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    Why do You Love Me?

    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished…

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    Advent of the Redeemer – Part 4

    For Unto us is Born this Day in the City of David But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity. Micah 5:2 The Christmas frenzy has come and gone and our Advent reflection has drawn to a close. This past Sunday across the world, Christians of all denominations remembered Mary and Joseph’s journey to the tiny city of Bethlehem. It was in that village, within walking distance of the City of Peace, that our Prince of Peace was…

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    Advent of the Redeemer – Part 3

    “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” Maybe these words evoke images of Easter week more than Christmas, Good Friday more than the Advent season. We are now in our third week of looking at the Advent through the eyes of the Old Testament saints. In some denominations this past Sunday would have been celebrated as Gaudette Sunday, a celebration of joy. What does Christ’s soul-wrenching cry from the cross have to do with a Sunday that focuses on joy? Hebrews 12:2 says, “…for the joy set before Him [Jesus] endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of…

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    Advent of the Redeemer – Part 2

    During the four weeks of Advent, I want to explore four pictures of Jesus in the Old Testament. As I shared last week, my pastor (Nathan Franckhauser) teaches that, “Old Testament believers looked to a Messiah, the Seed of Abraham, who was coming. We look to a Messiah who died on a cross and was risen three days later and will return.” Having looked at Jesus as Creator and how He modeled redemption through creation, now I want to look at the Akedah. Arguably the most important scene in the Old Testament. The binding of Isaac. The moment where love drove Abraham to sacrifice his only son. My oldest son…

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    Advent of the Redeemer – Part 1

    December second marked the beginning of this year’s advent season. Different denominations have different ways to celebrate just as different families have different ways to celebrate. As a child in the Methodist church, I looked forward to the lighting of the advent candle inside the advent wreath. One candle was lit each week leading up to Christmas while we remembered the hope, love, joy, and peace that Jesus brings us. On Christmas Eve, the last and largest candle was lit to symbolize Jesus as the Light of the World. (The Advent wreath began in the time of the Protestant reformer Martin Luther.) Though I enjoyed the stories and sense of…

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    Living in God’s Presence Part 2

    I have a confession—and I do appreciate the ridiculous paradox of what I’m about to say—but I didn’t have high expectations for my blog post Living in God’s Presence. Up to the point that I hit send on the email to my pastor, and later when I pressed publish on my website, I wondered—in contrast to the message of the entire post—if maybe I was confusing obsessive tendencies for Godly zeal. Then I started reading feedback and realized something—this questioning… this uncertainty… hit home with other Christians. This quiet doubt that was snaking its way into my head and heart was also at work worming its way into the heads…

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    Sunshine Blogger Award

    I’ve had the honor of being nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award—not once but twice in the last couple months. My first nomination for this peer-recognition award came from Gia at giaknows.com. Gia is a passionate Christian and raw vegan minimalist who invites others to walk with her towards better health through the powerhouse of info she provides on her blog. Check it out and follow her social media profiles: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube. My second nomination came from a fellow faith blogger, Stephen De La Vega. Stephen faithfully and fearlessly blogs about his pursuit of God. He shines a love of Biblical understanding and invites us to…

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    For the Joy

    A couple years ago, I realized that I can tell how much my brain needs a break by the size of the DIY project I’m working on. No project = I’m doing great. Medium project = I need to unwind. This week, I decided to build myself a writing cabin. By myself. I’m not sure why making something calms my mind and slows me down but, needless to say, I don’t have a lot to share in the form of devotional or teaching this week. Which is why I’ve decided to share a testimony instead. This past week as I dragged lumber through the forest, one thing became very clear—wood…

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    Running toward Empty

    As I was researching last week’s blog post, I came across two facts that particularly stood out to me. First, according to the USDA, domestic dogs are more of a threat to sheep than many large predators. Hang in there, I know it doesn’t sound that interesting. But it is. Here’s why. Domestic dogs are more of a threat than large, wild predators because they (dogs) don’t just attack, kill, and be done with it—they chase sheep to the point of exhaustion. Running toward Empty I don’t know why the picture of being chased to exhaustion resonated with me. Maybe because it’s so easy to arrive at that reality. Maybe…

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    Sheep

    The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3 “Not to you, ye great and mighty, who lift your heads high, and claim for yourselves honor: not for you is peace, not to you is rest; but unto you, ye lowly ones, who delight in the valley of humiliation, and feel yourselves to be taken down in your own esteem—to you it is that the Shepherd becomes dear; and to you will he give to lie down in…