How to Live in Difficult Times

Why are we so surprised to be living in such difficult times? Weren’t Paul’s last words to Timothy a warning of such things? “In the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control.…

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Would You Follow Sheep Over a Cliff?

We watched in horror as a herd of 200 sheep threw themselves off the cliff while Farmer Oak looked on helplessly. “Far From the Madding Crowd” — a British romance — had started off with an especially graphic pivotal plot twist. And it most certainly confirmed what I had always heard about sheep. Sheep follow the crowd, no matter what. Jesus says we are like dumb sheep. Troubled and helpless. “Now when Jesus saw the crowds,…

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A Love Feast Just for You

How are you holding up during this month’s emphasis on Valentine’s Day and Love? Whether you have relished every single heart, piece of chocolate, flowers, cards, and mushy love songs… or whether you feel like you will scream if you see another exultation of a love-relationship-you-don’t-have… let me just say that Love (all kinds) is God’s idea. Let us focus on True Love. (yes, I know you are hearing “Princess Bride” here, but bear with…

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Remember When You Survived Feeling Overwhelmed? Yeah, Me Too

Do you remember the summer you were thirty-one years old? Honestly, I don’t. But lately some memories are trickling through… Such as our glorious joyful wedding celebration and then driving together up the Pacific coast from my old home near San Francisco to my new home near Seattle with the Welcome Home sign hanging on our front door. And, did I mention that the day we returned from our honeymoon, my new three kids got…

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Permission to Stop

On the second morning of her African journey, Lettie noticed all her guides had stopped and refused to move, “Why aren’t we ready to forge ahead?” she asked the leader in an agitated manner. His reply, “On the first day we traveled too fast. Now we are waiting for our souls to catch up with our bodies.” I first read those words of Mrs. Charles Cowman a very, very long time ago in devotional books…

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Choose Steadfast

As this unusual and unexpected year draws to a close — and as my “One Daily Choice” blog series ends — I pray you and I will remain steadfast.  Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. —1 Corinthians 15:58 This one verse contains at least three mandates for the lives of believers: Be Steadfast: Feet…

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Choose to Believe

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” —A. W. Tozer       Life really is all about what you believe.       We are in a holiday (Holy Days) season rooted in the Christian faith while simultaneously hijacked by culture. As you celebrate Christmas, are you living out what you believe? If so, what does that look like? Peter reminds us that “If someone asks about your…

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Choose Grace

In 1995 the world held its collective breath, awaiting the results of the O. J. Simpson trial for the murder of his ex-wife and her friend—often called the most publicized criminal trial in history.       I was in a staff meeting when the results were reported to us: acquitted.       I sadly confess my immediate thought was, “That man will not get what he deserves.”       And then, to my shock, I clearly heard the…

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Choose to Sing

The Lord… helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. – Psalm 28:7 With a terrible voice and an impossible dream, Florence Foster Jenkins achieved her impossible when she sang to a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall in 1944. Reportedly, one month later before her death, she said, “People may say I couldn’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.”       Do you sing?…

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Choose With

“She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel which means God is with us,” — Isaiah 7:14 How many moments of your life today can you fill with a conscious awareness of and surrender to God’s presence? We can go through every minute of the day with God or without Him. We can continue being stressed, pressured, angry, impatient, and irritating to those around us. Or we can choose to be…

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Choose Gratitude

Australian novelist Morris West suggests that at a certain age our lives simplify, and we need have only three phrases left in our spiritual vocabulary: “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”       English minister John Henry Jowett once observed, “Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic.” What better cure for what ails society today—choosing to have a grateful heart!       Who knew? For a long time, gratitude wasn’t even listed in the Encyclopedia…

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Choose Celebration

When we received two “You Are Special Today” Red Plates for wedding gifts, I always intended to return one of them. At the time it never occurred to me how I would use one, much less two.       Thirty-seven years later those Red Plates have prompted countless celebrations in our home and often for two people at a time! There’s just something truly, well, special about a table set with flowers, candles, cloth napkins, teacups,…

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