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A Return On Investment

Have you ever put your hard-earned money in an investment that resulted in a partial loss or total failure?

Early in our marriage, Judy and I invested a large sum of money in a venture that we were sure to make a great return. Many of our friends were also convinced this was a money-maker, so literally hundreds of thousands of dollars were invested from people in the Grand Rapids area. All of us were excited about how this new opportunity could make life economically easier.

Then the bombshell exploded and the company went bankrupt, leaving each investor with nothing but a piece of paper with an empty promise.

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Lessons From Mom

My mother lives in a comfortable mobile home next to my sister Jan, and brother-in-law Tony. My father passed away five years ago, leaving Mom alone after nearly 65 years of marriage. Mom is a relational person, so Dad's absence has forced her to develop a happy life alone.

Recently my sister and brother-in-law went on a two-week trip to Iceland, Finland and Estonia. I was concerned about my mother being alone so I called two of my brothers and arranged for one of us to be with her during that two week period.

I flew into Duluth on a Sunday night and stayed with her until the next Saturday morning. The time with my mom created memories I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

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Even Crummy Kisses Can Be Sweet

Family reunions seem to change every year. I knew it was going to be a difficult one this year, because two of my precious siblings are now in heaven. We definitely were aware of their absence and I found myself struggling to keep back tears. Now it's just me and my three younger, fun-loving brothers to watch over this crazy clan. We are very blessed to have lots of young moms and dads, and they've produced the cutest little people you have ever laid eyes on.

I've written about Lucas (my adorable little grandnephew) before, but he seems to have worked his way so deep into my heart that I can't resist writing about him again.

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Perfect Love

Just recently my husband and I were invited to our friends’ home for dinner. We have been looking forward to this for a very long time. They are former restaurant owners and the dinner was amazing.

I don't know about you, but I love after dinner conversations. The fun, off-the-wall stories lead to laughter and very entertaining subjects, and this conversation proved to not only be entertaining, but an insightful spiritual lesson as well.

Our hosts told us how stray cats would often come to their home looking for shelter and provision in the dead of winter. Those cats must have had pretty good intuition about where to go, because this tenderhearted guy eventually built them a shelter in the barn complete with a heater. He also would call them to the porch for dinner in hopes of forming a friendly bond with them and to win their trust.

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Featured 

Excuses

I am a very forgiving person and can overlook people’s mistakes and shortcomings. However, I find it more difficult to trust people when they refuse to take responsibility for their actions.

I grew up in a family of five children. Mistakes and bad decisions were always forgiven, but excuses were not tolerated.

When Dad told us to complete a work project, he expected us to do it. If it was not completed, he wanted to know why. If our reasons made sense he gave extra time to complete the project, but if we gave him excuses it resulted in extra work. More excuses equaled more work!

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Memories

I have two wonderful friends named Win and Mike who have a ministry to pastors called, Downtime Ministries. Both are avid outdoorsmen who have experiences in the wild most men dream of having.

Win owns a salmon fishing boat that he docks in a slip in Pentwater, MI. Both Win and Mike live in their Pentwater homes the entire month of August, and Win fishes nearly every day. When he is not fishing with family or friends, he is taking pastors and Christian leaders out on the big lake.

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Night of Nothing

Have you ever whispered to yourself anything like the following?

 *I’ll just go back to drinking again. I mean, I can’t turn to God, what else do I have?

 *I’ll just go back to a bad relationship. I know this relationship is harmful to me, but God doesn’t love me. Where else could I go?

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Look Back

Psalm 77 was written by Asaph. He laments over the distress of his life (vs. 1-2). He cries out to the Lord and it appears as if God does not answer his plea.

Asaph inquires in verses 7-9, “Will the Lord cast off forever? And will he be favorable no more? Has His mercy ceased forever? Has His promise failed forevermore? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies?” [NKJV]

Asaph knew the truth well. Still, he couldn’t help but wonder why the answer did not come. Asaph’s affliction brought the man of God to his knees. When in great distress, he had to choose to call upon the Lord for an answer.

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Just A Dream, Or A Warning

In 2016 I changed my approached for my devotional life. I have journaled since 1987, so I decided my focus for 2016 would be to review all my past journal entries.

It’s amazing how God has revealed Himself to me and how I have grown in intimacy with Him. My entries have changed from the third person to the first person pronouns. If that is confusing, let me explain.

Holy Spirit has taken me on a journey in intimacy. I used to write entries by using “he” or “him”, which was like reporting information or counsel. As I progressed in my journaling, Holy Spirit began speaking to me through my own pen in the first person of “I” or “you” - I am writing His words to me personally through my own pen.

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The Secret of Building A Lasting Marriage

[Based on Jimmy Evans’ book, Our Secret Paradise]

Marriages are ending in divorce at an alarming rate. Over 50% dissolve in divorce and many couples choose to live together bypassing marriage. Disillusionment among the younger generations has reached an all-time high concerning marital commitment and happiness.

The formula for a successful marriage is simple - biblical relational skills, plus realistic expectations, equals a successful marriage.

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Giving frees us from being self-centered to being God centered.

It is a trait of God's kingdom, because it acknowledges His ownership & Lordship in our lives. Malachi 3:6-12 instructs us to test God by giving our tithes and offerings. May you experience God's blessings as you sow into His kingdom.

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