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Timeless truth in a changing world

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Jesus

Basking in the Son

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Jesus’ transfiguration must have been an impressive sight. His face “shone like the sun” (Matthew 17:2), and his clothes became “as bright as a flash of lightning” (Luke 9:29), “dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them” (Mark 9:3). The disciples weren’t even seeing Jesus in all His glory, because no sinful human can do that and live, but they saw Him in a more glorified state than anyone else had. It’s interesting that Moses was there, because He was another person who had not only seen God’s glory, but also been “transfigured,” in a sense. When He came down Mount Sinai after being in God’s presence, his face was radiant as well, similar to the way Jesus’ face shone on the Mount of Transfiguration. But it might surprise you to learn that you are in the process of being transfigured as well.

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Tried and Found Wanting

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Looking at my friend’s list of goals for the week, I started to feel rather unambitious. She and I are accountability partners, so we check in every week to report progress and set new goals. It’s a lovely arrangement, but last week she sent me her list that included seven items, many of them multi-faceted. My list had all of two things on it, both related to writing. I told her my goals looked completely lame in comparison, and she laughed and said, “I was thinking my goals were lame! You’re writing a book, and all I’m doing is finding people to fix stuff around our house!” Then she reminded me of a saying someone had once told her: “To compare is to despair.”

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How Not to Pray

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Mary was in a delicate position. She was at a wedding, and they had run out of wine. This would be a huge embarrassment for the bride and groom. Wedding celebrations in those times ran for days, and running out of wine early meant the party would have to be cut short. Mary knew her Son could help. As His mother, she could have pulled the “parent” card and told Him what to do. But this wasn’t your typical mother/son relationship. Her Son was God, and she knew her place. The way she handled the situation was diplomatic and wise, and it can teach us a thing or two about prayer.

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Mary Had a Little Lamb

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Mary had a little Lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow.
Down from heav’n to earth it went
Salvation to bestow.
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A Modern-Day Good Samaritan Story

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I groaned as I saw the flashing construction vehicles and the line of red brake lights ahead of me. I was taking my son to school, and we hadn’t left early enough to allow for delays like this. Some cars were already doing U-turns, presumably to go another route. But our detour option was a much longer way, so I decided to wait a few minutes before making a knee-jerk reaction. Sure enough, a minute later the cars ahead of me slowly started inching forward. Whew. But as I approached the cause of the backup, I could see this wasn’t just construction. There was a car with a smashed front end sitting in the middle of the four-lane road, and there was a man lying on the ground next to the driver’s side, two construction workers kneeling beside him. Clearly, the accident had happened very recently, since the emergency workers hadn’t yet shown up. It was a horrifying feeling to pass right by the man on the ground, not knowing his condition or even if he was alive. My son and I prayed for him and for the others involved in the accident, and we were fairly silent the rest of the drive, until my son said, “You know, Mr. Smith would have stopped to see if he could help.” It was an innocent observation; he didn’t mean it as a guilt trip, but I was convicted nonetheless. I should have stopped, but I didn’t. It was a modern-day parable of the Good Samaritan, and I was the priest passing by on the other side.

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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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In the Presence of the King

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This was a matter of life and death. The rule in the royal court was that anyone who approached the king without being summoned was to be put to death. There was but one exception. If the king held out his golden scepter, the person who dared approach him uninvited would live. Queen Esther knew this rule applied even to her, and when she agreed to plead with the king on behalf of the Jews, she knew she could be walking to her own death. Mordecai had tricked King Ahasuerus into signing a death edict for the Jewish people, and Esther knew it was up to her to save them, provided she didn’t get killed first. But she didn’t just run to the throne room. She told Mordecai to gather as many Jews as he could and fast and pray for her for three days before she would dare to approach the king. This was too serious a matter to attempt without proper preparation.

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Lost in the Fog

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Driving in heavy fog is very unsettling. Yesterday morning I had to drive to church in such conditions, and although it’s a road I’ve taken dozens of times before, everything looked different in the fog. Each turn seemed unfamiliar, large trees weren’t visible until we were practically next to them, and cars coming from the opposite direction didn’t emerge from the fog until they were pretty close to us, which was startling and a bit scary. I was on edge the entire time, not knowing if a deer would suddenly leap out in front of me or a car would pull out without being able to see me coming. I felt disoriented, but I was not lost. I may not have been able to see a hundred yards ahead of me, but I knew I was on the right road, and I knew that road was going to get me to my destination.

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