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It's been a long 5 years.  Five years ago much of what I valued was ripped away from me savagely.  People I thought I could trust and had long experiences with made decisions that left deep wounds; for myself and for my family.  God was gracious.  When everything inside me screamed to quit, He said no.  He fought both for me and with me.  Where the Bible says, "I will never leave you or forsake you" became something especially real to me.  It continues to be real these past few months. In May I received word that my heart disease had improved and my heart function had doubled. This was not supposed to happen.  It had been 23% for 5 years, but all the sudden, tests came back at 46%.  I was convinced of a screw up.  I was dead wrong (no pun intended).  God has restored what Satan tried to steal.  I can say "It is well with my soul." In June I had the opportunity to go home again.  God opened the door for me to speak at a camp near my previous church.  As part
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Blind Spots (Part 1)

Blind Spots (Part 1): By Aaron Peternel Some of my recent reading has forced my thinking into a time of personal reflection. Seasons of looking inside are good things. They are part of what God uses to make us holy; to look more like Jesus. Why do we do the things that we do; specifically why do we continue in unhealthy patterns of behavior? These are patterns that we are taught are wrong, and know are wrong. Many times we fight to control the urges or tendencies and fare well for a while, yet when we are tired, hungry, lonely or or emotionally exhausted, we can often fall. Then the guilt-confession cycle begins and we hate the fact that we failed and have not yet grown beyond it. A simple reason we fall into these patterns is that we choose to say yes to self and no to God. The Scriptures make it clear that we do not have to fall to sin, "13 No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God

When It's Time to Let Go

In the last four years I have seen a lot relationships in my life change.  There were people who I was very close to who went a different direction, just because of life.   There was the reality of leaving Pittsburgh; moving far away.   That would naturally change some relationships.   There was also those relationships I thought were solid and would stand the test of time.   Many of those have drastically changed.  Of all of these, these hurt the worst.   These were the ones I poured the most into.  These were the ones I thought I could take the most from. I try to find the lesson from these relationships that ended in a form of betrayal.  You may think that to be a strong word, but how else should I  interpret it?  The church leader who promised ABC and then reneged.   The church leader who joined me in guise of love and then in my moment of greatest need sought only their best perceived interest.  The church leader who feigned care and compassion only to work behind the scenes t

The Path To A Miracle

          As you begin to read this, you need to know that this is not an a+b=c plan.  While sometimes I wish that God would move that way, I feel like it would take away the mystery and turn God into our vending machine.  That is not what we should want, nor is it what He wants.  God is in this for a long term relationship.  The question my friend is, "What are you in for?"      If you are in for relationship, understand that it is God who reached out first to you.  We call this reaching out 'prevenient grace'.  He does this because we can not grasp Him without it because we are totally depraved, unable to connect with God.      So God reaches out, and as He does He supplies all that is needed for us to reach back.  We call that moment conversion.  It is when we come to the conclusion, "I am a sinner and I need a savior.  Jesus is the savior that I need."   This is the beginning of relationship, but certainly not the last time that God reaches

You Messed Up

I hate when I mess up.  In my desire to do the right thing, I hate when I give up the fight and simply resort selfishness.  I know better, and I should do better.  It separates me from fellowship with God.  I'm left to do life on my own.  I can live in this state, disappointed in myself and embarrassed to see God, or I can not... Today I choose to not.   Today I choose to not let the enemy have one more moment interfering with my fellowship with God.   Today I choose to say yes to God and no to sin and its influence and its authority in my life.  Today I embrace a God who promises He will never leave us, and He will never let us go (Heb 13:5b).  Today I embrace forgiveness. Forgiveness is not an every depleting vault.  Forgiveness is a state of being.  Forgiveness is a statue or a tower standing tall against the skyline.   Forgiveness is about reconciliation.  Forgiveness occurs when I turn from my own direction to look to the skyline and see the truth standing resolute aga

Is the 'Testimony' Extinct?

I have noticed something about the church.  There are times when we ask people to speak about what God is doing in their lives yet much of the time what we get in return is either a blank stare or a historical record.  Each of these actions concern me.  It concerns me that some believers either don't know what God is doing in their lives or do not know enough to give him the credit for what has been done. The contrast is the believer who wants to tell the story of a historical event, something God certainly did, but something buried in the past. God is working still today! We need to praise God for His intervention into our daily lives.  Remember this is the 'eternal life' we experience until we go to heaven. God gets involved! He is helping us daily live and thrive in a world that is decaying and lost. How should we speak of it?  I believe we can be guided by a phrase that appears only about 3x in the Bible.   Isaiah 12:2 states, "...the Lord is my strength an

Where's God In the Attack? (Psalm 25)

Temperament can be described as the way you have been wired by God.  In some people God has wired them to be doers, others thinking, others feelers and yet others lovers.  There is not a bad temperament.  There is not a temperament that is greater than another.   There is only how God has wired you (the strengths and the weaknesses) and what will you do with it, for good and for bad. As a combination doer and thinker,  I often fight the battle of engaging before I know the strength of my enemy.   After failing in this area so many times in my life, I came to a conclusion that I will no longer attempt to fight a spiritual problem with a physical solution.   There would no longer be moves to flank my foe with better logic and tactics until I had taken the problem to the Lord and sought His solution.  See when I fought the battle without the Lord, I didn't use the weapons of OUR warfare (2 Cor 10:3-5).  I fought using the same tactics of my enemy, and God could not bless.   I may ha