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Timeless truth in a changing world

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Jesus

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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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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What Moms of Young Kids Really Want for Mother’s Day

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Ask any mom of young children what her ideal Mother’s Day would look like, and if she’s being honest, chances are she’d like an afternoon without her kids. All. By. Herself. I know that doesn’t exactly match the spirit of the day, but moms are already with their young kids the vast majority of the time. Every day is “Mother’s Day.” Moms are always caring for their children, changing diapers, making food, acting as peacekeeper and referee, constantly being interrupted from a task they’d like to accomplish. So the thought of not having to do that for a day actually sounds really nice.

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When Jesus Passes You By

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There’s a somewhat peculiar note in the story of Jesus walking on the water (Mark 6:45-52). Jesus saw that His disciples were “making headway painfully, for the wind was against them,” so He went to them “walking on the sea.” Then comes this rather curious note: “[Jesus] meant to pass by them” (v. 48). Why? Couldn’t He see the dire predicament they were in?

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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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