Category Archives: John Grant


Week Thirty-Nine 2021

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

When I built my house, I knew nothing about construction. I watched the blocks go up to the top of the second story. I thought how strong it looked. Then, I noticed that the contractor put in steel rods every few blocks and then knocked a hole in the bottom block. Inquisitive, I asked him why and he said that the blocks alone wouldn’t be strong enough to bear the weight until he poured concrete in each hole that had what he told me was rebar.

He explained that rebar when massed as reinforcing steel or reinforcement steel, is a steel bar or mesh of steel wires used as a tension device in reinforced concrete and reinforced masonry structures to strengthen and aid the concrete under tension. Concrete is strong under compression, but alone without rebar has weak tensile strength.

When they pour thick slabs of concrete, they use rebar to help make it stronger. The tensile strength is significantly increased by inserting carbon steel bars or mesh steel wires into the concrete during construction. The rebar helps resist cracking and breakage, and it absorbs stress and the other forces that will try to destroy the concrete over time.

I thought about my strong body and how I could bear the weight and endurance of life only because of the bones inside that I had seen only on an Xray. Without those bones, I would be limp as a dishrag and fall like a ball of clay, but my bones give me strength, just as rebar gives concrete strength.

The wording in Daniel 2:41-43 implies that the iron and clay do not mix, and do not combine to make each other stronger, but instead constitute a structural weakness. In addition, for generations the phrase “feet of clay” from Daniel 2 has been used to describe someone who gives the outward appearance of strength, but has a hidden weakness that causes his downfall.

Imagine your life as that concrete for a moment… What kinds of rebar can we insert into our own lives to provide extra strength and help us resist cracking, breakage, and stress?

We’ve all been there. Life takes us right to the edge where the pressure layers on, and we’re on the verge of breaking. The tensions in our lives create stress, and just like concrete, we begin to develop cracks on our surface.

Most of us have experienced stress and pressure at work and in other areas of our life. We’ve experienced tension and strain in our relationships. We’ve felt the squeezing of life from time to time… the expectations, the comparison, the demands that the world puts on us.

Only God’s rebar of the relationship with Christ can give us the inner strength to carry on with the strength to live our daily lives to the fullest.


God either removes our challenges or redeems them for larger purposes. He miraculously freed Paul from his Philippian jail (Acts 16:25–26), but he did not remove his “thorn in the flesh” despite the apostle’s repeated entreaties (2 Corinthians 12:8). Instead, God used this “thorn” to draw Paul into greater dependence on himself. As a result, Paul wrote these immortal words: “When I am weak, then I am strong” (v. 10).

Our performance-based society measures us by what we do and how well we do it. But God wants us to see our challenges differently—as opportunities to experience his grace, strength, and guidance.

We can be self-sufficient or we can be Spirit-dependent, but we cannot be both.

In Keeping Hope: Favorite Prayers for Modern Living, Michel Quoist writes, “Don’t refuse to acknowledge your limitations. To deny their existence doesn’t make them go away. If they do exist, ignoring them would give them the opportunity to undermine and destroy your life.”

Instead, he observes, “Your limitations are not simply obstacles to your success—they are also indications from God of the path your life is to take.”

What limitation does God want to redeem in your life today? Jim Denison

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It may seem that everywhere you turn, costs are going up. Earlier this year, Chipotle raised its menu prices by about 4 percent. Food products were 2.4 percent more expensive in June 2021 than in June 2020. Used cars are creeping toward the typical tag of a new car, and rent prices are up 7.5 percent nationwide. Inflation will grow more over the next couple of months as businesses recoup their pandemic losses.

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Do you have NOMO phobia? Fear of being without your mobile phone.

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Wife did laundry, all was put away, but the sheets and bedding. Those she left on the bed. Wife asks husband, hey sweetie, could you put the sheets on the bed. Husband asks where are they? On the bed she says. Husband replies, well it looks like my job is done. Contributed by Beverley Grant

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What matters today is not always what will matter tomorrow, much less in eternity. By contrast, we cannot measure the eternal significance of present faithfulness. Will you be “devoted to eternal truths” today? Jim Denison

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Also contributed by Beverley Grant


Do not trust in anything outside Christ for your righteousness, even the law in the Old Testament was meant to point to Jesus, not to accomplish salvation for us. Edgar Aponte

When you put God first, He takes care of all the rest. Dan Shock

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.” M.F.K. FISHER

The struggle you are in today is developing the strength you will need tomorrow. Anonymous

Don’t ever let anyone dull your sparkle. Anonymous

“Throw your heart over the fence and the rest will follow.”

Jesus triumphed over temptation and can help you to have victory also. Dan Shock

Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he isn’t. A sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is.”

God’s hand is in every disruption and every detour. Dan Shock

Life is like an onion; you peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.” CARL SANDBURG

Deposit your riches carefully. Dan Shock

Keep talking to Jesus. His Presence will give you strength, and He will bless you with Peace. Sarah Young

How glorious to realize that Jesus Himself is praying for you! Dan Shock

Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has grace, and power in it. JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE

Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. Martin Luther


Week Thirty-Eight, 2021

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9

All runners have to follow one basic rule. When runners start the race, their body is in perfect form and their feet are rested against the starting block. The moment the gun is fired, the runners take off. They can go as fast as they can but no matter what, they must always stay in their lane.

In a relay race, there are 4 runners who run a certain amount of the track and then they have to pass their baton on to their teammate. Each teammate must run their portion of the lane. Relay races require everyone to do their part, stay focused, and stay in their lane.

Paul often compares the Christian life to running a race: 1 Cor. 9 – “run to get the prize” Phil 2 – “not run in vain.” The writer of Hebrews, which some believe is Paul, in 12 says, run the race set before us with endurance and joy, fixing our eyes on Christ.

Get the picture of an Olympic athlete… on the starting blocks of a 200m race (halfway around the track). Get off the blocks as fast as you can, run as hard as you can, and stay in your lane!

As Christians, our connection begins with our relationship with God and then continues as we try to find and walk the path He has specifically chosen for us. This is where we learn to connect our passion and our purpose.

But you may have noticed something as you start down your path…there are others walking ahead, beside, and behind you. Right? Sometimes these people can encourage you on your journey. Sometimes they distract you. Sometimes they make it hard for you to see where you are going. But you must stay in the lane God has directed you to.

Look straight ahead and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out God’s path for your feet; stay on the safe path.”

• Seek to follow God first.

• Take it one step at a time.

• Accept the specific plan God has for your life (and do not worry about anyone else!).

• Yield to others on the path with grace.

• (in your)

• Listen to God’s voice as He guides (shut out the other noises and distractions).

• Ask others for support and encouragement.

• Navigate the obstacles by staying fixed and focused on your goal.

• Expect great things as you learn to connect your passion and purpose!




Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that he might receive some of the fruit of the vineyard… Mark 12:2

God loves to walk in His vineyard. Why? He is looking for fruit.

In John 15:8, Jesus says, “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit.” Paul goes on, in Galatians 5:22-23, to explain the fruit of the Spirit as being “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” This is the fruit God sought from the nation of Israel, and this is what the Lord is seeking from us.

In contrast to fruit is work. Fruit develops naturally as a result of relationship, whereas works are those things that are produced by effort, by organization and by coordination.

The Lord is not interested in coming to a factory and hearing the noisy roar of the motors and the clanging of the steel and seeing the grime that is usually found in such busy places. The Lord wants to come to His garden, that He might partake of and enjoy the fruit He finds there.

What fruit is coming forth from your life? Is it the works of the flesh, or the fruit of the Spirit? If you want to bear fruit for God-easily and naturally-then you need to attend to your relationship with Him. You need to seek Him, think about Him, and study His character.

Fruit will never come by will or determination. It comes by simply walking with the Gardener, and abiding in His love.

What fruit is coming from your life?

Marty Stubblefield

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Healing is not about doing better or being stronger or going to church more. It is about experiencing a love that will never let you go.

Joni Eareckson Tada says, “Your deepest need when you are hurting is to have God, like a Daddy, reaching down and picking you up and holding you and reassuring you that everything is going to be okay. He lets you know that your life is not in nightmarish chaos, your world is not splitting apart at the seams. Somehow and somewhere there is order and stability to it all. And that’s why God never gives advice; He gives Himself.”

Let go of the shreds of your life you have been hanging on to and embrace God.

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling” (Psalm 68:5).

“You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more” (Psalm 10:17-18).

Heavenly Father, hold me in Your arms and comfort me. Reassure me that everything is going to be okay. Amen.

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A woman is reportedly suing McDonald’s after claiming that seeing one of its cheeseburger commercials made her break her fast for Lent. She accused the fast-food chain of breaking consumer protection laws and insulting her religious feelings.



Here’s to life and embracing each day with gratitude, passion, compassion, empathy, integrity, love, kindness, faith and purpose. Richard Gonzmart

We are in an economic boom and a spiritual drought. Bob Sprinkle

Never underestimate the importance of removing stuff you don’t need. The Minimalist

Thankfulness opens the door to His presence, and He is always with you, but Jesus has gone to great measures to preserve your freedom of choice. Sarah Young

Advertised humidity is not humility at all. Edgar Aponte

Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting some on yourself.” RALPH WALDO EMERSON

Fill your life with stories to tell, not stuff to show. The Minimalist

Whenever you are tempted to grumble, come to Jesus and talk it out.

The only way to be found worthy to escape the great tribulation is by receiving Jesus Christ and the forgiveness He offers. Dan Shock

We need men who can dream of things that never were. JOHN F. KENNEDY

Into each life some rain must fall. Longfellow

When it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow. G. K. Chesterton

If the crucified body of Jesus had stayed in the tomb, there would be no Christian faith, no church. Dan Shock


Week Thirty-Seven, 2021

For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity. Proverbs 24:16

Football is both a physical game and a mind game. It requires a lot of training and a lot of preparation. Players learn every aspect of the game. They even are trained on how to fall. The NFL keeps statistics on how players fall.

Everyone who carries the ball will fall. The average distance run with the ball is about five yards and then the player goes down. If the player falls backwards, he loses yardage and if he falls forward he gains yardage. After a player falls, he gets up, goes back to the huddle and gets ready to fall again.

There is a spiritual parallel here. God is always working in the lives of Christians. He is faithful. When His children fall, He will pick them up and dust them off. He will never forsake His faithful ones and with His mighty right hand He will hold you.

He knows what you need, He knows what you’re going through, and He knows your pain. Commit to Him, continue to live by His Word, hold on to God’s promises in your heart and know that in all situations He will help you and with Him you will overcome.

Like a football player, you learn by falling, so you will do better in the next play. Romans 8:28 says: We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. It does not say that all those “things” will be easy, painless or short lived. But we will be better because of them.

People who fall the hardest, bounce back the highest. Just because we fall one time doesn’t mean we can’t get up and let our light shine. When real people fall down in life, they get right back up and keep walking.

Football players know that it is hard to beat a person that never gives up. So, when you fall, and we all will, get up, get better and go forward with God.

When difficulty strikes, which way will you fall and how fast will you get up?



Oswald Chambers observed, “Jesus Christ does not give us rules and regulations; his teachings are truths that can only be interpreted by the disposition he puts in. The great marvel of Jesus Christ’s salvation is that he alters heredity. He does not alter human nature; he alters its mainspring.”

Chambers noted that the Sermon on the Mount, for example, “is not a set of rules and regulations: it is a statement of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is getting his way with us.”

This is a massive insight. We can regulate external behavior, but only God can change human nature. We can act in godly ways to impress others and seek God’s blessing. But measure your heart—do you secretly still want to do what you know you should not do?

Imagine being so free of addiction to sin that we no longer suffer from its cravings. Obviously, we will act in godly ways and will draw others to Jesus as a result, but this will be true joy for us as well.

Our “mainspring” will be different. Jim Denison

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One of the consequences of living in a consumer-driven economy is that consumers believe we drive more than the economy. We are given to think that it’s all about us, that we should have what we want when we want it. We assume that what we believe is best for us is best for us.

This fact helps to explain why optimism is down nearly twenty points since May. A majority—55 percent—of the public now say they are pessimistic about the direction of the country, a marked change from the 36 percent who said the same in a May 2 poll. According to ABC News, the drop “likely reflects the growing concern that lockdowns could be reinstated, and already vaccinated Americans could need a booster shot” for COVID-19.

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Jeffrey Bilbro is a college English professor. In Reading the Times: A Literary and Theological Inquiry into the News, he notes: “There is a profound, insidious kind of formation that happens when the first thing we do in the morning is to reach for a smartphone to find out what new thing occurred while we were sleeping. Such habits form the horizon of meaning by which we judge the significance of our daily life and actions. Structuring our days and weeks instead around Christ orients us to his story and equips us to fit the news of our day into the redemptive pattern of his life and work.”

Bilbro is right: “Modern news organizations double as lifestyle brands; where we get our news signals and shapes our identity.” He adds perceptively, “Instead of looking to the news to create better communities, we should be looking to strengthen communities so that they can create better news.”

We “strengthen communities” by loving our Lord and loving our neighbor (Matthew 22:37–39). We do this best by being led and empowered each day by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and then responding to problems with intercession and to opportunities with service.

When we do, we can know that God is using us not just to follow the news, but to make it, not just to react to culture, but to shape it. Bilbro advises, “Christians should be wary of being caught up in the trivia of the day and should be devoted to eternal truths. This is the posture of the martyrs—faithful to the Word, indifferent to victory.”

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Caroline Campbell has written the entire Bible by hand, completing in June a project that began nine years earlier. Her mother estimates that the completed manuscript, which is compiled in forty-three binders, is more than ten thousand pages.

Caroline serves as a greeter at her church in South Carolina and regularly visits church members in nursing homes. She got a job a few years ago at a restaurant, where the franchise owner said after meeting her, “This girl is a star. Her personality shines. She’s a true star, and her star radiates. Her attitude makes ours better.”

Since completing her handwritten Bible, Caroline has received some attention in the media and is happy to hear she’s inspired others to love God’s word as she does. She recently received a letter from a seminary student on the West Coast who told her he is going to begin writing out the Bible by hand too. All of this helps Caroline fulfill her mission, as she told Christianity Today: “I want to inspire people to learn the Bible.”

By the way, Caroline has Down syndrome.



Christ alone is our foundation and salvation, and in Him you have been set free, so do not allow others to enslave you to traditions and regulations of men. Edgar Aponte

Keep doing good deeds long enough and you’ll probably turn out a good man in spite of yourself. LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS

When planning and problems are preoccupying your mind, turn to Jesus and whisper His Name. Sarah Young

Many are quick to blame God for everything instead of thanking Him. Dan Shock

The most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not. Thomas L. Huxley

Saints, in Christ your salvation has been secured, and only in Him through the Spirit you can have victory over temptation and sin. Edgar Aponte

When you’re willing to share in the sadness of this sin-filled world, you learn to feel tenderness and compassion for those around you. Sarah Young

Rather than criticize God, we need to learn from Him. We need to have that same love, compassion, and readiness to forgive as God does. Dan Shock

Western society is experiencing God’s permissive judgment in response to our rejection of his word and will. Jim Denison

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have. Thomas Jefferson

No one ever told me how much fear is hidden in love. Erin Loechner

Never underestimate the importance of removing stuff you don’t need.


Week Thirty-Six, 2021

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

Monty Williams is an NBA coach whose team, the Phoenix Suns, lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the final playoff game this year. He has remarkable faith in the face of horrific adversity.

After a driver on methamphetamines crashed into his wife’s car and killed her, Williams said at her funeral, “Everybody is praying for me and my family, which is right. But let us not forget that there were two people in this situation. And that family needs prayer as well. And we have no ill will toward that family.”

Then again as he responded to his team’s loss in the NBA Finals. Speaking to reporters after the final game, he choked up and said, “I think it’s going to take me a minute. I just don’t take it for granted. It’s hard to get here, and I wanted it so bad, you know? It’s hard to process right now.”

Despite the pain of the loss, however, Williams stopped by the Bucks’ locker room to congratulate the opposing team. Putting his arm around one of the players, he said, “I just wanted to come and congratulate you guys as a man and a coach. You guys deserved it, and I’m thankful for the experience. You guys made me a better coach. You guys made us a better team.”

Williams exhibited his faith one after his wife’s death and again after losing the NBA championship. When I heard his story, I wondered if I could do the same. Could I forgive someone who while on drugs killed my wife? Frankly and honestly, I am not sure.

The Bible mentions forgiveness ninety-five times. Jesus told the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35) – this parable teaches that God will forgive a person who genuinely repents, but this person should also be prepared to forgive others.

Forgiveness doesn’t come easy, even for Christians, but there are steps to make it happen. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or excusing the harm done to you or making up with the person who caused the harm. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life. Forgiveness is not really about “them”. It is about you.

It is not always easy and it is not always fast, but we have to uncover our anger, make a decision to forgive and work on it as best we can. After all, it is the only way to release ourselves from our own emotional prison.



Our part of the equation is to be “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18), to yield to God’s sanctifying Holy Spirit every moment of every day. When we “submit yourselves therefore to God,” we can “resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

Our culture teaches us that we can do anything if we just try harder. However, holiness is not trying harder to do better. It is being so “poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3), so humbled and surrendered before God, that he can make us like Jesus (Romans 8:29). Then we can join him in turning the challenges of our day into opportunities for the godliness that glorifies our Lord.

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The Scottish minister John Baillie prayed:

Teach me, O God, to use all the circumstances of my life today to nurture the fruits of the Spirit rather than the fruits of sin.

Let me use disappointment as material for patience;

Let me use success as material for thankfulness;

Let me use anxiety as material for perseverance;

Let me use danger as material for courage;

Let me use criticism as material for learning;

Let me use praise as material for humility;

Let me use pleasures as material for self-control;

Let me use pain as material for endurance.

Will you make his prayer yours today?

Jim Denison

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Rules and Efforts:

▪ Your rules and effort cannot give you the peace that passes understanding, but Jesus can.

▪ Your rules and effort cannot offer you unbroken love, but Jesus does.

▪ Your rules and effort cannot give you courage in the darkness, but Jesus, who walks with you, will.

▪ Your rules and effort do not always make you feel worthy, but the one who shed his blood for you will.

▪ Your rules and effort cannot satisfy your hungry soul, but the bread of life and living water can. Edgar Aponte

— o —

According to data from World Backup Day, 30% of people worldwide have never backed up their devices, and every 60 seconds, 113 mobile phones get stolen or are lost. If your data isn’t backed up, you risk losing it forever…

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This is a time of skyrocketing gun violence. In recent months, between July 17 and July 23, the Gun Violence Archive tracked at least 915 shooting incidents, which averages to one every twelve minutes. At least 430 people were killed and 1,007 wounded.



Sin is the poison the devil got into the blood of our first parents and it poisoned the mankind. Hence Jesus had to transmit His blood to keep the humanity alive. Stephen Bernard

Resentment is destructive. Dan Shock

Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter. Who would think that those branches would turn green again and blossom, but we hope it, we know it.” JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE

Knowing about God is not the same as knowing God. Ken Weliever

Guard your heart and mind of any idea that takes you away from Jesus and keep your eyes on Him. Edgar Aponte

We all know that money and things will not bring happiness, but why do we stare longingly at a 500 horsepower sports car or a 5 carat diamond ring? We forget during this dreaminess that insuring or repairing all these expensive toys requires another small fortune. Dwight Short

Jesus’ kingdom is not about earning and deserving; it is about believing and receiving.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. James 1:2-3

When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?’ SYDNEY J. HARRIS

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14

When you remember that the road we’re traveling on is really a highway to heaven, the roughness or smoothness of the road becomes less important to you.

Unfortunately, negative news garners attention, attracts viewers, and improves ratings. Ken Weliever

I believe that some obstacles that we’ve had always work out for the better because God knows that without those obstacles, you wouldn’t be as strong as you are. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles

Moderation. Small helpings. Sample a little bit of everything. These are the secrets of happiness and good health. JULIA CHILD


Week 35 2021

As we cruised along at 30,000 feet, I relaxed and read my Bible. The man next to me commented, “You must be a minister.” I told him that I was, but I didn’t pastor a church, but explained that every Christian should be in the ministry, proclaiming the Gospel, starting with where they work.

We are called to minister where we are planted and for most of us that is the marketplace where we work and earn our living. My friend, Dan Shock, is not a pastor, but very much a minister as he leads Florida Marketplace Ministries (, where many have come to Christ under his leadership and ministry.

Do you work the way you worship?

Your work matters. The first person said to be “filled with the Spirit” in the Bible was not a pastor, but a craftsman and artist of wood & stone in Exodus 31:2-5.

Don’t minimize your daily work in the marketplace – it is nothing less than a Holy Calling. Your work… your position is your platform.

In the New Testament…
▪ Of the 132 public appearances that Jesus made – 122 were in the marketplace
▪ Of the 52 parables that Jesus told – 45 had a workplace context
▪ Of the 40 miracles in the Book of Acts – 39 were in the marketplace
▪ Work, in its different forms, is mentioned more than 800 times in the Bible – more than all the words used to express worship, music, praise and singing combined.

No matter where or what it is, your work is a holy calling. Your desk is your pulpit.

Treat it as such…


CNN reports that “the world’s most premature baby has celebrated his first birthday after beating 0 percent odds of surviving.” Richard Scott William Hutchison was born five months prematurely and weighed 11.9 ounces at birth. His parents could hold him in a single palm of their hands. He spent six months in the hospital before going home. On June 5, Richard celebrated his first birthday.

One of the results of being made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27) is that we instinctively share our Creator’s passion for life (cf. John 10:10). Even media platforms such as CNN that consistently advocate for abortion (they call it “reproductive freedom”) know that their readers want to hear stories celebrating life in all its dimensions.

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Our planet’s atmosphere extends 6,214 miles into space. Our moon is 238,900 miles from us; our sun is 94,499,000 miles away. The next nearest star is 24,984,092,897,479 miles from our planet. The edge of our Milky Way galaxy is estimated to be 25,000 light-years away. The edge of our universe is thought to be 46,500,000,000 light-years away.

Jesus made all of that (Colossians 1:16), and his Father measures it with the palm of his hand (Isaiah 40:12).

— o —

A recent study reported that only 42 percent of Americans (and only 31 percent of adults under the age of thirty) believe God is the basis of truth. According to Gallup, only 24 percent of Americans consider the Bible to be the literal word of God. This is the lowest percentage in Gallup’s forty-year trend on this issue.

— o —

In 1969 when Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. A current iPhone has seven million times more memory than the guidance computer on his spaceship and over one hundred thousand times its processing power.


Ask yourself what you are doing today that gets you closer to where you want to be tomorrow. Anonymous

God doesn’t want you to worship or serve Him out of pressure or emotional frenzy. Dan Shock

Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice and is never the result of selfishness.” NAPOLEON HILL

In this world dominated by cyber space, is it possible that God knows us even better than all the “cookies” in the cloud? Dwight Short

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

What has God put in my keeping that He will someday require an accounting for? Dan Shock

Never underestimate the ability of a small group of dedicated people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” MARGARET MEAD

It’s never too late to let Jesus into your life. John Wayne

Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.” CHARLES F. KETTERING

Fear is a sign that we don’t trust God’s ability to take care of our situation. Florida Marketplace Ministries, Dan Shock


Week Thirty-Four, 2021

But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be (Matthew 24:37).

In the days of Noah, God saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of man’s heart was evil continually. It is not hard to make a comparison to today. Our world is full violence and corruption. Television and movie industries pollute the minds of people until the thoughts and the imagination of man’s heart is only evil continually. And just as in the days of Noah, people eat and drink, marry, and carry on their business without thought to the soon coming of the Lord.

The world can’t continue on much longer in the way things are, spiraling ever downward.

A day of reckoning approaches, and nothing in the world’s arsenal can save us. Education won’t save us. Neither will science. The government won’t. The United Nations won’t. Not even Green Peace can save our planet. The only sure hope for the future is the return of Jesus Christ. He alone has the power to save and deliver.

As we see the deteriorating conditions of the world around us, we shouldn’t get discouraged. Instead, we should be motivated. We need to rise to the challenge and live lives that are godly, righteous, and holy, as we wait for the return of our Lord.

Father, as we look at the world today, we see the same conditions that existed in the days of Noah, and we realize that judgment is not far off. May we humble ourselves, pray, and seek Your face, and may we turn away from all wickedness.

In Jesus’ name. amen. Dan Shock – Florida Market Place



Author, educator and theologian, Howard Thurman, once told a story about one of his university students, a deep-sea diver, who wrote about his experience on the ocean floor.

Discovering a coral rock garden, he sat down to look around. First, a single fish swam up to look at him. Then more and more fish were swimming around him. Soon, the garden became more intense. More vivid. More colorful. Plants opened revealing their blossoms.

After sitting there a long while, he began to swim away and suddenly the flowers and fish disappeared. They were living things that only emerged when there was stillness.

Glenn Pease who related Thurman’s story observed that the diver realized that if you come thrashing and splashing into such a garden you would never experience its full beauty.

He learned that there are marvelous things you will never see unless you sit in silence.

We’re reminded of this truth in Psalm 46:10. “Be still, and know that I am God.”

In a culture of endless hustle and bustle. With 24-hour cable news being piped into our homes. With music blaring everywhere. With the sound of traffic and horns beeping. Cell phones ringing. Children yelling. And endless chatter all around us. Silence becomes a sweet respite.

This verse reminds us there is a time to tune out the noise and tune in to God. We all need periods of sanctified silence. Preacherman

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U.S. life expectancy fell by a year and a half in 2020, the largest one-year decline since World War II, according to report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Life expectancy is an estimate of the average number of years a baby born in a given year might expect to live. It’s an important statistical snapshot of a country’s health that can be influenced both by sustained trends such as obesity as well as more temporary threats like pandemics or war that might not endanger those newborns in their lifetimes.

For decades, U.S. life expectancy was on the upswing. But that trend stalled in 2015 before hitting 78 years, 10 months, in 2019. Last year, the CDC said, it dropped to about 77 years, 4 months.

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Australian officials are asking us to rebrand shark “attacks” as “negative encounters.” What can this and other cultural euphemisms teach us about the reality of death that can keep us from experiencing the fullness of God’s blessing on this side of heaven?



Excuses hold you back while action moves you forward. Anonymous

Mistakes are the portals of discovery. JAMES JOYCE

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking. General George S. Patton.

No one is beyond the touch of Jesus. Florida Marketplace Ministries

Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN

The best motivation to live the Christian life is gratitude, not guilt. Kelly Knouse

Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter, so that the world will be at least a little bit different for our having passed through it.” —Harold Kushner

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. Thomas Edison

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. ROBERT BRAULT

One of Satan’s great deceptions is convincing lost people they are not lost. A second deception is convincing Christians that lost people are not truly lost. Jim Denison

Forget about all the reasons why something may not work. You only need to find one good reason why it will. DR. ROBERT ANTHONY


Week Thirty-Three, 2021

See to it that there is no one who takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception in accordance with human tradition, in accordance with the elementary principles of the world, rather than in accordance with Christ. Col. 2:8

A friend recommended it, so I bought it and read it right away. The title is The Solomon Promise, by Henry Blackaby. It calls on early Biblical times as a key to healing our land in today’s postmodern culture. I recommend it to all who read these words.

Solomon, the chosen heir to King David had completed the magnificent temple. No expense had been spared. It was a sacred structure to God and Solomon vowed that he and his people would remain devoted to God. But then things slid off the tracks, as Solomon began to focus on political power and national security. By mixing the world’s ways with God’s ways, he planted the seeds of ultimate destruction. Finally, the Babylonian hordes leveled the temple and the society that surrounded it.

Fast forward to the spiritual condition of America today where the nation has struggled to follow God’s ways, abide by His word and embrace His values. Whatever Christian principles undergirded its founding have been largely discarded. Postmodernism is today’s prevailing worldview in America.

People do what is right on their own eyes. Moral standards have plummeted to unprecedent depths. Many leading voices today denounce Christianity’s influence on culture. The influence of the church is waning. Many denominations are going along to get along with society and keep people in the pews. America has seemingly entered into a death spiral from which it cannot escape.

The strong currents of today’s society places power, position and possessions above spiritual integrity. Lying had become an accepted norm of our culture to be unapologetically used when necessary or convenient to secure one’s own personal desires and agenda. Transactional moments are more important than a transformational life.

Even many who claim to be Christian fail to like a Christian life. They settle for Christ as an accessory rather than Christ as a priority in their lives. If we are to live a Christian life, we must stand confidently in and against the pressures of modern-day culture and walk faithfully in the pursuit of Christ.

While the future may seem bleak, there is hope. It is not before our courts of justice or in the halls of legislation and not in the assembly of many churches.

America closer to revival or judgment than it has ever been.

Turning back to early Biblical days, God allowed circumstances to deteriorate until the people were so desperate that they were ready to turn to Him. God promised, “If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves, pray and seek My face, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. (2 Chr. 7:14)

It was true then. It is true today.




Every year, more than thirty-six thousand people die on US highways.

Every twenty-one days, that many abortions are performed in America.

Since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion in 1973, more than sixty-one million abortions have been performed in America. And while those numbers have been declining year-to-year recently, almost 620,000 abortions were performed in 2018, the most recent year for which such data is available.

Abortion is the moral issue of our time.

It seems impossible to wrestle with the difficult issues of our day without addressing this crucial debate. Most conservative Christians believe that life begins at conception and abortion is therefore wrong. But are we sure? Is this a biblical fact?

If the answer is clear, why have so many denominational leaders taken pro-choice positions? Is there a biblical, cohesive, practical position on this difficult subject?

The pro-life position is most biblical. Jim Denison

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How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable:

7 Tips for Having More Productive Discussions

1. Be mindful of your tone.

2. Don’t use “you” statements.

3. Avoid filler words or hesitant phrases.

4. Do your research.

5. Don’t get personal.

6. Be mindful of your body language.

7. Know your non-negotiables.

8. Assume the best intent.

9. Know when to take a break.

10. Practice the golden rule (Matt. 7:12) Treat other people the way you want to be treated. Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

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Approximately 60% of NBA players go broke within 5 years of retirement. Sports Illustrated



There are no finer sensations in life than that which comes with victory over one’s self. Go forward to a goal of inward achievement, brushing aside all your old internal enemies as you advance. VASH YOUNG

Beliefs have a powerful impact on the lives we live. They can limit our potential or expand it. The more we believe something to be true, the more likely it is to become so. That’s why the stories we tell ourselves are so important as well as the words we speak into others. The Minimalist

Oh, that you only knew the exceeding greatness of the power that God has made available to you! Florida Marketplace Ministries Dan Shock

The most skillful flattery is to let a person talk on, and be a listener. JOSEPH ADDISON

People will forget what you said but they will never forget how you said it. Sheriff Cal Henderson

The achievements of any organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual member. Vince Lombardi

Instead of rushing to pursue a goal, take time to talk with Jesus about it. Sarah Young

If God conformed to our style of life, He would no longer be God. Kelly Knouse


Week Thirty-Two, 2021

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:25

As a young lad I loved music and began playing the piano and organ at an early age. Later I switched to the clarinet and then the saxophone, which I played in the high school band. I played second part. Another young lady also loved music and played first part clarinet. We fell in love.

That was sixty-one years ago and we have been making harmony together ever since, though she has never forgotten to occasionally remind me that she played first part and I played second. I have to remind her of Leonard Burstein’s famous quote “The hardest part to play in the orchestra is second violin, because without second part, there is no harmony.”

There were two things we learned in the band:

1. Make sure your instrument is in tune.

2. Stay in sync with the conductor.

Those are spiritual lessons as well. The goal is to always be tuned in to God and paying attention; listening so that if he has something specific for us to say or do, we can hear it and act appropriately. We want to know what God is up to in the situation and be able to respond accordingly so he can do his will through us.

You can bring your spiritual life into alignment by asking God to inspect your heart. Cry out to Him. Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. He is sure to answer, as He’s always been right there beside you, watching and waiting even if you can’t see or feel Him near.

The moment we receive Christ, we step into a lifetime journey—a journey where we continually grow in right behavior. Little by little, day after day, our behavior improves. But it is vitally important that before you try to change your behavior, you know who you are in Christ. You must know that God loves you first.

Not only does He approve of you, He delights in you (see Psalm 18:19)! You need to get that so deeply rooted within your heart that nothing can ever take it from you.

When you’re rooted in God’s love, He’s going to help you stand up in faith and start walking. But you can’t go ahead of Him just like you can’t get ahead of the orchestra conductor, trying to do good works on your own. You have to know the Word. And it’s not easy to get the Word in you.

Is your life in sync and in tune with God?



Some time ago in a door-to-door survey, a suburban Chicago church asked people in their community, “If you don’t go to church, why?

The five biggest reasons: 1) Boring, 2) Irrelevant, 3) Asking for money all the time, 4) I’m too busy already, 5) I feel awkward at church.

These ambivalent, indifferent, and apathetic, and accusatory attitudes are not just confined to non-attendees. Unfortunately, some who attend regularly and are identified as “members of the church” are less than enthusiastic about worship. At least, you could draw that conclusion by observing their body language, lack of involvement, and critical comments.

Psalm 122:1 expresses the feeling we each ought to possess whenever we attend worship. “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.” The Preacherman

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Bill Maher is a social commentator, comedian, actor, and TV Host, who’s highly critical of religion. Several years ago he wrote and starred in a documentary entitled “Religulous”, a combination of the words “religious” and “ridiculous.”

Maher once described Christians as having a neurological disorder that keeps them from thinking. “Religion to me is a bureaucracy between man and God that I don’t need, Maher boldly claimed. “But I’m not an atheist, no. I believe there’s some force. If you want to call it God… I don’t believe God is a single parent who writes books.”

Bill Maher represents the thinking of an unbelieving world hostile to Christians, critical of Christianity and who speaks disparagingly of the Bible.

There’s probably not a whole lot we can say to convince those of Maher’s ilk otherwise. However, we can encourage one another to remain faithful, stand firm in the faith, and continue to shine as lights in a crooked and corrupt world. The Preacherman



Everyone’s weird. Some just hide it better. Anonymous

God’s silence doesn’t always mean “no.”

Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, “What’s in it for me?”


Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift of your attention. JIM ROHN

The fraying of America’s fabric is fast becoming a national obsession. Adrian Rogers

Build a dream and the dream will build you. ROBERT H. SCHULLER

God will never call you to do anything that He will not enable you to do. Dan Shock

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. RALPH WALDO EMERSON

Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become reality. EARL NIGHTINGALE

Thank God we can’t escape His presence. Dan Shock

When you die you will spend eternity in heaven or hell and eternity is a long time. Ken Whitten


Week Thirty-One, 2021

If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success. Ecclesiastes 10:10

In my younger days, I chopped firewood, I used an axe. Then, “God” invented the chain saw and I could cut more wood and cut it faster, but like the axe, with time it didn’t cut so well. I found out that even with all its power, even a chain saw became dull. A dull ax means harder work. Being wise will make it easier.

The lesson I learned is that no matter what cutting instrument one uses, with time it becomes dull and ineffective. Our Christian faith is like that. To be sharp, we have to stay sharp and the Bible tells us how.

God said to sharpen your sword by placing the Word of God in you! (Ephesians 6:17). To me there is nothing more sad than a powerless Christian with a dull sword.

The story is told of a newly hired lumberjack who felled more trees on his first day than anyone else. By the fourth day, however, his output had fallen so far that his supervisor asked him what was wrong.

The man said, “I don’t understand. I’m working even harder than before but cutting less timber.” The supervisor asked the lumberjack how often he sharpened his ax. He replied, “I have too many trees to cut — I don’t have time to sharpen my ax.”

As believer’s we seem to have a built-in God given ability to sharpen ourselves and each other as we utilize the tools and relationships that God has given us such as:

▪ A growing relationship with The Lord.

▪ Abiding in, reading, studying and living out God’s Word.

▪ Being active in prayer.

▪ Allowing The Holy Spirit to work in your life.

▪ Growing with The Body of Christ doing life together as each of us play our individual parts as part of The Body serving God and each other.

God has given us all the tools and resources we need and as we actively utilize these tools and people God has placed in our lives no matter through times of trial or times of peace, we will continue to be sharpened.

As we do life together, God allows friction to take place and with this friction we should become sharpened as the dull edges we have in our lives are smoothed away.

Are you keeping your axe sharp?




Author, educator and theologian, Howard Thurman, once told a story about one of his university students, a deep-sea diver, who wrote about his experience on the ocean floor.

Discovering a coral rock garden, he sat down to look around. First, a single fish swam up to look at him. Then more and more fish were swimming around him. Soon, the garden became more intense. More vivid. More colorful. Plants opened revealing their blossoms.

After sitting there a long while, he began to swim away and suddenly the flowers and fish disappeared. They were living things that only emerged when there was stillness.

Glenn Pease who related Thurman’s story observed that the diver realized that if you come thrashing and splashing into such a garden you would never experience its full beauty. “He learned that there are marvelous things you will never see unless you sit in silence.”

We’re reminded of this truth in Psalm 46:10. “Be still, and know that I am God.”

In a culture of endless hustle and bustle. With 24-hour cable news being piped into our homes. With music blaring everywhere. With the sound of traffic and horns beeping. Cell phones ringing. Children yelling. And endless chatter all around us. Silence becomes a sweet respite.

This verse reminds us there is a time to tune out the noise and tune in to God. We all need periods of sanctified silence. Preacherman

— o —

Florida is second nationally for Alzheimer’s, and expected to grow 24 percent by 2025.

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A 21st century Jewish Rabbi shared this striking statement about the power of words:

“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively use words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.”



Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift of your attention.” JIM ROHN

The fraying of America’s fabric is fast becoming a national obsession. Adrian Rogers

Build a dream and the dream will build you.” ROBERT H. SCHULLER

God will never call you to do anything that He will not enable you to do. Dan Shock

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.” RALPH WALDO EMERSON

Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become reality.” EARL NIGHTINGALE

Thank God we can’t escape His presence. Dan Shock

When you die you will spend eternity in heaven or hell and eternity is a long time. Ken Whitten

God doesn’t want you to worship or serve Him out of pressure or emotional frenzy. Dan Shock

Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.” NAPOLEON HILL


Week Thirty, 2021

The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. Matthew 13:22

On a recent drive through the mountains in the Blue Ridge, I saw how much it had grown since the last time I was there, a lot. It is known as the plant that is eating the south. Kudzu was introduced from Japan to the United States at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876 as an ornamental and a forage crop plant. The Civilian Conservation Corps and southern farmers planted kudzu to reduce soil erosion. Big mistake.

Kudzu has trailing and climbing, hairy stem that grow at speed of one foot per day. One root produces up to 30 vines that can reach length of 60 feet per season. It covers and smothers out underlying vegetation. It is truly an invasive species. It starts out small and gets bigger…. and bigger.

Kudzu—The invasive plant to ate the south

I am reminded of Genesis 4, the first time “sin” is mentioned in the Bible. God tells Cain: “Sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:6-7). In essence, God is saying that He did not create us to sin, but from that time forward, sin has crept into our lives, like kudzu, smothering what lies below.

We believe that we are in control and have mastery over the dark impulses of our hearts. We see our sin as a little kitten that is easy to handle, rather than a man-eater.

This portrait of sin is taken up repeatedly through the Bible.

• Sin is compared to weeds that grow and choke the power of God’s word in our souls (Matt 13:22).

• Sin is compared to a little spark that can start a whole forest fire (James 3:5).

• It is compared to deadly gangrene that can spread through a whole church (2 Tim 2:17).

• Sin is compared to leaven, which is similar to our modern understanding of yeast. The smallest pinch of yeast will take over a lump of dough as big as the world, given enough time. “A little leaven, leavens the whole lump.” (I Cor. 5:6, Gal 5:9)

Don’t let sin be the “kudzu” of your life. Don’t let it choke out the God created goodness that lies below.




Travel light

Live the light

Be the light

Spread the light

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In his book, Hell’s Best Kept Secret, Ray Comfort relates a tragic story about a woman who was once walking along a riverbank with her child. Suddenly the child slipped into the river. The mother screamed in terror. She couldn’t swim, plus she was in the latter stages of pregnancy. Finally, somebody heard her screaming and rushed down to the riverbank.

The utter tragedy was, when they stepped into those murky waters to retrieve that now dead child, they found that the water was only waist-deep! That mother could have easily saved her child but didn’t because of a lack of knowledge.

As heartbreaking as that story is, how much more tragic is it to see those drowning in sin when knowledge of God’s life-saving Truth is within their grasp.

— o —

Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it. It requires a conscious decision because it is a countercultural lifestyle that stands against the culture of overconsumption that surrounds us.

The world we live in is not friendly to the pursuit of minimalism. Its tendencies and relentless advertising campaigns call us to acquire more, better, faster, and newer. The journey of finding simplicity requires consistent inspiration.

— o —

Daniel Webster, the 19th-century statesman, and orator was known for his quick wit. The story’s told that his way with words was evidenced early in childhood.

One day Webster’s father, who was leaving on a short trip, left Daniel and his brother Ezekiel specific work instructions. But on his return, he found the task still undone, and questioned his sons about their idleness.

“What have you been doing, Ezekiel?” he asked. “Nothing, sir.” “Well, Daniel, what have you been doing?” “Helping Zeke, sir.”