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The Value Of Self-Control

By Don Loftis | 07.26.17

David Swagner recently wrote about a 14th Century duke named Raynald III, but was commonly called by his nickname Crassus, which meant “fat.”  In a family dispute Raynald’s brother, Edward,  revolted and imprisoned his overweight brother.   Rather than putting him in a cell or dungeon, he built a room around him that had windows and a slightly undersized door.  Raynald was told that as soon as he lost enough weight to fit through the door or window, he was free to leave.  However, Raynald never could control his eating habits and spent his life as a prisoner–truly a prisoner of his own appetite.   Our lives are often destroyed by our lack of self control as well.  Our anger may damage or destroy a relationship.  A poor diet may result in obesity or diabetes.  Poor [...]

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How Do You View Your Religion?

By Don Loftis | 07.19.17

I suppose folks might define “religion” in different ways.  To me “religion” is the day-to-day expression of my faith in God.  There are at least four ways people treat their religion.   For some it is a hobby.  They enjoy it — more at some times than others.  As time and finances permit, religious activities are a part of their lives.  Like most hobbies, though, it is discretionary in terms of commitment.   For others, religion is more like their job or career.  They attend services and give, because that is what one is supposed to do. They are very faithful, but also somewhat burdened by these responsibilities.  Retirement may be a valued goal.   Still others, view their religious lives as a passion being lived out both intellectually and emotionally.  Christianity is a Cause [...]

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Shifting Our Focus

By Don Loftis | 07.12.17

Genesis 5 heralds the great story of a man named Enoch.  Apparently, he walked so closely with God that the Lord took him on to heaven.  Hebrews 11:5 says “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up, for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.”   We certainly interpret this story in positive ways.  Enoch  was praised for his righteousness and escaped the pain typically associated with dying.  Like the apostle Paul thousands of years later, “it was very much better” to go be with the Lord.   I know all of that is true, but I wonder what his family felt?  I wonder what the community where he lived thought?  Based [...]

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The Call For Freedom

By Don Loftis | 07.05.17

By the time the Second Continental Congress met in 1776, many of the American colonies were pushing for a break with Great Britain.  They established a committee of five to draft a declaration of independence, which would serve as a formal announcement of freedom.  That document, composed mostly by Thomas Jefferson, was ratified on July 4 and signed on August 2.  In reflecting on that document, I see some great similarities to our freedom in Christ.   The founding fathers had a vision for a nation that would be unlike any other.  God’s vision for sinful man was such that He sent His son to purchase the church with His blood.  Our freedom from sin does not come by accident; it comes through divine foresight.   Living out the freedom we have in Christ sometimes [...]

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