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Peter DeHaan News

New Book: I Hope in Him

40 Insights about Moving from Despair to Deliverance through the Life of Job

Discover how to have encouraging confidence, persevering faith, and unshakable trust, even when you’re in the depths of unimaginable turmoil.

Job’s story is a hard one to understand. He faces numerous tragedies. He endures gut-wrenching losses. How does a godly man survive such awful circumstances?

I Hope in Him: 40 Insights about Moving from Despair to Deliverance through the Life of Job

This 40-day book of Job devotional will help you discover how Job’s story offers redemption and hope for even the most discouraged. When Job loses everything, including his family, possessions, and health, he refuses to reject God. Job’s story reveals to us who God is and how we can place our trust in His promises.

In I Hope in Him, you’ll be inspired to embrace a lasting hope and triumphant confidence in God, regardless of your situation. This impactful resource will remind you that whatever evil our enemy can concoct, God can overcome it. No matter what you’re going through, He is always enough.

In I Hope in Him, you’ll learn how to:

  • Trust God more, even when you don’t understand life’s circumstances
  • Worship God in the middle of your personal storm
  • Cling to hope in suffering
  • Listen to God’s voice through all circumstances
  • Heal from your grief and grow in your faith, no matter what you’ve been through

I Hope in Him offers 40 succinct readings that will guide you through Job’s story of victorious perseverance. It will help you focus on God’s enduring power over your circumstances.

As you study Job’s faithfulness in the middle of tragedy, you’ll learn how to embrace the unending peace, comfort, and hope of the Almighty during life’s trials. In addition, each devotional is accompanied by a thoughtful application question and additional reading selections from God’s Word. A perfect devotional for women, men, or small groups.

Written by seasoned Bible teacher and author, Peter DeHaan, each day’s message will challenge you to see Job’s story from a fresh perspective, learning to find purpose in your pain and victorious hope to endure the suffering of life.

If you’re willing to trust in God when life isn’t fair, then read I Hope in Him and discover the comfort of God’s promises today.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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52 Churches

Greeting Well at Church or Not at All

Too often one person made the difference between us feeling welcomed or ignored, forming our perceptions of the church. Greeting well occurs at three times: before, during, and after the service.

Consider these two discussion questions:

1. The pre-service greeting forms a first impression, while a post-service greeting provides the impression people leave with. 

How can you better engage with visitors before and after your service?

2. With interaction during the service it’s critical to address people you don’t know. Then introduce them to your friends. 

How can you interact with visitors more effectively during the service to help them feel welcomed?

[See the prior set of questions or start at the beginning.]

Get your copy of 52 Churches and The 52 Churches Workbook today, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

The Bible Says to Put Others First

Do Not Seek Your Own Good, But What’s Best for Others

We live in a narcissistic, self-centered world. We put ourselves first and care only about what’s in our best interest. Too many people live their life with the attitude that “it’s all about me.” In doing so, they miss so much. Instead, we should put others first.

Let me share a secret: It’s not all about us. It should be about everyone else. When we put others before us, we help them and enrich ourselves in the process.

Paul reminds the church in Corinth about this. He tells them directly, “No one should seek their own good, but the good of others” (1 Corinthians 10:24, NIV).

Pick one thing you can do for others and then do it. Click To Tweet

While this can go to extremes, most people have no worry about that.

On an airplane, for example, the instructions say that if the oxygen masks drop to put yours on first, then help your neighbor. If you don’t, you might pass out before you can help others in need. Then everyone suffers.

I also read of a family so intent on feeding their starving neighbors that some of them starved themselves to death in the process.

No, self-preservation is crucial, but beyond that, put others first. The Bible says to. What’s this look like? It’s up for each of us to decide.

Ideas to Put Others First

  • It could be as simple as standing aside to let someone get in line ahead of us.
  • It might be giving someone a ride even though it will make us late. (What if we’re on our way to church?)
  • How about giving up a seat on the bus and standing?
  • Perhaps this means mowing our neighbor’s lawn even though ours needs attention.
  • Should we take the last piece of pizza or let someone else have it?
  • What about walking so someone else can use our car?
  • Even more bold, how about giving someone our car because he or she needs it more.

We can do many things to seek the good of others, so many that it might overwhelm. But instead of letting the magnitude of options paralyze us into inaction, pick one thing to do for others and then do it.

Doing good for others is the right thing to do.

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is 1 Corinthians 8-10, and today’s post is on 1 Corinthians 10:24.]

Read more in Peter’s book, Love is Patient (book 7 in the Dear Theophilus series).

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Going Home

We Should Embrace Our Homecoming to Eternity

After writing his psalms of praise to God, Isaiah continues the positivity by looking forward to the day when his people will receive deliverance from their enemies, about them going home.

Though the people view this as a physical rescue, many people today understand it as a spiritual one. In both cases we look forward to the time when we go home, either in body or in spirit.

Three times in Isaiah 27, he says, “in that day,” referring to God’s future rescue of his people, of them finally going home.

Each time, he uses this phrase to introduce a section of this prophecy, with the second part of three being the longest and most poetic. But it’s in the last section that we find a most encouraging proclamation.

On this long-anticipated day of deliverance, the trumpet call will reverberate throughout the land. God’s people living in exile will return home. Some have been languishing in Assyria, which conquered Israel in the middle of Isaiah’s ministry and deported many Israelites to Assyria.

Others sit exiled in Egypt. Though Jeremiah ends up there, it won’t be for another 150 years. His own people will drag him there as they flee Judea to avoid capture by the Babylonians.

It could be that Isaiah is looking forward in time, prophetically referring to Jeremiah and his crew. Or it could be that others have already fled to Egypt to escape the Assyrians. Regardless, this prophecy looks forward to when it’s time for them to return home.

When they come home, they’ll worship God on his holy mountain in Jerusalem. Imagine living far from home.

Then after years of longing to return to the country of your birth and your youth, you finally get a chance to go. And in this great homecoming, you worship God as the giver of this gift: your repatriation, both physically and spiritually.

In our spiritual homecoming, however, we’ll return to our Creator, spending eternity with him in heaven. What a glorious reunion our going home will be. We anticipate this in great expectation, and increasingly so for people as they grow older and their time to go home draws near.

A more tangible understanding of this homecoming appears in one of Jesus’s parables. We often call this The Parable of the Prodigal Son or The Lost Son.

After turning his back on his father and squandering his share of the inheritance on carnal pleasures, this young man realizes he needs to return home and seek his father’s forgiveness.

He slinks back in shame over what he has done with his life and how he disrespected his dad. He plans to grovel and ask for the smallest of mercies.

In our spiritual homecoming, we’ll return to our Creator and spend eternity with him in heaven. Click To Tweet

Meanwhile, his father has been scanning the horizon, watching for his son’s return for a long time. As soon as he spots him, Dad runs out to meet his boy, embracing him and kissing him. The father dismisses his boy’s request for forgiveness as irrelevant.

Instead, Dad reinstates his son as a member of the family, an heir to all he has. He throws a massive party in celebration of his boy’s return.

So it will be when we see Jesus in heaven, after the end of our time here on earth.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Isaiah 25-27 and today’s post is on Isaiah 27:13.]

In our spiritual homecoming, we’ll return to our Creator and spend eternity with him in heaven.

Read more about the book of Isaiah in For Unto Us: 40 Prophetic Insights About Jesus, Justice, and Gentiles from the Prophet Isaiah available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Jesus Christ or Jesus the Christ?

Celebrate Jesus as the Messiah and Savior

In our current usage today, many people talk (and think) that Christ is Jesus’s last name, as in Jesus Christ. Though the identifier of Jesus Christ does appear in most of the New Testament, it didn’t start out that way.

Christ

The label of Christ does not appear at all in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, arguably the three oldest books in the New Testament. In addition, the name Christ only appears four times in the book of John, the fourth biography of Jesus. (And of course, the word Christ doesn’t appear at all in the Old Testament.)

Yet Christ is mentioned in every other book in the New Testament, aside from 3 John. Some versions of the Bible include a footnote for Christ, explaining that it means Messiah.

And the dictionary definition of Christ uses Messiah to explain what Christ means.

Messiah

Instead of using the name Christ, the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke use Messiah exclusively. John also predominantly uses that label. Messiah also appears throughout the book of Acts (which Dr. Luke also wrote.) After that Messiah only appears in three other books in the New Testament (Romans, 1 Peter, and Revelation). In this we see a biblical shift from using the label of Messiah to Christ.

In this instance, the dictionary entry for Messiah defines it as Jesus. It also notes that Messiah is usually used with the, as in the Messiah. Another definition for Messiah is Savior.

Jesus the Messiah

In addition to using the label Messiah, Matthew and Mark also refer to him as “Jesus the Messiah” (Matthew 1:18 and Mark 1:1, NIV). Matthew also writes “Jesus who is called the Messiah” (Matthew 1:16, Matthew 27:17, and Matthew 27:22, NIV).

The Christ

In two of the instances where the Christ appears in the Bible, it’s with the explanation that “Jesus is the Christ” (1 John 2:22 and 1 John 5:1, NIV). John also parenthetically notes that the Messiah means the Christ (John 1:41).

Jesus Christ

After not being used at all in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and appearing only twice in the book of John, the label of Jesus Christ shows up often in the rest of the books of the New Testament, in Acts through to Revelation (except for 3 John).

Moving from Messiah to Christ

In looking at the New Testament text, we see a transition taking place, with earlier writers referring to Jesus as the Messiah and later writers referring to him as the Christ. Just as we might say “Jesus, the Messiah,” we could also rightly say “Jesus, the Christ.” But it seems Jesus, the Christ was conveniently shortened to Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah Click To Tweet

Why It Matters

You may wonder why this trivial discussion about Jesus Christ versus Jesus the Christ matters. It’s simply to encourage us to not mindlessly say “Jesus Christ” as if it’s his full name.

Instead, we must remind ourselves that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. That he is our Messiah and our Savior.

May we always be mindful of this truth.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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52 Churches

Visiting Churches Is Lot Like Dating

Visiting churches seems a lot like dating. It’s like dating churches.

Consider these two discussion questions:

1. Church websites and social media pages are like a dating profile, with the best photos—sometimes out-of-date or misleading—and featuring positive traits while ignoring flaws. 

What changes should you make online and in printed materials to present an accurate representation of your church?

2. If visiting a church is like dating, joining a church might correspond to marriage. When you join a church, you commit and stop seeing other churches. 

What can you do to help first-timers return, form meaningful connections, and commit to your faith community?

[See the prior set of questions, the next set, or start at the beginning.]

Get your copy of 52 Churches and The 52 Churches Workbook today, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

How and Where Do We Devote Ourselves to the Work of the Lord?

When We Do God’s Work, Our Labor Is Not in Vain

As Paul winds down his first letter to the church in Corinth, he gives a simple command, followed by some encouragement.

He says for them—and us, by extension—to remain diligent doing God’s work. Though we may not see the results of what we do or at least not realize the full outcomes of our actions, we will not toil needlessly. Our labor will produce results.

While this command to give God 100 percent is simple in concept, the implementation presents a challenge.

What does it mean to give ourselves fully to God’s work?

Do we need to be in ministry or have a full time job at a Christian service company to do God’s work?

Can we do God’s work in a regular job? Can we do God’s work at school? At home? For our neighbors? With our family? I think the answer is “Yes.”

That brings up the next question.

Give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, (1 Corinthians 15:58). Click To Tweet

What is God’s work?

I’m not being flippant. It’s a serious question.

Is the Lord’s work being a pastor or missionary? Is God’s work volunteering at church? How about helping at the local service organization?

Can we do the work of the Lord by how we live our life?

While we can use words to tell others about him, we may be able to speak more effectively if we let our actions talk for us. Isn’t that God’s work, too?

Though we can debate what it is to do the Lord’s work and in what setting we should do it, don’t let these details get in the way of the command to “give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord” for when we do, our “labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV).

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is 1 Corinthians 14-16, and today’s post is on 1 Corinthians 15:58.]

Read more in Peter’s book, Love is Patient (book 7 in the Dear Theophilus series).

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

The Branch of the Lord

Let God Prune Us So We Can Produce More Fruit

Isaiah looks forward to the day when the Branch of the Lord will appear. Branch, with a capital B, is a euphemism for Jesus, who will come to rescue God’s people.

Isaiah says this Branch will emerge as awesome and full of wonder, which is an understatement considering all that Jesus did, is doing, and will do. Jesus will produce fruit for the people. They will take pride in what the Branch produces and glory in it.

Jesus, the Branch of the Lord, will come for us, spiritually feeding us with his fruit: beautiful, wondrous fruit, the source of pride and glory.

Just as Jesus is the Branch, we are his branches, that’s branches with a lowercase b. We are branches connected to the Branch (which John calls the “true vine”).

But being a branch connected to the Branch isn’t enough. Having a mere connection with Jesus is insufficient. When we’re connected with the Branch of Jesus, we must bear fruit. And we must produce good fruit. That’s what Father God, our Papa, expects from us.

If we produce no fruit, God, our gardener, will cut off our branch. Yikes! He’ll lop us off. We’re not worthy of remaining connected to Jesus if we produce no fruit—if we do nothing for him. That’s a sobering truth.

We can’t pledge our allegiance to God and then coast through life unchanged. Click To Tweet

Having a connection with Jesus isn’t enough if it produces nothing. We can’t pledge our allegiance to him and then coast through life unchanged. He expects us to produce fruit because of our connection to him.

To further the analogy, every branch that produces fruit will eventually face pruning. This isn’t punishment. Instead, it’s a beneficial process that will allow us to produce even more fruit.

While an untrimmed tree will yield some fruit, a tree pruned properly will produce much more. God, our gardener, will prune us so that we can make even more fruit for him.

But to do this we must remain with God, connected to Jesus—the Branch of the Lord—and bearing fruit. Else we risk him cutting off our branch, throwing us into the fire, and having the flames consume us.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Isaiah 1-4 and today’s post is on Isaiah 4:2.]

Read more about the book of Isaiah in For Unto Us: 40 Prophetic Insights About Jesus, Justice, and Gentiles from the Prophet Isaiah available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

Start Each Day with God

Make Spending Time with the Almighty a Priority

God deserves our best, not whatever’s left over at the end of the day—if anything. This may be why he told the Israelites to give to him their first fruits, the first of their harvest (Exodus 23:16). That’s why we should start each day with God, with a focus on our Lord.

Here are some ideas to start each day with God.

Seek Him Before You Get Up

Before I leave my bed each morning, I turn my focus to God. I thank him for what happened yesterday, for the sleep that rejuvenated me, and the potential of the day ahead. I begin my day with a focus on him, which sets the foundation for what happens next.

Give Him Your Day and Invite Him into It

Before I arise, I thrust my arms into the air in a physical display of worship, giving the Almighty my day and inviting him into it. And the days when this feels the most difficult to do are the days when I need it the most.

Thoughts of trying to navigate the day without my Lord’s help are foolish.

Morning Prayers

At this point I’ve thanked God and prayed for my day. I’m up and have used the mindless task of shaving to shake the slumber from my soul. I’ve done some basic exercises and am (mostly) alert.

I now ask for God’s blessings on my family, for future generations of my family, and those closest to me. This prepares me for what follows.

Read and Study His Word

Next, I spent time reading and studying his Word. Sometimes this is part of a regular reading plan. I often make notes about key insights the Holy Spirit reveals to me from that passage. Though most people do this in a journal, I do it on my computer, organizing my observations by book, chapter, and verse. This way I can merge my thoughts for the day with observations from prior readings.

Other times my Bible reading and studying is in preparation for the book I’ll be working on that day. If I intend to write about a certain passage, I want to first fix my thoughts on it and meditate on it.

I’ve been doing morning Bible reading the longest and it’s ingrained into my day. It’s a lifelong habit that I formed. Only rarely do events distract me from it. I invest about fifteen minutes—though sometimes more—each morning focusing on Scripture.

This action is essential for me to best start my day with God.

Then Take Him Throughout Your Day

With these prerequisites complete, I feel ready to move into my plans for the day. But when I skimp on them, it’s not the best way to start each day with God.

End Your Day with Reflection and Thanksgiving

Though the focus of this post is about how we start each day with God, in some respects this effort begins the night before on how we end each day.

As I snuggle into bed my goal is to thank God for the day and what he enabled me to do. I pray for his blessing on my sleep and that even in my dreams I will hold every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5).

This is what I struggle with the most. This isn’t because of a lack of will, but because some nights I fall asleep before I can take this step, or I slip into slumber halfway through.

In case I missed doing this or fell short, that’s why I try to begin the next day by thanking God for the prior one.

We should start each day with God and give him our best. He deserves nothing less and there’s nothing we need more. Click To Tweet

Start Each Day with God

We should start each day with God and give him our best. He deserves nothing less and there’s nothing we need more. Though I don’t always do this as fully as I’d like to, this is how I try to start each day with God.

I pray that you have a regular rhythm for your day that begins with and focuses on our Lord. And if not, use these ideas to encourage you to move forward and place your focus on the Almighty as you begin each day.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Bridging the Sacred-Secular Divide: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Peter DeHaan News

New Book: Return to Me

40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope from the Minor Prophets

If you’ve ever found the minor prophets confusing or irrelevant, then this devotional Bible study is for you.

The minor prophets may not seem like they have much to offer our modern world. But as you reflect on their themes of hope, faithfulness, and forgiveness, you’ll discover they point us to a message of turning from old ways and moving forward in faith and obedience.

Return to Me: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope from the Minor Prophets

In Return to Me, you’ll study all of the minor prophets, including Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. You’ll uncover how God’s purpose reveals his plan over history and points us toward the One who gives us eternal hope: Jesus Christ.

In Return to Me, you’ll receive:

  • 40 days of devotionals covering all twelve prophets
  • Inspiring biblical lessons to wake up your faith
  • Hope and inspiration to discover how the prophets’ words apply to you today

Enjoy a flexible format that won’t overwhelm. Perfect for individuals or groups.

Return to Me is an ideal forty-day devotional Bible resource for women, men, and couples. Written by seasoned Bible teacher and author, Peter DeHaan, each day’s message is a short, yet thought-provoking reading perfect for your quiet time. It includes a challenging application question and additional Bible passages to enhance your study.

Immerse yourself in the discovery of key themes from the minor prophets, no matter where you are on your spiritual journey. God’s invitation to return to him is for you.

Get Return to Me today and be refreshed by its relevant themes of forgiveness, faith, and hope.

[Return to Me was originally published as Dear Theophilus Minor Prophets.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.