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Waiting


'Tis the season for waiting. We wait in lines at the store (or for those of you in the 21st century, we wait for boxes from Amazon). We wait for family to come home and spend Christmas with us. We wait for that glorious morn when desired gifts are given and the excitement of giving to our loved ones is realized. We are busy indeed, and yet we wait.

Simeon was man who knew about waiting. God had made him a promise - he would not die before he saw the Lord's Christ, the baby Jesus. The scripture says to be still and know that He is God. You can be still and still be busy. Life occupies our time, even as we wait; yet we can still put on an attitude of waiting for God in our busyness. Simeon did. He was devout. That means his life was dedicated to the service of God. He was not a spiritual couch potato. He was a man waiting for God, doing life.

The Lord would have us with the same attitude.

I was driving to work, visiting my company's New Hampshire facility, when I came u…
We need wisdom to navigate this life; at times, it is beyond us. The Lord invites us to ask for the wisdom we need, and He says He will give it generously - without reproach, without a hint of disappointment or disapproval.

That means that when we are in our desperate places, when we've lost control, (rather when we realize that we never really had control), we can ask for His wise guidance without looking to our lack. This means that He doesn't chide us for our lack of knowing what to do; He does not say, "We've been through this already, you know what to do." He does not rebuke with words of disappointment, "Again? You're asking me again?" Rather, He gives generously.

We simply need to ask.

I recently needed wisdom because of a situation that was completely out of my control. Between distance and closed roads, literally, I was unable to come to the aid of a very sick young girl - my daughter Hannah. Dengue can ravage the body, and dengue was taking i…
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Sometimes dreams must die.

Dreams never realized can be heartbreaking, but there's nothing that leads to that craggy road called discouragement more directly than dreams realized and then lost. The hope of marriage broken on the rocks of disappointment and conflict. Booming investments in the market tail spinning into oblivion on the comment of a high political official. God's promises realized seemingly put to bed for good. 

Seemingly. 

I want to give you hope. She is just sleeping. The young vibrant female we call hope is not dead. She is just sleeping. But she needed to lay her head down into a lifeless slumber, lest, we come to trust in her instead of Someone greater.

There's a story of a rich woman, a childless woman. Her lifelong and dormant dream was to give birth to a child. It was a hope for her, a dream; a good dream. Many of us are like her. We hope, but never get our hopes too high, lest they be disappointed; lest we be let down into the overwhelming mire of swampy…
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Assurance

I don't ever want to move from the cross, to lose sight of it. At the cross is where we trade sin's blackest stains for the pure white robe of His righteousness. Our assurance comes from what was accomplished at the cross. Thieves and murderers die on Roman crosses, but when the righteous One hangs there, when the innocent One dies on a cross, when the Son of God is nailed to the tree as thief and murderer, all of heaven and earth shake. 


John Wesley, an influential 18th century English preacher, had a deep realization that he lacked assurance of salvation. In spite of all of his methods and disciplines, he saw that empty nagging void inside of himself. He knew much, was trained by his parents, had a heritage of preaching and evangelism, but still he lacked that surety, that comfort that comes with salvation.



What if I was to not do another thing with this life of mine? Would God withdraw His promise of salvation from me? Would His love towards me cool? These questions …
The Sin Sandwich

God has forgiven us of all of our sins.

Paul writes to the church at Colossae, He forgave all our sins. All. The word in Greek is panta (πάντα). It is a word of completeness and means all, any, every, the whole, forever, complete, whatever. I think that covers it. No stone unturned, no exceptions.

But admittedly, there are times when our heart is burdened by guilt, by doubt, by voices that whisper "not enough". God understands our doubts, and He has compassion on us. John the Baptist, Peter, Elijah, were all men who doubted, yet God met them all there in their doubts. The Lord knows there are times when we need extra assurance, so He sends us writers, apostles of the faith like John who wrote,
"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."
John wrote to bring the "sinner" comfort. He who leaned on the heart of Jesus writes these words from the heart of our Savior to comf…
The Overabundance of Grace

Here's a quick look, a bite-sized study, into some of what Paul had to say about grace and redemption in his letter to the Ephesians. In this studyette, you'll see the Greek definitions for several key words in this scripture. These definitions will highlight and bring depth to an already amazing gift. Put on your study hats (and study hearts). I pray the Holy Spirit will guide your thoughts and inspire you as you read on ...


Ephesians 1:7-8
(ESV) In him we have redemption (629) through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches (4149) of his grace (5485), which he lavished (4052) upon us, in all wisdom and insight


629 apolutrosis ἀπολύτρωσιν
Ransom in full. Acquire, redeem, redemption, release.

RELEASE
Think about it, we are -

released from guilt
released from debt
released from sin
released from bondage
released from shame
released from abandonment


4149 ploutos πλοῦτος
From 4130, wealth, flow, plunge, launder, clean. (literal) money, po…
An underlying culture exists in America today, a pattern of thought that says, "At all costs, avoid pain." And we, as the church, must take care to not let our understanding of scripture be shaped or influenced by such a world view. For from this culture we have seen such pseudo-spiritual doctrines as "name it and claim it" spring up to entice the body of Christ. We’ve incorrectly divided scriptures such as "By His wounds we are healed" to wrongly mean that we shall never suffer disease of any kind. Yet it was the disease of sin that was defeated on the cross. Comfort is king in our "now" society and we must take care that we don't adopt that attitude in ourselves.

I'm going through a dark night of my soul. Right now in my life. It's uncomfortable, and I want it to end. And I suppose that my desire for comfort, release, and escape goes beyond just the cultural norm of today. Our human nature doesn't embrace suffering. Understandab…