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    Politics, Disagreement, and Love

    It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here. My schedule (and mind) have been filled with business, a new Bible study, school, and family. God has put something very heavily on my heart today, and I feel that I must write it, and publish it, today.

    There has been a lot of controversy over our current political season. In all honesty, I have seen vitriol and ad hominem attacks more this year than in any similar period in my recollection. I find it so sad that we have gotten so caught up in our own opinions and the personalities involved that we can no longer show kindness to one another.

    How can we say we give our firstfruits, our best efforts,john-13_35 to God when we treat each other like this? Jesus said the 2 greatest commandments are “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and all your mind” and “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22: 37-39). He also said “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35). In order to give the firstfruits of our effort, we must follow the greatest commandments, we must show our love to one another.

    I honestly believe that, for Christians, who wins the election (or any election) matters much less than how we treat one another. Our first and foremost thought must be showing people who we are, shining God’s light into the world. We do this by loving each other. We do this by making the Christian community one of love and truth. We do this by seeing each other the way Christ sees us…both ourselves and the others around us.

    I ask that you truly consider this season how your words reflect Christ. Would He say the same things to believers, in the same tone and with the same attitude, as what you are saying to His people? Even when we disagree, we must remember to give each other grace and speak to one another in love. Only when we are not in conflict with one another may we approach God. Jesus said that if we know there is conflict, we must set aside our offerings and make it right before we approach the altar.

    Let us stand in love with one anotheIMG_0005r, hand in hand. As we agree on the facts in Scripture about Who Jesus is and what He did, let us give each other grace in all other discussions. Let us love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Let love be the defining feature of our interactions, our words, and our deeds. Let us forgive others, and seek forgiveness from anyone we may have wronged. Then, we can give the Firstfruits of our labor to God.

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    7 Principles of Real Worship

    Worship is a big buzz-word. But what does it really entail?John 4;23 The kids and I have been reading through 1 Samuel the last couple of weeks, and the story of Hannah has really caught my attention. Every year, her family went to the Tabernacle at Shiloh. It’s not made clear if this is for Passover, FirstFruits, or the Day of Atonement (the 3 feasts they were commanded to gather for celebration and sacrifice), but I honestly think the lessons apply here. Continue Reading…

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    5 Ways To Be Like Ruth

    Have you ever wondered what it must have been like for Ruth? No, not a recent Ruth, but the Ruth of the Bible. I mean, she landed in quite a pickle! So, she was married to someone from a foreign landSmile (probably without any choice) and  had to learn their strange ways. At some point, her father-in-law, brother-in-law, and husband died. Her mother-in-law, whom she loved dearly, decides to go back to her homeland…and Ruth follows! She is often revered as an ancestress of Christ and a paragon of womanhood….so, in just what ways can we be like her?  Continue Reading…

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    When Tragedy Strikes

    Tragic. Heart-wrenching. Causing anguish. There are so many things going on right now that are so wrong. There are people dying. There is so much hatred from one group for another, in so many instances. A police officer shoots a suspect. Was it warranted, or was it the product of bias? Snipers ambush police officers because of perceived (real or imagined) bias on the part of other officers. Someone walks into a building (a church, a club, a theater, a school) and harms or kills people (with a gun, with a bomb, with a knife). Saying it’s sad is quite an understatement.  

    IMG_0518The question that God has challenged me with is this: where was the Church? Not my individual local body of believers, but the group of Americans that identify with Him. Can we really say that we are putting God first and giving Him our best? Where were we when children were growing up without fathers? Where were we when a young woman found herself unmarried, pregnant, and afraid….or with a child but without a husband to support and help? Where were we when society taught children that the skin color or occupation of a person made a difference about the worth of a person?   Continue Reading…

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    We Pledge…

    This weekend we celebrate Independence Day. That’s the time w e remember the signing of the FlagDeclaration of Independence and becoming a nation in our own right. It marks the birthday of our country, but also reminds us of where we, as a nation, came from. These men said this: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection from Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor. Can you imagine the resolve of these men? To pledge life, money, and honor in the pursuit of something for their progeny is a big deal! It makes me consider what they were leaving, and what they hoped to create with the help of “Divine Providence” (yep, folks….that would be God!).  Continue Reading…

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    The S-Word

    You want it so bad. It’s been promised. You have faith that it will be yours. You’ve wanted it for *so* *long*. Now you see it, Graspingalmost in front of you. It’s not something you could ever get on your own, but God has given you a way to have it. Because He promised. 

    Just imagine the Israelites as they have crossed the Jordan River on dry ground while it’s at flood stage. The miracle sustains their faith. They’re here. Finally here. They’ve wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. Can you imagine wanting something that long…watching your grandparents and parents die without reaching the goal? Finally here. *This* is what God promised. But wait. The first city, the very first conquest, isn’t for you. This one is God’s.  Continue Reading…

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    Making the Effort

    You’ve got to put it in to get it out. My mother-in-law has given us some Soilplants from her garden. I must admit, I don’t have the greenest of thumbs. We also don’t have the greatest soil here, which means amending the soil or getting good soil and putting it in pots. I’ve opted to add potting soil to normal soil in pots. It takes work to get these plants going.   Continue Reading…

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    What About When I’m Exhausted?

    Empty scapeEmpty. I don’t even feel like I have fumes in my tank to run on. I woke up feeling touched-out, crabby, and generally not wanting to do anything with anyone. Part of that is because, frankly, I need to get much better at self-care. And part of it is that I’m not taking time to listen to God’s voice in my life. Continue Reading…

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    Not Halfway on Memorial Day

    Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.[a] He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.[b]The first. The best. These are the qualifications for the offering to be brought at Firstfruits. An offering from the second harvest wasn’t acceptable. It wasn’t okay to bring your leftovers, or what you didn’t want. This is also true for my service, my offering, to Him. Ephesians 6:7 says: Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. That means I can’t just do a halfway job. Everything I do has to be done with everything I have. I must give my best effort. 

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    Where Does It All Come From?

    Jehovah Jireh: God our Provider. The name God identified Himself to Abraham by when He asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. God provided for them on that day, and He still provides for us today.

    Frankincense and Peppermint

    I was reminded of that last night when I began to deal with a migraine. You see, the medicine I was given when we first discovered I had migraines had side effects I greatly dislike, so I have found a natural option in the form of peppermint and frankincense essential oils. Natural. From Nature. Provided by God. Every need we have has been anticipated by God and provided for. Continue Reading…

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