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Unity please.

We inaugurated a new president, Joe Biden, and Vice President Kamala Harris, on January 20.

We’ve just completed the most significant benchmark in our entire democracy–the transfer of power from one presidential administration to another–pageantry we perform and celebrate every four years.

Vice President Kamila Harris
President Joe Biden

The quote that impacted me most in Mr. Biden’s inaugural address, and one I can imagine myself quoting in future blog posts, is what he said about unity. Mr. Biden said, “With unity we can do great things. Without unity, there is no peace.”

Unity please. We so desperately need unity in this country in this day and time, especially since Trump, in his last weeks in office tried to split our country apart even more.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King said, “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”

Paul urges us in Ephesians 4:31 to “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

We can’t even begin to change our attitudes about being united with our fellow man until we undergo a transforming change of our collective hearts.

And God is the only one who can do that.

Are you prepared for Him to do that in your heart?

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Child Abuse and Domestic Violence

Thousands of children and women won’t have anything to eat today. Or have anywhere to sleep tonight. Or they’ll be terrified and huddled in a closet so the man mom brought home won’t explode in a fit of drunken, angry abuse.

Not a pretty sight. But it plays out all the time in too many places in America every day and every night. It is a never-ending toxic plight that is eroding our society relentlessly.

Can we cure it? Probably not. The hate and anger and rage is so deeply rooted in the souls of those that abuse that change is virtually impossible

Jesus is the only one who can transform a heart. And abusers often don’t have courage enough to reach out for HIM.

But there is hopeFOR THE ABUSED

Kerri McKenna Reece can help

Find her at Kerri Coaching

Some brave, survivors of abuse themselves, have chosen to share their experience, strength and hope with others living in the aftermath of childhood abuse or in the midst of adult domestic abuses. The long term hope is for victims of abuse to learn the life skills, tools and truths that enable them to rebuild their lives. Skills that will empower them to move beyond the behaviors and people that don’t serve them well. Techniques that commission them to live truly authentic, and unafraid, embracing the life God intended them to live.

Kerri says, “I know the depths of your pain and struggles first hand. I’m a survivor of abuse myself and my journey to recovery led me to become a Certified Professional Life and Trauma Recovery Coach.

“I’ve been where you are and have recovered and survived. Together we can walk the road to your recovery. Free of abuse forever.

Arrange a complementary consultation with Kerri today. Click on the link below.

https://www.kerrimckennareece.com/lets-connect

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What do you expect

One of the greatest football coaches Alabama has produced was Ralph “Shug” Jordan. He was the head football coach at Auburn for twenty-four years and had an enviable win/loss football record of 176-83-6. He was the National Football Coach of the Year in 1957 and several times Coach of the Year in the SEC. He’s in the Hall of Fame.

He was also head basketball coach at Auburn and Georgia. He was an American patriot and a great military leader. He led four military invasions during World War II. He was wounded at Normandy. He was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. I’ve heard that General Patton had a “War Eagle” sign on the front of his Jeep because he said that Shug Jordan told him to put it there!

A friend in Selma had the personal high school annual of his father who had graduated with Coach Jordan. I held that annual in my hands. I saw that next to his senior picture in the annual, Coach Jordan wrote these words, “Someday I expect to be a major college football coach.” Wow! He set his expectation level when he was a senior in high school – and he accomplished it later!

The old saying is, “What you expect is what you get.” What are your expectations for 2021? Where you will be in December 2021 will be directly related to the expectations you set in January 2021! If you expect something bad, it’s going to be a tough year. If you expect something good – get ready for some huge surprises! I dare you to expect God to turn a tough, turbulent 2020 into a terrific 2021!

2020 was tough, but it was not nearly as tough as what the apostle Paul experienced when he wrote to his friends at Philippi. He was in prison. His expectations were so high about the possibilities of what he could accomplish there. He considered prison to be the perfect place for him to do ministry. He expected the best for his people, and he led by example. He writes, “Because of my imprisonment, many of the Christians seem to have lost their fear of chains.” (Philippians 1:14)

Paul says a few verses later, “I’m going to keep on being glad, for I know that you pray for me, and as the Holy Spirit helps me, this is going to turn out for my good. For I know when I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that will cause me to be ashamed of myself…and I will always be an honor to Christ.” (Philippians 1:19 ff)

When Louis XVI and his queen were put to death by the people of France, they left behind a little boy who would have been King Louis XVII. They put the boy in prison where he was surrounded by terrible people who were vicious and vile. Their aim was to teach the boy vulgar thoughts and habits of profanity and unholy things.

But these men failed because of the expectations of that little boy. Whenever someone tried to get that boy to say a bad word, he would simply reply, “No, I will not say it. I was born to be a king!”

You were born to be in King Jesus’s family! Live 2021 in the expectation of what God is going to do through you. Make every day a day that God uses you to help Him increase His royal family and define Kingdom values for other people!

We are graduating from 2020. What are you writing by your picture for 2021?

He was also head basketball coach at Auburn and Georgia. He was an American patriot and a great military leader. He led four military invasions during World War II. He was wounded at Normandy. He was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. I’ve heard that General Patton had a “War Eagle” sign on the front of his Jeep because he said that Shug Jordan told him to put it there!

A friend in Selma had the personal high school annual of his father who had graduated with Coach Jordan. I held that annual in my hands. I saw that next to his senior picture in the annual, Coach Jordan wrote these words, “Someday I expect to be a major college football coach.” Wow! He set his expectation level when he was a senior in high school – and he accomplished it later!

The old saying is, “What you expect is what you get.” What are your expectations for 2021? Where you will be in December 2021 will be directly related to the expectations you set in January 2021! If you expect something bad, it’s going to be a tough year. If you expect something good – get ready for some huge surprises! I dare you to expect God to turn a tough, turbulent 2020 into a terrific 2021!

2020 was tough, but it was not nearly as tough as what the apostle Paul experienced when he wrote to his friends at Philippi. He was in prison. His expectations were so high about the possibilities of what he could accomplish there. He considered prison to be the perfect place for him to do ministry. He expected the best for his people, and he led by example. He writes, “Because of my imprisonment, many of the Christians seem to have lost their fear of chains.” (Philippians 1:14)

Paul says a few verses later, “I’m going to keep on being glad, for I know that you pray for me, and as the Holy Spirit helps me, this is going to turn out for my good. For I know when I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that will cause me to be ashamed of myself…and I will always be an honor to Christ.” (Philippians 1:19 ff)

When Louis XVI and his queen were put to death by the people of France, they left behind a little boy who would have been King Louis XVII. They put the boy in prison where he was surrounded by terrible people who were vicious and vile. Their aim was to teach the boy vulgar thoughts and habits of profanity and unholy things.

But these men failed because of the expectations of that little boy. Whenever someone tried to get that boy to say a bad word, he would simply reply, “No, I will not say it. I was born to be a king!”

You were born to be in King Jesus’s family! Live 2021 in the expectation of what God is going to do through you. Make every day a day that God uses you to help Him increase His royal family and define Kingdom values for other people!

We are graduating from 2020. What are you writing by your picture for 2021?

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Who we are–really

identity in Christ


I’ve been living under an assumed name now for years — Christian. God is slowly showing me that Jesus’ last command before returning to His Father was not “Go and make Christians of all nations.” You can’t really find any definition for Christian in the Bible. In fact in the KJV version the word only appears three times.

“Christian” was a derogatory term those outside Jesus’ followers used to call those who followed Jesus around. Jesus’ command was “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Now disciples has a clear concise definition in the Bible. Jesus defined a disciple as followers who loved one another.

Every command, every verse, every lesson, every book, every parable Jesus told, every Bible study we use today. All of it is based on that command: love one another. Love those we like, love those we love, love those we don’t like, love those who don’t worship like we do, those who don’t worship at all, those who rebel.

Jesus loves all those (in fact he hug out with tax collectors and sinners) as much as we who Jesus calls His children. He loves each of us regardless of who we are, what we’ve done, or where we’ve been.

So don’t call me a Christian anymore. You can define a Christian any way you want to, with a bushel full of beliefs,  a plethora of principles, some authentic, contrived rationalized behavior, rituals, rules and regulations.

Instead of calling me a Christian, I want folks to know me to call me a disciple of Jesus Christ or an authentic follower of Christ. That’s my true identity in Christ and my one purpose is to love God and love others.

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What do you see?

Life is lived daily. When you look at things each day, what do you see? Two people can look at the same thing and see something different. Attitude greatly influences life by what we see.

One day, Jesus was teaching, and there were thousands of people there. It had been an extremely long teaching session, and people were hungry. The disciples confronted Jesus about it because they didn’t want the crowd to get out of control. All they could see was a problem. Jesus never saw problems – He only saw possibilities!!

There were no restaurants around, and no take out was available. Drive-through windows hadn’t come into style yet. The disciples found a little boy with five loaves and two fish. For Jesus – that was enough. They fed five thousand men, not counting women and children, and had basketfuls leftover!

Do you see a problem or a possibility? Focusing on a problem will create a frustrating, frightening, fearful situation. Focusing on a possibility will create faith, fortitude, and a future of hope.

A shoe salesman went to a remote part of Africa. When he got there, all he could see was a problem because everybody was barefooted. He sent a message back to his company saying, “No prospect for sales, no one wears shoes. I’m returning home.”

The company later sent another salesman to the same area. He didn’t see the situation as a problem, but as a possibility. He sent a message to the home office saying, “Great potential, no one wears shoes; send 10,000 pairs immediately!”

Two people look at similar situations in life and see different things. One person sees stumbling blocks, obstacles, and unsolvable problems. Another person sees stepping stones, opportunities, and unlimited possibilities.

The great golfer Bobby Jones was going to Arizona to play in a golf tournament. He was told that the temperature in Arizona was “105 degrees in the shade.” He quickly said, “Man, I’m glad we don’t have to play in the shade!”

That’s an attitude! A successful person is not the one who is in a certain set of circumstances, but the one who has a certain set of attitudes!

Walter Gary was probably the biggest University of Alabama Football fan anywhere! He suffered from Down syndrome and died last year at age 36. Every Thursday, he went to Bryant-Denny Stadium and gave Nick Saban a sheet of paper with a prediction of the score for Alabama’s next game. Gary never picked Alabama to lose!

To celebrate Gary’s life, hundreds of people came to the north end zone at Bryant-Denny. Everybody present had been influenced by his attitude about life. Once an ESPN reporter asked him, “How do you deal with Down syndrome?”

Gary’s response was, “I don’t have Down syndrome – I have Up syndrome!” That’s an attitude!

There is an old saying, “If life gives you LEMONS, make LEMONADE!” I like that! My friend Derric Johnson says, “When life gives you LIMES, rearrange the letters to SMILE!”

What do you see?

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The thing about corn

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Idols

My wife had one of her keen observations the other day during one our frequent discussions about the pandemic and the state of our nation. “What if God is working in this pandemic to tear down our idols?”

“What a thought,” I said. I suppose that may be what’s going on,” I said.

continue reading
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Self is a four-letter word

When we use, or you hear someone use the word “try” that means “self” is vying for control. Self is

assuming responsibility. Super responsibility. That’s not a good thing.

Self tries to live the Christian life. Self does good Christian work. Self loves to chair committees. Self likes to volunteer in the food pantry and the clothes closet.  Self loves to teach Bible Study. Self lives to volunteer. Self never says no. Self is “self” confident. Self likes to think it’s “self-sufficient”.

Self likes to play leader. Self becomes arrogant when someone has a better idea than self.  Self thinks it knows best. Self worries. Self gets full of self. Self stands up for self’s rights. Self knows how to do things right around its church. Self pouts when it doesn’t get its own way. Self is unyielding in its attitudes towards others. Self looks for greener grass. Self seeks greatness and  notoriety for its achievements and holiness. Self is judgmental. Self is self-conscious. Self takes even constructive criticism personally. Self likes to be right. But self is humble. If you don’t believe it ask self.

Self is such a failure.

Self needs breaking. As long as self seeks to be in control God can do little in self or through self. But self can not break its will to God’s will. It has to be a sanctifying work of God and God alone. Coming to the end of self is a life-long journey coming to the ultimate realization that “self” is not as smart or wise as “self” thinks.

Paul said in Philippians,

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

Those verses are tough pills for self to swallow. And it’s only by the sanctifying work of Christ living in us that we can ever get to the end of self.

Jesus said in Luke 9:23

If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

 That’s the end of self. The end of you. The end of me.

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Three Attitudes

By John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

Every day, we have an opportunity to adopt one of three different attitudes. The attitude we adopt will go a long way in determining how much we accomplish during the day. This is true in sporting contests, work environments, church opportunities, and every relationship we have in life. Your attitude is your choice!!

  1. PRIDEI’m too big to do little things.
    The Bible reminds us that pride goes before the fall. (Proverbs 16:18) Pride is very deceptive and extremely destructive. Paul said, “If you think you’re too important to help someone in need, you are only fooling yourself. You’re really a nobody.” (Galatians 6:3)

    One day General Robert E. Lee was traveling on his horse and met a group of soldiers trying to get a wagon out of a ditch. Four of the soldiers were working at it and a Lieutenant was standing back, watching and giving orders. Lee asked the man why he wasn’t helping. He said that he was a Lieutenant. Lee got off his horse and got his boots and clothes muddy as he helped the other soldiers pull the wagon from the ditch. When he finished, the soldiers who had been helping looked at him and all of a sudden recognized that he was General Robert E. Lee. He was not too big to do a little job. 
  2. PITYI’m too little to do big things.
    This negative attitude is usually the result of dealing ineffectively with some dysfunction in our past and comparing ourselves to other people. What we do in life God doesn’t compare to anyone else. Paul said, “Do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” (Galatians 6:4)

    We can never be too little to do something big. If God gives us the opportunity, He will supply everything that’s necessary to be successful in it. Pity should never be accepted as reality—it’s something that we have created and accepted. God can change that attitude. 
  3. POTENTIALI’m just right to do all things through Christ.
    This is a great attitude! Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) Our strength to do all things does not come from anything that we generate—it comes from receiving God’s strength. God created us just right to fit us for the purpose He has for us. 

    Part of the problem is that we think we can changedo things in our own strength. Remember—the Potential Attitude is one in which we do everything through Christ.

    If God gives you a vision to do something big, and somebody says to you that it is impossible—remember, they are talking about themselves—not you. The Potential Attitude changes the negative to the positive, brings excitement to life, and becomes a blessing to others.

Paul said, “We are each responsible for our own conduct.” (Gal. 6:5)

What’s your attitude?

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Horoscope Hijinks

What’s your sign, man?

Horoscopes used to play an important role in my relationships–especially with women.. This was during my prodigal son romp through my recently divorced mid-life wilderness. 

When I became interested in a woman, the first place I went was Linda Goodman’s book Sun Signs to see if the woman and I would be horoscopicly (my word) compatible.If our signs didn’t cross and our stars didn’t align I was history. No way was I going to spend time, energy or money  on a horoscopic misfit.  

 It took me almost a decade and some serious Bible study and a boatload of God’s grace to figure out that I was born under a very different sign.  It read, ‘”Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”

And I was adopted that moment by my Heavenly Father and became a son of God with all the riches in glory through my Savior, Jesus

Later it was hard to believe but for several years I looked to Satan’s lies in those horoscopes. That I would allow something Satan authored to help me make life choices and influence  some of my  personal relationships with so much Satanic bunk.

“So do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your fortune-tellers, or your sorcerers, who are saying to you, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon.’ For it is a lie that they are prophesying to you, with the result that you will be removed far from your land, and I will drive you out, and you will perish.”.  Jeremiah 27:9-10

“If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people .Leviticus 20:6.

I don’t think any serious believerr and disciple of Jesus Christ can justify astrology or horoscopes. Dare I say, you can’t believe in or follow Jesus authentically and follow astrology at the same time? I have known people claiming to be believers who check their horoscope in the morning paper religiously.  they read their horoscopes more religiously than they read their Bibles.

 If you are reading horoscopes now or relying on astrology to influence you at all let me encourage you do a word study on astrology. Find out what God’s word says. God’s word is truth. Horoscopes and astrology are both based on lies straight from the pit of hell.

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She learned trust in the pool

She was five. Already brave and outgoing. And, like her dad, a type A who never met a stranger.  But she tip-toed around water.  She was okay walking around in the shallow end wearing her swimmies. Those kept her head above water.

I thought it was time she lost her fear of the water.  We moved down to the waist-high area of the pool.  I stood in the water a few feet from the edge.

“Jump in, Leah,” I said.

She would have no part of it. She stood on the bank with one of those 5-year-old “No, I’m not going to” defiant objections.

“Oh, come on. Daddy’s right here. I’ll catch you.”  I spread my arms wade apart. “I’ll catch you.”

“No! I’ll get water in my nose.”

This war of pleas and objections went on for 10 minutes. She finally worked up the courage to walk to the edge of the pool. “Hold your nose and jump in,” I said. “I’ll catch you. I promise. Just trust me.

She finally held her nose and jumped. I dunked her head under water for two seconds. She survived! She thought jumping intotrust and obey the pool and daddy catching her was a blast!

So, my five-year-old jumped off the edge of the pool and daddy caught her . . .again and again . . .for the next 45 minutes! She never got tired. Daddy did. Or we’d still be at that pool.

Once my daughter learned her daddy would do what he said he would do, she trusted him.

Isn’t that true with our Daddy? When we learn once that we can trust God to do what He says He will do in a circumstance we surrender to Him, isn’t it easier, the next time to trust him with another circumstance or trial or dilemma?

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The Cone of Uncertainty

cone of uncertainty 2They can’t tell you where the storm will strike, when the storn will strike, or how bad the storm will be. Weather savvy meteoroligists at the TV station draw this wide cone on the screen hedging their bets with their best scientific guesses. It’s called the cone of uncertainty. It’s used to describe where weather experts believe the eye of the storm could possibly travel.

Despite all the sophisticated high-tech weather stuff, their “best” guesses are still uncertain. Continue reading

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When God said “No”.

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3 steps to end hatred

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The best stress relievers. Guaranteed.

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What’s your PQ-your purpose quotient?

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What is your EQ–Your expectation quotient?

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What’s your TQ–your Trust Quotient?

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Faith in the classroom

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Where will you go when you die?

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How do we get right with God?

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God answered critical Tucson prayer.

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It won’t get any better

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Today is National Bipolar Day

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Laughter is good medicine