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Are We Really Peacemakers?

By Don Loftis | 10.17.18

We certainly live in a culture that is experiencing serious conflict and growing divisions.  One person described Americans as “cats in a room full of rocking chairs”.  We seem to be twitching our tales and hoping someone will rock on us, so we can squeal and scratch.  We see this in domestic disputes, formal divorces, dueling politicians, business competitors, and even ill-tempered preachers.   Yet, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God.”  The apostle Paul told Christians in Rome, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”   Historians have shown that President Ulysses Grant sought to facilitate genuine reconciliation between the North and the South after the Civil War.  Despite having led the northern armies, he became close friends [...]

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Moving Past Our Anger

By Don Loftis | 10.10.18

In 1969 Elizabeth Kubler-Ross published her classic work entitled Death and Dying.  In it she posed five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  While everyone’s grief is different and there is no defined timetable, these five components are typically present.   Anger is one of the most interesting and explosive.  It may be directed toward the medical staff, “If you all had acted faster…”  It might be toward the deceased, especially if they had ignored repeated warnings or chose to take their own life.  Anger toward God is not uncommon, “Why didn’t you spare my child?”  Feelings of guilt may even lead to anger directed at ourselves.   A lady whose husband had unexpectedly died was having a very difficult time with her grieving process.  Every day she took fresh flowers [...]

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Yield The Right Of Way

By Don Loftis | 09.26.18

We are familiar with the triangular-shaped road signs that state “YIELD” in all capital letters.  The message is for drivers to allow other approaching traffic to have the right of way and to go first.   Early September 1986, a Russian ocean liner with over 1200 people on board was moving through the Black Sea.  A freighter transporting oats was crossing the same water.  For 45 minutes the two captains were aware that they were on a collision course.  Despite some communications, neither captain ordered a change of course until it was too late.  The freighter broadsided the ocean liner leading to the sinking of the ship and the loss of 398 lives.  Both captains were arrested for their stubborn refusal to yield.   The same mentality leads husbands and wives to experience chronic conflict.  [...]

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Don’t Sell Other People’s Stuff

By Don Loftis | 09.19.18

Matthew and Maria Colonna-Emmanual discovered a rusted metal box in their shrubbery.  Thinking it was an old cable box, they simply opened it out of curiosity.  However, they discovered that it contained $52,000 in cash, as well as several pieces of jewelry.  Since the box contained the name of the original owner, they tracked them down and returned the lost box.  The original owners were quite thankful but equally amazed that the couple returned it.  When asked why they didn’t keep it, Maria quickly responded, “It wasn’t ours.”   There are at least two ways we can take and use what doesn’t belong to us.  Many people steal items and sell them to a pawn shop or list them on e-Bay.  The process may not even be as scandalous as breaking and entering a home.   [...]

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Do You Know Your Score?

By Don Loftis | 09.12.18

I don’t know if any one else uses it, but I subscribe (free) to Credit Karma to help me keep tabs on my finances.  Every month it lists all my accounts, so I can easily see if anyone has stolen my identity.  It also posts my credit score as reported by two of the three major reporting bureaus.  This index gives me a regular evaluation of my financial health.   Credit scores are useful, if a person is buying a house or car.  The better the score, the lower the interest rate that will be charged, because you are viewed as less of a risk.  However, there is a much more important “score” — the one that reflects our spiritual health and offers a glimpse into our relationship with God.   I don’t know how [...]

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Taking Grace For Granted

By Don Loftis | 08.29.18

A Canadian lady took to Facebook to express her anger towards friends and family whom she felt had ruined her wedding.  It seems she had set in motion an elaborate wedding that was going to cost in excess of $46,000 (USD), but she had no money to pay for it.  Her solution was to include a line in her wedding invitations that those attending would be asked to make a $1500 donation at the door for the privilege of witnessing the exchange of vows.  She called off the wedding and blasted her cheap and thoughtless friends, when no one accepted the invite.   Depending on your mood, the story likely leaves you amused, amazed or appalled.  How can people be so presumptuous and demanding?  Yet, sometimes we treat God that way.  We “make deals” with [...]

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How Do We Praise God?

By Don Loftis | 08.22.18

The book of Psalms is a collection of poetic writings, mostly from David.  They explore a variety of emotions that are encountered throughout our lives and especially our lives as they intersect with God.  The last verse (150:6) states, “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.  Praise the LORD.”  Our lives should continually offer praise to God.  How do we do that?   Most obviously, our worship is a form of praise.  We sing “How Great Thou Art,” and we pray “Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be Thy name.”  The term “worship” is derived from a root that means “worth-ship.”  Worship, public or private, is a declaration of God’s greatness and His goodness.   Since we are instructed to make our bodies a living sacrifice to the Lord (Rom. 12:1), the lives [...]

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Don’t Forget To Check In

By Don Loftis | 08.15.18

Many of us remember 50 years ago, when most telephone calls beyond 20 miles were long distance, and you had to pay extra money for each one based on the number of minutes you talked.  My mother and her mom had a system to avoid charges.  My mom would call at 10:00 every night.  She would let the phone ring twice and hang up; it simply meant that everything was OK.  If she had bigger news, she would let it continue to ring, and my grandmother would answer.   Our prayer life ought to share some resemblance to that “ancient” practice.  There are times we need extensive and lengthy conversations with the Lord.  We must not short cut prayer, when we are facing a relationship crisis or the devil is working overtime with temptations.  Seasons [...]

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The Danger Of Aggressive Behavior

By Don Loftis | 08.08.18

Last weekend a brawl was caught on film at the New Red Apple Nails Salon in Brooklyn, NY.  A customer refused to pay $5.00 for the stylist’s work on her eyebrows.  The ensuing verbal altercation led to pushing, punching, and chair tossing.  The customer’s grandmother was hit by a broom and sprayed with finger nail polish remover.  The store is still closed, while other patrons protest outside the facility, desiring that it be permanently closed.   We are amazed at how such a turmoil could take place in a salon.  Yet, it happens every day on the highways, as angry motorists rage at those with whom they share the road.  It happens at ballgames, as parents assail umpires or coaches.  It happens in domestic disputes over trivial issues that sometimes cannot even be accurately recalled. [...]

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To Change Or Not To Change

By Don Loftis | 08.01.18

There is no denying that we live in a time of transition.  We are bombarded with changes in politics, transportation, medicine, technology, and religion.  These may make us uneasy, or even fearful, but the reality is that change is inevitable.  Some will prove to be good and others bad, but change is the one consistent part of every generation and every culture.   Because we know that Jesus is unchanging (Heb. 13:8), and that our faith was once and for all delivered to us (Jude 1:3), we are very cautious about religious change.  The Bible informs us in three places to not add to or take away from God’s message.  We must be committed to preach and defend an unchanging message.   Yet, we do need to remember that there was a time in the [...]

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