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It’s God’s Calling, Not Yours

  From Acts 1, When the Apostles Replaced Judas Judas Iscariot was given one of the greatest callings the world has ever known. His name could have been written in history as a great force for bringing God’s kingdom to earth. Instead, he became a Judas, a great betrayer. His greed blinded him from understanding the opportunity in front of …

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What if Today is Special?

  On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with …

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Hot Questions That Burn Your Insides

  Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4, 5 Mealtime is a great time to discuss whatever’s on your …

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God Uses People to Make His Choices

  “So now we must choose a replacement for Judas from among the men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus… Acts 1:21 Many men and women had been with Jesus during his ministry. For some reason, Jesus decided he wanted twelve men to lay the foundations of the New Covenant. Not forty-two. …

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Healthy Bones

  This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. Proverbs 3:8 Pete Scazzero says, “You might have Jesus in your heart, but your grandparents are in your bones.” He means our sins are deeper than we know, because they’ve been passed down for generations. He offered the Bible story of Joseph to illustrate. Joseph had to …

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It’s Hard to Imagine God Thanking Me

  God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. Hebrews 6:10 It seems that no matter how much extra margin I create, life fills it up. Once again, I’m tired and overwhelmed. This morning I made a list of my …

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 …

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Too Close to the Edge

The tiny island of Ghoramara, off the coast of India has been shrinking each year over the past several decades. It has lost about half of its land and two-thirds of its population since the 1960’s. With farming as the main occupation, residents literally watch their livelihood drop into the sea. Those who live on the edge don’t fare well. …

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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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What Makes Me, Me

Trying to trick Jesus doesn’t work, even if you’re extreme Bible scholars like the Pharisees. Not only did Jesus outsmart them, he taught them a lesson, a lesson still good for us today. Nothing material belongs to me – I may or may not be able to keep it in this life, but I certainly can’t take it with me …

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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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Not the Next Fad

Back in our hippie days, we lived in an apartment building in Richmond, Virginia for a few months. We rented a section of the basement that had been converted into living quarters. Large and small plumbing and heating pipes ran through our apartment. We were hippies trying to become house painters, so we painted the pipes various bright colors. A …

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Eleven Percent

Recently a family member had surgery to remove her gallbladder. That’s what happens to body parts that don’t work efficiently. Tests showed her gallbladder functioning at 11%. She suffered from severe bouts of pain and developed unexplained, inconsistent allergies that prevented her from eating most foods. Doctors couldn’t identify the issue for many months. She had emergency room visits for …

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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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Do You Have a Plan?

How many times have we jumped into a project without thinking it through? Or went into battle without having a plan? I think back to many experiences when I didn’t think something through, only to find myself taking two steps forward and three steps back. I also remember my father coming along and saying, “Son, did you think this through? …