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John 15 paints a beautiful portrait of God the Father as The Vinedresser.   Often, we focus on Christ as The Vine and He certainly deserves all the attention we can give Him, but it seems to me that this passage is even more focused on God the Father.  Here at Father’s Day, we have cause to …

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Over twenty years ago my hometown newspaper called my office and asked if I would be interested in writing a weekly column. I begged off. They called again, and again, and again. I finally said, “yes.” It was a dubious beginning.

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Isaiah is a somewhat mysterious character.  We know quite a bit about him, but it is hard to get to know him. His name means Yahweh saves. The Old Testament book which bears his name is placed first in the books of the prophets. Its many insights into the character of God present a picture o…

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Memorial Day is a special day.  Since 1868, our country has set aside May 30 to remember the great sacrifice made by men and women who have died while in active military service. Since 1971, in classic American seeking of self, we have chosen to take a three-day weekend by taking a day off f…

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The fact that the Messiah will open the eyes of the blind is a recurring theme of the book of Isaiah and the Gospels.  The Bible clearly describes the person who is lost in their sin as being spiritually blind.  The Bible speaks figuratively of the lost person having scales on his eyes that …

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Perhaps you have this same problem that besets me.  Trusting God for an outcome requires also trusting His timing.  If I am impatient, anxious, nervous, worrying, edgy, irked, or fretful about the speed with which God is visibly working in my world, then I do not truly trust Him. Oh, I may s…

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Our town, our state, our nation, our world needs more Godly mothers (fathers also, but that is another story for another day).   Godly mothers don’t happen by accident and they do not raise godly children by accident.  I heard about a mother of three very active young boys who was asked by s…

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Have you ever been tired? I mean really tired, from a very long and very busy day.  Chapters 3 and 4 of the gospel of Mark describe such a day for Jesus and His disciples.  Jesus was out healing the sick and driving away demons.  He went into a house to eat a meal but so many people crowded …

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In my last devotional, I pondered what it meant for me to render unto God that which belonged to Him.  You and I created in God’s image is what we are called upon to give to God.  We can only do that by submitting to Christ, allowing Him to live in us.  But it seems only fitting during the m…

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As Jesus kingdom parables became more and more direct in pointing out the sin of the religious leaders, so they became more and more devious in their attempts to do away with Him. Matthew 22:15-22 is an excellent example, “Then the Pharisees went and plotted together how they might trap Him …

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In a lot of ways I feel like I’m “back home” in Barberino Val D’Elsa, Tuscany, and especially at Villa il Santo. I first discovered this area while on a lengthy tour of Europe with my wife and two children. I was also working on a collaborative book project at the time with my friend and wat…

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I am thankful for parents and churches who faithfully remind children that Easter is about Christ not a bunny rabbit. Several years ago, I saw a church sign that both amused and pleased me.  It read, “Easter is not about eggs, you silly wabbit!”  Easter is about the resurrected Christ.  I am…

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God loves you.  That’s not new news to you. You have heard that before.  You have heard that God created everything and cares for His creation. However, very seldom do we stop to think that God loves each one of us as individuals.  He desires to have a personal, intimate relationship with YO…

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God used Saul of Tarsus as an example of how one is adopted into God’s family. Acts 9, 22, and 26 record Saul’s conversion. God was providing a way to measure ourselves, to see if indeed we are in the faith. Saul of Tarsus was an enemy of God and God revealed Himself to Saul in such a way th…

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In Proverbs 23, God asks a series of generic questions that are basically directed at all of mankind.  The questions are rhetorical.  A certain answer is expected.  He doesn’t usually spell out the answer, but He does in this case.  Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has compla…

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I have a necktie which I love to wear.  It is a beautiful mixture of brown and green.  It has a stream, with four deer standing beside it.  Psalm 42:1, “As the deer pants for streams of water,so my soul pants for you, O God” is printed on it.  I have long loved that verse but upon a more car…

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In the seventh chapter of the gospel of Luke, a Pharisee named Simon invited Jesus to dine in his home.  During the meal, an unnamed but notoriously sinful woman showed up uninvited.  This woman put on a tremendous display of love and adoration toward the Savior.  Jesus responded by telling …

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My wife and I first came here in the 1990s. We returned for our 10th wedding anniversary, and then started coming in the summer months after dropping our two children off at summer camp. Today we are here for our 25th wedding anniversary. After all of these years, and millions of miles trave…

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“But God” are two of the greatest words ever written. They are found in Ephesians 2:4 and other places in the Bible. God spells out man’s condition very clearly in the larger passage (Ephesians 2:1-10).  The person who does not know God, does not have a relationship with God, is in a terribl…

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Several years ago, I had a phone conversation with an old friend whom I had not heard from in about ten years.  He had engaged in a time of repentance and felt like God had forgiven him.  However, he was struggling with forgiving himself.  This is a perplexing problem for almost every Christ…

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For as long as I remember I have been playing “this or that” type games with my friends and family. I don’t remember the first this-or-that I ever proposed to someone, but it was probably in the late 1960s and went something like this, “Who’s the best band, The Beatles, or The Rolling Stones…

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I  am feeling blessed this morning. It’s a feeling that I’ve experienced a lot lately. It’s not gratitude for monetary or material things, but for experiences and relationships. I’m grateful for many things, mostly for time spent with friends and family— morning, noon, and night.

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January 1 is a day like any other day.  Except for the calendar and football, there is really nothing special about it to set it apart from any other day of the year. However, it does provide a great reminder for us to evaluate our lives and resolve to make beneficial changes.  One area of l…

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