writer's den

Easter Newsletter

April Newsletter front

This newsletter is all about Easter. The chapter on Easter from my upcoming book, "32 days with God's Story" which should be coming out in June or July. As always, the books are available on Amazon.com for those who would like to buy them. You can also find a sampler of 3 devotions and a bible study that you can download for free on my website, 32daysdevotions.com. My goal is simply to offer some good bible studies and devotions that will help you grow and give you something to share with others.

The short devotion on Easter is from the blog at 32daysdevotions.com. It focuses on four words that Jesus said on Easter that changed lives. I have put a link below where you can download the whole sermon if you want to. Finally, there is a section on Jesus’ Easter appearances and the place of His tomb. I hope that they expand your horizons and teach you something new. Feel free to use the devotions in this newsletter or on the website for your ministry. 

The monthly newsletter is for you to share with others. Feel free to copy the PDF newsletter and share it with others that you think may enjoy it. Anyone can also sign up to receive an email with the newsletter embedded in it by registering here. I would ask for your suggestions so that we can make the newsletter better over time. Thank you for your time and interest. Feel free to send me suggestions at 32daysdevotions@gmail.com 

You are welcome to forward this email or the newsletter to anyone else who you think might enjoy the devotions. People are welcome to sign up for this email at my website: www.32daysdevotions.com. (You can click the chain link at the bottom of the page to take you there.) There is a form for this purpose on the front page of the newsletter. 

Feel free to make any comments about this email or the newsletter at 32daysdevotions@gmail.com 

Click here for the free Easter Newsletter in PDF form

Click here if you want the whole Easter sermon that the blog post found on the devotion page of this newsletter and this website. 

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March Newsletter


This newsletter contains a devotion on the book of Daniel from my upcoming book, "32 days with God's Story" This devotion is for you as an intro to Daniel. Here are some questions that I would have gotten wrong before I wrote the devotion. 1) How old was Daniel when he was thrown into the lion’s den? 2) How much of an impact did Daniel have on the kings of Babylon and Persia and upon God keeping His promise to return the Jews after 70 years? The answers to all those questions are in the devotion and the sidebar to it.

The short devotion is from the blog. In the last chapters of Romans, Paul answers the question, “I am saved, so what!” The devotion lists three traits that Christian love has that worldly love can never demonstrate. There are also questions after the devotion challenging us to live with God’s love. Feel free to use the devotions in this newsletter or on the website for your ministry. 

The monthly newsletter is for you to share with others. Feel free to copy the PDF newsletter and share it with others that you think may enjoy it. Anyone can also sign up to receive an email with the newsletter embedded in it by registering here. I would ask for your suggestions so that we can make the newsletter better over time. Feel free to send me suggestions at 32daysdevotions@gmail.com
Thank you for your time and interest.

.You are welcome to forward this email or the newsletter to anyone else who you think might enjoy the devotions. People are welcome to sign up for this email at the front page of this website: www.32daysdevotions.com. (You can also just click on the link below to take you there.) There is a form for this purpose on the front page of the newsletter. 

Feel free to make any comments about this email or the newsletter at 32daysdevotions@gmail.com 

Click here to receive the March Newsletter 

Click here to be taken to the front page to register

Defending God's Honor

As persecution grows for the church, we seem to be as afraid as the Jews standing on the hillside looking at Goliath below. The story David and Goliath is not just a miracle. It is noteworthy because a teenage boy was willing to step up and defend God's honor. Here is a post that briefly looks at why that is important today. 

Scripture: 1 Samuel 17:47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands."

Observation: The Philistine Goliath mocked God as the people of God stood on the hill scared to death. He told them that the gods of the Philistines were greater than the true God. We often focus on the miracle that a young David could beat the great soldier Goliath. What we miss is that David did it for God’s honor. He was willing to fight because Goliath mocked God and thought God was nothing. That God chose to use a teenage boy to defeat the great giant was His way of letting everyone see the power of God in this victory. This was God’s battle and when David defeated Goliath, everyone knew who was the powerful God. The Jews suddenly found faith and chased the Philistines who were running for their life out of fear. All it took was one person who believed in God and who got angry when God was ridiculed to change the course of history.  

Application: The world still mocks our God, but it is not protests and legislation that is going to change the tide. It is Christian men and women not being afraid of Satan and serving the Lord in their community and church. It is Christians who will speak what they believe in a loving way and defeat Satan in the lives of their neighbors and coworkers. Yes, it can be scary being Christian in a world that is more and more hostile to our faith. But, like David, if one person has the courage to take on the Goliath’s of Satan, others will follow in faith as well. It is time for the church to stop being a wimp. It is time for the church to trust the Lord and depend on the Lord. It is David who we must follow into the valley knowing that God is bigger than all the giants.

Prayer: Lord help our church to follow you and to show your will to the world around us. Amen

A Leader you can believe in

 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." Micah 5:2

 The year is 701 BC and the Assyrians are coming down from the north. They have already come down the coastline and are coming back up from the south to finish Judea off. Hezekiah the king is powerless to save them. It would seem that Judea will be destroyed just like Israel was twenty years before. Why has this tragedy come? It is because the people worship idols and are filled with greed. The nation that once had been built around God has forgotten their God. They have caused this destruction by their evil practices and their denial of the Lord. The year is 2016 and our world seems to be in confusion. We have been through a terrible presidential campaign. Our nation is filled with rebellion on the streets and terror threats in our cities. Fortunately, God has not forgotten His people and offers the same solution – a king from Bethlehem.

 Who is this king? The ruler will be from Bethlehem. The prophecy was so clear that the Pharisees of Herod’s court could tell the magi exactly where to find the baby in the manger. In Micah’s day, it tells the people two things about the coming king. It tells them he is humble and of David’s line. He will be humble and be able to relate to people. He will not be born in a palace, but in the little crossroads of Bethlehem about ten miles south. Yet he will be of the royal family and fulfill the promises made to David about his line of kings continuing through the ages. We need a humble ruler. We need one who cares about the people, not wealthy millionaires who run for office and care more about their foundations and businesses than about the people. We need someone we can go to who will bring happiness to average people. We need Jesus.

 And when the King comes, there will be peace. He will shepherd his people and they will depend on him. He will lead them beside the quiet waters and he will restore their souls. This will be a king that will bring wholeness to people who live in chaos. We see it in Jesus as he heals the sick and as he brings answers to thousands sitting on the hillside. The people lived in the darkness of the age and yet His light shined so brightly that their world was changed and their lives came together. The world around them may be chaos, but Jesus gives order and light to their lives so that the pieces of life work together to build stronger families and friendships. He changes them from the inside out so that they have character and values. Life is Shalom with Jesus. It has real peace.

 Micah presents God’s encouragement to the people, but many did not get it. If they had, the nation would not have gone into the Babylonian Captivity only 100 years later. The wise will bow before this king and follow him with their life. They will put him first in their lives and hang on every word that he says in scripture and seek him out daily in prayer so that they may have his guidance and comfort. They will thrive in the chaos for Jesus will be their leader and light. The fool will try to live life with only a little of Jesus and his guidance. They will have the king, but not let him rule. They will hear his guidance and think that they are wise and don’t need it. They will seek comfort in other places and people. Their lives will not have the peace for they have not sought out Jesus. Wise men and women still seek Him. They bow before the child and make Him their own. 

Writing: Why did God take the people to Mt. Sinai?

How did God build a nation?

Imagine that you live a third world country where there are no rules and anarchy reigns. There is no organization that can help you or care for your needs. There is no recourse if someone steals or kills. It would be a terrible place to live. Such were the people of Israel as this mob of former slaves assemble and pour out into the desert following Moses. They have no rules and no real leadership as they leave the land of Egypt. They are now free, but they seem to have no plan and they are not a nation. How will they become the nation of Israel that God promised Abraham years ago? God’s answer is to lead them in love to the sacred mountain where He will plant three seeds that are needed to build a community. By the time that they get to the Promised Land, they will have the tools that they need to build a lasting society that will become a powerful people. This is the transformation of exodus exiles to one nation under God.

I have been working on my third book, “32 days with God’s story” and came to the chapter on the God taking the people of Israel to Mt. Sinai. I was pondering why God took them to Mt. Sinai before they went to the Promised Land. Then the picture came back to me out of the movie “The Ten Commandments” where the people march out of Egypt. It was a ragtag group of people who had been slaves and never ruled themselves. They were not a nation as much as a mob rioting and leaving civilization.

Above is the first draft of the opening paragraph. It dawned on me that God had to give them three things if they were to be a nation. They needed organization, values, and a relationship with God. Without any of them, you just can’t be the holy nation that God had promised to Abraham. Click here if you want to see the whole first draft of this devotion.

I find that writing these devotions is a blessing to me for it makes me ask questions of the text and of the story of the Bible. Every author wants to get details like the history of the period or details about the city. As a devotional author, I want to get the stories right. If you find anything that doesn’t seem right in this devotion, please leave me a comment below or at 32daysdevotions@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you and I promise to write you back. 

Christmas wasn't what they expected


Scripture: Luke 2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.

Huh? While we routinely think of the baby at Christmas, it wasn’t what the Jews expected. The story of Jesus is not what even the Godly Jews of the Old Testament would have expected. Let’s look at three things that our unexpected from that day.

Manger: No one expected that the Messiah would be born in such a poor family that he would be laid in a manger. He was to be a king from David’s line and born in Jerusalem the capital so that He would be trained to lead the nation back to greatness. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the city of David, and was of the line of David. Yet, His birth showed that He was the king for all since it was shepherds and townspeople who surround Him at His birth.

Virgin Mother: An unmarried pregnant woman was not what the Jews had in mind for the mother of the Messiah. Mary probably bore the stigma of being a loose woman all of her life. Yet, we know that she was a virgin at Jesus’ birth. Only a sinless one could die for our sins on the cross. That would never happen if the child was born to a man and a woman. It was because the Holy Spirit conceived the child in her womb that the Messiah would be God and Man ready and able to do the ministry set before Him.

Vulnerable: Over the years, the church has promoted stories of the infant or toddler Jesus doing miracles. It is hard to think of the Messiah, yet alone the son of God, being vulnerable. Herod would try to kill Jesus and others might have tried if they saw a miracle working infant. Yet, God chose Joseph to protect Jesus for this reason. Through a series of dreams, God directed Joseph first to Egypt and then to Galilee so that Jesus could grow up in peace. The salvation of the world could have been destroyed, but God protected the child so that we might be saved.

God doesn’t always do things as we expect in our lives either. I think of the hardships that Mary and Joseph endured so that the birth of the Messiah could be done God’s way. Sometimes life takes us in unexpected ways. It can take us longer to get to our destination or be harder than we thought. Yet, God always has a reason. Jesus had to be born this way and not in any way that the church or Disney might imagine. He was to be the savior of all. He was to be a true man who was born with vulnerabilities and who lived among us all. Lord, I am ready to go wherever you take me. It may be hard, but I know that the destination will be more than I ever expected. 

Why Write? One perspective

Why Write? I write to make my relationship with God stronger. Several people have asked me why I write books like the one pictured here. The answer is simply that I enjoy the time listening to God and writing helps me make those thought my own. I remember years ago hearing that if you listen you learn a few things and if you write notes that you will learn more. I have always found that if you have to teach the material or if you want to organize it on the page for someone else to read that you learn even more.

The two books have been a time of discovery for me. I have “walked” through the alleys of Jerusalem by studying the Bible and spent time imagining what it was like to be there. I would never claim to be an expert, but I feel like I understand Jesus’ time in Gethsemane and the thoughts people had when they found the empty tomb better now than I did even a year ago.

My hope, like any writer, is that my books help you have the same experiences. I want you to know this wonderful person named Jesus and fully understand His passion for your salvation and mine. I want all of us to go beyond the slogans and see the real Jesus. If you want a free sample of the book click here. You will be taken to a place where you can download a pdf samples of both books. Enjoy them with my blessing and may they take you closer to Jesus.   

Here is a devotion just for you – “Not alone”:

Scripture: John 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--

Observation: Jesus ministered to the Jews and they were God’s people, but so many of them did not recognize Him or honor Him. The religious leaders persecuted Jesus and many were disappointed when He was not the second King David ready to give them a perfect and easy life. Yet, there were those who followed Him and who would die for Him. They felt close to God and found in Jesus something that they would not give up even if they had to die to keep it. What did they find? They found a friend and found joy in being part of God’s family. They had someone they could believe in. They had someone who would never leave them or forsake them.

Application: Almost daily, I have someone who asks me to pray for them. Life has taken a sharp left turn and they don’t know what to do. A child knows where to go. They go to their parents for help whether it is advice, comfort or resources. God’s children know where to go as well. They don’t just ask others to pray, they spend time, hours if they need to, praying to God. Here is the one who has all the resources that are needed. Here is the one who will give us advice and comfort in His word. The wise will receive Christ and draw so close to Him that they become dependent on God. Like the disciples, they would rather die than lose Jesus. God is ready to take care of you as a valued child. Are you open to receiving Him into your life that deeply?

Prayer: Dear Lord, I commit my life to you. I will not let problems keep me away. I can’t solve them, but I know that you will help. I will not let my busy life keep me away from you. Nothing I do will benefit me as much as daily time with you. I don’t want the stress, the worry, and the pain of living life without you. I want to be your child and live in your family for the future is uncertain, but your grace and love is the one thing I can depend on. Amen. 

Christianity, a waste of time?

Scripture: Malachi 3:14 "You have said, 'It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty?

Observation: The people in Nehemiah’s day, the people complained because they didn’t see any benefit from being a Christian. Many looked around and felt that the pagans were better off than the people of Judah. The wicked prospered while the Jews suffered. The problem wasn’t God, however, it was the Jews. God blesses His people throughout history when they honor and trust Him. This group wanted to have things their own way and complain when God didn’t give them what they wanted.

Application: To me, being a Christian is like camping. I have known a lot of people who went out one weekend without planning what they were going to do for food or shelter. They put no work into it and expected it to be a “grand experience”. The more you put into camping, the more you get out. The same is true with faith. The more time and effort you spend developing your relationship with God and fellow Christians, the more you get out of it. Spend time in the Bible and touch the heart of God. Dare to serve others and watch God do miracles right before your eyes. What you put into any experience determines what you get out of it. That is definitely true of our life with God and our service to others.

Prayer: Dear Lord, let me dare to embrace you with all my life so that you might fill me with joy and fill my life with the blessings from you. Teach me in your word so that I may know you and your character. Meet me in prayer so that I may share my fears and find your comfort. Give me an opportunity to serve so that I may feel your purpose in my life and see your miracles in the things that I do. It is never futile to serve or know you. Life is futile without you.

Writer’s Den: This passage hits my heart because so many are abandoning the church because they have more important things to do like kids soccer, sleeping in late and spending more time at work. Others just don’t think that the church is all that important. It is part of the motivation for my writing. I pray that, like a Gideon Bible, someone will pick up some of these books and come to see the importance of the Lord in their life.

With that bit of introduction, I am proud to announce that the second book, “32 days with Christ’s Passion” is now available at Amazon.com and the third book that will cover the Bible’s story has been started. Let me know what you think of the book. I will start putting some samples of the chapters on the devotion section of the blog soon. I hope that it is helpful.

I am serious about having some of you reply. I am not good at that, but I do find that it is sometimes hard to blog because, unlike Sunday morning, I have little response and don’t know you well. Let me know what I can share with you and please feel free to share with me. Thanks.