Daily Devotionals

I wonder how many of us got tired of hearing our moms tell us, “Eat this, it’s good for you!” And you can bet that if it required a lot of…

Now that I have grandkids, I’m back into the classic children’s Bible stories. Wide-eyed stories like David and Goliath, Noah’s ark, and Jonah and the big fish quickly capture a child’s…

Some people are obsessed with physical fitness—daily workouts, vitamins, organic food—in spite of the fact that our bodies keep ticking away in inevitable decline. In our twenties and thirties we think…

In case you haven’t noticed, our world has dramatically changed. At one time it would have been unthinkable that millions of unborn children would be murdered in America. There was a…

As a kid, I used to devour 3-D comic books, the kind that came with that special set of cardboard glasses. Without the glasses, the pages were blurry. But with the…

One of my favorite missionary stories is of a couple who, after decades of faithful service overseas, was returning back to the States. Their heart’s desire was to stay on the…

I’ve always been intrigued by the nursery rhyme about Little Jack Horner. At first blush it seems rather cute and innocent. But on further reflection, there is something seriously wrong. The…

Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that children’s nursery rhymes are a little bizarre? Take, for instance, the depressing tale of Humpty Dumpty. Humpty Dumpty sat on a…

In the apostle Paul’s day, Corinth was a major trading center, located just a few miles from two major seaports. As the largest city in ancient Greece, the city bustled with…

America has often been called “a melting pot.” But obviously that is not the case. Politicians tend to fuel sensitivity to class and color divisions for their own gain. Gender tensions…

In a conversation with Billy Graham, I asked him what he thought needed to be changed in how we preach to people today compared to the way we preached to people…

A businessman buddy of mine has the proverbial “Midas” touch. It seems like every business venture he touches turns to gold. I’ll never forget the day he said to me, “Joe,…

Don’t forget to vote! We have all heard that call to good citizenship. But beyond being a good citizen, being a good follower of Jesus means that we don’t forget to…

The early days of November in America signals election time, when the politicians maneuver for votes and the people cast their ballot for their favorite candidates. And, like it or not,…

Our search for joy takes us many different directions—dream holidays, shopping, food, clothes, friends, cars—the list is almost endless. My guess is that if you perked up at the mention of…

A lot of us long to see the day when our country returns to its moral foundations. Yet, as wonderful as it would be to see a nation reclaimed for God…

I love coconut. I always have! So, after an exhausting day in second grade, I found a bag of shredded coconut in the cupboard and devoured the whole thing. When my…

I grew up in a home with lots of wall plaques. One had a quotation by poet Claude Mermet that stands out in my mind: “Friends are like melons; let me…

Normally, my favorite way to drive a speedboat is full-tilt, skipping across the water with the wind in my face. But this time my usual penchant for speed was tempered by…

There are a few hymns that I really like, and “Amazing Grace” is one of them. But somehow, like so many other familiar tunes, the weight of the words soon gets…

The little airfield affectionately referred to as “Kokomo International” is hardly the bustling hub of a major metropolis. But it was my best option for getting to Grand Rapids, where I…

When Paul advised the Philippians that they should “rejoice in the Lord” he wasn’t telling them to be 24/7 “happy in Jesus” smile machines. I don’t know about you, but people who…

If Jesus were to walk into your town today, I wonder what kind of people He would attract. If you were like the rest of us, you’d probably expect all the…

I’ll never forget when our youngest child Matthew fell and broke his wrist. It was grotesque! His arm took a sharp left turn at his wrist and then turned again to…

Long before the US professional baseball season begins each spring, team owners and managers are busy negotiating trades and contracts. They’ll pay large sums of money to get the athlete who…

There we were, sitting in the middle of a statewide meeting for ministry leaders when the pastor of a large church leaned over and said to me, “You know, Joe, your…

One of my all-time favorite memories about our kids was the time my then 7-year-old daughter Libby asked, “Daddy, are we famous?” My immediate response was, “No, Libby, we’re not famous.”…

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…