and in the wilderness where you saw how the LORD your God carried you, just as a man carries his son, in all the way which you have walked until you came to this place. (Deuteronomy 1:31)

You thought you were walking.

You thought you were slogging on, one trudging step at a time.

You thought the miles were your miles, your blisters and callouses also.

You thought it was your unpleasant surprises.

Your frightful experiences.

Your daily grind.

But you may have missed another viewpoint… one rooted in a higher story. [click to continue…]

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As the joy of expectancy greets the heart’s nostalgia for days and lives gone by this Christmas, I pray that you would experience a fresh encounter with a God powerful enough to whisper His truth in a still, small voice.

I pray that He would manifest His presence in ways that bring new clarity of vision and enflamed imagination for the exploits you and I can do.

I pray that the joy of your salvation would fill you to overflowing as you are conformed daily into the image of Christ and learn to patiently wait on Him. [click to continue…]

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(The 12 Pathways to Christmas, Part 11 – The Way of Connection)

(This is a reprint from a previous post and a chapter in my book The Twelve Pathways to Christmas. See below for how you can purchase the book and help support missions.)

“I have connecting gate information here!”

Amber Amari knew something about making connections.  And no place connected more people and destinations than Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

“Dallas/Ft Worth? A33.  Richmond?  Gate B10.”

Amber had the printout for Delta Flight 2943, inbound from Newark, as she stood at Gate A5.  But she hardly had to refer to it.  She had a remarkable gift for remembering the complex array of gates, times, and final destinations of her assigned passenger manifests.

“Oklahoma City is B14…  You’re welcome, sir – Merry Christmas to you, too.”

Everyone else on 2943 was a connection-in-waiting.  But today Amber had a special assignment.  The last passenger to deplane – six-year-old Bradi Russo – would be her companion for the day.

“Charlotte?  B8.”

Amber was something of a specialist in making connections.  And nowhere did the 27-year-old Red Coat’s gifts shine more than in unique, delicate situations.

Bradi Russo was a unique situation.

And as the tentative little girl took the hand of the flight attendant and walked toward the gate, it was good to know, Amber Amari understood the concept of delicate. [click to continue…]

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The Twelve Pathways to Christmas, Chapter 7:  The Way of Warfare

(This is a reprint from a previous post and a chapter in my book The Twelve Pathways to Christmas. See below for how you can purchase the book and help support missions.)

December 23

The first thing Ryan Fisher felt when he awakened was an obnoxious cold wind, pelting his face with sleet.  The searing pain coursing down his legs and across his chest further aroused him.  Opening his eyes, he saw movement outside, but the angle of his SUV in the ditch made it difficult to tell what was happening.  One thing was sure – the distant siren and flashing lights were for him.

Another thing became certain pretty quickly.  Assuming he lived, Ryan Fisher would spend Christmas alone.  There’d be no plane to catch, and nobody boarding a plane back to Birmingham.  Not in this storm.

It was the end of the day from hell, punctuating the week from hell, capping off the year from hell.  And now, freezing and in shock, Ryan Fisher closed a mental door.  He was done. [click to continue…]

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Uh oh…

Somebody lost touch with their “Y.”

When you lose your “Y” something else seems missing, too.

Somebody offers a solution: “What’s missing is a B!”

So your J-O-Y becomes a J-O-B. [click to continue…]

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Jealousy Sucks

…the life out of your days.

…the love out of your heart.

…the fun out of your dreams. [click to continue…]

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It’s been more than 40 years, but the scene hasn’t changed all that much.  Downhill run, dirt road, just north of the family farm.  Back in the day I was driving my Granddaddy’s pickup and my grandmother was in the passenger seat. I don’t remember the occasion, but most likely we had taken Lucy or Dot or some other domestic help back to their house, and we were headed back.

Just as I cruised down the dirt road, flexing my pride in the manly art of driving, the pickup slipped off the road into a shallow little ditch.

“Ditch” is too harsh a word.  More like a little soft trough where rain water would gently ease down the hill. Really wasn’t that big a deal.

“Oh, no, we’re stuck,” Grandmother said immediately.

Ridiculous!  It wasn’t deep, we were doing downhill, and all I had to do was give it a little gas, turn the wheel, and…

Well crud.  We were stuck. [click to continue…]

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It’s one thing to be in shape to be led to still waters and green pastures.

It’s another to be ready to charge the enemy’s camp through the valley of the shadow of death.

We don’t mature to make our lives easier or more comfortable.

We mature to become wiser.

Fight smarter.

Recognize danger before it attacks. [click to continue…]

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Navigating the turbulence and cross-winds, whether in life, work, or play, means mastering the art of the pivot.

To pivot is to change directions quickly in response to a new set of circumstances.

New opportunity? Pivot.

Setback?  Pivot.

The beauty of the pivot is that those do it well make it look as though it were completely planned all along. [click to continue…]

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Woke up this morning thinking about Ethel and Velma. These two ladies, who shared the same last name, lived together. Velma had been married to Ethel’s brother, who had died sometime earlier. Ethel never married. So in their latter years, these two sisters-in-law shared a house, along with a lot of family love and memories.

And quite a love for God.

Whenever I would go see them, it always felt like holy ground.  It was that classic case of going to be a blessing and winding up leaving with the greater blessing. Each was in her own way a marvelous encourager, and each in her own way a hell-stopping intercessor.

As time and age took their toll, eventually death came calling, and Ethel answered the door. I went by to see Velma, who had encouraged me so many times, to try to be an encouragement to her. While I was there, someone else came by, and I’ll never forget Velma’s first words to them. In her beautiful Southern drawl, Velma asked rhetorically, “What we gonna do without Ethel?” [click to continue…]

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