Thankfulness Comes from One Simple Word

How your loss carries with it perspective that brings gratitude.

This week we tend to focus on thankfulness for all we have. But sometimes it helps also to think about what we’ve lost. Loss carries with it a perspective that makes us grateful like few other things can.

Thankfulness Comes from One Simple Word

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I’ve come to understand how loss in life is one of God’s greatest ways to cultivate a grateful heart.

Have you lost something important? Thankfulness comes from one simple word.

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Nebi Samwil—A Site with Wisdom Ignored

Solomon's defining moment can also become ours.

Most travelers to Jerusalem never think to come to Nebi Samwil. The minaret towering above the hill looks like a misplaced lighthouse searching for the sea. On a clear day, a visitor can spy the Mediterranean to the west.

Nebi Samwil

(Photo: Nebi Samwil. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Although few come here today, there were few more important places in David’s and Solomon’s time—if any. In fact, it signified Solomon’s most defining moment.

What’s more, it represents the potential for ours as well.

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Your Christian Life is a Daily Two-Step

How success boils down to 2 decisions you make every day.

How can you do what you should do when you’d rather do anything else? We know this marks the difference between success and failure. We struggle with the how.

Your Christian Life is a Daily Two-Step

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Long before Jesus lugged His cross down the Via Dolorosa, He had issued a command to all who would follow Him:

If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. —Mark 8:34

The Christian life follows the life of Christ. And Jesus’ life ended literally carrying a cross all the way to His death.

We all have our own Via Dolorosa. We walk it two steps at a time.

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What if Your Busy Life Isn’t Productive?

How to bear fruit for God in a world of distraction.

My old car had a funny way of handling the cold. I would turn on the headlights, heat, rear defrost, and the radio. All was fine until I turned on my blinker. When I did, the radio blinked off and on.

What if Your Busy Life is not Productive

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The small drain from the blinker was more than the power source could handle. Many mornings I feel like my old car. Every ounce of energy is already being used, and if even one small additional drain is required from me, the overload starts shutting down my system.

We’ve all been there. A busy life means little margin—and often, little productivity. No fruit for God.

Jesus told a story once about our busy lives—and the way to bear fruit to God.

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The Secret to a Lasting Satisfaction

How do we deal with the futility of life when the satisfaction always fades?

Have you ever noticed how we dedicate so much time and money to feed feelings that last only a moment? Think about your upcoming weekend for a moment and see if it isn’t true.

The Secret to a Lasting Satisfaction

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  • We pay five dollars for a cup of coffee we drink in five minutes.
  • We long for that glorious vacation but come home in a week to face the same daily grind.
  • We plunk down twenty bucks for a movie (and even more for popcorn), and it’s over in two hours.
  • We enjoy the zing of a new relationship or a new church fellowship only to discover it’s just like the last one.

Nothing wrong with any of these activities, per se. But when joy and satisfaction in life elude us, we need to ask an obvious question with a not-so-obvious answer: How do we deal with the futility of life when my satisfaction always fades?

Eventually we figure out we can’t exist for the next relationship or vacation or pat on the back. Instead, we need to learn to live for what never fades and what always satisfies.

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What You Must Have Before You’ll Have Success

Jesus spoke words of encouragement for moments just like these.

Most of us Christians have experienced those incredible moments of intimacy with God when we have no yearning for any earthly success, much less for sin. Christ becomes our entire desire.

What You Must Have Before You'll Have Success

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In those times, we make impassioned commitments of absolute dedication. We really believe we have turned a corner in our spiritual lives.

But for some reason . . . it doesn’t last.

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3 Promises of God to Help Your Fear of Change

Would you be willing to follow God if you knew you couldn't fail?

Let me guess. You sit in the same spot in church each week. You drive the same route to work. You eat the same things for breakfast. And you pray the same way at meals. Am I close? Yep. Me too.

3 Promises of God to Help Your Fear of Change

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You and I both are creatures of habit. We like the security of routine. And as long as nobody sits in our seat at church, life is fine. Or to say it another way, we have a fear of change. Here’s why:

  • The only change we welcome is the change we expect. Like the seasons. We plan for it and can adjust accordingly.
  • We also like the change we initiate, like a new job or even a dry diaper, because it gets us what we want.

God, however, has a different view. We have a fear of change, but He has a strange commitment to it.

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God’s Pop Quizzes and Your Struggling Answers

When the tests come, we can believe what is true or what is false.

God’s tests are most often pop quizzes. You don’t see them coming. If you knew you would be running late tomorrow morning, you’d prepare ahead of time. But that’s not a real test.

God's Pop Quizzes and Your Struggling Answers

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A real test hits your blindside. It tests the mettle of your theology, and often, it even seems to contradict it.

  • You have walked with God, but a family member suddenly gets terribly ill.
  • Your integrity on the job has been stellar, but someone else gets the promotion.
  • You have worked hard on a project, but the doors for its success stay closed.
  • You get an unexpected phone call with news that chills your soul.

In the end, the pop quizzes we experience usually boil down to one thing.

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Listening to Well-Timed Words of Warning

One other person struggled the night Jesus prayed in Gethsemane.

Dark shadows had fallen over Jerusalem. A lone figure knelt, weeping, agonizing in prayer, as eleven men slumbered nearby. While Jerusalem slept, the Lord Jesus endured anguish in the darkness of Gethsemane. But He did not suffer alone that night.

Listening to Well-Timed Warnings

(Photo: The Citadel served as the residence of Pilate and his wife. Courtesy of Pictorial Library of Bible Lands.)

On the other side of Jerusalem in the luxuriant palace of the governor—perhaps even during the hours of Jesus’s agony in the garden—another figure writhed in agony.

The content of her nightmare was about Jesus. It caused her to arrive at a firm conclusion.

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Why You Must Listen to God Rather than to People

Joash's life demands we cultivate our own resolve to follow the Lord.

We all need people to influence us. God made us that way. From the languages we speak to the character we develop—it all begins with those who surround us in our formative years.

Listen to God

(Photo by Noam Armonn via Vivozoom)

It starts with our environment, but it shouldn’t end there. It cannot.

When it does, it’s tragic. That was the case with King Joash.

But it doesn’t have to be that way with us.

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