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Timeless truth in a changing world

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Devotional

Life in the Royal Household

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Americans in general are fascinated with the Bristish monarchy. Everywhere I turn, magazines and tabloids have the latest scoop about the royal wedding, who’s fighting with whom, and how the new generation is changing the way things have been done for centuries. I can’t imagine how Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, puts up with the constant paparazzi and being so much in the public eye all the time. Every decision is scrutinized, from what she wears to a wedding to how she and her husband plan to raise their children. She has to be ready at every moment to be photographed, even upon leaving the hospital with a newborn. Very little in her life is truly private. She’s being watched all the time. It must be exhausting. Frankly, I’m glad I’m not royalty.

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Life is Hard and Then You Die

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Life is hard and then you die.

While the exact origin of the quote may be debatable, it’s a sentiment that resonates with many people. When I was a kid, I wanted so badly to be an adult. In my mind, I’d really be free then. Free to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I could stay up as late as I wanted, eat chocolate whenever I wanted, buy whatever I wanted. I’d get married and have kids and be a perfect mother and a perfect wife with a perfect husband, and we’d all live happily ever after. Basically, I’d have it made. But then I became an adult and realized that adulthood wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I discovered that I’m not a perfect wife or mom, and neither are my husband or kids perfect. As a child, I never considered things like financial struggles, job loss, relationship difficulties, sickness, or the challenges of parenting. Despite my high hopes for adulthood, my adult self knows something my younger self did not: life is hard.

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Lambs Among Wolves

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It’s a familiar enough scene: Jesus is sending out the seventy-two into towns and villages ahead of Him, and His words to them are well known. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Luke 10:2). Ahhh. Lovely, iconic scene. We all know those words well, and we pray in church that God would do just that—send workers into His Church. What could be more rewarding than working as a laborer in God’s field? This verse is often quoted at installation services, and rightly so. But we often stop with that verse and fail to read Jesus’ very next words. “Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves” (Luke 10:3). Wait, what? What did You just say, Jesus? You do know what wolves do to lambs, don’t You? They eat them. That’s not exactly something You ought to put right there in the job description. On second thought, maybe I don’t want to be sent into the harvest field after all…

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Where is God, Anyhow?

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It was a confounding problem. It was dinnertime, there were over 5000 hungry people, and they were in a desolate location with little to no food immediately available. So the disciples naturally urged Jesus to send everyone away to fend for themselves. They looked to Him to make things right, and He did. But not at all in the way they were expecting. He told them calmly, “You give them something to eat.” Um, Jesus? All we have here is five loaves and two fish. That won’t even feed the 13 of us. Still, Jesus meant what He said. He directed everyone to sit down on the grass, blessed the food, and had the disciples distribute it to everyone there. Incredibly, everyone was fed, and there were 12 baskets of leftovers. Way to go, Jesus! And clearly, yes, He deserves all the glory for the miracle. But there’s something we’re missing if we stop there—the role the disciples played.

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Who Do You Think Jesus Is?

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Who do you think Jesus is?

The question was addressed to my sixth grader in an email from a friend and classmate. “Mom, what should I write?” he asked me. Half a dozen responses popped into my head, but I bit my tongue. “What do you think you should write?” I asked instead. I wanted to see what he would come up with on his own. After all, it’s a fairly basic question for a Christian; one that any of us could be asked at any time. So how would you answer?

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Dirty Socks

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My socks told the story. The bottoms were more brown than white, with black specks and crumbs peppered generously all over. They were rather disgusting. So I knew it was time to steam mop. Again. I pulled out the mop and worked my way through all the tiled sections of our house, which is everything but the bedrooms. I felt a great sense of accomplishment, but then realized I was still wearing my dirty socks. Well, that wouldn’t do. I went to my room and opened my dresser to pull out another pair, and I hesitated. I had a couple pairs of brand-new socks, never worn. But did I really want to wear those? Any dirt left would certainly show up on those. Frankly, I didn’t want to know if the floors weren’t completely clean after all that effort. So I reached instead for a pair I’ve had for a while. Clean, but slightly discolored on the bottom. It would be better not to know.

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Everything that Hinders

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I’m going through something of a mid-life crisis right now. Oh, don’t worry—I’m not running off to buy a cherry-red convertible. I wouldn’t be able to fit all my kids in it anyhow. Nor am I scheduling a facelift quite yet. It’s more of what you might call a time of reflection. Not long ago I attended the funeral of a woman who was twice my age. That was sobering. What if half of my life is already over? Am I living to my fullest potential? Then I thought about my kids. One of them only has four years left at home. Am I teaching him the skills he needs to be a responsible adult? Have I instilled strong morals? a strong work ethic? Have I equipped him to be a faithful witness to a world hostile to the Christian faith? Have I been a faithful witness? Has my life been fruitful and productive? Or have I been selfish with my time?

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When Doubts Assail

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What were the disciples thinking? After all they’d seen Jesus do, after all His miracles, after all His teaching, did they still not get it? He’d spoken openly to them about His death and resurrection, so why were they surprised when His body wasn’t in the tomb? They should have been waiting in anticipation at the tomb on Sunday morning, not locked away in hiding. In fact, the ones who remembered Jesus’ promise of resurrection were His enemies—the chief priests and Pharisees. They went to Pilate and told him that Jesus had foretold His resurrection. Their motives were completely wrong, mind you. They pleaded with Pilate to post a guard so no one could come steal the body. But the fact remains that they, rather than the disciples, were the ones who remembered Jesus’ promise. In that sense, the unbelievers put the believers to shame. Yet now Jesus had risen, and that changed everything.

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Thirsty No More

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It happened with no prior warning. We came home from some out of town errands to find the fire hydrant across the street shooting out water. Not long after that, we discovered that our own water had taken on a nasty brown hue. It didn’t look safe to drink, and indeed, shortly thereafter the town issued a boil water notice. This sort of put a damper on normal household activities. I didn’t want to wash clothes in water that had dirt in it. Same thing for dishes. There was no way I was going to give the kids a bath in brown water. And drinking it was out of the question. Even after I boiled a pot of water, there was sediment in the bottom of the pot. I resorted to filtering the water, boiling the filtered water, and then filtering it again just to be safe. As one might imagine, this was a tedious process. Doing this to get enough water for doing dishes by hand (and rinsing them!) was laborious. But the thing I noticed most was how thirsty I was without an unlimited safe water source.

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