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My thoughts and devotions

  • Integrity

    This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. ~ 1 John 3:16-18
  • John 19:28-30

    Later; knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. ~ John 19:28-30The end is quickly approaching. Jesus is dying on the cross. A crowd has gathered to witness this gruesome moment, not realizing they are witnessing the most significant event in all of history. Jesus cries out he is thirsty. He is given a wine vinegar from a sponge. He receives the drink then he says, “It is finished.” It is done. The lamb slain from the foundation of the world has given his life. Completed the assignment given him.
  • The Good Shepherd

    “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. ~ John 10:14-16Jesus in John 10 as the good shepherd. He knows his sheep and his sheep know him. It is interesting to note the different ways that sheep are led versus the manner in which cattle are led. I have watched many westerns in my growing up years. In fact, I would consider myself an expert on old western movies and tv shows. I could list my viewing credentials, but I will not because of my time allowance. Sheep are led. The shepherd is out front leading the sheep and they are following. There are usually some sheep dogs to help some of the wondering sheep to stay in the flock. Cattle are not led from the front. They are driven from the back and the sides. In fact, the official nomenclature that is used is “cattle drive.” You have people on horses and on each side of the herd driving and guiding the cattle to where they need to go. These two different models serve as a reminder of two different ways to lead a church.
  • Costly Grace

    And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. ~ Ephesians 2:6-10Reflections on Grace – Cheap Grace vs Costly Grace
  • July 23, 2023 devotion on 1 Peter 3:8-9

    Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. ~ 1 Peter 3:8-9Simon Peter is writing to the first century church. He is giving them some rules to live by. Rules not in the legalistic sense but more like – if you truly love Jesus this is how it looks. He tells his readers to be like-minded, sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Notice verse 9, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.” It is so easy to want to repay evil for evil. Deep in our souls is the quest, even the need for justice, especially justice regarding wrongs committed against a loved one or most of all ourselves. We say, “That is not right.” We feel justified in correcting the wrong because in our perspective we know everything we need to know. It’s wrong. I am right. I have been unnecessarily hurt and I need to make it right. Herein is the problem. Our perspective is limited. It is narrow. In reality we don’t have all the facts. And in fact, we tend to see things the way we want to see things. It is called confirmation bias. And we all have it. It is actually more evident and prominent in people who believe that they don’t have it. You tend to see what you want to see and find what you are looking for.