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Timeless truth in a changing world

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Forgiveness

The Golden Calf in Your Life

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The story of the Israelites and the Golden Calf is a ridiculous one, isn’t it? C’mon, people. Just a few weeks after God performed ten miraculous plagues, led you through the Red Sea on dry ground but drowned Pharaoh’s army after you, and fed you with manna and quail, you forget all this and make an idol to worship? After all God has done for you, this is your response? It’s laughable, really. This golden calf that Aaron made in front of your eyes is the one who led you out of Egypt? Lame. And yet, all too familiar. Because we are no different today.

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Deathbed Requests

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It plays out like a scene from The Godfather. The aged king is passing along final instructions to the son who is to succeed him on the throne. He starts off well, admonishing him to be God-fearing and of noble character. So far, so good. But then he gets personal. He instructs his son to “deal wisely” with two specific men who had wronged him. It doesn’t take much reading between the lines to know what the king means. “Do not let his gray head go down to the grave in peace,” the king says of both men. In other words, kill these guys. These are the king’s final words, and then he dies. It’s the stuff of movies. Cue the climactic music. Get one last close-up of the characters in this scene, who are none other than King David and his son Solomon.

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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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Humans have an innate need to feel good about ourselves. We want desperately to believe that other people make mistakes; other people need to change, but not us.

The Gospel is a wonderful, freeing thing. But is there such a thing as too much Gospel? I explore that in The Law We Don’t Like Hearing from the Sister, Daughter, Mother, Wife blog.

Infestation

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My first clue was the bites around my ankles. Nor could I deny that our dogs seemed to be scratching an awful lot. I set out traps and caught nothing, which put my mind slightly at ease. But when I walked across the carpet in my girls’ bedrooms one day, I looked dawn at my socks and saw about five little black specks. Upon closer inspection, I realized they were exactly what I was afraid they were. Fleas. 

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Replacement Tools

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It was not a good start to the week. My baby had been fussy all weekend long, waking multiple times during the night, which is unusual for him. I was exhausted from lack of sleep, and his crankiness during the day was not fun to deal with under such circumstances. Then on Sunday evening, my fifth grader started complaining that his ear hurt. That night was his turn to be up multiple times, crying because of pain in his ear. Come Monday morning, I loaded them up and hauled them off to the doctor, to find that both had rip-roaring ear infections, and that my ten-year-old’s eardrum had actually burst. My four-year-old had fluid in her ears but it wasn’t infected, but that evening she started complaining that she had “crumbs” in her ear. Off to the doctor we went again the next morning. No, she didn’t have an ear infection. She had strep. Lovely. With three sick kids, a house full of germs, and myself going on zombie hormones to begin with, it was shaping up to be a pretty awful week.

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Leaves of Three

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For as terrible as it got, it had a rather innocuous start.  Two days after contact, I noticed two small bumps on my arm and wondered about them.  Over the course of the next few days, more bumps appeared.  Then more.  Then there were some on my sides.  My arms and both sides of my abdomen were covered with blistering sores, and during the dog days of summer I was relegated to wearing long sleeves to cover the gauze that hid the ugly red sores and scabs that lasted the better part of a month.  What caused all this discomfort and pain?  Poison ivy.

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Measuring Up

 

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I was almost done unloading my shopping cart when another lady pushed her cart in behind me.  I glanced at her apologetically, saying, “You’ll be here a while.”

“I’m in no rush,” she assured me.

I smiled and continued unloading.  Half of my groceries were already bagged and loaded into another cart, the entire conveyor belt was full of more groceries, and there were still some left in my original cart.  The lady behind me observed all this, and tried to make small talk.

“Big trip today, huh?”

“We have five kids,” I explained.  “And I try to do a shopping trip for two weeks at a time so I don’t have to come as often that way.”

Her eyes widened.  She took in my three-year old and 15-month old sitting side by side in the double cart, uncharacteristically docile as they looked at her.  She hadn’t been privy to their meltdown on aisle 8.

“Do you plan out your meals two weeks in advance, too?” she inquired.

I nodded in affirmation, and her eyes got even wider.  With awe in her voice, she said, “You’re so organized!”

I sure had her fooled.

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To Sue for Pardon

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I love Lenten hymns.  Of all the church seasons, something strikes me about the penitential season of Lent.  The hymns are poignant and the melodies are often beautiful.  But sometimes it’s easy to sing through the words without really thinking about the meaning.  So with Holy Week upon us, let’s take a look at one such example.

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