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Everybody gets a gift. And these gifts come in different doses and combinations. “Each person,” scripture says, “is given something to do that shows who God is” (I Corinthians 12:7). Our inheritance is grace-based and equal. But our assignments are tailor-made. No two snowflakes are the same. No two fingerprints are the same.  So, why would two skill sets be the same? No wonder Paul said “Make sure you understand what the Master wants” (Ephesians 5:17). Do you understand what your Master wants? Do you know what makes you, you? Have you identified the features that distinguish you from every other human who has inhaled oxygen? You have … Listen Now

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The promised land life isn’t a physical territory; it’s a spiritual reality. It’s not real estate, but a real state of the mind and heart. Scripture calls it a life in which “we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us” (Romans 8:37). Paul describes it as a life in which “we do not lose heart” (2 Corinthians 4:16).  A life in which we are “exceedingly joyful in all our tribulations” (2 Corinthians 7:4).  In God’s plan, in God’s promised land, we win more often than we lose; forgive as quickly as we’re offended; and give as abundantly as we receive. We … Listen Now

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When a potter bakes a pot, he checks its solidity by pulling it out of the oven and thumping it. If it “sings,” it’s ready. If it “thuds,” it goes back into the oven. The character of a person is also checked by thumping. Thumps are those irritating inconveniences that trigger the worst in us. They catch us off guard. They aren’t big enough to be crises, but if you get enough of them, watch out! Do I sing? Or do I thud? Jesus said that “out of the nature of the heart a man speaks” (Luke 6:45). There’s nothing like a good … Listen Now

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The same work God did through Christ long ago on a cross, is the work God does through Christ right now in you. Let him do his work! Let grace trump your arrest record, critics, and guilty conscience. See yourself for what you are—God’s personal remodeling project. No longer defined by failures but refined by them. Trusting less in what you do and more in what Christ did. Convinced down deep in the substrata of your soul that God is just warming up in this overture called life, that hope has its reasons and death has its due date. God will change you, my friend. You … Listen Now

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As long as you are stationary, no one will complain. Dogs don’t bark at parked cars. But as soon as you accelerate—once you step out of drunkenness into sobriety; dishonesty into integrity; or lethargy into compassion—expect the yapping to begin. Expect to be criticized. Expect to be mocked. So how can we prepare ourselves? Peter said this: “Don’t give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master” (I Peter 3:14-15). As we meditate on Christ’s life, we find strength for our own. Do you want to be bold tomorrow? Then be with Jesus … Listen Now

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One stumble does not define or break a person. Though you failed, God’s love does not. Face your failures with faith in God’s goodness. He saw this collapse coming. God could see the upcoming mishaps. Still, he tells you what he told Joshua. “Arise, go. . .you and all this people, to the land which I am giving” (Joshua 1:2). There is no condition in that covenant. No fine print. No performance language. God’s promised land does not depend on your perfection. It depends on his. In God’s hands no defeat is a crushing defeat. Scripture says “the steps of good men are directed by the … Listen Now

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Scripture says, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16-17). If we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, why do we struggle through life? Our inheritance is perfect peace, yet we feel like a perfect mess. God promises to meet every need, yet we worry and fret. Why?  We don’t know about our inheritance. It’s what Paul refers to in the Book of Ephesians as “the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe” (1:19). Some Christians never live out of … Listen Now

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What if you could actually see the prayers you pray? The prayers being prayed for you? In John’s vision of heaven in Revelation 8:5 he saw the prayers of the saints ascending with incense into the presence of God. And there were noises, thunderings lightnings, and an earthquake. Behold the power of prayer. You ask God for help, and bam! You lift your concerns to heaven and turbulence happens! Go ahead. Stand up on behalf of those you love. And yes, stand up on behalf of those you do not. The quickest way to douse the fire of anger is with a bucket of prayer. Rather than rant, … Listen Now

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All ships that land at the shore of grace weigh anchor from the port of sin. We must start where God starts. We won’t appreciate what grace does until we understand who we are. Rebels. We’re Barabbas. And like him we deserve to die. Four prison walls, thickened with fear and hate, surround us. We are incarcerated by our past, our low-road choices, and our high-minded pride. We’ve been found guilty. We sit on the floor of the dusty cell. Our executioner’s footsteps echo against stone walls. We know what he’s going to say. “Time to pay for your sins.” But we hear something else. “You’re … Listen Now

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You’ll look a long time before you’ll find a better man than Wes Bishop. A quick smile, warm handshake, he was a pillar in the small West Texas town of Sweetwater. He raised three great sons, one of whom married my daughter, Jenna. Wes never missed a day of work until he was diagnosed with brain cancer. He was immobilized, at home in hospice care. A baby monitor was placed beside his bed. He’d hardly spoken for days, but they wanted to hear him if he called out. One night he did. Not for help; he called for Christ. “Jesus, I want to thank you … Listen Now