Truly, you are a God who hides himself, O God of Israel, the Savior. Isaiah 45:15 (ESV)

Sounds like a game we loved to play when we were children – hide and seek. It was so much fun to run around expectantly looking behind trees and under bushes for our friends (or siblings) when we were “it.” When we finally discovered the “hiders,” there was always laughter and amazement at their clever hiding places.

Now here is Isaiah telling us that God hides himself. Could it be that God has a sense of humor? After all, Jesus was anointed with joy more than any of his companions (Hebrews 1:9). Actually, this God who hides himself is much more than that.

God’s treasures are so abundant, so vast, so marvelous that they are not always readily discerned. Let me explain. God has packed his Word with promises that assure us that he is able to do more than we can think or ask, but there are stipulations. We must seek him; we must believe; we must ask.

He sets out a promise, and we take it by faith. Remember, he has hidden himself. He wants us to believe him without seeing him, without touching or feeling him. We remember his faithfulness; we encourage ourselves in the Lord; and we walk out the promise, claiming it by faith. And there he is. In fact, he’s been there all the time, but we haven’t perceived him until by faith our eyes are opened.

Why would God hide himself? Why wouldn’t he just allow anyone, anytime, to come and claim all his treasures? He wants to develop that love relationship with us, and he wants us to walk by faith so that as this walk deepens, the treasure is no longer the blessing, the treasure is himself.

Father, we love you for who you are. Thank you for your patience with us as we grow and for the delightful prospect of abiding with you. AMEN.


…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. II Peter 3:18

At a teacher training orientation today one of the facilitators said that personal engagement with the Bible, God’s Word, was the single most important thing we can do for spiritual growth. Nothing else even comes close.

When we begin a daily discipline of reading the Bible, we can expect the Holy Spirit to teach us God’s truths, to point out and convict us of sin in our lives, to correct and rebuke us in wrongdoing, and to train us. We can also expect to be guided, to be encouraged, to be comforted, healed emotionally and spiritually and physically, spiritually nourished, instructed in life and relationships, learn business principles, and countless other wonders. And we can expect to grow.

But let’s face it: Bible reading is a discipline. It requires a commitment to take the time, to stop, to be intentional about getting into God’s presence through his Word. There really is no excuse for not reading the Bible. In our country there are 4.4 Bibles in the average household. 57% of Americans polled read the Bible four times a year, and only 26% of that group read the Bible at least four times a week. (American Bible Society) Is it any wonder that Christianity seems to be in decline?

Everyone has the same amount of hours in the day; everyone in our country has access to a Bible; everyone will experience growth by engaging with the Word. We cannot put ourselves in God’s presence without being transformed. Let’s stop making excuses and get regularly into the Word.

Heavenly Father, your Word is a lamp to our feet and light to our path. Where your light comes, darkness disappears. Cause us to hunger and thirst for you and your Word, and strengthen us to discipline ourselves to daily seek you in your Word. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.


And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 (NIV)

I was having a conversation yesterday with friends in a religious setting. One of them mentioned the need for being intentional in our walk with the Lord. I asked, “Isn’t everyone?” I was mildly surprised when they chorused together, “No.” That set me to thinking…

Intentionality is defined as “done by intention and design” and “done on purpose.” So I ask myself and you, Are we intentional in our walk with the Lord? Do we purposefully seek and choose God’s will above our own even down to the little daily sacrifices that are required in a disciple? Do our lives express the lordship of Jesus Christ or is spirituality an “add-on”?

I challenge you to look at the ways you are intentionally following Jesus today. Then look at the ways in which you indulge yourself. While our human nature may be weak and riddled with failure, we can submit to Christ asking him to constantly increase in us while helping the “me” in us to decrease. It’s up to us to decide whether or not we will be intentional. And then the Holy Spirit will grace us to become everything God wants us to be.

Father, thank you for the reminders your Holy Spirit gives us through friends. Help us to choose your will and your way more and more each day so that everyone sees more and more of you in us, your children. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.


[They returned,] strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14: 21, 22

Thanks to those of you who prayed for me and my team on our mission to Uganda. Every connection, every meeting, every session was touched by grace. As are the people of Uganda…

Uganda is a place filled with stories, having had more than its share of violence and sorrow. One of our Ugandan teammates shared his tale of being randomly arrested by Idi Amin’s soldiers along with some of his college friends. Joseph and his buddies were rounded up and taken to a military enclosure in Kampala, the capitol. They endured humiliation when they were told to close their eyes and lie face down and then ordered to roll around in the mud for the entertainment of their tormentors. Suddenly, shots rang out, and Joseph felt the spatter of warm blood from his friend’s body, but he dared not open his eyes.

Eventually, the soldiers lost interest in this sadistic activity and then prodded the young men to crawl on hands and knees over the muddy, rough surface of the military compound. For hours Joseph and his friends crawled until their hands and knees were raw flesh while the soldiers mocked and laughed. When Amin’s men finally had their fill, the students were pushed through the gate and told to leave, as unexpectedly as their apprehension.

Had the young men been afraid? Had they felt hatred for their oppressors? Joseph told us that he was traumatized after this (and other) incidents during the reign of the mad man Amin. And he and his fellow Ugandans had even more atrocities to endure at the hands of other despots. But instead of becoming embittered, Joseph determined to grow through these experiences and became an attorney involved in advocacy, human rights issues, and a champion of families and economic development for his country. He and so many other amazing Ugandans have taken the things that would have destroyed them and turned them into a culture for helping others.

The stories are unending just as suffering and violence around our world are unending. Let us pray for those who daily experience the pain of oppressive governments, famine, disease, and afflictions even as we give thanks for God’s mercy.

Heavenly Father, thank you for Joseph’s strong witness of your faithfulness and love. We pray for all those suffering around the world from oppression and violence. May your peace and protection be given and may we be faithful in our prayers and our support. In Christ’s name I pray. AMEN.