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December 14, 2014, 5:45 PM

Beyond the "Merry Christmas" Wars

Psalm 73:28

Every year at this time I read an article or see a post on Facebook about how lost people don't celebrate Christmas right.  How they use the holiday to drink and shop and host parties, and don't give the "Christ" in Christmas much thought at all.  And then there is anger regarding the "Happy Holiday" we receive at the department store.  And we are told to just say "Merry Christmas" right back in their face... with a tone not exactly reflecting the joy of the season I imagine!

We need to realize that we aren't gaining anything by winning the "pin the correct name on the holiday" award.  How about we take a different approach? 

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December 8, 2014, 1:33 PM

Welcome to the Family

Genesis 25

As we roll along in Genesis... we come to a third major figure in this rich history.  There was Noah, then Abraham... and now:  Jacob.  We get to begin his journey at Square 1, his birth, as we are offered a backstory of how he came to be.  Do you know your “back story?”  Sometimes these stories are shared with us by our parents.  "We were long sought after."  "We were an “oops” baby."  "We didn’t want to come out of the womb."  "We were premature."  Whatever our story, how we were received is part of who we are and what we become.  Now Jacob was a wanted child.  A child vital to the promise of God.

Now Isaac his father knew his own backstory probably from the time he was a small child.  He would one day be the father of a great nation.  But then God interposes a period of waiting for that promised child, much like he did to his father, Abraham.  Isaac and Rebekah struggle with infertility.  It can seem that God is so silent when you deal with waiting for something.

Here are some tips to receiving the blessing of God in your life... even if the wait has been excruciating. <read more>

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November 30, 2014, 1:39 PM

The #1 Thing to Look for in a Spouse

Genesis 24

Genesis 24 is a rather lengthy chapter about a servant of Abraham searching for a bride for his master's son, Isaac.  What could we possibly get by reading about such an antiquated system of securing a bride?  What treasure can we glean from a seemingly unimportant chapter of the Bible?

First of all, it is important to understand that finding a wife for Isaac was crucial to passing on the blessing of God to (eventually) the whole world.  Abraham needed to get this right.  He (and his trusty servant) invite God throughout this chapter to be in every step of the process.  As Abraham sends him out on the task he tells the servant:  "The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father's house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and who swore to me, saying, "To your descendants I will give this land.'  He will send His angel before you, and you will take a wife for my son..." (24:7)

Second of all, <read more>

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November 24, 2014, 9:07 AM

Good Grief!

Genesis 23

“Good Grief.”  It was a favorite saying of the Charles Schultz character, Charlie Brown.  And it is a curious expression.  What kind of grief is “good”?

Let me ask you: What image comes to your mind when you think of the term “grief”?

  • Perhaps a bouquet of flowers being laid on a freshly dug grave.
  • Maybe a night of holding a loved one’s pillow, trying in vain to get some sleep.
  • Maybe it’s the tears that seem to flow endlessly, or a pain in the gut that is too deep to describe in words.

A good friend of mine from California, Louise Johnson once shared with me a poem her daughter had written <read more>

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November 17, 2014, 2:36 PM

Passing Faith's Greatest Test

Genesis 22

This is a difficult story for me.

God does something here that is hard for me to even imagine.  He demands that Abraham take the son he loved and offer him up on an altar as a burnt offering.  We learn later that God didn't REALLY want Isaac to die and that His purpose was to see if Abraham would give up the thing that was dearest to him.

How could God even ask Abraham to commit such an act?  He’s asking Abraham:

  1. First of all: To aid in nullifying the promise He Himself had made to Abraham.
  2. And, secondly <Read More>
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