Faith

Finding the Strength of Jesus

In high school I was a distance runner. I would run on the cross-country team in the Fall and for the track and field team in the Spring. Our training involved running every day. Another part of training was hitting the gym a couple times each week. Every time I entered the gym I dream of what it would be like to have muscles and be strong.

Many of us wish we could be strong. It takes a lot of discipline, dedicating yourself to continued time and effort. You can’t quit training once you start. If you aren’t purposeful in continuing your strength will waste away.

Though our television shows, movies, magazines and the internet are full of well-toned bodies, the majority of us are not. We gave up on the routine, or never started it all. As a result we are weak. Strength and muscles remain a dream. But there’s more to strength and weakness than we realize.

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Christian Living

Don’t be Afraid of the Storm

Do you remember what it was like to be afraid of thunderstorms? As children we might’ve thought the lightning was just another kind of fireworks show, until the crash of thunder rolled in behind it. We try to tell little ones they don’t have to be afraid, but it rarely works. One story I heard when I was little was that the thunder was the sound of angels bowling. Apparently they’re a lot better at it than I am.

My family has a little dog. I call him a “scaredy-dog” because he’s afraid of everything. If the smoke alarm goes off when I’m cooking, he whines until he can get out of the house. When one of the cats gets near him, he whines and tries to get away. And when there is a thunderstorm in the forecast, he whimpers all day, dreading its coming. He used to belong to my mother-in-law. She tells us how he would try to hide under her pillow during a storm. While she was sleeping on it. He’s a crazy little dog.

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What about you? Are you afraid of thunderstorms? Do the claps of thunder still catch you off guard? I still count the seconds between lightning and thunder to see how close the storm is and whether it is coming or going. I still expect to hear the sound of smaller footsteps entering the bedroom. But not every storm we face is found in the clouds and rain. Thankfully, there is a powerful key to weathering the storms of life.

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Christian Living

Magnify the Lord: Making God Bigger in Our Lives

One of my favorite parts of church is the singing. My life was always filled with music. We learned how to play the recorder in Grade 3. In Grade 5 we were given the chance to sign up for the school band. When I went home and told my parents I needed a trumpet, they were quite surprised. All through my school years I was part of the choir, which is where I learned music theory. Later I took that knowledge and taught myself to play the piano and the guitar.

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Songs can stick with us for years. It will be a long time before people stop hearing the music of Disney’s Frozen every time they hear the phrase, “Let it go.” The songs we sing in church have the same power. We may not be able to remember them in their entirety, but parts of those songs can sink deep into our memories. They help us remember powerful truths about God and life. And no matter our situation, we can pull those songs out of our hearts, any time and any place.

Scripture describes what we do with our songs using many powerful words. One of these tells us to take the words we sing and use them to take God from the back burner of our minds and put Him front and center.

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Christian Living

The Road to Life is NOT an Easy Road

One of the songs that put Christian musician Steven Curtis Chapman on the map in his early career was one that talked about how great the road to Heaven is. “There’s no better place on earth than the road that leads to Heaven. No other place I’d rather be.”

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A lot of times we talk about the Christian life as a great place where our troubles pass away, sickness is healed, and every need is provided for. We draw a picture of how God works all things for our good and wipes away every tear.

While each of these statements comes from Scripture, we have a tendency to place God’s promises where they don’t belong. For example, God will wipe away every tear in the New Jerusalem where we enjoy eternity with Him (Revelation 21:1-4). In our zeal to lead souls to Jesus, we have to be careful not to dye the grass so green that we do not prepare those souls for the realities of following Jesus.

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Book Reviews

Book Review: “I Am Second” (Thomas Nelson)

ias-bookThe Bible is more than a bunch of stories gathered over time. It is a historical record of people from the beginning of time to the end of the first century or so. It talks about how people related with God and how He intervened in their lives. There are success stories and there are failures.

At times we pick up the Scriptures and wonder if the stories of lives that are thousands of years removed from our own will be able to speak to us. If only we could see how God relates to us in our time, with our problems. Maybe we can finally believe that He is real and that He wants to be part of our lives.

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