THE FIFTH DAY OF APRIL IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN The acknowledgement came slowly and with much hesitation, but the sequestered disciples finally said it: “The Lord is risen." Indeed (Lk. 24:34). This from Jesus’ hardcore survivors. Roughly ten dozen of them--if anyone is counting. Unlike other rabbinic clusters, this one includes women right alongside the men. To Jesus … [Read more...]


THE TWENTY-NINTH DAY OF MARCH IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN Click here for Part 1 We are thinking about three sentences in a context, of which John 3:16 is the second, central, and climactic sentence. The statement that God "so loved" does not describe the intensity or extent of his love (as if it said "s-o-o-o loved") but rather tells "how" God loved--it is the same … [Read more...]


THE TWENTY-SECOND DAY OF MARCH IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN We are familiar with Jesus' comforting words in John 3:16 about God's love and the believer's eternal life. But, as my preacher Jeff Christian noted recently, we often read or quote verse 16 in total isolation, are surprised to discover that the verse has a context, and are shocked to realize what that context … [Read more...]

Jesus’ personal prize and inheritance

DAY TWENTY-TWO OF FEBRUARY, YEAR OF GRACE TWENTY FIFTEEN A gracEmail subscriber writes: "The author of Hebrews says that Jesus "for the joy that was set before him endured the cross" (Heb. 12:2). What is that joy? Paul prayed for his converts to know "the riches of [God's] glorious inheritance in the saints" (Eph. 1:18). Is this saying what it sounds like? Are the saved themselves somehow a … [Read more...]

inspired scripture

A gracEmail subscriber writes: "I was wondering what you would say to the average person who was questioning how to believe in the innate infallibility of our biblical canon." * * * It seems to me both misguided and profitless to obsess about the precise canon of Scripture, or to become engrossed in hair-splitting definitions of infallibility, inerrancy and other such terms, especially if one … [Read more...]

out of chaos new world emerges

With the Flood, order reverts to chaos and creation is undone. Outside the Ark beneath the silent primordial ocean, the earth again is formless and empty of breathing life. Soon will come a new creation--as was the first, wakened by breath or wind of God. Like the first creation, it emerges step-by-orderly-step out of the primordial Deep, following the general pattern of the Six Days of Genesis … [Read more...]

GracEmail special

THE ASSIGNMENT The first rays of morning gradually illumined the volcanic mountains before me, and the cobblestone streets of Antigua glowed softly beneath my feet. It was August 2007, and I was in this picturesque Guatemalan village on professional retreat with my employer, the Lanier Law Firm of Houston, Texas. During this early morning walk, I was asking God for a new assignment -- something … [Read more...]

the virgin birth and more- 2

Life was not easy for Mary after that visit from Gabriel, the angel who told her that she would conceive a child. Her, a virgin--conceive? Humanly impossible. "How can these things be?" she had asked, quite literally. Since that day, it seemed to Mary, everyone else in Galilee had asked the same question of her--but in another tone of voice. After a while, she had learned to accept the clucking … [Read more...]


A recent gracEmail brought more than the usual number of responses, including the following comment from one reader about gracEmails in general. "I am so glad," she said, "you write these and send them." * * * Thank you, my friend! So am I. The first gracEmail (then still nameless) sailed into cyberspace seventeen years ago in 1996. My friend Rubel Shelly suggested that I shorten its length … [Read more...]


Christian theologians from all over are calling for a "big picture" story that takes the spotlight off us and shines it directly on God's enomous plan to redeem the whole world! In my book, THE DIVINE RESCUE, I tell what Max Lucado calls "'the sweetest of stories' -- God's relentless pursuit of his fallen people." With this book, says Max, "the drama is captured on paper." John Michael Talbot, the … [Read more...]