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Bible Insights

Have a Good Friday

Happy Good Friday

Today is Good Friday. Happy Good Friday! Seriously.

Today is the day we remember Jesus’ sacrifice so that we could be made right with God. It stands as the ultimate sacrifice to end all sacrifices.

For many people, Good Friday is a solemn day, in which we take time to gratefully recall how Jesus was mistreated, abused, and ultimately killed—for our benefit to make us right with Father God.

The intensity of his suffering is powerfully captured in Mel Gibson’s 2004 movie, The Passion of the Christ. If you’ve not seen it, today would be an ideal time to do so. And if you have seen it, today would be a perfect time to watch it again.

Fortunately, the story doesn’t end with Jesus dying on the cross or even dead and buried in the tomb.

In two days we will joyfully celebrate Easter, commemorating when Jesus overcame death, painting the picture of what is in store for all who follow him.

Easter, better called Resurrection Sunday, remembers Jesus defeating death by rising from the dead.

It is in knowing what happens next, that I can say, Happy Good Friday! Though it wasn’t a happy day for Jesus, it is a happy day for us.

Thank you Jesus for who you are and what you did to save us these many years ago.

Discover more about celebrating Jesus and his passion to save us in Peter’s new book, The Passion of Jesus. It is part of the Holiday Celebration Bible Study 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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Christian Living

Happy Birthday Jesus and Merry Christmas Too

Segregating the Two Sides of Christmas

Is Christmas an important holiday to you? I suspect you’ll say, “yes.” And if you follow Jesus, you may say Christmas is the most important holiday because it celebrates his birth some 2,000 years ago.

That’s when Jesus came to earth to live among us and die in our place so that we can live forever with him. Happy birthday Jesus.

As the saying goes, “Jesus is the reason for the season.”

Though Jesus is the basis behind Christmas, how much of our celebration focuses on him? I’m talking about Christmas trees, ornaments, lights, Santa Claus, reindeers, sleighs, eggnog, parties at work, and gatherings with family and friends.

Then there’s gift giving. Though it’s gotten out of hand, the idea of giving to others at Christmas does—or should—remind us that Jesus gave us the greatest gift of all: his life. But how many of us remember that?

Instead, we tune in to Christmas specials, watch Christmas movies, and sing Christmas songs. A few of them are even about Jesus.

When we strip away all the commercialization of Christmas and the man-made traditions we’ve grown to cherish, what do we have left?

A nativity. A baby laying in a manger with Mary and Joseph gathered around and an array of barnyard animals looking on. Amazed shepherds—and their sheep—stand nearby. Magi approach on their camels (never mind that they didn’t arrive until much later).

Happy Birthday Jesus

We may go to church on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. There we hope to celebrate Jesus and sing some Christmas songs that are actually about him.

I wonder what Jesus thinks of our Christmas traditions, the day once intended for our focus to shift exclusively to him, but which has gotten eerily misappropriated.

Whenever I wish someone “Merry Christmas,” it carries a God-honoring implication, but I doubt many people receive it in the way I intend.

Let’s remember the Christmas story in the gospel of Luke: “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10, NIV). Then check out “Linus Reminds Us What Christmas Is All About.”

We may never be able to reclaim Christmas as the spiritual celebration it once was. But we can reframe it to recapture its intent. Yes, we can continue to celebrate Christmas. But don’t let a secular celebration overshadow the reason behind it.

Let’s celebrate Jesus’s birthday with equal—or even better—fervor. We can even make him a birthday cake and sing Happy Birthday to him.

Happy birthday Jesus (and Merry Christmas too)!

Celebrate Christmas in a fresh way with The Advent of Jesus. It’s a forty-day devotional that prepares our hearts to celebrate the arrival of Jesus in an engaging read. Begin your Advent journey now and gain a greater sense of wonder for the season.

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.

Bogged Down Reading the Bible?

10 Essential Bible Reading Tips, from Peter DeHaan

Get the Bible Reading Tip Sheet: “10 Tips to Turn Bible Reading from Drudgery to Delight.”

​Enter your info and receive the free Bible Reading Tip Sheet and be added to Peter’s email list.

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Bible Insights

Happy Thanksgiving

What Does Giving Thanks Mean to You?

Today, in the United States, we celebrate Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving! But wherever you live, take time to give thanks for all we have.

In the US, however, Thanksgiving Day has morphed into a day of eating too much, watching football on television, and starting Christmas shopping in earnest.

No matter where you live or what you’re doing today, take a moment to thank God for what he’s done in your life over the past year and how he’s cared for you.

As we do this, we might want to consider what the Bible says about thanksgiving.

The word “thanksgiving” occurs twenty-two times in the Bible (thirty, if you include the headings that were added later).

  • Leviticus mentions offerings of thanksgiving.
  • In Ezra and Nehemiah, there is much thanksgiving as the people return to their homeland and rebuild the city.
  • Of course, Psalms uses the word, too.
  • Even the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah, which have little to celebrate, both mention thanksgiving, albeit as a future event.
  • Lastly, many of Paul’s letters include thanksgiving in them.

That’s a lot of thanksgiving to consider!

Wherever you live in the world, may you and your family have a happy Thanksgiving!

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.

Bogged Down Reading the Bible?

10 Essential Bible Reading Tips, from Peter DeHaan

Get the Bible Reading Tip Sheet: “10 Tips to Turn Bible Reading from Drudgery to Delight.”

​Enter your info and receive the free Bible Reading Tip Sheet and be added to Peter’s email list.

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Peter DeHaan News

The Advent of Jesus Audiobook

New Format Now Available

The audiobook for The Advent of Jesus is now available. In addition to audiobook, it is also available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover formats. The audiobook is auto-narrated by Maxwell.

The Advent of Jesus is a holiday devotional for Christians who want to prepare their hearts to worship and celebrate with a new passion. Begin your Advent journey now and gain a greater sense of amazement for the season.

Audiobook Sample

Listen to a sample of the audiobook.

The Advent of Jesus is book one in the Holiday Celebration Bible Study Series.

The Advent of Jesus audiobook is now available from GooglePlay, Apple Books, and Kobo, with more outlets being added.

Get your copy of The Advent of Jesus today.

Book Trailer

Discover more about celebrating Jesus and his birth in Peter’s book, The Advent of Jesus. It is book one in the Holiday Celebration Bible Study Series.

Get your copy of The Advent of Jesus today.

Celebrate Christmas in a fresh way with The Advent of Jesus. It’s a forty-day devotional that prepares our hearts to celebrate the arrival of Jesus in an engaging read. Begin your Advent journey now and gain a greater sense of wonder for the season.

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

Goals for Fathers

Four Action Items to Guide Dads to Raise Great Children

Making a baby doesn’t make a male a father. Not really. Helping to raise the children they produce is what truly makes a male a man. Here are four goals for fathers to guide us into being the best dad we can be.

Be Present

In the United States, too many children do not live with their biological fathers. This must change.

The first of our goals for fathers is to be present in our children’s lives. Ideally this means living with them and their mothers. Though a few fathers have no control over this, most do. Regardless, fathers must be present in the lives of their children to whatever degree possible.

Be Engaged

Presence is a great start for dads, but it’s just the beginning.

The next of our goals for fathers is to be engaged with our children. This means spending time with them. Not just in the same room but interacting with them. This may mean playing with them, talking with them, or encouraging them. We can teach and model life skills to them as we do chores and work with them around the house.

As children become older, their desire for independence grows. But this doesn’t mean fathers shouldn’t seek to engage with their kids. Just because they become teenagers, doesn’t give us a pass. Continue to be present and engaged in their lives. Even if they complain about it a bit, they’ll secretly be glad we care.

Be Intentional

As we’re present and engaged in our kids’ lives, seek to be intentional. This is the third of our goals for fathers.

Though not everything needs to be a teachable moment or a building block to profound, lifelong transformation, we should look for and plan for significant opportunities to prepare our children for their future.

Sometimes the groundwork to provide an intentional moment will fall flat. Yet other times opportunities for intentionality will present themselves when we don’t expect it. We must be ready to adjust our plans to capitalize on these moments. They may never come along again, and we may never get a second chance.

Being intentional in both big things and small things matters. Not everything need be a monumental, daylong extravaganza. Intentionality can also occur in small moments to produce a lasting impact.

Be Available

The fourth of our goals for fathers is to be available to their kids. It’s saying yes whenever possible. It’s being willing to set our plans aside when they ask for help. If we say no too often, we risk that they’ll stop asking. And then we’ve lost our chance to influence them and prepare them for their future.

Perfection Isn’t Required

Achieving these four goals for fathers is challenging, increasingly so as we move through the list. Yet we shouldn’t let the difficulty overwhelm us. Only our heavenly father is the perfect dad, which shows us as his imperfect followers—and fathers.

When it comes to being a successful father, we will make mistakes. We will falter. Yet with diligence we’ll succeed more often than we fail. And that’s what our kids need and what they desire.

Successful fathers are present, engaged, intentional, and available. You can do it!

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.

Bogged Down Reading the Bible?

10 Essential Bible Reading Tips, from Peter DeHaan

Get the Bible Reading Tip Sheet: “10 Tips to Turn Bible Reading from Drudgery to Delight.”

​Enter your info and receive the free Bible Reading Tip Sheet and be added to Peter’s email list.

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Christian Living

Happy Mother’s Day

Be Sure to Celebrate Your Mom Today and Every Day

May we wish our moms, a happy Mother’s Day!

In my book Women of the Bible, I explore the lives of biblical women, celebrating their lives and their contribution to the world. Their example can inform our faith journey.

I conclude the book with the chapter “Everyone Has a Mom.”

Here is what I wrote:

Though the men in the Bible far outnumber the women, this isn’t a reflection of God’s priorities but of man’s perversion of God’s created order.

Without these women, the biblical narrative would be much shorter and far less significant. Because of their lives and their actions, we are inspired, encouraged, motivated, and in a few cases, warned.

Beyond them and their example, we know that everyone in the Bible, both male and female, has a mom. These moms give birth to their children, nurture them, and usher them into adulthood. They mostly do this in obscurity.

Nevertheless, without these moms giving life to their kids, we would not have their children to read about and learn from. Without these moms our understanding of God would be much different.

Last, you and I have a mom too. Along with our dad, we have her to thank for giving us life. She played a huge role in who we are today.

Have you thanked your mom for the gift of life? If she’s no longer alive, perhaps you can write her a love letter of appreciation.

Thank you, Mom!

[Discover more about moms in Ephesians 6:2–3 and 1 Thessalonians 2:7–8.]

May we celebrate our moms today—and every day.

We wouldn’t be here without them, and we wouldn’t be who we are without their influence in our lives.

To my mom and all mothers everywhere, I salute you.

Happy Mother’s Day!


Learn about other biblical women in Women of the Bible, available in e-book, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook.

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

Let’s Celebrate Resurrection Sunday

Instead of the Confusing Messages about Easter, Focus on Jesus Rising from the Dead

On Resurrection Sunday—more commonly known as Easter—let’s place our emphasis completely on Jesus. After he died as the ultimate sin sacrifice for all humanity, he proved his power over death by rising from the dead.

He is alive! Though dead for three days, he didn’t stay in the grave.

Resurrected Jesus

Thank you, Jesus, for who you are and what you did. Though we should rightly celebrate you every day, may we do so with even greater abandon on Resurrection Sunday.

By abandon, I mean wild, impertinent, and uninhibited celebration. The absence of restraint.

Yet restraint, albeit with a smile, is what most Resurrection Sunday celebrations look like—at least the ones I’ve been to throughout my life. Only one church turned the day into an unabashed celebration of Jesus.

Not Easter

Sadly, too many churches don’t even call it Resurrection Sunday. They use the more familiar label of Easter. Easter, of course, stands as an appropriate term for this religious holiday.

Secular society, however, has co-opted this special day, removing its spiritual significance, and replacing it with a consumerism mentality. We’ve seen this happen with Christmas, and the same inappropriate transformation is occurring with Easter.

Many churches unwittingly buy into this by incorporating secular vestiges of Easter into their services, passing out Easter eggs, chocolate candies, and colorful stuffed animals often in the shape of bunnies.

And don’t try to bridge the spiritual and secular with a hunk of chocolate molded into Jesus’s image. Yep, such as thing exists.

Instead, let’s stop calling the day Easter and start calling it Resurrection Sunday. This is the surest way to refocus our attention to where it needs to be and away from distractions of secular society.

Over the years, I’ve published five posts about Easter. I looked at what the Bible says about Easter and it’s true meaning so we can have a happy Easter and celebrate it as a spiritual holiday, before it loses all meaning.

Thank You Jesus

Jesus should be the reason we celebrate Easter. Jesus is the reason we celebrate Resurrection Sunday. He died for our sins and proved his authority to do so by rising from the dead. He is alive! Yes, Jesus is alive!

Celebrate Resurrection Sunday

May we celebrate Jesus’s victory over death with full, unashamed abandon on Resurrection Sunday and every other day too.

Thank you, Jesus, for who you are and what you did. We owe you everything. May we never forget that and never stopped celebrating you, our resurrected Savior.

Celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and his return to heaven in The Victory of Jesus. The Victory of Jesus is another book in Peter DeHaan’s beloved Holiday Celebration Bible Study Series. Get your copy 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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Peter DeHaan News

New Book: The Victory of Jesus

A Devotional Celebrating Easter, the Ascension, and Pentecost

Jesus’s death wasn’t the end. In fact, it was just the beginning.

THE VICTORY OF JESUS is a 50-day Bible study for Christians looking to skip the fluff of a typical devotional without getting bogged down by a lot of academic pomp.

If you’re looking for a devotional that will help you draw closer to God, nourishing your soul as well as your mind, THE VICTORY OF JESUS is for you.

With insightful wisdom and heart-felt teachings that offer lasting spiritual encouragement, devoted Christian author Peter DeHaan takes you on a spiritual journey to explore the biblical events immediately following the Resurrection of Jesus.

Join the disciples as they sit down with the Messiah for a meal of fresh fish after his miraculous triumph over death. Witness the awe-struck reactions of the two disciples who meet a risen Christ on the road to Emmaus. Walk with the apostle Peter as the Savior he denied offers him love, forgiveness, and a powerful new mission.

From the founder of the A Bible a Day website, THE VICTORY OF JESUS inspires Christians from all backgrounds. This easy-to-read, accessible Bible study is perfect for families, individuals, and small groups who want to keep the miracle of Easter (and the events that followed) fresh in your minds and in your hearts throughout the entire year.

If you’re looking for a relevant perspective on biblical events instead of the same old stories rehashed and served up the same old way, buy THE VICTORY OF JESUS and celebrate the Resurrection like never before.

Celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and his return to heaven in The Victory of Jesus. The Victory of Jesus is another book in Peter DeHaan’s beloved Holiday Celebration Bible Study Series. Get your copy 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.

Categories
Christian Living

May This Year Be Your Best Year Yet

Celebrating the New Year

Just as I often make a post for Christmas, I do the same for New Year’s Day. These posts usually address making New Year’s resolutions. But instead of resolutions, why not work to make this year your best year yet. With God’s help, you can.

Here are some of my past posts about New Year’s Day. Note the recurring theme on making resolutions—a practice I don’t follow and don’t encourage.

Check out these posts to see why:

Let’s not resolve to make this coming year better. Though we could strive on our own power to make it happen, we can’t ensure the outcome. The future is outside our control.

Yes, we can take steps to best position ourselves to make the most of whatever happens, but that doesn’t guarantee success.

What should we do then, give up and accept fate? Of course not.

We should do what we can now to establish the best possible foundation for our future—and trust God with the rest.

We can ask him to bless us—not because we deserve it or have earned it, but because he loves us. We can pray that he will guide us into making good decisions. We can seek him for strength to replace unhealthy habits with good practices.

When we do that, we’re poised to make this our best year yet. That’s what I’m going to do. It’s my approach every year.

 As we move into the days, weeks, and months ahead, may God bless us, guide us, and keep us safe. May it be our best year ever.

From me to you, I’ll end with this blessing: May you have a happy new year, and may this year be your best year yet.

Amen!

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.

Categories
Christian Living

May You and Your Family Have a Blessed Christmas

Make Jesus the Focus of Your Celebration

With Christmas falling on Sunday this year, I planned to wish you a blessed Christmas on my weekly Sunday post. Alas, I’ve already wished you a merry Christmas in the past—three times.

So, instead of repeating what I’ve already written or reprising an old post, I’ll give you a round-up of some of my top Christmas posts from the past.

May you receive them as my Christmas gift to you and carry them with you throughout the day—and the year. May you have a blessed Christmas.

Not surprisingly, I write about Christmas a lot. Over the years, I’ve mentioned it in over 70 posts.

As you celebrate Jesus this year, may you have a safe, happy, and blessed Christmas.

Celebrate Christmas in a fresh way with The Advent of Jesus. It’s a forty-day devotional that prepares our hearts to celebrate the arrival of Jesus in an engaging read. Begin your Advent journey now and gain a greater sense of wonder for the season.

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.