The word New Year's resolution written on the blackboard with blank notes

God’s Weight Loss Plan for 2016 – Part 1

Most of us see New Years Day as a fresh start. We make steadfast resolutions of how we are going to do better next year. The reality is that January 1st is just another day. We could just as easily resolve on May 18th or August 3rd that we are going to change how we live. But there is something psychologically powerful about a New Year. The most cited resolutions generally include things like exercising more, saving more money, getting out of debt, and reading the Bible all the way through without getting bogged down in Leviticus and skipping directly to the Psalms. The most popular resolution year after year is losing weight. I thought I would be doing a real service if I gave you God’s Weight Loss Plan to take into 2016. This weight loss plan will make you healthier, reduce stress, give you more joy and cause you to grow in your relationship with the Lord. By following this no
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God's Love

Final Gift Suggestion For Jesus On His Birthday

I love Dave Barry. As long as he is alive I will not have the weirdest brain on the planet. Here is his take on the secularizing of Christmas greetings. Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice. In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it “Christmas” and went to church; the Jews called it “Hanukkah” and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say “Merry Christmas!” or “Happy Hanukkah!”or (to the atheists) “Look out for the wall!”  These days, people say “Season’s Greetings,” which, when you think about it, means nothing. It’s like walking up to somebody and saying “Appropriate Remark” in a loud, cheerful voice. But “Season’s Greetings” is safer, because it does not refer to any actual religion.
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Silhouette Of Shepherd And Sheep With A Bright Star In The Sky

The Power of a Silent Night, Holy Night

One of my favorite Christmas stories happened during the horrors of war. The Christmas carol “Silent Night” was responsible for a wartime Christmas truce. The year was 1914 and soldiers were having to spend Christmas Eve night on the battlefields of France during World War I, the Great War, as it was called. After only four months of fighting, more than a million men had already perished in the bloody conflict. The bodies of dead soldiers were scattered between the trenches. Enemy troops were dug-in so close that they could easily exchange shouts. On December 24, 1914, in the middle of a freezing battlefield in France, a miracle happened. The British troops watched in amazement as candle-lit Christmas trees began to appear above the German trenches. The glowing trees soon appeared along the length of the German front. Henry Williamson, a young soldier with the London Regiment wrote in his diary: “From the German parapet, a rich baritone voice had begun to sing a song I remembered my German nurse singing to me…. The
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Hand with marker writing the word Wish List

My Christmas Wish for 2015

If I could have one wish for those of you who read these humble ramblings it would be very simple. Amy Grant recorded “My Grown-up Christmas List” for her “Home For Christmas” album. The lyrics imagine an adult going back to Santa with a different perspective on what matters most in life. Instead of material things the writer now asks for good things for others. I love the sentiment of the song. No more lives torn apart That wars would never start And time would heal all hearts Everyone would have a friend And right would always win And love would never end This is my grown-up Christmas list I thought about my “grown-up” Christmas list this week. I would love for all of the things in the lyric above to come true. But I have lived enough to know they will not. Everyday lives are torn apart. Wars start too frequently. Time does not heal every heart. Some who
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Tell Me Again What The Cows Were Doing?

(Today is a revisit of a “Christmas Classic” from earlier. How does a blog become a classic?  It is your blog, your site, you pay the server charge so you can call it whatever you want. So enjoy a classic from Christmas past) One of my contributions with this modest little blog is to continually ask the tough questions. While listening to  “Away in a Manger” my inquiring mind kicked in. You likely know verse three of the song. The cattle are lowing The poor Baby wakes But little Lord Jesus No crying He makes As I listened an important series of difficult and probing inquiries popped into my head. What noise, exactly, were the cattle making when they started lowing? Was this normal cow talk? Did lowing just sound better than mooing in the lyric or is lowing a more spiritual and reverent cow sound? And then the most important question came to mind. What is wrong with me? I can’t answer the last
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burning memorial candles

A Thanksgiving Like No Other Still Haunts Me

Ten years ago we toured Israel. There were so many memories that were life changing. But one memory was unexpected and lasting. We were in the midst of a whirlwind tour of Israel when Turkey Day arrived. As the day dawned in Jerusalem I remembered past Thanksgivings with family all around. Watching the Macy’s Parade while the tantalizing aromas of roasting turkey, pumpkin pie and fresh baked bread filled the house. Watching the football games, eating way too much, and  then the afternoon lapse into semi-consciousness known as the traditional Thanksgiving day nap. I knew that this year would be a little different but I had no idea how much. When I heard our schedule I knew this would be a Thanksgiving like no other. Our final activity for that day would be a visit to the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.  My first reaction was “No, no, not today”. But then I reconsidered. What better reminder of how very much I have to be thankful for
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Helping Hand with a shadow on pavement of an adult hand offering help or therapy to a child in need as an education concept of charity towards needy kids and teacher guidance to students who need tutoring.

We All Need A Little Help Now and Then

There is so much pain in this world. So many hurting people. I feel overwhelmed and helpless. What can I possibly do? And the answer quietly comes to me. Do something. A classic song called “Lean On Me” reminded me that we all need to do something for others. The lyrics sung by Bill Withers talks about simply being there when friends and loved ones are hurting. Sometimes in our lives We all have pain We all have sorrow But if we are wise We know that there’s Always tomorrow Lean on me, when you’re not strong And I’ll be your friend I have been thinking a lot about community. I have, to be honest, had many moments recently when I wondered if living in messy community with messy people is worth it. One of my dearest friends is Dr. Gil Herren. He used to tell me stories about working the emergency room at a Memphis hospital and how much
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