• Ministry > Our Daily Bread

    The Secret of Peace

    Grace is a very special lady. One word comes to mind when I think of her: peace. The quiet and restful expression on her face has seldom changed in the six months I have known her, even though her husband was diagnosed with a rare disease and then hospitalized.

    When I asked Grace the secret of her peace, she said, “It’s not a secret, it’s a person. It’s Jesus in me. There is no other way I can explain the quietness I feel in the midst of this storm.”

    The secret of peace is our relationship to Jesus Christ. He is our…

    God in the Details

    When my “chocolate” Labrador retriever puppy was three months old, I took him to the veterinarian’s office for his shots and checkup. As our vet carefully looked him over, she noticed a small white marking in his fur on his left hind paw. She smiled and said to him, “That’s where God held you when He dipped you in chocolate.”

    I couldn’t help but laugh. But she had unintentionally made a meaningful point about the deep and personal interest God takes in His creation.

    Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:30 that “even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” God…

    Anywhere

    As I flipped through a box of my old wedding photographs, my fingers stopped at a picture of my husband and me, newly christened “Mr. and Mrs.” My dedication to him was obvious in my expression. I would go anywhere with him.

    Nearly four decades later, our marriage is tightly threaded with love and a commitment that has carried us through both hard and good times. Year after year, I’ve recommitted my dedication to go anywhere with him.

    In Jeremiah 2:2, God yearns for His beloved but wayward Israel, “I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed…

    The Art of Forgiveness

    One afternoon I spent two hours at an art exhibit—The Father & His Two Sons: The Art of Forgiveness—in which all of the pieces were focused on Jesus’s parable of the prodigal son (see Luke 15:10–31). I found Edward Rojas’s painting The Prodigal Son especially powerful. The painting portrays the once wayward son returning home, wearing rags and walking with his head down. With a land of death behind him, he steps onto a pathway where his father is already running toward him.  At the bottom of the painting are Jesus’s words, “But when he was yet a great way off,…

    Hurry Not

    “Ruthlessly eliminate hurry.” When two friends repeated that adage by the wise Dallas Willard to me, I knew I needed to consider it. Where was I spinning my wheels, wasting time and energy? More important, where was I rushing ahead and not looking to God for guidance and help? In the weeks and months that followed, I remembered those words and reoriented myself back to the Lord and His wisdom. I reminded myself to trust in Him, rather than leaning on my own ways.

    After all, rushing around frantically seems to be the opposite of the “perfect peace” the prophet Isaiah…

    Judging Origins

    “Where are you from?” We often use that question to get to know someone better. But for many of us, the answer is complicated. Sometimes we don’t want to share all the details.

    In the book of Judges, Jephthah might not have wanted to answer that question at all. His half-brothers had chased him out of his hometown of Gilead for his “questionable” origins. “You are the son of another woman,” they declared (Judges 11:2). The text says starkly, “His mother was a prostitute” (v. 1).

    But Jephthah was a natural leader, and when a hostile tribe picked a fight with Gilead,…

    Learning to Know God

    For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a mother. I dreamed about getting married, getting pregnant, and holding my baby in my arms for the first time. When I finally got married, my husband and I never even considered waiting to expand our family. But with each negative pregnancy test, we realized we were struggling with infertility. Months of doctors’ visits, tests, and tears followed. We were in the middle of a storm. Infertility was a bitter pill to swallow and left me wondering about God’s goodness and faithfulness.

    When I reflect on our journey, I think…

    Just a Second

    Scientists are pretty fussy about time. At the end of 2016, the folks at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland added an extra second to the year. So if you felt that year dragged on a bit longer than normal, you were right.

    Why did they do that? Because the rotation of the earth slows down over time, the years get just a tiny bit longer. When scientists track manmade objects launched into space, they must have accuracy down to the millisecond. This is “to make sure our collision avoidance programs are accurate,” according to one scientist.

    For most of us, a…

    Reason to Sing

    When I was thirteen, my school required students to take four exploratory courses, including home economics, art, choir, and woodworking. On my first day in choir, the instructor called each student to the piano individually to hear their voices and place them in the room according to their vocal range. During my turn at the piano, I sang the notes she played multiple times, but wasn’t directed to a section in the room. Instead, after repeated tries, she sent me to the counseling office to find a different class to take. From that moment on, I felt I shouldn’t sing…

    Into Our Storms

    Wind howled, lightning flashed, waves crashed. I thought I was going to die. My grandparents and I were fishing on a lake, but we’d stayed out too long. As the sun set, a fast-moving squall swept over our small boat. My grandfather instructed me to sit in front to keep it from capsizing. Terror flooded my heart. But then, somehow, I began to pray. I was fourteen.

    I asked God for His reassurance and protection. The storm didn’t weaken, but we made it to shore. To this day, I don’t know if I’ve experienced a deeper certainty of God’s presence than in…

    When One Hurts, All Hurt

    When a coworker called in sick due to extreme pain, everyone at the office was concerned. After a trip to the hospital and a day of bed rest, he returned to work and showed us the source of that pain—a kidney stone. He’d asked his doctor to give him the stone as a souvenir. Looking at that stone, I winced in sympathy, remembering the gallstone I had passed years ago. The pain had been excruciating.

    Isn’t it interesting that something so small can cause a whole body so much agony? But in a way, that’s what the apostle Paul alludes to…

    Faith, Love, and Hope

    For ten years, my Aunt Kathy cared for her father (my grandfather) in her home. She cooked and cleaned for him when he was independent, and then took on the role of nurse when his health declined.

    Her service is one modern example of the words of Paul who wrote to the Thessalonians that he thanked God for “your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:3).

    My aunt served in faith and love. Her daily, consistent care was the result of her belief that God called her to this important…

    How Long?

    In Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice in Wonderland, Alice asks, “How long is forever?” The White Rabbit responds, “Sometimes, just one second.” It sure felt that way when my brother David suddenly died. The days leading to his memorial dragged on, intensifying the sense of loss and grief we felt. Every second seemed to last forever.

    Another David echoed this sentiment, singing, “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be…

    Only by Prayer

    My friend called me one late night during her cancer treatment. Grieved by her uncontrollable sobs, I soon added my own tears and a silent prayer. What am I supposed to do, Lord?

    Her wails squeezed my heart. I couldn’t stop her pain, fix her situation, or find one intelligible word of encouragement. But I knew who could help. As I wept with my friend, stumbling through a prayer, I whispered repeatedly, “Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.”

    Her cries quieted to sniffs and whimpers, until her breathing slowed. Her husband’s voice startled me. “She’s asleep,” he said. “We’ll call tomorrow.”

    I hung up, weeping prayers…

    Leaving a Legacy

    Some years ago our sons and I spent a week on an abandoned backcountry ranch on the Salmon River, Idaho’s “River of No Return.”

    One day, exploring the ranch, I came across an ancient grave with a wooden marker. Whatever inscription the marker may have borne had long since been weathered away. Someone lived and died—now was forgotten. The gravesite seemed tragic to me. After we got home I spent several hours reading about the history of the old ranch and that area, but could find no information about the person buried there.  

    They say that the best among us is remembered…