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Even From Prison

  I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of being squelched, the Message has actually prospered. All the soldiers here, and everyone else, too, found out that I’m in jail because of this Messiah. That piqued their curiosity, and now they’ve learned all about him. Not only …

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The Wise Invite Rebuke

  Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy. Proverbs 29:1 It takes humility to let a rebuke sink in and alter your perspective. The temptation is to lock down and start counting the other person’s faults after a reprimand or a piece of harsh feedback. When we do that, the negativity digs a pit in our …

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When I’m Down

  Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me. Micah 7:8 I know Satan wants to take me out. Perhaps that’s why I struggle so much with fear, feeling weak, and inner darkness. Micah 7:8 is my sometimes go-to verse when I’m …

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Don’t Complain

  Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Philippians 2:14-15 Complaining about circumstances actually makes things worse, Benefits of not complaining: Better attitude, happier and attract positive people Sleep better Better health More …

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Mother Wisdom

  “To you, O people, I call out; I raise my voice to all mankind. Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold,” Proverbs 8:4, 10 NIV How true, that wisdom surrounds us every day, it’s not hiding and it’s not available to just a select few. To stay sharp our ears and heart must always be …

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Face it

  “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ “-Eleanor Roosevelt   “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you …

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Raw Courage and a Pure Heart

  Paul looked the sorcerer in the eye. Then he said, “You son of the devil, full of every sort of deceit and fraud, and enemy of all that is good! Will you never stop perverting the true ways of the Lord? Watch now, for the Lord has laid his hand of punishment upon you, and you will be struck …

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Celebrate God in Each Other

  “Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!” Philippians 4:4-5 What does it mean to celebrate God …

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I Once Was Lost

  “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” -Isaiah 53:6 One day at lunch I was seeking tranquility from a heavy workload and I found myself looking at God’s beauty at our local golf course. It’s beautiful there and I was soaking …

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Greater is He Who Serves

  Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves. Luke 22:27 I’m a selfish, self-absorbed person who would do anything to get out of serving others: Cast vision. Delegate. Give money. …

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Little Me, Big World

  The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea. The God of glory thunders.     The Lord thunders over the mighty sea. The voice of the Lord is powerful;  the voice of the Lord is majestic. Psalm 29:3-4 People fill their tiny little brains with so much noise, they drown out the world around them. Sometimes it’s busy, crazy, chaotic noise. Sometimes it’s white noise. Either way, it’s …

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My Father Prayer

  Jacob wrestled with God… Genesis 32 Lord, I’m crippled. I’m broken. I can’t go on. How can I be the father I never had? I don’t know the ways of God. my personality stinks. But Lord, here I am, standing alone like a little lost child. And I’m going to stand here. And I’m going to fight. I will …

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Heart Matters

  If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:3 So, it comes down to the intent of the heart…pretty simple but it’s not always easy to do. On a recent 4-hour flight, a 2-year-old sat …

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Our Fickle Emotions

  When I was prosperous, I said, “Nothing can stop me now!” Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain.     Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered. Psalm 30:6-7 These two verses summarize David’s emotional roller coaster. When life runs smoothly, I think I’m unstoppable. Then one little thing breaks, and I think my world …

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Stop Being Phony

  Here’s how we can be sure that we’ve truly come to know God: if we keep his commands.  If someone claims, “I have come to know God by experience,” yet doesn’t keep God’s commands, he is a phony and the truth finds no place in him. We can be sure that we’ve truly come to live in intimacy with …

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The Day I Realized I Might Not Be a Duck

  My life had fallen into the deepest, darkest night of the soul I had ever known. I was spiraling down, down, deeper and deeper. In 1996, my book, Weeping May Endure For a Night had just been published. People were calling me for advice I didn’t know how to give. They thought I could help them. I wanted to …

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Treasure in Clay Jars

  We are like common clay jars that carry this glorious treasure within, so that the extraordinary overflow of power will be seen as God’s, not ours. Though we experience every kind of pressure, we’re not crushed. At times we don’t know what to do, but quitting is not an option. 2 Corinthians 4:7-8 “We are like common clay jars. …

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All of Us Are Blind

  Then Jesus spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes. He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam.”  So, the man went and washed and came back seeing! John 9:6-7 With another man, Jesus used spit without mud and healed him in two phases. First, the man saw …

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Think in Bible

  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who …

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Living Life!

  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly John 10:10 Over a recent weekend, I went hiking in northern Arkansas. While walking through the woods, a million thoughts flew through my head. I found my mind thinking about problems and things I want in life. Finally, …

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In the Hot Flames of Temptation

  From Psalm 39 I said to myself, “I will watch what I do  and not sin in what I say. I will hold my tongue  when the ungodly are around me.” But as I stood there in silence— the turmoil within me grew worse. The more I thought about it,  the hotter I got. Sometimes my insides feel like …

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It’s Okay That I’m Not Okay

  Let all who are helpless take heart. Psalm 34:2 You, David, felt helpless? The great king, the warrior-poet who relentlessly pursued after God’s heart, and one of the greatest men in the Bible…? You… Felt… Helpless? No. Read that again. The verse doesn’t say you felt helpless. It says you are helpless. It’s a little mind game I play …

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Take Enough Time

  When a king sits in judgment, he weighs all the evidence, distinguishing the bad from the good. Proverbs 20:8 This means stepping back, listening, observing, taking plenty of notes, going home, studying, doing research, praying, and getting advice from wise people. When I’m the person in authority, slowing down and being thorough is my job. It’s not optional. Whether you’re …

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Instead

  Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4: 32 It’s like God says, “Take a chill pill.” Let go of bitterness and strife and all evil that wants to live inside you. Instead, be kind. It works much better. Tenderhearted—let go, life is easier this way. Forgive, …

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His Light, Not Mine

  Psalm 27:1-4 The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? One thing I learned from my years of depression is that I’m not a source of light. I might have a little dim light in me, but mostly, I’m full of darkness. The Lord is my light. I’m afraid of the dark. Are you? With …

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Why Jesus Came

  Long lay the world in sin and error pining Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth Truly He taught us to love one another His law is love and His gospel is peace Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother And in His name all oppression shall cease. (From the hymn O Holy Night) …

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Clean it All Out

  Psalm 32 When I refused to confess my sin,  my body wasted away,  and I groaned all day long. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you  and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I remember carrying unresolved guilt inside me all the time. When I cleaned it all out, I got a clear sight of God. Unresolved sin… …

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Chip on The Shoulder

  Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm. Proverbs 3:30 I no longer want to live with the illusion that my life is my own. Lord, I want you to search my heart. Let’s stop at the nearest altar and remove any chips from my shoulder. You know what they are, …

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Add to Your Faith…

  From 2 Peter 1:1-5 And keep adding, all day, every day. Some people think it’s enough that they added information to themselves when they went to school. So they stopped adding. I meet these people every day. They bring impressive resumes, seeking high-paying jobs. I ask them what they’re doing now to grow themselves. “I haven’t read a book …

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Acceptable Sacrifice

  If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. Matthew 16:25 Who can know God? Those who learn to know themselves well and then surrender the self they know so well on God’s altar in grateful sacrifice. As they release their …