ODB: First Things First

When our granddaughter Sarah was very young, she told us she wanted to be a basketball coach like her daddy when she grew up. But she couldn’t be one yet, she said, because first she had to be a player; and a player has to be able to tie her shoelaces, and she couldn’t tie hers yet!First things first, we say. And the first thing in all of life is to know God and enjoy Him.Acknowledging and kno

ODJ: affected


Rachel, the daughter of fellow ODJ author Jeff Olson, is a young woman I love as if she were my own. Recently she completed an 8 month missions trip. During that time I became concerned when she contracted malaria while serving in a rural part of Kenya. Fortunately her health was restored after taking some strong medication. Rachel’s ministry for Jesus definitely caused her to be affected physic

ODB: Can't Do Everything

Four-year-old Eliana was helping her mom pick up some of Eliana’s things before bedtime. When Mommy told her to put away the clothes on her bed, Eliana hit her limit. She turned around, put her little hands on her hips, and said, “I can’t do everything!”Do you ever feel that way with the tasks God has called you to do? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with church involvement, witnessing, an

ODJ: saving little ones


Jenny grew up in a home where both parents engaged in extramarital affairs and were prone to violence. In this setting Jenny soon became emotionally and physically neglected—and vulnerable to others.

ODB: Who Owns My Lips?

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The difference between a compliment and flattery is often motive. A compliment offers genuine appreciation for a quality or action seen in another person. The goal of flattery is usually self-advancement through gaining the favor of someone else. Compliments seek to encourage; flattery attempts to manipulate.In Psalm 12, David lamented his society in which godly, faithful people had disappeared an

ODJ: paul's prayer


What personal prayers for yourself have you lifted up lately? Did you ask God for provision of needs, delivery from temptation or forgiveness of sin?

ODB: Broken Bones

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Years ago, I played collegiate soccer as a goalkeeper. It was more fun than I can describe here, but all that fun came at a hefty price—one I continue to pay today. Being a goalie means that you are constantly throwing your body into harm’s way to prevent the other team from scoring, often resulting in injuries. During the course of one season, I suffered a broken leg, several cracked ribs, a

ODJ: a song of hope


Fearful of its subversive text and implications, the Guatemalan government of the 1980s banned the public reading or singing from Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:47-55). It’s the poetic hymn Mary sang after the angel had announced that she would give birth to a baby from God. One might wonder how a tender song from sweet Mary about a little baby could possibly be a threat to powers of any political

ODB: Jesus' Eyes

We were in line at the ice cream store when I noticed him. His face bore the marks of too many fights—a crooked nose and some scars. His clothes were rumpled, though clean. I stepped between him and my children, using my back to erect a wall.The first time he spoke, I didn’t hear him clearly and so just nodded to acknowledge him. I scarcely made eye contact with him. Because my wife wasn’t w