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    The Future of Refugee Resettlement

    A staggering number of adults and children around the world have fled their homes due to conflict, persecution, or famine. The most recent figure numbers displaced people at 79.5 million worldwide. The average refugee spends 17 years in a refugee camp before resettlement. For many this means 17 years of living in a tent. Yet the U.S. recently announced that for fiscal year 2021, which started October 1, 2020, the U.S. will welcome a maximum of 15,000 refugees. The Refugee Act of 1980 began the United States’ engagement in offering a new home to refugees. That year the U.S. welcomed well over 200,000 refugees. This year’s cap of 15,000 ensures…

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    Flourishing under Siege

    Psalm 139 intrigues me. We often turn to verses 13-16 to talk about God’s design of the unborn child in the womb. Verse 5, though, has always captured my interest. Both the NIV and NASB contain phrases that we have incorporated into American idioms: “Don’t hem me in.” And, “Don’t lay a hand on me.” Do you use these idioms in your country? In my individualistic American culture, we use these idioms to say to others, “Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do; don’t mess with me; don’t put limits on me.” Yet in Psalm 139:5, God himself hems us in or squeezes us (NET translation) and lays a…

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    Cooling Down Discourse

    Whew–my mouth burns today after a survey of my facebook feed. I need a sip of something cool to drink after some of the heated rhetoric I took in. Social media sizzles with conflict these days. These conflicts overflow into relationships, families and churches. A pandemic, racial unrest, elections in the U.S., disrupted governments in other countries all turn up the heat in conversations. I have witnessed un-civil discourse among families, friends and members of the body of Christ. John 17 records Jesus’s prayer for all believers. In John 17:20-23, the Savior prays for the unity of all believers. Why? Because their unity testifies to the world that the Father…

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    Building Unity in a Broken World

      My guest blogger today is Mary Coleman, a teacher from Plainview, Texas. She serves on teams at church including youth, prayer, and nursery. Wife to Jay and mom to three rambunctious boys, Mary brings a perspective to the challenge of racial reconciliation that is both experiential and biblical.  When my boys, who are five and seven, argue with each other, they wear a “get-along” shirt. The shirt is Daddy’s, so they both fit inside with one arm sticking out and one around each other. The first time I had them do this, I challenged them to move from one side of the room to the other without touching the…

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    Fighting the Empathy Famine: Listening and Learning

    A little honestly here: I’m overdosed on listening to partisan pundits. I try to wrap my head around their perspectives and spot the strengths and flaws of their thinking, but I’ve retreated for a while. Instead, I focus my energy on four things: Listening to and comforting those I know whose spirits are crushed, without minimizing their experiences (Prov. 18:13-14). By listening, I have learned of the constant stress my black friend and co-worker feels as she raises her son and daughters. She shared that in the last two weeks she got lost in an upscale neighborhood in my suburb north of Dallas. Late for an appointment, she asked a…

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    To Tell the Truth: Integrity and Social Media

    COVID-19 mania grips the world right now. And I have noticed a great many posts on social media during this season that include unkind words, poorly documented “facts” or just plain false information. I wrote the bulk of this post several years ago, but its message seems more necessary than ever today: Are you like me? Controlling my words is an area where I must exercise vigilance. Lately negative social media posts are on the upswing. Lies and exaggerations are not uncommon. The “share” button is another potential pitfall. I am convinced that words matter—whether spoken or written. Psalm 34:12-14 challenges me: “Do you want to really live? Would you…

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    Covid-19: In the Flood with David

    How are you doing, ladies? Whether in Albania, or Jordan, France, the United States, India or elsewhere, we face a common enemy. Not Satan, the biggest enemy, no. This time I write of COVID-19. Unlike the onset of the tornado that slashed through my community several months ago, no warning sirens scream, except an occasional ambulance. We cannot hunker down in a basement or bathroom and wait for the storm to pass. Instead, most of us live in worlds shrunken to the size of our houses, apartments and gardens, and possibly our workplaces, isolated from family and friends. And still, like rising water, the enemy slowly floods community after community,…

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    Trusting God or Toilet Paper

    Business Insider commented today about people’s response to COVID-19. In a series of tweets they described the panic buying of toilet paper and other household goods. In Hong Kong, panic-buying of toilet paper began last month. A fight broke out in Australia over toilet paper and in California a crowd grew unruly in Costco when they learned the store was out of toilet paper and other basic items. The BBC speculated that perhaps the most horrible thing we can imagine is being stranded with only one square left on the “loo roll.” Why in the world has Charmin become so important to us? It doesn’t cure any viruses. But when…

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    More Than We Can Handle

    My guest blogger today is Susan Breeding. She shares her hard-won wisdom about suffering. A quote that has been making the rounds for years says, “God will not give you more than you can handle.” However, nothing could be further from the truth. God gives us more than we can handle all the time. Ask anyone who has experienced an excruciating loss. Ask anyone going through unfathomable pain–physical or mental. God gives more than we can handle. My husband, Bruce, had a stroke on June 1, 2019. I found him lying on our bedroom floor, a few breaths away from death. Even though he had been so close to death,…

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    Time Management and Wise Living

    As you head into 2020, how’s your schedule? Are you looking for things to do? Are your days full? Or are you feeling buried by the demands of home, work, and church commitments? Commitments in my life sometimes tumble on top of each. In fact, when an event occasionally gets cancelled by weather or sickness, I’m sometimes secretly thrilled at the empty space in my schedule. Once, when a planned lunch outing was cancelled, I breathed a sigh of relief. Even without the lunch, activity filled the day as I prepared for a dinner. I shopped, chopped mountains of vegetables, put casseroles in the oven and scrubbed dishes. As guests…