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Wisdom For Life’s Journey

So many of you have a child, relative, or friend’s child graduating from high school or college this Spring.  Since you will be sending cards and well wishes, perhaps some of these quotes may be beneficial. “Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive: easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.” —Henry Peter […]

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What Can Wash Away My Sin?

Who truly understands life choices people are making in this 21st century?  The attempt to allow every person to attain what they want is a dismal failure. Morally, the culture in which we live is fully convoluted. Youth that have more than enough to eat at home are eating Tide Pods for “who knows why”.  […]

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Don’t Worry – Be Happy

When I don’t have anything to worry about, I begin to worry about that. – Walter Kelly If pleasures are the greatest in anticipation, just remember that this is also true of trouble. – Elbert Hubbard.  To carry care to bed is to sleep with a pack on your back. – Thomas Haliburton The beginning of anxiety […]

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Stressed Out

Hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, strokes, and some mental disorders can be directly attributed to being “stressed out”.  Likely, each one reading this is either really stressed today, or you recently had a time when you wondered how you were going to get everything done that was on your “urgent” list and do it without a […]

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When Did We See You Naked or Hungry?

The groans of pain and suffering are pandemic.  Daily, the cries of the innocent victims, wailing of shattered lives from tragic acts done deliberately to inflict pain, and the copious tears shed from sorrows of life fill our news reports with their cacophony of wounded voices.  No longer does the life and well-being of another […]

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Temporary Suspension of Blog

Greetings……….please note that my blog will be temporarily suspended for a few days due to other responsibilities.  I will resume posting my blog on Monday, May 14.  Thank you for your understanding.  Blessings to you all!  Nick Garland

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I Show You a Mystery

Job 11:7 -“Can you discover the depths of God? Can you discover the limits of the Almighty? The complexity of the universe should be irrefutable evidence of a Creator.  However, man’s quest to rid himself of God from the scope of secular knowledge has turned man from wisdom to foolishness. There are far too many […]

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Do Unto Others

Pain is pandemic. The evening news is a continuous litany of the latest natural disaster, tragic accident, terrorist attack, shooting, bombing, missile attack, or horrific abuse. One person can inflict great suffering.  When that happens, all of us wonder what could possess a person to do such levels of hate-filled acts. In the midst of […]

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Blessed But Not Happy

First Baptist Church, Broken Arrow, OK, is a very mission minded people.  They have always had a heart for the nations.  As a church, our Mission’s Pastor, Kevin Cottrell, and his Global Outreach team have frequent contact with numerous church planting partnerships in the US and around the world.  Several times, I have made a […]

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Can We Talk a Minute?

There is a story of a tool company that manufactured drill bits. Faced with financial losses, company executives gathered to discuss the problem: a declining demand for drill bits. The CEO challenged his men: “How can we revive the bit market?” After an embarrassing silence, one member of the team dispelled the fog: “Sir, the […]

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My Anchor Holds

The Christian hope is the hope which has seen everything, and has still not despaired, because it believes in God.  The Christin hope is not hope in the human spirit, in human goodness, in human endurance, in human achievement; the Christian hope is hope in the power of God! – William Barclay, The Letter to […]

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Influence

The Bible states, “As a man thinks, so is he”. (Prov.23:7).  The mind is a sponge that absorbs what we see and hear.  The more we receive data that is polluted, the more likely we are to think on topics and ideas that are crass.  Like a living computer, our minds simply mediate on what […]

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I’m Mr. Lonely……..Nobody to Call My Own

Loneliness is pandemic.  Social media is filled with folks longing to be heard, recognized, and loved.  Places where the “trendy” hang out are frequented by many who would love to connect with someone to end their loneliness.  Bars and clubs draw folks seeking to find a friend. Nursing homes, care centers, hospitals, churches, schools, and […]

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A Good Name

I love this story about the impact of a good name written by Bill Gaither….. Gloria and I had been married a couple of years. We were teaching school in Alexandria, Indiana, where I had grown up, and we wanted a piece of land where we could build a house. I noticed the parcel south of town where […]

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Ex Nihilo

Seminary is the place that young ministers hope to attend when they surrender to Christian service for a lifetime.  They are not sure all that will await them there, but they know that it is a place to study Christianity, church history, and hopefully learn more about being a Christian leader in their lifetime.  Seminary […]

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Simple Faith

Christ followers globally know that we have been given the great gift of God’s forgiveness of our sins, salvation from our sin, and the joy of eternity in Heaven through faith alone in Christ alone through grace alone!  Although many have deviated from the simple truth of the Gospel by seeking to add things that […]

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When We Are in Church

Church’s are so diverse today in worship, doctrines, polity, and style.  The world has all the varied forms and in cities, several of the variety of worship preferences can be found on any Sunday.  No matter the style or setting, people in the seats are very much the same.  The depth of faith and the […]

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It’s the Little Things

“People who say that small things don’t bother them have never slept in a room with a mosquito.” Dennis Rainey. When it is required, people muster the strength, resources, mental toughness, and manpower to do the great things. History records that time after time, families, cities, and countries came together to fight through great difficulties […]

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Tripping

It is obvious to all we meet that we (the Sixties’ children) have long sense exited the teenage years.  But, when it was our turn to navigate that time in our lives, our generation left a mark that has been indelible.  The generation of the 60’s was reared with the expansion of everything.  Homes were […]

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Dreamers

All of us dream.  Our dreams are as diverse as we are.  Dreams can be about exotic places or familiar places where we feel safe and comfortable.  A dream can have very familiar faces or be about people we do not know at all.   Dreams can be funny, weird, frightening, or comforting.  Those that bring […]

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When Everything Changed

Can you imagine that Sunday night and Monday morning following the Resurrection?  The minds of those that had seen our Lord on that first day of the week had to be reeling.  Truly, no one had ever seen anyone come back from a cross and be filled with life, strength, light, hope, and the power […]

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“NOT JUST ANOTHER FRIDAY”

What a day!  Never has there been one like it.  Started out just like any other.  Surely did not wind up being that way. There were so many people everywhere.  But, then, it was always that way during Passover.  Every street, shop, road into and out of the city was filled to overflowing.  No time […]

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What Are You Doing Today?

Easter is at hand.  All this week, most of you have been preparing for your Easter celebration.  Those preparations vary depending on the things you have planned, the significance of the spiritual aspects your family will observe, and the number of family and friends that will be sharing the day with you in your home. […]

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On Trial: American Morality

Man has never been righteous since the fall of Adam and Eve.  However, in the most recent decades of our American history, we have fallen far from being a nation respected for Christian and moral values to a nation of full blown debauchery and decadence.  From the White House to the school house, rebellion and […]

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There’s Never Enough

Money. When one is wealthy, the desire is for “just a little bit more money”.  If one is middle class, then the want is for “lots of it”.  Poor folks would love to have money, but for many of them, they have learned to settle for just enough to eat and enough for a roof […]

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I Wish the Weekend Was Here

We live with 168 hours every week. If you ask most folks about a week’s time, they will tell you that they “live for the weekends”.  Work is necessary, and it is challenging. But it is not a driving passion for many people.  Although we hear folks say, “I love my job”, there are many […]

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Somebody’s Watching You

Small town USA!  There are so many small communities that make up this nation.  And, it is in those small towns and communities that some of the “brightest and best” live, work, rear families, and worship God. There are so many advantages in those settings that are too often overlooked because of the mentality that […]

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You Make Me So Mad!

Americans are living with unprecedented levels of anger.  Our civility has given way to hostility.  Social media, news reports, and daily transactions have become more and more laden with angry charges, responses, and continual belittling of one another. The deep level of anger so easily surfaces, it is obvious that the event that unleashes it […]

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“I SEEM TO KEEP MAKING MIFSTEAKS”

Is it just the nature of man that seemingly, the older we get the more mistakes we make?  Maybe we don’t make more, but it could be we are just more self-conscious regarding our proclivity to “mess up”.  And, it may be that we want to do things flawlessly because we have had years to […]

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“GUARD YOUR MIND”

“As a man thinks, so is he.” (Prov.23:7).  Thinking requires tremendous discipline.  I am not talking about the instant thoughts that we have of being aware of our surroundings lest we walk in front of a speeding car.  Rather, the thinking that takes determined mental focus is that kind of mental exercise that in Biblical […]

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“THE FOOL HAS SAID IN HIS HEART….”

This past week, one of the world’s most brilliant men and a prominent atheist died.  Stephen Hawking, having battled ALS for over 50 years, died this week.  He was known for his scientific contributions to a better understanding of black holes in space. Throughout his life, he was an outspoken atheist.  We hear the word […]

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You’re Only As Old As…….

This Friday, I have printed a collection of quips and anecdotes that I copied about aging.  I hope they make you smile if you are young or at least say “Amen” if you can readily relate… Someone has said, “Here are the seven ages of man: spills, drills, thrills, bills, ills, pills, wills.” And another […]

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I Will Remember You

Memory is an amazing creation of God.  How God designed the brain which is living tissue kept alive by blood carrying oxygen and nutrients and folded compactly to fit in one’s cranium so that the details of life are recorded is a miracle!  Even when our memory is not as sharp as we would like […]

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I Surrender

Electronic communication has made our world so closely connected that we can send a text to an overseas friend in only a couple of seconds and get a reply in the time it takes them to type in the response.  In fact, the primary mail method that was thought to be so advanced 50 years […]

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Learning Without Life Application

Some days ago, I found an old illustration file from the earliest years of pastoring.  In that file was an illustration that was very sad for me to read.  This article is tragic because of it records within its lines “what might have been” in the life of one boy and how the world might […]

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Suited Up

Most of us have never, ever been in a single day of combat.  For that, we can be extremely grateful. Our nation’s warriors that defend us in battle live with mental, emotional, and physical wounds that are ever a part of their lives long after they have returned home.  Those veterans with massive physical wounds […]

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Essentials

America is a wealthy country.  Many of our “poor” would not be considered poor in other nations.  Only in America will someone drive to get their welfare check and be talking on a cell phone while they are waiting in line to get it! The average person in our circle of friends lives with their […]

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This Present Darkness

Even children recognize daytime racing toward evening.  Adults that work day shift eagerly anticipate the sun beginning to move toward the west which means the workday is almost over.  Teens and young adults look forward on weekends as the evenings promise a dinner and movie night “out” with a date or their mate respectively. Night […]

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Can A Real Man Be Meek?

Have you ever heard a single person ever say, “My greatest desire is to be meek”?  I have not.  Maybe it is that we are not really sure what the definition of “meek” is.  Or, maybe it is just a “church” work that modern man never uses.  Or, maybe it is believed to be the […]

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“BE STILL!!!”

I excel at disruption because of my resistance toward any gathering that is too calm!  When I was a boy, librarians had wanted posters with my picture.  School teachers prayed for “May” to come quickly each spring to prevent them from committing murder on “Brother Garland’s son”.   I was so talkative in class, I was […]

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“MAJORING IN MEDIOCRE”

‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (Rev.3:15-16). The Lord never commended bland or lazy or slothful.  He rewarded faithfulness and fruit bearing.  Do you remember […]

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Quotes from Billy Graham On……

On this day of Dr. Billy Graham’s funeral, I wanted to share a few quotes on key topics that Dr. Graham said.  These are taken from BILLY GRAHAM IN QUOTES, by Franklin Graham with Donna Lee Toney. HEAVEN Sometimes…. we grow homesick for heaven.  Many times, in the midst of the sin, suffering, and sorrow […]

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Man’s Best Friend

Most every person either has had a dog, cat, or some other pet in their lifetime. Dogs are the most common pet in American families.  American dogs have it better than people in many parts of the world.  Owning a dog is not a cheap venture nor is it a casual commitment.  Dogs are costly […]

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Only One Life to Live

God is the author of life.  He creates us for His glory.  He offers salvation by His grace.  He indwells those who are His to seal them for redemption.  He has prepared a place for His children in His Kingdom.  He is coming again to take us home to be with Him forever. That is […]

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Discipleship For Dummies

Gone are the days of human civility.  Very few people live with any filters on what they say or do.  It seems that the more brash, obnoxious, “in your face”, crass, and vulgar an entertainer, politician, sports figure, or newscaster can be, the higher their ratings and popularity.  Social media is rapidly becoming a “no […]

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Did You Win a Gold Medal?

The winter Olympics are coming to a close. The surprise of underdogs winning, and the disappointing performance of expected Gold Medalists are what make any competition challenging and exciting. The nations of the world have their favorite sports and athletes. Each of those that excel have fans that hold them up at the epitome of […]

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One of the gods of America

Living with a bounty of good things for many generations creates a sense of entitlement.  Those that are good at business and making money too often forget the God that provided the opportunity and wisdom to do so.  And, because our appetites are never satisfied with what we have, we are always wanting “that new […]

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Beulah

These last few days have been difficult.  You have those seasons that come when every phone call and message is about a serious illness, sorrow, or death.  For pastors, those calls are part of our calling and I count it an honor to be able to stand with families to seek to comfort and encourage […]

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I Did Not Know It Could Be So Hard

We love to remember “the good old days”.  Sadly, the truth is they were not that good.  We only remember them as being good because in our childhood, we did not know the struggles our parents faced daily.  We did not listen to the daily news, and even if we did, we did not comprehend […]

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“I Was Just Foolin’ You!

Everybody knows that person who is ever the clown.  He or she are never serious, always up to something, delight in pranks, and feel their role is to be the court joker.  These folks determined very early in life that a quiet room without some unrest was not desirable.  Thus, their quest is consistently to […]

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Faithful

Twenty-first century Christianity in the United States is going to be much different from what our parents and grandparents knew.  For the first 200 years of America’s history, Christianity had a favored status and was held in high esteem by the citizenry.  Even those who were not devout or even Christians by faith had a […]

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Marital Bliss – Humor for Friday

This week, I was looking for illustrations on marriage.  I found these humorous insights into that blissful union.  I hope these will bring a smile to your face on this Friday…. At Sunday school they were teaching how God created everything, including human beings. Little Johnny, a child in the kindergarten class, seemed especially intent […]

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Not Many Called

Each person has talents, personality traits, and passions given by God. None of us are alike.  Even people with common “likes” and abilities differ from each other in a variety of ways.  The diversity makes every community an exciting place to live.  In every locale, there are those that love music, art, literature, drama, cinema, […]

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Revisiting True Love

Valentine’s Day is here!  The celebration of the 54% of Americans that celebrate this day causes businesses to rejoice over the marvelous profit gained by Cupid’s clever abilities to move us to do good things for the one we love. The economic impact of this day is impressive.  Did you know that Americans in 2012 […]

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Be a Man

Man.  The definition of “what is a man” may vary from generation to generation.  How can any single definition capture all that men are (and are not!)?  Manhood has never been so maligned as it is today. There are groups dedicated to diminishing manly virtues by teaching, medicating, and shaping boys to be less aggressive […]

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I Don’t Understand Why We Suffer

We are enjoying the beginning of the winter Olympics in Seoul, Korea.  The very best athletes from each nation has gathered to compete to determine who really is the very best among them.  What we will see is the culmination of years of work, practice, refusing to ever lapse from a punishing regimen of physical, […]

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“THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS WHAT THEY SEEM”

How many times have each of us been fooled by someone who is gifted at “sleight of hand” tricks?  Illusionists, card sharps, and people that are good at deceiving surely can be convincing that what your eyes made you think you saw is NOT what you saw.  Many times, my jaw has dropped in disbelief […]

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“UNSUPRESSED ANGER”

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. (James 1:19-20). The whole world is angry.  Not every person is angry for the same reasons, but the rage that anger causes […]

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“MANY ARE STILL IN SLAVERY”

Someone has written, “I’ve learned that if you give a pig and a boy everything they want, you’ll get a good pig and a bad boy.”  The more we give in to our wants, the more we stop “wanting” and start demanding.  The smallest child that has been granted every wish from birth can create […]

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“GIVING THANKS IN ALL THINGS”

Spontaneous responses that are captured on video can be highly entertaining.  The reaction of a person that is shocked to receive a gift that was totally unexpected. The jubilant athlete that hits the winning basketball goal from half court or the photo of the surprised wife that sees her army husband appear on the baseball […]

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“MALICE TOWARDS NONE…CHARITY FOR ALL”

Strong passions erupt in times of conflict.  The combination of adverse feelings toward an enemy in battle matched with the fear of death drives soldiers to be highly alert and focused when the time for combat comes. The training and length of time “at the front” works to the soldier’s advantage so that he does […]

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“COMPELLING COMPASSION AND COURAGE”

The State of the Union Address this week was the first for President Trump.  I am not writing about the speech, the President, or politics.  I am writing to say how much I was moved by the various Americans that were recognized during the speech.  Their victories and their sorrows gripped my heart. Preston Sharp […]

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“OBEDIENT SERVANT”

Multi-tasking is demanded.  21st century pace of life and levels of expectations require that each person must think, respond, and act on various tasks continually.  Electronic communication is unforgiving.  No one will wait for long for a response.  Families demand parent’s immediate attention.  Deadlines at work are unrelenting.  Health disciplines must have their “window” in […]

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What Did You Say?

In times of tragedy or death, there are phrases that are said by “would-be” comforters that are not comforting. The statements are painful to hear and raise significant questions in the minds of those that are already hurting about God and His character and desire to help hurting people.  Like old folk-stories, the phrases spoken […]

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I Didn’t Know What I Had

Have you ever lost something truly precious, but did not realize it until it was gone?  Was it a job, relationship, position in an organization….?  Most of us either have had that experience or have friends that bemoan too late that “I just didn’t know what I had until it (or he or she) was […]

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Time To Give Thanks

How very thankful I am to be able to write this blog this morning!  As many of you know, my daughter, Jodi, was rushed to the hospital last Sunday (January 21) because she was having shortness of breath.  Upon arrival, the ER doctor did an examination to check her vitals.  Her blood pressure’s top number […]

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Jesus Loves the Little Children

The headlines this past week reported one of the worst cases of child abuse in recent history.  There are many cases that are more violent and more physically barbaric. David Turpin, 57, and wife Louise, 49, were arrested after the siblings, aged between two and 29, were found shackled and emaciated at the family home […]

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“A GIRL’S TEARS MELT HEARTS”

“Please, don’t cry.”  How many different settings and situations have evoked that response from one watching another begin to tear up for a really good cry?  When the male of the species sees the female began to shed tears, most often he is rendered useless.  Men can scream, holler, fight, and scrap with any man. […]

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True Romance

What would supermarkets do without the many magazines that are the décor for the checkout stands.  Each of them have the appeal of telling “all” to the one that purchases this expose on “the real story behind”…  There is in human nature the desire to look into the souls and private places of the heart […]

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Lost

The recurrence is now daily.  A child is missing and there is an amber alert.  A teenage girl has not been seen for several days and parents are worried. A silver alert goes out for a grandmother that just walked away from the store where she was last seen and her whereabouts are unknown. No […]

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Partnerships That Are Productive

They surely were good entertainment, but life is just not that simple.  In the “good ole’ days”, we were immersed in the wild west adventures of those invincible good guys in the white hats that won every gun battle, whipped every bad guy, and rode off as the hero at the end of a 30-minute […]

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Loneliness

The pain of long term illness, sorrow, grief, or loss can take its toll on every part of one’s life.  Dealing with the harsh events depletes our energies as we pour all that we have into seeking to help the ones we love through the pain.  But, there is a deep pain that exists and […]

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Are You Listening to Me?

It is getting more difficult to truly listen.  If you ask people if they are listening, they will most often respond positively. But if you ask what was just stated, their answer would indicate they were not giving attention to the conversation at all. Recently, I discovered these questions that cause one to consider “what” […]

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Just An Ordinary Person

The number of people that will be famous or notable in any generation are few. Because of very unusual natural giftedness or a remarkable “moment in time” that they acted heroically or because of some invention or contribution to the good of mankind, a small number rise to memorable status in each generation.  If we […]

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He Has Covered Me With His Hand

You are my hiding place; You protect me from trouble.  You surround me with joyful shouts of deliverance.  (Psalm 32:7).  When God created the world, he provided various means for his creatures to be safe when under attack.  Some of his “critters” have the strength and ability to fight.  Others have great speed to evade […]

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Are You Just Excited Or a True Fan?

How very easy it is to know what a person values in life!  We promote and post our “loves” openly, freely, and frequently to let others know who we are by what we display.  The back windows of cars and SUV’s today are moving billboards.  Simply sitting behind a person at a stop light for […]

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“The Truth……the Whole Truth?”

Cynical!  The American public has been manipulated, lied to, deliberately misled, cheated, and maligned so very many times that finding genuine trust is not an easy quest.  There was a time in my grandparent’s day when it was stated that “a man’s word was his bond”.  If two men agreed on the sale of land, […]

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Confidential

Mankind surely is a strange breed.  Although we were created in the image of God, we surely do have some odd quirks that appear often.  One of those is our natural curiosity.  That curious nature has led to great discoveries and inventions.  And, it has brought great sorrow and heartache on occasion when we learned […]

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Losing Sight of the Grandeur

Perhaps you can relate.  Over recent months, I have been the “listening ear” for several people that are really struggling with their passion for their job, family responsibilities, and most of all, their zeal for their faith.  The reasons vary but the concerns are the same.  Life has become so routine that they feel like […]

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Free Forevermore!

Matt. 22:37-39 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important command. 39 The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. In contrast to the two commands of Christ, the Pharisees had developed a system of 613 laws, 365 negative commands […]

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What Will I Leave My Children?

It is no secret that all of us have a date with death.  But, far too many of us live as if that date is never coming to us.  This generation lives for pursuing wealth, health, and adventure.  Faith in God is minimal in most and non-existent in many.  Faith in our LORD GOD is […]

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I Fully Resolve To…..

It has been said that, “Resolutions were made to be broken.” That is certainly not a great motivator to make any resolution at any time. However, New Year’s resolutions are a great tradition. It is not so much that we think we will live up to those we make. Rather, it is an indication of […]

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“RESOLUTIONS”

One of the great preachers of the early American colonies of the 1700’s was Jonathan Edwards   He was one of the great influences in the First Great Awakening in the 1730’s and 1740’s.  Edwards held a very deep conviction about the sovereignty of God and the urgency for men to be saved.  Here is a […]

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“MAY I START OVER?”

School teachers hear that all the time as do music teachers, art instructors, and “mothers”.  That plea coming from the lips of a child is their hope to be able to throw away or walk away from a poor start, hoping for grace to be given to try again and do better the second time. […]

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“TRUE GREATNESS”

There is never a shortage of folks that desire to be great.  Within the minds of “would be” achievers, there is a sense that they are far superior to the others around them.  Their ideas and opinions are continually the very most insightful and brilliant.  Because of the remarkable person that they are, others should […]

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“THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE”

In his book, It All Goes Back in the Box, John Ortberg shares the true story of a young man who is now known as “Johnny the bagger”. Johnny is 19 and has Down Syndrome. He works at a   local grocery store bagging groceries. One day he went to a training event his store sponsored that […]

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Miracles

Alcides and Edgar Moreno were working as window washers at New York City’s Solow Tower in 2007 when their scaffolding suddenly collapsed and the brothers plunged 47 floors down into an alley below. Edgar was killed instantly, but Alcides not only survived the fall, but was already sitting when the paramedics arrived. After the window […]

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Christmas Around the World

Although Christmas holiday is a part of many countries’ winter season annually, the way it is celebrated is varied.  Here are a few national customs from 4 nations…. Philippines – The Giant Lantern Festival (Ligligan Parul Sampernandu) is held each year on the Saturday before Christmas Eve in the city of San Fernando – the “Christmas […]

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What Is Christmas?

It has been called in song, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”  For many people that is the case.  For those who have good jobs, harmony within their families, a wide circle of good friends, faith that is active and vibrant, and no significant cares of burdens that overshadow the Christmas season, it is […]

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Six Days Shalt Thou Labor

Crime is costly!  The criminal that steals takes “things” that have value and the cost of protecting businesses or replacing what has been stolen continues to plague businesses worldwide.  When a citizen experiences a break-in to their home or a gunman demanding their money, car, or some electronic device, the victim is shaken, and it […]

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Giving to the Poor – All Year Long

Jesus told his disciples, “The poor, you will have with you always.” Seemingly, the stories of people in need are constant.  We hear of someone that has been in a serious accident and cannot pay all the medical bills.  Or, someone that has been “let go” and has no income to cover basic needs. Or, […]

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Here’s My Heart, Lord

“It was a bright Sunday morning in 18th century London, but Robert Robinson’s mood was anything but sunny. All along the street there were people hurrying to church, but in the midst of the crowd Robinson was a lonely man. The sound of church bells reminded him of years past when his faith in God […]

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“G-R-A-C-E”!

How little we know of the wonderful life that God desired for man to enjoy!  The level of anger, hatred, and vengeful behavior has robbed us of the relational interaction that our Lord intended for us to have.  Because of our mistrust of each other, we live on guard that any person could be a […]

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LOL

The generation of abbreviations to make texting easier has developed a whole language.  You are very familiar with those simple phrases showing up as 2-4 letters in a text to avoid putting so many words on a post.  One of those is “LOL”.  Though it has more than one meaning, today I am using it […]

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Late……..Again!

Habitual tardiness is intentional.  Anyone can be late on occasion due to some unforeseen occurrence that can delay “on-time” arrivals.  But, when individuals show up late by the same 5-10-15 minute span to work or to other regularly scheduled events, that is planned.  The desire to be tardy can be that the person just does […]

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The Last Word

Mortals are fascinated at how those that go before us face the time of death.  Perhaps that is why we are drawn to the “last words” of famous people Within those few words, much is understood about one’s state of mind at the time life ends on earth.  Here are some of those whose names […]

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Don’t Judge a Book By It’s Cover

Many people in this present age live in true poverty.  While America seeks to motivate all of us to exercise more and eat less, much of the rest of the world needs “less physical exertion” and lots more to eat.  Those citizens that travel anywhere to a third world country have a different view of […]

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Make Sure There is Mistletoe

Marriage is going through a most turbulent time. Our courts ruled that the foundation of a man and woman being married, and rearing children was not to be guarded. Because of the new “openness” in what comprises a true marriage by the court, sexual mores have been set aside, and the flood of sexual and […]

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Though I Had the Tongue of Angels

How very happy are those that are loved and have those around them that they truly love! Every form of media reminds us how many people live in fear, violent surroundings, abuse, neglect, or loveless marriages or children who live “unwanted. Have you realized how many people just want someone to “see them”, love them, […]

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Don’t Fence Me In

I don’t mean to be cynical.  It is just that I have had lots of years to become proficient at it. I have less and less patience as I grow older with all the data, processes, and pre-requirements that we must provide or endure to do necessary things.  Doctor’s visits are no longer just “showing […]

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It’s All in the Way You Look At It

How sad are those people that are always dissatisfied! They are chasing after some place where there is no sorrow, little stress, and great happiness. You and I know that there is no such address on earth. The world and its broken systems allow and often create very uncomfortable and sorrowful events. The Lord’s promise […]

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All I Need For Christmas Is…..

The change in Christmas was not sudden or subtle.  We learned it from our childhood and I am sure that for much of latter part of the 20th century, the pattern was reinforced annually with each of you.  Every year, the month of December was filled with so many things that it was easy for […]

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Good For the Soul

The recent wave of accusations of sexual misconduct of notable people has become a trend that may have many more “accusers and accused” coming forward in the days ahead.  With the almost daily uncovering of a new name and new accusations, one could almost say that this is a new American trend. No doubt, what […]

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Pardon Me – Your Greed is Showing

Welcome to the season of pushing, shoving, road rage, stealing, cursing, shop lifting, “porch” package thefts, robberies, and an increase in domestic violence.  That’s right.  It’s Christmas!  How very sad to see what we have done to Christmas.  Hard to truly believe that it is the day set aside to remember the One who left […]

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Tragedy: Ruled By Sexual Desire

Clayton Lonetree was lonely in Moscow. The weather was dreary, the Marine barracks were dirty, old, and cold, and he didn’t get much mail. Though guard duty at the U.S. embassy in the 1980’s was a trusted position of honor, his work was often dull and exhausting; it was a ceremonial job with little action. […]

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Near Me All the Time

This article was edited to fit the space. (From https://bible.org/illustration/blind-woman). The passengers on the bus watched sympathetically as the attractive young woman with the white cane made her way carefully up the steps. She paid the driver and, using her hands to feel the location of the seats, walked down the aisle and found the […]

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You Don’t Believe in God???

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” – Psalm 53:1 Have you ever wondered why some people try to disprove the existence of God? When you think about it, their very efforts undermine their own arguments.  In Interpreting Basic Theology, Addison Leitch wrote, “Unless [an atheist] is carrying on his fight […]

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Preachers

Preachers can be a real nuisance. I know because I am one. So, I know whereof I speak. Even for the most faithful church goers who listen to a pastor week after week, overtime (because folks hear their pastor so frequently), it is easy to become numb to what is being said, weary of endless […]

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Thank You For Remembering

All of the holidays that we celebrate are times of remembrance. Easter focuses on the death and resurrection of our Lord. Memorial Day is to honor those that paid with their lives to sustain and protect our liberty. The Fourth of July recognizes the birth of our American independence in 1776. Labor Day was established […]

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“IT’S THE GRAINS OF SAND….”

As we grow older, we have many more things that can create frustration. Some of the causes are physical challenges which can be reflexes that are slower, sight that is no longer sharp without glasses, ears that fail to hear as they once did, feet that can stumble over the smallest things or miss stairway […]

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“UNEXPECTED KINDNESS”

” Pleasant words are a honeycomb; sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24). Sometimes in this litigious and vile generation, a person may be afraid to say or write anything because of the certainty of negative backlash regardless of the wording or motive of the writer.  Even a very positive observation […]

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“I WASN’T PAYING ATTENTION”

 Too much going on!  Too many sensory demands for us to be fully aware of all that we see happening daily. When that occurs, we realize that in the midst of lots of things happening around us, we may be so accustomed to events that we are not cognizant of something of significance that is […]

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“IRONY”

 Have you considered how many times irony appears in Scripture?  Here are only a few… “The last will be first and the first last” (Matt 20:16).  “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:35).  “Save us, Lord; […]

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I Hear You! I’m Coming!

Memories. We have lots of them. Some very pleasant and others not so much.  Some are “moments in time” when we were able to experience some lofty moment of success.  Others remind us of deep regrets that we wish we could forget. Both kinds of memories are beneficial.  The good ones make us smile on […]

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Were You Invited?

If a big event is calendared, and advertised “everywhere”, we may feel a bit concerned about getting to attend if we hear it is by “invitation only”.  However, if everyone has the opportunity to buy a ticket, then the ground is somewhat level.  Whoever gets to the ticket office first and buys their tickets, then […]

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Songs in the Night

We learn the rudiments of faith in seasons of calm. We learn the reality of faith in the storms.  Faith reminds us in our darkest moments to cling to what we learned in the light.  Pain, sorrow, tragedy, illness, unexpected deaths, and griefs of every kind are very much a part of life. Although one […]

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“Fear Not! I Am With You”

Sorrows abound.  The days are filled with ever increasing news of violence in what was once a very safe nation of free people. Too often, thugs seemingly have great latitude to do evil while law-abiding people have to live in vigilance to protect families, communities, churches, and properties.  For those of us that are Christians, […]

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May All That Come Behind Us….

What a significant period of time to be alive!  This 21st century is filled with things that those who preceded us could only envision in their imaginations.  Life in every previous era was much more difficult and had far less free time than we do.  The many technological, electronic, communication advances, travel, medical, and so […]

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Generosity

A common phrase that we hear spoken about a child is, “You are just like your dad”. That can be in appearance, mannerisms, or personality.  It is spoken because someone sees in a son or daughter what is already appearing that is “just like their dad”. Christians are born again through the grace of Jesus […]

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Winning

Sporting events and personal recreation choices of masses of people reflect our desire to compete and win.  Sometimes, our desire to win can be all consuming.  The teams we watch or the games we play can become the opportunity to slam those “other guys”, the referees, or even the fans or other team mates that […]

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Faith Grows in the Challenges

Among the millions of Americans, a vast majority are much more comfortable with complacency and ease that with struggles and endurance.  For example, although we are overrun with ads, mailers, and FB posts about diet plans, exercise options, “guaranteed” weight loss products and “financial opportunities for ‘partners’ that will sell the wonder working plan, obesity […]

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The Lord is Our Provider

Every parent knows that once a child is born into the family, the challenges of being a parent every day for the rest on a parent’s life will be focused on the child (or children) God gives to them.  The most immediate need and one that will endure well into young adulthood is providing for […]

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Help My Unbelief

Faith has become such a common word that it is no longer perceived as the intensive, powerful, dynamic word that is used in the Scripture.  Everywhere we turn, we hear the word “faith”.  Players will say that they have faith in their coaches and fellow players.  Government leaders will say that they have faith and […]

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Prayer Enables Us to Overcome

We can be bold as lions in our thoughts. But, when we are with the person that we had determined we were going to tell what we truly thought, we frequently become wimpy. Have you noticed how people are not reticent to protest “with a group” all protesting together, but find it more challenging to […]

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Standing At An Open Door

Former Senate Chaplain Richard Halverson: “In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centering on the living Christ. Then the church moved to Greece where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome where it became an institution. Next, it moved to Europe, where it became a culture. And, finally, […]

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Doing Your Part

Some of you reading this blog are young parents.  Your children that are now small are mobile, eager to explore, and zealous to experience new things. As they become elementary age, you will begin to ask them to work tougher to do some specific task like picking up their toys and putting them where they […]

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Praying in Agreement

Life events are frequently for groups of people doing things at the same time, same place, for the same purpose, and with the same hope for a successful outcome.  For example, a football team’s fans unite every weekend in a stadium, in time for the kickoff, eager to see their team play, and all “confident” […]

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Take Your Burden to the Lord – Leave It

The old spiritual that was sung in an earlier era used to say, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen”.  In those lyrics, the singer expresses the fact that the load of life on their shoulders is more than they can bear. Far too often, that is how we feel as we go to the LORD […]

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Sounds of Music

“Why is it so quiet?”  When anyone of us chooses to be totally devoid of any sounds that are so much a part of life in this generation, it takes some time to adjust.  It is very challenging to find a place and time that is completely quiet for most of us.  Perhaps some of […]

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Concentrate

“Now, I want you to really concentrate.”  That one sentence used to give me tremendous angst in school.  Concentration is a discipline that must be perfected.  Young folks are so eager to see and hear “everything” that it is hard to focus on one thing for more than an instant.  You know from rearing children […]

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Calling Out to God

The volume of a voice in distress is significant.  Mankind is born with the reflexive response of adding volume to our words when we are fearful of great injury or death.  Fear, anxiety, uncertainty, or stress creates sufficient angst that words are spoken loudly, rapidly, and sometimes in short bursts due to breathlessness. But there […]

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Earnest Prayer

Welcome to this week in the journey of Forty Days of Prayer.  So far, we have considered various aspects of prayer and preparing for engaging in fervent prayer.  Prayer is conversational.  It is conversing with God.  As is true in the conversation habits that we have in daily interactions, we can be distracted while talking […]

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Aspects of Prayer – Provision

People are needy.  Our demands are many and seemingly endless. There are always the “usual and customary” necessities…food, water, shelter, clothing, transportation, etc.  Add to that the “surprises” that invade along the way…unexpected doctor’s appointments and medications, car repairs, home repairs, children have unforeseen expenses, or some other real-life issues.  Then, there are those things […]

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Aspects of Prayer – Intercession

The very foundation of living the Christ-life is a sacred trust. We cannot be saved without trusting Him.  Living in righteousness is only possible because we trust in Him.  Overcoming challenges that come our way are only possible as we trust in Him. As the family of God, we are also given requests for prayer […]

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Aspects of Prayer – Personal Pleas

Can we just be really honest today?  When it comes to prayer, when are we the most diligent in asking for prayer?  When do we urgently pray?  When do we find that we pray many times a day with fervency?  I know the answer and you do, too.  When the need that has invaded the […]

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Aspects of Prayer – Petitions

Time alone with God in prayer is one of the most powerful ways to be reminded of who God truly is and who we are addressing when we pray.  If we enter before the Lord with proper and earnest confession of sin and the receiving of His forgiveness, we immediately have deep gratitude to Him […]

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ASPECTS OF PRAYER – PRAISE

If you have not been following this blog during this past week, you would want to know that we are on a “40-Days of Prayer” journey.  The goal is for us to unite in our prayers each week for seven weeks.  My hope is that as we all are in unity in prayer, God will […]

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Walking in Paths of Righteousness

Enjoying fellowship with God in prayer means that we delight in fellowship with Him in the daily routines of life.  He is always with us.  He promises never to forsake us.  He chooses to send His Holy Spirit to indwell His children so that we are filled with His power, sealed through redemption to be […]

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No Man Can Serve Two Masters

Prayer is an absolute in the lives of those that determine they will focus on the Lord and His Kingdom.  A 21st century Christian can feel like they are being pulled apart in this present culture.  Although one’s heart belongs to Christ and there is a deep desire to please Him, the things of the […]

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What Can Take Away My Guilt?

One of the greatest deterrents to prayer is our guilt.  Guilt is a merciless master! Consider what some notable people have had to say about guilt. Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving. Erma Bombeck.  Repentant tears wash out the stain of guilt. St. Augustine.   While the resurrection promises us a new and perfect life […]

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Who Can Stand in His Presence?

Thank you for checking in this morning as we embark on this adventure of Forty Days of Prayer together.  Our LORD longs for us to come to Him the same way that an earthly parent delights when their child wants to come near to them. Since we are in the initial steps of seeking the […]

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Standing in the Need of Prayer

For the next seven weeks, I will be dedicating this space in my daily blog to lead our church in a journey of seeking God in prayer.  We all know we need to pray and that we need “prayer” to grow in our walk with Jesus.  However, sometimes the pressures and demands of the day […]

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Never Saw It Coming

Recently I was visiting with a man that had been in a car accident.  Fortunately, he was not injured, but the wreck had shaken him up mentally and emotionally.  His car was damaged quite extensively and he easily could have been injured severely or even killed.  Once he saw the extent of the damage to […]

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Lest You Forget

The mind’s ability to remember is a miraculous creation of God. Knowing that we are made up of living cells, “fluids”, and organic matter, the mystery is even greater to me.  How can my brain retain moments that occurred decades ago in some small cell for me to retrieve at will?  Man has been finding […]

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Ever Stronger

Stupendous! Amazing! Unbelievable! Awesome! Those were some of the words that were once spoken to describe “acts or deeds” that were beyond imagination.  Whenever a person attended a performance, athletic event, or concert with a person of notoriety, the crowd and critics would rave.  Because what their eyes would see or ears would hear was […]

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How Did You Know How to Do That?

Skilled workmen, craftsmen, and professionals have always fascinated me.  All of us can tell when something is not working properly.  I am amazed by those trained individuals that know exactly what the “broken thing” needs and can fix it readily.  Once they explain to me what they did, I am (too often) still in the […]

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Cutting Edge

Many great ideas are never realized.  Sometimes it is because they are way ahead of their time.  For others, the problem is the failure of the “dreamer” to connect with someone that is capable of making the dream a practical and powerful reality.  Still others lack the drive to push forward to make sure that […]

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Just For Fun……..Letters to the Pastor

Truly, children’s perspectives are refreshing, innocent, and downright funny.  One of the joys of being around young children is listening to them tell an adult about some topic that they truly feel needs to be explained to an authority figure in their lives. Here is a collection of letters to a pastor (not me!) that […]

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You Never Know Who’s Watching

I saw what you did!  Those words are most often spoken by a person seeking to inform another of a wrong that had been done. The deed done was not covert.  Although the person doing wrong had likely felt that they were operating under a cloak of secrecy, when one eye-witness steps forward to let […]

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Taking the First Step

Jesus was a master motivator.  Folks that loved Him wanted to go with him and see and hear Him in every village. Those that hated Him were likewise motivated to try to find a way to destroy Him. Very few were neutral about our Master. When we came to Christ, we were motivated by His […]

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Whatever It Takes

The media delights in showing the faces and telling us “recent events” in the life of the rich and famous.  Most of the rest of us share pretty common routines most of the time.  But, there are a few that have soared to the top of their field and the eyes of the world is […]

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In Last Days, Men Will Be Ungrateful

Never enough.  Never content. Never pausing to be thankful.  No generation has ever had it so good with so much in such abundance, and with so many privileges as we do.  One would think that we would be ecstatic daily to get to live with so many benefits.  But, you know that is not the […]

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“JUST FOR FUN–DID YOU KNOW…?”

I am always fascinated to learn how many things that we enjoy came about by accident. Here are some things that we enjoy frequently but may not know how they originated….. There are several stories concerning the origin of buffalo wings. One of the most persistent says that in 1963 the Bellissimo’s were closing up […]

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Forgiven and Forgotten

Sin is a cruel master that seeks to destroy the one that serves its demands. What appears to be so fulfilling becomes so fatal.  Sin has ruined great people, destroyed characters, divided marriages, driven children from their parents, devastated nations, and marred history. Far too many people live with unconfessed sin and unsettled souls due […]

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Danger Zone

The Lord was found interacting with people regularly.  His contacts ranged from the most influential religious leaders to those that were “nobodies” as far as society was concerned.  He met with the self-righteous and the unrighteous.  Jesus was no stranger to the “sinners” and often rebuked by those who thought themselves to be “saints”. But […]

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Why Are You Here?

No problem finding people angry about their life’s situation.  Wherever we look, someone(s) is voicing (and sometimes shouting) vitriolic phrases about how bad some other person or group is.  Maybe we learn that practice in our childhood, improve our slander skills in our teen years, and move to perfection at it by the time we […]

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Time For a Cleanse

Health has become a major marketing explosion in American culture.  For a nation that was the fast food icon during my generation, the new generation has realized that “cheeseburgers/fries, burritos/beans, and pizza with ‘everything on it’” are not the best choices for one’s dietary habits.  So, today the market is flooded with lots of options […]

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I Am Of No Value to Anyone

How tragic that any person lives in the mistaken view that their lives have no purpose of meaning.  The gloom of that kind of existence would be overwhelming.  Perhaps that is why so many people are ever looking to do something to be noticed, “seen”, or at least acknowledged.  Many a lonely person takes to […]

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Can the Bible Be Trusted?

We demand that products are pure, packaging is tightly sealed from the factory, and electronics have protection from viruses. Why?  Because we fully understand how “corrupting” any type of foreign matter can be to the product we purchased believing it to be functional and clean.  Manufacturers go to great lengths to guarantee that their process […]

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“I THINK THAT IS OKAY….”

Foolishness is part of being a child or young teen.  Because the “years are few” at that stage of life, the experiences of life’s lessons are yet to be learned.  Parents, grandparents, teachers, and care providers are the eyes and ears for a child to prevent them from dong harmful or foolish things. The role […]

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Looking For Hope

These are turbulent times in our nation.  Who has not seen the news and been concerned over rampant violence, hatred, and strife?  How can we not be burdened for all of the natural disasters that are happening around us?  We need hope as never before. We do not need a trite mantra to make us […]

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There’s Always Tomorrow

Life seems endless…day after day…same routine…same demands, duties, and expectations.  It seems that the flow of days into weeks which pass into months as the months become years has a rhythm and routine that will never change.  However, the constancy can create a false sense of complacency.  We can become so comfortable with the “tomorrows” […]

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Whatcha Need?

I hurt for people trying to learn the English language when they arrive on our shores.  For most Americans, we have not mastered the English language.  Although I was an English major in college (I know you are shocked having heard me talk!), I have enough split infinitives and dangling participles to create serious harm […]

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Not Your Childhood Nursery Lamb

Some of the greatest truths about God we learn from the days of our childhood.  The first Bible verse I ever learned was “God is love” (1 John 4:8). One of the first songs we were taught was JESUS LOVES ME THIS I KNOW.  One of the first concepts about God was that He made […]

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I Quit

Most lists of resolutions have lines that begin with, “I am going to quit….”  How many times have you said, “I am going to quit….”?  If you are old enough, the list of “gonna’ quits” is long.  Some have been eliminated. Many are still on the “to do” list for this year. Quitting a bad […]

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You Ought to Fix That

Inspections. Job reviews. Medical check-ups. Academic tests. Fitness examinations. For the average person, none of those things are highlights.  Why?  Because we know that we need to improve in our areas of weakness. In whatever area we are being reviewed or examined, we also know “in advance” that we will not fully measure up. The […]

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of Year

I know that song is a Christmas carol, but for many, the season that is most wonderful is earlier than Christmas.  The Fall Season means children go back to school and parents “rejoice” this time of year because of that.  It is the season that weather cools, and hot-natured folks rejoice in that.  And, it […]

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The Best of Times and the Worst

The opening words of Charles Dickens in his classic THE TALE OF TWO CITIES could have been written by a modern author describing these times in which we live rather than the days just before the French Revolution (1789-1799).  Who has not read or heard many times the description of Dickens regarding that era…. It […]

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We Are Going to Be in Church

The Psalmist penned a line over 3000 years ago that has been oft quoted by faithful church members.  Ps.122:1 – I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord’.  Sadly, the average Christian family today attends church sporadically since so many other things are happening on the day that […]

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It Could Have Been Really Bad

Being treated with merciful kindness when we deserve the full measure of wrath is so deeply moving that we remember it for a long, long time.  For Christians, that is why our conversion experience is so vivid many years after that moment that we realized Jesus would forgive us, transform us, and give us grace […]

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This I Know For Sure

If you were asked, “What do you know for certain?”, how would you answer?   Most of us would first want to give some qualifiers like, “Well, today at this moment, I know…”  Others would want for the question to be less broad so that we could answer with greater confidence.  Because life is ever in […]

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The Power of the Resurrection

…..that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death….(Phil.3:10). Paul knew so many great things from his training as a Pharisee.  His knowledge of the Old Testament, the Covenants of God, the history of the Jews, the various aspects of the worship […]

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Ichabod

She named the child Ichabod (which means “Where is the glory?”, for she said, “Israel’s glory is gone.” (1 Sam.4:21 NLT). How can one fully fathom the depth of despair when God’s glory departs from a nation?  When God is revered and adored, “righteousness exalts a nation”.  When God is forsaken by the people, God gives them […]

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Blessed Assurance

The goal of one’s life dictates the decisions one makes daily.  Purposeless living is a result of hopelessness. Empty ambitions have no motivation.  Habitual choices that are destructive indicate the void in one’s soul. Jesus gave us the blueprint for living a full and meaningful life here and the clear instructions on how one can […]

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Me

Welcome to the “ME” generation that is now in full bloom.  What a younger generation was taught by parents in the early 21st century is now being harvested in bushels of belligerence.   Children were often told that they were the greatest “ever”, admired as the center of a home, treated with every generosity, and never being […]

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When Arrogance is Ignorance

When we are young, we just don’t understand why it is so hard to break habits.  Hearing adults talk as a boy, it became almost routine for someone during the meal to speak of some habit that they were trying to break. And, for the most part, many of those same habits are still plaguing […]

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The Necessity of Proof Reading

The Bible has been cherished by those that love and serve the One True God for centuries.  In the Old Testament, we gain knowledge of God creating the world, calling out the father of the Jews, sending down the law to establish the nation of Israel, giving them the Promised Land, and assuring them that […]

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We Will Understand It Better By and By

In the best-selling book “She said Yes!“, Missy Bernall tells the story of her daughter Cassie, one of the students killed at Columbine High School, April 20, 1999. Cassie grew up in church, she came from a nice family, had friends and a nice life. Then it all changed.  When Cassie entered high school (not […]

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It’s How You Play the Game

Many years ago, children were taught a simple proverb, “It isn’t whether you win or lose but how you play the game that counts.”  Don’t hear that much anymore. Truthfully, I never did like that saying as a boy.  Wining was the whole reason for being “out there” playing.  I wanted to give my best […]

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The Facade of Pretense

No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.  (Nathaniel Hawthorne). One of the frequent attacks against people of faith is that we are all hypocrites.  That single character flaw, though not unique to Christians, seemingly […]

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Are You “All In”?

Spoiled. Soft. Pampered. Whiners. Entitled. Easily offended. Not able to stay focused. Quitters. Those are not positive words associated with commendation.  Recently, in reading an article written by a university President, I read his assessment of the modern qualities of many in the college ranks. Rather than being young men and women that are highly […]

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Regrets? I’ve Had a Few

Only the very young would argue that life moves by at warp speed.  All the things that we truly think we will do narrow as we age.  More and more we realize the passing of time.  The runway grows shorter daily and the “want to’s” seemingly increase.  For most of us, we do have so […]

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“I WAS GLAD WHEN THEY SAID UNTO ME…”

Among Christians, there is a word that should be delightful to speak, eager to do, and rewarding to experience.  In its Biblical use and function, it is all those things and more.  In the 21st century, worship is so focused on the tastes of mankind that too often, it has lost its vertical draw toward the […]

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“DON’T BE SO JOYFUL”

Sometimes, I find a story that must be shared “just like it is”. This one is one of those…… Christmas Eve 1990. I came this close to being physically thrown out of church.  We were new to town and we heard that a certain church in town had a fantastic Christmas Eve service. So, we […]

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“WAITING……”

We live with so many marvelous wonders that benefit us daily.  Most of them respond to our touch and produce the desired outcome instantaneously.  The frequency of those events occurs with such consistency and regularity that we rarely even stop to consider the miracle of our privilege.  Think with me of just a very few…. […]

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“ARE YOU ‘ALL IN’?”

Spoiled. Soft. Pampered. Whiners. Entitled. Easily offended. Not able to stay focused. Quitters. Those are not positive words associated with commendation.  Recently, in reading an article written by a university President, I read his assessment of the modern qualities of many in the college ranks. Rather than being young men and women that are highly […]

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“DID YOU GET YOUR MONEY’S WORTH?”

How very easy to celebrate an unexpected “great find” and buy it at a ridiculously low price!  From time to time, we hear of such an experience in the news.  And, as one would expect, the “seller” is sick and the “buyer” is elated at the transaction. Recently I was listening to a MYSTERIES AT […]

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“DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?”

Anonymity can transform lambs into lions!  As long as a person knows that the object of their vitriolic comments is not in earshot, the things one sometimes says are much harsher than if the two people were face-to-face.  How many times does a wimp send a fiery letter to a person anonymously?  Or, when was […]

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Not a Common Compliment

“Pride” has become a virtue in our generation. What was once viewed as meaning “arrogant, boastful, egocentric, and self-elevated”, now is held as a good quality.  Athletes speak of having pride in their team.  Our high school band is called the Broken Arrow Pride.  Parents speak of the pride that they feel for their children […]

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Did You Know That?

The history of our nation has been under attack by revisionists for years now. Their goal is to seek to remove any Christian influence in our 240 years of being a nation.  Christianity, when discussed, is presented in modern secular settings as belligerent, bigoted, and belittling.  The goal of these secularists is to teach a […]

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Hugs Help the Human Condition

Hugs are great for the soul!  There is something about the embrace of a close friend or beloved member of the family that is therapeutic. Scripture reminds us that folks have shown their appreciation and affection by means of a hug since the beginning of time.  Consider these Biblical examples…. Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:5 – “(There […]

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So Glad You Fixed the Problem

Have you noticed that almost everyone has the solution to life’s major issues?  In fact, if you have any conversations with others during a day’s time, the wisdom available through ordinary conversations is amazing.  Rarely when two or more are conversing is the opportunity passed up to talk about significant problems reported on the news, […]

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You Almost Crossed the Line

“You just went too far.”  In a previous era that simply meant that one had offended another, took advantage of a person’s kindness one too many times, or failed to live up to a promise “again”. That action could result in hurt feelings, division between friends, or severance of all future business interactions. Today, the […]

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A Friend Indeed

There are very few people in life that are truly “friendless”.  From earliest childhood, we are looking for friendships and those that we love to share the experiences of life with regularly.  As we grow older, friendships expand.  We quickly realize we don’t have lots of “true” friends.  It takes lots of time and energy […]

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What If Everyone Did Like Me?

Every week, I get to see people that are working hard so that folks like me can have many benefits in my life.  You see those same folks daily…construction workers, police officers, medical personnel, teachers, business men and women, and lots of others that do what they do tirelessly to keep a city functioning smoothly.  And, invariably […]

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What is the Secret?

No matter what your field of interest, or your profession, or your avocation, there are materials abundant to answer every question that anyone of us might possibly have.  Never has data or research been so available to everybody at any time as it is today. Because of the media, internet, and publications, whatever a person […]

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Only One Thing Can Take That Stain Out

Murphy’s Law is ever in effect in my life.  If something can go wrong, or a full cup of any liquid can be spilled, or there is the possibility of taking a wrong turn, I will make sure not to let such an opportunity pass me by.  As I get “more and more mature”, I […]

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To Tell the Truth

We all know people that have a very hard time with the simple truth.  Some folks exaggerate.  Others only tell “part of the truth” when relating a story.  There are those people that are loose with facts or in frequent innuendos that can wound, damage, or ruin a person’s reputation.  And, still others just find […]

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Don’t Despise Small Beginnings

I have discovered that many of the folks that made a great impact during their lifetime were reared in small towns through much difficulty.  God used those circumstances to build in them the character that would be essential to their success. You may not have heard of this man, but you have heard his music.  […]

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Do You Speak My Language?

Many years ago, in England a circus elephant named Bozo was very popular with the public. Children especially loved to crowd around his cage and throw him peanuts. Then one day there was a sudden change in the elephant’s personality. Several times he tried to kill his keeper and when the children came near his […]

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I Have Seen the Light

Light is a great creation of God.  It was the first thing that appeared in Genesis when God spoke all that is into being.  Light is more than a great gift given to us by God.  It is the very nature of God.  Wherever He is, Light is abundant, radiant, and blindingly bright.  Scriptures are […]

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His Story

History is “His story”.  Even when we cannot fully discern God’s Hand at work, all events are in the Hands of God and “all things work together for good to those who are called according to His purpose.”  We are quick to praise God when we are delivered from harm or difficulty, but we rarely […]

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Let It Go

Hoarders are an unusual group of people.  They love to get all kinds of things but they just can’t bring themselves to ever discard anything.  The longer they are in a home, the more their home becomes a hazard.  Because they “hold on to everything”, they come to the point that their desire to acquire […]

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God Created Them Male and Female

Men are much simpler than women.  Men are pretty basic and don’t require as much grooming, small talk, or companionship as women.  Men love to wear ball caps which is the great cover for failure to comb one’s hair (if we have not already shaved it from our heads!).  As far as our jeans and […]

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Ready For the Next Step

“I sure will be glad when I am 16!”  I can remember my longing as a child to get to the point that I would be able to drive.  Seemingly, having a license to take the family car and leave for great adventures cruising down 22nd Avenue (our major street) in Humboldt, TN seemingly would […]

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Words From Great Americans

Thomas Jefferson – And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when […]

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Led Away and Enticed By One’s Desire

All of us grew up with super heroes.  The generation that was before mine had comic book heroes that were loved by children.  They read the stories and viewed the “frames” of their super characters saving the day from the bad guys.  In my boyhood, we had lots of “champions”—-cowboys like Roy Rogers, super heroes […]

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“HOW ARE YOU DOING?”

Americans are not easily dissuaded from eating and drinking things that we should not.  We acquire the tastes of foods that we like very early.   We know what we like, and babies “spit out or up” what they don’t.  Some tastes are acquired. Others are just not ever going to be desirable as something that […]

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“DO NOT TALK IN HERE!”

Quiet zones are established.  Regard for those is often violated.  After all, sometimes that person that just entered the room is the very one you had hoped to see to share a pressing issue.  You know that what you have to discuss just cannot wait.  So, without reservation, words flow from your mouth freely to […]

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“ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?”

I have always been one of those people whose concentration can be very easily distracted.  In fact, my ability to focus could be summed up in the words of an old hymn, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it!”  My parents used to frequently ask me when they were really intent on correcting me, “Are […]

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“I’M NOT WORRIED ABOUT IT”

Humans are very strange.  We will buy warranties to extend the coverage on expensive appliances or a car that may need major work sooner than it should.  Computers that have our information are guarded by various programs to protect the hard drive.  Medically, we take vaccinations to keep us safe from diseases; we visit doctors […]

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“TRAGEDY—ABANDONING ONE’S DREAMS”

The English language is filled with expressions about “dreams”.  Consider some of these that are most frequently heard…. A dream come true                        Dream on! A pipe dream                                   […]

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“HOW BIG IS YOUR “WORLD VIEW”?

I have loved living in five different states in my lifetime….Tennessee, Alabama, Texas (for seminary training), Arkansas, and Oklahoma.   Now in my Senior Adult season, it is good to look back and remember each place and the wonderful people that I met in every city or town.  My life was enriched by those that lived […]

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“A MORE EXCELLENT WAY”

Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ, and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in. (C. S. Lewis). For a generation that seeks to make sex and sensuality the blatant manifestation of “free love”, how […]

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“FARTHER AND FARTHER AWAY….”

America is proficient to a greater degree today in our verbal interactions of belittling, sarcasm, scoffing, derision, scorn, ridicule, and mockery.  Most often, that which is the target of verbal assault is any view of sexual morality, anyone in authority, or any conservative value that is founded on God or the Christian faith.  In fact, […]

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“SO YOU ARE GETTING OLDER….”

God surely is good to allow us to continue to see all ages of people around us…babies, children, youth, young marrieds, families, and the seniors.  By being able to see the full spectrum all of the time, we have the privilege of remembering when we were very young and then, in the next moment, be […]

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“I’M JUST BARELY MAKING IT”

The older I get, the less I enjoy adventures in locating a “desired destination” in a large city where I am a visitor.  There are so many “one way” streets, or streets that are named as a “street, avenue, boulevard, circle, or place” and all with the same name.   And, I love it when the […]

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“FORGIVE ME, LADIES…..”

Someone sent me this “instruction sheet” a few days ago.  In a weak moment today, I yielded to temptation and printed it. The men will appreciate it….I hope the women will show me mercy!!! A sign in the Bank Lobby reads:  “Please note that this Bank is installing new “Drive-through” teller machines enabling customers to […]

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“I DIDN’T KNOW THAT IS WHAT THAT MEANT”

The languages of the world have lots of idioms and expressions.  There are many expressions that “if we were asked their origin”, we would have to say we have no idea.  Maybe you have heard or used these but never stopped to ask, “Where did that phrase originate?” How about when someone refers to working […]

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“THE HARVEST IS PLENTEOUS”

We are living in the greatest era ever of a global harvest of souls.  Indeed, the Harvest is ripe.   Here’s proof: According to Wycliffe: Vision 2025 – Translation projects started in every language on the planet by 2025. One report on the current efforts of worldwide evangelism: In “The Faith Equation,” Dr. Marvin Bittinger, Professor […]

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“FROM MANY….ONE”

The God of Creation surely is a Master of diversity, color, function, and symmetry. I am ever amazed at all that science is uncovering about the complexity of this planet and universe that we call home.  What an era to be living!  Pick any area of life and new breakthroughs from exploration, research, and development […]

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“THE URGENCY OF THE PLANTING SEASON”

Farming is one of the most challenging, difficult, wonderful, and fulfilling occupations known to man. For those that have been around a farm, you know that there is always something that needs to be done and there are seasons when the work is demanding and non-stop.  Certainly, the harvest season is urgent, but truthfully, so […]

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“DO YOU NEED A LITTLE HAPPINESS?”

With all of the events in the world and all of the stresses that are very real in the 21st century, finding times of happiness can be elusive without a conscious pursuit to own it. Today, allow me to point you to the Psalmist’s formula for living in the joy of the Lord and then […]

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“CREATURES OF HABIT”

All of us have them.  Some are from our childhood.  Some are deeply entrenched.  Some are very good and beneficial.  And, some are irritating, bad, and ill-mannered.  Habits, like paths, develop over a period of time as we do a certain thing repeatedly.  A “one-time occurrence does not a habit make”.  However, multiple repetitions of […]

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“43”

Celebrations happen every day.  Someone will be promoted today. Someone will get married. Someone will have their first baby or grandchild.  Someone will be celebrating a birthday.  You get the picture.  Every day is a special day for someone somewhere. Today is one of those days for me. 43 years ago, Jenine said, “I do”.  […]

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“I DON’T FEEL ANY GUILT ABOUT THAT”

Our lives are the “living proof” that we are Christ followers or pagan.  There is no middle ground.  One who knows Christ will seek in all of life’s challenges to honor and serve Him.  Those that are devoid of His Spirit’s indwelling will live in open sinfulness and self deception that “all is well” with […]

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“DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING?”

We are often at an intersection of life where we really need wisdom for a decision or direction we are about to take.  The longer that we live, many decisions come readily.  However, no matter one’s age, there are still decisions in life that are critical, urgent, and can affect one’s life for years to […]

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Stop Telling Me What I Should Be Doing!

We are truly the grandchildren of Adam and Eve.  Just as they were led to believe by the tempter that doing what God had commanded was confining, demeaning, and limiting, so do all of those that are their descendants. Stubbornness, disobedience, and resentment are the indicators that the DNA of our “great-great grands” is very […]

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A Very Good Year For “Whine”

There’s a family nobody likes to meet, They live, it is said, on Complaining Street, In the city of Never-are-Satisfied, The river of Discontent beside. They growl at that and they growl at this, Whatever comes there is something amiss; And whether their station be high or humble, They all are known by the name […]

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The Grace to Cure Grudges

Many a person lives in a constant, internal vortex of misery.  The creation of the internal strife is unresolved bitterness toward a person, a job related matter, or a tragic moment in time.  The “wounded party” carries the feeling of being wronged by another individual.  Obviously, the “victim” feels they did nothing to deserve the […]

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After All These Years, We Have Much to Learn

I have never heard anyone that feels good about folks living in poverty, hunger, or the cycle that perpetuates generations to continue that lifestyle.  Seemingly, the remedy that government and too many social programs have provided is to pour money into “hand-outs” to the poor which only increases a person’s dependency on the one doing […]

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A Tireless Adversary

ISIS has become a major player when it comes to murder, kidnapping, rape, torture, executions, and terror.  Far too often, our news agencies are reporting “another” terrorist act somewhere in the world and that ISIS has claimed responsibility for it.  How very different it is for a group to want to be noticed for violent […]

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The Greatest Memorial Day Speech Ever!

From July 1 to July 3, 1863, the invading forces of General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army clashed with the Army of the Potomac (under its newly appointed leader, General George G. Meade) at Gettysburg. Pennsylvania. Casualties were high on both sides: Out of roughly 170,000 Union and Confederate soldiers, there were 23,000 Union casualties (more than […]

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As I Think About Memorial Day

My thoughts today have begun to think about Memorial Day that is upon us.  Every May, I consider all of the people that have died in conflict wearing the uniform of our military to enable me to live the life that I have been able to enjoy.   So many people have made contributions to preserve […]

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What Advice Could I Give a Graduate?

Everywhere we see young people graduating from various levels of education.  When they are leaving high school or college, the time of transition is very significant.  For some, it will be the time they truly spread their wings and fly. For others, they will make poor choices and go through real sorrow if they travel […]

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How Much is That Worth?

On May 11, 2017, it took Victoria Brodski less than 10 minutes to find a diamond in the Arkansas Crater of Diamonds State Park. “I just thought it was a pretty piece of glass.”  The 25 year old young woman from Tulsa found the 2.65 carat brown diamond quickly but did not recognize that it […]

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Miracle Grow For Healthy Souls

The shallowness of western Christianity is a threat.  When all that is expected to become a Christian is to repeat a prayer, then the intention of the Gospel and the power of transformation is ignored. The result is a form of Christianity that does not display the miracle and resulting power of a changed life. […]

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I Have Decided to Follow Jesus

The summer season is here.  The next few months will be packed with every kind of outdoor adventure.  For children and teens, summer means no time for school because of camps, mission trips, sporting events, swimming, and jobs.  One significant thing that causes me to be extremely grateful is how many Christian folks plan some […]

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You Don’t Really Believe That?

With the explosive growth in the fields of research, scientific advances, exploration, and the expansion of medical knowledge, lots of things that mankind held to be true in earlier times in our history have been shown to be false.  For example, folks once thought that bathing was bad for one’s health.  There was a concern […]

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Get Off My Back!

Graduation season is upon us.  Every level of education, whether private or public, has commencement exercises.  Kindergarteners to PhD’s are given the opportunity to don a cap and gown, walk across a stage before a full house of family that are there to celebrate, and receive a piece of paper that certifies the course expectations […]

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I Thought It Was Hopelessly Ruined

When we were children, we thought that adults were so smart, disciplined, and educated that they never did anything really wrong.  After all, they were the ones teaching us, coaching us, and parenting us.  They made sure we knew the right things to eat, the proper way to speak to an adult, words that were […]

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Whatever Happened to Good Behavior?

I am guilty of loving old movies.  I don’t mean 10-15 years old.  I mean 1930’s and 1940’s “old”.   The simplicity of the plots, the dignity of the characters (even some of the bad guys are not uncouth in their manner), the etiquette that is common, and the custom of men showing respect for ladies […]

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How Good Were the Good Old Days?

In 48 hours, Americans will be flooding the highways to get to be with their “mom”.  Mother’s Day is one of the busiest times for restaurants, a peak business day for florists, a crunch time for phone companies, a bonanza for card companies, a very “sweet” day for candy makers, and a wonderful day for […]

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Not Quantity, But Quality

We are nearing another graduation season.  High schools and colleges all over the nation will be saying “farewell” to thousands of young people moving from the academic campuses to further their education or to a career field.  Although this generation has seen so many things happen in the world due to instant coverage, the statistics […]

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I Sure Didn’t Deserve That!

It just doesn’t seem fair.  But then, life is totally unfair.  Between our own acquaintances, local news, national and international media awareness, and social networking, we know more about “everything” than any generation before us.  The “up-to-the-minute” posts and reports leave no one in the dark about any event. In years past, folks would wait […]

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Magnificence of Grace

Grace is one of the concepts that is a central truth in our Christian faith.  We sing of the grace of God.  Central to our salvation is the grace of God.  John would write of Jesus that “He was full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).  Paul would begin his Epistles with the word, “Grace […]

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You Know What They Say….

So very much of what is stated in conversations is just idle talk until one gets to the point of speaking about a person that is known to both parties.  Then, one will say to the other, “Have you heard what “they” are saying about him (or her)?”  Suddenly, the countenance of the hearer become […]

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The MRI Shows Nothing Abnormal

In an age of tremendous medical knowledge and technology, physicians have become much more proficient in properly diagnosing medical needs.  Through the marvel of ever improving medical advancements through technology, as medical tests are performed on patients in need, the insight that machines can give is remarkable.  The eyes and experience of the best of […]

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I Can’t Seem to Live in Faith’s Freedom

Jesus shook up the religious traditions.  From the earliest days of His earthly ministry, He roiled the religious leaders with His teachings.  Since He is the “Author and Finisher” of our faith, He was impeccably qualified to speak to the true intent of the law.  Because He struck at the façade of legalistic compliance to […]

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Ministry That Comes From Misery

Jacob is one of the great characters from the Old Testament.  His role was truly strategic in the plan of God.  By God’s will, Jacob would become the one through whom God would bring the twelve man whose heirs would become the Twelve Tribes of Israel.  The primary account of his life is found in […]

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You Are Asking Too Much of Me

If you have ever served in the role of finding people to work in your business, you have hired great employees and you have also sadly had for a short period of time, those that chose to whine rather than work.  Although they agreed to take the job when interviewed and they knew the job […]

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I Can’t Do This All By Myself

Human desire to be independent is deep within our make-up.  A child does not get too far along in development before the declaration is made to an attentive parent, “I can do this all by myself”.   Sadly, a small group of people never get over that style of living life. The ultimate need of man […]

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Walking in Obedience to God’s Commands

Do you remember the first Bible verse you ever learned?  The first one I learned was “God is love”.  The second one that I remember learning was “Children, obey your parents.”  Those were taught to us early as the foundation for life.  If we learn that God loves us, then we recognize that “God is” […]

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There’s Nothing My God Cannot Do!

How in this world did that person do that?  From comical videos to news stories to photo shoots of crazy happenings, we have seen things that defy our comprehension. Certain car accidents, humans being “stuck” in some inconceivable place, boating mishaps, and lots of other “uh-oh” moments.  Some of the things that we see cause […]

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Why Are You Going That Direction?

A true Christ-follower is in a race “that is set before him looking unto Jesus”.  When we observe those that profess faith in our LORD but are fickle, disobedient, wayward, superficial, carnal, and always restless, it is evident that their life does not exemplify their claim of knowing Him.  Christ gives us purpose, meaning, and […]

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All That I Needed

Most of us truly “have no wants”.  I don’t mean that we don’t see things that we mutter or think, “I would love to have one of those”.  But, our momentary desire is just that….momentary.  The wealth and ability to get what we truly want is quickly fulfilled most of the time.  And, what we […]

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Can I Tell You About My Father?

Just about the time that I think we cannot get any more “safety conscious” in our culture, I learn of some new regulation or a new device that is being marketed for our protection. Human beings must be terribly reckless and mindless to require so many warning labels, safety mechanisms, seat belts, helmets, safety glasses, […]

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“I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS….”

As we age, we want to cling to those things in life that are assured.  So much changes over a lifetime and so many things have not remained constants that we thought were solid and sure.  People that were once friends move away and our relationship is still cordial but just not close due to […]

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Do You Promise?

Matthew Henry, born October 18, 1662, was a “nonconformist” Puritan minister (meaning not in fellowship or agreement with the Church of England) in England, and perhaps the most preeminent devotional Bible commentator. He was the second son of a pastor, Philip Henry, who was ejected from his pastorate in the Established Church of England because of his Protestant views. Matthew […]

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Grace and Peace Be Unto You

Peace is in hiding.  Violence, assaults, shootings, war, rioting, bombing, and public outbursts are in vogue.  The global atmosphere is tense and the exchanges between differing viewpoints is toxic. Whatever the issue or group that stands in disagreement with “their opponent”, the feelings that abound are hateful. Nothing that the “adversary” does or says is […]

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While My Preacher Was Prayin’

No matter what additions, electronic infusions, drama, videos, or various kinds and sound of music, the services in churches have the same elements….singing, greeting the crowd, praying, preaching, and fellowship.  For those of us reared in church, we retain the fond memories of special events, times with our childhood friends playing “chase” in the parking […]

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How Can You Possibly Relate to Me?

A few years ago, a short play was written entitled ‘The Long Silence’.  It is very powerful in its insight…. At the end of time, billions of people were scattered on a great plain before God’s throne.  Most shrank back from the brilliant light before them. But some groups near the front talked heatedly – not […]

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The Crucifixion of Jesus

On this day that we call Good Friday when we remember the crucifixion of Jesus, allow me to share some favorite quotes along with Mark’s account of Jesus’ death. Jesus was crucified, not in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves.  – George F. Macleod.  The cross cannot be defeated, […]

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Fit For a King

Colloquialisms and regional expressions are the “spice” that makes each culture unique and fascinating.  We smile when we hear folks say something that were common phrases in their part of the country growing up.  Depending on where they grew up, when they were young folks, and the family’s vernacular, language can be very colorful and […]

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Atheistic Rationale For Infanticide

Speaking to the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, Dr. L. D. Rue argued that people are better off if we deceive ourselves into believing a “Noble Lie” which will make us think (even though it isn’t so) that humanity and the universe have value.  The New Yorker called Princeton philosophy teacher Peter Singer “the most influential […]

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Be Holy in All You Do

You see the same things I see.  To be honest, I did not really believe that I would ever in my lifetime see the degree of this present darkness that is around us.  I was not disbelieving that it would come.  Although I read it in the Scriptures of how the last days would be, […]

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God Makes Ordinary…….Extraordinary

Yesterday was Palm Sunday.  It is the day that we remember that Jesus entered Jerusalem on Sunday heading for the cross.  He had “set His face” toward that event following the Mount of Transfiguration experience   Now the most important week in all of history was about to transpire.  From before the foundation of the world, […]

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Respect Required

All of us that attend church have often heard Biblical teaching that mankind was “created in the image of God”.  Although that phrase is frequently spoken, I am not sure that any one of us ponders what that truly means.  Perhaps, we see so much evil and sorrow in the world because the “image” of […]

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Fear Can Be Compelling

I recently read this story.  It shed light on how we can “fear God” and still be drawn to Him.  I hope it brings a new understanding for you also….. A few summers ago, we took a family vacation to Toronto. We’d never been there, and we didn’t know what to see, but all the […]

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There’s Nothing My God Cannot Do!

Shortly after the Israelites crossed the Red Sea they got worried because there were so many people and very little food and water left.  Even though they had not physically gotten hungry or thirsty yet they saw that they were getting low.  They started complaining and Moses took those complaints to God. We all know […]

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Can You Hear Me?

Likely, you have a favorite story or two that you love to tell.  This is one of my all-time favorites when it comes to a story about God’s faithfulness.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have and do. Roger Simms, hitchhiking his way home, would never forget the date—May 7. His heavy […]

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No Time to Let Down Your Guard

These last few days have been filled with very sad news stories in our local Tulsa area. Locally, we have had the news of three teenagers that broke into a home and were killed by the son’s owner as he felt threatened by three intruders.  It was reported that a Christian school principle and a […]

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Precious Promises

Until the last decade or so, church music to me was always hymns that we sung on Sunday in the worship services.  Music ministers would announce the hymn number in the Hymnal so that all could open the book and find the correct page with the words to enable the congregation to sing along.  Most […]

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You Are Being Watched

Knowing that we are being watched can either be unnerving and totally disconcerting or very much appreciated.  If we are being watched by a stalker, or by a seedy looking character, or a particular prisoner while “inside” a correction facility conducting a worship service, then being “watched” may be cause of alarm.  However, if we […]

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Never Knowing the Truth

For all of our advances through developments in every field, our grasp of secular knowledge is greater than our understanding of spiritual foundational truths.  We live in the generation that the Apostle Paul warned would arise in the last days…”we are ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7). […]

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Grace So Amazing

No one would dispute that ours is a litigious society. Everyone will need an attorney for most any significant transaction or transfer of valuable property.  Lawyers are now specialized to give guidance in a singular field of legal issues.  There are attorneys that specialize in international law, constitutional law, estate laws, tax laws, divorce law, […]

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I Just Never Saw Him

Ridgecrest is a large Baptist-run assembly ground, nestled in the mountains of western North Carolina. All summer long, every year, thousands of Christians come to Ridgecrest for training, inspiration, Bible study, and challenge.  A few years ago, during a conference, people began to notice a man hanging around the grounds. He did not look like […]

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“HEARERS OR DOERS?”

I just saw this illustration this week, so I wanted to share it today……. I’d like to begin by telling you a little story about something that happened to me this week. I took the minivan in for an oil change.  I was sitting in the waiting room, which was empty except for me and […]

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Who Can See Any Hope For Me

No matter the situation, we need hope to see us through the difficulties.  Without hope, a person loses any desire to push toward success or even press to take the next step.  Despair robs us of our desire to believe that things can improve even if we try.  When the desire is lost, it is […]

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Please Be Kind

From all appearances, the milk of human kindness has clabbered.  Daily, we hear of every kind of assault and violence as well as verbal and physical confrontations that are devastating.  In reality, there is no winner in an angry verbal exchange.  Although one may be touted as having shut the other party down, the aftermath […]

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In a Heartbeat

His name was Justin Timion. He was only nineteen years old the day it happened. A good looking, fun loving kid, he loved doing auto mechanics with his Dad and often used his skills to help friends and family with car repairs to save them money. He was So soft-hearted he protested if his mother […]

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“IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE….”

We are never more like our Heavenly Father than when we are very generous in giving to others.  All that we have, God gave to us freely.  He has poured out abundant blessings on all of us every day of our lives.  Here is a great story from history of a moment of generosity that […]

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The Sense God Gave a Goose

I don’t have enough faith to believe in evolution.  Nothing I have seen can walk me through the development of a living creature over “millions of years”.  I don’t disagree that we start as a cell. We know that from conception.  But, which developed first to move that cell to a multi-faceted marvelous wonder of […]

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Are You a Christian?

Pretense is never attractive.  Rarely is a person credible that seeks to convince another of a lifestyle that they do not have.  Most phonies are readily obvious.  A few that are polished and sophisticated are maybe successful for some period of time, but eventually even the most proficient are exposed as frauds. From our observations […]

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A Life Well Lived

Every life has challenges. Some vocations are constantly stretching an individual to give all that he/she has to the point of wondering if anything that was done was truly successful.  Someone sent me this story this week.  I just had to forward this marvelous example of what one life can mean when lived for Jesus. […]

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Futility

Solomon was the son of King David and succeeded David on the throne of Israel.  His life is remembered for the building of the temple in Jerusalem and for writing three books of the Bible…Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon.  Some scholars have stated that Solomon wrote the Song of Solomon as a young […]

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Children Are Welcome Here

Rarely, is there ambivalence.  They are either loved or scorned.  Children are everywhere.  Although everyone understands the need for children in order for mankind to continue to exist, that does not mean that everyone loves children.  You have seen the faces of folks on an airplane when a very active child sits beside or behind […]

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“WHERE ARE YOU GOING?”

Very common question…”Where are you going?”  Moms ask that of children many times a day.  Teachers ask that of students that seem to be heading somewhere they shouldn’t be going.  Folks waiting in airports, rental car agencies, or in a hotel awaiting a shuttle for the airport are not surprised to hear someone ask their […]

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Almost…..

Life is not for sissies.  To make a positive impact in a life time takes the energy, tenacity, and the heart of a champion.  Perhaps that is the reason that so many people never really attempt very much and for the most part, they are successful at it.  Those that live in the “gray zones” […]

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I Put Away Childish Things

Maturity is not so much a destination as it is a process.  Because life is dynamic, we are ever pursuing what it means to be “mature”.  We are complex beings with many levels of activity happening simultaneously always.  So, while we may be maturing mentally, we may be engaged in childish behavior emotionally.  The many […]

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Fruit That is Ever Fresh

American consumerism drives product design, delivery, cost, appearance, and availability. The present “food” demand is for that is which is fresh.  Because of the passion to be physically fit, the diet demands are for farm-to-market produce, vegetables, and fruit.  The customer does not want anything that was sprayed with pesticides, contains additives for any reason, […]

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One Step At a Time

Walking is a common activity.  We do it so often, we rarely think about our steps unless we are on stairs or uneven surfaces.  Because we have done it so often, we are not fearful of going too fast, falling “forward” due to a sudden stop, being thrust backward due to too great an acceleration, […]

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It Is Great Being a Man!

The Pharisees of Biblical times used to pray with thanksgiving that God did not make them “a woman”. Men have a good life and we know it.  We are much less concerned about customs, etiquette, attire, hygiene, verbal skills, organization, emotions, or expressing “inner feelings”.  In fact, just writing that last one made me have […]

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Till the Last One Knows

Slavery is alive and well.  Did you know that there are more people in slavery in the world today than in any other time in history?  Some nations still allow it and in other places, it is not legal, but it is very much practiced.  When it is reported on the news in the West, […]

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Where the Air is Rare

The world’s tallest building, The Burj Khalifa, opened in Dubai January 4, 2010.  At a staggering 2,717 feet tall, it is more than a half a mile high.  At that height, it easily overshadows the previously tallest building which stands in Taipei, Taiwan at only 1,671 feet tall and it is double the height of […]

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Sure I Go to Church, But…..

“Excuses, excuses, excuses!”  They abound everywhere.  We do what we want to do, and find excuses for everything else. No matter what the task or challenge, great things have been accomplished by those that refused to make excuses and did what needed to be done. He that is good for making excuses is seldom good […]

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What Are You Making?

Craft fairs are ever popular because of the creative abilities of artsy people that fascinate us. Not all handiwork is loved by every person, but every person has some interest in a skill or craft that enthralls them.  Personally, I am like a child around a glass blower, sculptor, blacksmith, or potter with a wheel. […]

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What Took You So Long?

Isn’t it strange that a culture that expects instant responses is comprised of people that are perpetually guilty of procrastination?  No matter what the deadline may be, we find excuses suitable for “not doing today what we can put off till tomorrow?  That is not only true with our daily responsibilities….it is also true with […]

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How Far Would You Go?

The apostle Paul said, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). We don’t serve in order to merit God’s forgiveness. We serve because we have already received God’s forgiveness. And our service is simply an expression of our gratitude to God for the forgiveness we […]

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Everything Changed In a Moment

Reflecting on life’s many experiences can cause us to realize that brief moments in time could have (and sometimes did) change our lives forever.  What we may view as a chance encounter, a lucky turn of events, or a near miss of something potentially tragic happening, we truly know it was only by the grace […]

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You Are a Good, Good Father

A native of the small Kentucky town of Franklin, Thomas Obediah Chisholm (1866-1960) was born in a log cabin. He lacked formal education. Nevertheless, he became a teacher at age sixteen and the associate editor of his hometown weekly newspaper, the Franklin Advocate, at age twenty-one. In 1893 Chisholm became a Christian through the ministry of […]

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A New Lens to View Life

It’s the little things.  Most of us can find a way to make it over, around, or through the big demands. But, it is those daily irritations from some little something that should have been so simple that can turn out to be so aggravating.  If we are not careful, the angst that was created […]

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I Just Don’t Remember

We are bombarded with information every moment of the day.  As a result, our retention rate is diminishing.  When we are constantly “up-loading” information, it is very difficult to remember every specific detail about every topic or conversation.  Invariably, we will be asked about “that one specific detail” from one conversation that we just don’t […]

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What Do You Think Will Happen?

There is no shortage of people eager to be prognosticators.  Lots of folks in every field have opinions of what they believe will happen in our future.  With the rise of social media, everyone can post their predictions without any credentials, filters, or verification.  That means that the gullible are swift to embrace anything that […]

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That Was a Bad Decision

Who hasn’t made lots of bad decisions? Everybody makes decisions that do not have the results that we anticipated.  What may have appeared to be a marvelous opportunity or “to-good-to-believe” purchase wound up being an albatross!  When that happens, the person making that decision has a season of self-deprecation as they pummel themselves in their […]

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How About a Grin On Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day has become a banner day for those that sell cards, flowers, candy, own restaurants, and movie theaters.  The spirit of the day is to express to your sweetheart the affection that you have for them in word and through giving a token of your love.  It is also a time to see what […]

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Faulty Input Results in Failed Action

Mysteries are a favorite genre of literature, popular subject matter for movies, and make a captivating program to watch as a crime is solved.  Some might find the fact that so many of us love mystery materials a bit bizarre.  However, there are lots of things that happen daily that mystify us. So, seeing, reading, […]

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What’s That You’re Wearing?

Materialism is alive and well.  Because of our insatiable desire to have what advertisers, social media, and popular demands raise as the “most trendy”, no effort is spared in making sure that the label, device, coffee, or auto that we buy, health club and even church we join is viewed as avant garde.  Those things […]

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Whoever Denies Me Before Men

No one has any respect for a traitor.  The very word “traitor” makes us think of the worst of men that would despise their allegiance of their homeland, alliance, fraternity, or faith to aid the opposition.   Perhaps you remember some of these “notables”…. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were a married, American couple convicted of committing […]

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I’d Be a Fool For You

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus made it clear that life has clear cut choices and those choices have consequences that are significant in life here and in eternity. In Matthew 7, Jesus tells the hearers about two roads with two gates and two destinations.  He then tells about two kinds of trees with […]

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How Many Do You Have?

Our possessions are important to us.  Through the years, we acquire lots of things which is evidenced by our crowded closets, storage rooms, and garages.  Some things are important because we need them frequently (lawn mower, water hose, or tools) but we do not particularly put them in a highly secured place.  However we also […]

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This One Thing I Do

I am not the only one that wonders how life would have been different had I chosen a different vocation or direction in my life.  It is not that I am not delighted to have been a pastor for 46 years.  It is dynamic, challenging, fulfilling, and eternally rewarding.  It was God’s call on my […]

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A Lighter Look At Politics

The last few months have been filled with lots of anger, accusations, and acrimony in our nation’s political actions.  Likely, that will not change anytime soon.  So, today, I found a page filled with quotes that are light-hearted or at least “pleasant” that speak to politics in America.  If you would like to peruse a […]

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Hold On To Sound Teaching

This past weekend, I received an article from a church member that is a picture of how far our world has moved from a devout faith where Christianity is stated to be the predominant faith. The email was taken from the “London Telegraph”, Camilla Turner, education editor, JANUARY, 22, 2017, 11:45 AM. A chaplain to the […]

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How Firm a Foundation

The one constant in this world is change. Nothing stays the same for very long.  Demands for newer, better, more efficient, more durable, lighter weight, smaller, easier to use….all of these demands of the consumer pushes product manufacturers to be planning newer models even as they hope to sell large quantities of items that are […]

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Walk in Integrity

The 21st century will be remembered for many things when history is written.  One of the saddest aspects that will be recorded is the loss of moral uprightness, strength of character, and personal integrity.  The loss of those bedrock characteristics have put America on a collision course with God’s judgment.  Even among those that profess […]

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Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Abraham Lincoln said, “I walk slowly, but I never walk backwards.” He is remembered as one of the greatest Presidents.  In our rapid pace of the 21st century, “activity” is a given.  Productivity is not guaranteed.  If we fill our days with lots of “busyness” that does not necessarily equate to great achievement.  We don’t […]

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Youth is Wasted On the Young

Our culture is seeking to keep us looking young forever, active for a lifetime, and enjoying life longer than any previous generation.  Youth is wonderful, but it is fleeting.  No matter how hard we work, aging does eventually capture us in its grasp.  We cannot change the process so humor is a great way to […]

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I Wanna Go Home

Some words are soothing to say because of the feelings we have when we hear the word.  For most of us, words like mountain stream, beach, vacation, warm fires, laughter with friends, children, and family…all bring to mind great thoughts of good times.  And, when we live life the way God intended, “home” is one […]

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Insider Info on Inaugurations

I found these incidents in an article on line that is noted at the end of this blog.  I hope you enjoy these as much as I did…..  William Taft was installed when presidential inaugurations were still held in March. Despite the spring time date in 1909 though, Taft’s inauguration coincided with a blizzard that covered […]

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A New President

America is witnessing the various reactions that come in times of change.  The media has covered the marvels of the transition of power from one President to another.  And, the various outlets have reported demonstrations of those opposed to a new administration in office.  Sometimes, we wonder if we have ever had such turbulence in […]

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Transition of Power

We just experienced one of the wonders of a free republic.  Each time that a new President is elected, the nation, out of respect and honor of the freedom that is the foundation of this land, stands in awe as one President leaves the White House and another is inaugurated to become our national leader.  […]

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I Need Just a Little More

Idolatry in America is blatant through our worship of materialism.  We measure everything in terms of money.   If we hear news about war, we hear how much it is costing us in money.  The dead and wounded are stated in secondary reports and not as often mentioned.  Christmas in the USA is not about Jesus’ […]

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What’s Your Excuse?

This age will be remembered for lots of things.  Technological advances, electronic devices that are amazing, medical miracles, instantaneous communication “everywhere”, global events that are constantly in a state of upheaval, etc. One of the sadder characteristics is the fulfillment of a very sad characteristic promised in the last days. ….Now the Spirit expressly states that in later times some will abandon the faith to follow deceitful spirits and the […]

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One Nation?? Under God?? Indivisible??

Would you have ever thought that the “United” States could be so terribly divided, antagonistic, and determined to fight over the simplest of areas of disagreement?  No group is ever totally in lock-step unity, but we have, to some degree in the past, allowed our differences to be secondary to the primary desire to live […]

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A Shepherd’s Love For His Sheep

This is one of my favorite hymn stories about the faithfulness of a pastor to care for His people. John Fawcett was born of poor parents in Lidget Green, Yorkshire, England, in 1740.  He was converted to Christ at the age of sixteen through the ministry of George Whitefield.  At the age of 26, he […]

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Love Is…..

Are you somewhat amazed by how many books are published to help people seeking to understand how to love another person?  Many of those that come across my desk as “book reviews” seem to be so very simple.  It seems that one should be insulted by a writer spending the time to write such an […]

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Now Remain Faith, Hope and Love

Is there any sadder word spoken to a person regarding the condition of a loved one in the ICU unit than, “I’m sorry.  There is no hope of recovery.”  When the word is given that there is no hope, it is like sucking the air out of the room.  Everyone is optimistic as long as […]

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The Just Shall Live By Faith

The word “believe” surely is tossed about freely.  Most of the time, it is not substantive, nor is it a testimony of great faith in God.  Rather, it has become the mantra of humanists that are ever-present in every sphere of life.  As a result, we hear sports team members that state in their interviews, […]

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Courage Under Fire

Fear is a very real, persistent, and rampant emotion.  It can come without warning.  Under the right circumstances, it can quickly escalate to full blown panic.  The causes that create fears are many.  The reactions can range from momentary surprise to paralyzing apprehensions.  Perhaps, that is one of the reasons that we so often find […]

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Our Kind of People

It goes by many names….clubs, cliques, circles, our group, best friends, SS class, prayer group, or a host of other names of tightly-knit relational groups.  Whatever it is called, it is only appreciated by those that benefit.  Those that are not welcomed continually remember what it was like to be rejected.  We have all known […]

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This is Truly Valuable

I just don’t get it.  What people buy (or are willing to pay) for merchandise is bizarre to me.  It has never been my goal to wear jeans with large holes in the knees as a prized possession bought “new” off the rack at a clothing store.  Or, how about paying hundreds of dollars for […]

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Strong Wind is Forecast

We know about strong wind gusts in Oklahoma. We have wind blowing regularly day and night.  Even Rogers and Hammerstein recognized that Oklahoma is the state “where the wind comes whistling down the plain”.  Many have built storm cellars to prevent the massive winds of a tornado from taking them away.  Our television stations that […]

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Clearing the Fog

Life is a marvelous gift from God.  In His act of creation, He granted what He has enjoyed forever.  He imparted to frail creatures of dust “life” to enjoy for a span of time on earth.  Then, because of His great love and mercy, He then made it possible for us (sinful men) to have […]

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One of Our Heroes Died Last Year

Those of us that were teenagers in the Sixties were witnesses to amazing and tragic moments.  One of the “amazing” milestones was America’s Space Race with the Soviet Union.  Instantly, a group of men were vaulted into the status of national heroes.  The first seven men chosen to go into space for the USA were […]

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First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage

Every new year, our culture encourages us to make and “keep” resolutions that will improve our spiritual and physical health, relationships, educational training, financial disciplines, job performance, and our home life.  All of those things are important. All have their unique challenges that so often prevent us from fulfilling what we set out to do.  […]

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May I Start Over?

Everybody has those moments when they would like to “start over”.  Children making an oral or musical presentation or adults that feel stressed in a presentation or witnesses trying to answer a question in court….sometimes just need to have the privilege of starting over.  The poem listed below has become a favorite of many people […]

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Approaching the Conclusion of 2016

God intended for us to have an awareness of the passing of time.  He created “beginnings and endings” of days, weeks, months, and years.  We are not so conscious of the passing of time when a single day ends or even a week or month.  But, with the end of a year, we seem to […]

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Sorry, I Just Never Really Knew You

Most people seek to find meaningful relationships.  Sadly, not everyone that has a real need for companionship has that person in their lives that is the source of joy, compassion, and fellowship.  In the absence of one that is a close friend, mankind will find substitutes that are not as meaningful or fulfilling.  The quest […]

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Who Do Men Say That I Am?

My favorite study whether for personal reflection or sermon preparation are the studies on the person and work of our Lord Jesus.  Here are some of my favorite verses about him along with quotes of what some famous men have had to say about Jesus…….He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” […]

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Amazing Births in History

Each year, every pastor does a great amount of research and study to find new aspects on the marvelous birth of our LORD JESUS.  The story of Messiah’s birth is truly wonderful!  Since it is about the historical reality of God becoming flesh, the journey is spiritually edifying as well as mentally stimulating.   As you […]

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“THE AMERICAN CHRISTMAS BEGINNINGS”

Although Christmas is over, the festive atmosphere will linger for several days.  So, today’s blog is a look back at “Christmases from Early America”. The modern holiday is far different from those celebrated in the early American Christmas celebrations.  This brief excerpt from an article written for the Colonial Williamsburg Journal gives us some idea […]

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“ONE OF MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS STORIES”

If someone asked you to tell them some of your favorite things about Christmas, the list that you would state would have some overlap with other folks.  Although each of us has personal favorites, we also share many of the same experiences.  One of the things that put us in the Christmas mood is hearing […]

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“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS…”

Rarely does anything “just happen” or “happen overnight”.  Although we may become aware of some significant change suddenly, normally it is that we have been oblivious to the things happening that were moving that direction.  Once the change is recognized, we are surprised.  We often respond, “That happened overnight”.  Whatever “that” is, it likely had […]

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“CAUGHT ANYTHING?”

No people in history have had as many opportunities to hear the truth about God, to learn how salvation can be found by turning to Jesus Christ, than those who live in this country. There are about 360,000 churches in the United States. In fact, about 25% of protestant congregations in the world are in […]

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“THE DESPAIR OF DISCOURAGEMENT”

Any person that ever played sports has memories of coaches, posters, and parents giving mottos and mantras to keep in mind when times of fatigue or injury bring discouragement.  Our locker room in high school had those classics like, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”  Coaches would use both positive and negative […]

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“GOD CALLED A MIGHTY MAN HOME”

This past week, Jenine and I have been in Alabama for the death and funeral of her father, Thurman Kimbrough.  He was the epitome of that great generation that built this nation.  Thurman lived honorably as a result of his deep devotion to faith in God, his love of family, hard work, sacrifice, and his […]

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Questions Mary Might Have Pondered

Some years ago, Max Lucado, in his book, “God Came Near” listed some questions that Mary may have had in the course of watching Jesus grow up in her home.  I found these interesting then and now.  Perhaps you and I would have had some of these same questions…… 1. What was it like watching him […]

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Faithful

Although I was never a great athlete, I loved playing football as a teen.  Because I loved that sport, our coaches encouraged us to play on the basketball team, baseball team, or get a job doing physical labor in the off season to build up stamina and strength.  Being able to play ball in high […]

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Will Life Ever Be Simple Again?

The pressures, tensions, and stresses of life are taking a toll on all of us.  Although we do all that we can to seek to move beyond the impact of tragedy in the news, conflicts in the homes, hostility at work, and fear in public places, none of us lives fully distanced from the fray.  […]

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Prone to Wander

Driving long distances in my car is a pleasure I enjoy.  Some find road trips boring, uncomfortable, and dreaded.  I find them exciting, refreshing, and consider them an adventure. While traveling, I can catch up on CD’s that I have ordered of motivational or inspirational speakers.  I love old radio shows that I can hear […]

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Say What?????