Monthly Archives: December 2015

some new year thoughts

Here’s wishing you a Happy New Year!

As you think about the new year on Friday, here’s hoping you will take the opportunity to begin afresh some disciplines to deepen you knowledge of and walk with God.

Make some time to sit and soak in the Bible each day. The same spot at about the same time each day is really helpful. A reading plan can keep you on track. I read this one.

If you’ve not read it, Timothy Keller’s book would be great non-Bible reading to start the year. LEARN MORE and order.

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If you’re like me and like to think back and look forward, you might find sitting down for an hour or so to be a helpful exercise that will get you focused on the year to come. Here is a helpful tool for that.

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Click HERE

May your new year be one of peace from grace.

And ask yourself some honest questions. Am I sailing? CLICK HERE

 

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Birthplace of Christ, celebrating the Incarnation

In May of this year I was in Bethlehem for a conference. It was interesting to walk through the market.

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But residents of Bethlehem have to go through these stalls to get to security to get into Israel.

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This was the most memorable art on the wall. Note the flak jacket. There was little peace in Bethlehem today as it has been a center of the most recent fighting between Palestinians and the Israelis. READ 

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There is something significant to this struggle. The Son of God came to bring peace between humans and God – the Prince of Peace. 

God sent His Son to be the savior of the world, you know the story. 

May God work in the hearts of leaders to bring justice to all the peoples in the land where Jesus was born and lived and died and rose again having completed His work.

May the Peace of Christ envelope your heart and life this Christmas.

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Islam

In recent weeks I have read and heard so much about the conflict with Islam. I am convinced of only one thing.  

Many words are written and read, consumed and debated. And much of that is based on a cursory understanding of the religion.

To oversimplify Islam to fit one’s political argument, irregardless of said argument is wrong.

It misrepresents the religion and its creates a failed argument.

Don’t allow experience, yours or those of your friends or your nation, to superceed understanding that comes from actually learning about this religion. 

It, like Christianity, is a very complicated religion with many streams of thought. 

Learn carefully, from various sources of scholarship or leave the conversations. 

Political rantings by politicians (neither Trump nor Obama represent it accurately) or by zealots on Facebook help no one. These are best ignored.

Learn first, think second, ask questions third and speak last, if at all.

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Thinking about Christmas 

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.”‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/1jn.4.9.esv

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Tendency to wander

So, it is our natural tendency to wander. If you haven’t observed this in your self, you may not be paying attention.

Of course, wandering is similar to drifting. Drifting is a sign you’re not experiencing the best and are growing toward, perhaps, apathy – which Keller notes is more trouble for Christianity than Atheism. I’m not concerned about Christianity, I’m just trying to challenge you and me. 

It’s natural to slip away… Scripture is replete with warnings against such… And reminders of how not to…

“With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭119:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬ http://bible.com/59/psa.119.10.esv

Luther recommended to his barber the use of the Lord’s Prayer and the 10 commandments as tools to outline prayers. Keller suggested thinking of ourselves and asking if we are sailing, rowing, drifting or sinking… The last two come from spiritual self neglect. 

Don’t neglect yourself. Pray. Soak in Scripture. Seek Him.

Join me in reading M’Cheyne One Year Reading Plan:

http://bible.com/r/O

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Jesus defines ‘disciple’

“But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.””‭‭Mark‬ ‭4:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/mrk.4.20.esv

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Joshua’s counsel…

“Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.””‭‭Joshua‬ ‭22:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/jos.22.5.esv

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