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Activated April 2017

Christians in the World - April 2017

Christians are citizens of God's kingdom as well as of the world, and have responsibilities to both. Read on for more about how to manage that dual citizenship.
 

01-04-2017
Christianity in Action
Christianity in Action

One winter some years ago, a group of friends and I were traveling on a mountain road in a passenger van in the southern United States. It was past dusk on a Friday evening, and we were heading to a ski resort a few hours away. We were nearly there when someone pulled up next to us at a stop sign and motioned to the driver to roll the window down.

“Pretty sure your back tire’s losing air,” he said. “I can take a look if you’d like.”

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01-04-2017
All Will Be Well
All Will Be Well

While surfing the internet, I stumbled upon a Positive Outlook test. I consider myself a fairly positive person, with some room for improvement, but I was curious to see if I was right. Since the test would only take a few minutes, I filled in the answers.

When the results appeared, I wasn’t too surprised. There was a sentence noting my tendency to worry too much, and another on my bad habit of giving too much time and thought to the worst possible outcomes. But the conclusion was encouraging: “Overall, you rarely view the world as a place of bad experiences...

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01-04-2017
Bitter or Better
Bitter or Better

Everyone has times in their past that they look upon as “dark nights”—tragedies or difficulties that were largely beyond their control and sometimes the direct result of other people’s wrong choices or unloving actions. How people react to those wrongs can determine whether they become bitter or better for them.

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01-04-2017
Weak yet Strong
Weak yet Strong

Nine years ago, I underwent a surgery that changed my life. When I was rushed to the hospital with terrible pain in my lower right abdomen, tests revealed that a large gangrenous cyst had ruptured, requiring emergency surgery. My surgeon assured me that I would be back on my feet within two months, and I held on to his promise.

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01-04-2017
A Gift for Two Brothers
A Gift for Two Brothers

Have you ever wanted to do something to help someone or longed to make a difference in the world, only to have your good intentions sidetracked by thoughts of why your efforts wouldn’t work?

One such occasion happened last summer when my wife and I stopped to eat at a fast food restaurant that serves fried chicken. After placing our order, we brought our trays of food to a table in the middle of the dining area.

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01-04-2017
The Golden Thread
The Golden Thread

Before jumping into the day to tackle a long to-do list, I stopped for a half hour of devotional reading, prayer, and reflection. My Bible fell open to Hebrews 11, which is also called the Faith Chapter. As I read through the amazing miracles faith had wrought throughout the ages, I realized that many of these accounts fit into my life as well. Since I had just turned 60, I spent some time reflecting back on the road of faith I have traveled so far, and I came up with my own Faith Chapter:

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01-04-2017
In the Midst of Fire
In the Midst of Fire

Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and their pal, Daniel, were four young men who might have passed into obscurity if not for some remarkable things that happened in their lives.

The story begins around 500 years before Christ with these young men being taken far away from their homeland as captive slaves by Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Babylonian Empire.

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01-04-2017
Follow the Melody
Follow the Melody

In The Sound of Music1, the mother superior tells Fraulein Maria, the boisterous postulant nun, to leave the convent to help a motherless large family. When she protests, the abbess asks her, “What is the most important thing you have learned during your time in the abbey?” “To find out what is the will of God,” Maria replies, “and do it wholeheartedly.” And so she goes, albeit quite scared, to fulfill the greater purpose God had for her life and eventually find her happy ending.

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01-04-2017
A Lesson from Bo
A Lesson from Bo

Bo was our golden lab who loved to swim in our pool. He lived for his exercise, and the pool was his domain. One day, my son was learning new strokes and tried the dead man’s float. Bo decided his boy was in imminent danger and jumped into the pool to rescue him. Instinctively, he pushed my son’s head up and held onto him with his paws in an effort to save his life. My poor son choked and sputtered as he tried to keep Bo away and ended up with water in his lungs and a chest full of...

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01-04-2017
Another Layer of Easter
Another Layer of Easter

I was thinking about Easter the other night when a line popped into my head: “He did not leave my soul in hell.” It sounded like a Bible passage, but I wasn’t sure. Neither was I sure if the writer was referring to Jesus.

I would like to say I pulled out my Bible and flipped to the passage, but no, I pulled out my smartphone and googled the phrase. It was in the Bible, and you can find it in Psalm 16: “You will not leave my soul among the dead.”1

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01-04-2017
What If?
What If?

Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948) is quoted as saying, “I know of no one who has done more for humanity than Jesus.” Much of the world, Christian and non-Christian alike, would agree. Yet have you ever considered how the world wouldn’t have been changed for the better if Jesus’ disciples hadn’t told others what they had seen and heard and learned with Jesus? The teachings of His life would have stopped with them.

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01-04-2017
The Man in White
The Man in White

We had just finished a program for 300 teenage inmates at a correctional center in northern India, and many of the boys gathered around us. The theme of our program that day had been the importance of faith in the face of difficulty. That had been something they all could relate to, especially the difficulty part.

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01-04-2017
I’ll Come Through
I’ll Come Through

If you reflect on My great men and women who have gone before you—those mentioned in the Bible, and others since that time—you will note how each lived for Me and accomplished great things in My name. Some of them, such as those listed in Hebrews 11, never received all that I had promised them during their time on earth. But their faith didn’t fail, and because of that, they went on to receive their full and great eternal rewards.

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