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Timeless truth in a changing world

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Devotional

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!

When Money Gets in the Way

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There were a dozen reasons to say no. The family asking for help with their bill was well-known around town. They didn’t make wise use of money, often asked for handouts, and were generally looked upon with suspicion. People didn’t trust them, and for good reason. Besides, it’s not good to enable people, right? Let them learn from the consequences of their actions. You don’t want to risk them coming back to you again and again. It’s best not to get involved at all.

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A More Effective Workout Routine

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Apparently I’ve been exercising all wrong. According to my teenage son, who fancies himself an expert on fitness, there are three phases of strength training one ought to do in order to maximize the benefits. Silly me, I’d just been following the number of reps and sets suggested in my program, gradually increasing the amount of weight for each exercise. But my son set me straight. One ought to rotate strength, hypertrophy, and endurance workouts for the best results. With a strength workout, you add as much weight as possible, enough that you can only lift 2-6 reps for each set. Hypertrophy is the “normal” workout, where you do 8-12 reps with a challenging but doable amount of weight. And endurance is a slightly less challenging weight so you can do 15-20 reps per set. All three of these work together for the best results.

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Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

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1. What do you call a group of crows?

2. Often seen at the end of a sentence, the three trailing dots that indicate the omission from speech or writing of a word or words that are superfluous or able to be understood from contextual clues are known as…

3. How many kingdoms are part of the United Kingdom?

4. Solve the following equation: 5 + 3 * 4 / 2 – 1 = ?

Can you answer these questions? All were featured on the show Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? What made the show funny was that college-educated adults went head-to-head with fifth-grade students and usually had to admit, “I am not smarter than a fifth grader.” Only two contestants actually won the $1,000,000 grand prize. Of course, the students had more recently studied all the subjects, and as the expression goes, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” I am never more aware of that then when I’m helping my middle-schooler with math. Every time I have to look up the difference between rational numbers, irrational numbers, whole numbers, and integers. My son will ask, “Mom, didn’t you have to learn all this?” And I reply, “Of course, but that was years ago.”

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God’s First Words

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First words are a milestone. Parents encourage their babies to make meaningful sounds when they start babbling, coaxing them to say “Mama” or “Dada.” When the baby finally does say his or her first word, proud parents share the news and brag to their friends about how smart their child is, perhaps even teasing each other about which parent got the honor of being named first. It makes me wonder what Jesus’ first word was. The Bible doesn’t see fit to tell us, but it is interesting to read God’s first recorded words in Scripture.

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Far From Home

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Having returned not long ago from a 4000-mile, three-week family trip, we’ve seen our fair share of license plates. In our part of rural Texas, we see mainly other Texas plates, with an occasional out-of-state plate from Louisiana or Oklahoma. But in the Northeast, our destination for this trip, seeing another Texas plate was rare. We took an overnight camping trip to Maine while on our trip, and seeing another Texas plate in the campground was really exciting. We felt an instant bond with the other Texas family that had made the long haul north. The further away you are, the more exciting it is to see someone from home.

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The Best Motivation for Cleaning

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For the past two weeks, my carpets have never been cleaner. You might think I’m expecting guests, but no. Selling and showing a house, perhaps? Not that either. No, the real reason is far less exciting, but it’s highly effective. You see, we have fleas.

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