"Swimming in a Sea of Selfishness"

Posted Jun 20th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“Swimming in a Sea of Selfishness”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Believe me, I write this column as no sort of spiritual giant; I don’t know my own weakness as well as I should, but I surely know it enough to see warning signs pop up everywhere when I’m tempted to feel self-righteous.  
And here comes that dangerous word: but. But surely anyone with any spiritual sensitivity at all doesn’t have to look long at our society to see that we are, as I...

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To Be Truly Meek Is to Be Truly Strong

Posted Jun 13th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


To Be Truly Meek Is to Be Truly Strong
By Curtis K. Shelburne
To be truly meek is to be truly strong.
The Bible says regarding one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known that the man Moses was the meekest of all the men on the earth. But in the Hall of Fame of Meekness (call it the Hall of Fame of Humility, if you wish), I’ve been privileged to know several individuals who deserve to be included. Among the...

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"I Dreamed a Strange Dream"

Posted Jun 6th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“I Dreamed a Strange Dream”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Everybody dreams. Or so the sleep experts say.
I feel most refreshed when I wake up with no memory of dreaming during the night. I feel most exhausted when I had a bad or intensely frustrating dream, got up a time or two in the night, and each time was launched right back into the same past-midnight mess.
If I remember what I learned in some long-ago psychology class—maybe I just dreamed this—we all dream...

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"God's Grace: It Just Isn't Fair!"

Posted May 30th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“God’s Grace: It Just Isn’t Fair!”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
A surpassingly strange story it is, and enough to make a math or accounting major bite nails. I’m talking about Jesus’ “Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard” (Matthew 20:1-16).
Here’s the story in a nutshell: It’s grape harvest in Palestine. A vineyard owner goes out early to hire men to work in his vineyard, and he agrees to pay them a denarius, a normal day’s wage. They go to work.
At 9:00 a.m....

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A Real Question: "How Much Is Happiness Worth?"

Posted May 23rd, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


A Real Question: “How Much Is Happiness Worth?”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“Happiness is worth a lot to me,” a good friend, colleague, and mentor once told his boss as he made a decision that would lead to his leaving the company.
“Well, so what? Isn’t happiness worth a lot to everybody?” his boss replied.
“No,” my friend replied truthfully and I think with unusual wisdom, “it is not—not to everybody.”
I’ve thought of that exchange often. My friend’s words may mean more when I...

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Some of Life's Best Moments Must Be Savored--or Lost

Posted May 16th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Some of Life’s Best Moments Must Be Savored—or Lost
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Some moments in life are golden. And some of the best of all are precious precisely because they must be savored immediately or forever lost.
Oh, as long as God is our Father, and that’s forever, beautifully sweet moments, joy surprises and cloud bursts of delight will come again. But never again the same one, for much of their rich sweetness and deep joy sparkles in the diamond-truth that no...

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"Thank You, Mom, for Being Glad That God Made Me"

Posted May 9th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“Thank You, Mom, for Being Glad That God Made Me”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Sunday is Mother’s Day. May I hasten to say that having a Mother’s Day is a good thing. I am sincerely pro-Mother’s Day and pro-moms. Good ones deserve far and away more honor than they receive, and I’m happy to have some part in helping bestow some of that honor. 
But as a preacher who has stood in the same pulpit now for 34 years, I’m finding that preaching...

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"Drink This Water, and You'll Never Be Thirsty Again!"

Posted May 2nd, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“Drink This Water, and You’ll Never Be Thirsty Again!”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
You should probably drink a lot more water.
It’s our age’s most oft-recited quasi-medical mantra. Never mind that most of us have long thought that the human body came equipped with an “idiot light” on the dashboard that flashes “You Are Thirsty!” to be sure we don’t miss the signal that we are when we are. Thirsty, that is. In need of liquid sustenance. Maybe even . . . water....

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"Render Unto Caesar What Is Caesar's"

Posted Apr 25th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“Render Unto Caesar What Is Caesar’s”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Tax Day 2019 has come and gone. It’s actually just Tax Filing Day since every day is a tax day and, if you somehow still manage to own a business or be self-employed, you’ll have several more lesser but still taxing opportunities.
As disheartening as Tax Day always is, April 15, 2019 was far more depressing than usual as we watched in grief and horror as Notre Dame Cathedral burned.
That day was also...

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The Resurrection Is the Greatest "Eucatastrophe"

Posted Apr 18th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


The Resurrection Is the Greatest “Eucatastrophe”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
More than a few writers have talked about the place where Joy and Sorrow meet.
In a moment of deep contentment, someone may say, “I’m so happy I could cry!” And in the moments of deepest and most unutterable joy, we say nothing at all. We don’t live long before we learn that tears are more precious than diamonds, and the best tears are tears of joy.
When those joy-tears come, we usually don’t...

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Thank God When We Avoid "What Might Have Been"!

Posted Apr 11th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Thank God When We Avoid “What Might Have Been”!
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Have you noticed? When something bad, sad, and tragic happens, we agonize, “Dear God, how could you allow this?” But, too often, when we see something bad, sad, tragic avoided, we fail to give thanks.
If you are my auto insurance agent or my wife, please stop reading in 3-2-1. Now.
I like San Antonio. But a few weeks ago, we headed that way, were almost there, rounded a bend on...

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Two Men. Two Failures. Different Tears.

Posted Apr 4th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Two Men. Two Failures. Different Tears.
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Here’s a riddle for you. It’s one that intrigues and gives me pause at about this same time every year.
 
Two men, two mouths,
    both tongues betray,
almost but not quite
    on the same day.
One fails and weeps,
   shinnies up and up
       and falls putrescently;
one fails and weeps,
    bows down and down
       and rises taller, finally,
           than before his perfidy.
   Love’s victory!
       Who are they?  
 
I’m neither a poet nor the son of...

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Sometimes the Main Event Is Not the Main Event

Posted Mar 28th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Sometimes the Main Event Is Not the Main Event
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Sometimes the main event is not the main event.
A couple of times a year I usually receive article requests, three at a time, from a great little daily devotional magazine. As with all of their writers, the editors pick two Scripture passages for me and I get to pick the third.
So when I received the request letter a few weeks ago, I wasn’t surprised. I opened it, perused the...

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"I See Dead People"

Posted Mar 21st, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“I See Dead People”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“I see dead people.”
So said the cute little boy in the memorable line and creepy “confession” from the 1999 movie The Sixth Sense. I hope you don’t find it disturbing when I affirm that I do, too. See dead people, I mean.
For me, it happens pretty often and worries me not at all; in fact, it warms my heart. It gives me real hope. And I find it genuinely encouraging to know that I’ll...

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"Just Try Harder!" Said the Ladybug to the Worm

Posted Mar 7th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Just Try Harder!” Said the Ladybug to the Worm
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 “Just try harder!” urged the ladybug.
“I am trying,” protested the stressed-out caterpillar. “And I’ve been trying for hours! So far the only thing that’s happened is that I got so dizzy a few minutes ago I almost fell off my leaf.
“If I’d fallen, I’d surely agree that some wings would’ve come in handy. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride, and if caterpillars could sprout wings by holding their...

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