Make Peace

So do you have a grudge against someone? You know, the kind where even the thought of that person turns your stomach or makes you boil inside? Maybe this person has said some things about you behind your back that really hurt. Or someone laughed at you when you made a mistake and you just can’t stand being around them anymore. . . . Hey, looks like a good reason for a grudge, huh? Not really. . . . Let's talk about making peace . . ....
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Unbox God's grace and goodness

 Recently, I got to interact with three different missionaries or missionary couples. Each of them have unique perspectives and powerful stories about what God has done and will continue to do around the world. Here are one sentence summaries about what I observed about each of their ministries. . . .

“Unbox God’s grace and goodness to many others.” Let God work through you and be amazed at what God can do. . . .
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A Migrating Life

 I love this time of year when bird migration is in full flight. While some of my favorite birds stick around all winter, like the chickadees, others start showing up with the lengthening of days even if the weather hasn’t warmed up. Robins, the springtime scouts, were showing up in February this year, even though we still had snow for much of March and April. The snow geese made their annual flight through our area early in March. I’ve seen bluebirds in the past week and have seen a mature bald eagle circling the Ranch again. . . .

I’m amazed at the regular rhythms of life that God has built into His beautiful creation, so evident in the consistency of bird migration. Spring wouldn’t be the same without the sights and sounds, and droppings, of the return of the birds.

As I watch the birds and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation, I’m also reminded that life progresses through a series of seasons . . .

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An Empty Grave

"An Empty Grave" (by Joseph Preston) is a poem of hope for those who have a relationship with Jesus Christ. No matter how tough your life is, there is hope in Christ, the one who died for us and rose again. Happy Easter!...
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An Abundant Life (part 3 of 3)

What does life to the full look like? Do you think a life to the full, a life as Jesus wants it to be for us, can best be described by words like regret, shame, grief, loneliness, disappointment, and monotony? Or is a life to the full better described as a life of joy, contentment, satisfaction, meaning, overflowing with love and kindness, selflessness, and stability? 

This 3 part series presents a perspective on living life to the full and challenges you to evaluate your life.  Part 3 emphasizes the relationship that is central to living life to the full.
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An Abundant Life (part 2 of 3)

What does life to the full look like? Do you think a life to the full, a life as Jesus wants it to be for us, can best be described by words like regret, shame, grief, loneliness, disappointment, and monotony? Or is a life to the full better described as a life of joy, contentment, satisfaction, meaning, overflowing with love and kindness, selflessness, and stability?

This 3 part series presents a perspective on living life to the full and challenges you to evaluate your life. Part 1 compares two patterns of life and suggests that we often try to follow a formula for success unsuccessfully. Part 2 offers insight into abundant life based on Romans 12:2. Part 3 emphasizes the relationship that is central to living life to the full....
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An Abundant Life (part 1 of 3)

What does life to the full look like? Do you think a life to the full, a life as Jesus wants it to be for us, can best be described by words like regret, shame, grief, loneliness, disappointment, and monotony? Or is a life to the full better described as a life of joy, contentment, satisfaction, meaning, overflowing with love and kindness, selflessness, and stability?

This 3 part series presents a perspective on living life to the full and challenges you to evaluate your life. Part 1 compares two patterns of life and suggests that we often try to follow a formula for success unsuccessfully. Part 2 offers insight into abundant life based on Romans 12:2. Part 3 emphasizes the relationship that is central to living life to the full.

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Making Peace

 Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). Making peace is something God does with us and it is something we should do in our relationships....
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Pure in Heart

Have you ever seen a tree that looks perfect on the outside, but when you cut it down, it is completely hollow on the inside? A tree like that is blighted, or diseased. Without its core, it cannot survive. The inside, where the sapwood is, provides the nourishment for the tree to continue growing strong and healthy. If it is hollow inside, a tree has no way to stay strong and healthy. No matter how good it looks on the outside, if it is rotten inside, it has no stability and no lasting life. ...
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Blessed are those who mourn

 We all have reasons to be upset, sad, hurt. Physical pain causes hurt, and physical pain is good because it lets us know something is wrong. We feel sorrow when someone we love is in pain. We can feel miserable when a family member is injured or sick. We also feel sorrow when bad things happen around us or in our world. . . .  However, our mourning or grieving should not be without hope. ...
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Devotion

 Devotion is being loving, faithful, and loyal toward someone or something. Soldiers must have the highest loyalty to our nation and their fellow soldiers. If they do not, if they refuse to do their duty or neglect to protect their fellow soldiers, their lack of devotion can cause disaster to their fellow soldiers. . . . Those who are followers of Christ can learn a lesson from soldiers serving their country. As followers of Christ, we are called to show devotion for other believers just as soldiers act loyally on the battlefield. ...
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Knowing Life

It seems that for most people, life is not all that it should be. Life is difficult, tiring, boring, an existence, frustrating, weighing you down, or disappointing. Many Christians know that they should not feel this way, that a relationship with Jesus should make more of a difference in their lives, but they feel just the same as everyone else. . . .

Jesus tells us that . . . there should be something more to life than the frustrations and disappointments that many of us call our existence. Jesus said in John 10:10-11, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” . . ....
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Peace with God and the Peace of God

Because Christ is our peace, each of us who trusts in Jesus should seek peace with others. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace” (Colossians 3:15). Christ gave us peace with God. He also calls for us to have peace with those around us . . . ...
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Hope in Tragedy

 When tragedies happen in our lives, we try to sort through our emotions and responses to the distressing events. Despair, grief, anguish, disbelief, anger, frustration, disappointment, loss of hope, indifference . . . There are many ways that we respond when tragic circumstances come into our lives. Eventually, we'd like to find hope so we can move on beyond our loss. So where will you find hope in the face of personal tragedy?...
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Grace-based life

 
In His grace, God loves us even as rotten sinners. A relationship with God is about trusting Him, not working really hard to hopefully get His attention and earn His affirmation.
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Thoughts for Maundy Thursday

  "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:34-35 NIV).

 Some people follow a church tradition that observes "Maundy Thursday" or "Holy Thursday," while others may see the term on church signs and wonder what in the world the word means. I'd like to share a couple thoughts on the meaning of the term and a challenge for all of us regarding the events that the term commemorates.

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Christmas: The Descent of God

 As you celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus, consider the implications of what was going on there inBethlehem. The heavens shook with the implications of what our world now trivializes. Even we as Christians don’t give full weight to what happened there. Here are three Christmas facts to help us focus on the reality of what happened so long ago....
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Advance Notice 03 - Identity

Sin has a strong pull on everyone, so how can we live like Christ, pleasing God in everything? We can start by realizing who we are. We are those who have been delivered from sin and who no longer have to obey sin. Before we accepted Christ and began following him, we sinned because we couldn’t avoid it. Now that Jesus Christ has forgiven us and declared us to be righteous (Romans 3:21-24), sin doesn’t have the grip on us that it used to have....
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Advance Notice 02 - Hunger and Thirst

 You know, most of us live our Christian lives as if we had a refrigerator full of choices for what will satisfy our souls. And that is because we live as if our spiritual lives are so cozy and comfortable that life’s choices really don’t matter. It is like going to the refrigerator to browse our choices rather than genuinely craving water because if we don’t get water we would shrivel up to nothing.

We say, "It doesn't matter that I give into this or that sin every now and then." "I want to learn how to live for God, but I only need to look at my Bible once every few weeks." "I'll get around to praying regularly one of these days." "I'm okay trusting in my own strengths."
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Advance Notice 01 - Fly Like an Eagle

 “Advance Notice” is a devotion series for moving forward and gaining momentum in your walk with Christ. It will include some devotions that I've written in the past (such as this first one) as well as some new ones. "Advance Notice" means: Pay attention! This is important! Moving forward and gaining momentum in your walk with Christ is going to take some re-focusing and re-adjusting of your life in relation to Christ in your life - and it needs to happen on a regular basis. So think about your walk with Christ in advance, before proceeding any further down the path that your life takes....
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