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The Mule and the Donkey

We are living in times when many are being as “stubborn as mules” about things that may or may not be critical. Anyone with a passing thought can post it on social media and, if it is provocative enough, garner the support of international miscreants. We have learned how the more controversial thoughts get more reactions, so we opine without expertise, post without wisdom. Yet there is something winsome about combing grace and truth. Truth on its own can be harsh; grace without truth can be sloppy. The combination, however, builds up and infuses courage. When grace and truth are backed up by action the outcome can be nothing short of splendid.

Income-producing ass

We remember the unusual story about a mode of transportation being co-opted for a historic ride into town. More specifically, it was someone’s means of income or income-producing ass, that was conscripted into greater service. If this happened today the story might read:

“Go to the town ahead of...

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Devotional: Woman of Peace

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.

Luke 10:38

At the beginning of Luke 10 Jesus lays out a pattern of missions: go from house to house until you encounter a “Man of Peace” which you will discern, in part, because they receive your blessing. Listen, eat, perform signs and wonders, and talk about the kingdom. (The acrostic BLEST helps me remember all five crucial aspects of this pattern.) This is great missions stuff, but what did a “man of peace” look like to Jesus? The short answer is… a woman. Martha.

The scene is that Jesus and his disciples are “on their way” which is usually the way it is with Jesus. Many people stay at home waiting for Jesus to talk to them about ‘getting on their way’ but he already did this. Some of your best conversations will happen with Jesus while you are on your way somewhere with him. They come to a village and Jesus,...

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Dogfooding

When I came to the USA from South Africa in 1986 I had to get used to new colloquial expressions. I remember asking a senior executive how much tailored executive information he received: “A goose egg,” was his reply. I was wondering, “Is that a round zero, is that a golden egg…?” Another expression was “we eat our own dog food” and I remembered when my dad was sworn off meat because of his high blood pressure. My mom went out and dad attacked the remains of a meatloaf that was in the fridge, frying it in copious amounts of butter. When my mom returned she asked, “What happened to the rest of the dog food… it was in the fridge?” Eating your own dog food can be a wonderful thing, and I have been thinking a lot about this during the pandemic.

According to Investopedia, “Eat your own dog food is a colloquial expression that describes a company using its own products or services for its internal operations. The term is...

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Devotional: Information Inoculation

You have seen many things, but have paid no attention; your ears are open, but you hear nothing.     Isaiah 42:20

We have so much information streaming into our lives on a daily basis. Much of it is good—there are great podcasts of excellent preachers and teachers, there are online books, there is 24x7 news (some of which is not good because media channels retain viewers by stirring up anxiety). If you want to miss the bad news you can subscribe to 24x7 prayer rooms, and endless streams of ‘prophetic words’ and megabytes of preaching a minute. There is no shortage of information. We spend so much time drinking from the information fire hydrant that we have little time or cause to ponder. We are on the brink of information inoculation. Our heads are getting bigger, but our hearts are getting dryer. Unless…

Before I get to the “unless” let me restate the obvious. It has been said many ways, but talk without tasks leads to trouble....

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Hoping to inherit?

When I see the word “inheriting” I generally think about getting something for nothing, having assets passed on to me that someone else stored up. Psalm 105 reinforces this idea:

He brought out his people with rejoicing,
    his chosen ones with shouts of joy;
he gave them the lands of the nations,
    and they fell heir to what others had toiled for—
 that they might keep his precepts
    and observe his laws.

Even the phrase, “they fell heir” sounds like something falling into one’s lap. Quite a number of Hollywood movies have been made about young people inheriting a father’s or grandfather’s billion-dollar business or estate, usually subject to quirky conditions which make the movie entertaining. 

This week I noticed a different angle on being an heir, or inheriting. The writer of Hebrews starts this way:

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the...

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The World Would Be A Better Place

Some mornings you wake up, read a few lines and think, “If we all did this, we would sort out a lot of problems. If we all had this mindset then things would clear up pretty quickly.” I know there are complex problems, but I challenge us to stack those problems on one side and this remedy on the other and consider the outcome.

1 But we who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not just please ourselves.

2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good to build him up.

3 For even Christ did not please himself, but just as it is written, "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me."

4 For everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope.

5 Now may the God of endurance and comfort give you unity with one another in accordance with Christ Jesus,

6 so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord...

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