Friday, July 14, 2017

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Look, a lot of toys come and go with this year's fads. But there are a few classic toys that just keep showing up in generation after generation-like Play-Doh, for example. I mean, who hasn't either owned some Play-Doh or bought some for a child or tried to get it out of the carpet? I mean, look, it's great stuff! You take it out of its' can and it's in the shape of the can it came in. But that changes quickly, depending on what you want to make of it. You can make that colored clay round like a ball, or you can make it into a pancake, or you can make it into two or three objects with different shapes. Play-Doh just takes on whatever shape you want it to be.

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  • faith
  • Sin
  • temptation
  • Holiness
  • worldly

Thursday, July 13, 2017

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There were a lot of dramatic images from the military action known as Operation Iraqi Freedom – but I think few were more dramatic than the middle-of-the-night rescue of a prisoner of war, Jessica Lynch. If you were around at the time, you probably remember it. As Coalition forces advanced quickly from the Kuwaiti border to the capital of Baghdad, Pfc. Lynch's unit of Army maintenance troops made a wrong turn, ended up in the middle of an enemy ambush, and no one knew Jessie Lynch's fate. She was listed as missing in action. But acting on the tip of Iraqi sympathizers, a Special Operations Force fought their way into the hospital where she was imprisoned, found her, and quickly carried her to a waiting helicopter. And then, they had to fight their way out, too. But Private Lynch was safe – saved by rescuers who risked it all to bring her out.

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  • Salvation
  • Jesus
  • forgiveness
  • the cross
  • trapped

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

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I once spoke for a large youth conference at one of the East Coast's most popular vacation spots: Ocean City, Maryland. The boardwalk, the hotels, the restaurants, the amusements seem to stretch for miles there. My friend told me he'd been coming to Ocean City since the 1970s, when most of what I was seeing wasn't there. Not that many folks used to come to Ocean City at all. I asked my friend what changed that. He said, "Oh, the bridge". The building of what is called the Bay Bridge opened up this beautiful spot to many people who literally had never experienced it before.

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  • rescue
  • friendship
  • outreach
  • coworkers
  • bridge

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

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We have some wonderful Native American friends in the Northwest, and during one of our reservation outreaches, they honored us by inviting us to stay in their home. We had a great stay, but I did have to learn a custom that was new to me. When you walk in their front door, you are greeted with a pile of shoes. Now, in many Native American homes in that area, it's expected that your shoes won't make it past the door. Which makes you think about what socks you're going to wear that day for sure; probably not the ones that look like Swiss cheese. Actually, to come into the house with your shoes on is to really dishonor your hosts. And anyone who has had to sweep or vacuum the trail left behind by dirty shoes knows it's not just about honor. It really makes sense to not track dirt into a clean house!

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  • prayer
  • Sin
  • confession
  • Holiness

Monday, July 10, 2017

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Allison and her daughter and two friends were out for a trail ride in a remote area. They were to rendezvous later, actually, in the afternoon with other family members at their overnight campsite. When it came time to head back, they were somewhere on the side of a mountain, picking their way through very rocky ground. No matter which way they went, they couldn't find the main trail that would take them back down the mountain. They could see where they needed to be, but the terrain was too rugged to get down any other way. The hours wore on, dark began to fall, and Allison's two friends finally made an attempt to get to a cabin they could see. Well after dark, Allison and her daughter finally saw flashlights moving up the mountain. Her friends returned with the man from that cabin. He helped them pick their way to a point where they could actually get right back on the trail. Much to their surprise, while they had been lost, they had been very close to the trail all along!

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  • Salvation
  • Jesus
  • forgiveness
  • eternity
  • heaven
  • christians

Friday, July 7, 2017

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When you're little, your parents seem immortal. They're not. Sooner or later, most of us get the kind of call that I got, and maybe you've gotten – a parent is gone. In my case, the hospital called to say my Mom had been admitted due to a medical emergency, but her body gave out and she was gone. No matter what the circumstances, the death of someone you love is always a shock, even if you knew maybe it was coming. When you're the only living child and your other parent is already gone, there's this numbing list of arrangements that you suddenly have to make. Thankfully, that wasn't the case with my Mom. Mercifully, funeral arrangements had been made and paid for years in advance.

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  • Death
  • Salvation
  • Jesus
  • forgiveness
  • heaven

Thursday, July 6, 2017

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When you grow up in the city like I did, your neighborhood usually has a neighborhood bully. Ours did. His name? Boomer! For the little kids on our block, Boomer was like the original terrorist. He'd beat us up for nothing, he'd take our stuff and generally intimidate us. One day I got tired of it! Yep! See, he took my White Sox cap. I was just a little guy. I was no match for him. But I walked boldly down our street to where no kid dared to go - to the corner apartment building where Boomer lived. I can picture it to this day. I went to the back porch, I knocked on the door, and I asked for my hat back. You say, "What a brave little boy you were." There is one detail I left out - my father went with me. And that made all the difference. See, Boomer was bigger than I was. But my father was bigger than Boomer was!

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  • faith
  • God's will
  • courage

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

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At first, they were frightened even bruised faces appearing on Iraqi TV. Early in the Iraq War, there were seven American soldiers and pilots who had been captured by Saddam Hussein's forces and then they were paraded on television for all the world to see. After that, none of us could be sure whether they were hurt or healthy, or dead or alive. Since then there have been way too many scenes like that. Retreating enemy soldiers informed American troops of the place where these particular POWs were being held. As the heavily armed soldiers burst into the room, they first shouted for everyone to lie down on the floor. And then, they yelled out an unmistakable command: "If you're an American, stand up!" Seven prisoners stood up, and they were free.

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  • rescue
  • friendship
  • family
  • outreach
  • coworkers

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

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Years ago I heard a friend tell about a scene from his childhood that he never forgot. My friend was around on that black day in 1929 that marked the beginning of the Great Depression. One of the great traumas of America's financial collapse, of course, was that many banks just went under almost overnight. Well, my friend literally remembered seeing a neighbor at the locked gates of his bank, and he was literally pounding his fists bloody on those gates, screaming at the top of his lungs, "Give me my money! Give me my money!" There was no money to give.

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  • Salvation
  • Jesus
  • forgiveness
  • Christianity
  • religion

Monday, July 3, 2017

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Mr. Mom! That's what I became when my wife, Karen, was sick with a serious case of Hepatitis some years ago. She was confined to bed for a few months, actually, and we all realized as never before of course the difference that she made in our lives. Now, one little visible evidence of that was our kitchen sink, which seemed to take on a life of its own during those months. Oh yeah, we continued to do our usual good job of getting dishes dirty, but somehow no one was getting around to getting them clean! I remember going into the kitchen for what should have been a simple exercise - getting a drink of water, right? How hard is that? Well, fat chance! I looked everywhere for a glass. Oh, there were plenty of glasses - dirty ones in the sink. I mean a clean glass – not to be found. It was a frustrating search. I was searching for something clean to use and I couldn't find anything.

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  • Sin
  • distractions
  • God's will
  • temptation

            

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Harrison, AR 72602-0400

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