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Bitterness of Stolen Sweets

By |2024-04-21T02:33:13-04:00April 21st, 2024|

Thieves in Germany stole a truck’s refrigerated trailer filled with more than twenty tons of chocolate. The estimated worth of the stolen sweetness was eighty thousand dollars. Local police asked anyone who was offered large quantities of chocolate via unconventional channels to report it immediately. Surely those who stole the massive amount of sweets will be facing bitter and unsatisfying consequences if they’re caught and prosecuted!

Proverbs confirms this principle: “Food gained by fraud tastes sweet, but one ends up with a mouth full of gravel” (20:17). Things we acquire deceptively or wrongfully may seem to be sweet at first—seasoned with excitement and temporary enjoyment. But the flavor will eventually wear off and our deception will lead to our being left wanting and in trouble. The bitter consequences of guilt, fear, and sin can end up ruining our lives and reputations. “Even small children are known by their actions, [if] their conduct [is]really pure and upright” (v. 11). May our words and actions reveal a pure heart for God—not the bitterness of selfish desires.

When we’re tempted, let’s ask God to strengthen us and help us remain faithful to Him. He can help us look behind the short-term “sweetness” of giving in to temptation and guide us to carefully consider the long-term consequences of our choices.

Choices Matter

By |2024-04-17T02:33:11-04:00April 17th, 2024|

Pastor Damian’s schedule included hospital visits to two people nearing death who’d chosen two different life paths. In one hospital was a woman beloved by her family. Her selfless public service had endeared her to many. Other believers in Jesus had gathered around her, and worship, prayer, and hope filled the room. In another hospital the relative of a member of Pastor Damian’s church was also dying. His hardened heart had led to a hard life, and his disheveled family lived in the wake of his poor decisions and misdeeds. The differences in the two atmospheres reflected the contrasts in how each had lived.

Those who fail to consider where they’re headed in life often find themselves stuck in uncomfortable, undesirable, lonely places. Proverbs 14:12 notes that “there is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” Young or old, sick or well, wealthy or impoverished—it’s not too late to reexamine our path. Where will it lead? Does it honor God? Does it help or disrupt others? Is it the best path for a believer in Jesus?

Choices do matter. And the God of heaven will help us make the best choices as we turn to Him through His Son, Jesus, who said, “Come to me, . . . and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

God Alone Can Satisfy

By |2024-03-14T02:33:21-04:00March 14th, 2024|

A thousand dollars of food—jumbo shrimp, shawarma, salads, and more—was delivered to a homeowner. But the man wasn’t having a party. In fact, he didn’t order the smorgasbord; his six-year son did. How did this happen? The father let his son play with his phone before bedtime and the boy used it to purchase the expensive bounty from a restaurant. “Why did you do this?” the father asked his son, who was hiding under his comforter. The six-year-old replied, “I was hungry.” The boy’s appetite and immaturity led to a costly outcome. 

Esau’s appetite cost him a lot more than a thousand dollars. The story in Genesis 25 finds him exhausted and desperate for food. He said to his brother, “Let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (v. 29). Jacob responded by asking for Esau’s birthright (v. 31). The birthright included Esau’s special place as the firstborn son, the blessing of God’s promises, a double portion of the inheritance, and the privilege of being the spiritual leader of the family. Giving in to his appetite, Esau “ate and drank” and “despised his birthright” (v. 34).

When we’re tempted and desiring something, instead of letting our appetites lead us to costly mistakes and sin, let’s reach out to our heavenly Father—the One who alone satisfies the hungry soul “with good things” (Psalm 107:9).

Headlong into Danger

By |2023-10-22T02:33:27-04:00October 22nd, 2023|

In 1892, a resident with cholera accidentally transmitted the disease via the Elbe River to Hamburg, Germany’s entire water supply. Within weeks, ten thousand citizens died. Eight years earlier, German microbiologist Robert Koch had made a discovery: cholera was waterborne. Koch’s revelation prodded officials in large European cities to invest in filtration systems to protect their water. Hamburg authorities, however, had done nothing. Citing costs and alleging dubious science, they’d ignored clear warnings while their city careened toward catastrophe.

The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about those of us who see trouble yet refuse to act. “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precaution” (27:12 NLT). When God helps us see danger ahead, it’s common sense to take action to address the danger. We wisely change course (v. 11). Or we ready ourselves with appropriate precautions that He provides. But we do something. To do nothing is sheer lunacy. We can all fail to miss the warning signs, however, and careen toward disaster. “The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences” (v. 12 nlt).

In Scripture and in the life of Jesus, God shows us the path to follow and warns us of trouble we’ll surely face. If we’re foolish, we’ll barrel ahead, headlong into danger. Instead, as He leads us by His grace, may we heed His wisdom and change course. Winn Collier

A Choice

By |2023-10-07T02:33:07-04:00October 7th, 2023|

A few weeks after the death of a dear friend, I spoke with her mom. I was hesitant to ask how she was doing because I thought it was an inappropriate question; she was grieving. But I pushed aside my reluctance and simply asked how she was holding up. Her reply: “Listen, I choose joy.”


Her words ministered to me that day as I struggled to push beyond some unpleasant circumstances in my own life. And her words also reminded me of Moses’ edict to the Israelites at the end of Deuteronomy. Just before Moses’ death and the Israelites’ entrance into the promised land, God wanted them to know that they had a choice. Moses said, “I have set before you life and death. . . . Now choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19). They could follow God’s laws and live well, or they could turn away from Him and live with the consequences of “death and destruction” (v. 15).


We must choose how to live too. We can choose joy by believing and trusting in God’s promises for our lives. Or we can choose to focus on the negative and difficult parts of our journeys, allowing them to rob us of joy. It will take practice and relying on the Holy Spirit for help, but we can choose joy too—knowing that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28).

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