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    Loving Well in a Blame-shifting Culture

    In a home full of young children, among the most common things I hear in the house is why the other sibling is most definitely responsible for wrong doing.  Most recently, my eldest son ran up quickly behind my middle son for a sneak attack, smacked him on the bottom and sent him flying further then was intended. I heard the raucous just in time to see my middle son chasing my eldest son with lightning speed, armed with a heavy school backpack, which successfully gave a retribution blow to the fleeing child.  Needless to say, as I approached the angry middle son first who had just hauled off and…

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    Seeing As God Sees

    As I’ve grieved over this time of civil unrest, God has reminded me of my constant prayer years ago. I’m not a naturally merciful person and I don’t have the gift of mercy, but God graciously burdened me to see people as he does instead of through the lens of my culture and human nature. As God is loving and merciful to all, I wanted to be also. I really hadn’t thought of this prayer for many years, but as I look back now in this time in history, I see that God has been answering it.  The polarization in the United States calls us to see everyone as either…

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    Of News Cycles and Food Banks

    Have you checked the news on your phone lately? I know I have. News of turmoil and conflict concerns me. But beyond praying–which is significant–and writing my Congress members, solving the disagreements at hand is beyond my abilities and responsibilities. The ongoing pandemic, though, has created many needs right in my church and community. Those needs continue, regardless of the latest news story. So focusing on those makes more sense. A quick glance backwards at news articles last year shows demand at food pantries in the U.S. and Canada up anywhere from 50 to 200%, depending on location. Those of us that have plenty can stock the shelves. Giving from…

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    A Few Little Things You Can Do: Simplify and Donate

    Do you ever read the headlines and feel helpless? Maybe now is a good time to remember we are each responsible only for our own little sphere of influence….    How’s your corner looking? Literally? Look around. It’s that time of year—when people organize, simplify, and pare down. One of my friends is leading a group through a no-spend month in which people use their funds only for necessities. Others are getting a jump on spring cleaning. Releasing our grasp on stuff is good for us (Matt 6:19–20). And doing so can benefit even more people than me, myself, and I. We can benefit the planet if we dispose of electronics…

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    What’s Your Plan for 2021?

    With our personal vacations postponed, schools turned virtual, conferences cancelled, and employers and employees settling into work from home routines, the yearly planner became almost farcical by the second quarter of 2020. I think most of us threw our 2020 Planning Calendars in the trash by mid-April. Perhaps your Bible reading plan also got discarded as well. Life was (and still is) chaotic.  But do you have a Bible reading plan for 2021? Have you already picked one and are cruising along? Or are you still looking for the right one? If the latter, here are some ideas to help you decide: Hard/Softcover Bible Reading Plans For those of us…

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    Resurrection

    I spent most of 2020 feeling unproductive, invisible, and useless. I many times wondered if I add value to anyone’s lives. Or if my existence had meaning. OK, fine. I felt this way prior to 2020—the devil has been tormenting me for years. But all things COVID Pandemic didn’t help.   Four days ago God proved me and Satan wrong. My brother’s family came to town last week for three nights. Although they stayed at his in-laws’ place, they made this trip just to visit me. Of course my niece and nephew also wanted me to spend the night over there. I promised I’d stay one night. Not that anyone…

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    Epiphany and Joseph’s Response – A Life Worth Noting

    Epiphany, in the traditional church calendar, is a festival observed on January 6 in honor of the coming of the three kings to honor and worship the infant Christ. It commemorates the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church it is called Three Kings Day and Twelfth Day. The coming of the Magi to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child precipitated a crisis for Mary and Joseph and the Infant Christ. King Herod’s edict that followed, once he realized he was outwitted by the wise men as they returned home another way, called for all baby boys who…

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    Should Christians Burn Sage?

    Smudging, the burning of bundled sage, is an indigenous practice that has been around for centuries. Various people groups throughout history have used this for medicinal and ceremonial purposes. The indigenous beauty blogger, Bianca Millar, says she and her husband burn sage along with other herbs to “thank the Creator for the new day and send up our prayers.” Burning sage is also used by herbalists or alternative healers. Claretha Yeager, an Acupuncturist and reiki master based in Chicago says she frequently uses smudging—or burning sage—to help rid her patients of negative emotions. She claims that sage smoke unburdens people of their negative energy to feel better. Burning sage has …

  • The Gifts of Christmas-Love, Life, and Joy
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    The Gifts of Christmas That Last Forever

    Several years ago, I hosted a neighborhood Christmas luncheon. When I got out my decorations, I asked myself, “What message do I want to give to the women as they come into my home?” Decorating is work; I wanted it to be meaningful! Over the years, I had collected a bunch of odds and ends stuff—mostly things given to me by my mom, our kids, or found in the attics of houses we bought. Recalling a book I read years ago called “The Gifts of Christmas” by Rachel Hartman, I remembered the author had taken the parts of the biblical Christmas story and considered them to be gifts (music, wonder,…

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    Releasing Expectations

    Snowflakes fall silently from the sky as bright-eyed little faces peer out frost-covered windows. Best friends gather around a candlelit table, dishes clanking, laughter wafting in the air. Family members from far away places knock at your door, excitement erupting into hugs and hellos the moment you welcome them inside. An ideal Christmas is easy to imagine. But it’s hard to live out. Despite what commercials portray and Facebook depicts, life’s celebrations are often far from perfect. Our children misbehave at the worst possible moment. Our plans get altered at the last minute. Our family’s disfunction erupts at the table. If there’s anything I’m learning this Christmas season, it’s to…