Our Exiles

In 586 BC, the walls protecting Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar, ruler of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar torched the temple of God and deported the remaining inhabitants to Babylon. The people of Israel lost their land, their temple, and their kingdom. And they cried out, Why? When we examine the lives of the people forced to endure the […]

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Tell Yourself the Truth to Feel Better

Paul described himself as a servant of Christ Jesus, and the Philippians as saints (Phil 1:1). How we choose to think about ourselves affects our peace and joy. Describing ourselves in ways that give us no hope for change—“I’m such a loser”—causes discouragement and robs us of joy. On the other hand, describing ourselves as […]

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Work Out Your Salvation?

Paul said, “Work out your salvation with fear and  trembling,” a statement which causes some Christians to fear and tremble. So let’s take a look at it. Doing works does not save us, but true salvation shows itself in works (Eph. 2:8-9). Paul is writing to believers about the outworking of their salvation in their everyday […]

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The Choice to Rejoice

Rejoicing is something we choose to do. While complaining reveals a rebellious heart, rejoicing shows a gladly submissive heart. Complaining reveals distrust; rejoicing shows complete trust. complaining sees unfulfilled desires as denied rights; rejoicing sees fulfilled desires as undeserved blessings. Complaining is preoccupied with itself, while rejoicing, because it does not consider its own interests […]

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Why God Says No: A 3 Dog Tale

Sometimes God tells us No to test whether our hearts are faithful and obedient. Imagine a master dog trainer who supplies dogs to the ATF, DEA and police is training a newly hired apprentice. The trainer points to three calmly sitting dogs and says, “We just received these dogs that received their initial training elsewhere. […]

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Persevering Past Halfway

Have you ever excitedly started a new project and halfway in wondered, Whatever made me think I could do this anyway? This is beyond my abilities! I’ll never get done. The halfway point can be hard. The initial excitement disappears, the project looms larger than anticipated, unpredicted problems pile on, and fatigue weighs in. And […]

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Why God Says No: To Teach Eternal Purpose

Why does God sometimes say No to things we seem to really need for peace and happiness? Many years ago a small business I worked for shut down unexpectedly, leaving me unemployed in the middle of a recession a few months before I was to be married. I had a tough time finding a new […]

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Spontaneous Praise and Why the Psalmists Call Us to do It

The Psalms tell us to praise God. But some skeptics complain and some Christians worry that this might make God egotistical. A Trip Down a River Let me tell a story. Recently Clay and I boarded a boat docked on the sea green Tortuguero Canal in Costa Rica. Its blue canopy shielded us from sun […]

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Don’t Let Intimidation Stop You

Have you ever embarked on what you thought might be a way to help others, but as soon as you told people about it, became intimidated? I have. In fact, just last year I joined a newly formed writers’ group and shared my plans for books to encourage Christians and strengthen faith. Though I’d published […]

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5 Steps for Facing Daunting Decisions

Five book ideas competed for my attention like auditioning dancers. All seemed exciting, but working with any would be daunting. And then there was the completed Bible study guide that had been well received at two churches. Should I submit it to a publisher? That meant creating a blog—another time consumer. I thumbed through my […]

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Abraham, Isaac & Child Sacrifice

This week the women’s Bible study at my church is reading about God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. This story distresses many Christians because they question how it could possibly be fair or right for God to ask this. Let’s take a look at it.. The story begins: “Then God said, ‘Take your […]

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Chase Away Temptation, Doubt, and Fear

Discouragement. It stops progress—especially progress overcoming temptation, doubt, and fear. Will I ever get over my anger towards that person? Can God really love a person who has failed as miserably as I have? Will I survive the loss of my loved one? What will happen to my loved ones if I die? Will I […]

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