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Tag: God

Grab It By The Tail

by Rob Dunne

Image by Mohd Fazlinhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/phalinn/2984934822/in/photolist_ CC BY 2.0

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”       Joshua 1:9

I enjoy hiking. Prior to getting married, I often climbed Sleeping Giant Mountain where I would spend hours talking with God. On one occasion, I decided to leave the beaten path.

Walking further and further in to the woods, I discovered a nice secluded spot. There was a natural rock wall that was perfect for sitting on. Excitedly, I sat down, opened my backpack and took out my journal.

Shortly thereafter, my focus was broken. An adorable chipmunk scurried past me and leaped off of the rock wall. It seemed odd to me that a chipmunk would willingly draw that close to a person when he could have taken a different route.

As I pondered this, the leaves beside began to rustle.

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Focusing on first things

by kerriebutterfield

Focus by Kaila VanSumer
Flicker.photos/dioamato/5405697015/in/photolist-9eFBoF

Focus is defined by Merriam Webster’s dictionary  as, “directed attention.”  As I wracked my brain to write something meaningful about focus, ironically my brain went in all kinds of directions. Eventually, I felt God directing my attention to the creation story and focusing on what He focused on when He created Adam and Eve–blessings and co-reigning over the earth. 

In the record of  God creating , He focused on goodness. He created , stood back and declared what He created to be good. (With the exception of Adam himself, which He made complete by creating Eve and then declared it, “good”). God’s focus is on completeness/wholeness not perfection.  Read the rest of this entry »

Out with the Old

by Rob Dunne

flickr.com/photos/nevilleslens/14534754156/in/photolis_CC BY NC ND 2.0

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

My wife Kellie and I recently undertook a DIY project…painting our kitchen cabinets. It was, by far, our most ambitious home improvement project to date. Truthfully, it is not for the faint of heart.

The first step was to remove the doors, drawers and all of the hardware. Next, we removed the contents of the cabinets or covered the insides with plastic. Of all the steps, this was the most difficult in my opinion. Both of us used an electric hand sander and the dust went everywhere! After sanding, you use a tack cloth to remove all of the dust.

In addition to the cabinet frame, there were twenty-one doors and seven drawers. We put two coats of primer and two coats of paint on all of it. Once they were all dry, the hinges and new hardware was placed back on everything. Lastly, the doors were hung and the drawers slid back in to place. In the end, our kitchen got a much needed facelift and Kellie and I are quite pleased with the results. However, it was a lot of work!

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Be a Peacemaker, Be like God

by Mike McKinniss

4872488788_5612f40737_z

Peace” by Jonathan Brown under license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Mt 5:9, ESV).

Peacemaking, whether we’re trying to make things right with someone else or whether we’re stepping into another’s conflict as a third party, almost always requires some kind of personal sacrifice. To make peace where we’ve been offended means forgiving the one who has offended us. It means swallowing the “right” to retribution or to recompense. To make peace means we take the hurt and we trust God to make something good and beautiful from it.

This is the model Christ provided us. Did he not make peace with his accusers? Did he not make peace with those who cast him upon the cross? He did. How so? Jesus willingly took the abuse. He silently accepted their false accusations and condemnation. Inso doing, his sacrifice brought peace.

How could Jesus do such a thing? He could swallow the offense because he had full faith that his Father in heaven would deal justly with him and with those who crucified him. Justly? Yes, just to bring good from such deep evil. Jesus believed that if he willingly abandoned his rights and sacrificed all, God would abolish the wrongs that lead us to crucify the one righteous person on the earth.

What we had intended for evil, God turned for good—good to the one crucified by resurrecting him from the grave and good to the murdering mob by pouring out the blessing of forgiveness.

Peacemaking requires personal sacrifice and trust in a good God.

“… For they shall be called sons of God.” What is a son of God? A son of God is one who reflects the true heart of God. It is one who represents God accurately. In Old Testament times among Near Eastern cultures, a son of God is a king on the earth, empowered with the spirit of God to do his will.

Stretching back from the New Testament, the nation of Israel was meant to be a son of God (Ex. 4:22), and so was their king (2 Sam. 7:14). Israel was meant to be a people through whom God hoped to show himself to the world. Going further back, all of humanity were meant to be sons of God, as originally modeled in the hope for Adam—the first man, created in God’s image, that is, his son. (Compare for a moment the language in Gen. 1:26-28 and Gen. 5:1-3.)

And of course, the true son of God is Jesus himself. He perfectly reflected the heart, nature and will of God in all he said and did (Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3). He took to its fullest the Creator’s hope for a creation at peace. And he assumed the depths of sacrificial love required to bring the world into true peace. It required of him his life.

Now, the promise is that we too might represent God’s heart for peace. How? Through sacrifice. Through the rejection of our rights. Through a full trust that God will see to our needs when we forego them on his behalf.

If we take on ourselves this life—the life of Christ—we will be called sons of God, not because the Creator waves a magic wand and makes it so. Rather, to modify an old saying, we’ll walk like a son of God and we’ll quack like a son of God. And we’ll simply be known for what we are.

Sabbath Rest

by Rob Dunne

Image by Bart Soverijns
Flickr.com_35732976723_507847d286
CC BY-ND 2.0

[B]ut in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to the Lord. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard. Leviticus 25:4

When I was in high school, relatives from Ireland came to visit us. They spent a week with us, a week with my aunt and a week with my uncle. Then they enjoyed several weeks of sightseeing. All in all, they were on vacation for a whopping six weeks! Now that is what I call a vacation!

Here in the United States, we have forgotten the importance of downtime. Rather than taking weeks off for vacation, we take one week or a few days. Making matters worse, we bring work with us. That drive is not healthy for the body, mind or soul.

God understands the importance of rest.

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Spring Cleaning

by Rob Dunne

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

My wife Kellie and I decided to do a liver cleanse. Some practitioners recommend doing this in the springtime to cleanse our bodies of toxins. They probably realize that we abuse them from Halloween to Easter. Therefore, we need to give our bodies a fresh start through diet and supplementation.

Like our bodies, our minds also need to be cleansed. Even if you were fortunate enough to have two parents completely sold out to God, at some point in your life, you were exposed to the things of this world – media, entertainment and people who do not share your Christian beliefs. Whether we realize it or not, these things have an impact on our lives.

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God’s Perfect Plan

by Rob Dunne

Image by CJ
Flicker.com_33080776472_85fb27c052 CC BY-ND 2.0

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

My wife recently lost her grandmother, aka Mimi. Mimi lived to be ninety-seven. Prior to her passing, the nursing home workers told us how much they loved her and the joy she brought to their lives. At the funeral home people paying their respects frequently commented on how happy she looked in all of the photographs celebrating her life.

Death is one of those events that makes you stop and think about your own life. You realize how short life is, and for me, I question whether I am using my limited time wisely, wonder whether or not I am living up to my God given potential. Does God have a plan for my life and if so, am I fulfilling that specific plan?

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First Love

by Rob Dunne

Image by Heart Bible
Flickr.com_6287240997_53ff1460da_CC BY ND 2.0

“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!” Revelation 2:4

My wife Kellie and I have been married for over seven years. Most people will say that the honeymoon period is long since over. I disagree. Every morning, I look forward to waking up next to her. After a long day at work, I anxiously await seeing her when I arrive at home. I cherish the time we spend discussing the events of our respective days. On these cold winter nights, lying close to one another at the end of the day is warming and comforting.

Maintaining intimacy doesn’t come easily – Kellie and I put work into our relationship. For instance, we have a weekly date night. Once a week we sit down and ask each other questions from a book entitled, “The Navigator’s Council”. Though the questions are the same each week, they often spark interesting and thought provoking conversations. Spending time with each other in these ways strengthens our intimacy.

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Harvesting a surprise

by Rob Dunne

Image by Toni Verdu CarboFlickr.com_629236570_31721a3ebd_CC BY-ND 2.0

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9

One of the most rewarding aspects of youth ministry I’ve experienced, was short term mission trips. To date, I have traveled to Jamaica, Mexico, Guatemala and Uganda.  These overseas trips were particularly powerful because the students experienced how difficult life was outside of the United States. They realized just how good they had it back home!

Admittedly, students occasionally made poor choices. There were times when I wondered if my efforts were for naught.

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Filled With The Spirit

by Rob Dunne

Praying by Tarah
Flickr.com_1471520030_ccde31ee4f_CC BY-ND 2.0

He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself. 1 Corinthians 14:4

My friend Tony is a spirit filled Pentecostal. When he and I first started hanging out, Tony told me that I had to be filled with the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues. Then I heard people speaking in tongues and thought to myself, this is weird!

The first mention of tongues is found in Acts chapter 2. The Spirit fell on the disciples and they went out in to the street and people from all over the world heard them speak in their native tongue. I thought to myself, “This is what speaking in tongues is about. It is not gibberish. It is an actual, known language.” I fought the idea of speaking in tongues for a long time.

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