No Pain…No Grace?

If you’ve ever spent any time in a weight room you’ve probably heard the phrase, “no pain, no gain”.  The idea is that in order for muscle fibers to grow and expand, they need to be torn down.  Lifting weights to the point of pain can be helpful in building muscle, as long as you don’t overdo it.  Of course, most of us do not like pain, so most people who lift weights usually stop before they reach a point where the real building of muscle tissue begins.  God has his own training program for us and it often involves […]

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How Important to God Is My Personal Safety?

Have you ever been in a situation where something bad happened to you physically and it got you thinking if God was really there or if He really cared?  Perhaps it was a diagnosis you never expected or an accident that caused you to suffer?  Fortunately, we live in a country and a time when pain and suffering can often be minimized.  Praise God for Advil!  However, a downside of this minimization of suffering is that when suffering and pain do come, even God’s people can begin to believe that God doesn’t care or that He isn’t paying attention.  Or, […]

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Healing Waters

There is something so peaceful about water.     Standing by a flowing river or rushing rippling stream somehow refreshes my spirit.   I love to sit by our pond which is very peaceful, but I love even more to sit by the ocean as it beats upon the shore.  It’s waters are not still, but their vastness, power, and constant movement remind me of the qualities of God and I feel His peace in a special way when I am there.   (Beach Retreat countdown: 3 days 6 hours). Ezekiel describes a river of healing in his prophecy.  It is a river that […]

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Don’t Be “Idle” Concerning Idols…

God’s word is so clear about the danger of idols in our lives.  God is the only One worthy of worship in our lives and He makes this abundantly clear in His word.  Yet, the pull of idol worship is so strong.  In the Old Testament we read of many cultures who served gods of stone and wood.  God had called His people out from such worship and yet they continued to slip back into idolatry.  In 2 Chronicles 25 we read about King Amaziah of Judah.  He had just led Judah to a great victory (with God’s help of […]

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The Key to Using Our Weapons

Yesterday I watched bits and pieces of the movie, “Thor”.  If you don’t know the storyline of the movie it goes something like this…Young, attractive, strong, yet hot-headed heir to the throne is banished from his world for his rebellion against his father the king.  This man, Thor, has a hammer which is “way cool”.  It is an incredible weapon.  However, Thor loses his weapon as he falls to earth.  The king pronounces that the hammer should once again be possessed by someone who is worthy of its power.  Thor falls to earth and is like a regular human being, […]

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Tedious details

Sometimes life feels very tedious….so many details to work out.   As I look around my house this morning I see many tedious tasks before me to get my house in order.    When I read today’s scripture, Ezekiel 40-43, I find that part of God’s character is to deal with very tedious and specific tasks.  Here He is giving Ezekiel very specific instructions as to how His temple should be rebuilt following its destruction by the Babylonians.   Each specific measurement is detailed here.  I read with impatience for the punch line.  Some questions that ran through my mind as I read: […]

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Dead or ALIVE

This year has been a year in which I have encountered death more than usual. For many of you, this too has been the same. The most significant has been the death of my grandmother. For years, she had suffered and endured pain and for years she was yearning to be in God’s presence, alongside her husband and many other friends and family. This is one of those times in our lives when we desperately want to cling to Christ and his love for us. Watching a loved one slip away day by day does not come without it’s tears. […]

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Thanks….and reminders

Today we wake up with a new partner in ministry….welcome Pastor Eric.    I feel very grateful for many things as I look back over the past 11 months during which Matt and I were entrusted with the full pastoral load for the congregation.   I appreciate the patience and encouragement from you all as you embraced our leadership in places where we had not led before.   Several of you assured me regularly of your continual prayers on my behalf, something I think is far more powerful than we can see or fathom.  Many of you stepped forward to accept additional responsibilities […]

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Following the “Master Farmer”

In this part of Pennsylvania you cannot drive one mile without seeing multiple corn and soybean fields.  It is very beautiful and yet very functional as well.  I was reading from Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church this morning and was reminded of the principle of “sowing and reaping”.  In verse 6 Paul writes this:  6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Many of us have heard this before.  Paul is not speaking of crops here but rather of giving.  Like the farmer who sows his seed in […]

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The Watchman

I  sat down numerous times this week with the intention of posting but was not determined enough I think because I was too easily distracted.   As I read from Ezekiel 33 yesterday it reminded me about being careful of distractions.   Here we find Ezekiel being appointed  by God as Israels Watchman.  God wanted to save Israel but they continually ignored His voice and continued to disobey God to the point where they found themselves scattered and desolate, some in captivity in Babylon others left back in Judah, and still others in Egypt, even though the prophetic word of Jeremiah […]

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