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TruthNotes

Timeless truth in a changing world

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Encouragement

Obsessed with Death

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A visitor to church might have wondered what was going on yesterday. All Saints Sunday is somewhat of an unusual one, as we remember with joy the deaths of those saints who have gone before us. In churches around the world, we took time to list the names of church members who have died within the past year. We even sing in gory detail about the deaths of the saints of old:

They have come from tribulation And have washed their robes in blood,
Washed them in the blood of Jesus; Tried they were, and firm they stood.
Mocked, imprisoned, stoned, tormented, Sawn asunder, slain with sword…
(TLH 471, v 3)

A glorious band, the chosen few, On whom the Spirit came,
Twelve valiant saints—their hope they knew And mocked the cross and flame.
They met the tyrant’s brandished steel, The lion’s gory mane;
They bowed their necks their death to feel—Who follows in their train?
(LSB 661, v 3)

Nice thing to be singing about with the kids, isn’t it? Being stoned, sawn in half, eaten by lions, burned to death, beheaded… Yep. Nothing to see here, folks. Just an ordinary church service, singing about various ways to die. What is it about Christians, that we’re so obsessed with death?

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Foolish Giving

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An adult never would have done it. It wasn’t logical. In fact, it was downright embarrassing to offer such a small amount for such a large crowd. And besides, it made more sense to keep it for oneself for the journey ahead. Yet the boy didn’t think about any of that. He just knew he had some food and other people needed it. So he found Andrew and told him he had five loaves of barley bread and two fish. Perhaps the people around him snickered at how naive this child was. But Andrew brought the food to Jesus, who multiplied it to feed over 5,000 men, plus women and children.  The leftovers alone were astounding. But in order to multiply the food, first the boy had to give it away.

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A Perfect Rescue

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It was the perfect rescue story. We found a stray cat nearby, looking dirty, hungry, scared, and overall pretty pathetic. We didn’t want to commit to another indoor cat, but we figured she could be an outdoor cat if she so chose. So we took her home, fed her, brushed the burrs out of her fur, and the kids gave her lots of love. They made a little bed for her inside a box, and she curled up in it rather cozily to spend the night. The next morning we couldn’t find her right away, so the kids went looking for her. They found her in a hole the dogs had dug in the backyard. This hole goes underneath the patio, and the dogs slide under there to stay cool in the hot Texas sun. We tried coaxing the cat out, to no avail. We bribed her with food. Nothing. So my oldest son volunteered to slither down as far as he could to reach her. I had visions of him pulling her to safety her while she purred gratefully, glad to have been rescued. Only it didn’t work out that way at all.

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Perfect Timing

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Timing is everything in music. No one wants to be the one who miscounts the measures of rest and comes in at the wrong time. Take the iconic ending of G.F. Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus,” for example. The music is climaxing with the singers repeating, “Forever and ever! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” (Dramatic pause) “Hal-le-lu-jah!” It’s that rest right before the last “Hallelujah” that makes the ending. If the singers ignored that final rest or sang one too many “hallelujahs,” it would ruin it. Like I said, timing is everything.

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Sand on the Seashore

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Last week we went to the beach for a couple days. The kids had a wonderful time splashing in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, jumping into the waves, finding seashells, and of course, playing in the sand. They dug holes, made sandcastles, and even had “sandball” fights. They had a blast. But afterward, the sand was everywhere. Despite my best efforts to rinse our bathing suits, shake out our towels, and beat the sand out of the floor mats of the van, we still managed to escape with a fair amount of sand. It was as if a fine layer of sand had settled over everything. When I washed our towels and bathing suits at home, there was so much sand on the bottom of the washing machine afterward that it took two damp paper towels to collect it all. It’s still all over the floor of the van. It’s probably in our suitcases too, so that when we open them next time we go on a trip it’ll be there to remind us of the beach. It’s like we just can’t get rid of this stuff.

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The “Lazy” Days of Summer

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Whoever coined the phrase “lazy days of summer” obviously didn’t have a summer like mine. I could make my own version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Between five kids home from school, four summer reading programs, three weddings, two sets of houseguests, and a cross-country vacation just before school starts again, there’s nothing lazy about this summer. This past week was a real doozy. I played for a wedding last weekend, and the rest of the weekend was devoted to an out-of-town baseball All-Stars tournament. Monday ushered in VBS week, for which I led music. Friday was the final day of VBS, plus the closing program, as well as my daughter’s birthday. To say it was a crazy week is sort of an understatement. On Saturday, when we all finally had nothing going on for once, my three-year-old, who never naps, was so exhausted he just fell asleep on the couch. Clearly the busy pace had caught up to him at last. He needed rest.

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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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I’m Just a Mom

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Being a mother can be a thankless job. Much of what you do goes unnoticed unless it doesn’t get done. Your kids will rarely, if ever, thank you. Quite the opposite, actually. From a toddler throwing a tantrum to a teenager slamming a door in your face, your kids may well give you the distinct impression that you’re ruining their lives. A mother’s daily tasks are repetitive and mundane. Oh, we try to glamorize motherhood. We’ve invented clever terms like “domestic engineer” and “household manager” to describe the mother’s role in the home. But at the end of the day, the truth is that every domestic engineer is just a mom.

(Click here to continue reading the original 5-13-18 post on the website Raising Godly Children.)

 

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