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It’s easier to blame others than to accept responsibility for our actions; to dwell on the mistakes made in the past than to build towards the future. Some look on the social, political and physical problems of today and blame God or others. Yet the evil of today isn’t because of divine action but due to the natural consequences of greed, lust, hatred and anger. Fire can’t be fought with fire. More darkness won’t defeat darkness. The smallest amount of light will penetrate the deepest darkness


Some never experience the joy of forgiveness because they never admit their sin. Some never experience the joy of forgiveness because they refuse to forgive those who have wronged them. Some never experience the joy of forgiveness because they mistake confession and repentance. The joy of forgiveness comes when we learn to see ourselves solely as God sees us without comparing ourselves to others or blaming our plight on other people or circumstances. I am a hopeless sinner saved by the blood of Jesus and empowered through his resurrection by the Holy Spirit. This is my joy!


Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool. Ecclesiastes 7:9

When I was in high school many years ago, I remember a game our school played against one of our rivals. We knew each other well. Perhaps too well as a matter of fact. The opposing team had a player who was one of the best, if not the best, player in our area. He had one flaw though and that flaw evened the playing field considerably.

Even though he had the skills to beat any of us, he also had a temper. The coaches never told us to take advantage of that of course, but we all knew that an occasional push under the basket or a derogatory comment made under our breath would rile him up. If we could get him angry he would likely foul out or his anger would force him to make mistakes.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

Those words reflect nicely the wisdom of Proverbs 7:9. Once we allow others to influence our attitudes it can affect how we function in our workplace, families or any other relationships.  Once that happens, it’s often ‘Game Over’.

The Bible is full of constant reminders and examples of people and situations that can attack our attitude. Once that happens we have a decision to make. Are we going to respond to the situation or react to the situation. Responding has the idea of taking the time to plan and wise and timely action. Reacting is more about quick (and often inappropriate) action.

Responding may require you to take time to think about next steps. The silence when you are pondering next steps may cause others to think you are a fool for not acting quickly. But it’s better to take your time and think things through than to prove to others that you are a fool by acting too quickly!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I have to confess to you that there are times I’ve hurt others, my reputation and most importantly, you, but rash actions. Forgive me for not taking the time to think wisely. Help me, by your Spirit, to show patience, mercy and grace in situations where wisdom is needed. Amen.


Unfortunately, there have been several mass shootings of late. In 1999 the Columbine shootings awakened us to the horrific possibility that schools weren’t as safe as we once thought. Since then we’ve realized no place, not even houses of worship, are safe anymore.

But this one hit hard. Maybe it’s because of the age of the victims. Perhaps it’s because to have this happen so close to Christmas dashes our hopes, and taints the holiday most looked forward to by our babies. Maybe it’s because it is one more reminder of the frailty and uncertainty of life.

Hopefully it drives each of us to appreciate the ones we love and tell them and show them so…often. Every time we part company with them, we need to be reminded in some small way that this could be the last time we see them. No drama there, no attempt to preach doomsday logic. Just a quiet reminder to show those we love that we love them.

My prayers, of course go out to the parents and families of the victims. The brothers and sisters that won’t see their brother or sister this side of heaven. The grandparents that won’t get to see that Christmas Concert this year (and it’s the first one they’d have). The Aunts and Uncles who just lost their pride and joy. Simply can’t imagine the pain.

My prayer is for the teachers and staff of Sandy Brook. Those of in education know that it doesn’t matter if you are the class instructor, the janitor or the cook, you play a vital role in the life of the Kids. At any given moment you are a parent, a coach, and encourager, a disciplinarian, a doctor, a counselor, a pastor,  a playmate, and perhaps most importantly, a friend…a best friend at times.

People choose to go into education to make a difference in lives of children. We don’t go into it for the pay (which isn’t that great) or so we can ‘have summers off (which rarely happens) or for status. We work long hours, struggle with increasing government regulations and paper work; with increasing scrutiny by parents, politicians and the community at large; when the kids fail it’s our fault, when they succeed it’s their determination that does it.

We don’t just deal with sick kids, scared kids, abused kids, violent kids, smart kids, and kids with special needs. We become a part of their family system. Maybe that’s why this one hit so hard for me.

I still believe in God’s love although sometimes I question why He allows these things to happen. My prayers are for comfort and strength for the victims’ families. But most of all right now, I pray for the teachers, and for all the 1000’s of teachers across this country that are hurting over this. God Bless you. You do a service everyday that many can’t do. Thank you for your dedication. Thank you for your love.


Luke 17:11, 14-Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

He didn’t have to go that way. Pure and simple. While the path Jesus took towards Jerusalem was the quickest, it was also the way less traveled by self-respecting Jews. First of all, staying as far away from Samaria was always preferred. They were ‘half-breeds’, arrogant and, well, they not only had a sin problem, they worshiped God in the wrong way. Along with that, the path leading along the border of Samaria and Galilee was a robbery waiting to happen. Thieves and other scoundrels lurked along the way in wait of prey.

Still, he went and scripture implies that he went slowly, visiting each town and village along the way and healing people as usual. Most Jews hurried through the small country of Samaria, not Jesus. As he approached on small village a group of lepers called out to Him. Again, he could have ignored their calls. Lepers were by nature smelly, grotesque looking people and to come near one would make you at best ceremonially unclean. At worst you could ‘catch the disease and be worse off.

He didn’t have to respond. Lepers were outcasts of society. Tradition taught, at that time, that leprosy came upon a person as a punishment for sin. There was nothing physically, emotionally or spiritually appealing the group of ten men that approached Jesus that day. Nothing that would have moved the average person to intervene. But Jesus was no average person!

What was it that moved Him to act? Maybe it was the realization of the emotional trauma these men were in. Maybe it was the prayers their families had offered up on their behalf. Maybe he was looking for some way to show his power over leprosy. Or maybe it was love. It was the compassionate cry of broken people that drove him that day to heal those men.

That’s why I’m expressing gratitude today. I’ve never had leprosy, but I know what it’s like to be rejected. I’ve never been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, but I was born with a birth defect that will eventually kill me, I’m human.

I’m fortunate this Thanksgiving Season to have family and friends that love me and encourage me on the way, some of whom have stood by me through some pretty dark years, as a matter of fact. While I am thankful for those people, the person I’m most thankful for is Jesus Christ. Jesus saw me at my worst, but still believed in me enough to search me out and forgive me.  Like the lepers, Jesus sought me out when I was beaten, bruised and rejected.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, may I never weary of praising you for the many blessings you have bestowed on me. Thank you for reaching out to me when I was at my worst and giving me your best. Your love has freed me from the restraints that kept me in bondage and I praise you. Amen.

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