This is one of those verses that prompts the question, “how?” every time.

A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” (Psalm 34:19)

No, He doesn’t—at least not always in the way we want Him to.

Yes, there are times when God acts as we anticipate He will, as we pray that He will.

But there are times when He does not. What then? Does that make this verse, along with others like it, a lie?

I remember back to the early days in Venezuela. Our church planting efforts got off to a slow start and we had very few new believers. One of those was a woman by the name of Betty. Her story was indeed one of God’s grace—from someone whose face scared the people sharing the elevator with her to someone whose face radiated forgiveness and joy and peace with God.

She was a walking, talking testimony to what God could do in a life.

Then she got cancer.

We prayed, pleaded, for her healing.

She died.

At the time, we were devastated. But thinking back we actually got what we a…

Good Companions, Good Deal

One of the first pieces of Scripture I memorized when I was a kid in Sunday School was Psalm 1. So well did I learn it that it remains cemented in my mind to this day. Mrs. Wood, the pastor’s wife and head of the Primary Department ,presented me with a bookmark as my prize—a bookmark I still have. I wish I could manage to memorize as well today as I did sixty years ago! Alas, it is not so easy.

In Psalm 119:11, the psalmist reminds his readers of the importance of memorizing God’s words. He says: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” What is hidden in the heart is what the Spirit of God brings to mind when we are faced with choices and temptations—something that happens every day.

My verse for today comes from Psalm 1:1 and is one of those that comes to mind when I am faced with who to choose as my closest companions. It remains a valuable piece of advice for anyone, young and old, when deciding who should become a close friend, a life-long companion,…

Fixing "Stupid"

Some of us are ready to swear off watching, reading, or listening to the news. Just when we think things couldn’t get worse, they do! You can’t fix stupid, and apparently stupidity is contagious. And it can be distressing, disturbing and dangerous to our mental and spiritual health to spend too much time focusing on the evil that men do. It’s enough to deal with my own evil let alone carry the burden of that which others engage in.

It is helpful instead to dwell on the great truth of Scripture. Here is one for today: “His eyes are on the ways of men; he sees their every step.” (Job 34:21)

We often live as though God isn’t aware of what is happening. We often live as though God doesn’t care. We often live as though He is powerless to do anything about the evils happening in this world. And that makes us anxious and upset. But in addition to reading the verse from Job this morning, I also read Romans 2 and the chilling words from verses 5, 6, 8, 9: “But because of your stubbornness and y…


I heard it second-hand so I can’t attest to exactly what the conversation was, or with whom. But the speaker apparently said that no one would ever marry me because I wasn’t submissive enough!

What was said may be true, but at the time I laughed—and am still laughing—

A. Because I have no particular interest in marrying, nor have I ever.

B. Because the speaker was annoyed at me for daring to ask too many questions about his actions.

I don’t usually share something quite this personal, but it came to mind as I read the verse for today.

Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart.” —Job 22:21, 22

It isn’t always easy to submit to God—it should be if we truly trusted Him and believed Him to be good as well as powerful. When things don’t work out as we hope, or prayers aren’t answered as we anticipate, or He is silent when we want Him to speak, we wonder if He cares, if He is good, …

Choosing Not to See

Back when the space program was something of wonder and worth one astronaut, Yuri Gagarin, made the astounding statement that he hadn’t found God while he was up there. I suppose that was imagined by some to be proof that God didn’t exist. Odd to be surrounded by the proof and not to see it.

Job 22:12 says: “Is not God in the heights of heavens? And see how lofty are the highest stars!

Silly boy! You didn’t go far enough. In your arrogance and ignorance you assumed that you had reached those heights. You assumed that you could see the One Who fills the heavens. He was all around you and you didn’t see Him, wouldn’t have seen Him, couldn’t have seen Him, didn’t want to see Him.

That poor space traveler is not the only one to ignore the obvious, something so obvious that a trip on a shuttle isn’t even necessary to observe it.

Psalm 19 tells us: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they dis…

Not As Smart as Your Average Bear

Some people are under the mistaken impression (though there may not be as many of them as I think) that, just because I am older and have had some experience with life, I have wisdom to offer. There are times that I am even prone to believing that myself.

The truth of the matter? Yes, I am older. Yes, I have had some experiences in life that others might not have gotten around to yet. Hopefully I have learned some lessons from those experiences. Hopefully I am the wiser for them—otherwise God’s efforts in bringing them into my life might have been wasted.

But whatever wisdom that has been acquired does not ultimately reside in me—I’m still frail and sometimes foolish though, hopefully, less so than once I was.

The truth is, as Job 12:13 says: “To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.”

I am reminded that one of the characteristics of a good listening ear is humility—the recognition that I come from the same messiness that the person to whom I am listening is comi…

Falling Foundations

I have a news app on  my iPad. This morning, like many other mornings, I took a peek at the headlines and shut-down the app. I don’t want to know. The world is too ugly a place for this bright sunny morning with its fresh fall of brilliant white snow on the ground.

Evil is overwhelming. Whether it happens on the streets of Rainbow Village, in the remote regions of the Far North, in the back halls of power, in the quiet backyards of suburbia, or in some third-world rocked by perpetual conflict, it’s just too much.

Enough, already.

How do you stand firm when the ground underneath is shaking? I remember a few nasty tremors of the earthquake variety. Their arrival was a reminder of just how insecure our hold on anything is, no matter what the venue may be.

Psalm 11 is made up of only seven verses, but they powerfully address the issue of rocking foundations.

"In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: 'flee like a bird to your mountain. For look, the wicked bend their …