Charles Stanley – The Promises of God


2 Corinthians 1:20-22

The Christian life rests on a foundation of God’s promises for today and for the future. We can trust everything that our heavenly Father has said to us, because His Word shows Him to be …

Truthful. The Lord knows what is true and speaks honestly in all matters. We can be assured of this because He is holy; there is no sin in Him. He is also omniscient and understands everything (Heb. 4:12-13). His promises are based on His infinite knowledge and truthfulness.

Faithful. Scripture compares the Lord to a shepherd who “gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart” (Isa. 40:11 NIV). What He has planned for us, He will bring to fruition (Phil. 1:6). Our heavenly Father does not waver in His intentions or will.

Loving. God’s love for us was demonstrated at the cross. He sent His Son Jesus to die by crucifixion and thereby take the punishment for our sins. The Savior experienced God’s wrath against iniquity so we might know only His love. This is the ultimate proof of His devotion to us.

All-powerful. Divine power created the world and raised the Savior back to life, so we know God has the ability to carry out all His plans. Our omnipotent Father will keep every one of His promises.

A promise is valuable only if the one making it has trustworthy character and the ability to carry through. Our heavenly Father is truthful, faithful, loving, and all-powerful. We can base our entire life on His promises, secure in the knowledge that He will do just as He has said.

Bible in One Year: John 4-5

Our Daily Bread — Run to Me

Read: Proverbs 18:4–12

Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 24–26; Titus 2

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.—Proverbs 18:10

During a walk at a local park, my children and I encountered a couple of unleashed dogs. Their owner didn’t seem to notice that one of them had begun to intimidate my son. My son tried to shoo the dog away, but the animal only became more intent on bothering him.

Eventually, my son panicked. He bolted several yards into the distance, but the dog pursued him. The chase continued until I yelled, “Run to me!” My son doubled back, calmed down, and the dog finally decided to make mischief somewhere else.

There are moments in our lives when God calls to us and says, “Run to Me!” Something troubling is on our heels. The faster and farther we go, the more closely it pursues us. We can’t shake it. We’re too afraid to turn and confront the trouble on our own. But the reality is that we aren’t on our own. God is there, ready to help and comfort us. All we have to do is turn away from whatever scares us, and move in His direction. His Word says, “The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (Prov. 18:10). —Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Dear Jesus, You are the Prince of Peace. I need the kind of peace that only You can give. Help me to turn to You when I am troubled.

When has God given you peace? Share your story with your friends at

God is our refuge in times of trouble.

INSIGHT: The Proverbs are a collection of wise sayings to guide us through the choices and life-decisions we face. The majority of these wise statements are attributed to Solomon, whose wisdom was greater than “all the people of the East” (see 1 Kings 4:29-33). Ultimately, however, the Source of all wisdom is our wise God. And the good news is that He makes that wisdom available to us—not only in Scripture texts like today’s reading from Proverbs, but also in response to our prayers. James says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5). Wisdom is available, if we will only ask! Bill Crowder

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Following in the Way of Jesus

A recent article in the New York Times announced the continuing decline in the number of individuals who self-identify as Protestants, conservative evangelicals, and “born again” Protestants. The writer reports that the latest Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life found that fewer than half said they were “Protestant,” which reflects a steep decline from forty years ago when Protestant churches “claimed the loyalty of more than two-thirds of the U.S. population.”(1)

Perhaps more ominously, the study suggests that when these individuals leave they do not simply switch churches, but are actually joining the growing ranks of those who do not identify with any particular religion, ironically referred to as “the nones.” More than any other demographic group, those aged 18-22 years old make up more than one-third of these ‘nones.’ They are as religiously unaffiliated as the older generations were affiliated.

Of course, many theories are offered to explain this phenomenon.(2) One theory suggests that younger adults grew disillusioned with organized religion when religion began to be associated with more conservative politics. Another theory offers that the shift reflects a broader trend away from social and community involvement. The most prominent theory suggests that this is simply one more sign of the growing secularization seen in most developed countries.

While these studies are fascinating and important, and the theories as to the reasons for the decline in Protestant and Evangelical Protestant affiliation are worthy of serious thought and study, perhaps another perspective can be gleaned from the earliest beginnings of the Christian movement.

In the beginning, the movement that would be called Christianity consisted of a relatively small minority of individuals who followed Jesus. These initial followers were called “The Way” because they were following after the way of Jesus—following his way of living and being in relationship to God and to one another. Yet, to follow Jesus, and to declare him “Lord” was viewed by the many in the Roman government as an act of sedition, for there was already a panoply of parochial gods for the citizens to worship and obey. As a result, historians note that many Roman critics called the first group of Christian followers “atheists” because they rejected Roman gods.(3) The persecution of Christians ensued, of course, and perhaps the authorities believed this would quell Christian fervor. But it did not. Christianity spread like a wildfire all across what was the pagan Roman Empire.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Following in the Way of Jesus

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Living Wisely

“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom” (James 3:13).

Wisdom is the art of living life skillfully.

Most philosophers throughout history have believed that if a person could acquire anything, it should be wisdom, because wisdom would allow him to obtain anything else. That philosophy matches Scripture. Proverbs 4:7 says, “Acquire wisdom; and with all your acquiring, get understanding.” Many people claim to be wise, but it’s also true that no fool in our world is a self-confessed fool—everyone believes he’s an expert. The world offers a sea of opinions, but the bottom line is that no one’s opinion is worth more than anyone else’s.

The only trustworthy perspective on wisdom—on who is wise and who isn’t—is God’s. In James 3:13 He gives His divine insight on the matter by first asking, “Who among you is wise?” The Greek term translated “wise” is sophos. The Greeks used it to refer to speculative knowledge, theory, and philosophy. But the Hebrews infused wisdom with a deeper meaning: skillfully applying knowledge to the matter of practical living.

God also asked, “Who among you is . . . understanding?” The Greek word translated “understanding” is used only here in the New Testament and refers to a specialist or a professional who is highly skilled in applying his knowledge to practical situations. In other words, God is asking, “Who among you has practical skill? Who among you is truly a professional and specialist in the art of living?”

The only one who can live life skillfully is the one who lives according to God’s wisdom, and He gives His wisdom to all who receive His salvation and obey His Word. What about you? Are you living life skillfully? If so, your life will manifest good behavior and a meek spirit (James 3:13). Determine to live your life according to God’s wisdom, not the world’s opinions.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to help you live life skillfully each day by obeying His Word.

For Further Study

As a Christian, you are responsible to appropriate God’s wisdom in your life on a daily basis. To help you do so, begin a daily reading program in Proverbs. Read one chapter a day, and let God’s wisdom penetrate every aspect of your life.

Wisdom Hunters – A Little God-Lesson That Changed My Life

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-35)

While I was single, I became friends with a man I wanted to get to know better. But there was a problem: He had a young daughter and she had a mother who was involved in her life. As a result, I felt as if there wouldn’t be room for me in the little girl’s heart or in the family should I marry this man. My focus was on myself—and being a part of a blended family was not my plan.

One day while I was on my knees in prayer in my apartment, I cried out to the Lord, “I like this man, but his daughter already has a mom.” Immediately, in that still, small voice that convicts, teaches, and comforts, it was as if the Lord said to me, “Yes, but I am her Father.” He was reminding me, “True. I have given the little girl a mother, but because she belongs to Me she has value. That’s why she deserves love. It’s not all about you. It’s about glorifying Me.”

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

That little God-lesson spilled over and changed my life when I met my husband. Because of that special time with the Lord, I decided I would love my step kids even before I met them. Not because I want to try to take their mother’s place, but because they are valuable as people God has created. In the beginning I decided to love them because God loves them. But then, as I moved toward His will by choosing love, genuine love began to bloom in my heart for each of them (and for my sons-in-law, too!) Now I just flat out think they are awesome.

Which brings me to something that I hope encourages and challenges you. There’s a whole lot of mess in the world today because people everywhere are offended by others who are different than them. There are entire nations, cities, groups, families, and individuals who won’t accept others who aren’t like them. Our judgmental, prideful hearts blind us to one important truth: People are important and deserve love simply because God created them. And, when we ignore the value of all people we are refusing to love those whom God loves. We are rejecting those He has created. We are rejecting His will. In this we are completely blinded, and ignorant—and we miss out. But when we open ourselves to love the way God loves, our hearts are enlarged.  In this we are blessed and experience joy.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – A Little God-Lesson That Changed My Life

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – A Caring Community

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment.

Philippians 1:9

Recommended Reading

Psalm 133:1-3

Phi Beta Kappa, the national scholarship fraternity, is recognized as the first Greek-letter collegiate fraternal organization. One fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, co-founded in 1856 by a committed Christian, incorporates the words of Psalm 133:1 into its guiding principles: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”

The values of brotherhood and sisterhood, community, friendship, strong bonds, and caring—at the heart of modern fraternal organizations—are biblically based. Indeed, the New Testament uses the image of body (1 Corinthians 12:27) and family (Romans 8:12-17) to describe the close-knit relationships Christians should have with one another. Nowhere is that better illustrated than in the life of the first church in Jerusalem (Acts 2:42-47). So great was their care for each other that “there [wasn’t] anyone among them who lacked;” for they were “of one heart and one soul” (Acts 4:32-35).

Are you participating in that kind of caring Christian community? To care, and be cared for, is what distinguishes the followers of Jesus in this world (John 13:35).

Caring is the ultimate measure of a congregation’s size.

Carl S. Dudley


John 1 – 2

Joyce Meyer – How to Increase Your Faith

So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the hope we cherish and confess and our acknowledgement of it, for He Who promised is reliable (sure) and faithful to His word. —Hebrews 10:23

Giving voice to your faith can actually increase your faith—because what you say out loud gets rooted in your heart. I have heard that we believe more of what we say than what anyone else says, so why not say things that we truly want to believe? Say frequently, “I trust God,” or “I believe God is working in my life and circumstances right now.” Say, “God loves me and will work through me to do good to other people.”

The Psalms are filled with confessions of faith: I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust! (Psalm 91:2). You can make a similar confession!

The apostle Peter said we should resist the devil at his onset (see 1 Peter 5:9). Developing the habit of confessing your faith as soon as any negative thoughts, words, behaviors, and attitudes appear will increase your faith and your joy. Soon you’ll be living from faith to faith (see Romans 1:17), without wavering.

Power Thought: God is faithful; my hope in Him is unwavering.

From the book the book Power Thoughts Devotional by Joyce Meyer.

Girlfriends in God – Finding Strength For Your Struggle

Today’s Truth

The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.

Exodus 15:2

Friend to Friend

Moses faced complicated challenges and circumstances. Born in a time when he, as a Hebrew baby, was supposed to have been killed, Moses was saved by God’s sovereign grace when Pharaoh’s daughter pulled him from the Nile and kept him as her own.

A Hebrew among Egyptians, Moses was raised in a land and culture that was far removed from his heritage and from the One true God of Israel. You know this story! We saw it on the flannel graph boards in Sunday school as little girls. We watched Charlton Heston act it out in the movie The Ten Commandments. Moses had it all in the palace, lost it all when he murdered an Egyptian soldier, then eventually, risked it all for the holy God who called out to him and commissioned him from a flame.

Moses set out to free his people through the power of God. Though the Pharaoh doubted God’s strength, the Lord displayed His might, plague after plague, until finally it looked like Pharaoh got the memo. At last he let God’s people go. Moses and the Israelites left Egypt promptly and high-tailed it down the road of divine deliverance. But when Pharaoh changed his mind and gathered his army to chase them, the Israelites ran smack dab up against the Red Sea.

Major problem.

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – Finding Strength For Your Struggle

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – A Place Prepared for You

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3, KJV).

Recently my 93-year-old father went to be with the Lord. Though I was saddened to realize that I would never see him again in this life, and I shed a few tears of sorrow for myself, at the same time I rejoiced in the knowledge that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

My father is now rejoicing in the presence of our wonderful God and Savior. One day I shall join with him, my mother (who is still living at 93), all my brothers and sisters who have declared their faith in Christ, and multitudes of other loved ones, friends and saints to spend eternity in that place where “eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard…what God hath prepared for those who love Him.”

“I cannot think what we shall find to do in heaven,” mused Martin Luther. “No change, no work, no eating, no drinking, nothing to do.”

“Yes,” responded a friend, “‘Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.'”

“Why, of course,” said Luther, “that sight will give us quite enough to do!”

Joy of joys, you and I not only have been given purpose and power for living the supernatural, abundant life – by the indwelling Holy Spirit – but we have also been promised a place in His presence when this life is over. And, as Luther realized, we will then worship Him face to face throughout the endless ages of eternity.

We need not know exactly what heaven will be like; we need only know who will be there – our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. That assurance and anticipation should motivate us to live the kind of supernatural life that burdens and concerns us about the needs of others, moment by moment, day by day.

Bible Reading: John 14:27-31

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will meditate on the glory and beauty of my heavenly Father and my eternal home where I shall worship and have fellowship with my Lord throughout eternity. I will encourage loved ones, friends and strangers alike to prepare to go there also when their work on earth is done

Ray Stedman – Jacob I have Loved

Read: Romans 9:1-13

Just as it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated. Romans 9:13

Many have struggled over those words. But all the apostle is saying is that it is clear from this story that: First, ancestry does not make any difference (these boys had the same father), and second, what they will do in their lives — including the choices they will make — ultimately will not make any difference. Before they were able to make choices — either good or bad — God had said to their mother, The elder shall serve the younger. By that he implied, not only that there would be a difference in the nations that followed (the descendants of these two men) and that one would be in the place of honor and the other wouldn’t, but, also, that the personal destinies of these two men were involved as well. That is clear from the record of history. Jacob forevermore stands for all the things in men that God honors and wants them to have. Jacob was a scheming, rather weak character — not very lovable. Esau, on the other hand, was a rugged individualist — much more admirable when he was growing up than was his brother Jacob. But through the course of their lives, Jacob was the one who was brought to faith, and Esau was not. God uses this as a symbol of how he works.

I remember hearing of a man who said to a noted Bible teacher, I’m having trouble with this verse, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. How could God ever say, Esau have I hated? The Bible teacher said, I have trouble with that verse, too, but my problem is not quite the same. I have no trouble in understanding the words Esau have I hated. What bothers me is how God could ever say, Jacob have I loved! Read the life of Jacob and you will see why.

I admit that we must not read this word hated as though God actually disliked Esau and would have nothing to do with him and treated him with contempt. That is what we often mean when we say we hate someone. Jesus used this same word when he said, Except a man hate his father and mother and brother and sister and wife and children and houses and land, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple, (Luke 14:26). Clearly he is not saying that we have to treat our mothers and fathers and wives and children and our own lives with contempt and disrespect. He clearly means that he is to have pre-eminence. Hatred, in that sense, means to love less. We are to love these less than we love him.

God didn’t hate Esau, in the sense we usually employ that word. In fact, he blessed him. He made of him a great nation. He gave him promises which he fulfilled to the letter. What these verses imply is that God set his heart on Jacob, to bring him to redemption, and all Jacob’s followers would reflect the possibilities of that. As Paul has argued already, those followers were not all necessarily saved by that, by any means, but Jacob would forever stand for what God wants men to be, and Esau would forever stand as a symbol of what he does not like.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – Jacob I have Loved

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – The Missionary God

Read: Genesis 3:1-8

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day . . . (v. 8)

Adam and Eve turned away from the path of trust and obedience, and as a result, everything changed, starting with them. They became self conscious; for the first time they felt the emotion of shame (v. 7). They did know good and evil now, but good only as lost innocence, and evil by bitter experience.

From verse 7 onwards we are in our world, the world where thorns and thistles grow when we sow good seed, the world where daily life is a sweat drenched struggle against futility and frustration, the world where even the greatest joys are accompanied by pain, and where every hope filled birth ends in death. Adam and Eve didn’t quite realize all this yet, though they were starting to suspect that what they’d done wasn’t such a good idea.

But then God comes into the story. Adam and Eve heard him walking in the garden; what was that like, I wonder? However it happened, it means that God had come personally, looking for his lost children. The God of the Bible was on a mission, and the first missionary he sent into the world was himself. His mission of salvation began in the garden of Eden, but ultimately it would lead him into another garden–one with an empty tomb. If he weren’t this kind of God, the Bible would be a very short book. It would have ended at Genesis 3:7.

Thankfully, it doesn’t!


We bless you for being a missionary God.


Greg Laurie – Take a Risk

But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel.”—Acts 9:15

Saul had no idea what had just happened to him. After hearing the voice of Jesus on the Damascus Road, he fell to the ground, blinded by a searing light that penetrated the sun. Then he was led to the home of a man named Judas (no relation to Judas Iscariot).

Enter Ananias, the unsung hero. God told him in a vision,

“Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.” (Acts 9:11–12)

But Ananias had his doubts. He said, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name” (verses 13–14).

You can understand Ananias’ reticence. Saul was a notorious hunter of Christians. Saul had consented to Stephen’s murder. Yet God said, “Go.”

Do you know someone right now whom you cannot imagine ever becoming a Christian? That is what it was like when Saul of Tarsus came to Christ.

Sometimes God will put a burden on your heart. You will see someone, and there will be a burden from God that you ought to talk to that person. Of course, if God says go, we can say no. God said “Go” to Jonah, and he said no at first. But eventually he went, dragging his feet.

Are you going to be a Jonah or an Ananias? When the Lord says, “Go,” are you going to fight it? Or, will you be an Ananias? Just go. Do it. Take a risk.

Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Our Safety


“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8)

For many nights after the terrorists’ attacks on the World Trade towers, Leah used to lie awake for hours, because she was afraid. As soon as she snuggled under the covers in the darkness of her room, Leah imagined she was on one of those planes, and she could “see” the terrorists’ angry, hateful faces glaring at her. She just could not get them out of her mind.

After several sleepless nights, it finally occurred to Leah that she did not need to carry her burden of fear all by herself! She prayed to God that He would help her to trust Him with her future, and she prayed that He would take away her fears about the terrorists. It was comforting to leave her fright and worry at the feet of Jesus, knowing that He would be her Protector. Nothing in the world could happen without Him allowing it.

Sometimes we all have feelings of fear. But when we fight away our fear with God’s Word as our sword, we can be comforted, and we can rest.

God is in control of everything that happens in the world, and we can trust Him with our fears .

My Response:

» Do I have fears that I need to trust God with?

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Conduct and Character

Today’s Scripture: Hebrews 5:14

“The mature . . . have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”

The relationship between conduct and character is an intimate one. In the form of repeated actions over time, conduct produces character. That’s the teaching of 2 Peter 2:14 and Romans 6:19. But it’s also true that character determines actions. What we do, we become; what we are, we do.

Conduct is always feeding character, but character is also always feeding conduct. Paul’s experience while shipwrecked on the island of Malta furnishes a good example of this relationship. The islanders built the refugees a fire because of the rain and cold. Luke related in Acts 28 that Paul gathered a pile of brushwood, and, as he put it on the fire, a snake came out of the brushwood and fastened itself on Paul’s hand. Under the adverse circumstances of shipwreck, why would Paul have gone about gathering fuel for a fire built and tended by someone else? Why not just stand by the fire and warm himself? Because it was his character to serve (Acts 20:33-35; 1 Thessalonians 2:7-9). He’d learned well the lesson Jesus taught when he washed his disciples’ feet. Because it was Paul’s character to serve, he gathered the brushwood instinctively.

Because conduct determines character, and character determines conduct, it’s vitally important —extremely necessary —that we practice godliness every day. That’s why Peter said, “Make every effort to supplement your faith with . . . godliness” (2 Peter 1:5-6). There can be no letup in our pursuit of godly character. Every day that we’re not practicing godliness we’re being conformed to the world of ungodliness around us. Granted, our practice of godliness is imperfect and falls far short of the biblical standard. Nevertheless, let us press on to know Christ and to be like him. (Excerpt taken from The Fruitful Life)

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Every Day with God

Today’s Scripture: Exodus 25-27

My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing and make music with all my soul. – Psalm 108:1

Today’s passage in Exodus, describing the tabernacle and the Holy of Holies, is a reminder of all that God has done to make it possible for us to have fellowship with Him. In the tabernacle, the veil separated the holy place from the most holy place. And into that Holy of Holies went the high priest once a year. This veil was the very one that was torn from top to bottom when Jesus Christ died on the cross, indicating that the way now was open for the likes of you and me to enter into that close, intimate communion with God that for centuries was reserved for the high priest alone. It took the death of the Son of God to make that intimate fellowship possible.

Another special feature in the temple was a courtyard enclosed with hangings of the finest linens. The court was fifty yards long and twenty-five yards wide. This was the court David longed for and into which the people of God entered with praise and thanksgiving. The court could only hold a few worshipers. But thanks be to God, in the New Testament times the enclosure was taken down, and today there is room for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus.

Tomorrow, when your alarm goes off, remember that Jesus Christ died to make it possible for you to come directly into the presence of the Lord, a privilege that once was reserved for a special few. Thank God that today there is room for every heart that longs to enter the place of prayer.


Lord, thank You for that most precious of privileges–the priesthood of the believer, that gives me perpetual access to Your holy presence. Amen.

To Ponder

Many Christians are missing out on one of their greatest privileges as children of God–a daily quiet time with their heavenly Father.

BreakPoint –  The Election is Coming: And So is the Day After

Well, perhaps you’ve heard: there’s an election next week.

And I’ve never seen the nation or the Church more divided over politics. For the most part, evangelicals are angrily—and I do mean angrily—split over whether to vote for one of the two most disliked candidates in history, to vote third party, or whether to even vote at all.

The anxiety, the anger, and the vitriol are over the top. So with the election just a few days away, let’s take a breath and do a reality check.

First and foremost, the ultimate reality is this: Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. As I said recently on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly, this is not just a spiritual truth, it is the singular truth of the universe. The entire story of human history centers on Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Yes, we have two horrible candidates for the presidency.

Yes, Supreme Court seats are at stake. Yes, the Church is coming under enormous and fiendish pressure from all sides. But none of that, not an iota, changes the fact that Christ is risen. To be a Christian in this world means to place our ultimate hope in that incontrovertible fact, not in the electoral process, in our nation, or in anything else.

And second, even so, you need to vote. And here’s why. God has placed you and me in this country, in our particular state, in our particular community at this particular time. And as my fellow Focus guest Carrie Gordon Earle said on that same broadcast, we—unlike many of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world—have the opportunity to vote, and to use that vote to do good.

I can’t and won’t tell you how to vote for President. But not showing up at the ballot box is not an option for a believer. Besides the presidential race, there are Senate and House seats up for grabs. Don’t forget state representatives. And of course ballot initiatives in your area.

Continue reading BreakPoint –  The Election is Coming: And So is the Day After


There’s very good news in today’s Cultural Commentary. But you’ll have to look beyond the news to find it.

Today’s headlines are not helpful to our quest for encouragement: Life expectancy for Americans is declining. Seventy-four percent of Americans say the country is on the wrong track, up nearly 50 percent from 2012. As the political season grinds to a conclusion, one woman quoted by The Washington Post spoke for many: “All of my friends and family are so ready for the country to move beyond this election. Me, too. I’d rather feel hopeful than hopeless.”

To feel hopeful on this All Saints Day, don’t look to your culture. Instead, look to your church. Here’s why: a Harvard professor has shown that religious attendance will increase your health, happiness, and sense of purpose in life.

Tyler VanderWeele is professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. His research with Harvard colleagues indicates that attending religious services brings about better physical and mental health. Significantly better, in fact.

Adults who attend a religious service at least once a week have a much lower risk of dying over the next decade and a half. They are more optimistic and have lower rates of depression. Churchgoing protects against suicide and provides greater purpose in life. Attending religious services also increases the likelihood of a stable marriage and leads to greater charitable giving and civic engagement.

It’s especially noteworthy in our “spiritual but not religious” culture that general spirituality does not provide such benefits. As the author notes, “Research has shown that service attendance, rather than private spirituality or solitary practice, strongly predicts health. Something about communal religious participation appears to be essential” (his emphasis).