Growing Into Grace

But grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18) I once believed we could grow into grace through our own efforts, schemes, and formulas. It took me a long time to see that what I mostly grew through my own efforts, schemes, and formulas wasn’t grace, but self-righteousness, …

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Going to Jerusalem – Part 2

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:13) Several years ago, Lucy, my wife, and I had the trip of a lifetime to the Holy Land.  As we were gathering together for dinner one night, I noticed that our tour guide—a Palestinian Christian woman—was in distress.  When I asked her …

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Going to Jerusalem – Part 1

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you.  Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers.’           (Ps. 122:6-7) My wife, Lucy, and I went to Israel a few years ago. We both saw, heard, and experienced things we will never forget. Let me take you …

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The Presence of Jesus

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. (Lk. 1:41) … it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. (Gal. 2:20) The joy of the moment in today’s first scripture between Elizabeth and Mary could have only happened with God. Elizabeth was considered too old …

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Wisdom, Understanding and Gentleness

Who is wise and understanding among you?  Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.  (James 3:13) Let me call her Gloria.  From my first day as the church’s new pastor, she complained and grumbled.  The church had been shrinking for decades, and I felt called to turn …

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God’s Beloved

And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."(Mk. 1:11) Jesus heard today’s words while being baptized.  They reminded Him of who He was— God’s Beloved Son; and they reminded Him of how God felt about Him — well pleased. These words must have given Jesus …

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Black Lives Matter

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. (Jer. 29:7) I have tremendous grief about what’s happening in our communities. I’m talking about people who are needlessly and unfairly shot.  I’m talking …

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