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Devotional: An open door

See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. Revelation 3:7-12

When you have just lost a job, a contract has evaporated, a promising path has gone nowhere, or your bag of hope has leaked a trail of sand behind you, then it does not feel like “an open door that no one can shut.”  Some of us have gone so long, we feel we haven’t seen a door for quite some time.  So what do we do?

First, we recognize that the real doors are in the heavenly realm. Second, we know who holds the keys. “These are the words of Him who is holy and true, who holds the keys of David.”  Third, we don’t get hung up on our own condition. “I know that you have little strength…”

What do we do when we feel a door is shut in our face?  

‘Keep my word …do not deny my name …endure patiently …hold on to what you have …don’t let anyone take your crown …keep your reward in...

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Devotional: Hope for place – finances

For seven days they celebrated with joy the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because the Lord had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria, so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.    Ezra 6:22

A seven-day party—that ought to get our attention! For Israel it had been a stop-start effort to get the temple rebuilt. Finances had been a factor on and off. Overall, however, they had favor from many rulers. Nehemiah said, “And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests.” This was king Artaxerxes. Ezra had enjoyed similar favor from Cyrus, king of Persia—“the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia.” Later Darius said, “The expenses of these men are to be fully paid out of the royal treasury…so that the work will not stop.”

This support from what some today would call “high net worth donors” was only part of the...

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Do you have enough?

In 2020 the annual income needed to be happy (in the USA) was roughly $75,000—earn less than this and you may be a little miserable, and earn more… well, the happiness per dollar does not increase by much. Situations vary, but this is the rough calculation. I wonder if it is fair to ask whether desiring more than “enough” is a love of money? I do not think this is always the case. If you want it so that you can give it, that is one thing. If you want it so that you can keep 90% of the increase for yourself, assuming you give away 10%, then that is different. In fact, it may be “the love of money” which we are told to avoid like a novel virus.

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have…” says the author of the book of Hebrews.

Dealing with greed is a tricky thing because we convince ourselves we need more. Contentment: it is easy to say it, but hard to stay in it. An experiment has been done...

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Devotional: Glorifying God

May those who delight in my vindication shout for joy and gladness; may they always say, “The Lord be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant.” Psalm 35:27

When God delays in answering prayer (such as healing Lazarus), it is so that He might answer it in a different way (such as raising him from the dead) in order that He might receive more glory.

When God vindicates His servant leaders, He does so in order that those who support the leader may shout for joy and gladness and always say, “The Lord be exalted, who delights in the well-being of His servant.”  

The great aligning objective of man, the one thing that they can look to outside of themselves that will cause them to rise above themselves, the polar magnet that will cause the metal shards of our scrappy existence to pull together, is the in order that increased praise of and attributing worth to (i.e., worship of) God’s name and character.  

When working with...

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Is Covid your ticket out of Egypt?

Let’s face it, we often only leave a place of comfort when we are prodded, pushed or shoved. Most people have some resistance to change and stay in bad situations rather than to face the unknown. This is not true for everyone, but articles abound on why people say “the old is better.” The nation of Israel had arrived in Egypt hundreds of years prior and their temporary escape from famine-ravaged Canaan led to them falling in love with garlic, leeks and sunset cruises on the Nile. 350 years later a handsome young fellow was born, but things had started to get a little nasty for Jacob & Sons in North Africa. Infanticide was Pharaoh's latest trick to control the Jewish population; this was followed by slavery and hard labor. You would think people would rush for the EXIT sign, but they didn’t.

“Therefore, tell the Israelites, ‘I am the Lord. I will bring you out from your enslavement to the Egyptians…’ but they did not listen to him...

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Devotional: Prophets And Real Estate

I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul. 

Jeremiah 32:39-41

Jeremiah had just got into real estate. He was living in confinement in the king’s courtyard because he was predicting the doom of Jerusalem and Zedekiah, its king. “The word of the Lord came to me…” God’s word is not constrained, even when our circumstances have us imprisoned. “Then, just as the Lord had said, my cousin Hanamel came to me in the courtyard of the guard and said, ‘Buy my field…’” They were in a real estate slump. Nebuchadnezzar was besieging the city, and the prophet himself...

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Devotional: He Said One Thing, I Heard Two

One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard  Psalm 62:11

What was it that God might have said—what one thing—that would cause David to hear two? I believe what we are seeing here is faith-based implicational thinking. If A is true, then B and C must also be true. Put another way, ‘If God promises me X, then he must be Y and Z, otherwise he could not make the promise.’ It is good to hang onto God’s promises, but it is a deeper thing to hang onto the God behind the promises.

David was not in good shape, it seems, and his enemies were out to cause him to crumble. While he admitted his condition (I am a leaning wall) he didn’t start with himself. He chose to start with God whom he describes this way: “He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress…” He does the Math this way: ‘God is my fortress + I am a leaning wall = I will never be shaken.’ That is a pretty awesome reality! The formula is...

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Madmen And Moonshots

I have been thinking about faith this last week, probably because I have been into Hebrews—not the coffee shop at a hipster church… the book in the bible. There are an amazing number of deep one-liners in Hebrews. I read the first two or three chapters wondering, as some have postulated, whether Mary, Jesus’ mom, did write the book. It has a lot of “Listen up! This is my son and he is greater than all prophets, higher than all angels” themes in it. Later in the book I got more immersed in the concept of a brand new order where every follower of Jesus has gained access to the courts of heaven where their advocate represents them. I took a detour of sorts to learn more about Melchizedek.

Now I have arrived at the 11th chapter where clearcut definitions and examples of faith are supposed to be, and I find a messy collection of madmen going for moonshots. “I am pretty sure I heard God say he was going to give me a whole country… and me and my...

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Devotional: Business Continuation

 

Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting. Leviticus 26:5

Even business leaders whose companies are doing well wonder whether their current business performance can be sustained. What if Scripture showed a possible way to avoid business downturns? The first thirteen verses of Leviticus 26 hold the conditions and the promises of sustained business performance. Our challenge is that we read it and think it is Old Testament mumbo jumbo and therefore miss the truth.

The conditions don’t seem that onerous: No idols of any sort, observe the Sabbath, reverence the sanctuary, follow God’s decrees, and obey his commands. What does this look like if we put that into New Testament speak—make that 21st Century language? 

  • Idolatry for ancient Israel meant buying into the worldview and religious system that were not from God. In business this means basing our business practices on assumptions that are not...
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The Right Side Of The Fire

Fires are raging on the West Coast of the US. Family and friends are posting images of eerily lit orange streets. In recent years there have been fires in Australia, Europe and Africa. Some of this is nature’s way of clearing out years of underbrush or propagating a species that needs fire to explode into new life. Some of it is of human making, like the fire set off at a party. Some say climate change is the cause—too much human intervention—and others claim there was not enough management of the environment. (For the record, I do not attribute God’s judgement to acts of nature.)

There are many perspectives… and the fires burn. Weeds and brush are burning, debris is turning into ash. Your heart stops, however, when you see old growth redwoods, hundreds of years old, going up in flames and family homes gutted by the blaze. In some cases a large percentage of towns has been decimated. 

As I was reflecting this morning on where we are in the world I...

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