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Tom Felten

Tom Felten

Tom and his wife Lynn and have three sons, two daughters-in-law, and two Chinese “sons” who have been part of his family for many years. When not serving at Our Daily Bread Ministries as the executive editor of Our Daily Bread, you might find Tom spending time with his family, serving with people and music at his church, serving at Upper Peninsula Bible Camp in Michigan’s beautiful north, or enjoying the great outdoors.

Articles by Tom Felten

Reckless Decisions

As a teen, I was driving way too fast trying to follow my friend to his home after a high school basketball practice. It was raining hard, and I was having a hard time keeping up with his car. Suddenly, my wipers cleared the watery windshield only to reveal my friend’s sedan stopped in front of me! I slammed on the brakes, slid off the street, and struck a large tree. My car was destroyed. Later I awoke in the comatose ward of a local hospital. While by God’s grace I survived, my reckless ways had proved to be very costly.

Moses made a reckless decision that cost him greatly. His poor choice, however, involved a lack of water—not too much of it (as in my case). The Israelites were without water in the Desert of Zin, and “the people gathered in opposition to Moses” (Numbers 20:2). God told the frazzled leader to speak to a rock and it would “pour out its water” (v. 8). Instead, he “struck the rock twice” (v. 11). God said, “Because you did not trust in me . . . , you will not [enter the promised land]” (v. 12).

When we make reckless decisions, we pay the consequences. “Desire without knowledge is not good—how much more will hasty feet miss the way!” (Proverbs 19:2). May we prayerfully, carefully seek God’s wisdom and guidance in the choices and decisions we make today.

Drawn by Disaster

In 1717, a devastating storm raged for days, leading to widespread flooding in northern Europe. Thousands of people lost their lives in the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark. History reveals an interesting and customary—for that time—response by at least one local government. The provincial authorities of the Dutch city of Groningen called for a “prayer day” in response to the disaster. A historian reports that the citizens gathered in churches and “listened to sermons, sang psalms, and prayed for hours.”

The prophet Joel describes an overwhelming disaster faced by the people of Judah that also led to prayer. A massive swarm of locusts had covered the land and “laid waste [its] vines and ruined [its] fig trees” (Joel 1:7). As he and his people reeled from the devastation, Joel prayed, “Lord, help us!” (1:19 nlt). Directly and indirectly, both the people of northern Europe and Judah experienced disasters due to the effects of sin and this fallen world (Genesis 3:17–19; Romans 8:20–22). But they also found that these times led them to call out to God and seek Him in prayer (Joel 1:19). And God said, “Even now . . . return to me with all your heart” (2:12).

When we face difficulties and disaster, may we turn to God—perhaps in anguish, perhaps in repentance. “Compassionate” and “abounding in love” (v. 13), He draws us to Himself—providing the comfort and help we need.

What a Find!

While scuba diving in 2021, Jennifer’s eyes fixed on a small, green bottle at the bottom of a river. She scooped up what she describes as “a once-in-a-lifetime find.” The bottle contained a message written by a young man on his eighteenth birthday in 1926! The words requested that whoever discovered the message return it to him. Jennifer used Facebook to locate a delighted family member of the man. Although he’d died in 1995, his once-hidden note brought joy to Jennifer and his family.

In 2 Kings 22:8, we read that Hilkiah made an extraordinary find when he “found the Book of the Law in the temple of the Lord.” Instructed by King Josiah to “repair the temple” (v. 5), the king’s secretary found what was likely the book of Deuteronomy. “When the king heard the words of the Law,” he was both deeply moved and greatly distressed (v. 11). Like the temple in Judah itself, God and the reading of and obedience to the Scriptures He’d inspired had been neglected by the people. In repentance, the king had the temple swept clean of idols and anything that would displease God as he instituted reforms for his nation (23:1–24).

Today, our Bibles contain sixty-six books that reveal God’s wisdom and instruction—including Deuteronomy. As we read and listen to them, may the Holy Spirit transform our minds and reform our ways. Dive into the life-changing story of Scripture today and find wisdom to explore for a lifetime!

How Are You?

Charla was dying, and she knew it. While she was lying on her hospital room bed, her surgeon and a group of young interns poured into the room. For the next several minutes, the doctor ignored Charla as he described her terminal condition to the interns. Finally, he turned to her and asked, “And how are you?” Charla weakly smiled and warmly told the group about her hope and peace in Jesus.

Some two thousand years ago, Jesus’ battered, naked body hung in humiliation on a cross before a crowd of onlookers. Would He lash out at His tormentors? No. “Jesus said, ‘Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’ ” (Luke 23:34). Though falsely convicted and crucified, He prayed for His enemies. Later, He told another humiliated man, a criminal, that—because of the man’s faith—he would soon be with Him “in paradise” (v. 43). In His pain and shame, Jesus chose to share words of hope and life out of love for others.

As Charla concluded sharing Christ to her listeners, she posed the question back to the doctor. She tenderly looked into the tear-filed eyes of the surgeon and asked, “And how are you?” By Christ’s grace and power, she’d shared words of life—showing love and concern for him and others in the room. In whatever trying situation we face today or in the days ahead, let’s trust God to provide courage to lovingly speak words of life.