Daily Devotionals

Is it just me, or does it seem like Americans have become increasingly fascinated with things like mountain climbing, white-water rafting, rappelling, and other treacherous activities? Anyone with a desire to…

Have you ever felt the pull of past comforts, wishing things could go back to the way they used to be? Imagine how Abraham felt. Having once lived in Ur of…

When Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do you say I am?”—He wasn’t having an identity crisis nor was He feeling insecure about His reputation. He passed out the quiz to see…

I love the story of the stressed-out woman who was tailgating a man as they drove on a busy boulevard. When he slowed to a stop at a yellow light, the…

If I asked the question, “Where’s Waldo?” you might recall those popular children’s picture books from the 1980s. That little guy in the red-and-white-striped shirt and hat loved to hide in…

Quite frankly, I’m “out” on posh restaurants that have things on the menu you can’t even pronounce and nothing to show for it but two bites of fish and an empty…

Clutching his blanket, and with unusual determination in his voice, Linus announced to Lucy that he had finally discovered his calling in life. He was going to be a doctor. Lucy,…

I was seated next to Billy Graham at a dinner in North Carolina. I don’t know how you would have felt, but, given the circumstances, I wanted to be sure to…

If you’re a fan of Shakespeare, you know that his heroes always have a serious character flaw. I guess it’s what makes for a good story—and teaches some important lessons too….

I was guest preaching at a church when a woman who had waited in line to talk to me told me that she was thinking about leaving the church because the…

Shopping for a melon is a tough assignment. No matter how good it looks, it’s hard to tell! So I tap it, thump it, and, if no one is looking, squeeze…

For some guys, the annual fishing trip is the highlight of their calendar. They stay in cozy cabins and spend long days fishing just for the fun of it. You can…

On my way home one night, I noticed a glow of flashing lights about a half mile up the road. As I got closer, I saw several emergency vehicles on the…

An estimated 40 million Americans view Internet pornography on a regular basis. The average age of exposure is 11. What’s worse yet is that 47 percent of Christians polled said that…

It’s not uncommon to see some familiar heroes come back to the silver screen. Sylvester Stallone was back in action as Rambo, reprising his role from over 20 years ago. And…

In the summer of 2006, the Prime Minister of Japan visited the US for high-level meetings with our President. Or at least that’s what I thought. Sure, he was here to…

Learning more about myself is not always a pleasant experience. Introspection often compounds my insecurities and doubts. Trips into my inner self can expose memories of past failures and resurrect fears…

I’ll never forget the first time I saw the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir in concert. Nearly 200 people who had been redeemed out of the bowels of Brooklyn—former crack addicts and prostitutes…

A royal dignitary was greeting residents at a nursing home, when he was surprised by the unresponsiveness of one woman who just sat there and stared at him. Finally, the dignitary…

The movie The Aviator portrays the fascinating life of Howard Hughes. In the 1930s and 40s, he wowed the public with his brilliant advances in aviation technology and became the wealthiest…

We’ve all heard the prayer: “Lord, make me more patient—and do it now!” Of all the spiritual virtues, patience is one that tends to be troublingly elusive. Let’s face it; if…

I hate being lost. I’ve always had a good sense of direction and can usually find my way around without much trouble. But on the rare occasions when I lose my…

Have you ever felt that if God were to show up today as often as He did in the lives of the people in Bible times, you too could be a…

Recently, I read a disturbing quote from a pastor of a large church in California. He said, “I used to believe that we should ask Muslims to accept Christ as their…

My wife usually has to remind me to take out the garbage on trash pick-up days. It’s not one of my favorite jobs, but I muster up the determination to get…

I have a lot of friends who work in bad neighborhoods. One of these city warriors transplanted his family to the inner city. One day as he was walking down the…

I’m a little tired of hearing angry Christians running around the world saying “We’ve got it right, and everyone else is wrong!” Granted, the clear teachings of God’s Word are indeed…

The news from our mechanic threatened to scuttle our plans. A suspicious rattling noise prompted me to take our clunker of a car to the shop a day before we were…

You don’t have to be a sociologist to know that one of the most damaging dynamics in personal relationships is unleashed by the hurtful things that we say to each other….

It was a cold December morning. Dressed in a white execution gown, he was led to the wall of the prison courtyard with the others. Blindfolded, he waited for the last…

During a ministry trip to the islands of the Caribbean, I happened to sit next to an unfamiliar attorney on a charter boat excursion. As we chatted, we discovered that we…

“What on earth are you doing?!” You may have heard that phrase when your mom told you to clean your room and found you playing with your toys instead, or maybe…

As a kid, one of my favorite pastimes was skipping stones across the surface of a smooth lake. Inevitably, ripples would flow from the impact of the stone. It’s like that…

What got you out of bed this morning (besides the lure of a hot cup of coffee)? If you’re like me, you finally pulled yourself out of bed because you’ve got…

I’ll never forget the time my wife, Martie, and I were traveling on a rather extended ministry trip that involved several segments to our journey. We were in and out of…

Let me introduce you to a friend of mine. Arloa Sutter grew up on a farm in Iowa. One of her fond memories from her time on the farm was spawned…

The church in China is a phenomenal example of the gospel’s explosive power in the face of persecution. In the 1940s, the rise of communism led to the dismissal of all…

I’m not much for jigsaw puzzles, but I know that you need all the pieces to enjoy a satisfying outcome. In many ways, life is like a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. We…

Recently, while out for Chinese food with friends, I noticed a man walking his dog past the restaurant. Normally I wouldn’t have looked twice. But the dog’s owner had taken the…

I love my garden. But living in the Midwestern US during winter reduces my beautiful garden to a frozen, snow-covered, barren landscape. It wasn’t like that in Eden. Eden was a…

When my wife Martie says, “Could you run to the grocery store for me?” I always want to know what it is she wants me to get. After asking the question,…

Madame Blueberry, Veggie Tales heroine of materialism, loves shopping at the “Stuff-mart.” Her problem, however, is that her treetop cottage soon becomes so overstuffed that the tree collapses under the weight…

Life has a way of driving our faith dangerously close to the edge. What we expect from God so often seems to contradict what we experience in life. We find ourselves…

Several years ago, as I passed the fifty mark on the calendar of my life, I discovered a new and distinct desire to go deeper and pursue God more intentionally than…

Let’s face it, if you are a follower in a world that celebrates leaders, you don’t feel all that good about yourself. Walk into any bookstore, and you will note that…

In the off-season of baseball, managers and coaches concentrate on trading players to set themselves up for a winning season the next year. But if you are a Chicago Cubs fan…

Driving down the highway in Houston, I passed a billboard with large letters that announced “THE GOOD LIFE!” I couldn’t wait to get closer to read the small print, which explained…

My wife, Martie, and I have some items of worth around our house that sit on mantles or behind glass doors. They are things we have collected over the years, things…

There’s lots of talk about Jesus these days. From The Da Vinci Code debate to Jesus’ claims to be the only way to the Father (John 14:6), there’s nothing like a…

I am the third in an extended line of Joe Stowells. As a young boy, I realized that my name often brought quick recognition and statements like, “Oh, you’re Joe Stowell’s…

Several years ago my wife Martie and I had the unique experience of going on a camel safari in the desert of the United Arab Emirates. We rocked back and forth…

I love the scene in the movie version of C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, when Lucy encounters the faun, Mr. Tumnus. As Lucy extends her hand to…

People often ask me what I enjoy most about serving as president of a Christian college. Without question it’s the students. I love their passion for Jesus and the way they…

Did you ever wonder why Rahab, the prostitute who lived in the pagan city of Jericho, opened her home to the Israelite spies? And what gave her the courage to name…

I have always been fascinated by stories about the people God has chosen to use in significant ways. Two of my heroes are Charles and John Wesley. Charles penned hundreds of…

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Any thoughts of a diet were out the window when I spotted the steak on the menu. Not just any steak, mind you….

If you had a chance to meet her, you would agree that the name we have affectionately given her really fits. She has a fantastic command of the world around her…

My dad was a pastor, so I got stuck with the label known to every pastor’s kid: PK. But, much to the congregation’s disappointment, the title didn’t stop me from being…

Most of us can blow through three dollars without even thinking twice. It’ll get you a cup of Starbucks, a few snacks for a road trip, or a squeak toy for…

I once saw Billy Graham’s daughter Anne Graham Lotz on a popular news talk program. The interviewer asked, “Are you one of those who believe that Jesus is exclusively the only…

If God offered you anything you wanted, what would you ask for? When Solomon was given that choice, he asked for the wisdom to discern good from evil so that he…

Do you remember how old-time TV shows used to have an applause meter to gauge audience reactions? A big arrow would spin around the dial to show how enthusiastic the crowd…

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…