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Timeless truth in a changing world

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Devotional

On Fire for the Lord

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Pentecost must have been an amazing sight to behold. Men were quite literally on fire for the Lord, as the Holy Spirit descended upon them in tongues of fire. The apostles began to speak in languages they did not know, so that everyone there could hear the Gospel in his own language. Some mocked the apostles, claiming they were drunk. But many did believe, and after Peter’s sermon, Acts 2:41 tells us that “those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” Whoa. Three thousand people? And a short while later, after Peter and John healed a lame beggar, John preached again about Jesus, and that day five thousand men believed! That’s astounding. Suddenly the growth of the Church in our own day can seem very meek in comparison.

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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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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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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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Overwhelmed at Christmastime

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December has been brutal to our family this year. We had to put one of our dogs down, which, as any pet owner can tell you, is emotionally draining, to say the least. I’ve also spent a fair bit of time at the doctor this month. Three of us (myself included) have had or are still dealing with ear infections, one of my sons had a stomach virus, and I lost my voice for more than a week. Add this to the general chaos of five kids in four different schools with the various gift exchanges, classroom parties, concerts, and programs that go along with the season, and I’m just a hot mess. I got the tree up a week ago, but no other decorations until this weekend when my kids asked about the nativities. I’m flying by the seat of my pants for gifts for my kids. I’m all for the idea of “slowing down and enjoying the season,” but seriously, how?? And I know I’m not the only one feeling this way. It’s a regular topic of conversation and texting among my friends. It seems like everyone feels overwhelmed. Continue reading “Overwhelmed at Christmastime”

Is Our World the Worst It’s Ever Been?

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Oh, that God in heaven would have mercy on us! Today, even the faithful have become unbelievers. A reformation, therefore, appears to be impossible. It is clear that the world is declining. The examples of the Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the destruction on Jerusalem are being fulfilled before our eyes. The darkness of the midnight hour of the world has come upon us. The Judge already stands at the door. The hammer of the world’s clock has been raised in order to announce the expiration of the last hour. God’s army, the angels of the Lord of the heavenly hosts, stand in battle formation to fight the great battle of the Last Day. In but a few minutes of the world’s time, God’s trumpet will sound.

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The Meanest Mom in Town

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Last summer some friends from the neighborhood came over to play with my girls. They played outside for awhile before coming in to get out of the heat. Upon walking into the house, our guests spotted the xBox and asked to play. I told them no and suggested Legos instead. Walking away, I heard the nine-year-old mutter to my daughter, “My mom is nicer than your mom.”

My son and his friends were talking around the lunch table their eighth-grade year, and one friend bemoaned, “My mom just started this new thing called ‘no phones after dinner.’” My son shot back, “Yeah, well, my mom has this thing called ‘no phones…’”

Is it bad that in both cases, I was secretly pleased?

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