Hoping is an important activity…

Israel, as a nation, was as big a mess as I am. Faithless, impatience leading to idolatry, etc., etc., you know what I mean, right? Hearts as dark as this cave into which we walk deeper into the darkness, just like this world…

But God spoke through Jeremiah (ch14): “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD.”

At the beginning of time God had made a promise.

John 1 describes the keeping of that promise:

“In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

C. S. Lewis said that we must come to a point at which we cry to God and admit that we cannot fix ourselves, we cannot turn. With this recognition, we say to Him: I can’t; You must. This turning to the light happens with His grabbing us by the shoulders and turning us to the light, filling us with the light to live a life guided by the light.

Hope in this Light!

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A reminder about our speech…

I’ve been thinking about the angels at the birth of Jesus who exclaimed

Glory to God in the highest!

Like the angels, I think I’m safe in suggesting that the 1st best use of our speech is to praise and glorify God. And a second would be to be an encouragement to our fellows!

But, life often affects our temperament in such a way that we need a remainder. We’re still under construction after all. I received a good reminder this morning:

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians‬ ‭4:29‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

May our words bring light to our lives like a sunrise as the sunrise highlights the renovation of this church.

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Advent: deciding to look toward the light

“It’s already dark.” Our 4 year old grandson lamented at dinner Saturday night. “I like the morning.”

He expressed the feeling of encroaching darkness of winter in the minds of many. (Ok, only for those in the northern hemisphere.)

Anticipation, particularly of the light, is a significant theme throughout the season of Advent. Hope is a key word in Advent. It’s not just about expecting Christmas.

In this, like every season, our celebration should be about giving God the glory that He is due in the midst of the darkness. He IS the light in the midst of encroaching darkness.

Yes, darkness can begin to overwhelm us as though we are in a dark cave.

But let us be mindful, in our observation of Advent, that hope is in us who are IN CHRIST. So let’s look to the light and rejoice!

We who are IN CHRIST may proclaim:

“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” (Psalms‬ ‭145:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

For us to proclaim the greatness of God is to shine the light. Let’s give Him glory and light up our own hearts and minds.

Dwell not in the darkness, fellow disciple, exclaim the light!

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a new resource that I hope helps fellow disciples grow

I got my copy today. I’m pretty excited to tell you about this new project.

This is a booklet that I’m convinced can help us look back, in and forward into a fresh personal discipleship. It is full of questions for reflection and spiritual disciplines to move forward. Learn more and order your copy at Amazon. Proceeds from each copy purchased at full price help us provide copies without cost to leaders abroad. Click HERE.

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When we look inward, it is wise to consider ways that our relationships may need some attention, but remember…

God is not surprised nor dismayed, nor should we be. He told Joshua “Do not fear and do not be dismayed.” (Joshua 8:1, ESV)

“List the emotions that you struggled with in the last year.

Who do you need to forgive from the past year (or beyond)?

Now, take a moment or two and pray about the last two questions. If forgiveness is an issue for you in any respect, pause and pray by name for those damaged relationships that you have.

Remember: On the cross, Jesus said “It is finished.”

Our sin is PAID FOR!”

(Text excerpted from A Fresh Start – a booklet that will guide you to look back, in and forward into a deeper personal discipleship that is now available on Amazon.)

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as we move toward the end of the year, make some time for reflection, but remember…

“Don’t look back with regret,

 or now with fear,

but forward, in faith, trusting God.

But looking back should not cause discouragement or create guilt. When you look back, the most important thing is to see life in the light of the gospel. As you stop and look back, the objective is to gain important insight into what is inside.”

(Text excerpted from A Fresh Start – a booklet that will guide you to look back, in and forward into a deeper personal discipleship that is now available on Amazon.)

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a new YouVersion feature might turn out to be very helpful

In As We’re Going I urge that fellow disciples need to meet regularly and the disciple making conversation should be centered on Scripture.

YouVersion just put out an update that could be really helpful to that process. If you’re using YouVersion, the new update allows you and your YouVersion friends to read the same plan and have a conversation about it. (You must have YouVersion friends to use this feature.) Now, it’s brand new so there’s no way to find out than to test it. I plan to, and if it does work, and if it is helpful, I’ll get back to you. Meanwhile, if you’re on YouVersion, check this new feature out and give it a try. This might even turn out to be an important feature in disciple making.

Read the YouVersion blog post.

Here’s a screenshot of their instructions:

Give it a try!

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