religion

I have believed for years that when we stop learning, we stop living, in the truest sense of the word. I honestly try to learn something new, if not every day, at least several times a week. Some of the new things I have learned, I really did not have a desire to add them to my store of knowledge, but apparently God thought I should know them.

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Visiting a friend’s home the other day, I witnessed something that I’m not sure I will ever forget. The family had a new, furry puppy, and who doesn’t love seeing a little fellow run and play, attempt to chase his own tail, pounce on a small rubber ball, and try to mimic the big dogs in the house? This pup’s little legs were very short and he was plump, but boy, did he get around on the hardwood floors.

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courtesy photo

When I lose a lot of sleep and have many things on mind that seemingly I cannot do anything about, I find myself drifting toward the ground of worry. The mantra I claimed for myself at the beginning of 2014 proves once again to me that God knows every single thing about His children and that He has ordained whatever will be to be. I claimed the little two-word phrase “fret not” at the beginning of the year, and we are just into the third month and I think I have about worn it out already.

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“… I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith, to be content” (Philippians 4:11).

 

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I have some dear friends that are going through what some would term “tough times.” Each of them is hurting in different ways and needs a friend, helping hand, and kind words. I thought about the old adage, “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.” But then I asked myself, “Do we really want to be thought of by those we love as ‘tough people’?” I realize the word “tough” is relative, and I think I know what the writer of that little bit of sage advice meant, but I find I still question the meaning.

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While talking to a young man the other day about the Lord and His work, we each spoke about reading the Bible. I was interested to hear the very well educated fellow say, “It doesn’t really do me any good to read the Bible or go to church. I just can’t seem to remember very much of it any time later.” He’s in good company. Well, perhaps not good company, but joined by big numbers.

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I am always excited when I meet a new Christian or someone that has decided to come back from a life of sin and shame to the things of God. They are excited, happy and generally open to learning everything they can about the Word of God and the things of God. They usually want to be around other Christian people and cannot seem to get enough of talking about how God has worked in their lives.

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When I was growing up in a lake community in rural Georgia, I was among the minority in my school classroom. Almost everyone I knew had a biological mother and father and maybe a brother or sister or two living in their family home. Mommy had married daddy, and they were all set to live happily every after, many of them in neat, white-framed or brick houses with perfectly matched picket fences and flower gardens.

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“Pay close attention to those you care about,” I read today in a blog I enjoy. What does that mean to you? For that matter, what does it mean to me? I first answered with a bit of righteous indignation. “Of course, I take care of those I love most. I cook. I clean. I buy clothes and I do laundry. I try to lead by example. I help where I can.” But after re-evaluating the question from a more calm and sincere state, I wondered, “Am I overlooking something in someone I love that I should catch?

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When I taught in Christian school and worked at the church, our many bulletin boards, church publications, and classroom decorations often depicted brightly colored kites, hot air balloons, and steps rising into the air. Our theme was to rise higher, accept challenges, and grow to be the “you” that you had envisioned. Some of us started on an exciting journey but got waylaid and have not had the strength or courage to start again. But as long as there is breath, there is hope.

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