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Month: August, 2017

Perfection Is Moving the Right Direction

by Mike McKinniss

Sometimes, while reading Scripture, you find yourself nodding along in total agreement. “Yes,” you whisper to yourself. “It’s so true!” And the warm fuzzies cover you head to foot like a Snuggie. Sometimes, the words leap off the page, get right up into your face and cut you in the heart. Like surgery, conviction is an uncomfortable, often grueling, but entirely necessary affair. Cutting out a cancer still requires a painful incision.

And then there are the passages that simply stop you dead in your tracks. Neither affirming nor convicting, they simply elicit a good long head scratch.

Luke 2:52 is one such passage:

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people (HCSB).

Now, I can understand the young Jesus increasing in stature. Luke inserts this tidbit right between Jesus’ dedication in the temple as a young man and the arrival of John the Baptist heralding the Christ’s arrival. I couldn’t tell you how tall Jesus was at 13 or at 30, but I’ll bet there was a significant difference.

I can also wrap my head around Jesus growing in favor with people. I, for one, am typically fairly skeptical of a teenager’s sufficient character to follow through on a pledge or listen to instructions or generally act like a decent human being. It’s easy to imagine Jesus consistently having to prove himself worth his young salt as he approached manhood.

But how does Jesus Christ grow in wisdom? And how does the Son of God increase in favor with God?

Read the rest of this entry »

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Lover Of My Soul

by Rob Dunne

Monet by Peter Miller http://www.flickr.com/photos/pmillera4/6883619436 CC BY-ND 2.0

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

A wealthy couple spent many years collecting fine art. One day, they added a Monet to their collection that immediately became the wife’s favorite. Though they shared a love of art, the husband’s love for his wife grew cold and he filed for divorce. She kept the Monet.

Within a few short years, the wife contracted a terminal illness and died. When her will was read, everyone was surprised that she had bequeathed the Monet to her ex-husband. As it turned out, she never stopped loving him and demonstrated that by giving him her most prized possession.  Read the rest of this entry »

Life’s Storms

by Carol Nicholls

Image by Gerogie Sharp
Flickr.com_photos/georgiesharp/8198287851_CC BY ND 2.0

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5

An SUV is rising several feet into the air landing yards away from where it had been. A tornado is lifting homes off foundations depositing them in tree tops. The effects of powerful storms can be seen almost nightly on television. Sadly, there is an “entertainment” value in watching these events. We all seem to be voyeurs to one degree or another. None of it seems to be real viewed from the living room couch.

Reality sets in when you walk across land recently consumed by a firestorm. The stark spine of a chimney stands where just days ago people cooked dinner, watched TV, mowed the grass. Nothing is left but ashes. Fire, flood, tornado, hurricane, avalanche, mud slides…how many kinds of storms are there?

Natural storms are devastating but the likelihood that they will directly affect us is small. However, life’s storms are even more destructive and most of us will face them multiple times. Read the rest of this entry »

A stronghold in times of trouble

by Mindy Kiker

Hiding Place by Kai Schreiber flickr.com_photosgenista_75511494__aa4aed1e74_CC BY-ND 2.0

The LORD also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, A stronghold in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9

When I face trouble, conflict, or chaos I look around for a safe place to hide, an escape. God is always there as a refuge or place of retreat, but unfortunately I’ve made a few hiding places of my own. These dwellings certainly are “strongholds” but only in the worst sense of the word.

One of my favorite strongholds is blame-shifting. This response to conflict helps me make trouble someone else’s fault. I frame all interactions into a win-lose paradigm and life becomes adversarial.

I can hear the voice of the accuser and it sounds an awful lot like . . . me! Read the rest of this entry »

I Hear the Rain

by juste buzas

Image by Ed Merrit
Flickr.com_5458771978_55f71d99a3_ CC BY-ND 2.0

And said to his servant, ‘Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” Elijah said, ‘Go again seven times.’  And at the seventh time the servant said, ‘A cloud as small as a man’s hand is arising out of the sea.’ (1 Kings 18:43)

Here I am, standing in the desert, under my open umbrella.  I’m waiting for rain.  I know it looks strange, insane even.  I’ve been standing here a long time, and no one seems to get it.  No one understands.  But just listen.  Do you hear it?  Feel it?  No?  Try again.  Listen.  I can hear it.  I hear the rain.  It’s coming.  It’s just upon the horizon. Read the rest of this entry »

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