Monthly Archives: November 2021

James – Tue – 21-11-30

Do you consider yourself rich or poor? Or maybe you think you are somewhere in the middle. You know, neither rich nor poor. The funny thing is, being rich is really a relative thing. People can usually think of someone richer than they are. So they tend not to view themselves as rich.

Let’s change the thought a bit. James wrote in his book about the rich and poor. Most of us today would be considered incredibly wealthy by James. The wealthy of his day had servants. Today, we have replaced servants with things such as microwaves, washing machines, automobiles, automatic vacuums, plumbing and electricity. We have access to electronic devices, meal delivery services and medical care. So don’t kid yourself. You are rich.

Listen to what James says to us in James 1:9-10, “The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.” (NIV)

James reminds of an undeniable truth about life. Even as we go about our business, we will fade away. We last a short time. So focus on receiving the crown of life that God gives to those who love him!

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

James – Mon – 21-11-29

Have you ever agonized over a decision? Maybe it was which job to take, or which college to attend or whether to go to college or not. Sometimes people agonize over whether to date a person or continue to date the person. Life is filled with decisions about what to do and which path to take. And these decisions are often difficult to make. That’s why we need wisdom.

Of course, most people don’t understand what wisdom is. It is all about ethics and morals. Wisdom is about right vs. wrong. Sometimes in our decisions, we have the choice between two options that are both ethical. But every decision must begin with right vs. wrong. That’s what wisdom defines.

The good news is that wisdom can be acquired! James 1:5-8 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”

Need some wisdom? Ask God. He’ll show you what is right. When you ask, don’t try to have it both ways. Trust God and follow him!

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

James – Sun – 21-11-28

Many years ago, I was an athlete on my high school team. After football or basketball practice, the coach would line us up for a drill called wind sprints. It sounds like such a pleasant term! But they were not pleasant. The coach would blow his whistle, making us run in short bursts. Then we’d do it again, and again and again. He didn’t stop until we had no wind left! They should have been called “windless sprints” because he left us gasping for air.

Why would the coach put us through such agony? Because he wanted to build our endurance. We needed to be in condition for the real game. So, he put us through the drills.

The same thing is true about our spiritual endurance. It requires testing to develop. Listen to what James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (NIV)

Do you see the big picture? It can be unpleasant, even agony, to go through the trials of life. But they are useful for creating in us perseverance and eventually maturity. And, as verse 12 says, if we persevere under trial, we will receive the crown of life!

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

Give Thanks – Sat – 21-11-27

Did you go shopping yesterday? Yesterday was Black Friday, the traditional start to the Christmas shopping season. Stores usually have some great deals, if you arrive early enough! Usually, crowds pack the stores and queue up to snatch up the door-buster specials. Then, on Monday, online shopping specials are available, at least in a normal year.  However, I think some stores and web sites started their sales early this year because of the supply chain issues stemming from pandemic problems.

Rather than thinking of this as the start of the shopping season, maybe we should think of this time as the start of the Christmas generosity season. I mean isn’t that the reason we’re shopping? We want to be generous, right? Many churches and organizations also make special gifts of holiday meals or food boxes at this time of year.

A byproduct of generosity should be thanksgiving to God. Just listen to what 2 Corinthians 9:10-11 says, “Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” (NIV)

So, in this season, be generous to others in Jesus name so that thanksgiving will flow to God.

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

Give Thanks – Fri – 21-11-26

How was your Thanksgiving? Was it full of family, friends and food? If you’re like me, you probably ate foods you only get once or twice a year, such as pumpkin or pecan pie. Come to think of it, we don’t eat homemade bread rolls and cranberry sauce very regularly either! And does your family have a special, traditional food? For Elaine’s family, it was homemade noodles. We piled them on top of the mashed potatoes! It seems like we always ran out.

Thanksgiving meals are intended to be a celebration of all the blessings God has given us through the year. But I’m also thankful for the meal itself. Aren’t you thankful for food?

1 Timothy 4:3-5 talks about people who thought it wrong to eat certain foods. But Paul corrected that thinking. He wrote, “They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.”

So, one thing we should be thankful for is food. Remember Jesus’ teaching in the model prayer? He taught us to pray with the phrase “give us this day our daily bread.” We rely on God for our daily needs. So, thank him for good food!

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

Give Thanks – Thu – 21-11-25

How can we celebrate Thanksgiving in a country divided by masks, mandates, critical race theory and identity politics? Is it even possible?

Did you know that Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national observance in the midst of the Civil War? Listen to some of Lincoln’s words. May they inspire you on this Thanksgiving day!

“The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

. . .

I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, . . . to set apart and observe . . . a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, . . . fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.”*

*Derrick Wilburn, “The True Origins of Our Thanksgiving Holiday,” The Federalist Papers, November 23, 2017,

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

Give Thanks – Wed – 21-11-24

Did you know that an estimated 31.1% of U.S. adults will experience an anxiety disorder during their life time?1 That’s a lot of people! In addition, one quarter of adolescents suffer anxiety disorders, putting them at higher risk of poor school performance and higher risk of substance abuse.2 Clearly, anxiety is a problem many face.

So, in the week of Thanksgiving, is there any hope for those with anxiety? Or will this holiday just be one more thing to be anxious about? I guess that depends on whether we are focused on a holiday, or on what the holiday is about – giving thanks to God. If we are stressed by the guest list, setting the table, cooking the food and more, we may miss the best part.

You see, Philippians 4:6 tells us that giving thanks can help with anxious feelings. It says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

The hope to relieve anxiety is not in the act of giving thanks, as much as in the One to whom we give it. Giving thanks focuses us on our almighty, loving Father. It helps us focus on what he has given us. It reminds us that he is the source of all good things and that he is in control. Today, give thanks to God and take your requests to him.

  1. “Prevalence of Any Anxiety Disorder Among Adults,” National Institute of Mental Health,
  2. “Facts and Statistics,” Anxiety and Depression Association of America,

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

Give Thanks – Tue – 21-11-23

Did you vote? I wrote this episode on election day earlier this month. I voted in our local elections, which included the school board. Even school board elections can get sucked into the political turmoil we experience these days. Though our school board politics have not been as raucus as some in Virginia.

When surveying the government, I find a lot to dislike. The Federal government is always spending more money than we have, or inventing new ways to tax us. Some members of Congress push harmful policies. At the city level, many cities are defunding their police departments. Watching or reading the political news can be discouraging!

That’s why I need to hear 1 Timothy 2:1-4. Maybe you need to hear it as well. It urges us to be thankful for government. Yes, thankful! Listen to what it says: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (NIV)

So, take a moment today to be thankful for your school boards, as well as your local, state and national governments. Pray the end result of their efforts will allow us to live peacefully and quietly, sharing with all the knowledge of the truth!

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

Give Thanks – Mon – 21-11-22

Recently, my wife and I started playing pickleball. It’s a cross between tennis and ping pong. It’s a lot of fun. It has also given me a few aches and pains as I use muscles I haven’t used in a while!

Usually, we’re not very thankful when we hurt. Oh, my pickleball aches are nothing. Some people have real pain and suffering. Sometimes it is physical, at other times emotional. What we want is a life free of pain. That would make us thankful, right?

Psalms 69:30-31 says, “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hoofs.”(NIV)

The psalmist knew that giving thanks to God was better than the act of animal sacrifice. But look closer. This Psalm is about giving thanks to God in the midst of pain, distress and despair. The psalm starts “Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold.”(Psalms 69:1-2NI V). Then, just before declaring his intention to glorify God with thanksgiving, he says, “I am in pain and distress; may your salvation, O God, protect me.” (Psalms 69:29 NIV)

One of the surprising things we’ve learned here, is we should always be thankful for God’s salvation, even in the midst of distressing times. Even when we hurt, we can thank God for his salvation.

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

Give Thanks – Sun 21-11-21

You know, mothers of small children often repeat themselves. That’s because children need repetition and prompting. I’m sure you’ve experienced this: a small child receives something and mom says, “What do you say?” She is prompting the child to say “thank you.”

This week, the United States has a holiday that prompts us to be thankful to God. This week, the podcast will focus on being thankful. We’ll look at different reasons to be thankful.

One of the easiest reasons to be thankful is the salvation God gives to us. Psalm 95:1-2 says, “Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.  Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.” (NIV)

God is the rock of our salvation. In other words, our salvation is secure and solid – like a huge rock. This isn’t just a boulder, but an outcropping of bedrock.

Notice also the Psalm tells us to shout or sing our praise and thanksgiving. Many songs have been written about being thankful. One oldie was written by Don Moen in 1986. The lyrics tell us, “Give thanks with a grateful heart. Give thanks to the Holy One. Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son.”*

Today, take a moment to sing your favorite song of thanksgiving to God. Of course, if you prefer, you can just shout it out!

*Don Moen, “Give Thanks,” Give Thanks, July 1986,

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

Faith Heroes – Sat – 21-11-20

Have you ever made a total mess of something? I’ve done that making cookies. I once left out the flour. They were sweet, but just crumbled! I’ve also messed up relationships. I’m sure you have too.

The past two weeks, we have been looking at several people listed in Hebrews 11. This chapter is like a hall of fame for biblical characters who displayed faith. One of the most surprising people listed had a messed up life. Rahab was a prostitute in ancient Jericho. When Joshua sent two spies to check out the city before the attack, Rahab hid them and helped them escape. Hebrews 11:31 says, “By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.”(NIV) That’s a bit of an understatement! The story doesn’t end with her surviving the battle. She married an Israelite. Her son married Ruth. That story is told in the book of Ruth. Also, Rahab’s great, great grandson was King David. She is even listed in Jesus’ genealogy. Talk about a change in her life!

What was her act of faith? She believed the Israelites were God’s people. She chose to join them.

This is an example for us. No matter how much we have messed up our lives, God will accept us through faith in Jesus. We can choose to join God’s people and follow him. Trust God to change your life!

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.