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Jim Buchan's Blog (83)

Defusing Your Emotional Land Mines

My friend Ron is a divorced man in his 50s who has ventured into the world of online dating the past few years. He’s a good man who sincerely would like to find a new wife. But although he’s met a number of good prospects, each new relationship has exploded after a month or two, often suddenly and unexpectedly.

Ron typically explains the breakup in terms of “overemotional” or “hypersensitive” women. “They all say on their online profile that they’re baggage-free and drama-free,” he…

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Added by Jim Buchan on January 22, 2017 at 7:17pm — No Comments

Remembering Your True Calling

Have you ever had a “voice from the past” remind you about important aspects of who God created you to be?

That’s what happened recently when I was contacted by Matthew Donovan, a friend I hadn’t seen in the nearly 20 years since he moved away from Charlotte. We were able to spend several hours together at the Panera Bread Company, catching up on things and then praying for each other.

Part of the conversation was especially illuminating for me…

“Have you been speaking…

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Added by Jim Buchan on January 20, 2017 at 3:37pm — No Comments

Rediscovering My 'True North'

When I was a kid, we didn’t have all the cool video games and technology of today. Some of my most memorable toys were marbles, magnifying glasses, and gyroscopes.

Recently when I was praying, God spoke a powerful message to me through two of my other childhood toys: a compass and a magnet.

First, I recalled the amazing attributes of a compass. When set on a level surface, the needle rather mysteriously points to “true north.” Somehow the compass detects and automatically…

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Added by Jim Buchan on January 19, 2017 at 10:10am — No Comments

Lessons from My Unbalanced Tires

A few years ago I purchased a new set of tires for my car. They weren’t the highest-rated tires, but they came with a 60,000-mile warranty, which seemed like a safe bet at the time.

As I drove away, I patted myself on the back for getting such a great deal. It was good to know I wouldn’t have to deal with buying tires again for at least 60,000 miles.

Everything was fine as I drove down the road, 25 mph, 35 mph, and 50 mph. But when I took my new tires on the freeway, my…

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Added by Jim Buchan on January 8, 2017 at 3:03pm — No Comments

Silencing the Cicadas

A few months ago, the Holy Spirit spoke a concise but powerful word to my heart during a personal retreat: “Jim, you need to silence the cicadas!”

If you’ve never been around any cicadas, you may want to visit YouTube and check them out. Cicadas are large, ugly insects that cluster together in trees to make an almost-deafening sound, especially at night.

The Lord advises us in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” But how do you do that…

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Added by Jim Buchan on January 2, 2017 at 9:12pm — No Comments

Ready for an Honest New Year's Assessment?

These 5 connections hold the key to spiritual fruitfulness & fulfillment.

A pivotal moment in my life occurred around this time of year in 2010. My friend Don Wright and I were taking our usual walk around the track of Weddington High School, and I told him quite earnestly, “Don, some things have really got to change in my life next year.”

Don has a way of getting to the heart of a matter, and he reminded me of a sobering truth: “I think you said the same thing last year at…

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Added by Jim Buchan on December 31, 2016 at 10:48am — No Comments

The Surprising Christmas Story in John's Gospel

7 Life-Changing Christmas Facts in the First Chapter of John

When we think about the Christmas story, we usually start with the Gospel of Luke and Gospel of Matthew. There we see the shepherds, the magi, and the angel Gabriel’s stunning declaration to Mary. Other colorful characters appear, including Elizabeth and Zacharias, Simeon and Anna.

But John’s Gospel presents the rest of the story. As the final of the four Gospel accounts, it reveals…

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Added by Jim Buchan on December 16, 2016 at 11:50am — No Comments

The Cure for Bone-Deep Pain

I once met a man who had become addicted to prescription painkillers.

“That must be terrible,” I empathized. “Where is your pain located?”

I expected the man to tell me about migraine headaches, pain in his back, or some other kind of physical agony. But, to my surprise, he took the conversation in an entirely different direction.

“Well, my wife left me a few years ago, and I’ve been really lonely. I’m also having conflict with my kids, and I don’t like my job. I…

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Added by Jim Buchan on December 2, 2016 at 5:39pm — No Comments

The Key to Experiencing Thanksgiving All Year Long

Thanksgiving is clearly the greatest holiday ever created in America—and not just because of the great food and football games.

A few years ago I had a new revelation while writing Thanksgiving notes to some friends. In past years, I would say something like, “I’m thankful for YOU this Thanksgiving.” That certainly was true enough, but it missed an important point: I wasn’t only thankful for these friends on one day of the year, but rather was grateful for them all year…

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Added by Jim Buchan on November 24, 2016 at 7:00pm — No Comments

Thanksgiving, God's Kindness & the Question of 'Giving Back'

I’ve never really liked the phrase “giving back.” Maybe it’s because we’re often called to show kindness to complete strangers and people who aren’t in a position to give us anything in return. Although we’re possibly “giving back” to God in some way, we’re usually not reimbursing people for anything they’ve first given us.

Yet this Thanksgiving I find myself reflecting on the responsibilities we all have when we realize how blessed we are. On this day when we recount…

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Added by Jim Buchan on November 22, 2016 at 7:23am — No Comments

A Vision That Will Change Everything

Have you ever had a time when you realized your perspective was totally misguided? Perhaps you saw a relationship incorrectly, or you misjudged the leadership of your church. Or maybe you sunk into despair as you read news headlines about your nation or the world.

I recently was challenged when I read the life-changing vision Isaiah had after King Uzziah died:

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the…

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Added by Jim Buchan on November 17, 2016 at 1:16pm — No Comments

Whose Side Is God On?

One of the fascinating aspects of each election cycle is to watch both Democrats and Republicans imply that God is certainly on their side of the issues. Meanwhile, theologians debate whether God is a Calvinist or Arminian. And sometimes entire nations—especially the United States—portray themselves as being on the side of God and righteousness. 

So how can we tell whose side is God really on?

There’s a great story in Joshua 5:13-15 that should give us cause for concern…

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Added by Jim Buchan on November 14, 2016 at 2:54pm — No Comments

Daniel & the Election

I recently studied the life of the Old Testament prophet Daniel and discovered that he had lived under the reign of 10 different kings. That got me thinking about my own life…

It’s embarrassing to admit, but I’m so old that I was born during the final years of Harry Truman’s administration! Wow. That seems like ancient history.

Donald Trump will be the thirteenth American president in my lifetime. Some of our presidents have been good, some have been bad, but none have…

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Added by Jim Buchan on November 10, 2016 at 9:44am — No Comments

Praying Against Spiritual Fog Prior to the Election

Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or simply a member of the Apathetic Party, I feel an urgency to bring something to your attention. In the fog of the election season and all its political ads and pundits, it’s easy to overlook root issues that must be addressed before Election Day.

Although I don’t usually write much about the devil and demons, the current situation demands an exception. Whether you are for Hillary, Trump, or someone else, there’s an important…

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Added by Jim Buchan on October 26, 2016 at 11:52am — 1 Comment

New Births & New Beginnings

On January 25, 1969, I experienced the miracle of the new birth when I asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life.

If you’ve never been born again, the experience Jesus described to the religious leader Nicodemus in John 3:1-8, you’re really missing out—not just in this life, but in eternity as well. There’s no other way to become a “new creation,” where “old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

However, lately I’ve been…

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Added by Jim Buchan on October 24, 2016 at 6:58pm — No Comments

Elijah's Unanswered Prayer

Although the prophet Elijah is famous for his mighty prayers, I’ve always been more intrigued by the prayer God ignored.

James 5:17-18 recounts Elijah’s amazing feat in praying for Israel’s rain to stop for three and a half years, then praying for the rain to suddenly be restored. In-between those two monumental events, Elijah found time to supernaturally multiply a widow’s food, raise her son from the dead, and call down fire from the sky on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 17 &…

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Added by Jim Buchan on October 22, 2016 at 11:12am — No Comments

When Your Life Grows Stale

I wasn’t prepared for what God spoke to me as I prayed with a friend recently. It was just a single word, with no explanation given or needed.

“STALE.”

I wish I could tell you that this word from God was meant for my friend. But I knew it was an arrow pointed directly at me.

Everyone knows what staleness is like. The cracker or potato chip that once was crisp and tasty is now bland and tasteless, somewhat like eating cardboard.

Ordinarily…

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Added by Jim Buchan on October 17, 2016 at 11:19pm — No Comments

Thoughts on the Incompatibility of Men & Women

A friend was surprised by my reply when he said that he and his wife were incompatible.

“Of course you are!” I said. “Apart from a miracle by God, men and women are inherently incompatible.”

“Hmmm… a miracle from God?” he wondered aloud.

Then I told this friend the result of my informal study on the subject. “Based on personal observations and lots of statistics, there aren’t nearly enough couples who ever receive that miracle from God,” I opined.

I…

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Added by Jim Buchan on September 17, 2016 at 9:20pm — No Comments

2 Men Who Were Stuck

Once upon a time, two men were stuck. The men were brothers—sons of the same Father. Yet they were as different as day and night.

Although both were stuck, the men were stuck in very different ways. And one of the brothers never did seem to realize how stuck he had become.

If we pick up the story in the middle, we find one of these men stuck in a pigpen. A dirty, filthy, stinky, slippery pigpen. After growing up in a privileged home, he had so squandered his opportunities that…

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Added by Jim Buchan on September 9, 2016 at 3:31am — No Comments

The Heresy of Unbalanced Truth

Recently I attended a new church plant and was horrified by the young pastor’s message. His premise was that all Americans are rich in comparison to the rest of the world, and we should feel guilty about that. According to his perspective, our materialism was the biggest hindrance to living the normal Christian life.

Why was I so troubled by this pastor’s earnest sermon? He quoted lots of Bible passages along the way, including the story of the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-22) and the…

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Added by Jim Buchan on August 29, 2016 at 10:30am — No Comments

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