A Root in the Dry Ground

[306 words] Yesterday, I ate my first apricot off of our tree. My wife and I have an apricot tree on the side of our house. The previous owners planted it, but we’ve tried to nurture it. Despite the windstorms and a tornado, we still have a nice crop of the fruit (which I love)....

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Honoring Dads

[132 words] Sonora Dodd is usually considered the architect of the American event called “Father’s Day.” Sonora’s father raised 6 children after his wife’s death, and Sonora felt that such dads were worthy of double honor.  But the concept of honoring our fathers didn’t originate in the U.S.A. God was the first to urge people...

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What Is Success?

[171 words] If success means having lots of money, would we consider Jesus a success? At the end of his short life all he had were the clothes on his back – and those were taken by his enemies. If success means having a family (children and a spouse), where would be the apostle Paul?...

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What We Can Learn from the Recent University Scandal

[238 words] On March 12, 2019, federal prosecutors disclosed a conspiracy to influence admissions decisions at several American research universities. A number of parents of college applicants are accused of paying large sums to misrepresent student test scores and bribe college officials to get their children into top tier universities. Accused of this crime are...

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The Patience of the Father

[151 words] We are told that children learn many life lessons from their fathers. I am delighted to hear that more and more fathers are seeing the importance of their role in the upbringing of their children. A recent survey showed that nearly half of all fathers spend more time with  their children than their own...

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The Fear of the Lord

[192 words] Fear is normal! It is part of human nature to fear what we cannot control (or, at least, what we perceive as what we cannot control).  Any thing that results in situations that we cannot control produce fear. We can actually fear our God in this way. Remember how the apostles feared Jesus...

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God Hurts When You Hurt

[221 words] One of the most striking passages in the Old Testament is Isaiah 63:7-9. “I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which He is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us—yes, the many good things He has done for the house of Israel, according...

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The Importance of Honoring Our Parents

[369 words] Jesus’ mother, Mary, witnessed the crucifixion from the foot of the cross. Despite his agony, Jesus told his best friend, John, to take care of his mom, and to his mother he said, let John stand in my place as your son. John lived a very long life, and I believe he took...

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When You’re Having a Bad Day

[187 words] There are many wonderful things that happen to people when they become Christians. Unfortunately, there are also bad things that happen, like being persecuted for your faith. Later in his life, Paul would write: “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted ” (2 Timothy...

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God Wants You to Have Joy! 

  [187 words] God wants you to have joy in your life. This truth is lost on some preachers and other church-goers. Oliver Wendell Holmes was a member of the U.S. Supreme Court for 30 years. His mind, wit and work earned him the unofficial title of “the greatest justice since John Marshall.” At one...

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Parking on Someone Else’s Nickel

  [266 words] In the old days, cities regulated downtown parking with meters. You park, drop in a nickel or dime and get some time on the meter. Then you’d go into the store and be sure to be back before the meter ran out of time. However, occasionally, you could find a spot with...

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Yellow Jackets in the Church

  [282 words] I hate yellow jackets. Over the years, I’ve had many encounters with them. They are aggressive, mean and they hurt everyone they touch. Have you ever been around someone who is a “fault-finder?” All they can do is point out flaws and faults in folks. They, like yellow jackets, hurt whoever they...

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Why in the World Do We Have VBS Anyway?

  [274 words] I know that VBS is a challenge. I mean if you have been around children for any length of time you know if you get 70 (or more) children together – you have your hands full. But it is important! This week, I fired up my computer’s Bible search engine and began...

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Happy New Year

  [279 words] “Happy New Year” is an expression that we throw about. But do we really mean it? As you enter the new year, is your life filled with Joy?  As a Christian, you have many reasons to be joyful. May I mention a few?  All your sins have been forgiven. When you came...

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Rare Bible Found in Trash

  [184 words] In 2006, electrician Michael Hoskins discovered a rare, 188-year-old, King James Bible. He told his hometown newspaper, that he went to drop off his household trash, and there it was. He also related that “There were three or four boxes of books leaning up against the concrete wall behind the dump site....

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I’m So Depressed!

  [215 words] “Depression” is a word often used and misused by modern Americans. True clinical depression (also known as “Major Depressive Disorder” or MDD) comes from biological root causes such as brain chemistry or hormone imbalance, bipolarism, etc. This type of depression needs treatment by a medical practitioner. Often, what is called “depression” by...

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What Arnold Palmer Learned the Hard Way 

  [229 words] It was the final hole of the 1961 Masters Tournament, and golf legend Arnold Palmer had a one-stroke lead and had just hit a very satisfying tee shot. He felt he was in pretty good shape. As he approached his ball, he saw an old friend standing at the edge of the...

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When Your Heart and Body Begin to Fail

  [176 words] I and several members of our congregation have had heart issues or other serious physical problems in the last couple of years. Asaph the prophet noticed this about himself when he was inspired to write Psalm 73. In it he declares: “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the...

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Why the Planes Crashed

  [166 words] On August 16, 2015, near San Diego’s Brown Airfield, two airplanes crashed in mid-air. The two planes — a Cessna 172M, piloted by Michael Copeland, crashed head-long into a Sabreliner, piloted by Jeffrey Percy. The pilots and the others on the planes were all killed. Five people lost their lives that day....

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Mother’s Day 

  [219 words] Where did Mother’s Day come from? While naysayers have tried to identify this holiday with past pagan rituals, the truth is Mother’s Day began as a day to honor good Christian moms. Anna M. Jarvis (1864-1948) is credited with bringing in the celebration of Mother’s day with the first observance at a...

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Satan’s Lie

  [276 words] Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,...

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A Winning Church

  [210 words] If you ask the average person why Jesus came to this earth you will get a variety of answers. “He came to do good.” “He came to tell people about God’s love.” “He came to heal people.” These are some of the many responses you will hear. Interestingly, Jesus, himself, told us...

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A Strange Thing Happened at the Funeral

  [305 words] Jesus once came across a funeral procession and did something strange. He walked up to the boy’s grieving mother and said: “don’t cry.” That poor lady might have said: “Why not weep? It is time. I have lost my only son.” But Jesus reached out and touched the open coffin. This was...

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The Legend of the ‘Taste Berry’

[188 words] In Africa it is said that there is a certain fruit called the “taste berry.” This berry supposedly can affect one’s taste for several hours. Not only is the berry itself sweet, it makes other things seem sweeter when eaten. What a wonderful fruit this must be if it really exists and works...

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During the Valleys of Your Faith

[291 words] The Christian life is all about peaks and valleys. When we are feeling good about our relationship with God and Jesus and something happens to re-enforce those spiritual feelings, we call that time “peak times” or “mountain top experiences.” When things don’t go right and we wonder if God is really listening to...

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God’s View of Marriage

Many educators are teaching young people that to experiment with premarital sex is good, live-in arrangements are OK, and divorce is fine! The result? Our nation is wallowing in a moral abyss of broken homes, children tossed to and fro, and shattered lives by the millions. We need to teach young people (indeed, all people)...

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Come into His Presence with Singing

  [202 words] “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his pres-ence with singing. Know that the Lord is God! It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving,...

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‘But I Don’t Want to Do It!’

I read about a chef that was fired. He was a good chef. Trained at the best cooking school. Had a flair for bringing out the best taste in food. His work ethic was beyond reproach. So, why was he fired? Because he wouldn’t wash his hands. Customers had noticed in the restaurant’s restroom and...

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The Amazing ‘Chesed’ of God

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him” (Lamentations 3:22-24, RSV). Those who say that the God of the Old Testament was a God of...

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Singing Brings Us into God’s Presence

[232 words] Psalms 100 was intended to be a song of praise in the Old Testament worship. There is evidence that this psalm (among others) was part of New Testament worship, as well.* The psalm, in its entirety, is quoted here. “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands! Serve the Lord with...

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Being Secure in an Unsafe World – A Study of Psalms 46

[408 words] How can we be secure living in an unsafe world? The Psalmists tells us through their own experiences: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalms 46). That’s where we can find true security and peace. In Psalms 46, we are reminded of three things: Our Security is in...

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What Is Your Focus?

[312 words] Jesus went into the desert looking for a place to pray. However, when he and his apostles went ashore they discovered a huge crowd of people. Scripture says that there were about 5000 men. (Counting the women and children, I’m guessing that there were 10,000 or more people.) After a full day of...

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When We Walk With God, the Best is Yet to Come

[202 words] Youth! As children, we thought that there wasn’t anything we couldn’t achieve. And we believed we could become anything. Astronauts, famous scientists, sports stars, movie stars, presidents, and generals! But then we grew older. Life began to beat us down. Victories were fewer than defeats. Health began to wane. And most people my...

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When We All Get to Heaven

[195 words] There is a wondrously upbeat song that many love to sing in our worship services. The refrain goes like this: When we all get to Heaven, What a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, We’ll sing and shout the victory! The problem with that song is that not...

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10 Promises from the Book of Proverbs

[116 words] 1. God gives healing to those who confess Him (3:6-8). 2. The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry (10:3). 3. The Lord protects those whose way is upright (10:29). 4. The Lord blesses the Godly giver with more (10:24). 5. When you are kind to the poor, the Lord repays our...

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The Patient Father

[320 words] We are told that children learn many life lessons from their fathers. I am delighted to hear that more and more fathers are seeing the importance of their role in the upbringing of their children. A recent survey showed that nearly half of all fathers spend more time with their children than their...

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Learn the Lesson of the Ant

[342 words] They get into everything; they are bothersome, contrary, persistent, and, on top of all of these things, they hurt! However, the Bible tells us: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!” (Proverbs 6:6). Thus, we “go to the ant” for some guidance, some instruction, and some motivation. Please...

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Natural Disasters

[221 words] A few days ago, the USA Today headlines read: “Worst flooding since Hurricane Matthew swamps N. Carolina.” Several people lost their lives in this weather event. I followed the news because my wife’s sister and brother-in-law live in that state. The flooding also brought to mind, two massive floods from 2005. That’s when two...

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Snowbound

[237 words] December 14, 2016, in Albany, Oregon, a homeowner went outside after a winter storm to an unwelcome surprise. Lying on his driveway, was a fellow whose description sounded a lot like me. He was about my height and weight and age. He even had a beard like mine. He had some cash on...

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70×7 – The Formula of Forgiveness

[177 words] The Lord Jesus Christ commands us to forgive people. And he punctuates it with this statement: “so that your Father in heaven may forgive you.” If you forgive, God forgives you. If you don’t forgive, God will not forgive you (Matthew 6:14-15). One of the more challenging things about forgiveness is that it’s...

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