Gary Coiro bio & teachings…

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Grief and Gratitude at Thanksgiving

As we pursue being Mature and Mighty this year, it is no surprise that Gratitude should be expressed by mature believers – those who are fully devoted followers of Christ.  We do have so much to be thankful for!  The Bible is full of encouragement to give thanks…

Psalm 95:1–2 (NIV)

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; 

let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. 

Let us come before him with thanksgiving 

and extol him with music and song.

Psalm 100:4–5 (NIV)

Enter his gates with thanksgiving 

and his courts with praise; 

give thanks to him and praise his name. 

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; 

his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Even in difficulty, we can find reasons to give thanks…

1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (NIV)

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

And yet… We do want to live in the truth, think truth, and speak the truth – correct?  According to the Bible, we are to wear the belt of truth, think on things that are true, and speak the truth!  Along with my gratitude, I want to be honest about my troubles, holding on to both a longing for a better place [heaven] and rejoicing in a giving God.  Much of life, especially that last year or so, has been filled with disappointment and grief for so many.  And so, along with gratitude, I want to embrace sorrow and lament – and even support those who are struggling this holiday – as a friend who can come alongside and “bear one another’s burdens”.

Matthew 5:4 indicates that we are blessed if we mourn, and Romans 12:15 encourages us to mourn with others in their season of mourning.  James 4:9 goes as far as to suggest we turn our laughter into mourning.  

So for me, this thanksgiving I will not only seek to express gratitude – but to also seek to live in the reality of an often times disappointing and painful world, where we need to join together, support one another – and yes even mourn together.  Life can be hard, and we need one another.  Who in your circle of relationships might need you to grieve with them today?

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The Everyday Commission

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Matthew 28:19 NIV

Did you know that the verb GO in the great commission was passive? Which means it could be stated, AS YOU GO. We are already on the go, we don’t have to go anywhere to make disciples, we just have to be sensitive to the charge to invite people to be followers of Jesus in our networks such as family, workplace, neighborhood, community.

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Purpose in Pain

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

Difficult seasons remind us that the Lord’s strength is there to help us in our weakness. Pain is purposeful, and could make us better rather than bitter if we will trust Him in it. Lord, knowing that my life is in your hands, give me the grace to accept my circumstances and to find that you are strong in my weakness as I depend on you. Amen.

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Peace vs. Hostility

In 1871 archaeologists found what was written on the wall of hostility (The area that separated the court of the gentiles from the temple proper region in Jerusalem), translated from Greek it read…


If Jesus could remove the hostility between Greek and Jew, how much more so is he able to make peace within our cultural, class, and color differences!

“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,”
Ephesians 2:14 NIV

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Attitude Before Aptitude

I just read Matthew 5: 1 – 16, Jesus teaches Attitude as a prerequisite for Aptitude. Beatitudes before Salt & Light.

Matthew 5:1–16 (NIV)

1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.

He said:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

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Remembering God’s goodness…

“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.””
1 Samuel 7:12 ESV

We all need Ebenezers. Reminders that the God who got us here will get us there.

We need to celebrate longer and better.

I often feel like we move from one thing to another without pausing to reflect and celebrate on the thing that God just did. This is a good reminder to spend time and reflection on the goodness of God in recent days.

As for me, I’m celebrating the fact that God has given me seven great years with Tracey in my marriage, seventh great years of return to church ministry at Bridgeway. I’m celebrating God’s provision of our new dream house in Ellicott City, more than we would have asked or imagined. I’m celebrating good health and fitness at 58, God has been so good in my recovery from surgery on my ankle four years ago. I’m celebrating rekindled relationships with six out of six children, all who love the Lord, love their dad, and have accepted and grown to love their bonus mom Tracey.

We all need Ebenezers. Reminders that the God who got us here will get us there.

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Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude

It was my honor to be a guest on Tracey Tiernan’s podcast to help us cultivate an attitude of gratitude this Thanksgiving.

Awe and Gratitude episode of Your Day Brighter™

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Finish Your Race Well…

Running has been a part of my life. Whether it’s a fun color run with friends, or a marathon, or a father/child event – I’ve done several races. A few even included my dog.

That being said, I understand the need for discipline, grit, pacing, training, endurance, and refreshment…. in running. During this pandemic, as the race goes on and on and on – I also see my need for discipline, grit, pacing, training, endurance, and refreshment.

The Bible using running as a metaphor for life… 2 Timothy 4:7 reads “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” In midst of this season, I pray that I [and you] would finish this marathon well, keeping the faith.

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Perspective on the Presidential Election

Election Perspective…

“If I’m feeling fear or anxiety, I will feel it to the degree that I don’t know or believe who God really is.” -Tim Keller

Remember – God is too wise to make a mistake, too loving to be unkind, and too powerful for His purposes to be thwarted.

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