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Be Careful What You Say

As hard as it is to remember, there was a time when  people did not feel the need to tell every thought, every deed, and every criticism that they felt daily.  People had less free time and spent more time doing the things that were required just to live. Then, social media came to be.  […]

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Are You Ready?

And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So, let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as […]

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Let Us Run the Race

It’s a grueling 543.7-mile endurance race from Sydney to Melbourne, Australia – the world’s longest and toughest ultra-marathon.  In 1983, 150 world-class runners converged on Sydney for the event. On the day of the race, a toothless 61-year old potato farmer and sheepherder named Cliff Young approached the registration table wearing overalls and galoshes over […]

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Blue Monday is Still Here

In reading illustrations recently about discouragement and depression, I came across this one.  I have not seen the show, “FRIENDS”, but the theme song is what is described in this example.  The lyrics read in part: So, no one told you life was gonna be this way                      Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love […]

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Veteran’s Day Remembrance

TAKE A KNEE….  A TRIBUTE TO VETERAN’S Take a little trip to Valley Forge in January. If you don’t know where that is, just Google it from the sidelines. Hold a musket ball in your fingers and imagine it piercing your flesh and breaking a bone or two. There won’t be a doctor or trainer […]

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“ON THE EVE OF VETERANS’ DAY”

Our nation is not united about much presently, but one thing that most Americans respect, and honor are our veterans.  Because they put their lives on the line when they agree to serve in our military, we realize the sacrifice of leaving spouse, children, friends, and jobs behind to sometimes face enemies seeking to destroy […]

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Things Could Be Worse…….Not!

Difficult days always come.  We don’t like them, but we know that they are part of life.  When we despair is when those days become weeks or months, and nothing changes.   Good days are not expected any more.  Spirits are despondent.  Joy is a distant memory.  Failure seems guaranteed. The record for the shortest major […]

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I Need My Space

I read an article some time ago about how the continual frustration that exists from living in large cities may be partly to blame for the increase in violence we are witnessing.   The overcrowding prevents folks living in those densely populated metro areas from having “free” space away from the noise, activity, and constant sight […]

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Open Mouth – Insert Foot

Do you remember the old saying, “The only time I open my mouth is to change feet?”  Sometimes I stick my foot in my mouth so often that all I taste for days is shoe polish! I don’t set out in the morning to see how many times I can say something that is meaningless, […]

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Do Something!

What did America do before warning lights, buzzers, and “beeps”?  There are so many of the things that we use that come with various ways to let us know something is not working properly, or operated in a way that could be harmful, or is being entered without correct identification. Our cars “ding” to let […]

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Guess What is Being Said About You?

Political races are not for the thin-skinned.  From what I see and hear on most political campaign ads on television, no political candidate should be “free to run” for any office.  Each one running for a public office reports that his opponent is a criminal who cannot be trusted, and his reputation is highly tarnished. […]

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Consistent

“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”  ― Stephen Covey. We are always being watched.  I don’t mean by security cameras, policemen, or people trained to watch crowds.  Rather, we are watched by our children, work associates, and friends […]

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“THEY MAKE ME SO MAD!”

“A housed divided cannot stand”. (Matt.12:25). The animosity is deep.  Daily, the hatred between groups with different views continues to grow more vitriolic.  Consider the vast numbers of things that divide us…ethnicity, religious beliefs, political persuasions, and even our favorite sports team choices.  Division ever grows more intense because constantly we are confronted by something […]

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“BEHIND THE VEIL”

It’s always risky.  Seeing a photo of something for sale on social media and wondering if it really is in as good of shape as it appears to be.  The potential buyer only has a small picture of the object they are looking to purchase.  In a time when dishonesty is common, buyer beware! No […]

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So, When You Were Young

MONDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2018 – “SO, WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG…” “Here I come. Ready or not!”  That was the phrase we shouted as children playing “Hide and Seek”.  It could also be used to describe the swift moving of life’s journey from youth to senior years.  In our teens, we can’t even fathom (from our […]

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I Will Give You the Crown of Life

International cities that are not frequently in the news don’t really register with us.  The name of a city in some place in the world does not really register and is truly foreign to us.  As we listen, we hear the name of the country where an event happened, but if asked later the name […]

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Standing Up For Jesus

Kelvin Cochran is a Godly man who served the Lord, his city of Atlanta, Georgia, and the profession that was his life’s mission.  Fire Chief Cochran was always one of those individuals that rose to leadership wherever he served.  His determination to honor God was foremost in his focus.  Because of that, in everything that […]

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I Assume That You Are…..?

“Assess before you Assume” ― Lyle Kwiatkowski Proverbs 3:7 – Don’t assume that you know it all….. Seems there was a talented young man in the Midwest. There were terrible fires in Yellowstone National Park burning thousands of acres. This young man was gifted with the camera and could capture the heart of crisis on film. […]

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Not the Man I Used to Be

The “Sixties” changed our nation.  A movement away from anything that was an “establishment” was revered.  No longer were students willing to conform to the mores of their parents or of cultural expectations.  Music, drugs, “escape from reality”, “hippies”, and abandonment of sexual prohibitions all changed America.  The streets were filled with violent protests against […]

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Not “In” Today…..Leave a Message

Today, Fall Break comes to a close here in Oklahoma.  This year, the schools are making the break a long weekend for the children.  I think this format was a hit for families.  The schools closed from Wednesday through Monday to allow parents to take off a couple of days and have a 4-5-day weekend […]

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“DON’T LIVE THERE ANYMORE”

Many people live with deep hurts that have changed them from their younger selves. Maybe you or someone you know went through a very traumatic experience that shook them to their core.  Once that happened, it seemed that they never fully returned to the person that they had once been. Everybody has unexpected events during […]

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One Problem That is Still Rampant

We know the fight to provide clean air, water, and work environments so that we are not subjected to harmful chemicals or toxins.  Food producers are required to list what is in that can or box in the grocery store.  The goal is to reveal what may be ingested that is put in the product […]

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Personal Responsibility 101

Robbing a child of the pain of disappointments, failures, and pain is cruel.  When they are old enough to begin to venture into the world of reality as a teen and young adult, they can be shocked when no one is there to “fix it”, “confront the mean boss man”, or do the job so […]

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Is There Any Hope?

I have been a pastor for almost 50 years (48 and counting!).  During that time as you would expect, I have been present for many kinds of events and needs.  Some were mountaintop experiences that were “one of a kind”.  Others were great experiences that were shared with church members on great occasions. On the […]

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Please Hold Me

The appeal of a small child and the look from a troubled countenance can move a grown man to respond in tenderness.  Although we see many horrific acts daily on the news, most people have a soft spot in their hearts for a wounded animal, a hurting child, or an accident victim that is in […]

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Looking For Praise

Humans are a strange lot.  Of all of God’s creation, we are the most gifted in our abilities to create, build, and explore vast horizons.  We love the challenge of that which is difficult.  The more something appears to be impossible, the more some will try their best (sometimes, even paying with their lives) to […]

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Lord, Send the Old Time Power

Dwight L. Moody was one of the most powerful preachers that God ever created.  Here is Moody telling about the filling of the Holy Spirit in his life that transformed his life. “I remember two holy women who used to come to my meetings. It was delightful to see them in the congregation. When I […]

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What the World Needs Now

Parenting is not for sissies.  The moment a child is brought into this world, the needs of that small person are basic, but the frequency that the “needs” must be met demand one’s constant attention.  Even though young moms and dads know that concept mentally, it is a very different experience to live with it […]

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Indivisible

Our house is divided.  We are not a “United” States.  The tone of our nation’s conversations, debates, and demonstrations is ugly, divisive, accusative, demoralizing, destructive, and growing deeper.  The trends in the various sectors of our nation’s interests are to first choose sides by defining who is “us” and “them”.  Then, go after the other […]

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From the Mouth of Babes

Children grow up to be like us.  We teach them lots of things that are helpful, but they also pick up traits about us that are not beneficial.  If our actions and attitudes are bad, their minds which are like sponges retain those words and actions to use later.  If the things done by parents, […]

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Wonder Working Power

Has God changed?  Is He still in the miracle working business?  Has His might lost its impact or His will no longer in effect?  If you have to ponder the answer to those questions, you are in dire need of a fresh encounter with the Sovereign God of the ages.  Just a quick refresher on […]

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Ever Considered the Possibilities?

The study of history is both inspiring and tragic.  The inspiration comes when we read of great achievements and the sorrow is felt as we discover many acts of cruelty, war, and man’s acts of total disregard for human life.   Parents want to protect their children from the dark side and pray for their well-being […]

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Look At All This Stuff!

Americans truly are a unique breed. Though we come from many “tribes, tongues, and peoples”, it does not take long for a new citizen to adapt to our ways of life.  They may continue the national customs in diet, child rearing, family structure, but most come to love the ability to buy “stuff”.  Like the […]

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Choose You This Day

Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!”  He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having […]

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Who is Out There?

Our mind can be our best help or our worst enemy.  The brain’s capacity to aid us with every duty, each necessary process, and the many marvelous memories that it stores makes it a powerful tool for life.  None of us ever wants to think that we will have dementia or Alzheimer’s to the point […]

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“SO HOW IS YOUR MARRIAGE?”

When a couple asked a pastor if he would perform their marriage ceremony, he proceeded to tell them that he likes to give several sessions of premarital counseling before performing weddings. To which they replied, “We don’t need counseling. We’ve both been married several times before.” ——————————————————————————————————————– A husband read an article to his wife […]

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Living in Anticipation

I am not sure when the first prophet gave the first prophecy of the future.  Certainly, one of the first had to be Noah who preached to warn those around him that God’s judgment was coming.  They scoffed at the old man who preached about a flood and was constructing a huge boat in anticipation.  […]

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Play Me a Little Tune, Please

Music can excite, soothe, energize, thrill, compel, and overwhelm the hearer.  The sounds created by voices, instruments, rhythm sections, and those electronically generated tones have captivated this era.  Now that we have so many wonderful advancements in electronic devices that can cause the listening experience to be so clear and enjoyable, the music industry is […]

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What is Going On?

One of my favorite preachers is Tony Evans.  His style and clarity have opened wide doors for him to speak God’s truth to this generation.  And, every time he preaches, God uses his sermons to inspire, convict, and encourage the saints of God.  Recently, I found a sermon of his entitled, THE PROMOTION OF DETOURS.  […]

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No Matter What It Takes

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.”  Proverbs 22:1. It only takes one significant sinful or reckless act for one’s name to be blemished.  Depending on the notoriety and fame of the person, that moment in time may be remembered long after they are dead and gone.  Let me give a […]

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Marvelous Musings From Mom

Can we even fathom what the world would be like if moms were suddenly removed?  I know your first response is that the world would have no creature to bear young, so the population would soon be extinct.  That is certainly true. However, I was thinking more along the lines of the roles that moms […]

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I Don’t Want to Do That Now

“The habit of always putting off an experience until you can afford it, or until the time is right, or until you know how to do it is one of the greatest burglars of joy. Be deliberate, but once you’ve made up your mind–jump in.” Charles R. Swindoll You may delay, but time will not, […]

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All Men Are Created Equal

William Wilberforce was born into wealth and privilege in England in 1759.  He became absorbed with the issue of slavery. Later he wrote, “So enormous, so dreadful, so irremediable did the trade’s wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for abolition. Let the consequences be what they would: I from this time […]

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The Worth of a Soul

Suppose you could gain everything in the whole world and lost your soul. Was it worth it?     Billy Graham We see it so often.  And, because we do, we become somewhat numb to the reality.  Our eyes capture the scenes, but our hearts have become inoculated to the images. You could rattle off a myriad number […]

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What a Great Fix!

Are you not amused when you read of some innovative approach to meeting a need in a most creative way?  The insight that some people have in a moment of facing a challenge is both inspirational and convicting.  Solutions are not so hard to present themselves if we are open to considering different approaches. Recently, […]

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The Transforming Power of Jesus

The greatest enemy to human souls is the self-righteous spirit which makes men look to themselves for salvation. Charles Spurgeon. And now let me address all of you, high and low, rich and poor, one with another, to accept of mercy and grace while it is offered to you; Now is the accepted time, now […]

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Easily Remedied

Mistakes are always costly.  No matter what caused the error, the remedy can cost time, money, reputation, or loss of life.  The tragedies of history that were most costly are known long after the event occurred.  Consider these…. Titanic – $7.5 million in 1912 in construction costs and 1517 lives. In today’s economy, the adjusted […]

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My Faith Looks Up to Thee

Peter is a favorite disciple among Christians.  Perhaps it is because we can so readily identify with him.  He was impetuous.  On one occasion, he was so clear in his confession that “Jesus is the Christ” that the Lord commended him with, “Blessed are you”.  And, when Peter rebuked Jesus for saying that He must […]

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Irreplaceable Loss

This past week, the National Museum of Brazil burned.  The destruction was catastrophic.  The measure of all that was lost in the fire has not yet been fully determined.  “The losses are ‘incalculable to Brazil,’” said Michel Temer, the country’s president, on Twitter. ‘Two hundred years of work, research and knowledge have been lost.” How very tragic […]

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“RUN THE RACE…LOOKING UNTO JESUS”

Athletes as well as dedicated individuals that consistently exercise to stay in top physical condition are respected by everyone.  Those that share their passion for physical fitness know the discipline required to maintain a work-out routine constantly.  And those of us not so inclined know that we should be more committed in the quest to […]

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It Is No Secret What God Can Do

A young man cowered in the corner of a dirty, roach-infested death row cell in a South Carolina prison. His body curled in a fetal position, he seemed oblivious to the filth and stench around him. His name was Rusty, and he was sentenced to die for the murder of a Myrtle Beach woman in […]

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Except You Repent

“The American gospel has evolved into a gospel of addition without subtraction. It is the belief that we can add Christ to our lives but not subtract sin. It is a change in belief without a change in behavior… Every new generation of believers must be discipled. Once shown how to add Christ to their […]

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Are You Sure This is the Right Way?

I found out early in my life that I loved flying.  My uncle had a Cessna single engine plane and he took me up on rare occasions when I would visit family in Knoxville, TN.  Although I was very young on those first adventures of sailing into the wild blue yonder, I learned that flying […]

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“NOT VERY SMART”

Proverbs 15:21 – Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom.  Proverbs 28:26 – Those who trust in themselves are fools. Isaiah 32:6 – For the fool speaks folly, and his heart is busy with iniquity, to practice ungodliness.  Do you find that some news stories are almost laughable?  And, still others would be […]

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“A TALE OF TWO COACHES”

Football season is upon us! This sport is my favorite and college teams play with the level of emotion and intensity that is most enjoyable for my tastes.  However, any football game has a draw for me because I realize how hard those players have worked to earn a spot on a major college team […]

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Please Teach Me to Pray

George Muller is a name that is well known among Christians. He lived in the 19th century in England, but his life’s story has been told around the world. For those believers that know about mighty men of spiritual valor and dedication, Muller’s name is always associated as having tremendous power in his praying. He […]

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I Want to Be Like You, Dad

What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14). You realized it.  We all do. Not at the same time, but we all do.  There is that moment when we realize the brevity of life and we question, “What is our purpose in life?”  Why […]

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I Can’t Find Him

Life puts famous people in the spotlight constantly.  Wherever they show up, there is a hoard of press people, paparazzi, and common folks encircling them to see and hear what they have to say.  When that occurs, there may be so many people in the periphery that a person standing away from the group can […]

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How Much Does That Cost?

You have heard it said, “This generation knows the price of everything, and the true worth of nothing”. That is not always true, but it does convey a great deal of veracity about this time in our history.  Our culture is selling out our character for our cravings.  Children and students have no mooring because […]

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He Still Speaks Even Though Dead

In our youth, we dream grandiose dreams.  We believed that we would marry the “prince or princess of our dreams” (depending on which gender we are—and we knew which gender we were in those days!), have perfect children, an outstanding job paying all the money we needed to live and still have some left over, […]

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If Only I Could Learn These Things…..

Don’t open your mouth when: In the heat of anger – Proverbs 14:17  When you don’t have all the facts — Proverbs 18:13  When you haven’t verified the story – Deuteronomy 17:6  If your words will offend a weaker person – 1 Corinthians 8:11  When it is time to listen – Proverbs 13:1  When you […]

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Failure to Deal With What is Unseen

Negligence is the cause of many tragedies. Postponing action on giving attention to a known problem is never positive.  By failing to address a genuine need that has potentially harmful dangers puts other people at risk.  And depending on how severe the situation, that negligence may be putting himself in harm’s way. The kinds of […]

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Wind Beneath My Wings

Heaven is eternal.  Obviously, that is true since God is eternal, and Heaven is His dwelling place.  But, considering one of the reasons that we need eternity is it will take a long, long time to recognize all of the folks that were so vital in the accomplishment of life’s dreams, but were never recognized […]

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Love is a Many Splendored Thing??

Inconsiderate. Unconcerned. Preoccupied. Detached. Oblivious. Uninvolved. Unloving. What could that string of words possibly be used to describe?  A boss that has no time or use for the burdens of the employees?  A principle that does not engage with the teachers?  A loner that has no use for people?  What would you say? What if […]

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Where Eagles Dare

Heroes are made and revered because they see a tremendous challenge and overcome any obstacle to seek to conquer.  We admire them and their courage.  We desire to emulate them. George Mallory was the famed mountain climber who may have been the first person ever to reach the top of Mount Everest. In the early […]

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What We Could Learn From Mice!

A research psychologist at the National Institute of Mental Health was convinced he could prove his theory from a cage full of mice. His name? Dr. John Calhoun. His theory? Overcrowded conditions take a terrible toll on humanity. Dr. Calhoun built a nine-foot square cage for selected mice. He observed them closely as their population […]

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Failure to Plan Can Be Tragic

Boy Scouts made famous the motto, “Be Prepared”.  Planting that concept in the minds of young men in their formative years helped many boys to become responsible men because they put into practice what they had repeated often as scouts.  It is not difficult to find what various folks have had to say about “being […]

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Worthy of Honor

Preconceived notions abound.  From old wives’ tales to ancient superstitions, false information is held to be true because it has been passed down through generations.  When questioned about a statement’s veracity and where a person “heard that”, the response is, “I have always been told that is true.”  So, repetition forms strong convictions even if […]

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Take No Thought of Tomorrow

Experts seem compelled to forecast what the future will bring: economists read their econometric entrails and predict hard times or happy days accordingly; psychics announce that this is the year the San Andreas fault will pitch California into the sea. Well, before you believe any predictions, consider these vintage prognostications: Octave Chanute, aviation pioneer, in […]

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Wow…..99.9% Effeciency

Likely, you have had those times that you feel so excited that your company, your sales team, or your efficiency in your profession was graded at 95% or higher range.  That is certainly commendable.  But in our country, if major, daily events had a 99.9% efficiency, we would experience significant problems (and we do!).  Some […]

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There Goes Another Alarm

Twenty-first century America is filled with warnings, alarms, and detectors.  They were created to protect us, but because of the proliferation of so many bells, horns, beeps, and shrill sounds of warning, most of us never even turn in the direction of the sound’s origin.  We have grown so accustomed to car alarms so that […]

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The Foolishness of Preaching

Worship services and Sunday Schools in churches must be divinely blessed for them to even exist in the 21st century.  In this generation, we are not lacking in various varieties of churches.  Consider any Sunday in America at the number of styles of churches that are meeting to worship. Depending on the size of the […]

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Effectual, Fervent Prayer

Perhaps no word is spoken more often, requested more frequently, or more superficially applied than the word “prayer”.  A request will appear on Facebook and immediately responses will pop up that say, “Praying”.  A person requests prayer of a friend and the statement is made, “I will pray for you.”  When we hear of a […]

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Love in Action

Jesus’ life was filled with accounts of His love being demonstrated to all He met. The account of the compassionate Good Samaritan in the teachings of our Lord Jesus is one of the most frequently told stories in the New Testament. Children learn the story in their earliest visits to Sunday School.  Teens hear the […]

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A Very Bitter Cup

To be an achiever takes focus.  To win in life will mean “playing injured” some of the time.  To see the goals that you set for yourself accomplished, your heart will be broken many times, your reputation questioned, and your abilities impugned.  Perhaps the most painful experiences that anyone will face is the betrayal of […]

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Till Death Do Us Part

A good marriage is a gift from God.  When the right man marries the woman he loves and vice versa, the path through life will still have pitfalls, pain, and problems.  But when those difficulties are shared by “two who are as one”, then the result is like the forging of steel through the fires […]

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Success is a Four-Letter Word……….Work!

David Thomas (1932-2002) was the founder of Wendy’s, one of the world’s largest restaurant chains of over 5,000 restaurants located throughout the U.S. and in 34 countries.  He was known for his humble service within the multi-billion dollar empire he founded.  When asked what made him so successful, he replied, “My MBA”.  But he didn’t […]

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Wasted

The most precious item you have in your hands is “today”.  It has never been before.  It will never come again.  It is one of a kind.  You will not be this age, enjoy the good things of this day, be with people you love in exactly the same circumstances as you will be doing […]

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Can You See a Way Out?

Panic can grip the heart of any person that realizes he or she is trapped and cannot find a way to get out of a bad situation. Crowds that cut us off from clear exits and leave us at the mercy of the direction of the “masses” causes a feeling of helplessness.  One that is […]

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A God Pleaser

We have heard the expression “people pleaser” spoken in ridicule of someone that will do anything to get other people to love them.  No matter what that may require, some individuals will go to any lengths to seek to win the approval of those they wish to impress.  It may mean speaking words of flattery; […]

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Not As Sharp As I Used To Be

Life is continually dynamic.  It never stops.  It gives few warnings of imminent dangers that buffet us. The expectations do not diminish.  No matter how much we delegate, there are many other obligations waiting to fill those slots vacated by assigning tasks elsewhere.  For most people I know, they are working longer days, spending time […]

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A Modern Parable

Parable of the Mouse Trap A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. “What food might this contain?” The mouse wondered – he was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap. Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning. “There is a mousetrap […]

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Cheer Up…..Things Could Be Worse

Songs were often written in difficult, heart-breaking, and soul-wrenching times.  The song writer chose music to help alleviate a pain that dug deep into his or her heart.  Rejection, death, disease, war, or isolation created such a wound in the song-writer’s heart that they had to express the depths of their emotion.  You have often […]

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Almost Persuaded

Persuasion is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the act of causing people to do or believe something”.  All of us have had times that someone changed our minds about a purchase or an opinion through their ability to persuade.  We have left stores with things we did not really need, but a very persuasive sales person […]

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“BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE”

Real beauty is rare.  Many of those people that are the “beautiful” in the eyes of this culture are seen on movies, magazines, and media.  Beautiful cars and clothes are the foundation of advertising. Beautiful places are photographed and published with a couple smiling big and obviously having a great time.  The inference is clear…. […]

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A Name Worth Remembering

Most of us do not recognize the name Saman Kunan.  But then, we don’t know many of our own military personnel by name.  Saman was from Thailand and had served his country as a Navy SEAL.  He was retired from being a SEAL but continued to help in volunteer situations. When the word came that […]

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I Am With You

Personal interaction is the most effective means of communication.  Although we are surrounded by various voices vying for our attention, the voice of one person speaking personally to us results in a much better grasp of the information, and a much more pleasant experience from the conversation.  If the speaker has compassion, congeniality, and a […]

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Sacrifice?

Pampered. Soft. Coddled. Spoiled. What other adjectives would you say that most of us are because of the many privileges and conveniences we have to enjoy in America?  Wherever you go in the world, you will find that things that we consider to be absolutely essential aren’t!  For most of the planet, the women are […]

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The Sweat of Sweet Honey

Proverbs 16:24 – Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.  All of us know the joy of eating honey on a hot, buttered biscuit!  That sweet substance has such a unique taste.  From childhood, most of us remember having honey on our table. And, moms sometimes truly did […]

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In the Good Old Summertime

Summer is a great season for all things outdoors. And, we Americans do love time outdoors!  The long days provide “free time” after work for time with family, gardening, yard work, sports, or taking in a concert in the park, or cooking out for a picnic with friends.  There are days on the lake skiing, […]

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Are You Seeing Your Life Realistically?

Surprisingly, some of the world’s greatest people, the best known, and most successful do not feel that their lives have been truly remarkable.  Over a lifetime, they convince themselves that the world gives them tremendous accolades out of a sense of community appreciation for their efforts only because they did not quit.  Consider the words […]

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Where Are You Seated?

Man alone is born crying, lives complaining, and dies disappointed. Samuel Johnson Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining – it bores everybody else, does you no good, and doesn’t solve any problems. Zig Ziglar The tendency to whining and complaining may be taken as the surest sign symptom of little souls and […]

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Conformity Required

It is not one of the freedoms listed in the Bill of Rights.  But, it should be proclaimed regularly.  You have the freedom of “thought”.  You can approve of an idea or disapprove.  You can be actively engaged in a project or campaign or be totally uncommitted. You can hold a value or conviction as […]

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Blessed Are the Peacemakers

Folks surely are a cranky lot. I don’t think I ever remember such joy found in jabbing people, harassing folks on the internet, hostile responses on Facebook, belligerence in public arenas, and a genuine sense of accomplishment when one person feels they have successfully spoken a derogatory word that has inflicted great pain on another […]

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Only in America

Only in America…. …. do people trample each other for sales one day after being thankful for what they already have. … could a man sue McDonalds for still being depressed after eating a happy meal! …can people mess up something good, by looking for something better, just to end up with something worse. … […]

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Love That Transcends Love of This Life

“Greater love hath no man that this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). “When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10). When nations are engaged in deadly strife, it is common for patriots to declare that he who gives his […]

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“HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA!”

On this 242nd birthday of America, here are quotes from great Americans about us….. “Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, […]

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“LET FREEDOM RING”

Our nation was founded on man’s desire to live in freedom.  That concept brought the first immigrants to this nation and has been the quest for millions of others to become Americans for over 200 years.  Two great documents penned by two remarkably gifted men shaped and have been the foundation for our nation’s long-term […]

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“ON THIS DAY IN AMERICAN HISTORY…”

Do you recognize a patriot’s name …Richard Henry Lee?   Most of us as Americans do not remember this Virginian that played a most significant role in our independence. June 7, 1776: The Lee Resolution is presented to the Second Continental Congress. Richard Henry Lee was from the Virginia colony. He was instructed by Edmund Pendleton, […]

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“REFLECTIONS ON PEACE”

Jesus is the Prince of Peace and the source of “peace that passes understanding”.   Our world does not know Him, seek Him, or believe Him to be the source of true peace.  Jesus is the only way to peace in this life or the next. In the midst of all of the strife, it is […]

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In Seasons of Distress and Grief

My heart is heavy.  I cannot seem to get relief from the sadness.  It is not that I am willfully away from my times of prayer, Bible study, and ministry.  But, the sorrow that is in my soul is deep.  It is not the kind of sorrow that a “pat on the back” can help […]

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Impatients Anonymous

Have you noticed all of the “help” groups for various needs that the general populace has?  There are programs for getting physically fit, weight loss, financially free, parenting, Gamblers Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, and even tutors to help with academic weaknesses.  But, there is a malady that either does not have a prayer of being remedied […]

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Procrastination

“Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?”  I am not sure who asked that question first, but it has been repeated with tremendous frequency.  Those disciplined and diligent to tackle life’s demands with enthusiasm and determination are an inspiration.  Well, at least they are inspiring to those who aspire to be diligent […]

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I Want to Go There

Tragically, we have read in the news in recent days of the suicides of two of this generations well known people.  When that happens, many press and media outlets are filled with stories of the sorrow, confusion, and deep broken-heartedness that suicide causes.  Life is a precious gift.  Loss of life creates tremendous pain for […]

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Whatever Happened to……..?

In the 21st century, commitment is much less evident that in previous times.  There was a time that a person made life-long commitments to a job, their marriage, their local church, and to their community.  They believed in making a bond to a spouse and family so that through their lifetime they would be able […]

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I Surely Am Drawn to Him

Fans. Where would actors and actresses, rock stars, athletes, great artists in any field, and accomplished people be without fans. Their success is measured in how many people are willing to pay high prices to hear them, see them, or buy their products. Every city of any size has one or more concert sites where […]

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Just On the Edge

Teenagers are envied by older adults for their zeal, energy, and tireless eagerness for adventure. Seniors remember our years of physical stamina, but now they are simply observers of the antics. Anyone who goes with teens on a regular basis on trips to parks, cities, or sites with challenges, very quickly spot those young people […]

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Fit For the Kingdom

In political seasons, we are bombarded by ads about those seeking to become the candidate for their party for an elected position. Depending on how close the race, the ads begin to become more personal and often, very negative about an opponent’s actions both “in and out” of office.  It has been said more than […]

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Father’s Day Reflections

Father’s Day was yesterday.  It is not that I am just now remembering that fact.  Rather, it is because it is so different from Mother’s Day that some folks may not observe it at all while others simply view it as any other day.  That is not true in most cases on Mother’s Day.  Phone […]

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“IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE”

“It is more blessed to give than to receive”. (Acts 20:35).  Christians know that verse by heart.  But, much like the world in which we live, we too often are found working to “receive” more than working to be able to give.  The minute you read that, some of you bristled.  Your thought was, “That […]

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“THROUGH MANY TOILS AND SNARES”

“Pain is not a problem in and of itself. But rather, it is a symptom, a sign of something gone wrong. When one places their hand on a stove, the problem is not the pain but it’s the fact they are doing something that shouldn’t be done. The pain in this world is simply a sign that something is […]

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I Didn’t Mean That

We say things that are not true.  Some of those we dismiss as “little white lies” that are spoken hastily seeking to keep from hurting the feelings of another person.  Some of those lies are out of fear knowing that an honest answer would create jeopardy for us because of a wrongful act that was […]

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Are You Sure You’re Right?

Pompous. Arrogant. Ego driven.  Self-absorbed.  Proud. Conceited. What do you call a person that lives with every conversation, feeling, and event “all about me”!  It is one thing to live with a sense of confidence.  But, it is altogether something very different when one is so wrapped up in their own abilities that they see […]

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Nothing New Under the Sun

Conversations are always about “what’s happening now”.  Whether at the water cooler, lunch with co-workers, or a night out with friends, the current events swirling like the early stages of a tornadic wall cloud seem to command our discussions.  You have been in some of those that address topics about our President, the moral decline […]

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Forty-four

In 1974, 44 years ago….. In his State of the Union Address, President Nixon declares, “One year of Watergate is enough.” Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst is kidnapped from her Berkeley, California apartment by members of the Symbionese Liberation Army. Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves breaks Babe Ruth‘s home run record, by hitting his 715th career home run off Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Al Downing at Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium. The Universal […]

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It Looks Good, But What Does it Do?

Organization…. that word either strikes awe or fear.  For the person that is highly organized, they cannot live where there is little order and great spontaneity.  For the free-spirited individual, organization is a synonym of imprisonment.  One’s car, office, and home quickly demonstrate which side of the fence one lives.  Where there is a lack […]

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To Everything There is a Season

Young Richard Sears was a railroad agent in Redwood, Minnesota when he discovered he could order watches from the manufacturer, then reship them to agents down the line who sold them to local people. Sears launched a mail-order company, later teaming up with Alvah Roebuck.  By 1894, Sears Roebuck & Co. had a 300-page catalog, […]

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Perspective

“We hold these truths to be self-evident”… I am very aware that our Declaration of Independence states that there are truths that we all agree are self-evident (or at least we did when the Declaration of Independence was written). There are “many” truths like that, but there are also precepts that are learned the hard […]

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If Only…….

Every person is blessed with some level of imagination.  Certainly, a small percentage have the creativity to do amazing things in their various fields.  For the rest of us, we are more apt to be creative in our daydreaming or “wish list”. Who has not had a moment when you dreamed of winning the contest […]

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I Don’t Know What That is Like

Suffering is pandemic.  It is not an anomaly, but is present in our circle of family, friends, co-workers, and church relationships. If, by chance, we are not hurting with a need of someone close to us, we are hurting because of a local, national, or international event that is reported on the news.  As we […]

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Was Anybody Saved?

My life has always revolved around the church.  Because my father was a pastor, we were always “at” church, but pastor’s families live “at the church” literally.  The home of my childhood and teen years was a pastorium right next door to First Baptist Church of Humboldt, TN.  Thus, we were the office of the […]

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Be Strong in the Lord

One thing that lots of folks do well in this generation is to live healthy.  They are dedicated to being fit, trim, and strong! Facebook photos of a person’s athletic skill, weight lifting strength, or duration in feats of physical exertion are almost as common as the testimonials of how a certain product can do […]

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“ON THIS MEMORIAL DAY….”

Quotes about the importance of Memorial Day in America….. Adlai Stevenson II – “Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” Franklin D. Roosevelt – “Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.” Gen. […]

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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