Paul’s “Encouraging” Words

We all like to hear nice things don’t we?  We like to hear that the economy is improving or that the job market is picking up.  We like it when the stock market rises and so on.  But what do you say when those things are not really the truth?  Some will sugar coat the truth, sort of like serving chocolate covered liver or sugar crusted squash (if you don’t like liver or squash that is).  But this isn’t really very helpful is it?  Chocolate covered liver is still….liver and liver is the predominant taste. In Acts chapter 20 we […]

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Staying Together on Right Track…

I was thinking this morning about my text from last Sunday, Ephesians 4:11-16 and especially verse 14 which reads: 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,  I think it is important that this verse is in the midst of Paul’s writing about the importance of the body of Christ being together and working together.  I’ve never been a real life shepherd of real life sheep, nor have I ever played one on TV, but I know that […]

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Things that Get in the Way of the Truth…

Have you ever had a discussion with someone who refuses to really deal with the issue but always goes down a different path?  Or maybe you’ve done this recently.  Perhaps God has brought you face to face with something that you need to correct or change but instead of “discussing” this with God rationally, you veer to a side issue which seems to make the decision for you.  I know this has happened in my life.  We read of something like this in Acts 19 when the apostle Paul is in Ephesus.  Let’s pick it up in chapter 19, verse […]

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The Subtle Danger of Substitutes

In Isaiah chapter 5 God is pronouncing judgment on the nation of Judah.  God uses the metaphor of the vineyard to make His case.  He tells them that He had prepared and planted a good vineyard but it had turned into something else.  It did not produce good grapes but instead the vineyard produced wild grapes.  In the midst of this pronounced judgment God says this in vs 20:  “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! As I was reading this […]

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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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