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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 Sick Mind Never Heals Itself

  Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted. Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good. Titus 1:15, 16 This one is a …

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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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You’ll Like This Jesus Better

  For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. 1 Thessalonians 5:9 The first Jesus I was introduced to told me, “You messed up your life. Because I died for you, I wiped your slate clean. Now go change yourself. Get it right this time.” I tried hard to …

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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S-L-O-W Down

Some mornings in my quiet time, my mind races like a pebble barely skipping over the surface. I bow my heart low and let the hurry-cane pass over. I wait. And wait some more. God calms me. Waves of peace wash over me and I know he knows all about me. I don’t need to say anything. I can just …

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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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Too Late? Not if You’re Reading This

When my father died, I was supposed to be a pallbearer. We forgot we were in the Eastern time zone, which was an hour later than our time. I called the funeral home and told them we were on the way. “We can’t wait for you,” the man said. We drove to the cemetery, but got lost. As we pulled …

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Feeling God’s Presence

A deeply devoted Christ-follower friend recently said, “It’s been awhile since I’ve felt God’s presence.” I thought and replied, “Jesus said the Holy Spirit will comfort us, lead us into all truth, and show us things to come. Are you getting comfort and guidance from God’s Word and his Spirit?” “Yes.” “Well, then maybe you don’t need to feel God’s …

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Worried? …Pray!

Little insignificant things drive the mind to worry, worry, worry. Silly things wake us in the night. The mind spins out of control and we can’t focus… …until we pray. God invites us to pray about everything—even the little things that become big in our minds. God answers these prayers. We know we can trust God with big things when …

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The Best Gift

Grace is a healthy freedom that turns life into a song, a poem, an art, and a dance. Even the sad and painful experiences can be music, dance, and poetry. Perfectionism and grace/excellence can’t exist in the same space. Perfectionism always demands more than we can give. Perfectionism kills—nothing can grow under the laws of perfectionism—everything dies under its heavy-handed, …

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The Better Life

As we become more successful, we experience bigger opportunities to accomplish even greater things. Some people become so powerful they can impact cities, nations, or the world. When someone is that powerful, what do they have in their personal life that’s any different from those less powerful? Maybe a chunk of wealth and a few bragging rights. With much power …