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TruthNotes

Timeless truth in a changing world

Audiobook Giveaway

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Grace Alone is now available as an audiobook! Thanks to my talented narrator, Leanne Bennet, for all the hard work she put into the production. Grace Alone is available on Amazon and Audible. To celebrate its release, I am giving away two free audiobooks. There are eight ways to enter the giveaway, so enter today for your chance to win!

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Through the Storm

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The disciples should have known better. Granted, they were in the middle of a fierce storm at sea, and the waves were breaking into the boat and filling it. These men, more than a few of whom were fishermen, were no strangers to sailing, but this storm was beyond their expertise. And somehow, through it all, the one person who could do anything about it was sleeping through it all! So they woke Jesus and asked, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” You can almost hear the panic in their voices, the accusatory look in their eyes trying to mask the fear. But they should have known better because, you see, Jesus had already made them a promise.

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Meeting Together Apart

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I sat in my car with my five children, rain steadily pelting the roof, the windows slowly fogging up with our warm air inside. We had only a limited view of the other cars around us in similar situations. My husband was leading a drive-in church service and had partially retreated to the open door of the church to avoid the rain. We could see neither him nor our fellow worshipers on Sunday morning, but we could hear him over a local radio frequency that had a limited range barely reaching the edge of the parking lot. This has become the new normal. Drive-in church. And I admit, it’s a bit of a letdown. My five-year-old, who was never terribly well behaved in church anyhow, no longer has to sit on my lap during the service, so he slides on and off his seat in the car. My other kids, who are generally quite well behaved in church, now have the freedom to whisper little side comments throughout the service or slouch back in their seats or take off their shoes. Sitting in our car doesn’t have the same effect as sitting in a physical church building with other congregants around us and the organ accompanying us for hymns. Listening over a radio frequency just isn’t the same.

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Drive-Thru Communion

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Three months ago, the idea of drive-thru communion would have been absurd. Most people would snort and roll their eyes, thinking that this is just one more case of how busy our society has become, always looking for convenience. But since the COVID-19 pandemic, drive-thru communion has become fairly common, people literally lining up to receive the body and blood of Christ from a masked and gloved pastor. Really, it almost sounds comical, like something you’d see in a bad movie. But in the absence of an actual church service, pastors have had to get creative in ministering to their flocks, and church members have had to rethink the way they worship.

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Normal is Overrated

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Believe it or not, I’m enjoying this quarantine. I know, crazy, right? I myself am surprised at this realization, and I’ve come a long way since last week’s post about Grudgingly Serving my Neighbor. Having five kids home all the time, doing school work from home, effectively making me into a homeschool parent, doesn’t sound like my idea of fun. And granted, there are moments every day where I’m sure I’m about to lose my sanity, but that’s nothing new. Such is the nature of living in close quarters with different personalities and temperaments. But something is different with all of us home this time around. This isn’t summer vacation or Christmas break. The kids are still in school, but they’re *only* in school—no extracurriculars. There is no driving time, no before or after school practices, no track meets, no UIL competitions. In short, it comes down to this: our lives have been simplified.

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Grudgingly Serving My Neighbor

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If you’re anything like me, you’re getting sick (no pun intended) of hearing about the coronavirus. Everywhere I turn, there’s a new update or restriction or cancellation. March and April, which for us was supposed to be chock full of track practices and meets, archery practice for the State tournament, field trips, music competitions, and Confirmation activities, has suddenly cleared for an unspecified amount of time, leaving a conspicuous absence of activity. That unnerves and irritates me. My kids just finished a week of spring break, and now they have more time at home, which throws off my own schedule. And from what I can gather, this isn’t going to be a quick fix. Many states have already called off school (or imposed “distance learning”) for up to three weeks. This is going to drag out for a while. I fear we’ve only just begun.

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What Prayer Isn’t

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Prayer is hard for me. I’ve been struggling for years to establish a schedule for daily prayer, but it just isn’t happening. I even had a wonderful friend share with me her prayer journaling plan, complete with different prayer categories for different days. That helped, because it gave me some structure, but if you look at my entries you’ll see I’m still very sporadic. I was doing pretty well for about a week, with entries on January 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7, but then there’s a huge gap until the 27th. The same pattern holds true for February. I’m so much better at sticking with a devotional or Bible reading plan. Working through a Bible study or reading through the Bible is tangible. I can update my progress on Goodreads as I go. (And trust me, I do just that! Check out my profile to see what I mean.) But prayer isn’t like that. I can’t update my progress or gauge how far I’ve come. I need to think of prayer differently. So I find it helpful to keep in mind a few things abut prayer. Specifically, what prayer isn’t.

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Seeing God’s Back

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Moses had a daunting task. He’d already been through a lot, and the poor guy was at least 80 years old, after all. He probably preferred to just retire, but that wasn’t God’s plan for him. He’d grown up in Pharaoh’s household before spending 40 years in the wilderness as a shepherd, and then he was called to go back to Egypt, lead his people out of slavery and into the Promised Land. Whew! Talk about an overwhelming calling. Scarcely had the novelty of the plagues and God parting the Red Sea worn off when the whining began. The water was bitter. There was nothing to eat. We should have stayed in Egypt. Sigh. And there were 40 more years of this to look forward to? Continue reading “Seeing God’s Back”

Why Me?

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Life is hard.

I have a friend who started her second round of chemo treatments last week. An adolescent from our church was hit by a truck over the weekend and is in the hospital for the foreseeable future. One of my friends was abused as a child and still carries those scars. People struggle with addiction, health problems, persecution, accidents, natural disasters, financial troubles, relationship problems… The list goes on and on. And the natural inclination when trouble strikes is to ask God, Why me?

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