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Showing posts from July, 2011

A Simple Prayer

Father in Heaven,

May I speak each word as if my last word, and walk each step as my final one.If my life should end today, let this be my best day.

By your grace and for your glory, make it so. Amen.


Thanks for stopping by,
pj

Rest, Rest, Rest!

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For the next week I will be enjoying some vacation time - this time with the entire family. I will be back to posting the week of August 1st. Until then, chew on these words of Kevin DeYoung from the opening words of the epilogue of his book, The Good News We Almost Forgot.

"Sadly, too many Christians are asked to choose between theology and experience, between head and heart, between having convictions and being kind. These are false dichotomies - choices that don't have to be made. We are to love the Lord Jesus with every part of us - all our heart, all our soul, all our strength, and all our mind too (Luke 10:27). We ought to be hugging theologians - people marked by abiding grace and unchanging truth. Or to put it another way, if we are to be fruitful and godly Christians, we need to have a theological core without being theologically crusty."
Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

Thursday A La Carte

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Thursday means "a la carte."  I choose items that I think will encourage you. So ... have fun!

1. Heaven Is for Real is a best-selling book about a four year old's trip to heaven and back. What should we as Christians make of such a book (and others like it)? Tim Challies offers up a book review (which I believe is well done) that you might want to read.

2. Here is a blog posting that hit me right in my spiritual gut: Rest - A Four Letter Word?  It is definitely worth your time to read it!

3. Phil Johnson shares about how he came to Christ. It many ways, his experience parallels mine (some day I will have to share my own testimony).

4. An insightful video (3:59) in answer to "I feel enslaved to the "escape" of the TV and Internet. What can I do?"

5. On a lighter note: Abbott and Costello was a comedy team that appeared in many movies I watched as a kid. Here is a skit (2:56) that is both clever and funny (at least I think so!).

Thanks for stopping…

Prayer 911

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I wonder how many of you are really satisfied with your "prayer life?" You struggle to have any meaningful time with God in the practice of this vital spiritual practice. You have good intentions. You want to pray. You plan to pray ... but by the end of the day, you just haven't done much praying.

On Monday of this week as we were strapping Ella, our two year old granddaughter into her car seat she said to us, "Mommy has a boo-boo" (her mom has an injured ankle she is nursing along). So I suggested we pray for Mommy. Without hesitation, Ella folded her hands, bowed her head and said, "Dear Jesus. Thank you for the food. Amen."  Ella meant well .... but her prayer for her mom missed the mark.

That incident with Ella made me pause to ask myself if my prayers are also missing the mark? There are so many things to be praying about and for in my world ... am I truly praying in a way that Jesus would want me to pray?  Perhaps you are wondering the same thi…

The Heat is On!

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I just took a glimpse at the weather forecast for the rest of this week. Ugh! The forecast highs are 92, 90, 96, 97, 97! Add in the high humidity and the "real feel" temps will be well into the 100's! With this bona fide heat wave coming our way .... I am so thankful for air conditioning!

Whenever a heat wave like this one strikes, the news media is always quick to remind the public of the risks related to high heat and humidity. And indeed there are risks. Such weather puts a lot of stress upon the human body. So when the heat and humidity go up .... so must our diligence to care for our bodies!

The same is true for our souls. When the heat is on and we begin to feel the stress, then we must become more diligent in the matters of our faith lest we succumb to the pressure and "crack!" So, what can you do when the Enemy jacks up the heat?

1. Remind yourself of God's promises. Over and over again, God reassures us that He will always be with us. He will neve…

Another Monday . . . Another Week!

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As you start out your week, here is a quote from A.W. Tozer, an Alliance pastor for some 44 years in the mid 1900's. Among his more than 40 books are the classics, The Pursuit of God and The Knowledge of the Holy. If you have never read these - you should!  Take a moment and reflect on Tozer's remarks:

"The basic trouble with the church today is her unworthy concept of God... Our religion is weak because our God is weak... Christianity at any given time is strong or weak depending on her concept of God."
Now if what Tozer said was really true about the church of his day (and I have no reason to doubt that) - I would suggest to you that it is even MORE true of the church of today. Oh how we need to get back a lofty view of God! 
Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

Is God's Word Enough?

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Recently, I read the following lines in a Christian best-seller:

"The following year, I began to wonder if I, too, could receive messages during my times of communing with God. I had been writing in prayer journals for years, but that was one-way communication: I did all the talking. I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more." 
The last line was what got me thinking. Hmm. This author was yearning for more than the Bible?  Now I have no doubt that this writer would affirm the inspiration (that the words of the human authors of the Bible are indeed God's), inerrancy (that the Bible as originally given was totally without error) and infallibility (the Bible is true) of Scripture. But when one "yearns for more" than the Bible ... that person is denying the sufficiency of the Bible. A number of years ago, James Montgomery Boice, prolific author and former pastor of Tenth Church in Philadelphia foretold that in our days the rea…

Thursday A La Carte

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It's Thursday a la carte time!

1.  There's been a lot written lately about the doctrine of hell. Is it OK for Christians to believe in the doctrine of hell and not like it?"  Kevin DeYoung gives a brief but insightful answer to this difficult question.

2. A spiritual awakening is sweeping India with the result that the country now numbers more Christians among its population than ever before!

3. Feeling ordinary?  Check out Ed Welch's thoughts on "Ordinary is the new cool."

4. What is the right way to apologize? Bob Kelleman offers up some food for thought!

5. And on a lighter side . . .

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Whatever Happened to Common Sense?

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Last evening as I was watching the local news, several so called experts were used to give advice on a variety issues. After the third expert or so ... I turned to my wife and said, "I could have said as much!"  Now I don't consider myself an expert on much of anything. I realize I have a lot to learn about a huge boatload of things. But what hit me about what these experts were sharing was this: each one of them was offering good old-fashioned common sense! And that is something that appears to be a vanishing commodity in our world.

Now ... just where does a person gain common sense? One blogger I just read said this about common sense: "The source of common sense remains a great mystery… God help us all."  I must disagree with this individual. I believe several of the ways we attain common sense can be identified. Here are three for you to consider: 

1. Hang out with wise people. Proverbs 13:20 encourage us to, "Walk with the wise and become wise, for …

Now That's a BIG Baby!

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JaMichael Brown entered the world last Friday in Longview, Texas. Now when I think of Texas, I think BIG. Well to say JaMichael was a big baby may be somewhat of an understatement. This "little" guy tipped the scales at a whopping 16 pounds and 1 ounce!  His birth weight won't go into the Guinness Book of World Records (the heaviest newborn of record was born to an Ohio couple back in 1879 weighing an astonishing 23 pounds and 12 ounces!) - but he may just set a Texas state record! In any case,16 pounds is a lot of baby!

News items like this are quick to catch our attention (at least they do mine!). Why? Because such a birth is "out of the norm" (my guess is that JaMichael's weight puts him off the charts when compared with other newborns). And so .... all of a sudden a little baby born in Longview, Texas (where is Longview?) gets noticed!

I want to call all of us who claim to be followers of Jesus to live "out of the norm." Not in some sort of cr…

You Talk about a Crystal Clear Lake!

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Skaneateles Lake is the easternmost of the larger finger lakes in New York state. Located only twenty miles from Syracuse, the lake provides millions of gallons of drinking water each day for the metro area's 3/4 of a million people. And here is what's so amazing about this ... the lake water does not need to be filtered before it is supplied to the area's residents!  As the photo shows, the water is so clean, both the federal and state governments have granted Syracuse a waiver for the requirement that all drinking water be put through a filtration system!  Now that's clean!

On our trip home from the finger lakes, we worshiped with a church family whose pastor is a friend of mine from both high school and college. His message included a couple of verses that reminded me of the pure waters of Skaneateles Lake. In his first letter, the apostle John writes, "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that w…

Thursday A La Carte

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Well it's another Thursday. I hope you find something of note in this week's a la carte offerings!

1. The next time you might be tempted to complain about some dust, consider what people out in Phoenix, Arizona had to put up with this week!

2. So how are teens communicating these days? If you said by texting ... you got it right!  Check out this rather interesting infographic on teens and texting. 

3.  Whatever happened to convictions and taking a stand for what we believe? Here is a video (2:58) that I think you will enjoy!

4. Ed Welch offers up some very insightful and helpful comments in his brief article, No More Minimizing Pain.


5. Finally, talk about luck? Check out this squirrel's encounter with a speeding Lamborghini!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Back in the Office with a Valuable Reminder!

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My vacation of last week is now in life's rear view mirror - and will quickly fade away. But that is the way it goes with vacations. It sure seems to me that "vacation time" moves along at a much faster pace than "real life" time!

Our week, spent in the Finger Lakes region of New York, was thoroughly enjoyable. It was great to spend a huge amount of time with just "me and the wife!" Although we did not walk as much as we normally do on a vacation (due to Sharon's still-recovering knee), we did get to spend a lot of time outdoors - and the weather was downright delightful!

Among many memories of our trip, two stand out. Last Thursday, we spent our evening in the village of Skeneateles. When it came time to head for the car, I realized that my phone was NOT in my pocket. So we began the process of retracing our steps which ultimately led us back to Doug's Fish Fry. About an hour earlier we had sat on a bench in front of this eatery eating ice c…

True Freedom!

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Today we celebrate our freedom as Americans. It was 235 years ago that the Founding Fathers of our country gathered in Philadelphia to sign a Declaration of Independence from British rule. That was the easy part. Next came several long years of war against the world's most powerful military. The end result astounded the world. The colonists were victorious and the United States of American became truly free. I am grateful for the blessing of living in this free land.

Yet as I think of this freedom today, I am reminded of a far more valuable freedom that I possess. Jesus taught us about this freedom in the Gospel of John. Please take a moment and read what He had to say .... and then rejoice in the freedom He and He alone can give! (and if you have never embraced this freedom, consider doing so today!).

"To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free . . . So …