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    Hearing Well and Being Heard Well

    Everyone wants to be heard well, but are we as willing to hear others well? In order to understand ourselves and others, different ways to categorize people have emerged over the years such as Myers & Briggs, DISC, and Enneagram. I recently read about another way to categorize people in a book dealing with how we communicate, 5 Voices: How to Communicate Effectively with Everyone You Lead.[1] The book describes 5 different voices with which people communicate—the Pioneer, Creative, Connector, Guardian, and Nurturer. Each voice (think communication style when I use the word voice) has positive inclinations and negative tendencies. In analyzing the book through a biblical worldview, I discovered…

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    Thin Places: An Ancient Phrase with Biblical Roots and Contemporary Fruit

    Over the past several years, I have been intrigued by the phrase thin places. I spent some time trying to understand this phrase and concluded it is an ancient phrase with biblical roots and contemporary fruit. Thin places are where heaven comes close to earth. The phrase has been around for centuries made popular by Celts who associated the phrase with a location and by Celtic Christians who associated the phrase with the infusion of the Divine presence.[1] Today people who consider themselves spiritual view certain monuments, ruins, and landscapes as locations for special encounters where heaven seems to touch earth…thin places. The thin places concept stirs up many biblical…

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    Do You Box Up Your Thanksgiving?

    This week I boxed up all our Thanksgiving decorations to sit in the closet for a year. The handwritten thanksgiving banner, the small jars with prompts to thank God, the cup with past subjects to be thankful for, and the abundantly full cornucopia. The Thanksgiving season is over for another year. Out of sight and out of mind. Or should it be? Various research has been conducted on the benefits of thankfulness (gratitude). Gratitude is associated with an increase in well-being, self-esteem, self-support; improvement in relationships, sleep, overall health; enhancement in positive emotions and optimism.[1]   One study revealed gratitude led to less depression, more happiness, release from toxic emotions,…

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    What Anchored the Puritans in Hard Times

    As we finish out 2020, what should our response be to the circumstances we find ourselves in? Some of the circumstances are hard while others are pleasant. Whether we are in hard circumstances due to our choices, someone else’s choices, or results of a fallen people or creation, we can rest assured that God is sovereign over them all. No amount of whining, complaining, arguing, finger pointing, demanding, or sulking will bring us the joy or peace (well-being of soul) that we long for. The Puritans that helped found our country can give us some insights on how to respond to hard times.[1] The Puritans had a strong moral consciousness,…

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    You’re Okay

    The toddler in this YouTube sweetly passes on what others have said to her. For generations, mothers have often tried to soothe their fraught children with three simple words, “You’re okay.” As a child wails and reels from known and unknown causes, a mother will try to calm and reassure her child with, “You’re okay, you’re okay.” My mother probably said it to me, I said it to my children, and I watch them say it to their children. And their children will probably say it to their children. Mothers know more than their children, they know that things will be okay, things are not as bad as they seem,…

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    What Could Responses to Mask Wearing Tell Us About Ourselves?

    Masks[1] were used in the 1600’s plague by doctors[2]and in the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic by the public.[3] Meriam-Webster defines a mask as-a protective covering for the face; a comparable device to prevent exhalation of infectious material. Masks have been around for a long time. With COVID-19, the wearing of masks has resurfaced and has become a divisive topic among church goers. Both sides seem passionate about their choice. I have been a Christian for about 40 years and I have not witnessed a division like this before. Admittedly, school choices, hymn versus choruses, and vaccinations have caused some divisions. These topics might have been as divisive, but with time…

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    Freedom to Do What?

    Another celebration of our country’s freedoms will occur in just a few days.[1] The focus is generally on friends, food, and fireworks. Our country’s freedoms somehow seem to get lost in the celebrations each year. This is a sad reality, but an even sadder reality occurs in our everyday life concerning freedoms. I tend to forget these freedoms and spent some time recently reminding myself of them. These freedoms seem to come on the flip side of some things I am naturally bound to do. With the occurrence of COVID-19, I am more aware of my seemingly loss of personal freedoms during 2020. I am naturally bound to want to…

  • Spaghetti Harvest 1957
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    April Fool’s Day

    April 1st is commonly known in the United States as April Fool’s Day and is a day of practical jokes. The joke player typically reveals his or her joke by saying “April Fools!”[1] Pranks are played on peers, family, co-workers, and the public (for instance the Spaghetti Harvest in Switzerland[2]).[3] Pranks can involve an errand for an absurd item like a left handed screw driver, snipes, snarks, or frog whiskers.[4] Nancy McEntire, a folklorist, observes that the victim needs to be laughing, too, for the prank to have worked.[5] Other countries celebrate this day with jokes and pranks as well such as France where a paper fish may be taped…

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    Disciples Admit Their Sin

    Thailand is known for overloading its vehicles.[1] An overloaded vehicle cannot function properly and is dangerous to the driver and others. Likewise, unconfessed sin overloads us with unnecessary burdens so we do not function as God intended us to function. Confession unloads us.[2]   “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us. My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate…

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    A Christian Perspective on Including Exercise in New Year’s Resolutions

    Exercise is one of the top New Year’s resolutions. Many people want to exercise more. But what are the benefits of exercise? How should a Christian view exercise? An article from the Mayo Clinic provided 7 benefits of regular exercise[1]: Controls weight Combats health conditions and diseases (anxiety, arthritis, high blood pressure, cancer, cognitive function, depression, Type 2 diabetes, falls, metabolic syndrome, and stroke) Improves mood (exercise stimulates various brain chemicals that can cause less anxiety, more relaxation, and happiness) Boosts energy (exercise delivers nutrients and oxygen to tissues and aids the cardiovascular system’s efficiency) Promotes better sleep Puts the spark back into your sex life Can be fun ……