Transformation

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A fine wine results from the transformation that takes place when grapes are crushed.
Diamonds are transformed from carbon deep beneath the earths surface as a result of tremendous pressure and very high heat.
Olive oil, long a staple of fine cooking practices, is derived from olives being pressed in an olive press, a transformation which renders the olive into pulp.
Seeds grow in darkness, under the soil, but are soon transformed into beautiful flowers and trees for all to see.

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Jesus Wasn’t a Brand

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In times past, cowboys would round up their cattle that was roaming on the open range so that they could brand them. A branding iron was used. Each ranch had their own special brand (or logo) on a piece of steel which was made very hot in a fire and then applied to the rump of the cow to make a permanent mark (through burning) of that logo. I’m not sure if branding still takes place, but I do know that now many ranchers use ear tags, which might as well be called cattle earrings. At least it is a more humane way to indicate who owns any cattle that might get lost.

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Not My Business

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I counted them today. Maybe that is why there were not more of them. I had awareness because I was curious (and counting) and catching myself wasn’t as glaring or jolting as it normally seems.
What was I counting? My reminders. Yes, reminders. You see, I have this sinful nature that overworks itself minding other people’s business. I have found that I must often remind myself that what I see or what I hear is not my business. Here is an example; I saw a tricked-out Jeep (outfitted with weird tires as well) that was painted an unusual color. My instant thought was “I don’t like that at all.” I did not like it because I thought it was ugly and impractical. I found myself going through a laundry list of things I didn’t like about it. I was nitpicking, and simply could not leave alone the fact that I did not like it. I was dwelling on it. I had to remind myself that it was not my business. I did not own the Jeep, nor would I, so what was the point in my dwelling on it, even for a short time?

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Dinner Table

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Sitting at a dinner table with family or friends is traditionally a pleasant experience. Mealtime isn’t often envisioned as a time of contentiousness, discord, drama, or anxiety laden. If anything, it is perhaps thought of as a respite from all that stuff, a time to come together collectively in accord with each other, if only for a while. The dinner table isn’t the place where we would normally consider sitting with the unlovable, the cheater, one who has hurt us deeply, the liar, the betrayer, the lesser of us. That would make conversation awkward at best, and probably not the least bit fruitful. Let’s face it, in our strong desire to be liked by everyone, we’re not about to sit with those who we sense, by their actions or personalities, don’t like us. Yes, we are that narrow. It goes against our grain, but to sit with those who’ve hurt us, is to understand the love of Jesus.

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Shelf Life

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Occasionally my wife and I do what I guess other couples do. It usually happens on what otherwise might be a dull weekend. We go through the refrigerator, the spice drawer and the cabinet, where the canned and dry goods are stored to “cull the oldies”. What “treasures” we can find. The refrigerator is usually the mother lode as we discover forgotten leftovers, usually adorned with the green hair we are all familiar with. We can almost hear the garbage can beckoning “here!”. Culling the oldies is our way of checking the shelf life of stuff that has gone unused. Sometimes that’s an awfully long time. It gets interesting and it is not unusual for some hearty chuckling to take place.

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Troublemakers

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Spoiler alert:  This post is outside of the box and is specifically directed toward men. It is subject matter men are familiar with but don’t talk much about. The subjects are relationship killers, maturity inhibitors, and soul deadeners. Very, very few men can avoid the troublemakers of their life and many are not transparent about their need to address them.

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We’re All Humans, But…

If you are reading this, then it is quite safe to say that you are a human. If you were an animal, a mammal, a fish, a bird, an insect, an alien, or possibly even a robot, then, simply put, you would not be reading it. I trust that that is a good assumption. We have just established that you are a human. I am as well. All my friends, acquaintances, and workmates are also humans. Most likely yours as well. We may all come in different packages (color, ethnic background, demographics, weight, height, etc.), but we are all humans, and oh by the way, we are all made in God’s image. Yes, including those who have yet to believe and have come into relationship with Him. He made us and there has never been a factory anywhere that builds humans.

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A New Past

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It is a safety mandate by our government, that the following warning must be engraved and visible on all passenger side rear view mirrors on vehicles:
“Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.”

If you have ever had a close call when passing someone, or perhaps backing up your car, you are well aware that objects which you see in that right side mirror are indeed closer than they look.
Our pasts are like those objects we see in the passenger side mirrors. They are closer than they appear. Many have had addiction issues or behavioral problems. Many have successfully overcome those issues. And yet many have relapsed or fallen back into their old ways. Their pasts seem never to be far behind. Their pasts are closer than they seem, even though so many work so mightily to put those pasts behind them. You see, through many means available we are only given the choices to build new pasts for ourselves. We are not given new pasts. We must work to build those.

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I Can’t Hear You

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I have a fault that I openly admit. It is one that affects many of us. It is also a fault that stands in the way of relationships and often causes pain or superficiality or distrust or disagreements and misunderstandings within those relationships. It can be a relationship ender. Here is what I would call my fault: “I can’t hear you because I am not listening to you with my heart.” Can you relate?

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Victimhood or Vertical?

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My words are going to be minimal on this post because there is nothing to add to the true story you are about to read. My words may distract you from the underlying message that is so poignantly shared in the writing about another life, one of God’s children.

AUTHOR JOE MILLER

THIS HAS BEEN SHARED WITH PERMISSION:

by Rashida Jourdain

“BLACK people who get angry at other Black people for not saying Black Lives Matter OR for saying All Lives Matter; OR for expressing concerns that aren’t directly related to BLM, are also a part of a bigger problem, that goes deeper than race… The enemy is also using this to cause MORE division…

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