Daily Devotionals

Three men were stranded on a desert island. A genie appeared and promised to grant each of them just one wish. So the first guy says, “I want to go back…

Jesus’ life and ministry dramatically demonstrated that the word prejudice is not in His vocabulary. In fact, He hates prejudice in any form. He detests racism, classism, and religious snobbery. Why?…

If you live near a big city, no doubt you’ve been caught in the torturous experience of creeping along in bumper-to-bumper traffic. This can be particularly annoying if you are in…

One of my all-time favorite moments in the life of Jesus was when a man in the crowd asked Him: “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me” (Luke…

While flying from Europe back to the US, I found myself sitting next to a little girl who never stopped talking from the moment she sat down. She told me the…

Gone are the days when a real person greets you on the other end of a phone call. It seems as though whenever we try to “reach out and touch someone,”…

Recently, when my wife Martie and I wanted to meet our sons and their families for a quick bite to eat, we decided that, with everyone’s busy schedules, it would be…

On a recent vacation, Tom was casually bobbing around on a raft just offshore. He closed his eyes, basking in the warm sun. Before he realized it, he had drifted too…

Modern counseling and psychology focus a lot of attention on obsessive behaviors—whether it’s an obsession with food, tobacco, alcohol, pornography, drugs, or even work. But perhaps one of the most overlooked…

Remember the days of the multivolume encyclopedia? Not long ago nearly every home had a set gathering dust on the bookcase. Not anymore! Research materials are now easily found on the…

I’ll never forget hearing the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir in concert. The sincerity and depth of feeling the singers brought to the music showed that it was more than a mere performance. When they…

In his book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell observes that struggling businesses are often turned around by one key decision. Many once-foundering companies are now thriving and successful because of a…

The story of Jonah is one of the most discussed and fascinating accounts in the Bible. But for all the debate, one thing is sure: Jonah did a lot of soul-searching…

At the risk of sounding a little cynical, I have to tell you that I sometimes wonder if some of our holidays have been created by those who can make a…

My friend Frank Tanana, who pitched the Detroit Tigers into the American League Championship Series, has an interesting take on baseball fans. He pitched a stellar game against the Toronto Blue…

In one of my favorite children’s books Oh, the Places You’ll Go! the great philosopher Dr. Seuss writes about the ups and downs of life. Sometimes, he says, “Hang-ups can happen…

U.S. News & World Report previously ran a cover story entitled “The Trouble with Premarital Sex.” The subtitle was, “Americans don’t think it’s too much of a problem. Maybe they should.”…

Each year over 3.5 million people visit Yellowstone National Park. The park is loaded with signs that read, “Don’t feed the bears,” but visitors are constantly doing just that. As a…

I’ll never forget the time during college when, after I had finished writing a big paper that was due the next day, I heard a loud commotion in the room across…

If you’ve been around the world of golf for long, you know that winning the coveted “Green Jacket” at the Masters is arguably the most coveted accomplishment in golf. As I…

I’ll never forget the time I bought a new stereo system. I brought the boxes home and carefully unwrapped each piece of equipment. I spread everything out on the floor. There…

Baseball fans will always remember the 2007 season—an interesting summer of baseball to say the least! Tom Glavine joined the elite club of pitchers who have won 300 games, the Yankees’…

A quick read through the Old Testament leaves no doubt that God wants His people to take His Word seriously. The Jews were told to write the commands on their doorposts and…

Right now it’s summer! When I’m wearing flip-flops to the grocery store and running the air conditioner in my car. It’s hard to remember the frigid days of January, and still…

I expected some challenges when I took on the presidency of Moody Bible Institute, but I never expected a death threat. It happened during my first year at Moody. For reasons…

I can still remember what it was like to take our family on vacation, only to have the kids in the backseat mar the joy of it all by their bickering…

Veruca Salt, one of the not-so-sweet characters in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was notorious for demanding whatever she wanted. Her indulgent parents didn’t know what to do, especially…

I remember one commute when I ended up following a busted-up pickup truck that sported a bumper sticker proudly announcing, BORN FREE. As I thought about the announcement on the bumper,…

Why is being on time so challenging for some of us? Even when we start early, something inevitably gets in our way to make us late. But here’s the good news:…

For most people I know, fishing is a hobby. Some approach it casually, picking up a pole and dipping a few worms in the lake for fun while they’re at a…

One problem with Bible-polished rule keepers is that from a distance we all tend to look pretty good. Especially compared to those who don’t keep God’s rules. And believing that we…

Auguste Bartholdi traveled from France to Egypt in 1856. His artistic mind was stimulated by the grandeur of the pyramids, the magnitude of the mighty Nile, and the beauty of the…

What’s the first image you see when you turn on your computer? Maybe it’s a family portrait or a special vacation picture. Or perhaps your favorite pro athlete. How about an…

The old Porgy and Bess tune that declares, “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy”no doubt was written when life was so much different than what it is now. If you’re like…

No doubt about it, wedding season is in full swing. It’s the time when the words “I do” are heard in churches all over the country and the weight of the promise…

A pastor friend of mine was telling another pastor about the long-awaited vacation that he and his family were preparing for. The other pastor immediately replied, “Vacation? I never take a…

A friend of mine is an agent for professional athletes. His whole career is based on representing his clients to teams in hopes of securing them the best possible salary and…

Any Star Wars fans out there? Remember the opening scenes of the first movie that begin with a laser battle between a little spaceship (the good guys) and this huge, ominous…

I would love to have a dollar for every time I heard my Mom say, “Joe, pay attention to what you’re doing!” As I was growing up, there was always something…

Over the past several years we’ve seen hurricanes wreak mind-boggling destruction. When a hurricane hits, countless homes and lives are washed into the sea, and the things people count on the…

If we’re not careful, we may become like the man who prided himself on being an expert archer. The secret to his success was that after he shot his arrow at…

The Last Supper, painted by Leonardo da Vinci, is one of the great Renaissance masterpieces. It took da Vinci 3 years to complete, and during this time in frustration his temper…

It may not always seem like it, but children really do want to please their parents. Just picture the little boy who beams with pleasure when his mom proudly puts the crayon-scribbled…

I’ll never forget an older woman who came to my office and heatedly dumped on me a long list of objections about her husband. I asked how long she had been…

I don’t know about you, but some nights I can’t shut down my mind—it races back through the day, scanning my mental hard drive, opening conversation files, viewing jpegs of people’s…

The setting was England’s House of Commons in early June of 1940. Another World War had broken out and the prospects for Britain were uncertain at best. In the face of…

For Americans, the Fourth of July is usually a day of picnics, parties, and parades. Putting aside partisan differences and political perspectives, the people of the nation gather to celebrate Independence…

People love to collect things—from baseball cards to stamps to coins. And while collecting can be a fun hobby, it is sobering to think that once we leave this earth, everything…

I am hopelessly prone to overcommitting myself. Is anyone else out there a little too quick to say “Yes” to every request? Let’s start our own little group—Overcommitters Anonymous. We can…

I recall counseling a woman who had just come to know Christ. She was interested in becoming God’s kind of woman, so we were studying passages of Scripture that had to…

Flying into a storm is a dangerous experience. The temptation is to fly by your instincts, or, as aviators say, “by the seat of your pants.” But as any pilot will…

The Hot Shot Café in Asheville, North Carolina, is where the locals hang out. Old jukebox and all—no pretense—just good old home cooking. A while back I had the chance to…

He was sitting three rows back in the aisle seat, slouched down in his chair, wearing a baseball cap on his head and a green Diesel shirt that complemented his blue…

I love going to Chicago’s Wrigley Field for a baseball game—sitting in the stands, downing a great hot dog, and cheering the Cubs on to victory! Unfortunately, Christianity has become a…

My dad was the most important person in my world when I was a boy. He was a respected pastor, a good preacher, and a kind and gentle leader. His gifts…

My friend Craig Phillips was a 27-year-old rising star in Chicago’s corporate world. His natural drive and determination landed him a premium position at a Fortune 500 company in the Loop—Chicago’s business…

I’ll never forget the Sunday morning when I was hanging out in the hall with a bunch of my “cool” junior high friends before Sunday school. Walking toward us was a…

I love Wrigley Field in Chicago. But like most old ballparks, it has the necessary but aggravating problem of support posts that obscure the view of the game. Unfortunately, I got stuck…

In the early hours of the morning, five drug dealers kidnapped Buster Soaries and drove him to a vacant lot. They dragged him out of the car and jammed a shotgun…

Did you ever try to figure out whether or not someone you loved, loved you in return? Who knows when, but a long time ago some romantic had the idea that…

With e-mail and text messages, the joy of letter writing—and, better yet, receiving letters—is almost a lost commodity. I love getting mail, especially from someone I deeply admire and appreciate. My dad used…

When Jesus asked a question, it was not because He didn’t know the answer. You can be sure He was making a point. Jesus and His disciples were in Caesarea Philippi,…

Ever had a one-way friendship? You know the drill—people who always need a favor but never give anything in return. Every time they come close, you can almost hear that sucking sound…

Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life has had an unbelievable run on the best-seller lists. Its phenomenal appeal reminds us that believers and nonbelievers alike have a deep longing for a clear…

In 1955, an African-American Christian woman in her 40s refused to surrender her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. As a result, many now view Rosa…

Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis has a beautiful, stately auditorium. I’ll never forget the time I preached there. I was taken with the beauty of it all—the chimes of the carillon,…

I’ll never forget my conversation with Erin, who is an accomplished violinist. As we were talking about violins, I asked her whether or not the coveted violins made by Stradivarius were…

When my son Joe was a child, I took him to the local YMCA for swimming lessons. I could almost see an Olympic gold medal swinging around his neck. To my…

Some things are irresistible. For me, it’s bubble-gum machines. I can hardly resist the urge to watch one of those colorful gumballs roll down the tunnel so I can pop it…

Have you ever taken an “open-book” test? At first blush they seem like a piece of cake. You can actually have the book open during the test! No late-night cramming. No last-minute…

If I were God—and I know a lot of people including my wife who are deeply grateful that I’m not—I might very well have planned a stealth arrival to our planet…

Victoria Perez watched as the Cessna touched down on the road in the distance. When she was sure it was him, she shouted to her children, “That’s your father!” Grabbing the…

In politics, the paths to success and significance are paved with the right contacts, the right connections, and the right contributions. In Chicago, which was my adopted hometown for 20 years,…

There I was driving along, half hypnotized by the steady flow of traffic. I glanced at the car ahead of me. The bumper sticker read, “When the going gets tough, the…

I was enjoying the start of my first whitewater rafting experience—until I heard the roar of the rapids up ahead. My emotions were flooded with feelings of uncertainty, fear, and insecurity…

My wife, Martie, and I have grown to love England—its history, culture, and people. One of our favorite activities when we visit is going to outdoor concerts (also known as proms)…

Most of us are familiar with the events in the upper room, where we see Jesus washing the dusty feet of His followers and preparing them for the drama that was…

An oft-quoted movie line comes from Napoleon Dynamite. The line closes the film, after Napoleon’s brother, Kip, gets married and rides off on horseback with his new bride. If you’re a closet…

There I was, minding my own business, shopping for an anniversary card for Martie when something on another shelf caught my eye. It was a box with a tantalizing picture of…

Paul Harvey tells a fantastic story about an encounter with a kangaroo. The Italian sailing team was in Australia for the America’s Cup and, finding themselves with some free time, decided…

All of us who have kids have been guilty of ending an argument about why they should or shouldn’t do something with the conversation stopper: “Because I said so.” The reply…

Whether or not you’re a history buff, you probably remember learning about the historic revolutions that launched significant changes in both the economic and intellectual landscape of the Western world. Take…

I can hardly imagine inviting special friends over for dinner and then throwing a few leftovers into the microwave to serve up to them. But if I were to do that,…

Dwight D. Eisenhower was known for his courageous leadership during World War II. His battle-tested skill equipped the troops to reclaim Europe. Soon after returning to the US as a hero,…

A glass of wine or not a glass of wine? To dance or not to dance? To work on Sunday or not to work on Sunday? To play cards or not…

The month of June brings many sure signs of summer: the sweet smell of cut grass, soft breezes, picnics, fireflies, thunderstorms—and runners. This unique breed of humanity, forced to run circles in…

A seriously disturbing commercial made its way to TV sets across America recently. The ad begins with a chauffeur opening the door of a stretch limousine for a woman who is…

Now that the weather is getting warmer, it will be my job to barbecue the hamburgers, or steaks if I’m fortunate! Over the years I have learned, through trial and error,…

Walking through campus one day, a seminary professor came upon a custodian reading the Bible during lunch hour. The professor asked what he was reading. “Revelation,” the custodian said. “I’m sure…

If you’re like most people, you think that when God does something important, He uses important people to get it done—people like John Stott, Billy Graham, or Joni Eareckson Tada. The…

Periodically, current world events stir up discussion about the endtimes. While I believe in the importance of being ready for Christ’s return, I don’t put much stock in date setters who…

A small, older, hunched-over lady greeted us with a glowing smile at the doorway of our little son Matthew’s Sunday school room. She was one of the most effective Sunday school…

One of the New Year’s resolutions that I have managed to keep is my plan to clean out the two storage rooms in our basement. When we initially moved into our…

I’m guessing that even astronomical gas prices won’t stop many parents from packing up the car and taking the kids on a road trip for vacation this summer. And if the…

When I was a boy, one of the biggest annual events in town was the circus. My dad would take us early in the morning to watch the circus trains unload…

A story is told about a man who preached an impressive sermon, seeking to be the pastor of a new church. Everybody loved it and voted for him to become their…

Every man needs pockets large enough to carry all the important things in life: wallet, keys, breath mints. By looking at my wife’s purse, it seems she has a whole universe…

In universities everywhere, mid-May brings late-night study sessions, caffeine-fueled writing binges, and ulcer-inducing stress as students are preparing for final exams—those critically important tests to determine how well the student has…

Ever been caught in the middle of a fight? When I was a kid in junior high school, two of my buddies had a disagreement and planned to prove their dominant…

When our kids were growing up, we loved having picnics in the backyard. No picnic was complete without a plate full of big, juicy watermelon slices! From my kids’ point of…