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    All Saint’s Day and The Cloud of Witnesses

    All Saint’s Day, November 1, observed by Christians in many countries around the world, is traditionally a celebration of all Christian Saints. In some countries cemeteries are crowded with people who come to clean and decorate the family graves and bring flowers and light candles on the graves of their loved ones to remember them. Having experienced this first hand living in Austria, a Catholic country, I was struck by how honoring this was of the families whose loved ones had died. While it was a solemn occasion it was also an impacting experience to walk through the Freidhof (cemetery) in the evening with Austrians who had come to remember.…

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    UNEXPECTED

    A week ago Friday our good friends were in a terrible accident – totally unexpected. Their wrecked car is pictured here. Driving home from another town anticipating to get home, unload their car and make plans for the evening they unexpectedly found themselves shockingly being pulled from their vehicle and taken by ambulance to our county hospital. Miraculously, according to the police officer on the scene and subsequent tests in the ER, they escaped death with no broken bones or punctured organs. In spite of the body trauma, abrasions, bruises plus ongoing pain they are alive and improving each day. They are praising God for His supernatural protection and grateful…

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    The Soul Forming Power of Everydayness

    Don’t discount the mundane, the 24/7. It may be the very place God is going to meet you. You may feel imprisoned by the ordinary in your life but He wants to empower you to look beyond and see His presence in all things. Brother Lawrence modeled this – living in the Presence of Christ as an ordinary kitchen worker in a French monastery in an earlier time (1600- 1691) torn and uncertain as our own day. During his boyhood the Thirty Years war began, which engulfed all of Europe. From his conversations and letters, published and translated in The Practice the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence intimately shares his…

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    SLOWING

    The exit ramp for souls starved by activism is slowing. Slowing? How will I get anywhere if I do that? How will THE LIST get completed if I don’t work as quickly as I can? My high-energy, multitasking, activist self used to driving in the fast lane pushes back…slow down? My soul responds, “I’m dying in here…I need some rest; I need some space; I need to be replenished – if you don’t slow down, your list may never get completed.” Adelle Cahoun in The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook matches the desires we have with certain spiritual disciplines. Example: I may be totally disenchanted with always living every minute filled to…

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    Good Summer Reads

    A good friend emailed me commenting on how much she is looking forward to the summer break. I do want to slow down this summer and catch my breath.  Maybe even read a little in some of the books I have under my bed! Oh, how delicious – having a space of time to read; to let your soul recover from living in the fast lane and slow down to the speed of life. I, like my friend, am the stacker reader type. Books are stacked on most visible surfaces in my home.  While I have more books waiting to be read on shelves that shout – no more room…

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    The Jewish High Priest and Jesus – Significance?

      Understanding the history and background in the Old Testament of the priestly function prepares us to answer the questions, “What does it mean that Jesus is our High Priest? Why is this important?”    In the Old Testament from the time of Moses the priests were descendants of Levi. The Levites provided the priestly line and performed the priestly duties on behalf of all the people of Israel. Their duties were to minister at the altar, burn the sacrifices and teach the law (Deuteronomy 33:8-10; Hosea 4:1-10). In Israel, when the priesthood represented the nations’ relationship with God, the Levites served in a representative character for the whole nation…

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    Anticipating Holy Week – Preparing Through Lent

      We are in the middle of the Lenten season. Lent– in the traditional Church Calendar begins with Ash Wednesday – being reminded with the ashes of our mortality. Genesis 3:19 “for dust you are and to dust you will return”…and continues through 40 days before Easter. It is a season of reflecting, recalibrating, returning – accompanying Jesus to the cross on Good Friday then, as Holy Week concludes, celebrating His resurrection on Easter Sunday. As we consider this Easter story, a lamb appears in God’s narrative toward the beginning, throughout and is present at the conclusion.  The lamb in Exodus 12:1-13 was the sacrificial Passover lamb. One lamb was…

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    Life Without The Holy Spirit

    Can you imagine life, human existence, without the Holy Spirit – the third person of the Trinity? A few years ago, before I saw this tree, I wondered how it would be if I had no Holy Spirit within me. It might resemble this picture – a tree, for whatever reason, that has lost it’s footing, it’s grounding, it’s life – formerly a formidable structure now a pile of dried, dead wood fallen over revealing no roots. Every time we drive by this dead tree on #290 headed home, I look at it.  Would this be what my life would be living without the indwelling Holy Spirit? As I followed…

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    Epiphany and the Magi – How Should We Respond?

      What can we learn from the journey of the wise men? Their visit, celebrated on January 6, marks the end of the 12 days of Christmas and is also known in the church calendar as Epiphany – “the appearing”. The story recorded in Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11: “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea during the reign of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him’… After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they…

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    All Saints’ Day and The Cloud of Witnesses

    All Saint’s Day, November 1, observed by Christians in many countries around the world, is traditionally a celebration of all Christian Saints. In some countries cemeteries are crowded with people who come to clean and decorate the family graves and bring flowers and light candles on the graves of their loved ones to remember them. Having experienced this first hand living in Austria, a Catholic country, I was struck by how honoring this was of the families whose loved ones had died. While it was a solemn occasion it was also an impacting experience to walk through the Freidhof (cemetery) in the evening with Austrians who had come to remember.…