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    Why we shouldn’t go back to normal, and that is okay

    Remember the old adage, “Old habits die hard?” I’m sure someone clever could come up with a quip about emerging from quarantine and going back to way the things were. I’m not sure I’m that person, but I do know that I don’t want to go back to my life before quarantine. While I certainly long to eat in restaurants, go to church, and see my friends, where my spiritual life is concerned, I simply cannot settle for the “way things were.” There is too much room for change in my life. If we are honest with ourselves, we can all do better. In fact, as Christians, we shouldn’t seek…

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    New Year’s Resolutions and The Slow Process of Change

    I have a love-hate relationship with New Year’s Resolutions. On the one hand, I’m enamored by the idea of a fresh start and a clean slate every time that big, jeweled ball drops in Times Square. Reflecting on the past and looking to the future with anticipation and hope – who wouldn’t enjoy that euphoric sense of optimism?  And yet – I’ve been around the block for enough countdowns to know that, though I may have my sights set on a handful of goals in the new year, life has a tendency to distract me from those ideals, often before Ryan Seacrest wishes us all goodnight.  Apparently I’m not alone.…

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    How to Embrace Necessary Change

    Seasons of life change, careers change, organizations change, and relationships and friendships change. Change is—as they say—inevitable. How do you deal with change? Do you embrace it, reluctantly (and stubbornly) submit to it, or run full-speed in the opposite direction of it? I’m a loyal person by default. Perhaps you are as well. I’m loyal to good people, good organizations, and good products. There’s nothing wrong with loyalty per se, except when that loyalty exceeds the season for which that allegiance is needed. Thus I find I struggle with change.  Well-known author, leadership coach, and clinical psychologist Dr. Henry Cloud believes that if we do not embrace necessary change (i.e.…

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    Heartprints

    An Unchanging God in an Ever-Changing World

    This past Sunday, I heard the best sermon I have ever heard on the importance of placing our faith in the character of God. If you would like to hear the sermon, go to http://www.hillsdalebiblechurch.org/sermons . (You might want to wait a few days since it may not be posted yet; he just preached it yesterday.) After meditating  on it I came to realize what a game changer it can be in our lives and in the lives of our children. We need to quit asking the questions the world asks and start asking the questions of life in a more Biblical way. Pastor Bob helped me realize that, typically,…

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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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    Heartprints

    The Problem of Pain

    Pain is not partial. It rears its ugly head in every home in every neighborhood in every city on every continent. It is not a respecter of age, race, or gender. Pain is almost always caused by loss. Pain can be brought on by a medical condition resulting in a loss of health. It can be caused by the loss of a relationship through a disagreement, a divorce, or the death. Sometimes a person is attacked physically, emotionally, verbally, or mentally and this develops a loss of safety. The opposite of someone attacking would be someone neglecting and this ends in a loss of nurture. The list could go on…

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    Afraid of the Woman in the Mirror

    You tug at the corner of your eyes, smushing them upward then pulling them down. “Who is that?” You wonder to yourself as you gaze into the mirror.  Maybe it's the dark circles betraying an illness that caught you by surprise. Maybe it's the fine lines, telling the story of stress and toil. Maybe it's the weary look in your eyes begging for sleep.  Before you can answer, you snap your head and look away, unwilling to gaze any longer.  Have you ever been there?  Recently I had one of my own mirror moments. And as much as I've tried to forget it, I can't.  Such glimpses force us to…

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    Remodeling a Home–and a Soul

    We are in the midst of a major remodeling project in our home as it is made wheelchair-friendly. Doors are being widened, our closet is being reconfigured so I can reach my hanging clothes, and our bathroom’s tub and step-in shower are being replaced by a roll-in shower. I have been struck by the similarities between remodeling a home and remodeling a soul—otherwise known as the sanctification process. Sanctification means “being made holy,” and holy means set apart. I am being set apart for God’s kingdom, for His purposes, and with a plan to make me into the image of His own dear Son (Romans 8:29). The first thing that…

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    Don’t Miss the Value of a Footprint in the Sand

    If we are to be teachers who bring God the glory He deserves, it would be beneficial to look at the lives of those who have already done that. How did God mold them and equip them to do the jobs He gave them to do? What kind of relationship did they have with God? What held them back? What moved them forward? A great example of how God wants to work in us and through us is seen in the way God worked in and through them. Let’s look at Moses. To mold Moses and shape him from an Egyptian prince, whose idea of control included murder, to become…

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    How Change Happens

    On a 2010 trip to Australia, one of the topics I was asked to address at a conference featuring a redemptive view of homosexuality was “Is Change Possible?” This is a controversial question because there are some loud, insistent voices in the culture who say, “Unless you never again have a homosexual thought or feeling, you haven’t changed. And since no one admits to that, any claim of change is an illusion.” No one would apply that strict a standard to any other issue! Former alcoholics living sober and free from the chaos of their drinking for decades still would like a cold beer on a hot day, but that…