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Only His Spirit

  May the Lord be with your spirit. And may his grace be with all of you. 2 Timothy 4:22 After two years of unsuccessful ministry in Savannah, Georgia, on the return voyage to London, John Wesley lamented, “I went to America, to convert the Indians; but oh! who shall convert me? Who is He that will deliver me from …

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Connected

  I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. (Jesus’ prayer in John 17) I woke up one morning in the midst of a dream. God was showing …

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Stay on Course, Even When It’s Painful

  For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 When I was homeless and searching for I didn’t …

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Surface Christianity Versus Deep Roots

  He must have a strong belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with wholesome teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong. Titus 1:9 For whatever it’s worth, I become agitated when people claim they’re preachers, but aren’t willing to give the Bible authority over their life. …

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Only Jesus Can Heal the Wounds of Betrayal

  Do not drag me away with the wicked—     with those who do evil— those who speak friendly words to their neighbors while planning evil in their hearts. Psalm 28:3 I wish everyone could be trusted. It’s almost impossible to know who means what they say and who is secretly planning evil. My father secretly planned to divorce my mother. …

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In You…

  Demas has deserted me… Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm… The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me… From 2 Timothy 4 Do you think if only you could become great like the apostle Paul, you’ll have it made? maybe someday crowds and friends will surround you and you’ll live a cozy, …

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Almost There

  As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day …

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Shh… Don’t Tell Anyone

  But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived. 2 Timothy 3:13 Your spirit often knows when someone is lying. Maybe you already know the real story. Or you catch telltale twitches in their body, face, or tone of voice. Sometimes your inner dog starts growling (and it’s not from the burrito). …

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Keep Learning

  All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16, 17 …

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Growing Our Character

  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. Romans 5:4 Let me develop strong character—a character that does not waiver with conflict or with temptation; I must have a strong character to finish the course, to effect change. I will hope in my salvation and I will hope in this change. Character cannot …

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You Become Like the People You Hang With

  You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. …

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Watch Out for the Trap!

  If a bird sees a trap being set, it knows to stay away. But these people set an ambush for themselves; they are trying to get themselves killed. Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money; it robs them of life. Proverbs 1:17-19 I feel uneasy looking at those pictures of people who are trying to …

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When Does Run Mean Run?

  Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. 2 Timothy 2:22 Run? In Genesis 39, when Potiphar’s wife wanted sex with Joseph, he told her, “How can I sin against God?” Then he ran out of the room. She tried to stop him by grabbing his robe. As he tore himself away …

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The Kingdom Food Chain

  Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 2:1 “Timothy, my dear son…” Everyone needs mentors. A mentor has achieved what you want to achieve and is willing to guide you and hold you accountable to get there. He stretches you and helps you up when you fall. He’s …

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Go Back to the Beginning

  So, you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. 1 John 2:24 There was a moment in 1974 when I connected with God. I didn’t understand a lot, but the connection was real. It consumed me and changed my life. Since then, many voices have distracted me: Trying to win God’s favor by keeping …

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Pour Out, Pour In

  It is better to correct someone openly than to have love and not show it. Proverbs 27: 5 The faces of people in the Dominican Republic are forever impressed on my mind. Their hunger for hope and the cries of their hearts still whisper to me today. Their humility far outshines the definition of that word in any dictionary. You …

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Beyond Your Strength

  Be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 2:1 According to Henry Cloud, when a Navy Seal parachutes into an assignment, he’s trained to ask himself three questions: Where am I? Where’s my buddy? Where’s the enemy? He tells the story of a Seal candidate about to finish hell week. The candidate’s swimming …

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Kindness Wins

  Don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone. 2 Timothy 2:23-24 How quickly we get sucked into quarrels. Something flicks an emotional trigger and Boom! Then we’re more fixated on winning than loving. Sometimes the issue isn’t the issue. It’s the harsh, …

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Standing Strong From the Inside Out

  So, my dear brothers and sisters, stand strong. Do not let anything move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your work in the Lord is never wasted. 1 Corinthians 15:58 Some things in my life are falling apart right now. The verse gives me comfort. Regardless of what was coming …

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Calm Under Fire

  Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 3:3 Audie Leon Murphy (20 June 1925 – 28 May 1971) was one of the most decorated American combat soldiers of World War II, receiving every military combat award for valor available from the U.S. Army, as well as French and Belgian awards for heroism. …

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You’re Helping Yourself

  Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life. If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. Proverbs 9:11, 12 Wisdom doesn’t just add to my days, it multiplies them. How does wisdom add years to my life? I’m walking in sync with creation. Wisdom keeps me from making stupid decisions. Gathering wisdom gives …

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Don’t Ignore the Holy Spirit

  Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you. 2 Timothy 1:13, 14 Although I can’t see anyone else’s insides, I …

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Running! Running! Running!

  Keep your lamps burning… Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks.” (Luke 12:35-36) Many people – including myself in the past – pursue God only when they’re in a crisis. They seek Him because they’re needy or in pain. But Jesus says to burn hot for Him …

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Who Jesus Isn’t Praying For

  My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. John 17:9 According to this verse, Jesus prays only for those who accept his teaching. If you don’t accept his teaching, you’re on your own. Instead of praying for you, Jesus is standing at your door, inviting you. For many …

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Be a Signpost

  Jesus sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit.” (Luke 10:1)  Jesus didn’t send his disciples to go just anywhere. He sent them ahead, like signposts, pointing the way and preparing people to encounter him. He still does this today. If I’m walking closely with God, perhaps people meeting me will soon …

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The Painful Upward Stretch of My Soul

  Sick people were brought out into the streets on beds and mats so that Peter’s shadow might fall across some of them as he went by. Crowds came from the villages around Jerusalem, and they were all healed. Acts 5:15-16 Peter, where did you get this power, that even your shadow healed people and set them free from their …

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Breaking The Curse

“Those who fear the Lord are secure; he will be a refuge for their children.” (Proverbs 14:26) We met a woman whose husband was bi-polar. The impact on their family was devastating. Their son also was diagnosed bi-polar and turned away from God as a result. My heart broke with sadness for this family. At the same time, my heart …

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Stairway to Heaven

Every time someone close to me dies, I think I get to peek inside heaven. Some of heaven’s fresh air escapes. It makes me want to be there. Slowly the door closes. Earth’s sorrow overwhelms me. I’m afraid to die and afraid of my family and friends dying. I don’t understand life. Even greater is my lack of understanding of …

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Do a Motive Inventory

“People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives.” (Proverbs 3:15) After more than twenty years of unhappy marriage, Gina and I realized we got married for many wrong reasons. That’s the moment when many marriages end. If we’re honest, many of us would admit our motives for getting married were mostly self-serving. When myself …

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Whisper Jesus

“There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”              Acts 1:11 How daring is your faith in Jesus? Will you step away from the sin, secret, or addiction you’ve been so secure in, and whisper Jesus? The religious leaders never encountered anyone …