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First You Go

  In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have …

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A Pure and Serving Heart

  Slaves must always obey their masters and do their best to please them. They must not talk back or steal but must show themselves to be entirely trustworthy and good. Then they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive in every way. Titus 2:9,10 Early in my business career I noticed how easy it was for people—including …

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King Me Now!

  So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” Acts 1:6 “Please pray that I can find a job.” I’ve heard this request in prayer meetings. Secretly I pray, “Please don’t send him to us for a job.” He’s not asking us to …

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Being Tiny is Okay

  The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just than when we offer him sacrifices. Proverbs 21:3 God is more interested in what we do in life’s little spaces than all the big things we try to accomplish. As you travel down life’s road, notice little moments, little opportunities, and little people. Paul Horst taught me how …

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Tiny Moments

As you travel down life’s road, notice little moments and little opportunities to do good. My pastor taught me how to raise a garden. When he weeded, instead of quickly chopping through the row with a hoe, he knelt down, got close to each plant, carefully plucked out each weed, and worked up a little mound of soil around the …

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But Love Does

Everyone else walked past the dirty, crippled beggar. They may have dropped a few coins at his feet to absolve their responsibility of connecting with the man, as they hurried in and out of the temple where they met with God. But Peter and John learned from Jesus to stop, notice, love, and connect with hurting people. Jesus taught and …

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Kind Words

We remind small children to be kind to their siblings or other kids in school, and along the way, they discover the cause and effect of a loving attitude. It becomes a natural part of their learning and growth. Kindness often reciprocates with happiness and caring from others. Even more so as adults, we need to remember kindness. Kindness takes …

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Sometimes You Need to Cover Your Ears

Early in our Christian lives, we thought we were God’s elite because we meticulously tried to make every detail of our lives godly. The baggy, dark-colored clothes we wore were supposed to protect us from temptation. The old black sedans we drove and the naked walls and bare light bulbs in our homes were our attempts to avoid pride. Then …

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Why I Didn’t Have Friends

For several years I didn’t have close friends. I felt lonely and empty inside, and resentful toward God. God, why have I given up so much for you yet you haven’t given me any friends? I didn’t realize I was causing my own misery, behaving in ways that kept potential friends at a distance. I cared only about myself. I …

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What’s It Worth?

They didn’t think Jesus was worth much, did they? All that was left were some clothes that were free for the taking. I saw a couple of guys shopping together in the grocery store the other day. One of them acted like Mister Cool. He was dressed classy, wearing shades, and walked with a swagger as he sipped from a …

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Trust

When I’m reading this passage, I get angry about the way Jesus was treated. The way he was beaten and publicly mocked. The people around Jesus probably couldn’t see the master plan but there certainly was one in place. Just three days later, Jesus was back and the world would be changed forever. So much happened but what stands out …

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Divine Chain of Command

Most people want to be favored by the people in charge, like their boss, the local police, Dad and Mom, or whoever holds the power to make decisions that impact them. To seek the king’s favor without first securing God’s favor bypasses God’s chain of command. We might try so hard to win the favor of those in authority that …

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How Does Jesus Measure Life?

It’s interesting that Jesus refused to get in the middle of a family feud over possessions. He just told them to not let stuff become more important than relationships. Sometimes we measure ourselves by the wrong things: When we measure life by that stuff, our emotional and spiritual tank will eventually become empty. What if we measured life by the …

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Stupid Pride

When we are fueled by our pride and ego, a lot of stupid stuff happens. Hurt feelings, misunderstandings, feuds, and distrust. The devil uses pride to create division in families and come between friends. It results in bitterness and resentment. But God created a world that’s just as much about “we” as it is about “me.” Pride says I don’t …

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Listen and Explore

Listening and exploring are two traits of the wise. They have learned how to listen and they love exploring the meaning in the proverbs. The Scriptures aren’t meant for us to speed read. We have to dig, ponder, and listen. My mind wants to race from thought to thought, like a pebble skipping across a calm lake. There’s a lot …

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A Healthy, Serving Heart

What we write on our hearts determines who we are, what we say and do, and how we affect others. If your tablet is messy, ask God to wipe it clean. Then read the Bible’s instructions and promises, and take them in. To write them on your heart, you spend time thinking about them. Then when life happens you have …

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Find Something Right

Find Something Right For John the Baptist didn’t spend his time eating bread or drinking wine, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ Luke 7:33,34 Why are we so obsessed …

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Are People Rejecting Me or God?

Are People Rejecting Me or God? Then he said to the disciples, “Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me.” Luke 10:16 Rejection happens. Acceptance happens. When I’ve fully surrendered my security and identity to Christ, acceptance and rejection take …