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Monsters in the Closet and the BLAST Prayer

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Scripture says not to give the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:27). Jesus specifically says about himself, that the devil had no place or hold on him (John 14:30). When we have a sin habit, we give ground to the devil in our lives. There is a breach in our lives and Satan has a place in our lives that he can harass and tempt us more than he should. Think of it as an intruder that we allow to live in a closet in our house. The intruder has no right to be there. But we have allowed him in….

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Had I Been Joseph’s Mother – A Poem by Ruth Bell Graham

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A Ruth Bell Graham Poem. Had I been Joseph’s mother I’d have prayed/ protection from his brothers “God keep him safe./ He is so young, so different from / the others.” Mercifully, / she never knew there would be slavery/ and prison, too. Had I been Moses’ mother I’d have wept/ To keep my little son; praying she might forget/the babe drawn from the water /of the Nile. Had I not kept/ him for her/ nursing him the while, was he not mine – and she/ but Pharoah’s daughter? Had I been Daniel’s mother I should have pled / “Give…

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Connecting with Your Introverted Teen

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At a recent conference I was urging fathers to press in and communicate with their children. One father asked, “How do I communicate with my 16 year old who is very introverted and doesn’t seem willing to talk?” Here are a few of the things to consider. 1. Start by considering the environment. I would ask if this is a personality issue or has the lack of communication come about because of something that has happened. Is there an open communication dynamic in our home? Have I sinfully allowed him to turn in on himself because I was too busy…

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Thoughts on Meditation from Spurgeon and the Puritans

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From Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotional “I will meditate in thy precepts.” — Psalms 119:15 There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on his Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. Truth is something like the cluster of the vine: if we would have wine from it, we must bruise it; we must press and…

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My Family, My Growth: Five Characteristics of Godly Repentance

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  Children are God-given sanctification tools in our lives. God gives us little children that we might nurture, train, and instruct them (Ephesians 6:4). But in that process of shepherding their souls, God also intends that we should grow. In fact, our children are one of God’s primary sanctification tools in our lives. They will stress us and demand upon us beyond what we think we can handle. They will shine a floodlight on idols of our heart. But the reason God shines that floodlight is not to condemn us but so that we might mature and grow. The first…

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Painful Love and Forgiveness

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Blessed are those that mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4 Our families will never be perfect. We will sin against each other and be sinned against. Relationships invariably involve pain. That is the way of love. How we choose to react to that pain will depend on our perspective. C. S. Lewis makes clear that the choice is between loving and having a hard heart. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to…

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Nine Ways Your Church is Changing You for Good

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  Loving Jesus But Not Loving His Bride? On his final night, Jesus said All men will know you my disciples if you love one another (John 13:35). To read the New Testament is to read documents that are filled with commands and assumptions that cannot be lived out except in community. And yet, now comes a study that tells us that numerous Christians love Jesus but don’t like the church.  While certainly the bride of Christ is not as beautiful as she will be and the body of Christ does not reflect the beauty of its head, to claim…

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Two Tips for Connecting Your Children with Spiritual Mentors

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  Connecting Our Children to Spiritual Mentors I was recently interviewed and asked how parents can connect their children with other mentors in the church. In The Disciple-Making Parent I quote Kara Powell who suggests trying to connect our children with a least five adults in an informal way. But how can this happen? The church can certainly help but what can we do as parents? I have written extensively on this in Chapter 6 of The Disciple-Making Parent. But in addition to that material I ended up adding several other things in this interview. 1. Teach your children to…

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Teaching Children the Substitutionary Atonement Based on Luke 23

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I have often used the story of the two thieves on the cross to explain the substitutionary atonement of Christ. Both children and adults can learn from this simple chart! The pertinent verses are Luke 23:40-43. The penitent thief says, “Don’t you fear God, since we are under the same sentence? We are punished justly for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.” When using it: 1. I would draw the three crosses. 2. I would ask what was true of…

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Chronological Scripture Readings for the Passion Week

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Christians often use this week to remind themselves of the events of the last week of Christ’s life. Indeed Scripture devotes a disproportionate amount of space to this final week. Perhaps you could use the following traditional placement of the events for your devotional thoughts this week.   Click here to print the schedule. Saturday John 12:2-11 (see also Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9) Sunday – Official Presentation of Jesus to Israel Luke 19:29-44 Matthew 21:11-17 (see also Mark 11:1-11, John 12:12-19) Monday – Cleansing of the Temple Mark 11:12-18 John 12:20-50 Tuesday AM – Official Challenge of Christ’s Authority Mark…

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