with him, his temper rose proportionately. For…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Powerless Communication (September 20)

Be sure to make friends quickly with your opponents while you are with them on the way to court…When they wish to haul you to court and take your shirt, let them have your coat too. – Matthew 5:25a, 40 At one point there were a dozen court programs on TV. A dozen! I believe they were popular…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Songbirds and Spiders (September 6)

And then there’s the sea, wide and deep, with its countless creatures—living things both small and large. – Psalm 104:25 We’re a culture celebrating big. Skyscrapers, mountains, galaxies. It’s important to note that without the small, there is no big. For example, each of us is made up of 50 trillion cells. Each of those cells…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: “Watering Last Year’s Crop” (August 30)

Jesus said to someone else, “Follow me.” He replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead. But you go and spread the news of God’s kingdom.” – Luke 9:59-60 On the farm we grew corn. I hated growing corn. It was hot work harvesting…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: “Do You See This Woman?” (August 16)

Then turning to the woman, but speaking to Simon, he said, “Do you see this woman?” – Luke 7:44 (The Message) We get no better x-ray of Jesus’ heart than this scene. A prostitute kneels before him. She cries profusely and, having used money from her profession, bought oil and anoints his feet, a sign…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Compassionately Angry (August 2)

A man with a skin disease approached Jesus, fell to his knees, and begged, “If you want, you can make me clean.” Incensed, Jesus reached out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do want to. Be clean.”  — Mark 1:40-41 A man with leprosy asks Jesus to heal him, and Jesus is “incensed”? This seems out…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Invest and Believe (July 19)

“The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: Take these documents—this sealed deed of purchase along with the unsealed one—and put them into a clay container so they will last a long time.” – Jeremiah 32:16 There was one rule of investing that you should follow: If I buy a stock, don’t buy it. Too…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: The Kingdom’s First Citizens (July 12)

Listen, dear friends. Isn’t it clear by now that God operates quite differently? He chose the world’s down-and-out as the kingdom’s first citizens, with full rights and privileges. This kingdom is promised to anyone who loves God. – James 2:5-7 (The Message) When I volunteer at ministry groups serving in the city, I see folks…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Smelly Discipleship (May 17)

Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said, “Lord, the smell will be awful! He’s been dead four days.” – John 11:39 Martha, the sister of her dead brother Lazarus, was saying what others were thinking. Jesus had commanded the stone in front of Lazarus’ tomb, in which the body had…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Three Questions Before Retweeting (May 10)

Dear friends, don’t believe every spirit. Test the spirits to see if they are from God because many false prophets have gone into the world. – 1 John 4:1 We can modernize what John says in the above warning. “Dear friends, for pity’s sake, DON’T RETWEET every tweet you get. Test them first to see…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: How Many “Likes”? (May 3)

About that time King Herod began to harass some who belonged to the church. He had James, John’s brother, killed with a sword.  When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he arrested Peter as well. – Acts 12:1-3a Herod Antipas followed in his father’s, Herod the Great’s, footsteps. Mean, vengeful, neurotic, violent. He also played to the…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: The Most Offensive Parable (April 26)

And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, “These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.” – Matthew 20:11-12 (NRSV) These workers are angry because they’ve been working since dawn and the ones who were…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: The Misguided Hummingbird (April 12)

The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some have wandered away from the faith and have impaled themselves with a lot of pain because they made money their goal. – 1 Timothy 6:10 That phrase, “love of money,” in the original Greek, carries with it the sense of the passionate, emotional attachment you have with a lover. It’s all-consuming. It drives you.…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Oppositional Disorder (March 29)

“Suppose someone among you had one hundred sheep and lost one of them. Wouldn’t he leave the other ninety-nine in the pasture and search for the lost one until he finds it?” – Luke 15:4 Well, not necessarily. It’s according to how stubborn that 100th sheep has been. Does the animal continually get out? Ignore the care…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: There’s Something About Jesus (March 22)

“Come, follow me,” he said, “and I’ll show you how to fish for people.” Right away, they left their nets and followed him. – Matthew 4:19-20 After following Jesus for fifty-plus years, I still can’t figure it out. Why do I take seriously someone who supposedly lived 2,000 years ago? It really doesn’t make sense. The…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: A Simple Prayer Exercise (March 8)

Rejoice always. Pray continually. – 2 Thessalonians 5:16-17 Our default prayer life, like it or not, revolves around “I want.” It’s the genetic basis of religion. God’s bigger and wiser, and if we get on God’s good side, we’ll get what we want. Prayer is that token we put in the celestial gumball machine. Of course…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Creating a Compelling Character (February 22)

He said to me, “My grace is enough for you, because power is made perfect in weakness.” So I’ll gladly spend my time bragging about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power can rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9 Many lifetimes ago, I tried my hand at writing fiction. I wrote a short novel and send…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Names for God (February 15)

I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my solid rock, my fortress, my rescuer. My God is my rock—I take refuge in him!— he’s my shield, my salvation’s strength, my place of safety. – Psalm 19:1-2 How do you name the invisible? When you look around at the immensity, complexity, incomprehensibility of the world and universe, how can…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Honoring Your Sacred Place (February 8)

“If it seems wrong in your opinion to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve…But my family and I will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15 These famous words of Joshua to the Israelites came when the leader was old and about to die. He was encouraging them to remain faithful to God as…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Don’t Create Problems (February 1)

“I conclude that we shouldn’t create problems for Gentiles who turn to God.” – Acts 15:19 These are the words of Jesus’ brother, James. As the head of the Jerusalem church, he’s declaring what the church must always remember. He was speaking to a faction within the church that wasn’t happy that non-Jews were saved…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Creative Extremism (January 18)

We are fools for Christ. – 1 Corinthians 4:10a When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was imprisoned in 1963 because of a protest against segregation, he took it as an opportunity to write a letter. Known now as the “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” he was responding to white clergymen who urged him to show more moderation, instead…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Was Jesus Handsome? (January 11)

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Have no regard for his appearance or stature…God[ doesn’t look at things like humans do. Humans see only what is visible to the eyes, but the Lord sees into the heart.”…[David] was reddish brown, had beautiful eyes, and was good-looking. The Lord said, “That’s the one. Go anoint him.” – 1 Samuel 16:7,12 Well, that’s…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: If Jesus Hadn’t Lived (December 28)

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! – 2 Corinthians 9:15 One of the best spiritual exercises a Christian can undertake is to ask the simple question, “What would my life be like if Jesus hadn’t lived?” I’d miss out on grace. “Forgive seventy times seven.” I’d miss out on an extended family. “Whoever…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: “Have You Met My Son?” (December 14)

The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people…This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” – Luke 2:10, 12 My father, in his latter years, was slowed by dementia. Luckily he still retained his…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: “Is It Worth It?” (December 7)

I faced these dangers with hard work and heavy labor, many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food, and in the cold without enough clothes…Who is weak without me being weak? – 2 Corinthians 11:27, 29a There are times in following Christ that you have to stop and ask, “Is it worth it?” When…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Bucking the Harness (November 30)

Part company with every brother who bucks out of the harness. – 2 Thessalonians 3:6a (Cotton Patch Version of the New Testament) Way before tractors/trucks were horses/mules/oxen and plows/wagons. It was a popular image in Jesus’ day (Matthew 11:28-30; Luke 9:62). The sense is that if you follow Jesus, you have to be directed by…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: “Have Anything to Eat?” (November 23)

While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, Jesus said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” – Luke 24:41 (NRSV) One thing you can say about Jesus with pinpoint precision: He liked to eat. He’s eating with sinners at their parties. He’s eating with Pharisees in their homes. He’s hosting fish…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: The Problem with Wikipedia (November 16)

God understands [wisdom]; he knows her place; for he looks to the ends of the earth and surveys everything beneath the heavens. – Job 28:23-24 The online encyclopedia, where people contribute articles, is amazing. There are over 3.5 million contributions, with about 7,000 new ones appearing each day. If you want to know about anything,…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Celebrating the “Whoevers” (November 9)

“Whoever does God’s will is my brother, sister, and mother.” – Mark 3:35 We sometimes forget how inclusive Jesus was as he walked the earth. When told that his family had come to see him, he expanded the definition of family. “Whoever does God’s will.” I grew up in a culture that restricted who was…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Singles or Homeruns? (October 19)

“At that time, the Lord commanded me to teach you all the regulations and the case laws that you must keep in the land that you are entering to possess.” – Deuteronomy 4:14 It’s been well over a year since I retired. Occasionally I ask myself, “Isn’t there something important I should be doing? Teaching? Writing? Pastoring…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Homeruns, Humiliation, and Humility (October 12)

Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. – Philippians 2:3 Humiliation is an important precursor to humility. I once hit a ball over the fence for a homerun in a softball game. It was my first and last time ever to do that. I made a…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: “You Might Be a Redneck If…” (October 5)

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said about him, “Here is a genuine Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” – John 1:47 The comedian Jeff Foxworthy has made a career out of that redneck line. Being from the redneck genetic lineage, I can appreciate his humor. One of my favorites of his is, “If…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Irritable Love (September 28)

[Love] isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints. – 1 Corinthians 3:5 Paradoxically, while we’ve practiced social distancing during the Covid pandemic, we’ve also practiced lessening the distance between us and the ones we love. Children come home and stay home from school. Spouses…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Tailoring the Bible (September 21)

Jehoshaphat said, “Isn’t there any other prophet of the Lord whom we could ask?” “There is one other man who could ask the Lord for us,” Israel’s king told Jehoshaphat, “but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, only bad.” – 1 Kings 22:7-8 The problem with the Bible isn’t the Bible but how people…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: A Happiness Checklist (September 14)

The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:14 Duke University did a study on what makes people happy. The result was a checklist for happiness: ___ Absence of suspicion/resentment. Resisting the temptation to nurse a grudge or think the worst in people. ___ Not living in the…

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MONDAY MEDITATION: Why Did He Stay Home? (September 7, 2020)

“Then the older son was furious and didn’t want to enter in, but his father came out and begged him. He answered his father, ‘Look, I’ve served you all these years, and I never disobeyed your instruction. Yet you’ve never given me as much as a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.” –…

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SUNDAY MEDITATION: Sleeping Like a Dog (September 6)

NOTE: This week I’m sending a daily devotion based on reflections on Jake the Beagle. Our regular weekly/Monday meditations will resume tomorrow. Hope these have been meaningful for you! Like most dogs I’ve ever known, Jake could fall asleep in a nanosecond. And not just a light sleep. Before long his patented beagle snore would…

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SATURDAY MEDITATION: Now What? (September 5)

NOTE: This week I’m sending a daily devotion based on reflections on Jake the Beagle. Our regular weekly/Monday meditations will resume next week. Hope these are meaningful for you! PS–The above pic is not Jake. He slept more often than he ran. Beagles, being hunting dogs, have imprinted in their doggie genes an insane drive…

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FRIDAY MEDITATION: Where’s My Peanut Butter Sandwich? (September 4)

NOTE: This week I’m sending a daily devotion based on reflections on Jake the Beagle. Our regular weekly/Monday meditations will resume next week. Hope these are meaningful for you! A peanut butter sandwich ranks high on my list of snacks. I was halfway through one when I put it down to close a screen door.…

Continue Reading FRIDAY MEDITATION: Where’s My Peanut Butter Sandwich? (September 4)

THURSDAY MEDITATION: Gotta Sing (September 3)

NOTE: This week I’m sending a daily devotion based on reflections on Jake the Beagle. Our regular weekly/Monday meditations will resume next week. Hope these are meaningful for you! It was nearing Christmas and, preparing breakfast, I broke out into my rendition of O Holy Night. It was only for my personal enjoyment, not for…

Continue Reading THURSDAY MEDITATION: Gotta Sing (September 3)

WEDNESDAY MEDITATION: Canine Cowardice (September 2)

NOTE: This week I’m sending a daily devotion based on reflections on Jake the Beagle. Our regular weekly/Monday meditations will resume next week. Hope these are meaningful for you! All dogs fear thunderstorms, I believe. They will hunker down in a closet or follow you especially closely while it’s thundering and lightning. One dog we…

Continue Reading WEDNESDAY MEDITATION: Canine Cowardice (September 2)

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