Posted by: mikenicholsblog | February 10, 2022

treasures that reside on the east side

She’s doing it again this year. My wife is meticulously placing every Christmas decoration in its appropriate place to be securely stored and protected until it’s their time to shine again. That is what happens every year on the west side (my wife’s side) of our basement. Travel to the east side and it’s a different story. Material from ages past is stored and stacked quite insecurely, just waiting for an immediate season of reason. The precious words, quotes and torn out pages are of immeasurable value to me, and today I’ll be sharing again some counsel from that which resides on the east side.

One amazing treasure I found just recently was a story about the great theologian Dennis the Menace. He was having his prayer time, and his experience replicated what I sometimes feel. Picture in your mind, bedtime prayers. Dennis is kneeling. His hands are folded. He’s looking heavenward, wearing his pajamas, cowboy hat and cowboy boots. His six-shooter is strapped to his side. The caption under the cartoon reads: “I’m here to turn myself in.” O, how many times have I found myself so lacking in practicing my spiritual disciplines that I just need to “turn myself in.”

Also in my stack (of basement treasures), were some torn pages from old Turning Point (David Jeremiah) magazines. They’re about ten years old … and still very relevant. What great reminders of living in the present!

  • “Living in the present has to mean living in His presence if we are going to hear His voice and follow His lead.”
  • “Jesus lived in the present, moment by moment, so He could live in the presence of the Father and enjoy every blessing, calling and opportunity. And that’s what God wants for us. He wants us to be available to Him and to others. In order to hear His still, small voice, we’ll have to dial down the loud, large voices of the world.”

A final (for now) treasure hidden beneath the stacks of paper on my side of the basement sources from a cut-out laminated copy of a John Ortberg book (not sure which one). Pastor Ortberg gave me timeless counsel that I am re-using. Consider just a few of his words:

  • “My task is to meet God in this moment.”
  • “Coming to recognize and experience God’s presence is a learned behavior; I can cultivate it.”
  • “God is always present and active in my life, whether or not I see Him.”
  • “I am always tempted to live “outside” this moment. When I do that, I lose my sense of God’s presence.”

Could it be that you, like me, struggle to live in the present and meet God in each moment? Of course, we do. It may be good to just dust off one of the treasured quotes above and meditate on it for a few days. For me, (and us all), there is a direct correlation between living in the moment and in His presence, and how well our lives impact others. Think about it!


Posted by: mikenicholsblog | January 12, 2022

give every situation

How long would it take you to clean out your basement? Over the years, it has collected stuff … and more stuff … and piles of stuff. Highchairs, baby toys, bikes and other items that our kids will certainly want after 30 years of decay. Every basement tells a story, and all of us have stuff. How did we collect it all? Truthfully, we all have some treasures in the basement too (for those in the south, a basement is the level below the first floor). Things we want to keep, and many that we want to pass on to our children. Hopefully, those treasures won’t become estate sale items.

Some treasures in our basement are priceless. For over thirty years, I have captured quotes, articles, torn pages from books and stored invaluable insights from a generation of very wise people. But they aren’t helping anyone stacked and scattered in the basement (plus they’re testing my wife’s patience). So, this year, I plan to share some of those “treasures from the basement”. Words, quotes and insight that are timeless and incredibly meaningful. It is my hope that you’ll be encouraged on your journey by great stuff from the basement.

Last week these treasures popped up:

“The cautious faith that never saws off a limb on which it is sitting never learns that unattached limbs may find strange, unaccountable ways of not falling.”
– Anonymous (torn out page)

George Mueller reminded me that, “Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man’s power ends.”

And finally, Jay Dennis, in The Prayer Experiment, gives great basement insight:
Faith focuses on “Who”; sight is limited to “how.”
Faith measures the size of God; sight is controlled by the size of the problems.
Faith seeks God first; sight takes matters into its own hands.
Faith’s seeing-eye-guide is the Bible; sight’s guide is only what is visible.
Faith leaves it in God’s hands; sight picks it back up and worries and frets about it.

These words have been languishing in my basement, but that makes them no less true. The question for all Christ-followers is this: Are we willing to saw off the limbs of cautious faith, stop trying to make our faith about the humanly possible, and move from a faith that’s only rooted in what I can see to the kind that leaves every situation in God’s hands? Easy words to write, but not so easy to accomplish.

Here at Journey onWord, we like to say, “yesterday ended at midnight.” And the truth is, each new day God gives us is a chance to begin again. For just one day, give every situation to God in faith like our basement friends instructed us. We can do anything for a day — and don’t try to be perfect. Just take the next step and do the next thing.

“Faith is living in advance what we will only understand in reverse.”
– W. Cordero


Posted by: mikenicholsblog | January 3, 2022

supposed to do

As a youngster, Cowboys and Indians was a fun game. But the truth is, I don’t know much about the culture of Native Americans. In my reading over the last few days, my life was challenged by Korczak Ziolkowski who was commissioned in 1948 to design a mountain carving to honor the famous Native American leader Crazy Horse. The carving of Crazy Horse is nine times larger than the faces on Mt Rushmore. Mr. Ziolkowski died in 1982 after more than three decades of work, and his family is still carving with a projected completion date of 2050. While the carving, its subject and the continuing work are certainly fascinating, it was the words of the original carver as noted in a book I just finished by Mark Batterson (Do It For a Day – p. 173) that intrigued me.

Korczak Ziolkowski said, “When your life is over, the world will ask you one question. Did you do what you were supposed to do?” More specifically, the words “did you do what you were supposed to do” were what caused me to ponder. At the end of our lives, we’ll want to have accomplished what the Father has created and designed us to do. But how do we start, from the place we find ourselves on the threshold of 2022? Spiritual “logic” would tell us, gain His timeless insight and apply it to our everyday lives. That is what every Christ-follower is “supposed to do.”

If not careful, we can all create a set of “supposed to do’s” that may not be the Father’s best design for us. In my life, there’s been a lot of effort and emphasis placed on serving Him — but often not before listening to His will and Word. At this point in life, I must start with the Word (timeless insight) and then listen to the Spirit’s prompting on how to apply it. This model slows me down, causes me to trust today and then leave tomorrow for … well, tomorrow. You can probably relate to the same tendencies — seeking to serve, getting consumed with life, then living with a little (or maybe a lot) of underlying frustration. So, in the first few steps into 2022, I encourage you to slow down, commit to the Word, and trust Him today. Then, follow the same pattern tomorrow.

Quite frankly, I don’t know everything I am supposed to do in 2022 (and beyond). What I do know for sure is that it starts with knowing God, and His will, as best I can. For me, that starts with His insight which starts with His Word. If you know Christ as your Savior, I’ll assume you have the same desire. If you and I have consistency in seeking His Word and His will, I believe there’s a great chance that people will say of us one day, “He/she did what they were supposed to do.”

In 2 Timothy, Paul’s words to his companion in ministry give us a picture of what can be …

But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:5-8 (NLT)

Without a doubt, I believe Paul did what he was supposed to do! So can you and I! Christ-follower, start 2022 by seeking God through His Word every day, eyes, ears and heart open, trusting Him for today and leaving tomorrow for tomorrow. In this way, you’ll be ready to respond by doing what you are supposed to do — the good things God’s prepared for you, and only you, to do.

OF UTMOST IMPORT: If you are beginning the New Year without confidence that you know Christ as your Savior, send us a note at, and we reach out and help you understand what it means to have a relationship with Christ.


Posted by: mikenicholsblog | December 28, 2021

2022 Daily Bible Reading Plan

As we end 2021 and start a New Year, life still seems a bit surreal. Everyone wants to just move on from the last two years, but a virus unknown to us in 2019 is still front and center. From my perspective, the best way to attack fear and the unknown future is with the trusted Word that gives me confidence in my right now and extends into every new minute and morning He gifts you and me.

Our best guide for the coming year is God’s Word. It’s the absolute truth that we need in good times and surreal moments alike. Consider engaging the Word with us at Journey onWord in 2022 with an open and expectant heart. We have a singular focus as we launch a new journey … to present opportunities for people to engage Scripture, and then trust God to change lives as He chooses.

With that focus in mind, please take a moment to read the introduction to our 2022 Bible reading plan. It will give you insight into the journey through Scripture we are taking for the coming year. After reading the introduction, we would be honored if you will consider using this plan for your 2022 devotional reading.


The 2022 reading plan is linked below and will be attached to the automatic email notice of this post. It will also be available at any time by visiting and clicking the link in the DAILY BIBLE READING section. We pray you will consider taking a journey through Scripture with us in 2022!

Journey on Word Team

2022 Journey onWord Daily Bible Reading Plan


Posted by: pmarkrobb | December 21, 2021

the true weight of the treasure

The story of the Nativity does not find its end at birth. As every birth before it, and each one since, it is the miraculous beginning to an even grander story. We must not miss the immeasurable treasure of God’s scandalous choice to become one of us. And the event of Jesus’ birth and narrative which precedes and shortly follows it are surely worth celebrating. But it is only when we connect God’s choice with its ultimate purpose, that the true weight of the treasure can be measured.

The Christmas story should never be confined to Bethlehem. The people, places and events interwoven with the miracle of His birth should only be the opening chapter in our telling. Would it be sufficient to only tell the story of the days and weeks surrounding your own birth? Certainly not. It is what God does in and through us during the full measure of our lives which defines the treasure we are to Him and to those we were born to love and serve. It is even more so with the birth of Jesus.

In eternity past, before God’s first breath of creation, He authored a plan. In a way that I can’t even begin to comprehend, God knew we would reject Him even before He created us. He loved us so much, even then, that instead of deciding against creating us, He chose to sacrifice everything in order to redeem us. There was one thing He couldn’t bear the thought of more than separation from His Son (who was everything to Him) … eternal separation from you and me.

So, God decided his Son would become one us for the sole purpose of saving us. He sent that message with the angel Gabriel to speak into a dark and lonely night and the heart of a simple carpenter in Nazareth.

Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.
Matthew 1:20b-21 (ESV)

The angel (in my words of paraphrase) speaks to Joseph … “Fear not, Joseph. The young woman you just married, who is now pregnant by a way which confounds and deeply troubles you, has actually been touched by the Holy Spirit itself and will give birth to a precious infant boy with five fingers and toes and who also is the Son of the living God.” But that’s just half the message. It would have been wholly incomplete for Gabriel to announce that God himself was coming to earth to live among us. God calms and reassures Joseph, but he also declares — declares His divine intention and purpose in sending Jesus to be born as a fully human baby boy who is destined to be the Savior of the world.

The story of Christmas is not fully understood unless it is told from cradle to grave (and beyond). There is an improper finality suggested when we tell, sing and celebrate Jesus’ birth as an O holy night. Standing alone, it is a story of immeasurable worth and glad tidings … God has become one of us! But told absent the cross, tomb and resurrection, it stops short of the fullness of its hope. The miracle of Jesus’ birth must be celebrated alongside the deep sorrow in His suffering and death. The shouts of joy and praise over His coming must find chorus with those of His resurrection from the dead! Jesus, our Savior! Oh, come let us adore Him. Unto us, He has been born!

Posted by: mikenicholsblog | December 20, 2021

She knew … how much?

The 2022 “A Journey in Scripture” Bible Reading Plan will be posted later this week!

Songs of the season are familiar to everyone. You can enter almost any store this week and hear a song about the Christ-child. To my ear, the most familiar songs we hear were written long ago. Think about it! I’ve been singing the story of Christmas for over fifty years, and although there must be some newer songs of the season, I couldn’t name any. Except for one! You may have heard that singular song I can name … “Mary, Did You Know?” by Mark Lowry.

Every time I hear that song, there is an emotional response. Something about what Mary knew — and what she didn’t — is fascinating to me. Sadly, on most occasions after hearing the timeless words of the song, I find myself moving on to something else. Most often the words (and their meaning) don’t linger. Perhaps you feel the same way, so allow me to rehearse a few of the lines from this newer song of the season with you. Just maybe, they’ll cause you to reflect on the majestic birth and awesome power of Jesus. Remember, we are celebrating that God became flesh, and that truth can never be overstated.
Take just a moment with me to reflect on some select words from this song that you’ve heard and enjoyed but maybe never stopped to internalize.

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
would save our sons and daughters?

Jesus did walk on water, and He gives eternal life to anyone who puts their trust in Him for salvation. Can you imagine raising the Son of God in your home? Mary fixed Him meals, gave Him baths as a child, never had to punish Him for misdeeds, and was, no doubt, profoundly impacted by the infinite capacity of His greatness. But could she have imagined Him on the water … or, that He would one day die on the cross for us?

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
will give sight to a blind man?
When you kiss your little Baby,
you kiss the face of God?

My Savior (and, I trust, yours) did heal the blind man, and He still can (and will) heal today. Never let your soul become so barren that you doubt His ability to do what doctors only wish they could do. One of the thrills of every parent and grandparent is giving their special little boy or girl hugs and kisses. Mary undoubtedly loved to give baby Jesus those same hugs and kisses. I get chills just typing the words that she was kissing the face of God! Could she have imagined in any way the depth of His specialness … His being fully God and fully baby boy?!

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
is the Lord of all Creation?
This sleeping Child you’re holding
is the Great I Am!

We find in Scripture, by Him (Jesus) were all things created in heaven and on earth (Col. 1:16). Yet on the day of our dear Savior’s birth, imagine Mary holding Him close. What must she have been thinking? She was holding the Lord of all Creation, and she was to raise Him in her humble home?! He was called Immanuel—which means God with us. My mind races and is filled with wonder trying to comprehend what Mary sensed, and knew, about Immanuel in her home. Today we have Scripture, history and the Holy Spirit helping us worship the Lord of all creation – the Great I Am. Young Mary had an angel’s pronouncement that the Lord was with her and that she would give birth to the Son of God. She knew His name would be Jesus, but I can only imagine what she sensed and wondered as that Holy Child grew up in her household.

I admit that I am fascinated and deeply moved by this newer “classic” of the season, “Mary, Did You Know?” On Christmas Day, we will celebrate what we do know – that true and lasting hope was born on that day. Mary’s child grew up and walked on water, was a healer, calmed the storm, raised the dead, and died on a cross, then rose from the grave … ALL FOR US!

On this earth, we’ll never know all that Mary really understood. But I am so glad this song of the season reminds me that Christmas is about the Lord of all creation, the great I Am … the Savior of all who accept Him!


Posted by: genelnicholsblog | September 8, 2021


Daniel was 15 years old when he was taken into captivity from his home in Judah. Yet even as a teen, his devotion to his God was unwavering. His demeanor and attitude earned him the respect of the king’s court, exalting him eventually to a powerful position in the empire. If you think Daniel’s story is only about the lions’ den, think again.

Please click here to reference some brief biographical details on the character of Esther.


Posted by: genelnicholsblog | August 27, 2021


Esther began as an Israelite exile and ended up as the Queen.  But even that lofty position did not guarantee her safety and security. God had his plan, however, and through an amazing series of events, Esther was used to prevent an attempted holocaust of her people.  For such a time as this, Esther was placed in the position where her courage and character was used mightily by the Lord. The author of the book is unknown; most believe he was a Jew living in
Persia at the time of these events, perhaps even using the journal of Mordecai as a source.  The date is estimated at 450 B.C.
Please click here to reference some brief biographical details on the character of Esther.

Posted by: genelnicholsblog | July 19, 2021


David truly led an amazing life. God gifted him with such bravery that he could slay a giant and lead armies. As a musician, he could play a soothing lyre, and then write poetry that makes our hearts soar still today. The Lord Himself proclaimed David to be a man after His own heart, but like so many of the characters we have studied so
far, he was not perfect. Shepherd boy, musician, poet, soldier and king … Enjoy our study of David.

Please click here to reference some brief biographical details on the character of David.


Posted by: genelnicholsblog | July 4, 2021


With this latest Bible character in our study, we have a unique glimpse into his childhood. From the story we have heard since we were kids, we know that Samuel (“…Samuel, Samuel !”) was literally called by God for service. Many believe he was the greatest judge of Israel, even being used by God to unite the country under a new monarchy. He had his struggles with his adult sons, but we can look to Samuel for his faithfulness to God’s leading.

Please click here to reference some brief biographical details on the character of Samuel.

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