Guarding against Legalism

Jesus said, “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.” The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bedroll and walked off. That day happened to be the Sabbath. The Jews stopped the healed man and said, “It’s the Sabbath. You can’t carry your bedroll around. It’s against the rules.” . . . The man went back and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

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Gratitude for Grace

For the grace of God has appeared; bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly,righteously and godly in the present age. (Titus 2:11–12) Thank You, dear Lord, for the beautiful way You teach us. Thank You for Your patience when we fail. Thank You for Your understanding in the midst of all our own confusion.

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For Relief from Shame

“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said.

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Overcoming Guilt by Remembering Whose We Are

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38–39) Dear gracious Father, we’re our own worst enemy. We focus on our failures rather than on Your rescues.

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Hope beyond Failure

Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And [Peter] went outside and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:60–62 NIV)

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Cracks in the Wall

The longer I live the less I know for sure. That sounds like 50% heresy . . . but it’s 100% honesty. In my younger years I had a lot more answers than I do now. Things were absolutely black and white, right or wrong, yes or no, in or out, but a lot of that is beginning to change. The more I travel and read and wrestle and think the less simplistic things seem.

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Comparison

If I may select a well-known phrase from the cobwebs of the fourteenth century and wipe away the dust to garner your attention, it is: COMPARISONS ARE ODIOUS. Odious . . . disgusting, detestable. If you want to be a miserable mortal, then compare. You compare when you place someone beside someone else for the purpose of emphasizing the differences or showing the likenesses. This applies to places and things as well as people.

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The Broken Wing

It is quite probable that someone reading my words this moment is fighting an inner battle with a ghost from the past. The skeleton in one of yesterday’s closets is beginning to rattle louder and louder. Putting adhesive tape around the closet and moving the bureau in front of the door does little to muffle the clattering bones. You wonder, possibly, “Who knows?” You think, probably, “I’ve had it . . . can’t win . . . party’s over.”

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Beginning Again

INSTANT REPLAYS HAVE BECOME OLD HAT. We now expect them in all televised scenarios. Whether it’s a tennis pro’s impressive backhand or an in-store video camera capturing the sticky-fingered shoplifter or a squad car dashcam chronicling an officer’s every move! These days, we never should worry about missing it the first time around. It’ll be back again and again and, probably, again—splashed across cable news.

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Open Minds, Open Hearts

THE LONGER I LIVE THE LESS I know with absolute certainty. In my younger years, I viewed most things as either black or white. Over the years, my perspective has been transformed—by the seasoning of years, the pain of disappointment, the reality of adversity, and the still small voice of God tempering my long-held convictions. Now I’m much more uncomfortable with sweeping generalities.

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