Devotionals by Dr. James MacDonald

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Reality Check

While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief (1 Thessalonians 5:3–4, esv).

How many individual words do you think are being spoken all around the face of the globe in this precise moment?

Based on a current world population of 7.5 billion people, multiplied by an average of 16,000 words spoken per day, divided by waking hours and other basic standards of time measurement . . . the estimated total is somewhere around 2.1 billion words per second.

That’s what being spoken, right this second.

Billions of words.

But this number is about much more than math. It’s actually of substantial importance. Because if you could drain away the small talk from each of those conversations, boiling them down to their basic messages, here’s what nearly all those words are communicating: “There is peace and security.” The cacophony of ceaseless human chatter is collectively saying what the Bible summarized years ago as the hypnotic drumbeat of earthly life. As far as the future goes, as far as any need for God is concerned, people whose understanding is darkened are saying, I’m just fine. I’m good. I’ll be safe. Nothing to worry about—I’ve got this.

In other words, “peace and security.”

Yet a day is coming—“the day of the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 5:2)—when those who are not in Christ will realize the falsity of the comfort they’ve been banking on. This first judgment the lost will experience consists of the shock of instantly awaking to the stark totality of their error. All opinions to the contrary will suddenly be rendered inaccurate in the fearful realization that (1) there is a God, (2) it’s not me, (3) a record of my rebellion exists, (4) I pay the penalty for it, and (5) God’s wrath is falling—now.

In that moment, “peace and security” will prove to have been a traitorous mantra.

But this does not have to be your future. “You are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.” We know full well—from Scripture as well as personal experience—that  Christians are certainly not exempt from suffering in this life. But there is zero chance—absolutely zero—that God will leave His children on earth to experience what the day of the Lord will be like. Those who turn from their sin and embrace Jesus Christ by faith will not be standing under the deluge when God’s wrath toward human evil starts raining down.

So don’t fall for the easygoing nonchalance of a “peace and security” posture toward life. Don’t be tempted to find your peace and security in anything or anyone other than Jesus Christ. If the apostle Paul could say things like, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12b), and, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5), and, “I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27), then each of us should assume a need for reflecting often and honestly on the condition of our souls.

“Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall” (2 Peter 1:10).Wake up from whatever spiritual slumber may be tugging you down toward laxity, and face reality while there’s still time to embrace Jesus Christ—the only source of peace and security that won’t ever disappoint, from now into eternity.


  • Under what conditions do you most often recognize a tendency toward spiritual apathy and casualness?
  • How would you share this message with someone who seems unruffled about their spiritual danger without Christ?

Father God, thank You that in Your perfect justice You cannot ignore sin, but that in Your perfect mercy, You provided a rescuer in Your Son, Jesus Christ. Help me to see reality according to the truth of Your Word, and help me to be an effective witness to this truth among those who are walking in darkness. Thank You that there is still time for lost people to embrace Jesus as Savior. And thank You that, although this world cannot provide true “peace and security,” You can and You do. Thank You for the great hope of the church—that Jesus Christ will return and we will be with Him forever. I pray this in the name of our King, Jesus. Amen.

For more from Dr. James MacDonald please visit Walk in the Word on


You are perfectly, unconditionally, and forever loved by your Heavenly Father. When you receive and share that love, it’s a catalyst for God to transform every area of your life. There is nothing stronger than real, selfless, Biblical love. It’s time to let God’s love transform you and everyone around you.

I am beyond excited about a new teaching resource my wife Kathy and I have put together for you this month. For as long as I can remember, Kathy has sent handwritten notes of encouragement to people as God leads. It’s part of her personal ministry, and she’s so faithful to it. She’s blessed so many people with this simple act of love, and I want to share that with you today. Please don’t miss this. —James MacDonald

Request the You are Loved Collection with your gift of any amount to the ministry of Walk in the Word.

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About Walk in the Word

Walk in the Word...Igniting passion in the people of God through the proclamation of truth.

About Dr. James MacDonald

James MacDonald (D. Min. Phoenix Seminary) is married to his high school sweetheart, Kathy, and both are from Ontario, Canada. He is the father of three grown children, two daughters-in-law, a son-in-law, and grandfather to five amazing grandsons. James has committed his life and ministry to the unapologetic proclamation of God’s Word. In 1988, along with a small group of ministry partners, James and Kathy planted Harvest Bible Chapel ( which now has more than 13,000 people meeting at seven locations across Chicagoland each weekend.

Walk in the Word, a Bible-teaching television and radio broadcast ministry (, was established in 1997. The radio program reaches more than three million people daily, and the television audience extends around the world. In 2002, through James’ leadership and by God’s grace, the church-planting ministry Harvest Bible Fellowship ( was founded and has established more than 100 churches across North America and around the world. James’ vision is for God to use Harvest Bible Fellowship to plant 1,000 churches by 2020.

James’ extensive ministry also includes a training center for pastors, a year-round camp, a center for biblical counseling, a disaster-recovery organization, and a Christian school—all used to reach more people with the life-changing message of the gospel.

James is the author of several books including Vertical Church, Authentic, Lord Change My Attitude, When Life is Hard, Always True, Come Home, and most recently, Act Like Men.

Find out more about James and his ministries at:
@pastorjamesmacdonald on Instagram
@jamesmacdonald on Twitter
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Mailing Address
Walk in the Word
P.O. Box 5368
Elgin, IL 60121