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    Jesus in the New Year

    Since the moment my kids began to understand the concept of love, we’ve been playing the “I love you” game. “I love you.” “I love you more.” “I love you most.” Sixteen years and four kids—they’ve each searched for a way to best me but I always end with, “I love you most. You’ll understand when you grow up.” That worked for sixteen years until Wyatt. Last time I said, “I love you more,” he responded with, “I love you how much God loves you.” No arguing with that. Right? Not even infinity plus one can top God’s love. I don’t think he planned on the theological argument that followed,…

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    Look to Jesus

    Our baby is learning how to drive, which is crazy because it feels like yesterday that she was in diapers. Every time I explain a road rule, I remember what it felt like to learn myself—because that feels like yesterday too. Some things stand out in my memory, like my mom riding shot-gun, pointing my attention into the distance and telling me to stop focusing on the car in front of me. As I repeated that lesson and heard my mom’s voice come out of my mouth, I couldn’t help but think of Peter’s focusing problem. Immediately He [Jesus] made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of…

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    How can Love & Hate Co-Exist

    I have the best grandmother in the entire world. If I were ever tempted to doubt God’s love for me, all I would need to do is look at the blessing he gave me in her. She’s loving and dependable and tells it how she sees it. Most of all, she’s wise. When I was a teenager, she once told me something that was impossible for me to understand at the time. She said, “Love is staying married to someone even when you hate them. The good times come and go and sometimes you’ll hate that man so much you’ll wish he’d go too, but love is sticking together even…

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    Dear Discouraged

    The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:17-18 Dear Discouraged, I heard your discouragement and in our moment of shared brokenness we had nothing to offer each other. Instead, we discovered something—discouragement grows in isolation. But God has something for else for us. Psalm 34:17-18 says, “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them.” This phrase is plural, not singular. “Cry out” is translated from tsa`aq. It means to shriek; to proclaim (an assembly). It can also be translated as a Hebrew idiom that…

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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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    Respect vs Acceptance

    This week I read a Facebook status that hit me hard. Ravi Zacharias said, “It is self-defeating to trample underfoot everything others hold dear before giving them the message of Christ. My mother used to say, ‘There is no point cutting off a person’s nose and then giving them a rose to smell.’” He followed it up with this post, “Listening is a vital part of responding. The more and the better we hear others, the more and the better others will hear us.” I’m probably not alone when I say I often see this ideal within Christian circles that hearing out philosophies/theories/concepts that we don’t agree with—or just being…

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    Salt & Grace

    I just passed the 23rd anniversary of my new life and one truth becomes more and more obvious to me as the years pass… My pride is a master shapeshifter. As I’ve grown from a baby Christian, God has weeded out blatant arrogance. But in its place softer and deadlier variations sprout—finding fault, desire to be liked, defensiveness. And those are only a few. My pride conceals itself behind a more tenable mask to avoid prying its claws from my character. All that to say, I still have major issues within this process of sanctification. So when my friend texted to check in on a specific sticky situation, my hurt…

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    New Year – Same Self

    We’re into January full force and everywhere we look we see people contemplating change, setting lofty expectations, making resolutions, and sharing their ‘one word’ that will define the new year. I’m not making a dig. Personally—for myself—I know that lofty year-long expectations and ambitious resolutions don’t work. Mainly because I’m a screw up. Redeemed—thankfully—by God’s grace, but still a screw up in this process called sanctification. In Philippians 2:12-13, Paul wrote, “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work…

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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…