Charles Stanley – Christ: The Key to Contentment


Philippians 4:6-7

While in prison, Paul penned precious words about the sufficiency of Christ. We tend to attach the idea of contentment to beach vacation spots and mountain retreats, but the apostle wrote that we are not to be anxious anywhere or at any time, because we have the Lord’s peace.

Contentment is the believer’s birthright. Peace is part of the spiritual fruit that’s ours when we trust in the Savior (Gal. 5:22); it is an inward serenity that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7). Jesus lived through conflict with a sense of inner quiet, and because of His indwelling Spirit, that remarkable calm belongs to God’s children, too. That is important because there are times when we come across a problem that has no earthly solution. In situations like those, we learn that self-sufficiency is a lie. We cannot cope alone, but Christ is all we need.

Here is the flip side of the coin: “‘There is no peace for the wicked,’ says the Lord” (Isa. 48:22). Modern culture slaps the word wicked onto only the vilest of actions and people, but God’s definition is much broader. The wicked are those who willfully reject His right to forgive their sins and take Lordship over their life. If you are not a believer, you cannot experience true and lasting contentment.

When we are born again (John 3:3-8), we become children of the living God and rightful heirs to every good thing He has to offer. This includes the deep inner peace and joy that can withstand any trial. What can man do to the one who belongs to the Lord (Heb. 13:6)?

Bible in One Year: Amos 1-4

Our Daily Bread — Fiery Trials

Read: James 1:2-12

Bible in a Year: Ecclesiastes 7-9; 2 Corinthians 13

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.—James 1:2

Fire can be one of the worst enemies of trees. But it can also be helpful. Experts say that small, frequent fires called “cool” fires clean the forest floor of dead leaves and branches but don’t destroy the trees. They leave behind ashes, which are perfect for seeds to grow in. Surprisingly, low-intensity fires are necessary for healthy growth of trees.

Similarly, trials—pictured as fire in the Bible—are necessary for our spiritual health and growth (1 Peter 1:7; 4:12). James wrote, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).

It is in the season of trial that God’s purposes are often realized, for there the conditions are right for us to grow into spiritual maturity. This growth not only equips us for living, but it also enables us to more accurately reflect Jesus to a world that desperately needs Him.

In the hands of our Father, our trials can achieve His purposes for our good and for His honor. They can shape us into the likeness of His Son. —Bill Crowder

Father, teach me to trust You for the strength to endure difficulties and the faith to wait for Your good purposes to be accomplished in me.

Encourage others! Go to and share what God taught you through a challenging time.

Faith is seeing God in the dark and in the light.

INSIGHT: James, the half-brother of Jesus, believed that Christ was the Messiah after witnessing His resurrection from the dead. James led the early church as a “Messianic Jew,” a term referring to someone who has been reared in the traditions of Judaism and who acknowledges Jesus as the Messiah. In today’s reading, James says that a positive attitude toward trials—“consider it pure joy . . . whenever you face trials of many kinds” (1:2)—is central to the Christian life. Trials are beneficial because they produce positive character change through the power of God.

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Ashes of Grief

Psychologists use the term “cognitive dissonance” to describe the bothered, sometimes pained, state of mind that occurs when new evidence conflicts with a current belief or outlook. When such dissonance occurs, resolution is arrived at by discarding the new evidence, discarding the belief itself, or ideally, evaluating what is known to be true and integrating the new information.

If we closely examine the lives of certain biblical characters such dissonance is often and clearly evident. Abraham was devastated by the God he loved who asked him to trust, even as he led his young son to be sacrificed. Saul spent three days in blindness and without food trying to comprehend the presence of the Christ he once persecuted. Mary wept at the empty tomb, pleading with the gardener to show her the body of her friend and teacher. The instances where God’s plans conflicted with the understanding of God’s people are scattered throughout Scripture.

Even so, it is perhaps safe to say that Job suffered from the most significant case of cognitive dissonance known among humanity. Job’s understanding of a gracious and just God who rewards the righteous and punishes the unrighteous was shattered by new evidence. Grieving the loss of the God he loved, yet unable to discard the relationship, the question of divine justice tortured his mind. “As water wears away stones and torrents wash away the soil,” he cried, “so you destroy man’s hope.”(1) And yet, against the counsel of his wife, Job was unwilling to discard his belief and allow his hope to be washed away.

Job is the hopeful symbol of a steadfast mind amidst the ashes of our own questions. Why am I so troubled and afflicted? Why would a good God permit suffering? Why does God stand far off in times of trouble? Why is God so absent? The dung heap of life’s most plaguing questions is resistant to decomposition.

I remember the evening my mother had to call my grandparents and break the tragic news to them that their house was burning down. Fortunately, they were away for the weekend, and yet their home, which was literally built by their own hands, was at that very moment being consumed by fire and nothing would be salvaged. My grandmother’s response was calmly, but sorrowfully uttered: “The Lord works in mysterious ways.”

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Ashes of Grief

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Spirit and Assurance

“You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him” (Romans 8:9).

The indwelling Holy Spirit gives us an assurance of salvation.

Assurance of salvation is essential to our Christian lives, and I can’t imagine living without it. And we must have clarity about it from a truly biblical standpoint. This begins with realizing that a genuine believer is in the Spirit and has been given a new nature (see John 3:6). If the Holy Spirit lives in you, you are no longer controlled by the sinful tendencies of the flesh, as Paul suggests in Romans 8:9. The Greek term for “dwells” indicates that the Holy Spirit makes His home in you and in every believer.

But today’s verse also points out that if someone does not have the Holy Spirit within him, he doesn’t belong to Christ. From time to time—perhaps for you it’s the first time—we need to be warned about that. Being in the Spirit is not merely professing Jesus, having a pious appearance, or attending church. No matter what we claim, if we aren’t fulfilling God’s law, desiring to walk by the Spirit, and wholeheartedly seeking the things of the Spirit, He is not in us.

Second Corinthians 13:5 exhorts, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!” You can do this by looking for evidences of the Holy Spirit in your life. Have you sensed the presence of the Spirit’s fruit in your life (Gal. 5:22-23)? Do you struggle with sin and have a desire to be free from all its influences (Rom. 7:14-25; Gal. 5:16-17)? Have you experienced the actions and attitudes the Holy Spirit brings to your daily life, as we studied earlier this month? Do you yearn for a closer communion with God and a deeper fellowship with other believers? If you can answer yes to these questions, you have solid reasons to be sure the Spirit lives in you and to know for certain that you belong to Jesus Christ.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the reminders His Spirit gives you that you belong to Christ.

For Further Study

Read 1 John 5:1-12.

  • What indicators does John give us that would also provide us with an assurance of salvation?
  • What role does the Holy Spirit have in this passage?

Wisdom Hunters – Prayer for God’s Purposes 

The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Revelation 8:4

Prayer is not meant to be perfunctory, but powered by the Holy Spirit. When I am preoccupied and attempt to pray, I short circuit the Spirit’s work. However, when I pray in the Spirit with my mind engaged and my heart fully focused, there is full contact with Christ. The flesh seeks a quick fix, but the Spirit desires deep affection that develops over time. Spiritual prayers flow from praise and worship to Almighty God. He receives the prayer aroma of His daughters and sons as the sweet aroma of a holy sacrifice to Him alone. The Holy Spirit is our prayer whisperer.

Prayers for justice in this life may not be answered until the next life. Like the distinct aroma of incense, the prayers of God’s people flow up into the nostrils of God. The altar normally designed for mercy is repurposed for justice. As the prayers of the saints in heaven ascend to the Lord, the Lord’s judgment descends on the earth and its inhabitants. Without consequences for evil, grace and mercy lose their luster.  Yes, prayer and faith facilitate God’s purposes into action.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18).

Pray on all occasions. With bowed head recognize Jesus as the provider of a delicious meal. Before you partake of the tasty morsels, taste His grace. Pray and prepare your heart prior to a hard conversation, so any anger or harshness is replaced by patience and compassion. Pray as you think about a big decision; ask questions like, “Is my motive to glorify God?” “What counsel would I give to someone else in a similar situation?” Spiritual prayers have the Spirit’s leading.

Variety is the spice of an effective prayer life. Employ a plethora of prayers that protect you from familiarity that can breed boredom. Pray for patience, so you are slow to anger. Pray for the sick, so they might be healed. Pray for opportunities to share the gospel, so the seeds of salvation will grow in the hearts of lost souls. Pray for those who suffer, so their comfort comes from Christ. Pray for forgiveness, so your heart is healed and filled with the Holy Spirit!

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Prayer for God’s Purposes 

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – A True Friend

A man of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 18:24, NASB

Recommended Reading

2 Timothy 4:9-18

Social media has redefined the concept of a “friend.” In the early days of the most prominent social media platform, people accumulated “friends” by the hundreds. Often those “friends” were people they barely knew—an acquaintance of an actual friend or a long-lost childhood playmate. Yet they were called “friends.” Participants soon realized what psychologists have said: No one can manage more than a half-dozen actual friendships.

True friendships take time, part of which is spent recovering from the disappointments that come with all human relationships. Maybe that’s why Solomon wrote that having lots of friends is dangerous but having “a friend who sticks closer than a brother” is a good thing. Note, “friend” (singular), not “friends.” It’s rare to find a friend who is there through thick and thin and who will encourage us in our walk with Christ. That is, a friend like Jesus who was a friend to His disciples (John 15:14-15).

First, invest in your friendship with Jesus. Second, if you have a friend like Jesus, invest in that friendship as well. The best way to find such a friend is to be that kind of friend yourself.

Jesus takes to heart the sufferings of His friends.

William Hendriksen


Jonah 1 – 4

Joyce Meyer – A Gift for Others and for Yourself

Forgive, and you will be forgiven. – Luke 6:37 NKJV

Do you hold unforgiveness toward anyone for any reason? If so, it needs to be eliminated from your heart and mind right away because it’s keeping you in bondage. You may be thinking, Well, Joyce, that’s easy for you to say. You haven’t been hurt like I have. That is true, but I have been hurt in life to a very deep degree. I was abused, abandoned, rejected, blamed, lied about, misunderstood, and betrayed by family and friends, and I allowed the enemy to fill my heart with hatred for those who hurt me. But when I began to learn about love, I moved from hatred to bitterness to mild resentment and finally to freedom, which only comes through forgiveness. The Lord graciously brought restitution into my life.

God promises to bring justice into our lives and to give us a double reward for our former shame, pain, and unfair treatment (see Isaiah 61:7). When we try to bring justice ourselves through vengeful acts, we only prevent God from working on our behalf.

The absolute key to unlocking the recompense of God for past hurts, however, is to do things His way and not our own. We are to love our enemies, pray for them, and bless them. If you have been hurt, God knows all about it, and He has a plan for your vindication. He, and He alone, is the vindicator (Hebrews 10:30).

Love Others Today: Do you need to extend forgiveness to someone? Make the choice to do so right now. It will be a gift to that person and a gift to you.

From the book Love Out Loud by Joyce Meyer.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – If Two Agree 

“I also tell you this – if two of you agree down here on earth concerning anything you ask for, My Father in heaven will do it for you” (Matthew 18:19).

Some of the richest experiences of my life have occurred in the practice of meeting with one or two individuals to pray specifically for definite things. The Scripture promises that one person can defeat 1000 but two can defeat 10,000 (Deuteronomy 32:30).

I believe that same principle holds in prayer. When individuals pray together, agreeing concerning a certain matter – assuming, of course, that they are praying according to the Word and will of God – the mighty sources of deity are released in their behalf.

Some interpret this verse to refer to church discipline, rejecting the claim that I am making in principle that there is great power, supernatural power, released when God’s children unite together in prayer. We have not because we ask not (James 4:2). Whatsoever we shall ask in prayer, believing, we shall receive (Matthew 21:22). If we ask anything according to God’s will, He hears and answers us (1 John 5:14). If we ask anything in Christ’s name, He will do it (John 14:14).

When two or more individuals unite and together claim these promises concerning a certain matter whatever it may be, they should expect answers. That is in accordance with God’s promise and God does not lie.

Bible Reading: Matthew 18:15-20

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will seek opportunities to unite with others to pray specifically concerning the needs of individual believers or my church or missions around the world, and we will expect answers in accordance with God’s promise.

Ray Stedman – Good News

Read: Romans 8:3-4

For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by our sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the sinful man, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to our sinful nature but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:3-4

This is a beautiful description of the good news in Jesus Christ. Paul says the Law is powerless to produce righteousness. It cannot do it. It cannot make us good — no way. It can demand and demand and demand, but it cannot enable and it never will. This, by the way, is why nagging somebody never helps. Nagging is a form of law, and God will not let the Law nag us because it doesn’t help. It only makes it worse. If you try to nag your husband or wife or child, you will find that the same thing happens there. Nagging only makes them worse. Why? The reason, Paul says, is because the Law only stirs up the power of sin. It releases this force, this beast within us, this powerful engine that takes over and carries us where we don’t want to go. That is why nagging, or any form of the Law, will never work. It is not because there is anything wrong with what is being said — it is because of the weakness of the flesh that it cannot work. Paul says in First Corinthians 15, The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law, (1 Corinthians 15:56). The Law keeps sin going, it stirs it up.

To break through this vicious circle, Paul says, God sent forth his own son. There is a beautiful tenderness about this. He sent his own Son. He did not send an angel, he did not send a man — he sent his own Son as a man, in the likeness of sinful flesh. Notice that. He did not send him just in the likeness of flesh, but in the likeness of sinful flesh. Jesus had a real body, a body like yours and mine. Since sin has been done in the body, it has to be judged and broken in the body. Therefore, Jesus had a body. But it was not just a body of sinful flesh, it was the likeness of sinful flesh. It was like our sinful bodies, in that it was subject to infirmities (Jesus was weak and tired and hungry and weary), but there was no sin in him. Paul preserves that very carefully here.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – Good News

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Exalted Manna

Read: Exodus 16:1-4, 13-18

A day’s portion every day. (v. 4)

Alongside yesterday’s theme, the “bliss” of knowing that there is not a single thing we cannot bring to God in prayer, the reference to “manna” in the next line of the poem gives us the confidence that there will not be a single day when he will fail to meet our needs. Throughout the forty years of Israel’s travels in Sinai the nation was physically nourished by that remarkable “bread from heaven.” This too is a lesson in praying, as morning by morning we can say to our heavenly Father, “Here is yet another day in which you will be working out your plans for me, and I know that in the process you will be supplying all I need.”

And why is prayer here described as “exalted” manna? Surely this has to do with the relationship between the Old Testament and the New. So much of what God taught his people in that earlier time was a preview of much greater things yet to come, a series of models or patterns of the realities that were to be unveiled in the Christian era. Manna, that curious edible substance settling like frost during the night all around the encampments of the travelling Israelites, could feed people’s bodies. But the corresponding gift from God to us is his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, the true Bread from heaven that nourishes hearts and minds as well as bodies. Our prayer must be the response of his hearers in John 6:34: “Lord, give us this bread always.”


Here is the poem in its entirety:

Continue reading Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Exalted Manna

Greg Laurie – People Reaching People

“So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.”—Romans 10:17

It is worth noting that no person in the New Testament came to faith apart from the agency of a human being. Have you ever stopped and thought about that? We can find example after example of God using people to reach people.

There was the Ethiopian (see Acts 8:26–39). There are many ways that God could have reached this man from a distant country. He could have sent an angel to meet him. Instead, the Lord sent an angel to Philip and told him to go. So Philip went and proclaimed the gospel to that man, and he believed.

Then there was the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:27–34. God could have reached him in many ways. Instead, He allowed Paul and Silas to be incarcerated and to ultimately proclaim the gospel, bringing that man and his family to faith.

We can think of Cornelius, a man who was searching for God (see Acts 10). An angel spoke to him and told him he needed to meet a man named Simon Peter. The angel explained where to find him. The angel could have given him the gospel. But God chose to use Simon Peter.

What about Saul? While it is true that he was converted through an encounter with Christ on the Damascus Road, his conversion was sandwiched between experiences with two people who influenced him. First, it was the witness of Stephen that softened Saul’s heart and made it receptive to the seed of the Word when he was confronted by Jesus Christ. Afterward, God sent Ananias to follow up on Saul and pray for him to receive the power of the Holy Spirit.

So you see, God used people. And He wants to use you.

Kids 4 Truth International – The LORD Is Slow to Anger

“They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness. The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” (Psalm 145:7-9)

“Hey, watch it, Blaine!” Justin grabbed his forehead where Blaine had elbowed him. Ouch! he thought. Why does Blaine always have to muscle his way all over the court? What a ball hog!

“Sorry, Justin. Are you OK?” Blaine stopped dribbling the basketball and came over to where Justin was standing under the net. “It was an accident.”

“Accident, my foot! You just think this game is all about Blaine, don’t you?!” Justin kept dabbing at his forehead, half-hoping there would be blood there – maybe that would teach ol’ Blaine the Ball Hog a lesson. “Blaine, Blaine, it’s all about Blaine. You’ve got a great two-step strategy, you know – hog the ball and knock everyone else off the court!”

“Justin, really. It wasn’t on purpose – I’m just a clutz.” With a shake of his head, Blaine handed Justin the ball and walked off the court to the locker room.

Justin opened his mouth to shout something after him, but he stopped when he realized all the other boys at practice were staring at him. “Well, what?” he asked them, as the locker room door shut behind Blaine. “It’s about time someone told him off.”

Coach Mark walked over and put his hands on Justin’s shoulders. “Justin, take a step back and look at yourself and your reactions. The only one in this gym acting like the game is all about him is you, Justin, acting like it’s all about you.” Coach took the ball out of Justin’s hands and motioned for him to leave. “I think you have some business in the locker room, young man. Namely, an apology for being quick to jump to angry conclusions.”

Like Justin, have you ever struggled with a quick temper? Often, an angry reaction is wrong in several ways. Justin assumed that Blaine was wronging him, when really Blaine had elbowed him accidentally. But through his anger, Justin could not see the truth. So he got a false understanding of Blaine and ended up hurting everyone. Justin would have been wise to first check his own attitude and goals. Maybe Coach was right; maybe Justin was playing like a ball hog and Blaine just got in his way. There can be more than one side to any story.

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – The LORD Is Slow to Anger

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – The Secret

Today’s Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:14

“The love of Christ controls us.”

We must always keep focused on the Gospel. Horatius Bonar, nineteenth-century Scottish pastor and author, wrote: “The secret of a believer’s holy walk is his continual recurrence to the blood of the surety, and his daily [communion] with a crucified and risen Lord. All divine life, and all precious fruits of it, pardon, peace, and holiness, spring from the cross. All fancied sanctification which does not arise wholly from the blood of the cross is nothing better than Pharisaism. If we would be holy, we must get to the cross, and dwell there; else, notwithstanding all our labour, diligence, fasting, praying and good works, we shall be yet void of real sanctification, destitute of those humble, gracious tempers which accompany a clear view of the cross.

False ideas of holiness are common, not only among those who profess false religions, but among those who profess the true. The love of God to us, and our love to him, work together for producing holiness. Terror accomplishes no real obedience. Suspense brings forth no fruit unto holiness. No gloomy uncertainty as to God’s favour can subdue one lust, or correct our crookedness of will. But the free pardon of the cross uproots sin, and withers all its branches. Only the certainty of love, forgiving love, can do this.

Free and warm reception into the divine favour is the strongest of all motives in leading a man to seek conformity to him who has thus freely forgiven him all trespasses.”

Paul said the same thing very succinctly: “For Christ’s love compels us” (2 Corinthians 5:14, NIV). To be compelled is to be highly motivated. We’re to be motivated by Christ’s love for us. And where do we learn of his love? Where do we hear him say, “I love you”? In the Gospel.

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – The Cost of Commitment

Today’s Scripture: John 13-21

Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed… They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.” – Mark 10:32-34

A number of years ago, a young farmer in South Dakota felt God’s call to help people in the Third World. He believed his skill in agriculture could improve their lives and open doors to share his faith in Christ with them.

So God sent him into a very difficult and dangerous part of the world. From the time he arrived, he identified himself with the people, often living among them for months at a time in order to teach them better techniques of farming and caring for their animals. He would return from the bush sick and emaciated, but fulfilled in the knowledge that he was doing what God had called him to do. Over the years, he has become something of a legend among the people he serves.

I thought of him as I studied the twentieth chapter of John. After Jesus was raised from the dead, He appeared to His disciples. And on one occasion, as His disciples were gripped by doubt and fear–the two great enemies of witness–Jesus did a strange thing. He showed them His hands and His side, and spoke these words in John 20:21: “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

What was Jesus trying to get across by showing them His scars from the cross? In effect, He was saying, “Men, this ministry is no bed of roses. This is no stroll in the park. Following me may cost you your life.” To the apostles’ credit, they did not turn back. They were captured by the vision of taking the good news of Jesus Christ to all the world. I want to be that kind of person. Do you?


Lord, free me from my fear and doubt as I see Your vision for the world, and work with You in fulfilling it. Amen.

To Ponder

There is personal cost for all who will follow Christ in daily discipleship.

BreakPoint –  The Dictatorship of Relativism: Absurdity Reigns–For Now

Does it kind of feel like folks have lost their minds?  That we’ve taken a collective walk through the looking glass and nothing is logical, nothing really makes sense? That you can look people square in the eye, assert a scientific, biological fact such as “if you have an x and a y chromosome and you have male sexual organs, then you are not a woman,” only to have them accuse you of being a hater or on the wrong side of history?

Or take abortion. Even some of the staunchest abortion supporters admit a fetus is a baby is a human being. But that doesn’t matter, because a woman has a right to do what she wants “with her own body.”

It’s sort of kooky. How have we reached this level of absurdity?

Well, as I explain in a recent article at Intercollegiate Review, welcome to “the dictatorship of relativism,” which, as Pope Benedict said, “does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires.”

As I explain in the article, I first encountered this kind of pervasive relativism as an undergraduate at Yale. I came from a working-class background, I actually believed in the truth, that it was beautiful, and worth living for and even dying for.

Imagine my surprise when I arrived at Yale (whose motto is “Lux et Veritas”—Latin for “light and truth”), to find out that much of the faculty and student body didn’t believe in Truth with a capital “T”. No, there were many truths, which of course told me that there was really no truth at all.

Chuck Colson said to test the validity of a worldview, follow it to its logical conclusion. The logical conclusion of relativism is absurdity. Non-sense. A worldview that undermines its own premises.

Continue reading BreakPoint –  The Dictatorship of Relativism: Absurdity Reigns–For Now

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – AN ENEMY EXPOSED

Read ESTHER 7:5–10

One of the classic Looney Tunes cartoons involved a road runner and the coyote who wanted to catch him. Wile E. Coyote ordered ammunition and trapping devices from the Acme Corporation, certain that he could explode, capture, or otherwise destroy the Road Runner. But, in every episode, the Coyote always failed and ended up being the one who was injured.

Haman, who wanted nothing more than to destroy Mordecai and the Jewish people, soon found himself the victim of his own plot. The banquet did not go as Haman expected. Rather than being honored as a special guest of the king and queen, he was accused by Esther of an evil plan to eliminate the Jewish people that would also take her life.

On hearing the news, the king “got up in a rage” (v. 7). Had he forgotten that he himself had approved the edict to destroy the Jewish people, an order that would now harm his queen? Perhaps he was embarrassed and angry that he had been so fully deceived by Haman.

Haman was “terrified” (v. 6). Realizing his life was hanging in the balance, he turned his attention to Esther. The king, returning from his walk in the palace garden, saw Haman begging Esther for mercy, but it appeared that he was attempting to assault her. For the king, this violation of his trust was the final straw: he ordered Haman’s execution.

The violent means of punishment Haman had previously arranged for Mordecai would now be used for his own execution. Often in Scripture God speaks about the wicked meeting doom: “The violence comes down on their own heads” (Ps. 7:16). Certainly God had not overlooked the evil intent of Haman. He had not only rescued His people, but He also saw that Haman received his just reward.


Today’s reading teaches a cautionary lesson. We are not to be caught up in arranging the fate of our enemies. God said that vengeance will be His, and we are to leave their fate in God’s hands (Rom. 12:19). It is not our prerogative to obsess over the punishment of the evil ones. They will meet their fate and receive the punishment they deserve.


An earthquake hit Los Angeles yesterday. It came just minutes after news broke that Angelina Jolie was filing for divorce from Brad Pitt. CNN made this tongue-in-cheek announcement: “The two incidents are unrelated.” But not for the couple and their children—they will never be the same.

Why is the couple divorcing? Consider three surprising factors.

One: They are famous. Research shows that celebrity marriages are twice as likely to break up as others. The Marriage Foundation studied couples who married between 2000 and 2010 and were divorced by 2014. The results: 50 percent of star couples were divorced, compared to 26 percent of “normal” marriages.

Two: They are wealthy and attractive. According to The Atlantic, men are 50 percent more likely to divorce if their partner’s looks are important in their decision to get married. Women are 60 percent more likely to divorce if they care about their partner’s wealth. Of course, I don’t know if these factors applied specifically to Jolie and Pitt, but it’s a safe guess that they were not irrelevant to their relationship.

Three: They are not churchgoers. Jolie says her experiences while making Unbroken drew her closer to God, though I could find no evidence online that she regularly attends worship services. Pitt says he grew up in a Baptist home, but now “I oscillate between agnosticism and atheism.” By contrast, regular church attenders are 46 percent less likely to divorce than those who are not.

None of this means that the Jolie–Pitt divorce was inevitable, of course. But it does show that famous, wealthy, attractive people are not immune from divorce. And it shows that all marriages need God at their center.

Our Lord invented marriage. If cohabitation or sex outside of marriage was his best plan for us, he would not have created and endorsed the marriage covenant. When Jesus began his public ministry, he could have chosen as his first miracle the raising of Lazarus or the feeding of the five thousand. Instead, he chose to bless a village wedding (John 2). Now he stands ready to bless any couple who makes him the Lord of their marriage.

If you’ve been divorced, know that God stands ready to redeem your pain. If you’re considering divorce, know that God is ready to help you if you seek his guidance and that of Christian counselors and friends. If you’re married, know that you need to make Jesus the rock on which your home is built. Only then will you withstand the storms of life (Matthew 7:24–27).

Tim Keller: “Men, you’ll never be a good groom to your wife unless you’re first a good bride to Jesus.” C. S. Lewis agreed: “When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now.”

Scripture calls us to “let marriage be held in honor among all” (Hebrews 13:4). The best way to honor your marriage is to honor your Lord.