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Showing posts from March, 2019

What Are You Aiming For?

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YOU COULDN'T HIT THE BROAD SIDE OF A BARN!This hyperbolic term is usually used to denote poor marksmanship or to have very poor aim.
Many times in life we aim for success, fame, wealth and popularity supposing that it will bring true happiness. However, you can watch the news or celebrity gossip channels and realize quickly that what most thought would fulfill their wildest dreams led instead to lives of emptiness, isolation, people trying to take advantage of them, jail time or ruin.

There is only one place to truly hit the mark when it comes to incomparable joy and true fulfillment. How do you find this kind of joy?

1 - Receive Christ and He gives you His Holy Spirit of joy

"I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them." (John 17:13)

2 - Love others like Christ loves you

"If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in…

Let's Make A Deal

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I remember watching the daytime game show Let's Make a Deal growing up. It's still on television but I have no time to watch it. However, I remember a point in the show where people had to choose between door #1, door #2 or door #3. Looking at the picture again, I guess you can see why my mind went in that direction. Making the right choice could win a contestant great prizes. Choosing the wrong door resulted in... well... something way less valuable. Okay, it was sometimes junk!

While that game might be entertaining, there are choices we all face in life that can result in great reward or terrible ruin. What job will I prepare for? Who will I marry? How do I invest for retirement? Do I get a Labradoodle? All these and more are certainly life changing decisions, but there is one that far outweighs all others combined. What is that, you wonder?
It is "Whom will I serve?"
Joshua, the one to whom Moses passed the baton of leadership, spoke to the people of Israel, saying,

&…

Silent Surrender

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As I photographed this old farm house I couldn't help but imagine the family or generations that grew up in this stately structure. This was certainly not your typical southern shotgun shack. The owners must have had a large number of acres for farming or perhaps owned a local business nearby. I'll bet the inside walls would have stories to tell of life lived and loved together.

But somewhere in the not too distant past this old lady started to show its age. While it is quite apparent that the grass is mowed regularly, the paint is now peeling, the floor boards probably creak, the lights and water are most likely cut off, and silence fills the empty rooms... only memories echo through the hallways and former living spaces.

It is sad when an old place like this is silently surrendered to time. It's sad when a once vibrant life must silently surrender to the pains and perils of old age as well. On our prayer list a while ago was the name of a man that I never knew but who serv…

Have a "Looking Up" Attitude

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We can walk around with our head held low or we can voluntarily choose to have a "looking up" attitude regardless of what life throws at you.

Looking down creates thoughts of defeat and feelings of depression while looking up acknowledges hope. Here's something that I've learned from God's Word and it has always been true in my life:

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Not all things ARE good, but they all work together for God's good purpose -- and His purpose and fulfilled plan is what I want.


Aspens
Rocky Mountain National Park

Command Centers and Hospitals

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During the Civil War, churches were often used as command centers and hospitals. I think that should be a good use for them today too.

We ought to be people who are obedient to the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ and follow them without question. The church building is a great place to rally the troups each week for training and encouragement concerning the mission to be won out in the field.

The church should never be a hotel for saints but always a hospital for sinners. It should be a welcoming environment where people find help for hurting and broken lives. It is a place where the Great Physician desires to perform a heart transplant within each of us -- replacing ours for His.

LITTLE KNOWN FACT
It is recorded that major revivals occurred among the Civil War forces. In the Union Army, between 100,000 and 200,000 soldiers were converted; among Confederate forces, approximately 150,000 troops converted to Christ. Perhaps 10 percent of all Civil War soldiers experienced conversions duri…

Be Wonderfully You!

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BE YOU! Yes, you! You were wonderfully made by God so why would you want to be like someone else or everyone else? Your uniqueness is what makes you different... sometimes peculiar... but always special!

Psalm 139:14
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Chihuly @ Biltmore Estate
Asheville, NC

Conflict on the Farm

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Many of you have walked the National Battlefields across the U.S. where Northern troups met Southern troups and often times brother met brother. Some tallies indicate that more American lives were lost in the Civil War than all other wars Americans have fought in combined.

The words of Jesus still ring so true: "Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand." (Matthew 12:25)

Our Pledge of Allegiance reminds us that we are One Nation Under God and indivisible! But honestly, it still feels like we are divided on so many political, racial, social, regional, cultural and spiritual issues. The daily news is so discouraging as headlines seem to actually promote as much as they do report on divisive actions and hate-filled rhetoric.

There is a solution and it's as complex as it is simple. Jesus said, "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." (John 15:12)

Love is easy when someone e…

Flowing Streams of Satisfaction

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Have you ever been desperately dry and thirsty? In those times there is nothing like a cold bottle of refreshing water. 
Have you ever experienced times in your life where you were running on empty and you desperately thirsted for something to fulfill you but just couldn't find that "something"?
I want to let you in on that something which millions of others already know -- God is the only One perfectly suited to satisfy us, fill us, and sustain us. The joy of true living is ours as we grow more deeply conscious of, connected to, and confident in God and in Him alone as our unfailing resource in life.
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. (Psalm 42:1-2a)

Get Off the Fence

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To be "on the fence" means you cannot decide between two things. For instance, you go the the ice cream shop and before you are the choices of chocolate or vanilla (and swirl is not an option). If you are torn between which to purchase then you are on the fence about it.

Don't be on the fence regarding your relationship with Jesus. Give yourself wholeheartedly to Him because He has already sacrificed 100% of Himself for you.

Speaking of himself, Jesus said, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16

How do I give myself to Jesus? BELIEVE!

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

If anyone tells you anything other than this then they are a liar and teaching false doctrine.

The Apostle Paul wrote, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your ow…

Nothing Civil About It

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Approximately 620,000 soldiers died from combat, accident, starvation, and disease during the Civil War. This number comes from an 1889 study of the war performed by William F. Fox and Thomas Leonard Livermore. Both men fought for the Union. Their estimate is derived from an exhaustive study of the combat and casualty records generated by the armies over five years of fighting. A recent study puts the number of dead as high as 850,000.

There was nothing "civil" about one nation divided and fighting each other to the death. Families, churches, towns, states... all torn apart. 31 million soldiers were involved in this deadly conflict. Millions more were impacted as men and boys of all ages walked away from their homes to fight for their convictions. Did good come as a result? Yes, but so did a lot of bad and unfortunately there are still people today who are fighting a war rooted in tradition (which is sometimes really a another name for "pride" and "hatred"…

At the Cross Roads

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Decisions, decisions, decisions. According to multiple sources on the Internet, the average amount of remotely conscious decisions an adult makes each day equals about 35,000.

In contrast, young children only make about 3,000 decisions each day. Oh to be childlike again! Certainly there is something to be said about the faith a child has in the decision-making of their parents and caregivers. Most of the time they just follow instructions because they know that mom and dad love them and have their best interest at heart.

There is a decision that many adults have put off for way too long and have a difficult time making today -- to put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Most professions of faith occur in Christianity among children and students. Why? Because they have the capacity for childlike faith. Jesus said that's the only way to enter heaven.

"Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himse…

Light Has Come

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Darkness is an absence of light. But you do not have to live in darkness. Light scatters the darkest nights, moments, thoughts, hurts, feelings and troubles. Jesus is that light. He has come and His light still shines. Follow the Light and you will not stumble in this spiritually dark world.

The Lord is God, and He has made His light shine on us. (Psalm 118:27)

[Jesus] said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

So, why did Jesus call Himself LIGHT? Well, let's take a look at just five things that light provides for us, then compare it with Scripture about Jesus.

FOOD - Light is the sole source of food generation for all living organisms on the earth with the exception of a few chemotrophic bacteria. Plants synthesize their own food materials by use of light. 

Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.&…

Bigger Barns

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Luke 12:15-21
Jesus said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

Wisdom and Enlightenment

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There is much spiritual symbolism attached to the Lotus flower centered around enlightenment and reincarnation. Below is a Hollywood example of that:

"The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But, it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud – the obstacles of life and its suffering…" ~Goldie Hawn

The Lotus flower was created by God for HIS glory and not our enlightenment. If we desire wisdom then there is a much better source for it than time wasted in the mud of this world.

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."
~Solomon (Proverbs 9:10)

Personally, I choose to follow the Lord and have Him impart wisdom to me as I grow to know Him better. If while living in obedience to God I do encounter obstacles and suffering, then I pray it is for the sake of building Christ-like character in me.

We glory in our sufferings, because we know that suf…

The Sting of Death

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On August 8, 2018 the Canadian Press released the following article...

A 43-year-old New Brunswick man has died after being stung by a wasp — and his family says he had never displayed previous signs of an allergy. Daniel Koch was looking under a table to locate a wasp nest at his property on Friday when a wasp flew out and stung him on the face. His father said Daniel collapsed minutes after the sting and died en route to the hospital after he administered an EpiPen and performed CPR. The coroner told the family Daniel died from a "severe allergic reaction to a sting," causing his air passages to close.

Recently while barn hunting with some friends we discovered some old farm equipment in a field and went out to investigate the rusty object. As we circled around we found a healthy wasp nest with a few workers/guardians on its surface. If we had not been attentive it was quite possible that one of us might have felt a nasty sting that day.

While wasp venom is not generally dead…

What Could Have Been

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The Chevrolet Corvair was a compact car manufactured by Chevrolet for model years 1960–1969. It was the only American-designed, mass-produced passenger car to use a rear-mounted, air-cooled engine.

The Corvair's reputation and legacy were impacted by a controversy surrounding its handling: the car was scrutinized in Ralph Nader's 1965 book "Unsafe at Any Speed." Rather than dispute the allegations, GM attempted to discredit Nader himself. This resulted in Nader winning a lawsuit putting a stop to the illegal investigations GM launched trying to dig up dirt on him. This action made people tend to believe Nader more. Sales dropped significantly for the Corvair and the model was discontinued after a 10-year run.

Imagine if GM took the criticisms as an opportunity to improve the Corvair rather than attempt to discredit the accuser. It would have been a win-win for GM and Ralph Nader both.

Now, let's take a good look in the mirror. The Corvair was an imperfect vehicle an…

Real Refreshment

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There have been times when an ice cold Coca Cola has brought refreshment to a hot, weary body. (I'm not so sure how much refreshment I would receive from a Rock a Billy band though. )

Times of refreshing are critical to our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. There's a reason so many of us look forward to the weekend because it's a time of restoration and renewing that prepares us for another Monday-Friday. If, for some reason, a day or two off is not sufficient to meet that need then read on for what you may REALLY thirst for.

David said that refreshment comes when you allow God to lead you to that special, quiet place.

Psalm 23:2-3
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.

Peter preached that refreshment comes after repenting of your sins, receiving complete forgiveness, and turning to God.

Acts 3:19
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from th…

The Struggle is Real

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The life and death struggle in the natural world is not always pretty. Most of you would probably prefer that the butterfly get free rather than be the spider's next meal, but each creature has its place and purpose in God's creation. In nature if you are not the one eating the food then you may BE the food. The struggle is real!

You struggle with many things in your life too I'll bet. You may wrestle with paying the bills, dealing with an aging parent, your own health issues, relationships, work, etc. But then there's also temptations we face where we must decide whether to do the "natural" thing or the "supernatural" thing. The natural instinct is to go with those sinful urges we acquired at birth. The spiritual nature within Christians (acquired when we were born again) is generally contrary to that natural desire; so we wrestle.

Paul writes to the church in Ephesus about that struggle.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the …

Facing Your Goliaths

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Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
~Isaiah 41:10

Most of you know the story of David and Goliath. Yes, the one of the teenage shepherd boy who took on a giant soldier and defeated him. This is not a fairy tale but a factual, historic incident. The Israeli soldiers and the Philistine armies faced each other on opposite hills with a valley in between. Goliath came out as a spokesman for the Philistines and challenged a one-on-one, winner-take-all battle... but there was no one who would face this 9' 6" tall monster of a fighting machine. His armor alone weighed 125 pounds.

Then came David. He was checking up on his brothers who were in the Israeli army, but found himself determined to accept the challenge to fight. Putting aside all the king's weapons and armor, David walked down the hill, picked up a few smooth stones from the creek, and while Goliath hurled i…

Created for God's Glory

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Some of you have been asking yourself the age old question, "What is my porpoise in life?" Am I supposed to just swim around daily eating, drinking, sleeping and making noise? Am I just living to exist or is there a grander scheme or reason for being?

Okay, it's a picture of a dolphin. Let's get that out of the way... but that didn't fit my post as well. But seriously, what is your purpose in life?

First, here are some signs that you may not be living up to your purpose:

1. You lack joy and excitement
2. You don't feel much fulfillment
3. Work feels pointless
4. You feel stuck
5. You have no direction

So, what is it you were created for? The Bible is clear in the following: You were created for God's glory.

"...everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my GLORY, whom I formed and made.”
(Isaiah 43:7)

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive GLORY and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

Are You Going to Answer the Door?

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It used to be more common to have people come to the front door of your home -- neighbors, salesmen, the milkman, kids selling cookies or popcorn -- but not so much any more. Yes, there are the occasional religious groups or missionaries who hope to visit with you at the door, but most people are unwilling to even acknowledge their presence for fear of potential robbery or bodily harm. This is NOT the world I grew up in where doors remained unlocked all day, windows were wide open, and the welcome mat greeted even the peskiest vacuum cleaner or encyclopedia salesperson.

I wonder if it is fear of the unknown or because we just have the television turned up so loud that we can no longer hear the knocking of One who desires the best for us and wants to share life with us. Yes, we can get so distracted with the fear and "noise" of our life that the most important house call ever might be missed (and no, I am not talking about Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes).

The book of Reve…