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Do You Know Where You Belong?

Thursday, June 15, 2017 by Ron Carlson

Brother in Christ,

Do you know where you belong?

There’s been a lot of news coverage and controversy over who should be allowed to stay in this country. With this turmoil has come fear and confusion. Those who don’t possess the proper proof of citizenship can be told they don’t belong and quickly sent away. Even though we may be legal citizens of this country, as followers of Jesus we, also, can feel we don’t belong. Maybe that's how we should feel.

"…God's people, Christians, should always feel somewhat out of place in this world. They ought to feel like strangers, pilgrims, aliens, like 'ducks out of water,' out of their proper environment. The Psalmist said, 'I am a stranger on earth' (Psalm 119:19a). The phrase, 'wherever I lodge,' in verse 54, literally means: 'in my temporary house.' According to Hebrews 11, the 'heroes of the faith' 'admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth' (verse 13)." (From Strangers in the World, by James Zondervan)

But if you abide in Christ, you can be sure of the one place you do belong.

"For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;" (Philippians 3:20)

"But you belong to God, my dear children." (1 John 4:4)

While we may be “ducks out of water” here, we shouldn’t duck the responsibility that comes with belonging to God. We are called to speak up for our true King. We are expected to unashamedly declare the benefits of our heavenly citizenship.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (1 Peter 2:9)

Take some time to appreciate how our heavenly citizenship is achieved. It doesn’t come through a birthright or by meeting certain criteria. The beauty of this citizenship is, it’s available to everyone. But while it’s free for us, it wasn’t free for Jesus. The one who provided our passport into His kingdom paid for our belonging with His death on the cross.

"For you have been bought with a price." (1 Corinthians 6:20)

And with that price comes confidence. Unlike those who may feel they don’t belong here on earth, as citizens of God’s kingdom we know, thanks to Jesus, we can never be deported.

"And I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand." (John 10:28)

Ron

Do You Have All You Need?

Thursday, August 17, 2017 by Ron Carlson

Or do you feel life would be better if only you could get (fill in the blank)? If we’re really honest with ourselves, most of the time, what we think we need isn’t really a need at all. Most likely it’s just a desire. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a sinful desire, but it isn’t a real need.

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Are you Kind To God?

Thursday, August 10, 2017 by Ron Carlson

We shouldn’t need to be convinced about how kind our living God is to you and me.

"He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins." (Ephesians 1:7)

I can get so focused on wanting God to continually be kind to me that I don’t focus on the importance of how to be kind to Him. 

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Do You Laugh Much?

Thursday, August 3, 2017 by Ron Carlson

I recently received an email from one of my favorite schoolmates. What made him a favorite? We laughed a lot together. I would often bring my Dad’s huge joke book to school and during lunch breaks, we’d read jokes out loud. My friend’s email reminded me how we knew the best jokes by number. So when we’d see each other in the halls instead of repeating the whole joke we’d make each other laugh just by saying number 563 or 1782. The resulting quizzical looks from those around us just added to the fun. All this to say, when was the last time you had a good laugh?

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Do You Confess Your Sins?

Thursday, July 27, 2017 by Ron Carlson

If you are still reading, I applaud you. Confessing sins isn’t a popular topic. So, let me confess: I’m not very good at it. Why is that? Am I foolish enough to think there isn’t much to confess, or do I not want to face the reality of how far I fall short? Whatever the reason, there are no excuses. I am a sinner and that means there are sins to confess.

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Can Your Word Be Trusted?

Thursday, July 20, 2017 by Ron Carlson

I’ve been dealing with a client over the last few years who has really challenged me. When he says a payment is on its way, it usually isn’t. Amazingly, while I was writing this to you, I had a phone call from him. The payment he promised to give me tonight, is being delayed again…for the third straight time. At first, I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt; I believed his excuses. But by now, the pattern of broken promises is commonplace. He’s earned a bad reputation. His word means nothing.

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Are You A Part Of A Relay Team?

Thursday, July 13, 2017 by Ron Carlson

When I attended my kids' track meets some of my favorite events were the relay races. I got a big kick out of watching the most crucial part of the event: the passing of the baton. Your team could have incredibly fast individual sprinters, but if they mistimed or fumbled the baton pass, the race was usually lost. To me, being a follower of Jesus includes an element of a relay race. First Jesus has welcomed you to the team. He has called you, saved you, loved you, forgiven you and given you eternal life. With all those blessings, you start running a different race.

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Do You Have A Paralyzed Friend?

Thursday, July 6, 2017 by Ron Carlson

In the Gospel of Matthew, we read about four guys who were probably in a men’s small group (my translation). They had a friend who was paralyzed and these four buddies wanted him to be healed. They heard Jesus was at a home nearby so they decided to exercise their faith. They put their friend on a mat and carried him to the gathering. It seemed like a great idea until they arrived at the home. The place was so crowded they couldn’t get through to Jesus. But, they were determined, so they did an extraordinary thing. They devised the RSD system (Rooftop Special Delivery). They calculated where Jesus was, (must have been an engineer in the group) got up on the roof, cut a hole in it (hopefully they repaired it afterward) and lowered their friend down in front of Jesus.

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Are You Facing A Giant?

Thursday, June 29, 2017 by Ron Carlson

Two of our church members thought they had beaten cancer. Recently both of them received some bad news; the cancer has returned. The giant is back. While it is discouraging news, to their credit, they are both ready to trust God with the outcome and gear up for another battle.

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Is Your Marriage Perfect?

Thursday, June 22, 2017 by Ron Carlson


The struggle is a common one. A spouse sees the shortcomings, personality flaws, and unmet expectations in their mate and decides this can’t be the person God intended for them. So, they decide to hunt for a perfect match. A friend did just that, but after being remarried said, “All I did was trade one set of problems for another.” Even those of us who have a godly loving spouse will tell you since two imperfect people that are involved, there’s no such thing as a perfect match. So, where’s the encouraging, inspirational, and uplifting message in all this? For starters, Jesus will reward the ones who love, even when they aren’t loved back in a way they’d like.

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Do You Know Where You Belong?

Thursday, June 15, 2017 by Ron Carlson

There’s been a lot of news coverage and controversy over who should be allowed to stay in this country. With this turmoil has come fear and confusion. Those who don’t possess the proper proof of citizenship can be told they don’t belong and quickly sent away. Even though we may be legal citizens of this country, as followers of Jesus we, also, can feel we don’t belong. Maybe that's how we should feel.

Read More »



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