"What About Folks on the Other Side of the Fence?"

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


“What About Folks on the Other Side of the Fence?”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
“Teacher,” John the Apostle said to Jesus, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us” (see Mark 9:38).
The disciples were royally ticked. They were absolutely indignant, and who can blame them? They’d discovered a fellow casting out demons without a license. They’d uncovered a do-gooder doing good without a permit.
Now John was reporting...

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"Short Words Are Best" and Three Are Best of All

Posted Aug 17th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“Short Words Are Best” and Three Are Best of All
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
“Short words are best,” asserted Winston Churchill, “and the old words when short are best of all.”
So may I suggest three—very short and very old which when lined up and strung together are the best three that could possibly be.
GOD IS LOVE.
These words are chiseled into the rock, woven into the fabric, of the universe. More than that, if anything could be more, they are living and implanted...

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"I Will Lift Up My Eyes to the Hills"

Posted Aug 10th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“I Will Lift Up My Eyes to the Hills”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Something about the mountains my soul needs regularly and loves always. There’s just something about gaining altitude, heading up!
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills,” writes the psalmist as he beautifully affirms that all of his “help comes from the Lord” (Psalm 121).
Reading the Gospels, I feel some sweet altitudinal affirmation when I read about Jesus “going up on the mountainside” to pray. Of course, we can...

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Repeat Regularly: "There Is One God; I Am Not Him"

Posted Aug 3rd, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Repeat Regularly: “There Is One God; I Am Not Him”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“Oh, I guess I’m just a perfectionist,” I opined, in an “Aw, shucks!” sort of feigned shame tone, as I tried to hide the weird contortions required to pat oneself on the back.   
But twisted pride is one of perfectionism’s pernicious symptoms. Perfectionists like to think they are a cut above ordinary folks. We have, we think, higher standards, work with more diligence, and see more clearly than pretty...

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Wonder of Wonders, God Signed on the Dotted Line!

Posted Jul 27th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Wonder of Wonders, God Signed on the Dotted Line
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
How long do you have to live to learn to be really careful before you sign anything on that famous “dotted line”?
It seemed so easy at the time. That new ride was cool. But we were just a few “easy payments” into the seventy-for-darn-near-forever of them before we realized that they weren’t much fun and not very easy. Now we’re wondering if we’re working to one fine day finally...

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Only Broken Disciples Find Grace to Be Whole

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


Only Broken Disciples Find Grace to Be Whole
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” said the servant girl.
Peter, standing near the fire, startled, began backtracking. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, and slinked over out into the entryway.
But the girl is speaking again, not keeping her opinion to herself: “This fellow is one of them.” Again Peter denies it, but the meddlesome girl has struck the match, and the flames are spreading. Others chime...

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In a World Full of Questions, a Few Answers Matter Most

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


In a World Full of Questions, a Few Answers Matter Most
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
It is no proof of superior intelligence, but even as a young man I was theoretically sure that I would not always be a young man.
As I (rarely) contemplated middle or old age, though they seemed light years away, I figured that a major consolation of being old and crotchety, say, 45, would be that by then I would probably have found answers to a great many...

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Freedom Is a Costly and Precious Gift

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


Freedom Is a Costly and Precious Gift
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
Until my family and I moved to Muleshoe, Texas, over thirty-two years ago, and I discovered the largest and best part of America, the “small town” part, I had never experienced Independence Day as it really ought to be experienced and celebrated. Since that time, I’ve gained new love for this special day.
I don’t know exactly what July 4th means to you. It’s just a date, but all wrapped up in...

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"My Kingdom for a Real Recipe!"

Posted Jun 29th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“My Kingdom for a Real Recipe!”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
“My kingdom for a real recipe!” I finally boiled over.
I’d Googled it, YouTubed it, searched it, researched it, boggled my mind about it—a process I’ve often used with moderate success.
Give me a good Wikipedia article, a few good hits from Google, a nicely done YouTube video, and I’d be tempted to try anything from building a jet-powered go-cart to performing a “simple” appendectomy.
Using this procedure, I’ve more or less successfully done all...

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That God Loves Ordinary People Is Extraordinary Indeed!

Posted Jun 22nd, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


That God Loves Ordinary People Is Extraordinary Indeed!
By Curtis K. Shelburne
God loves ordinary people, and that is one of the most amazing and hope-filled truths of the Christian faith.
It is a truth no other world religion is strong enough to handle. What kind of God would so lower himself?
It is a truth that religion of the self-centered, do-it-yourself, toxic type, as opposed to that which focuses on a real relationship with God, can hardly afford to consider lest its true...

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The Best Father Is the Father of Us All

Posted Jun 15th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


The Best Father Is the Father of Us All
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
Christians are commanded to confess their sins “one to another.” So, here goes. I hereby confess that I have at times succumbed to the temptation to be a kind of Father’s Day answer to Christmas’s Ebenezer Scrooge.
As a father, I’m perfectly pleased to see the day coming; it’s as a preacher that I can get grinchy about it. Father’s Day is tough.
Every year, here comes May, and here comes...

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A Court Can Judge Actions, But Only God Judges Hearts

Posted Jun 8th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


A Court Can Judge Actions, But Only God Judges Hearts
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Being very suspicious of our own motives is wise. Not only are we not qualified to judge others, as we easily evaluate them too harshly, we often do a poor job of judging even ourselves, tending to give ourselves way too much slack. I’m trying to keep that in mind in what follows.  
In the news recently was the report that someone painted a racial slur across the front...

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A Lesson from Sloth, Adultery, Murder, and a Water Tower

Posted Jun 1st, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


A Lesson from Sloth, Murder, Adultery, and a Water Tower
By Curtis K. Shelburne
The list of what we know as “The Seven Deadly Sins” dates back to the fourth century and, of course, has its basis in the teaching of the Bible.
One of the seven was Sloth. A one-word paraphrase is inadequate but useful: laziness.
We’ve all known some folks beset by such, people who begrudge the effort it takes to breathe, much less to do anything resembling work. Like all sins,...

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Genuine Happiness Is Never Found By Focusing on Self

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


Genuine Happiness Is Never Found By Focusing on Self
By Curtis K. Shelburne
One In C. S. Lewis’ account of his early life, Surprised by Joy, Lewis begins by writing about the two family strains that had come together to give him life. On his father’s side . . .
By the way, Dr. J. D. Grey, for many years pastor of New Orleans’ First Baptist Church, used to tell the story of a little lad who lived a long way from his...

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"A Time to Mow, a Time to Rake, a Time to Shovel, and a Time to Sow"

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


“A Time to Mow, a Time to Rake, a Time to Shovel, and a Time to Sow”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Well, here we go again.
I’m talking about firing up the lawn machines, mowing, trimming, fertilizing, weed-spraying, weed-eating, weed-picking, and the whole nine yards of yard and lawn care.
Actually, in my part of the country, we’ve been moving slowly back into mowing for at least a month. An April 29th snow which, I admit, I had hoped might slow the grass down...

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