RickThomas.net 
21Dec
How do I help two angry people reconcile? NS

How do I help two angry people reconcile?

Listen to Rick read this post:

From our mailbag - As a full-time elder and pastor for 27 years, I have seen and walked with people through many forms of offenses and relational conflict. Your articles are helpful and needed in the church today. I wonder if you could address forgiveness and walking free from resentment and bitterness in the following scenario.

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20Dec
Loving the giver of the gift regardless of the gift given NS

Loving the giver of the gift more than the gift

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My children ask me each year what I want for Christmas. Every year I tell them some version of the same thing. It is a paraphrase from what John told us in his third letter:

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. – 3 John 1:4 (ESV)

My family has generously given me all sorts of things throughout the years. Most of those gifts have been forgotten or broken or both, but there is one gift I regularly long for and I think about all the...

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19Dec
It is more than a birth-to-death story NS

It is more than a birth-to-death story

Listen to Rick read this post:

  • In the beginning the LORD created man without a man or a woman. That man was Adam
  • Then the LORD created a woman without a woman. That woman was Eve.
  • Then the LORD created people with a man and a woman. That is the rest of us.
  • Then the LORD created a man without a man. He was Jesus.
  • The virgin birth of Jesus is the most profound of His four creative acts, but what the LORD did by giving His Son to us is only part of what amazes me. To consider He would want to give Christ to us and that the Son would be...

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    18Dec
    Salvation Management NS

    Salvation Management

    Listen to Rick read this post: Jonah said salvation belongs to the LORD (Jonah 2:9). There is no doubt about his statement. Salvation is God’s and He can choose to do with it what He wants. Salvation does not belong to us.

    Though Jonah messed up in several ways, he was not totally off his rocker when it came to how he thought about God and His salvation. Jonah was a prophet, so we cannot totally dismiss his life because he made a mistake and his mistake made it into the canon of Scripture.

    Praise God for His grace. What if God or others dismissed you because you made a mistake?...

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    17Dec
    A theology of gift giving NS

    A theology of gift giving

    Listen to Rick read this post:

    On Christmas day people all over the world will be exchanging presents. It is a cultural event. It is a tradition that has evolved in meaning and application, which is common for traditions in that they can morph from their original intent.

    Christmas most certainly has lost its Christo-centric meaning among most of our culture. For many people it is no longer politically correct to say, Merry Christmas. Happy holidays has become the salutation of choice.

    Is it wrong to celebrate a cultural Christmas that is devoid of Christ? Read

    16Dec
    God Appoints Trouble NS

    God Appoints Trouble

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    And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. – Jonah 1:17 (ESV)

    Let us pretend you are in Sunday school and your 3rd grade teacher tells you the story of Jonah and the whale. It sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? You go home and tell your mommy about the story of the man swallowed by a giant fish.

    Your mom begins to tell you how great God is and what He can do. She also tells you Jonah was a Christian. You kinda dismiss the fact...

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    15Dec
    The Storm Hurler NS

    The Storm Hurler

    Listen to Rick read this post: What do you think about when a storm comes into your life? When things are really bad for you, how do you think about the bad things? Where does your mind go? This chapter deals with those questions.

    I suppose most of us are tempted to focus more on the storm–the trouble–than the God of the storm. Let’s face it, the storm is more real and nearer to us than the Creator of storms. The storm also seems more manageable than the God of the universe.

    Logic would say, “I have a better shot at fixing the storm than bending God toward my desires.” The...

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    14Dec
    Closing the Gap NS

    Closing the Gap

    Listen to Rick read this post: Have you ever wondered how it is possible to believe the right things, yet do the wrong things? It happens all the time–at least to me. I am daily put in situations where I have the opportunity to do the right thing.

    Sometimes, in those moments, I make the wrong choice–even when I know what the right choice should be. This creates a gap between what I know to do and what I actually do. If you are like me, then you too have a gap.

    Do not be discouraged; you and I are not alone. The truth is that no Christian is perfect. We all live somewhere in the gap...

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    13Dec
    Getting Real NS

    Getting Real

    Listen to Rick read this post:

    The heart of the Gospel is about loving difficult people. This is the purpose and point of the Bible–to show us how to love the unlovable. The primary example of how this is accomplished is through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, who died for undeserving people (Ephesians 5:1).

    The LORD does not ask us to do things He is unwilling to do. We have a tested and sympathetic Savior (Hebrews 4:15). This is part of the reason we should not shirk our biblical responsibility to pursue those who rub us the wrong way.

    Paul, a direct disciple of the...

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