Hope

Facepalm MomentsPremium Content

When I first saw the image of Jesus doing a "Face palm," I laughed. The exasperated look of our Savior, indeed, conveys the message of "why did you say/do THAT?" And you and I know what that is. It usually has something to do with sin. Sometimes, we look downright foolish. I mean, c'mon, how many times in life have we, ourselves, done a similar face palm?

Remember, lying is a sin.

In any case, some lesser face palm moments often involve us- and our big mouths. Yes, we really blow it here. It's not just about "taking the Lord's Name in vain" either. It's not even about other expletives (you know the words). It, instead, has to do with the negative and untrue statement we utter.

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It's Time for Joel's Perspective: Promises FulfilledPremium Content

Our cities (and our personal lives) may seem like those in Canaan, surrounded by walls that reach up to heaven -- walled in by unbelief. But -- let's not forget -- the walls of Jericho fell. The walls of unbelief are beginning to crumble. What is long overdue is the shout of the people of God.

I grew up near the mouth of the river Elbe in North Germany where I used to see huge flat-bottom river barges set fast in the mud banks. No tug or marine engine could shift them. But the tide quietly rippled in, hardly perceptible, creeping higher and higher up the sides of those immovable hulks. Soon those hundreds of tons were floating. From the quay I could move them with the slightest kick.

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Can God Help Me? I’m an Alcoholic!

Let's Keep it Simple, and see what God has to say—Looking in the King James Version of the Bible where early AAs looked for answers.

Believe that God is and rewards those who seek Him:

But without faith, it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.Hebrews 11:6

He will heal all that obey His commandments:

[the LORD]... said, "If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee." Exodus 15:26

"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases". Psalm 103:2-3

God's commandments and love summarized:

(1) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour. Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:3-4

(2) "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." John 3:16-17

(3)"Master, which is the great commandment in the law." Jesus said unto him, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22:36-40

(4) For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 1 John 5:3

Seeking Christ CrucifiedPremium Content

"Fear not you; for I know that you seek Jesus which was crucified." Matthew 28:5


THIS was the address of an angel to Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, that had come to see the sepulcher before break of day They were last at the Cross, and first at the tomb. Favors are given sovereignly by the Lord, but honor is conferred according to a rule; and the rule is this: "Them that honor me, I will honor." These women were informed of his resurrection before the apostles; the apostles received the intelligence from them, but they received it from an angel.

At first these pious visitants were afraid. And what wonder when we consider that they were females; that all their sensibilities were alive; that they were in another's garden; that they were alone; that the earth was reeling under them; that the guards were fleeing, and perhaps shrieking; that it was early in the morning, and the remaining darkness rendered more visible and awful the divine messenger sitting at the door of the tomb -- his countenance as lightning, and his raiment white as snow!

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What is Powerlessness?Premium Content

I have been reminded recently that the Christian faith is as offensive and outrageous as it has always been. It is still, as the Apostle Paul put it, a kind of foolishness. That the weakness of the infant Jesus could contain the power at the heart of all of creation is sheer foolishness. That the weakness of the cross could possibly constitute the decisive victory over the forces which oppose God's rule seems preposterous. Indeed, it is rare today to find anyone, either within the Christian community or elsewhere, who speaks in praise of weakness. Our understanding of power has become decidedly unparadoxical. We want our power untainted with anything as undesirable as weakness. We prefer peace through strength and salvation through self-reliance.

A growing critique of the recovery movement makes precisely this point. Stan Katz and Aimee Liu put it this way in their book The Codependency Conspiracy: "relationships that are based on mutual weakness cannot serve as sources of strength or enrichment". This is a remarkable conviction - and one that is quite contrary to my personal experience. But it is a very popular conviction. Recovery through strength is much more appealing than recovery which begins with the appalling weakness of 'admitting powerlessness'.

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Do You Have Tenacious Resolve?Premium Content

A dear friend and brother gave me a medallion to remind me of "tenacious resolve". It has the words "finish strong" inscribed on it. I keep it in a place where I will see it often. I don't know about you, but I need reminders. God is great about giving us sign-posts and reminders. There are always little, and even big reminders along life's path---they are there to show us that he is still our strongest encourager.

Here is one of my favorite "tenacious resolve" Scriptures:

Therefore, we do not lose heart. So we are not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Msg

We are prone to loosing heart and giving up without this level of regular encouragement. It's bad enough without negative reporters, naysayers, critics, and discouragers. They seem to abound the harder circumstances become. Which am I-a spiritual cheerleader or "frump grump"? Never heard of a "frump grump"? They only prognosticate on how much worse it's going to get.

So, what do we do with all the evidence of things seeming to fall apart around us? First, resolve not to ever give up! It's just not an option. With that "tenacious resolve" you will not lose heart. Once you lose heart-it is easy to become overwhelmed to the point of seeing only the negative and missing all the positive signs around you.

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When You Feel Like Giving Up - Hang in TherePremium Content

There are times (though they are fleeting) that I feel like giving up on everything and everybody. That includes me and even God. Thankfully Heavenly Papa doesn't take me seriously. And neither does He issue me a citation for going too far out of bounds from His Watch Care, Grace and Love. David said,

If I climb to the sky, you're there!
If I go underground, you're there!
If I flew on morning's wings to the far western horizon,
you'd find me in a minute - you're already there waiting!
Psalm 139: 8-9, The Message

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Are You a Ragamuffin in Need of Grace?Premium Content

Brennan Manning loved to refer to the Gospel as the Ragamuffin Gospel. I always liked that! Why? I didn't come to Jesus with any piety or with the veil of religious performance. I was completely surprised when I encountered Jesus. He was totally other than my immature image of Him! And I had hit "my" bottom as a drug addicted Hippie. My home was the streets.

Jesus took me in through the love and hospitality of two of His Ragamuffin Saints. And He immediately sensitized me to the realities of being drawn into Him. He threw out the welcome mat to my heart to be at home in Him. I had no theology. Not even the slightest pretense of having a clue about my life "purpose" or "worth." I was entirely "clueless!"

Brennan Manning eloquently communicated the Gospel of Grace without even a hit hint of religious pride. And he never wavered or compromised it. Instead; he was faithful to the message of grace through his own personal struggles, failures and shortcomings. The following quote succinctly captures the essence of Brennan's life message!

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Reigning Through SufferingPremium Content

...it is both sin and Satan that we contend with, and our daily handling of suffering will directly determine how much sin and Satan will prevail.

Absorbing the Evil

Evil propagates itself by a chain reaction. It is like a bad coin, which is passed on from one person to another until it reaches someone who will put it out of currency by absorbing the loss. If one man injures another, there are three ways in which evil can win a victory and only one way in which it can be defeated. If the injured person retaliates, or nurses a grievance, or takes it out on a third person, the evil is perpetuated and is therefore victorious. Evil is defeated only if the injured person absorbs the evil and refuses to allow it to go any further. It is this kind of victory which Paul describes when he says that Christ died to sin.1

G. B. Caird has given us a brilliant insight: the defeat of evil is often determined by the injured person! How? It is that person's choice to absorb the evil through longsuffering, meekness, and love. When people do this, they prevent their personal injustice to percolate and transform itself into something they take out on another. The sin stops with them.

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How can I overcome health-related discouragement?Premium Content

How can I overcome health-related discouragement?

A physical disability is another avenue through which Satan can attack your mind. He can whisper thoughts of anger, confusion, disappointment, and worthlessness in your ear until you begin to claim those feelings as your own. But, the Lord has a different plan in mind for you. His plans is to work ALL things, in your life, together for His good purposes (Rom. 8:28).

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