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    Facing Anxiety? Here Are 2 Choices

    Excitement fueled my journey toward Gatlinburg, Tennessee where friends awaited me for a weekend getaway. Dusk was setting as I reached Chattanooga, so my eyes struggled to adjust to the darkening roadway and approaching headlights. Somehow I navigated that huge bend of highway skirting Lookout Mountain and then, just as the road began to straighten out, my excitement bottomed out. Before me stood a wall of fog so dense and so massive that it shrouded all four lanes of interstate. I had exactly 12 seconds to make a decision: pull over on the shoulder OR put on the low beams, reduce my speed, and navigate the haze.  Honestly, these are…

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    Purpose in Anxiety?

    I stared in silence at the panorama, utterly captivated by the beauty of Interlaken. My eyes slowly traced the massive white peaks of Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau contrasting against the azure sky. Blinking tears, I spied a red cogwheel train trekking up a nearby ridge. Curiosity nudged me toward the cliff and from my lofty perch I glimpsed a scene so pleasing it almost made me blush: cottony wisps of fog gently kissing the bashful waters of Lake Thun. Yes, I have a slight fascination with fog. Even as a child I’d wake up—early, like most farm kids do—and dash over to the window to see if the fleecy stuff…

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    Your Help Wanted

    Anxiety impacts an estimated 264 million people worldwide. For those living in “the land of the free and home of the brave,” things aren’t much better. Millions of adults (31.1%) are strangled by anxiety on a regular basis. Anxiety disorders impact over 40 million Americans (19.1%), earning the title of most common mental health concern in the United States. I’m  passionate about this issue, not only because of a personal struggle with social anxiety, but also because there is a major void of awareness, compassion, and service from the Church to those struggling with anxiety disorders. To that end, I’m working on a resource that provides a robust theological framework…

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    Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

    He could have kept a distance, withholding his immanence from the shepherd tending a flock. But, there he was: appearing in a fire that burned, yet did not consume its bushy host. God himself had come. And the shepherd, unable to behold such glory, hid his face while God continued, “’I’ve seen the afflictions and heard the groaning of my people. I know their suffering andI have come down to deliver them out of Egyptian oppression and lead them into a broad land flowing with milk and honey.’” He could have delivered the once-enslaved Israelites from afar. But, there he was: appearing each evening as a flaming fire and each…

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    A Rendering of Psalm 44

    To the Director. A confession from the remnant. Oh, God, we know your works of old: how you fashioned earth from nothing, framed a piece of it called Canaan, filled it with slaves-turned-refugees, and forged a nation to fulfill a promise. All of this was done by your providence and power, not the mind or might of Israel. You gave her a place and purpose, for you delighted in her. Your works continue, as we know firsthand. Our lives you reclaimed. Our souls you saved. Tongues you tamed. Minds you trained. In you we boast continually, keenly aware that our victories come by your providence and power, not our minds…

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    The Significance of Little

    I smoked my first cigarette in high school and continued for seven years. I so thoroughly enjoyed smoking that I overlooked the ridiculousness of my hiding the habit with breath mints, perfume, and darting from disapproving eyes. It took seven years for the hypocrisy and enslavement to exhaust me. I cried out to God and within two weeks I had quit–cold turkey. No patch. No pills. It was a miraculous deliverance that sparked my fledgling faith in God.   Many people have shared similar stories of God working in their lives, usually at a point of their first coming or just returning to relationship with Christ. I think God sometimes…

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    People-Pleasing: To Sin or Not to Sin

    “I’m such a people-pleaser,” she muttered, swatting another tear from her cheek like it was some pesky insect. Throughout our conversation she’d quoted from the plethora of materials that rail against “the sin of people-pleasing.” With a tone of indignation thinly-veiling her self-loathing, she now cited Paul: “If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Gal 1.10). I listened as this precious woman questioned her loyalty to Christ, convinced that a true follower would never desire something so base as pleasing people. I empathized, then unplugged my grenade...Tick…Tick…Tick…and hurled my question into the air: “People pleasing. It’s a sin?” Tick…Tick…BOOM! Consider the child…

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    Hope: A Risky Venture

    Have you seen a cutting horse at work? The masterful way she sorts out a single cow and then maneuvers, step-by-step, to keep it away from the herd? With surpassing wit she leads a spectacular dance of wills. Actually, I know a cattleman who once trained and then showed his cutting horses at rodeos. He won several belt buckles and soon became wrapped up in something dangerous: hope. His thoughts drifted beyond the tedious baling of hay and mending of barbed-wire fences. His thoughts became dreams, gradually morphing into a business plan. He wrote a check in the amount of his life savings to purchase a broodmare–a female horse bred…

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    Jael

    Nondescript. The daughter of no one, married to a drifter whose family name was her only defense in a world gone mad. The days slip away indistinctly, reckoned only by periodic returns of the drifter—drenched in stale wine and rage and declaring marital rites. With a yank and thrust he dashes her humanity, dispensing with it like the delicate yarn restraining her raven hair. She watches it descend to the floor— silent, soft, slow. He dresses, turning back before departing to demand that she pack; they’d decamp within the month. She stepped outside into an unexpected downpour— a welcomed washing of his dankness from her skin. Despite the drumming thunder,…

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    My Prayer

    "Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping, that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep we may rest in peace."* Gather us wandering, O Lord, and govern us gathered, that united we may image Christ and waiting we may worship him. Grieve us wronging, warring, wasting, O Lord, that waivering we may receive forgiveness and walk in your love. Greet us weeping and worrying, O Lord, that while saddened we may hope and gladdened we may share joy. Grapple with us wallowing, O Lord, and grip us boasting, that searching we may reach for Christ and satisfied we may celebrate provision. Gratify your will. Glorify your name.…