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On Stormy Waters?Premium Content

(Based on Matthew 14:22-34)

Experienced fishermen shuddered when the wind howled out of the mountains and onto the sea. Then the waves became choppy and unpredictable. Men who worked these waters knew to haul their sails and make for harbor.

But sometimes-and this night was one of them-high seas would not permit sailors to gain the shore.

The small boat circled the middle of the sea, an eerie spot, wild, unsettled, dangerous-and according to some reports-haunted. In watery graves below lay the sailors' fellow fishermen waiting for them to join them, their boats reduced to waterlogged splinters,their bones picked clean by the same denizens of the deep they had come to harvest.

By three in the morning, as a false dawn dimly lit the sky, the men had been pulling on the oars for hours against the wind. No nearer shore, shelter, or sanctuary, exhaustion was setting in.

Then one man caught a glimpse of something unsettling on the seas. For a few moments, a trough obscured his vision, and while he waited for the lift of the next wave, he pondered whether he was seeing things. When the wave lofted them upward, he looked steadily over his shoulder. There it was again!

He gave a shriek of terror and pointed as the boat was again swallowed by a curl of water.

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Are You Living From a Place of Gratitude?

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. ~G. K. Chesterton


Intentional awareness of our countless blessings will always provide fuel for a wildfire of gratitude in our soul! A fitting starting point in our quest for gratitude is to take special note of the Jesus experiences of each day. They will become kindling for that wildfire of thanksgiving. These awesome experiences continually stoke the embers of past experience into the blaze of present blessings and grandeur in Him!

Jesus did not just solve our problems by waving a magic wand from afar. He entered into the middle of the conflict, stepped into the domain of contradiction, entered our hell, faced death itself and from there He conquered. If this doesn't warm your heart and evoke gratitude, it's not likely anything will! As we consciously meditate each day upon the wonder and grandeur of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus our hearts will remain 'strangely warmed'.

Then, as we live from that place of gratitude, we also become enraptured by the moment by moment revelation of Father that Jesus brings. The masses of the world will never be converted by a second rate Christian version of itself. And neither will you or I! They will however, flock to places that give them what nothing else can; a life that won't leave them fatherless and thus thankless.

What are Your Choices?

There is an old proverb which says, "We would all be rich, if we didn't have to eat." This is simply another way of saying that we all have priorities, and we make our choices in terms of them.

Some men choose to be miserly on food, clothing, and shelter, because they value money so highly. They may like their family, but they love money more, and so they sacrifice everything to accumulate money. Others sacrifice for their children, and everything else takes second place in their lives.

Many other examples could be cited, but we can summarize it thus: we are always making choices, consciously or unconsciously, in terms of what we prize or love the most. Our choices reveal our faith.

The Spiritual Man (Words Change Their Meaning)Premium Content

As time passes, words change their meaning and often come to mean something very different from their earlier intent. In Shakespeare's day, the word "honest" meant sexually chaste; now it refers to a general truthfulness and dependability.

At other times, words remain somewhat the same in their general meaning, but with a dramatically different intention. "Spiritual" is one such word. Paul in Romans 7:14 says,

For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

The word "spiritual" is, in the Greek original, pneumatikos; it does refer to nonmaterial reality, but even more, to power. To say God's law "is spiritual" is to say that it is powerful beyond man's ability to imagine. It has all the power of God and His heavenly hosts behind it. In this sense, the spiritual man is the most powerful man; he is not a pale and weak figure on the sidelines of life, but God's mover and shaker.

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Ascending the Heights of GrandeurPremium Content

Only in Papa can we ascend the heights of grandeur, while at the same time plumbing the depths of commonness. That sums up my journey in Christ. The expectations of greatness have far exceeded my wildest dreams or imaginations and the simplicity has astounded me -- a simpleton (not meaning that in a self-deprecating way).

At times I've literally pinched myself to see if I was only imagining where I was being allowed to sojourn. And at other times I've slapped myself to make sure I wasn't asleep at the wheel of life. I know you can track with me. You can, can't you? Or am I the craziest of the King of Kings, Kingdom Kids?

The royal helpmate he gave me to share the journey with... the offspring (natural and spirit born) that have so far exceeded any dream I could have held for their life in Christ...the people he's allowed me to walk with and know... the lifelong friends who have loved me through the 'best and worst' of times (you know who you are)... the exotic and also awful places on this planet I have followed him to... the absolutely insane investment he continues to make in my life... on and on it goes!

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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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The Worst Kind of BetrayalPremium Content

I think that betrayal is the worst experience in life. Most things are easy to rise above, or, if necessary, easy to endure. You simply put one foot in front of another and walk through it. But betrayal breaks the spirit. It makes you want to say, "What's the point?"


The human spirit will endure sickness;
but a broken spirit -- who can bear?
Proverbs 18:14 NRSV

Betrayal exists all around us. Most of the times, we set ourselves up. We create expectations of relationships, of circumstances, and when things don't work out the way we planned or intended or hoped, we are betrayed. And it hurts. It hurts a lot! In these situations, however, we need to look within ourselves. Were our expectations unreasonable? For example, we usually expect that our employers will treat us fairly. Our expectations are based on the idea that our employers, our jobs are the source of our income, our livelihood. In these cases, our expectations are unreasonable. Our job isn't the source of our income; the Lord is! And He never fails. So it doesn't matter whether or not we lose our job. He will provide.

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When Our Beliefs are Called into QuestionPremium Content

The Physical, Mental and Spiritual Disciplines

Speaking from experience, Philip Yancey writes, "For nearly everyone, doubt follows pain quickly and surely, like a reflex action. Suffering calls our most basic beliefs about God into question." Suffering often causes us to doubt, to question our beliefs, to wrestle with everything we ever thought we knew about God: about who He is, about what He is up to, about the very nature of His heart. All these doubts and questions can be fertile ground for spiritual growth. Go ahead and out, question, wrestle – just be sure to use this time and out to seek to know him desperately. He will keep your heart open to God so that you can hear the answers to those questions.

How do we keep our hearts open? How do we grow closer to God in our trials, instead of crashing down into bitterness and despair? That is where the physical, mental and spiritual disciplines come in.

The Physical Disciplines

Taking care of our bodies

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

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Simple and Pure Devotion = NurturePremium Content

Were you nurtured? Are you presently embracing nurture? Are you a nurturer? Let's define nurture...

    ...to support by way of encouragement, (as one does for another during a period of training or development) ensuring its success

    ...to coach what is the fore seen in another (as with destiny, potential and promising giftedness), calling it forth to completion

    ...to feed or protect one's offspring (as a parent does for a child) until empowered to care for oneself and another


Who among us doesn't need nurture? Who among us doesn't fit somewhere; at any given time, in one of these definitions? Who among us has made it to maturity (in any given area of life) apart from the "nurture" of spiritual parents, mentors and/or friends? Wow! I am blessed with all three!

As the scripture says; The end of all things is near; therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:7-8, NIV emphasis mine. These difficult "end" times call for the Body of Christ to cover each other-not expose or exploit one another's weaknesses.

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What about Coincidences?Premium Content

"Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous."
Albert Einstein

I love this quote by Mr. Einstein. How true it is! When we think of the word, "coincidence," we tend to think along the standard definition's description:

    "a chance happening: something that happens by chance in a surprising or remarkable way; happening without planning."


Ever had one of those experiences like that definition? You know, those weird, in sync, "hmm" kinds of moments which just seem to be too timely/helpful to be believed? If you call yourself a human being, more than likely, at one time or another, you probably have had a few. Meet God, being anonymous.

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