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A Promise: as good as the Promise Maker

by kerriebutterfield

pinky-promise-by-kennysarmy_flickr-com_5723186334_d6d7728e0c_CC BY-ND 2.0

pinky-promise-by-kennysarmy_flickr-com_5723186334_d6d7728e0c_CC BY-ND 2.0

I had a spiritual breakdown eight years ago. Riddled with disappointment and anger with God for not doing what He promised,  I became  weary of waiting for God’s goodness. I couldn’t pray, or if I did, my prayers were filled with bitterness, sadness, and despair.

In the midst of teaching  others that God spoke, healed and saved, we witnessed our friends die of cancer and we struggled financially. I was  doing the “right stuff’ but things weren’t  working out “right”. It wasn’t until after a traumatic event that  I realized all this and I found myself losing hope.

A few weeks later, home alone with my miserable self, I  heard Papa God say to me, “A promise is  as good as the person who makes it. You believe I am good for others, but you don’t believe I am good for you. I want to give you unshakeable faith in my goodness. I am going to astound you with my goodness so that you truly know that I am good.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Love: as simple as it gets

by Mindy Kiker

Simple Love by JLHopgood
Flickr.com_6816878933_eab6c660b1_CC BY-ND

Everything in the Christian life pivots on the events we celebrate this time of year. Jesus was born, lived a sinless life, and offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to set us free. Am I the only one who feels uncomfortable that Jesus had to suffer torture, scourging, mocking, and finally a slow, brutal death?

Why couldn’t He destroy the grip of sin and death with some fire power? I personally like Peter’s approach, when he hauled out his sword to defend his Messiah and cut off the soldier’s ear. All of me cries out, “Yeah, Baby, don’t let them take you without a fight!”

Can you tell that God’s ways are not my ways? If I were designing the redemption of humanity, I would have sent Jesus to earth to create His kingdom through a political revolution. Wouldn’t it have been impressive to lead a fiery revolt against all the other nations of the world and establish a physical kingdom for God’s chosen people?

Read the rest of this entry »

Who Do You Say That I Am?

by Robin Puchala

Image by Sharon Tate Soberon
Flickr.214856471_018da61906
CC BY ND 2.0

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am”? Matthew 16:15

Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” What would prompt a question like that? In Jesus’ timeline it is growing close to His crucifixion, but His disciples are unaware of this. Jesus has been teaching them for almost three years and they have shared life and broken bread together hundreds of times.

Earlier in this chapter, Jesus gives them valuable advice for their future, ”Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees”; but the disciples miss the point — they are still thinking with their natural minds, so they think He is making reference to the bread they haven’t eaten. What a shock for Jesus to think they completely miss His meaning saying, “How is it that you do not understand?” (v. 11).

I don’t think I’m ascribing to Jesus’ emotions if I point out that he must have felt a sting of disappointment and concern — these were His future leaders, His Generals if you will, who would carry on in His absence. Read the rest of this entry »

The ordinary miraculous

by Dawn Aldrich

Ordinary Objects by Stuart Dootson
Flickr.4568976192_c0504112f9_CC BY NC ND 2.0

Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” Luke 8:39 NIV

We spend most of our days in the ordinary. We awake, eat breakfast, dress for the day, and head to work or drive our kids to school, or to visit an elderly parent. Later, we return home, share a meal with our family, relax and ready ourselves for slumber. {Rinse and repeat}.

Life is full of the mundane, the ordinary, unless it’s intersected by something extraordinary–a surprise or a crisis. We’ve become numb to the extraordinary Divine presence in our ordinary–little miracles that when compounded equal an extraordinary life! Read the rest of this entry »

A hope to hold onto

by kerriebutterfield

 

Image by Casa Thomas Jefferson
Flickr.com_handshake_6964013353_e7ec857740_o.jpg_CC BY NC ND-2.0

I’ve found in life that hope can be a slippery subject. Most often when you need it the most it’s difficult to hold onto, and can slip right out of your hand as you desperately seek to keep a hold of it. At least that has been my experience. I’m often driven by what I see, what I feel, and what I think I know.

Years ago, in a particularly discouraging season, as I was waking up on a Sunday morning, I had this thought run across my brain: “I’m so tired.” Not too surprising for a non-morning person like me. As I lay there, I began to agree with that feeling, and it seemed to gain strength. I mean I was tired, but as I lay there I got more tired. The next thought that skipped across my brain was, “You should sleep in. No one would even notice if you weren’t at church this morning.” Read the rest of this entry »

Is Anyone Attracted to You?

by Mike McKinniss

Dallas Willard was telling me this morning how few Christians actually allow (or possibly want) Jesus to teach them how to do life.  We’ve got all these well-meaning Christians turning to Oprah or Dr. Phil  or Foucault or Sartre (if you can believe it) for a way to guide their lives.  We tend to ignore, when it comes down to it, the very person our faith tells us lived life to the fullest. Read the rest of this entry »

Set Your Mind, Set Your Life

by Robin Puchala

Image by Andrew
Flickr.71439342_08fd0d48bf_CC NC ND 2.0

“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2 (NKJV)

We have just started a new year, dear ones — 365 days to begin again; to receive God’s blessings and become what He intends for us to be and do.

Personally, I haven’t been so great at keeping New Year’s Resolutions, but this year feels different. I am taking the time to prayerfully craft a plan with God and I can see the difference already.

I have also chosen a word for 2019 — Focus!

I am praying for greater focus to overcome daily distractions. We have so many to put up with — social media, phone calls, the demands of work and family and errands, just to name a few. In the midst of all that, today’s scripture asks us to “set our minds on things above”; set it. I had to pause over that one. My mind is racing most of the day — maybe you can relate; so I would have to ask — Lord, how? ‘Set it and forget it’ only applies to my watch or maybe a microwave these days, right? Right!

So how do I set my mind?

Here’s five key things to help set our minds on ‘things above’?

  1. Guard your time with God, especially in the morning. If you’re really pressed for time, may I suggest an amazing little pamphlet you can download from the Navigators called, “Seven Minutes with God”
  2. Include bible study.  Billy Graham read five Psalms and one chapter of Proverbs daily to complete both books of the Bible every month
  3. Employ God’s promises to refute the enemy’s lies. Choose several scriptures for every challenge and declare them like a prescription…morning, noon and night. For more on this, go to ScriptureKeys.com
  4. Use imagination. While reading Scripture, imagine the setting and place yourself in the picture. Try scenes like The Beatitudes or the account where Jesus fed the 5,000. Let the scenes unfold before you — rising hills, expansive blue skies; Jesus standing atop the hill preaching to you in the crowd
  5. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Check in during the day and watch for your relationship to deepen.

I hope one or two of these suggestions have resonated with you and you will use them to “set your mind” on Jesus every day. (One last suggestion, read the full passage from Colossians 3; and if you like The Passion Translation, please read the passage from there as well. You will not be disappointed.)

 

Giving up Control

by Carol Nicholls

Image by Brook Ward
Flickr.46923613741_c77a74c133_CC BY-NC 2.0

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. II Timothy 1:7

Facebook was alive with disgruntled fans. Super Bowl just didn’t really seem “super.” Neither team was doing anything amazing. “Boring…I’m going to bed,” one fan wrote. Fans urgently wanted their team to win. From the players viewpoint, however, the strength of both defensive teams was clear. Both quarterbacks were analyzing, trying to find a weakness in those defensive lines.

These were two strong armies clashing face-to-face. Boring? Not to them! Read the rest of this entry »

A Love-Sized Hole

by Mindy Kiker

Image by Jay Joslin
Flickr.1136261527_57561d94cb_CC BY NC ND 2.0

Love can be confusing–a powerful force responsible for the pleasure and pain of life. Loving means opening a doorway to the joy of belonging, but also to the agony of betrayal or loss. If you do not love, you will not hurt, nor will you truly be alive. At times, this deep urge that God has written into our hearts for connection and intimacy with others feels like a trap or a quandary. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

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