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Howard Rutledge came to appreciate his time as a POW in Vietnam. He wrote, “After twenty-eight days of torture, I could remember I had children but not how many. I prayed for strength. During long periods of enforced reflection, it became so much easier to separate the important from the trivial. My hunger for spiritual food soon outdid my hunger for steak. It took prison to show me how empty life is without God. God is at work in each of us, whether we want it or not. He takes no pleasure in making life hard. Lamentations 3:33 says, “He takes no pleasure in making … Listen Now

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God can make something good out of your mess! The test you are experiencing will become your testimony. 2 Corinthians 1:4-5 says that God comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone who’s going through hard times so we can be there for that person, just as God was there for us. You didn’t sign up for this crash course in single parenting?  No, but God enrolled you. He has taken the intended evil and rewoven it into this curriculum. Why? So you can teach others what He’s taught you. Rather than say, “God why?” ask … Listen Now

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Each day has a pop quiz! And some seasons are like final exams. Brutal, sudden pitfalls of stress, sickness, or sadness. What is the purpose of the test? James 1:3-4 says, “For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.” Test, test, test! This chapter in your life may look like rehab, smell like unemployment, sound like a hospital, but you are in training. God hasn’t forgotten you—just the opposite. He has chosen to train you. Forget the notion that God doesn’t see … Listen Now

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In 1965 Howard Rutledge parachuted into North Vietnam and spent the next several years in a prison in Hanoi, locked in a filthy cell breathing stale, rotten air trying to keep his sanity. Few of us will ever face the conditions of a POW camp. Yet, to one degree or another, we all spend time behind bars. After half-a-century of marriage, my friend’s wife began to lose her memory. A young mother recently called who had just been diagnosed with Lupus.  Why would God permit such imprisonment? To what purpose?  Jeremiah 30:24 promises, “The Lord will not turn back until He has … Listen Now

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Dad, would you intentionally break the arm of your child? Of course not. Such an action violates every fiber of your moral being. Yet if you engage in sexual activity outside your marriage, you’ll bring more pain into the life of your child than a broken bone. Mom, would you force your children to sleep outside on a cold night? By no means. Yet if you involve yourself in an affair, you’ll bring more darkness and chill into the lives of your children than a hundred winters. Actions have consequences. Make it your ‘rule of thumb’ to do what pleases God. Your classmates show you … Listen Now

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One may give into temptation with this thought, No one will know. I won’t get caught. I’m only human. . . Don’t make matters worse by doing something you’ll regret. Years ago, a friend gave me this counsel: “Make a list of all the lives you would impact through your sexual immorality.” I did. Every so often I re-read it. Denalyn. My three daughters. My son-in-law. My yet-to-be-born grandchildren. Every person who’s ever read one of my books or heard my sermons. My publishing team. Our church staff. The list reminds me: one act of carnality is a poor exchange for a lifetime of lost legacy. You don’t fix … Listen Now

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Depression can buckle the knees of the best of us, and a pastor’s wife is no exception. Years ago my wife Denalyn battled depression. Every day was gray. Her life was loud and busy—two kids in elementary school, a third in kindergarten, and a husband who didn’t know how to get off the airplane and stay home. The days took their toll. But Denalyn was never one to play games. On a given Sunday when the depression was suffocating, she armed herself with honesty and went to church. If people ask me how I’m doing, I’m going to tell them. She answered each, “How are … Listen Now

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Whatever it is that’s troubling you, you’ll get through this!  Cancel your escape to the Himalayas. Forget the deserted island. This is no time to be a hermit. Pray. Lean on God’s people. Be a barnacle on the boat of God’s church. Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” So, don’t quit and don’t hide! Would the sick avoid the hospital? The hungry avoid the food pantry? Would the discouraged abandon God’s Hope Distribution Center? Only at great risk. God is waiting on you, my friend. He is with you. Your family may have left. … Listen Now

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God surrounds us like the Pacific surrounds an ocean floor pebble. He is everywhere; above, below, on all sides. We choose our response—rock or sponge? Resist or receive? Everything within you says harden your heart. Run from God, resist God, blame God. But be careful. Hard hearts never heal. Spongy ones do. Open every pore of your soul to God’s presence. Do so by laying claim to the nearness of God. He says in Hebrews 13:5, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Grip this promise like the parachute it is. Repeat it over and over until it trumps the voices of fear. The Lord God is with … Listen Now

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You will never go where God is not! Envision the next few hours—where will you be? In a school? God indwells the classroom. On the highway? His presence lingers among the traffic. In the hospital operating room, the executive board-room, the in-laws’ living room? God will be there. Acts 17:27 says, “He is not far from each of us.” Each of us. God doesn’t play favorites. From the masses on city streets to isolated villagers in valleys and jungles, all people can enjoy God’s presence. But many don’t! They plod through life as if there is no God to love them. As if the only strength is their … Listen Now