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Timeless truth in a changing world

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Witness

McDonald’s Evangelism

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I was sitting in McDonald’s with an hour to get some work done. I had my large coffee, my iPad was open and ready, and my Bible sat next to me on the table. I relished the opportunity to be alone and work without distractions. Only…wait. That guy over there. He’s looking at me. He looks like he wants something. Shoot. Look down, Ruth. Act busy. You shouldn’t have made eye contact. Drat. Now he’s coming over, limping slightly as he walks. It’s cold and rainy outside, and he has an umbrella he’s sort of using as a cane. Okay. Sigh. He’s at my table. Here we go.

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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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Who Do You Think Jesus Is?

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Who do you think Jesus is?

The question was addressed to my sixth grader in an email from a friend and classmate. “Mom, what should I write?” he asked me. Half a dozen responses popped into my head, but I bit my tongue. “What do you think you should write?” I asked instead. I wanted to see what he would come up with on his own. After all, it’s a fairly basic question for a Christian; one that any of us could be asked at any time. So how would you answer?

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Demons who Confess Christ

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met anyone suffering from demon possession. Yet a quick reading of the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, or Luke will show you numerous instances of Jesus driving out a demon from a person who is possessed. It seems to have been a common ailment back then. But even more intriguing is this fact: the demons know who Jesus is, and they confess Him as the Son of God.

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Why I Want My Kids to Fight

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(Author’s note: I originally wrote this article for the website Raising Godly Children, where it was published on March 19,2017. To read the article in its entirety, click the link here.)

My seventh grade son has a unique set of friends. A few “kind of” believe in a generic god out there, a few flat out don’t believe in God at all, a few aren’t sure what they believe, and then there’s my son. He’s grown up in the church, attended parochial schools until 5th grade, goes regularly to Sunday School, midweek (church) school, and confirmation class, and hears Bible stories and devotions at home as well. And thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit, he believes those biblical accounts. He has faith in Jesus and isn’t afraid to say so, even when all his friends are arguing against him. And argue they do. Religion is a regular topic of discussion at their lunch table. Yet despite the wide variety of views among them, they have a close bond and manage to stay friends even after a lively discussion. And to be honest, I couldn’t be happier that he’s fighting in school, because it’s already preparing him for life as an adult. (Continue reading.)

Photo is Fighting by Frederic C81

What We Can Learn from the Saddest Passage in the Bible

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One of the most tragic verses in the Bible is Judges 2:10. “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.” What?? How is that even possible? Think about this. Joshua led the Israelites after the death of Moses, and through Joshua’s direction, this band of nomads conquered the Promised Land, defeating strongholds like Jericho simply by marching around the city and blowing trumpets. They had seen God’s hand powerfully at work in their lives, and had witnessed what their forefathers only dreamed of- entering the Promised Land of Canaan. But then that generation died and their children grew up, not knowing the Lord. Why? I hate to say it, but it was because of the parents.

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Casual Christians

I’m convicted.  Yesterday we sang a hymn in church that really stuck out at me.  How Clear is our Vocation, Lord is #853 in Lutheran Service Book, and verse 3 says the following:

We marvel how Your saints become in hindrances more sure;
Whose joyful virtues put to shame the casual way we wear Your name
And by our faults obscure Your power to cleanse and cure.

The phrase that really hit me was “the casual way we wear Your name.”  I don’t know about you, but most of the time that describes me all too well.  I’m a casual Christian.

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A One-Track Mind

My son has a one-track mind.  When he focuses on something, he cannot get it out of his head until it’s resolved.  Each weekend he seems to have something else on which to dwell.  Sometimes it’s a certain book or movie he just has to have from the library.  Sometimes it’s something he desperately wants to order from Amazon.  Last weekend he was harping on finding an instrument to use for band.  This past weekend suddenly a new bike (which in all truthfulness he needed) was of utmost importance, and he didn’t want to wait.  He wanted it now.  The thing is that he won’t rest until whatever he’s been focusing on has come to a proper conclusion in his own mind.  He harps on the subject at hand over and over, which can honestly get wearisome after a while.  In time I have hopes that this can become a favorable trait and work for his good.  But he just can’t give up or forget whatever it is that’s on his mind.  It’s that important to him.

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Divine Discontent

Recently I read a book called Upon This Rock, by Frank G Slaughter. It’s a novel about the life of Simon Peter, who has long been one of my favorites apostles, and while I don’t agree with everything in the book, it was certainly an interesting read.  One thing that struck me was the use of a peculiar phrase.  Three times Slaughter said that Peter had been “infected with the divine discontent which Jesus instilled into the hearts of all those who served him.”  Divine discontent.  What is that even supposed to mean?

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