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    OUR Father

    Jesus begins the prayer he taught the multitudes (as recorded in Matthew 6) and his disciples (Luke 11) by telling them to start their conversations with God by saying “Our” Father. This little word, “our,” holds big implications for the entire prayer.

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    Rest for the Soul

    I love the 23rd Psalm. When I read it I picture myself drinking deeply from still waters and munching contentedly on delightful treats. Somehow in the first few words I find physical refreshment. My muscles begin to relax and tension starts to slip away.  Though I experience a prompt relief in body, I admit my response to verse 3, “He restores my soul,” isn’t quite as immediate. As one who, along with the responsibilities of work, family, church and life, helps to provide emotional and practical support for a loved one living with a mental health disorder, the thought of a refreshed soul sounds like an unattainable luxury.  My soul…

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    Morning Prayer

      Good morning, Lord.    I am grateful that, once again, you have offered me a new day as an incredible gift to unwrap and enjoy. Thank you that it is not a blank slate waiting to be filled, but a treasure chest beckoning to be explored. Thank you that it holds the glorious joy of your presence and the reassuring promise of your will. Help me to hold each new experience as a precious jewel, to marvel at and delight in. For this is the day you made (Psalm 118:24). From the rising of this morning’s sun to its setting (Psalm 113:3), may you be praised as I rejoice…

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    Ordinary Times

    In the liturgical calendar, the year is marked by holy days, special seasons and, my favorite, ordinary times. These are the days when, though nothing significant is being observed, our lives are still “ordered”—purposeful, intentional, meaningful. Although Advent and Lenten seasons prompt special meditation, and holy days like Christmas and Easter invite us to deeper reflection and celebrations, the most significant encounters I have had with God have been amid the “ordinary times” of my life. We see this experience to be common in Scripture. It was on an ordinary day, as Rachel (Genesis 29:1-15) went about the usual, intentional things of regular life as a shepherdess, that Jacob met…

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    Forbearance: A Greater Grace

    When our kids were little and we traveled “over the river and through the woods” to visit extended family, a sense of dread would begin to well up in me the closer we got to their doorstep. Our family, like many, was messy. Old wounds, new offenses and unrealistic expectations often sabotaged our fantasies for a fun and festive time. Until we remembered to pray. Not just to pray a general prayer, but we had to remember to pray for a very specific thing: forbearance. Forbearance is a posture of grace. It recognizes that we all have limitations and failings and thus are apt to disappoint, frustrate and anger others.…

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    The Grand Invitation

    “Come.”  It may be the most overlooked, yet powerful word in the English language. It speaks of being included. Of belonging. It comforts us in our deepest area of need to say: we are noticed. We matter. We are wanted. It is a wonderful thing to be on the guest list. Who doesn’t want to be included? Recently I was invited by a friend to attend her daughter’s wedding. It was a small gathering, so I knew the number of people invited was limited. I felt the invitation to “come” was an indication that she considers me to be one of her closest friends. What an honor! Imagine, then, the…

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    Same, Same

    "For I the Lord do not change.” Malachi 3:6 ESV I live just outside a large metropolitan area. It seems every day when I drive into the city (whether on major highways or back streets) the roads are always under construction or in the midst of repairs. The routing I followed yesterday is not the same as the routing today. Signs for detours and lane changes pop up regularly. I can’t trust any of the traffic patterns that I have known before. Driving becomes exhausting. Every night various apps on my smartphone update so when I open them each morning I have to reorient myself to how to use them.…

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    Rerouting

    Many years ago a friend of mine bought an early model of a GPS device for her car. We decided to try it out as we drove through a large, busy city. We set our desired destination and the robot-sounding voice began to dictate directions. However, the traffic was heavy and we were unfamiliar with the streets, so we constantly missed the turn we had been told to make or couldn’t go in the direction we had been instructed to head.   Each time we didn’t do what we’d been told, the GPS would announce, “Recalculating route” and then would give us an alternate plan. I am sure it was…

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    I Spy

    Remember the childhood game of “I Spy”? Someone chooses an object in the room and tells just the color: “I spy something red.” Then everyone else tries to guess the item by its color only.   The remarkable thing is that as soon as the color red is mentioned, all the red things in the room start grabbing your eye. You may have been in the room many times over multiple years and never noticed a single red object, but now dozens are so obvious. The point is, now you are looking for red where before you weren’t.     We see what we look for   This same principle…