“One Up-Manship”

I was listening to mockingbirds yesterday. One would sing. The next would sing louder. Then the first would sing again even louder, but the second wouldn’t even wait for him to finish!

Like the game of One-Upsmanship: “If you think that’s good, let me tell you….!” Or, “That’s not a real problem! Let me tell you about….!”

So many times, I stop listening before you even finish your sentence.

Swift to hear—slow to speak. At least I can wait until you finish before I play one-up against you!

James 1:19

Dave “Tud” Nance
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“Sagging Between Poles”

I was on a rural road when I noticed the power lines and poles along the road.

The line went up, then down, up, then down, like a cartoon sea serpent cruising the waves.

Of course, the line was lowest when it was farthest from the poles, and at its highest where it was attached.

And that seems a bit like my spiritual life; ups and downs, over and over.

But my life is lowest when I’m farthest from my spiritual supports: James 4:8–“Come near to God and he will draw near to you.”

James 4:8

Dave “Tud” Nance
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“Disaster!”

I saw a young child very happy, holding an ice cream cone. But, he tilted it and the ice cream plopped out.

You know what happened: he wailed as if he had stepped on a rusty nail.

And what about me? In my disappointments, failures and pains, do I become like that boy? Why shouldn’t I? Everything’s a disaster!

But as a spiritual adult, God’s given me a choice.

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God!” (Psalm 43:5)
It makes a difference.

Psalm 43:5

Dave “Tud” Nance
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My Wife’s Little Dog

When our dog (Callie) goes out, she takes her own sweet time. She wanders, leisurely sniffing for other creatures that’ve trespassed.

Our young grandson tried to get Callie back into the house, running and yelling, waving his arms. But his noise and excitement weren’t very effective.

So my wife taught him about attraction—call softly, whistle a little and offer a doggie treat. Much better!

My relationship with Jesus is similar: He doesn’t drive me. He attracts me. He offers hope and salvation. I love Him because He first loved me.

1 John 4:19
Dave “Tud” Nance
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“Love in the Trenches”

On occasions, I’ve become deeply angry when someone lets me down. Sometimes it’s so bad that I call it abandonment or even betrayal.
And sadly, I sometimes find myself wishing for something to “make us even.”

And then I remember Luke 22:31. Jesus prayed for Peter, knowing that Peter would let Him down, publicly denying Him. He prayed that Peter’s faith wouldn’t fail, in spite of the public betrayal.

How much like Christ would I be if, like Jesus, I were more concerned for the good of my betrayer than for my own suffering?

Luke 22:31
Dave “Tud” Nance

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“A Spiritual Clipboard”

Last week, I noticed a clipboard abandoned on a table. 
It held things that might be useful, “just in case.” It occurred to me the Bible is like a clipboard.

It’s filled with spiritual “just in case” thoughts.

For instance: “Wisdom that descends from above” is “full of mercy…without partiality…without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17)

I need to hear that. It’s too easy to criticize. It’s not so easy to be merciful, without partiality or hypocrisy. At least for me.

God has written these thoughts, just in case. He knows I need them.

James 3:17
Dave “Tud” Nance

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“Beautiful Cover-up”

In India, women like to stain their feet and hands with a light, reddish-brown color. They call it Mehendi. It’s beautiful.

But there’s a reason for this fashion—the daily grime of living in poverty.

It’s a beautiful cover-up.

Spiritually, I beautifully cover-up my selfishness and pride under the color of the good that I do or the evil I avoid. 

But Jesus prefers that I see myself as He sees me: In the words of the old hymn: “Just as I Am”.

And then, He doesn’t merely cover my sins. He forgives them.

1 John 1:7-10
Dave “Tud” Nance

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“Even Better Than Before”

I had just bought a small birdhouse basket.  At home, I noticed a small natural gap in the wood.

So, I decided to use some carpenter’s glue and a small nail.

After the repair, I realized that the basket was stronger than it was originally.

And isn’t that how it is, in Christ? We’re filled with weaknesses, fears, and sinful habits in our thoughts as well as actions. But the Lamb of God redeems us, guides us in self improvement and repentance. 

He’s making us stronger than we were. Praise Him!

2 Peter 1:5-9
Dave “Tud” Nance

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“Bricks and Blocks”

I sat in my friend’s driveway. 
So, I noticed the bricks in his house, each absolutely identical.

Then I began to notice that each one was actually quite unique. They’re identical only when I don’t pay attention.

People too—we look, and maybe even act like so many other people.
But God created us as individual. He knows me individually. My hopes, my problems, my needs.

Jesus mentioned that even the very hairs on our head are numbered. Truthfully, I’m not alone in this life! He pays close attention.

And that’s a pleasant thought.

Matthew 10:29-31
Dave “Tud” Nance

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“Big Windows”

I always enjoy huge windows.

They let me enjoy nature while protecting me from the bugs and weather.

But neither can I experience the joy of God’s world in person. That’s the cost of protecting myself.

I do need to be prudent. I don’t need to be rash. But when I try to avoid pain and loss I also never experience love and growth!

So it’s crucial that I remember the Lord’ promise to never allow me into a situation without also giving me His strength, and a way to escape!

1 Corinthians 10:13
Dave “Tud” Nance

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