How Did the Boy Jesus Learn the Scriptures?
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http://www.goodsalt.com/details/pppas0506.html?r=ssnet

Since this interesting question came up in our comments, I did a little research. And it leads me to conclude that the contemporaries of Christ were far more literate than we like to give them credit for.

Now I’m not an expert in history or biblical languages, nor a mathematician, but I’m thinking that we can draw a few deductions from the biblical story and other sources. The Bible demonstrates that Christ had an intimate knowledge of the Scriptures as early [...]

Trustworthy People Don’t Ask You to Trust Them
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bank-moneysmall__6053042392

While flipping through the channels on my TV the other day, I ran across a “law and order” show in which a detective was saying how abusers always seek the trust of the person they want to abuse. I have heard similar things in pastor group meetings, and this has prompted me to share what little common sense I have on the matter.

If someone is trying to get you to trust them, be suspicious. Trustworthy people don’t need to ask [...]

How Youth Groups Can Defeat Their Purpose
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http://www.goodsalt.com/details/dmtag0097.html?r=ssnet

The Sabbath School lesson on discipling children reminded me of a post someone shared with me on Facebook that really hit home.

Image © Darrel Tank from GoodSalt.com

The article, “Youth Groups Driving Christian Teens to Abandon Faith” mentions that many (not all) church youth groups help teens connect with each other, but fail to connect teens with the church or with God. When they outgrow the youth group, they leave the church and God, which they never were connected to anyway.

Some youth leaders [...]

Does Gideon’s Fleece System Still Work?
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Image © Erik Stenbakken from GoodSalt.com

In my personal devotions this morning, I read,

Then Gideon said to God, “If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, prove it to me in this way. I will put a wool fleece on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that you are going to help me rescue Israel as you promised.” Judges 6:36-37 NLT

Image © Erik [...]

The Arrow of Prayer
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It was a simple question: “What are you doing here?” Standing in a cave after fleeing for his life, Elijah recounts the lament of his soul. His recent conquests for God appear to have taken a turn for the worse. Feeling alone and confused, this man of great experience, has all but given up and resigned himself to defeat. Elijah is in a crisis and he needs a word from the Lord.

Instructed to stand on the mount to hear from [...]

Prayer: Give Me or Take Me?
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God needs our hand to use for service

I have had the opportunity to observe Buddhist culture a couple of occasions when I have taught college courses in Thailand. The overtness of Buddhist devotion was something new to me. It was not uncommon to encounter a shrine to Buddha where people were praying, chanting, and offering incense, or rubbing gold leaf onto an image.

Buddhist temples are colourful and interesting cultural icons, standing out in the landscape. My Thai friends would [...]

The Last Prayer of Woodrow Hill
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Woodrow and Jean Hill

Woodrow and Jean Hill

Last November I lost a dear patriarch from my church, and friend, Woodrow (Woody) Hill who passed away at 95. I had been a friend of Woody and his wife Jean for ten years.

Woody was a man of God and always had a cheerful smile, even when I visited him at the hospital or met him delivering bread to the church community service center.

Woody’s stepdaughter said he became her daddy when she was 12, and that [...]

Once Upon a Time – Telling Stories That Teach
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http://www.goodsalt.com/details/prcas2569.html?r=ssnet

I love a good story, don’t you?

Image © Providence Collection from GoodSalt.com

Storytelling is a distinctly human trait. No matter how proficiently animals like dolphins, apes and some birds can communicate with us, they don’t care about stories. People, on the other hand, seem to be born craving stories. Think about the child at bedtime: “One more story, Mommy! Just one more.”

As we move through our lives, we find stories almost everywhere – books, movies, TV shows, music, even commercials tell [...]

Beyond the Metaphors – Ultimate Sacrifice
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http://www.goodsalt.com/details/pppas0578.html?r=ssnet

In 2006, a gunman walked into an Amish school. The teacher ran for help, and 13-year old Marian Fisher realized help would not arrive before the gunman started shooting. To buy time for the other students, this young girl told the gunman, “shoot me first.”  This young girl was prepared to make a sacrifice that a few older men on the Titanic shied away from. She made a great sacrifice as Jesus said,

Image © Pacific Press from GoodSalt.com

Greater love [...]

Filling the Empty Chair
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http://www.goodsalt.com/details/lwjas0112.html?r=ssnet

Maybe you’ve experienced something like this: You are talking with someone when suddenly they openly yawn and look at their watch. How did you interpret those actions? Can you remember how you felt at that moment? Were you hurt? insulted? enraged? How did you react? How do you wish you had reacted?

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

What about this: You’re discussing ideas with a colleague and while you’re speaking, you think you see them just barely roll their eyes [...]