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Month: May 2013

Is This All There Is?

Is This All There Is?

Once I overheard a discussion between two successful young professionals on a train. It sounded like they had graduated together from a graduate school a while back with big dreams. And they had gone and achieved them all right. A good job. A beautiful wife. Wonderful kids. A comfortable house. A fast car. Extensive travels. Yet they were asking: Is this all there is? We think we can find happiness on our own. We think we know how to find…

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Grace in the Wilderness

Grace in the Wilderness

Are you in a place where hope is in short supply? Are you about to lose your way? Are you struggling to survive? Take a deep breath. No matter how dark your future looks like… No matter how rough the wilderness around you is… No matter how desperate you feel… There’s always grace. Even in the wilderness. You might doubt it, especially when the circumstances speak otherwise. But with God anything is possible. With God we do find grace even…

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Robust Peace of God

Robust Peace of God

Robust peace might sound a bit odd first. That’s because we’ve learned to think of peace as of lack of something. Peace is a lack of hurry or lack of pestering people. The peace the world ever is able to give is this kind of peace: a removal from busyness or a subtraction of something from our lives. But this kind of peace is not lasting and it diminishes our lives. This kind of peace is not robust peace. This…

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Spiritual Strength Training, Anyone?

Spiritual Strength Training, Anyone?

Why on earth would we need spiritual strength training? The Merriam-Webster dictionary tells us that few definitions of strength are capacity for exertion or endurance, power to resist force, and power of resisting attack. These are all qualities needed in spiritual life. Because life is no picnic. It is a life-or-death fight. We need to be ready. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And…

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The Vine and the Branches

The Vine and the Branches

The metaphor of the vine and the branches is very powerful. It emphasizes the importance of being organically connected to God. It reminds us that our aliveness is totally dependent on God’s grace. It gives us a chance to be part of God’s kingdom work here and now. “Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to…

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Prayer Is Practical

Prayer Is Practical

Last week our seven year old son said something after the Lord’s Prayer that I have been thinking ever since. It was nothing earth-shattering but profoundly true nonetheless. He said that the Lord’s Prayer was a practical prayer. Indeed! I just had never thought about it that way. Jesus wanted us to pray practical prayers. “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you…

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The Big Five of the Holy Spirit

The Big Five of the Holy Spirit

What’s the big deal of the Holy Spirit? Why do we need the Holy Ghost? Why should we be excited about the Spirit of God? I’ve collected here my big five reasons why the Holy Spirit is an essential part of spiritual life. 1) The Holy Spirit is a person. For real. The Holy Spirit is not just an abstract thought or impersonal wind. The Holy Spirit is a person who hears, speaks, feels and thinks. The Holy Spirit loves,…

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The Living Word

The Living Word

Today I found a Bible verse that felt brand new to me. I’ve read the Bible and especially the New Testament many times. Still I find something new all the time. It is because the Bible is the Living Word of God which means God speaks through it. When we prayerfully approach the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to open our spiritual eyes to see what needs to be seen, God will speak to us. And this does not…

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Strength in Weakness

Strength in Weakness

Where are you? Are you ashamed, addicted, alienated? Or are you trapped, anxious or defeated? Or powerless, hopeless or frustrated? I have good news for you. You don’t have to be stuck in the mud. You can be accepted, valued and loved. You can be healed, strengthened and empowered. You can overcome. Not on your own. But by God’s grace. The only way of letting go of weaknesses is surrendering them to Jesus. Self-help does not work. Believe me, I have…

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Be Fruitful for Christ

Be Fruitful for Christ

I’ve never felt comfortable writing a Mother’s Day post. And even this is mostly an unlikely one. I have a wonderful mom (love you!) and I love being a mom. But my heart goes out for anyone who would (have) like(d) to be a mom and isn’t. I don’t feel comfortable boasting about my blessings. (But we are certainly encouraged to count our blessings). The only thing I want to boast about is God’s grace. And that is the best…

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