DEVOTIONAL

Loneliness and Christmas

Loneliness is one of the most common and most devastating emotions of life. Loneliness is being the new kid at school and nobody knows your name. It’s moving to a new town and leaving all your friends behind. It’s your parents going through a divorce and you don’t know which one you’re going to live with. It’s coming home to an empty house after burying your nearest and dearest. It’s driving aw...

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A Christmas Gift

Dr. Pat Thomas, my dear friend and one of Tyler’s finest physicians, told me of a little girl who was asked shortly after Christmas, “Did you get all you wanted for Christmas?”  She replied, “No!  But it wasn’t my birthday!”

She had learned at an early age one of life’s greatest lessons: Life did not revolve around her and getting. It revolves around him and giving.

After all it...

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Never Stop Running

A friend told me birthdays are good for you. People who have lots of them usually live a long time. In 2001 I had bypass surgery. I had seven of those suckers – that’s right, seven. That’s all you can have. I wanted to have eight so I could make the Guinness Book of World Records, but my doctor said seven is the maximum.

After the surgery the doctor said, “I think I bought you ten more...

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What a Husband Owes His Wife

The Bible is the greatest textbook on marital relations ever written. All other books are but amplifications, illustrations, and applications of the basic truths in the Bible.

In many places the Bible sets out the duties of a husband to his wife. Here they are as a good reminder to every husband.

1. Love her. The first and most often–mentioned responsibility of...

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Raising Peanuts or Mining Gold

Years ago, a local newspaper carried an article entitled, “West Texas Gold Discovery Richest in Years.” It pointed out that gold flakes had been found in 18 sandy West Texas acres that its owners had previously been using to raise peanuts.  

When random samples were sent to the Colorado School of Mines, assay reports concluded it was one of the richest finds in modern times. Think of it...

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Don’t Turn Loose

One Sunday a young man dressed in a suit and sitting on the third-row aisle listened and watched with such rapt attention that he caught my eye. At the close of the service an usher introduced him to me. Jason, a local seminary student, extended his hand and said, “It’s an honor to meet you.” (Obviously, Jason had read some of my books.)

I responded, “No! No, it’s an honor for me to mee...

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Poor Communication

The last battle of the Civil War was fought March 12-13, 1865 near Brownsville in Cameron County, Texas. Ironically it was fought more than a month after the South had surrendered and the war was over.  

The Texans won the battle, but 118 men lost their lives. The men invested all they had – their courage, their skill, their blood, and their futures – all for nothing.

The reason...

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Overlooking Faults in Others

A man sat down at a banquet table and the place setting name tag next to his read, “Emily Post”. He assumed it was the famed columnist who was an expert on table manners. He asked the lady sitting there, “Are you Emily Post?” She replied, “Yes, I am.” He asked again, “Are you the Emily Post?” She replied, “Yes, I am.”  

He asked a third time, “Are you the Emily Post who wrote t...

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On Raising Children

Someone once asked my wife, “If you had it to do over, would you have children again?” She responded, “Yes, but not the same ones.” Every parent feels that way at times. When I started preaching years ago, I had a sermon entitled, “Ten Commandments for Parents.” After our first child, I changed the title to “Ten Hints for Parents.” After our second child, I changed the title to “A Few Tentative...

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Today's Devotional

Our Unchanging God

Anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “We are living in the period of greatest change ever known in the history of the world.” Amid all the changes and decay of life, it is encouraging to know that God is unchanging (Malachi 3:6). How so?

First, God is unchanging in his demand for meaningful worship.

Cheap sacrifices and empty formalism never have and still don’t satisfy him. Religious observances cannot substitute for right living. We are not to leave off church attendance and prayer, but they are all sheer futility and mockery if they are not accompanied by right moral conduct. God still demands good moral conduct from his people.

Second, God is unchanging in his hatred for sin.

Sin is anything contrary to the will and word of God. God always has and always will oppose sin because of what it does to people. Every law from God has been for our benefit and well-being. Sin is like sand in the ball bearings of the human personality. It creates friction and eventually total ruin wherever it is found. The whole Bible story is a record of God’s actions to remove sin and restore humanity to our original perfect state. 

Third, God is unchanging in his plans for the future.

He plans to return to the earth again to distinguish between good and evil and reward people accordingly. Any view of life that does not take into account the future and final judgment of God and our accountability to him is an inadequate view. 

Amid this changing, uncertain world the Bible reminds us to take courage. All things are not passing away. Some things remain unchanged. God and his Son Jesus Christ are the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

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