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Timeless truth in a changing world

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Devotional

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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When You Feel Insignificant

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My son is in marching band this year, and each member of the band has his or her own set of steps to learn. No two people have the same drill, and yet everyone works together to form a cohesive show. My son knows this, but it didn’t really dawn on him until they had a competition recently, and the band directors sent a video of their show to each of the members to watch. As he watched the entire show, finally able to see everyone together, he said in awe, “Wow. I had no idea that’s what we look like. It’s neat to see the big picture.”

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What We Can Learn from a Mustard Seed

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When I was a girl, I had a bracelet with a mustard seed in it. The mustard seed was enclosed within a clear ball, like a marble. The seed itself was tiny, a visual reminder of Jesus’ mention of the mustard seed. Indeed, the mustard seed has become symbolic of faith. Yesterday was LWML Sunday, and the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League is known, among other things, for their “Mustard Seed” devotionals. Many times we think of Jesus’ words in Matthew 17:20, where He says, “‘Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’” Oftentimes the implied question is this: do you have that kind of faith? But there’s another mustard seed reference in the Gospels. Matthew, Mark and Luke all record the parable of the mustard seed, which has a completely different nuance. Instead of likening one’s faith to a mustard seed, this time Jesus is talking about the kingdom of heaven, a far broader scope that places the action solely upon Him.

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Final Day of Stand Alone Challenge

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Today is the final day for the Stand Alone photo challenge, and the prompt is Faith Refined.

In every book of the Sola Series, at least one character grapples with questions about his or her faith. In Stand Alone, Jackson struggles with issues such as forgiveness and the question of why bad things happen to good people. He has to decide when to speak up about his faith, even if that means he’s standing alone.

Who is another book character whose faith is challenged and refined through the course of the book?

Find me @ruthmeyerauthor on Instagram, and you just might win all four books of the Sola Series! If you’ve already read them, please do leave a review. I love to hear from my readers!

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